“What is it, Melly?” Jill Brown, the child’s mother asked.
“What’s that in there, Mummy? Is it a soldier, like Daddy?”
“No, my precious. That’s like a god to the people who live here.”
Melly ran into the temple and stood before the icon.
“Hello. My Mummy says you are a god, so can you help us, even if you’re not our god? My name is Melissa Jane Brown and I live with my Mummy and my brother Joe. My Daddy usually lives with us, but he went away a long time ago. Mummy said Daddy went to fight some bad people in Afganner Stan or something, and Joe says it’s not fair because he’s seven and he gets into trouble when he fights bad people. But anyway, Daddy’s been gone a long time and Mummy cries every night because she thinks Daddy might not come back.
“The thing is, me and Joe don’t want Mummy to be sad and crying because it makes us sad, too. And we miss Daddy. We try asking our god to help Daddy. Every night we pray for him, but he hasn’t come back yet.”
“Come out of there, Melly,” Jill said.
“In a minute, Mummy. I’m praying for Daddy.”
That started Jill crying again. She sat on a nearby bench, while her son, Joe, tried to comfort her.
“So, can you help us? I can ask Mummy for a photo of Daddy, so you’ll know what he looks like, if you want. He’s very tall and he wears army clothes. Not the same as yours, but a bit like them. Please, please, please; if you can make sure he doesn’t get hurt or anything, and send him back to us. Please?”
Just then, Melly heard Jill’s mobile phone ring. Jill answered it.
“Hello… yes, this is she… you have?… he is?… tomorrow?… Oh, thank you, thank you.”
Jill started crying harder than Melly and Joe had ever seen.
Between sobs, she managed to say, “It’s Daddy. He’s alright, and he’s coming home. Tomorrow.”
Melly ran into the temple and up to the statue. She couldn’t reach it; if she had been able to, a hug and a kiss would have followed. As it was, she took the flower out of her hair, stretched up to her tip-toes and placed it beside the bowl in front of the god’s feet.
“Thank you,” she said, “you’re the best god.”
And she ran back to join her mother and brother.
I wrote this in response to Kreative Kue 35, issued on this site earlier this week. Feel free to join in; just follow the link.