SERIAL NOVEL: The Black Mennonite (Chapter 26) by Daniel Whyte III with Meriqua Whyte

Chapter 26


A few days after Eva had this conversation with Mrs. Rothchild, she was awakened before sunrise to strange sounds coming from Kezia’s direction. Eva turned up the wick in the lantern and hurried over to Kezia’s bed to see her heaving uncontrollably. She loosened the covers from around her.

“Jacob! Jacob! It’s Kezia. She’s having a hard time breathing,” Eva said, frantically shaking her husband. Eva picked up Kezia. “Kezia! Kezia! What’s wrong? Dear Gott, what’s wrong?”

“Stay here. I’ll get Mamm; she’ll know what to do,” Jacob said after staring at Kezia helplessly for a few seconds.

Jacob returned shortly with his mother, Rebecca, and Ant Maude.

“We’ll have to get her to the Englischer hospital right away,” they said after quickly assessing Kezia’s condition.

“The buggy’s already hitched up and ready to go,” Jacob said. “Come on. Hurry!”

Eva followed closely behind him with Kezia in her arms.

“We’ll be in prayer for you,” Mamm Stoltzfus assured them as she hurried behind them to the front door.

Jacob proceeded to head out the door first. He tripped over a box filled with vegetables and fruit.

“Aaah!” he said as he regained his balance. He shoved the box out of the way with his foot, and taking Eva by the elbow helped her into the buggy before rushing off to the Englischer hospital in town.

“This was not here when we arrived this morning,” Rebecca said as she, her mother, and Ant Maude returned to the house. Rebecca looked around before picking the box up to take inside. As carefully as she scrutinized the area, she did not see the pair of eyes peering through the bushes at them before its owner turned and hurried away.

When they arrived at the hospital the nurse greeting them took one look at Kezia and immediately took her from Eva’s arms. “Wait right here,” she instructed them. “Nurse Mikia, call Dr. Huntingdon ASAP to the ER. Baby emergency! May require oxygen,” she said to another nurse as she hurried away with Kezia.

“You can have a seat in our waiting room across the hallway,” the receptionist said pleasantly to Jacob and Eva. “Someone will be right with you.”

Jacob and Eva walked into the waiting room. There was one other occupant, a young lady about their age. She looked up as they walked in and managed a forced, troubled smile. Eva tried to return the smile. She and Jacob sat close to the doorway and waited. The receptionist came in shortly with forms on a clipboard which she handed to Jacob.

“Sir, Ma’am, could you please fill out these forms on your baby’s health history,” she said. “We’ll need that information to pass on to Dr. Huntingdon.”

“Please! My daughter? How is she?” Eva asked.

“Dr. Huntingdon is in the examination room with her. He’ll speak with you as soon as he gets done,” the receptionist said.

“Please, Nurse, is she still alive? Is she going to make it?” Jacob asked. “It all happened so suddenly. We brought her here as quickly as we could.”

“I’m sure you did. Dr. Huntingdon is the best children’s doctor in this area. Your daughter is in good hands. I’m sure he’ll have one of the nurses who works with him to come out and speak with you if it’s taking him a long time to examine her. Until then, if you have any questions I’ll be at my desk.”

“Something’s wrong,” Eva said shortly after the receptionist had returned to her desk. “How long does it take for a doctor to examine a sick child?”

Jacob took his wife’s hand in his. “Give them time,” he said even though he was just as anxious as she was.

Eva glanced through the doorway at the receptionist only to see Nurse Mikia hurry to her desk, exchange a few quick words with her, then hurry back through the heavy doors with an instrument in her hand.

A concerned look came over the receptionist’s face as she looked across the hallway into the waiting room. Her eyes met with Eva’s eyes.

“Oh, no! Something’s definitely wrong,” Eva said.

Jacob followed Eva’s eyes. He looked questioningly at the receptionist. She tried to camouflage her troubled look with a smile.

Dear Gott, Jacob prayed silently, You can’t drop her into our lives so suddenly only to take her away from us just as suddenly.

“We didn’t make it here in time,” Eva said in a hoarse whisper. She closed her eyes tightly.

Jacob embraced his wife.