Listen to the new podcast Unbeknowst to Becca Part Two or read the original short story below! Take a beat, take a breath, and listen in (or read it below!)
Tears were a waste. Although they had afforded Becca a trickle of moisture to wet her parched lips.
As best she could tell, she was on her second day of the ultimate game of limbo. Not dead. And not with the people she loved in the home she adored. Not heaven, not hell… a purgatory of sorts.
The blood on her head had completely caked over, leaving a mass of Becca’s long auburn hair in a stiff, make-shift bandage over her wound. Her medical experience led her to believe the head injury would be too late for stitches.
And there was a familiar companion, panic.
“Breathe, Becca.” She balled up more tightly, to ward off the chill of what she assumed was morning according to the small bead of light fighting its way to her. Her breasts were actually the most painful aspect of her entrapment. And yes, she knew she could have a swig of her own breast milk or worse. As a mother of an Eagle Scout and another well on his way, Becca knew she could drink her own urine. But let’s not get crazy just yet.
Not to mention the fact, she hadn’t felt the need to pee since she found herself unfound.
Becca also knew, her body was most likely making priorities for milk production, which would soon pass. This, although probably not rational, made Becca tear up again. She wasn’t ready to give up breastfeeding Bernie. She had fought hard for her milk supply while Bernie was in the NICU. And as she recounted the first time Bernie was able to successfully latch on and eat, more milk flooded Becca’s breast.
The surge caused Becca to gasp in pain and then resolve, wholeheartedly to get out of the mess she was currently in.
With nothing less than sheer determination, she decided to yell for help.
And she did. She yelled and hollered and screamed and begged until a big swig of urine or breastmilk sounded delightful.
Her yelps were met with silence.
Exhausted and spent, Becca curled up and slept again.
In the comfort of her subconscious, Becca dreamt of Italian Wedding soup, chemistry projects, the gentle touch of Doc brushing past her in the kitchen, and the desperate need to feel Bernie latch on and suckle. She dreamt of Flouride treatments and Ben’s upcoming visit to the University of Kentucky. And then she could see herself standing on the back deck of their 22-acre farmhouse. She was yelling something. Becca stirred in her sleep and listened.
“PIIIIIPER!! Come here, girl! PIPER! It’s bedtime!”
A shrill whistle jolted her awake, her own voice echoed in her ears.
“PIPER!” Becca yelped “I couldn’t find our dog, Piper!” Slowly Becca began to vividly recall her last memory before waking in the current state. She had been unable to find the family’s dog, Piper the Golden Retriever.
Becca recalled she had agreed to stay home while Doc and the boys got in Blake’s pickup to go drive around looking for Piper in the dark. They had been gone about an hour when Becca heard the dog barking in the back. She grabbed a flashlight and had texted Doc and said, “LOL I think she is in back barking. She must have chased a raccoon or opossum up a tree.” Doc had answered “Good. On our way back.”
“YES!” Becca lept to her feet.
“I remember!” Becca recounted, “I could hear Piper, but I couldn’t find her! I left my phone on the back porch! So, I walked the property trying to find her! I know where I am!”
The light from the crack was fading. Nausea, from hunger, thirst, pain, or all of the above prodded Becca to take action. She heard another helicopter and muffled sounds of her name being called.
Hell-bent on not spending another night in the dark, or worse, dying in what she surmised was the native cellar of the original farmhouse on the property, that burned down in 1947. The cruelty of knowing she was about 4 acres from the comforts of home, made her laugh out loud.
And suddenly, it occurred to her. No one could hear her. But she bet her life, Piper could. That is who she would call for help. Right after a quick shout out to God… “Please God, let her hear me.”
She mustered strength from nowhere and saliva from less and began to whistle and shout for Piper to retrieve her.
She let out a shrill whistle and began hollering for Piper.
There is no telling how long she yelled or whistled. Becca has asked that the way her whistle was wetted not be shared. But soon, the voices grew louder and to her relief, she finally heard barking followed by the loving and desperate call of Doc’s voice.
“YES!” She whimpered. “I’m down here!’
“Sit tight love” He called. “We’re getting help baby!”
The rescue part of the ordeal was the longest part. In reality, it was only about 45 minutes before the 2-foot hole that Becca had mistakenly fallen through was expanded and a ladder was lowered to her rescue.
Hours later, at 1:15 am, after an ambulance ride, police briefing, press conference, and a hot shower Becca was being served a bowl of her very own Italian Wedding soup and being loved on by her people. The welcomed relief of nursing Bernie was one of the biggest comforts of all.
Blake, Ben, and Pearl looked tired. Doc looked like he had aged 20 years. After the kids had made their way to their rooms and Bernie had had her fill, Doc flopped into the big wing-back chair in the Master Suite.
“Well,” he said, “that was the opposite of fun.”
Becca lay her bandaged head on her pillow. “So unfun,” she said. “I am so sorry. I should have waited for you guys to get back before I ventured into the dark.”
Doc stood and came to sit on the edge of the bed next to her. “I can honestly say, I have never been that terrified.” He said, “I mean when you went into labor with Bernie, that was scary. But not knowing where you were… if someone had hurt you. I couldn’t stand it.”
Becca reached for Doc’s hand. “I know.” she purred. “I will never forgive myself for scaring you like that.”
Doc shook his head, “Please don’t apologize. I am just so glad you are okay.”
“Well,” Becca answered, “I just can’t believe that it was such a mess. And all the fuss! Helicopters, police, the press? I am so embarrassed. You know how I hate to draw attention to myself.” Doc belly laughed, “Well, then I guess we may need to hire a publicist. You have calls from FOX News, People Magazine, Ellen Degeneres, and several others, all wanting to interview you, Kentucky’s very own Misplaced Momma.”
“I am too exhausted to be appalled.” Becca began to fade.
“Well, we will deal with that in the morning.” Doc carefully adjusted the down comforter around Becca shoulders and gently brushed her bangs from her forehead. “You rest, and from now on, no more search and rescues. I can’t take the suspense.”
Becca might have laughed, she doesn’t remember. She was certain Doc watched her sleep for a while.
She barely felt him rise, switch the light off, and climb in bed next to her. Fully clothed, entirely relieved, vowing to be more cognizant, more faithful, and more grateful… as the entire family would now be.
Unbeknownst to Becca being boxed in an abandoned cellar would be a lifelong reminder of the need to call on the God of her salvation, trust in seasons of want and wait, to be grateful for what you have, and to put the dog up before dark.
A good lesson for us all and a happy ending for Kentucky’s own Misplaced Momma.
I guess this story was inspired by a season I just went through myself. After injuring my neck after Christmas 2020, I went through a dark night of the soul… and body. Being trapped in a situation where you can’t fathom a way out, lays way to a wealth of emotions. I have used all the tricks.
All the things. And this week’s quality question is a trip down memory lane. What life-altering event have you faced that refreshed or changed your outlook on life? Furthermore, what positive changes have you experienced in the wake of a season of limbo?
You can connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at any of the links in our podcast show notes. Listen right now for details on our short story fiction contest!
Until next week, I am Jami Amerine and this has been a remarkable thought. Bye!
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