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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)

TITLE: Heal Thyself
By Larry Elliott
~2nd Place


“Please, help her Sister Lillian. She’s had this pain in her head for near a year now. The doctors can’t fix it, can’t even find what’s causin’ it. Please, heal my baby.”

The frail woman dressed in clean, but worn clothes, appeared to be in her late twenties. She also seemed as frayed as her attire.

A hush descended the crowd as everyone strained to hear.

Sister Lillian cupped her hands as though concealing a captive butterfly. They began to tingle, itch then burn as if the invisible insect had become a hot coal. She placed her palms gently on each side of the child’s soft, but sallow, face. She murmured some repetitious chant. The steady whimpering stopped, color returned to the toddler’s face and she immediately relaxed into a peaceful sleep.

“It’s a miracle.” The mother shouted again and again while leaping up and down.

The crowd cheered.

Another miracle. Or was it?

The small, twisted, invisible creature assigned to torture the child hesitantly withdrew its gnarled, battle damaged talons from the little ones head. His superior, who had ridden unnoticed atop Sister Lillian’s shoulders for several years now, commanded it to do so.

This scenario had played out hundreds of times in small towns across four states- and her following was growing fast.

And Sister Lillian actually believed she had some magical power, some gift of healing. While in fact it was simply her demon temporarily releasing one of his subordinates from their pleasured duty.

The next person in line was a handsome young man, maybe thirty.

“What is your problem, sir?” Lillian asked slowly.

“I came to help you. My God can truly heal.”

“Help me? I need no healing. I am perfectly fine.” She chuckled realizing his meaning.

The hush was deafening now. The people had not seen Sister Lillian laugh or so much as smile the past three nights of her services.

“Your disease is far worse than any of these you think you have resolved.”

“Ridiculous! I’ve healed hundreds of people.”

“That’s the point, you haven’t. God is the only one who can bestow that kind of gift. The one you serve has no such power. Through slight of hand he might make it appear as a miracle, but he cannot heal. You cannot heal. Your master has led you to believe a lie, which is one of his better tricks.”

“Master? I have no master.”

“Then where does your… power come from?”

“My gift comes from nature herself, from the very essence of the universe, from the… core of my existence. I was born with it.”

“Sorry, no such luck.”

“Leave my presence immediately. I’m done with you.”

“I can’t do that- not just yet.”

“Then I curse you.” She reached for his arm.

“Ahh!” She screamed in pain. So did her invisible puppeteer.

Jerking free she scowled, “Who are you?”

“I am just someone who wants to help you and put a stop to this deception- someone who has the truth.”

She stared at her palms. They felt suddenly greasy, like de-boning a thanksgiving turkey bare-handed. Though they were clean she wiped them incessantly on her robe.

“Go away! Get out!” Lillian screamed flailing both arms like opposing windmills.

“Here is the number where I am staying. Call me when you calm down.” The young man slipped a piece of paper in her hand and left.

She crumpled the note and tossed it into the crowd screeching profanities at his back.

“That’s all for tonight folks.” Lillian’s assistant, Brother John, addressed the stunned and murmuring congregation. “Come back tomorrow night, eight o’clock. Don’t forget the donation buckets at each exit. Bless you, friends. Go in peace.”

When the room was empty he turned his attention to Lillian. “What the…? What are you doing? Do you want us to lose everything we’ve worked for. Are you listening to me?”

“Yes I hear you. Now leave me alone. I’m not feeling very well.”

“Well then- healer, heal thy self.” He mocked.

“Go to…”

“Someone might be listening, preacher.” He goaded.

“I hate you!” Her hands burned. She slapped him hard. He dropped to his knees tearing at unseen claws that painfully seized his airway.

“Stop.” She screamed to the emptiness between them. “Stop it. John, get up.”

She touched his head and whispered her healing chant.

He dropped lifeless at her feet.

Somehow she knew the truth now.

She fell to her knees searching frantically beneath the jumble of folding chairs.

Accept Jesus as Your Savior Right Now and be Certain of Eternal Life.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sheri Gordon11/30/07
This is chilling -- and a great description of what is happening in this world, more than we care to admit. Your writing kept me glued to the screen -- what happens next?

Good job with the topic.
Janice Cartwright12/01/07
Scripture tells us that in the last days there will be miracles so convincing that if it were possible even the elect would be deceived. Could this be a type of one of those? Superb writing and a creative slant on the topic.
Betty Castleberry12/03/07
This is bold. It's well written, and the tone is great. Much to ponder.
Judy Burford12/06/07
What an awesomely chilling story. I've often thought about some supposed faith-healers in this vein, but never put it into a story. Great work, and congratulations on your placing.
Sheri Gordon12/06/07
Congratulations on your EC. This is very creative, and very well written.
Catrina Bradley 12/06/07
Congrats on your EC! Well done.
Peter Stone12/07/07
Congratulations on your EC placing. Brilliant take on the topic. Contrasting the enemy's copy-healings by showing how they are done, with the real healings from God. From the very beginning it was obvious taht something was wrong when she chanted. Note, when writing dialogue, should be like this: "Someone might be listening, preacher," he goaded.
ie, connect with commas, not full stops.