Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Game( 12/06/12)
By Arlene Showalter
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“Indeed.” Drusilla rubbed her bony hands together.
Lily stood at her mailbox, opened letter in hand, staring at nothing.
The pair leaned in. Evil grins split their wizened faces.
“I don’t love you anymore.” Confusion spread across Lily’s face as she re-read the words before her.
“Sending that strumpet, Jezebel, into Jake’s life was an act of pure genius,” Millicent crowed.
“How could you, Jake?” Lily whispered. She stumbled back to her house and sank down at the kitchen table, where her Bible lay open. “How could you?” she repeated.
The malevolent duo clasped hands for a victory shake.
“Why did you let him leave, God?”
Millicent flitted to Lily’s shoulder.
“Is it my fault?” “Lily pulled her Bible close and thumbed through the Psalms.
Drusilla gave Millicent the thumbs up sign.
“I should have kept a neater house.” Lily glanced around the slightly-messy kitchen. Then she jumped up and jammed dirty cups into the dishwasher.
“That doesn’t justify leaving,” she stormed, slamming the lid shut. “I wonder if that dancing girl he’s so ga-ga over keeps a perfect house.” She moved to the window. “I doubt it.”
The imps snickered. Anger! Good sign.
“I don’t deserve this.” Lily flopped back into her chair. Then the tears started. “I’m no good, no good at all,” she wailed into the silence.
Impish grins widened. Depression. Even better.
Lily called her closest friend. “Jake dumped me,” she cried into the receiver, “for some bimbo.” She poured out her complaints into sympathetic ears.
Self-pity. Better and better.
Lily stormed into the bedroom, yanking sheets from the unmade bed. “I’ll never sleep in this bed again,” she vowed.
The day progressed. Lily swung from my-husband-is-a-pig to why-did-God-let-me-marry-him-in-the-first-place to keep-a-stiff-upper-lip, Lily to I’ll-do-better-God-I-promise-just-please-bring-him-back. The imps hovered.
“Master will be so pleased,” Drusilla said.
Lily’s resolve sank with the setting sun. She dragged herself into the guest room and curled up under unfamiliar covers. Soon wrenching sobs filled the air.
“Ahhh,” Millicent sighed. “Such lovely music.”
“Won’t be long now,” Drusilla said.
The wails softened to hiccoughs and faded into labored breathing. The duo stationed themselves on either side of the bed and waited for morning.
A choking sob brought them to full attention. Lily crawled out of bed and into the kitchen. Her discarded Bible lay where she’d left it the night before. She took a mug of coffee to the table and shoved the Bible away.
“A lot of good that’ll do me now,” she murmured into the deafening silence. “My marriage is over. I may as well be dead.”
The demons danced a victory jig.
Suddenly, Lily’s body stiffened. Millicent’s eyes widened. “Oh, no,” she said to Drusilla. “We were so close. So close.”
“What? What?” Drusilla asked. “I don’t hear anything.”
Millicent’s grasp tightened. “Quick,” she said, “we need a distraction.”
The phone rang.
Lily sat like a stone.
“Come on,” Drusilla shrieked. “Answer it.”
Lily sank to the floor. Tears pooled beneath the cheek pressed against the linoleum. Millicent tensed.
“Forgive me,” Lily breathed. “Lord Jesus, forgive me for doubting your goodness.”
Millicent shrieked. Drusilla gaped.
“I don’t know why you let this happen,” Lily continued, “but I bow to your perfect will.”
“No, no, no,” Drusilla cried. “I can’t listen to ADONAI being praised.”
“Father God,” Lily continued, “I’m in pain, the worst pain of my life. But I choose to praise you in the storm.”
The imps howled, pressing clawed hands against their ears. “Ohhhh, that hurts!”
“Your will be done.”
The light of heaven filled the room and the demons evaporated into nothingness.
Enemy, zero — God, won.
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