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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Light at the End of the Tunnel (01/23/14)

TITLE: Molly
By Yvonne Blake
~2nd Place


The night Molly came, I shivered with joy to finally have a child in our home. But it wasn’t like I thought it would be.

“She’s seen things no child should ever see,” the social worker whispered. “The police found her huddled beneath the kitchen table. She hasn’t uttered a sound since.” There was more to the story, so much more, but we waited until Molly was in bed before discussing the details.

Molly was a beautiful five-year-old with soft curls and brown eyes. I think her eyes were brown. She wouldn’t look up – even when the social worker left. She clutched a rag in one hand and her thumb in her mouth.

The next morning, Rick kissed me as he left for work. “Call me, if you have any trouble.”

Molly wasn’t any trouble. In fact, she was like a giant doll. She let me wash her and dress her. I fed her and sat her in a comfy chair near the big window, where the finches and chickadees visited the feeder. Occasionally, I’d see her eyes follow the flight of a bird, but she never spoke and never took her thumb out of her mouth.

The pediatrician shook his head. “She’s not deaf. She can talk; she just chooses not to. This will just take time. Be patient. Be gentle. Let her feel loved and safe. Hopefully, she’ll come out of this dark place of fear.”

So Rick and I talked to her as if she was a normal child. We took her to the beach and the park and church. It was hard to answer the questions of our neighbors and friends. It was hard when Molly curled into a trembling ball, with her eyes squeezed tight and both hands over her ears. We learned to avoid noisy crowds and to leave a light on in the hallway. She liked to watch animal shows on the television, her brown eyes darting back and forth as she silently sucked her thumb.

Days - weeks - months passed. Where was Molly? Would she ever find her way?

This morning, I put a pink sweater on her and sat her on the porch swing while I attempted to get the kitchen cleaned. I peeked out of the window often to see her still sitting there. I almost wanted her to get into some kind of trouble – anything but just stay where I put her. As I wiped the sink, I heard a dog barking and looked outside.

A huge, white dog was on the porch with Molly. It barked and jumped and nuzzled her. I’ve never liked dogs. I guess I’m even a bit afraid of them. Dogs shed hair, they have fleas, they eat too much, they need to be washed and walked and taken to the vet. . . Dogs are too much work.

The white dog barked again, and Molly jumped. I scurried to the front door to rescue her. But by the time I slipped on my flip-flops and pulled a sweater around my shoulders, the barking stopped. I paused inside the screen door. Molly was stroking the dog with her thumb-sucking hand. I cringed at the thought of germs. The dog gently laid her head on Molly’s lap. I held my breath.

Then the dog wriggled away and barked playfully. It bounded down the steps and brought back a stick, which she dropped on Molly’s lap. It slid off and fell on the floor. The dog picked it up, twirled around, and tried again. Molly pushed the stick on the floor. The dog pounced and pranced and put it back on her lap again. Molly threw it a little farther. Her face lit up as the dog chased after it. After a while, I saw a smile and then there was a giggle. Molly was giggling!

I joined them on the porch. The white dog swished her bushy tail back and forth. Molly looked up at me. “Cherub.”

I gasped.

“Cherub loves me.”

Tears blurred my sight. Of course! Cherub is the perfect name for an angel – whether it looks like a dove or a dog.

Cherub followed us into the house. Tufts of fur floated to the floor like feathers, but I didn’t care. She lapped up the crumbs that fell from the table. At naptime, I peeked in the bedroom. Cherub sniffed Molly’s sleeping form and looked back at me, as if to say, “Don’t worry. She’s fine.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Noel Mitaxa 01/30/14
I admire your warm, descriptive style; and how you have unfolded Molly's story so gently. Beautifully written.
Linda Goergen02/01/14
Heart gripping story beginning to end! Dogs have long been known to be good therapy for many with deep emotional scars and I love how you brought that to light, with your heaven sent “Cherub.” Most dogs are just unconditional love personified—but then so were the parents of your story! They took in troubled little Molly, and showered her with patient, selfless love. The real world needs many more like them! Great read, wonderfully written!
Ellen Carr 02/01/14
What a beautiful and moving story! You drew me into the thoughts and feelings of the person telling the tale really well. Well done.
Francy Judge 02/01/14
Just beautiful. I loved this sweet story.
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/01/14
I absolutely loved this sweet story, and as it unfolded, I couldn't wait to see what the light at the end of the tunnel would be. This is a winner for me.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/01/14
Oh wow! You nailed it with this one. I could feel my heart ache for all of the Mollys of the world. You did an awesome job of bringing the characters to life. As for red ink, I did notice a couple of sentences that were a tiny bit awkward and I had to reread it to understand. This one was the one that made me stumble: I almost wanted her to get into some kind of trouble – anything but just stay where I put her.
I think just tweaking it a bit like this maybe: I almost would've preferred her to get into trouble--to do anything but just sit and suck her thumb.
That's still not perfect but wanted to show you what I meant. They both have 19 words so it wouldn't affect that. I know the word limit will often make me trim sentences that I wish I didn't need to.

That tiny stumble is really nothing compared to this beautiful story. It seems these days parents give up on their own kids. I can't understand it. If only all the Mollys found foster parents like your MC. You nailed the topic in a fun and different way while delivering a powerful message.
Lillian Rhoades 02/01/14
You wrote about a subject that's near to my heart-foster children. Mollie came alive with your excellent characterization.

Tiny red ink...suggest leaving out the "the" before television, and tightening/restructuring the phrase, "get the kitchen clean" with "clean the kitchen."

Great ending to a heart-warming story.
lynn gipson 02/01/14
Wow, there are tears in my eyes as I write this. Is this fiction? It sounds so true. Molly found and angel in a scruffy dog.

I will read this to my granddaughters. Superb writing here.
Graham Insley02/01/14
A great story and very well written. It started really well and held me firmly until the end.

God bless and well done.
Judith Gayle Smith02/02/14
Please continue writing about precious Molly and her sweet Cherub!
Francie Snell 02/04/14
This is beautiful, almost perfection to me. I wouldn't change anything about it. I loved how she didn't mind the fur on the floor. I had to chuckle. Great work!
Judy Sauer 02/04/14
What a tender and precious story. Animals can reach places that even the best of hearts cannot. Very descriptive and well written.

If so include, can you throw me a brick back?
C D Swanson 02/05/14
Awww...I'm a push-over for animal stories, and this one didn't disappoint. A tender and well written piece.

THank you.

God bless~
Beth LaBuff 02/06/14
I loved reading this endearing heart-tugging tale. Many congrats on your 2nd place EC, dear Vonnie!
Danielle King 02/06/14
What an amazing story. I was pulled right into it and didn't want it to end. Congratulations on your placing. Well deserved!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/06/14
Congratulations on your EC for this beautiful story. I knew it was a winner!
Linda Goergen02/06/14
Yahoo Yvonne! I loved this and I am so happy you were a winner!!! It was so deserved!
Pauline Carruthers 02/06/14
So moving and real. Congratulations
C D Swanson 02/06/14

God bless~
C D Swanson 02/06/14

God bless~
Noel Mitaxa 02/06/14
Congratulations on a well-deserved placing, and I agree that there's lots of room for more Molly stories in the future.
Leola Ogle 02/06/14
Beautifully written, Yvonne. Congratulations on your placement. God bless!
Ellen Carr 02/07/14
Congratulations, Yvonne, on your second place win. It is well deserved for this lovely story, so well told.