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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Valley (08/10/06)

TITLE: Down
By Elizabeth Hale
08/16/06


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"Okay, I'm here! Where are you?" she shouted, her voice echoing off the barren landscape, reverberating back to her from the base of the surrounding mountains. "In fact, where have you been all this time? I've been begging, pleading with you for months now and you haven't heard me. Then all of a sudden, you tell me to come out here, to this----".

She glances around at the desolation she sees. No grass, no leaves on the trees. Not the faintest hint of a breeze. No birds singing. Nothing. Even the sky matches her despair. Overcast, gray. Blah!

"I did everything you asked me to. I helped all those people. Where are they now? Living it up, ignoring my calls for help, just like you. I have nothing. I keep giving, but I ain't receiving. What have I done to deserve this?" she demanded.

Silence. In her mind, a song begins. "Down in the valley, the valley so low, hang your head over, hear the wind blow---". Over and over it plays. She claps her hands over her ears. "Stop. Just stop! I'm in the valley, my head is hanging so low that if it hangs much lower, my feet will trip over it. There is no wind. What do you want from me? I give up!"

"What do you give up?" a gentle voice asks.

"Anything else that you haven't already taken from me! You've taken people I love, you've taken nearly all my possessions. What else is left?"

"I only want you. My plan is being carried out within you. Can you not see it?"

"No, no I can't. How much longer do I have to keep going?" Tears are streaming down her face, yet she seems unaware of them.

"Until we are finished. I am here always, even when you don't 'feel' like I am. I am."

"I don't think I can make it. It's too hard. I'm tired." she says weakly, sinking down to the hard ground. "Everything seems black, dark, dead."

"It may seem that way, but is it really so?"

Out of the corner of her eye, a tiny green sprout is poking its way up through the hard, crusty, barren earth. It seems to be reaching toward the sunless sky. It seems to be trying to live.

To her, as she watches this miracle, the sprout represents hope. She sighs.

"Will you promise to stay with me, no matter what?" she asks quietly, staring at the tiny bud.

"I will. I promise."

"Then I will do what you want. I will follow you, no matter where you lead."

A gentle breeze brushes across her cheek then, and she reaches up to touch her face. She feels the tears she didn't even know were there,the wetness of them, and she knows that she has just been touched by the very breath of God.


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This article has been read 584 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/17/06
Very good, realistic depiction of emotions written effectively in present tense (except for "shouted" in the first sentence...) Familiar territory, though...your writing is very skillful and I look forward to seeing you attempt something riskier.
Jacqueline Zerres08/19/06
I liked this story. My favorite line - "my head is hanging so low that if it hangs much lower, my feet will trip over it." We've all been there!
Amy Nicholson08/21/06
"Until we are finished..." I hope I can remember that line when I am in the valley. This was beautiful. Who cannot relate to these words? Excellent!
Brenda Kern 08/21/06
You've got some switches between tenses here: The 'shouted' in the first sentence establishes the past tense, then 'glances' in the second paragraph is in the present tense.

If you can correct this tense problem, this is very good.

Good work--you should be proud of this entry.
Marilyn Schnepp 10/01/06
Very creative, very well written and I enjoyed the read immensely. A real pro at that certain "something" that moves the reader. Well done.