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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)

TITLE: Reading Sherry
By Carolyn Baney


A dark dreamless sleep shrouds Sherry, binding her and holding her down. Voices break through the silence. Sherry arouses enough to visualize the image of two men standing over her. She screams to them, “Help! Speak truth to me. Speak hope to me.” No sound comes from her voice. For the first time, she senses the burning fire in her throat; a foreign body has been shoved into her dry, cracked mouth paralyzing her tongue. She wants to jump up and run, anywhere but here. Instead, her body is a dead weight, immovable. Panicking, she flails her arms and legs like an insect on its back trying to right itself. The process is futile; she is trapped in this body.

“ 600 pounds! How does anyone get so fat? You would think when you can’t wipe yourself when you go to the bathroom that you would catch a clue to stop eating.” The voice laughs at his own humor.

Now, a deeper voice chimes in, “Yeah, I heard firemen had to remove a wall to her house just to get her out. They brought her into the hospital on a flatbed truck. Can you believe it!”

Like a sheet floating down from the sky, the dreamless sleep once again sweeps over Sherry, and this time she welcomes it. No dreams are better than the nightmare that is her reality. Time stands perfectly still.

The intrusion of a bright light shines into her eyes bringing Sherry’s thoughts crashing to the forefront of her mind. Once again, she feels the soreness of every muscle in her body. Attempting to simply shift her position is an impossibility. The face of an angel appears in front of her. “Yes”, Sherry believes,“She will speak words of truth to me. She will speak hope to me.” Instead, no words fall from the angel’s mouth, only silence. Her eyes are glazed over, far away. As she goes about her work, she sees Sherry not at all. Sleep comes.

The sweet chiming bells of familiar voices reach down and pull Sherry from her depths. “Ah, these I love, and regardless of my appearance, they love me. Finally, truth will be spoken. Hope will be spoken,” wishes Sherry.

“I’m sorry. Sherry’s heart can’t take the stress anymore. There is no hope for …,” voiced a strange raspy voice. Sherry sinks deeper, too weak, too tired to fight it anymore. The devil himself could have spoken those words; the abyss awaits, only the precipice of an unraveling life thread keeps her from it.

Suddenly, her mother stands before her. “Sherry, Sherry”, she beckons her awake. “We love you. You are coming home soon. You’re getting better every day.” Her mother’s shifting eyes reveal the full weight of her lies. Desperately escaping the strain on her mother’s face, Sherry’s head turns, focusing her eyes upon the tears streaming down her nine-year-old daughter’s blotchy face.

Condemnation floods in. “What has she done?” she yells for no one to hear. Coming from the remotest section of her hardened heart, revelation glimmers. Repentance is its plea; “ Lord, forgive me! I’ve wasted all my gifts on self-pity and gluttony. Forgive me!” The anguishing sight of her daughter’s precocious face begins to blur, and all the pleading won’t allow her to gaze upon it any further. Although repentance thaws her heart, once again darkness prevails.

“What is this?” Sherry’s thoughts arise. A man stands at her bedside and light projects from his every pore. The murkiness of the hospital room shrivels away to hide, and no shadows remain. His eyes pierce through her. He sees her. Of this, Sherry is confident. Knowing he can’t possibly hear her, she whispers anyway, “Who are you?”

He answers, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I am Truth. I am Hope.”

Author’s Note: As an author, a nurse, and a Christian, reading people is my life’s work.

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This article has been read 678 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Martha Ford02/01/07
Chillingly written for anyone who thinks they have wasted their gift of life. The One and Only compassion is our hope. Excellent writing. Thanks!
Leigh MacKelvey02/02/07
That scared me! How awful to feel like Sherry did, and to not have anyone to turn to for hope. I was a little confused at the end. Did she accept Christ? I repeat the previous comment: beautifully written!
Sharlyn Guthrie02/02/07
This is painful to read, but also thought-provoking in many ways. Great writing.
cindy yarger02/03/07
Good, strong portrayal of emotions. You not only read them, you write them well! Good job.
Marilyn Klunder02/05/07
This was very personal for me. I, too, had a mother who was dangerously overweight and I remember her pain and anguish and embarassment. You captured it very well with your words. Keep writing.
julie wood02/07/07
This story fascinated me. Beautiful if terrible imagery of a suffering person's inner world--I felt while readng as though I were living the nightmare, and also could identify with the main character's feelings.

The title also grabbed me--I'm curious about any title that contains a personal name!

Great job!