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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)

TITLE: No Breakfast For Annie
By Cyndi Brandon


Annie folded her already tiny frame into the corner hoping the wall would open up and swallow her. She knew she was small, skinny, bony, even wormy they called her. They said she had stringy hair. It all sounded disgusting. She didnít really know what it all actually meant. She did know she was little and she knew she was ugly. No doubt about that. Though not ugly enough or little enough to keep her uncle away from her. He would find her, she could hear his voice outside calling her now. She knew that when he found her, and he would, things would be even worse than if she just went to him. But something inside her made her stay in that dim corner of her grandmotherís bedroom. It was that something that lets you know when a thing is just wrong. Hoping against hope that this time he would give up his search
She had learned a lot in her short five year old life. She learned that genuine love was all but nonexistent. Her mother didnít love her, her father, whom she had never met, didnít love her. Maybe her grandparents did, but they didnít hug her, they didnít speak the words. They did feed and clothe her, send her to school, and take her to church. Her thoughts wandered to her Sunday school class. What were the other childrenís family home like? Most of them, she knew, had a mom and dad. Did they have uncles that make them feel indecent? Probably not, she thought.

Emotionally, Annie was left to fend for herself. Heartache she knew all too well. Her maternal grandfather had died of a heart attack. At least, thatís what everyone was saying the day that he didnít get up for breakfast. Annie wondered if his heart hurt him like hers hurt her. And, what if her heart attacked her like Pap-país attacked him. What if she just didnít wake up for breakfast one morning. The preacher had said many, many times that when we die, we go to heaven if we know Jesus. Annie was pretty sure she knew Jesus, and not waking up for breakfast didnít seem so bad.

Annie was lost in the thought of walking in a peaceful place with the man whose kind face hung on the living room wall in her grandparentĎs home. She longed to be in that place where no one would touch her body in ways that werenít right and often hurtful. She could almost feel the love from Jesus as he held her hand and smiled down at her as they walked along the shore of gently flowing river. Her tiny lips were almost smiling, a rare occasion in itself, when the gruff voice of her uncle once again broke through.

ďAnnie!! Have you not heard me calling? Come here.Ē He had found her once again.

The reverie was broken, she looked fearfully up into his hard face. As his big, rough hand wrapped around her tiny, fragile arm, she felt herself turn cold. Just as she had done so many times before, she immediately put on the Ďnumb Annieí, the one that could not feel what was about to happen. At least not until it was over.

It wasnít until bedtime that Annie took off the Ďnumb Annieí. She had had her bath, but still didnít feel all the way clean. She slipped quietly into her bed, no one there to tuck her in, grandmother was busy and it was okay. Another thing she learned in her short life, that alone is not bad at all. As a matter of fact, alone was preferable to not alone in most cases. At least for Annie.

As she lay on the soft pillow she willed her mind to restore the image that had been torn from her earlier. The image of heaven and of walking with Jesus whose eyes were pure love and kindness. The green, fragrant grass, the gently flowing river and the strong, safe hand that held hers. When she finally was able to think it back, she drifted off to sleep, hoping with every fiber of her being that tomorrow morning would be the morning that she didnít wake up for breakfast.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 06/05/08
This is VERY well written - and EXTREMELY disturbing. The fact that it was NOT graphic and still disturbed me as much as it did is a testimony to your excellent writing skills. I pray this was not "your story," though I know it happens much more than I would like to admit.
Melissa Helland06/05/08
Excellent showing emotion instead of telling. It made me want to weep. Do you feel your character would have an even stronger voice if you used the innocence of a five-year-old's vocabulary? This kind of story could really help people who need to know how to find victory and healing in Christ after abuse.
Nana Bunch06/11/08
You have written a very gripping story. Good descriptions of feelings with sensitivity to the horror of how a child experiences this kind of tragedy - all too common today. The desire to die at five, takes your breath away. Thank you for sharing a riveting story that sears the heart.
Debbie Wistrom06/12/08
Congratulations on your win. This was an extremely haunting piece and I hope it isn't true for you.

Your title makes me sad now that I've read it.

Keep writing, you have much to share.
Catrina Bradley 06/12/08
My heart aches for little Annie. Congratulations on your 2nd place - a wonderfully told, tho emotionally hard to read, story.
Patricia Turner06/12/08
This just made me cry; not just for Annie, but for all the real little girls like her. Youre presentation of sucb a difficult and sensitive topic is absolutely outstanding - and highly deserving of a win! I'm honored to be in the ranks with you.