Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Concentration (07/24/08)
By Ruth Banner
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“Breathe! That’s right. Nice and slow. One… two… three… Breathe, Darla, breathe!”
The roses in Darla’s freckled cheeks were gone and dark circles hung beneath her eyes. Beads of perspiration dotted her pale forehead. Her eyes darted around the room as if trying to find a way of escape from the unrelenting torment. A great shudder engulfed her tiny body and she cried out in agonizing pain.
“Stay with me Darla! Look at me. Breathe with me. In… out… in… out… Good girl. Now, again! In… out… in… out… Darla! You’re not breathing. Breathe!”
A deep exhaustion settled on Darla like a thick fog, pulling her into darkness. As she slipped away, a voice in the distance called her name, “Darla, can you hear me? Darla, breathe….” The muffled voice faded away. She was letting go—sinking into nothingness. Then, against her will, another great shudder forcefully jerked her back into the harsh reality of pain. A soft moan escaped her lips.
“Darla. Look at me. That’s right.” The voice was close, loud. “Now, breathe in, breathe out, and then when I tell you, push! Ready? Breathe… now, push Darla!” As if on cue, the heavy fog that had threatened to suffocate her, rolled back in surrender to a supernatural determination, and strength of purpose that surged into her small frame. Trying to harness this new found strength, she staggered at the gates of death, as she fought to bring forth life.
“Breathe… you’re doing great! Ready? Push!” Her body was torn, but no cry of pain escaped her as she concentrated on her task. With one last great effort, she found relief. In that instant, all of Heaven came to a standstill. A thin reedy cry pierced the silence, as her tiny newborn inhaled the breath of life.
Someone carefully laid the wee babe on Darla’s breast. Trembling, she gathered her baby into her arms and cried as she marveled at such a beautiful, miracle. The calloused hand of her husband reached across her and a tiny, perfect hand grasped one of his fingers and held on. Glancing up, she looked into his eyes to see the same wonder she felt. He leaned down, and his lips brushed across her cheek as she whispered, “Breathe Dave. Don’t forget to breathe.
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