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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)

TITLE: A Confirmation of Life
By Dimple Suit
10/01/09


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A Confirmation of Life

The fiery reds, blazing oranges, and brilliant yellows of the hardwood trees gave an illusion of warmth.
The low blanket of gunmetal gray clouds and the icy wind cut right through that misconception as fast
as it cut to the bone of those unfortunate enough to have stepped outside.

“Hey Arnold, how’s ya Momma and them?”

As usual Arnold wondered why the Southerners in this little back woods town greeted everyone with a
plural inquiry. It was just him and his Momma; had been that way all his life. At least as far back as
he could remember.

“Aw right, and ya’ll?” he replied.

“Me and the missus are good. Heard Ruby was in the hospital. Her heart?”

“They don’t rightly know yet Pastor Tinsley. She’s doing better though; should be going home later
today.”

“That’s good son. I’ll keep her in my prayers and will be by to see her later on. Ya’ll need anything?”

Well that’s a loaded question when there was so little they had. His Momma had taught Arnold good
manners and to count his blessings. He would do her proud, no matter what, “No sir, we’re okay.
Thanks for asking.”

“All-righty then. If anything changes, let me know. In the meantime, the Ladies Auxiliary is bringing
supper tonight.” The pastor started to move on down the street in the opposite direction from Arnold.
He turned slightly to offer the standard good-by, “Ya’ll come when ya can?”

Arnold smiled and gave the expected reply, “If we can’t come, we’ll call. Thank you sir; have a good
day now.”

“You too. God Bless you both”.

Arnold knew his thoughts should be more charitable. The town had been good to him and his
Momma. They had been here for a couple of years now, living out on the old McGarrity place.
Momma cleaned houses for some of the wealthier residents in town. Though curiosity was still high
about the circumstances that brought them here, people were too polite to ask what happened to
Arnold’s father. They were generous at Christmas with bonus money and food. They shared clothing
and blankets through the rummage sales. Arnold wondered what would happen now with his Mother
not doing so good.

As he got to the hospital, trepidation began to fill Arnold. He was suddenly frightened. He felt an icy
dread enshroud him. Trying to shake off the cloak of despair, he raced down the hall to his Mother’s
room.

Doctors and nurses scurried around the bed in a state of efficiently organized chaos. “Clear” came a
deep baritone. Arnold heard a pop-thump as energy surged from the machine to the patient, lifting her
from the bed. There was a piercingly loud monotone beep. “Again,” the doctor said as he raised his
eyes to the monitor. The pop-thump repeated and the alert signal did not change.

As the bedside drama looped again, Arnold was transfixed in the doorway; paralyzed by terror. His
mind telling him to run; his feet were glued to the floor. He was shaking but could not move. He
wanted to cry out but his mouth was cotton dry. He heard a roaring in his ears. His heart beat so fast
he wondered if it would burst from his chest. “Please God. Don’t take my Momma today.”

As suddenly as the fear had descended, peace filled his heart. Arnold felt light and free. He was no
longer afraid. He no longer felt alone. A hand touched his shoulder, “Time to go home son.”

Arnold turned in slow motion. Throwing his arms around her waist, he hugged his Mother fiercely. “I-
I-I thought that was you in there,” he sobbed in to the softness of her red woolen coat. “I thought -
was afraid I had lost you.”

Ruby set him gently back from her and held his shoulders. Her beautiful ice blue eyes, shining and
bright with love and knowledge, bored in to his green ones. “Even if it were me, you are never alone
Arnold. You know that don’t you?”

“Yes Momma.” Arnold reached up to take his Mother’s hand to find only air. It had been an illusion
of warmth and love. She was not there. Slowly, he turned to the room. A ghost of a smile played
across her lips and his mother’s face reflected a peace he had never seen before.

Gliding across the room, Arnold kissed his Mother good-bye for the last time. “I love you Momma.
Rest in peace.”


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This article has been read 489 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Genuine Suede10/08/09
This story is very well written. I can't say I find the ending believable, though. I can't picture a son being so quick to accept his mother's death. I think there would be a lot more grieving first, before he got to the acceptance.
c clemons10/08/09
There's definitely a talent here for writing, although the beginning did not really connect with the rest of the story, just a place to put in the week's topic. Not sure why the text is like it is either, maybe you are not using wordwrap or something correctly. Keep working at it and improvement will come.
Sylvia Brown10/09/09
A couple of sentences could use a bit better flow but, other than that, absolutely beautiful!
Joshua Janoski10/10/09
I see some writing talent here. You definitely pulled me into the story, and there were several surprises at the end that I thought were nicely done.

I don't think that your opening sentence was enough to make this piece on topic for the week, but that doesn't mean this wasn't a good story. I'm glad you shared it.

Keep on writing. I look forward to seeing more from you.
Mark Bell10/10/09
Good story. I can definitely see the boy experiencing the "vision" as described. I also agree with an earlier comment that the grieving should have been more pronounced. But other than that, it kept me reading to see what came next. Looking forward to reading more from you!
Jan Ackerson 10/11/09
Great job with the dialect and rural flavor in this story.

I'm not sure what happened with your formatting, but I'd encourage you to use the "Preview" button before you hit the "Submit" button. Then you can see if the formatting has issues, and fix them before your entry is permanent.

This was a very good entry!
Charles Eldredge10/11/09
I enjoyed your story very much - your use of the southern dialect brought me back to when I was growing up. I was easily drawn into the story, and found myself wanting it to be longer so I could get more details of their lives. Keep it up!