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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Luggage (08/15/05)

TITLE: Strongholds
By Donnah Cole


"You really need another one, Mary. There's just no more room in this one. In fact, they're all bulging. How many do you have now?" He breathed heavy in anticipation of my response.

"Two, four..." My eyes roamed over the luggage, all which displayed their given names. "Eight." I smiled at him, hoping for approval.

"Oops, almost missed one...see it? Way back there...in the closet's corner? Nine...that's pretty good for you!" His gnarled finger led me to its location.

"Is unforgiveness still your favorite?"


He didn't wait for my reply. "I think you should really consider anger or self-loathing today."

"Well, self-loathing does have some extra room..." I paused, shifting my stance and rubbing my eyes. He was coming around more often. I never felt comfortable around him. I really just wanted him to leave me alone.

He was an expert at detecting my hesitation. "What's wrong? You're not having second thoughts are you? I mean...you do realize the importance of concealing information, don't you?" His yellow teeth exposed his forked tongue.

"Mmmmh, I think sometimes, maybe, I...I should just get rid of 'em," I countered. "You know, um, maybe just really forgive and forget about what happened. I might...I might feel better then." I lowered my gaze as he glowered at me. My hands fidgeted underneath his pressure.

"Ohhh, I don't know! I'm so confused!" Agonized, I grabbed my head and cowered to the floor. Uncontrollable sobs consumed me until...there were no more...and quietness filled the room.

I peered through my clasped fingers. He was gone, but now, she was here -- the little girl who always cried...

the little girl whose legs exposed her abuser's wrath...

the little girl whose dress was always smudged with dirt and grass stains...

the little girl whose hair gave refuge to vermin.

"Little one, let me help you..." I whispered.

She wouldn't look at me as rejection reared its ugly head. She only pointed to the largest bag and continued to cry. I struggled to crawl to it - the unforgiveness one - to rid it of its contents, but I was stopped cold in my tracks when a steel-toed boot obstructed my path. I knew the boot immediately. I didn't even have to hear his demeaning laugh. Cigarette smoke and whiskey-laden breath blew down upon me. It bewildered me why he was by himself this time. Before, there had been five total, all finding great pleasure in administering humiliation to a virgin. His touch, still wicked to the bone, stroked my cheek.

"Remember me, love?"

My stomach pitched, but then a new distraction occurred carrying me from one hallucination to another.

"Well, my God, Mary Beth, what did you expect? You probably deserved it...Your
Daddy told you to stop dressing that way! Maybe next time, you'll listen to us!"

Mama was so predictable with her condemnation speeches. She was so busy clucking her tongue and wagging her finger like an out-of-control metronome, that she didn't even notice the little girl howling in the corner, or Daddy whipping his belt in the air, or my bulging "heart" bags.

I looked at those bags. Then I looked at the razor. Then I looked at the bottle of antidepressants and antipsychotics.

I chose the razor.

Just one little scratch...just enough to open up the bulging luggage - let a little bit out. Maybe two would be better...in the shape of a cross. The
cross - that's it! Maybe Jesus would help me feel better. I just hurt so-o-o bad! But, then again, I've been a really bad person and I've never even talked to Him. Come to think of it, I really don't know much about Him. I've heard Mama and Daddy mention Him quite a bit when they have their yelling matches. I remember once when Granny told me He loved me so much He gave his life for me...If that's true, then that's the best kind of love I've ever heard about! I just wish I knew how to grab-a-hold of that love...

Looking across the room I see 'em all watching me ~ Mama's shaking her head in disgust, Daddy's throwing back the whiskey shots and taking drags on the Marlboros, the boy I loved whose friends joined in on the love are all laughing, and God's Adversary... well, he's not glaring at me any longer. You know...out of them all, he's got the sweetest smile on his face...

I press the razor deeper...

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This article has been read 629 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Miller08/24/05
Excellent entry. Chilling and unnerving - great piece of writing.
Theresa Kissinger08/24/05
What a revealing story of opression, {baggage} and showing the subtle ways of the Lord's adversary. He doesn't have to blow anything up he just uses little things like unforgiveness. Very good on many levels.
Debbie OConnor08/27/05
Wow! This is very good. Strong descriptive writing. Great job showing us the memories, the adversary...chilling conclusion. Excellent work. I do think you should move up at least one level, maybe two!
Crista Darr08/27/05
Riveting and powerful! Great work.
darlene hight08/27/05
Excellent! A little dark but it is the life that many have been dealt. I would like to have it end a little more hopeful. So as to be a light in a dark world but very powerful descripions.
Julianne Jones08/27/05
The words that came to mind reading this were "dark reality". It is both a dark piece and a very real piece and you have carried it well. I agree: you should move up a level. Thanks for sharing.
Tammy Johnson08/28/05
Very creative treatment of emotional baggage. Dark and sad, but all too real. We really do battle a powerful enemy. We have a tremendous job leading these hurting people to freedom!