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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Postcards (08/29/05)

TITLE: Return to Sender
By Larry Elliott


Molly’s hand trembled slightly as she reached for the mailbox. Yesterday’s delivery brought the second of two disturbing postcards in as many days, that message being a bit more unsettling than the first. The initial card simply read ‘I know who you are!’ The next stated plainly ‘I am watching you!’ Neither included a return address or postmark. Both were in beautiful calligraphic handwriting. Typically Molly was not given to apprehension, but with her husband away on active duty someplace not even she was privileged to know, she was alarmed, to say the least. Except for friends at church Molly and Tina, her fourteen year old, were alone until Mark returned.

The police said it was likely just a prank. When she called the post office they said it was likely just a prank. And, truth told, she mostly agreed, though one can never be too cautious these days. Easing open the box she peeked inside not having a clue what she expected to find. Withdrawing several envelopes and a grocery circular Molly gradually released the breath she had unconsciously held hostage.

After separating bills from trash, Molly opened the circular to check the specials. A white card dropped face down onto the yellow and green plaid tablecloth. Staring in disbelief for several moments she finally picked it up. ‘I will visit you soon. Be prepared!’ Was this the game of some sick jokester, or a psycho? A door slammed causing Molly to jump banging her knees hard against the underside of the table. She glanced at the knives on the counter wondering if she had time to make it that far before… “Mom?” Tina called from the hallway. “I brought someone home with me.” Entering the kitchen Tina introduced her companion. “This is Kim. I invited her to church tonight and, well, to dinner, too. It’s ok, isn’t it?” Mentally shoving her heart back into her chest Molly said it was fine.

Kim asked directions to the bathroom and excused herself. Tina explained how Kim had no friends at school and when they stopped at Kim’s house Tina took notice of the poor living conditions and apparent lack of food. Quickly scooping the mail into a drawer Molly started dinner.

On their way to church Molly stopped by the market asking the manager to anonymously deliver a box of groceries to Kim’s house.

Thursday the fourth card arrived. It read ‘Are you frightened? You shouldn’t be. Meet me at the bus station today at four o’clock.’ Arriving at three with her pastor and two plain clothed detectives Molly sat until six. No one made any move to approach her. At least she had time to finish knitting the blanket she had started for a newborn in the congregation. The detectives left assuring her it was indeed a practical joke- though she observed nothing practical about it.

Molly spotted a Spanish speaking couple with a small child wearing only a diaper and tee shirt. The evening was chilly so Molly, smiling, handed the woman the blanket and pointed to the infant. The couple refused but Molly insisted. They smiled and nodded thank you.

Friday Molly watched the postman walk past without stopping, but when she checked, there was the fifth postcard which announced ‘I’m lonely!’
Later, after re-checking windows and doors, Molly and Tina had prayer time and slept peacefully.

Saturday morning the phone rang. Having not heard from Mark in over three weeks Mother and daughter scrambled for the receiver- youth prevailed.
“What? Why… hang on. Mom, it’s Kim. She’s in jail. She was with some guy last night past curfew, he had drugs in the car. Her parents don’t have the bail money.”
“Grab a sweater and let’s go. Bring an extra one just in case.”

On the way to her home Molly and Tina prayed with Kim and she accepted Christ’s offer to be her savior.

This day there were two postcards. The first had a stamp and return address. It was from Mark. He told of how he was captured and imprisoned and how when he felt hungry or cold or alone he thought of them and prayed. He would sense the Holy Spirit come to comfort him, warming his body and removing all hunger and lonesomeness. On the fifth day his captors simply let him walk away. He would be home in a week or two.

When she turned over the second card it simply read ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’

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This article has been read 662 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sandra Petersen 09/05/05
Oh, my, you kept me in suspense throughout! Excellent job! I especially thought the description of Molly mentally pushing her heart back into her chest was effective.
Carol Adams 09/05/05
What a description of a servant's heart! Well done!
Phyllis Inniss09/05/05
Very strange and full of suspense.
Lisa Graham09/06/05
Fascinating, and compelling!
Brandi Roberts09/06/05
Oooh shivers. I like shivers LOL Great piece with a lovely ending. Thanks for sharing!
Michelle Vander Wal09/06/05
Kept me reading till the end.
Jan Ackerson 09/07/05
I'm not clear on why the Holy Spirit would send cards that so obviously terrified Mary. But you captured the moodiness of this piece very well.
Jesus Puppy 09/12/05
Very good.. Kept me glud to it through out.. and a great finish.. Was wondering about it as the child was their for the blanket... cool touch.
Deborah Porter 09/20/05
Larry, this was a very good take on the "postcards" topic. I did guess who the postcards were from quite early, but I think I'm tuned in for that sort of thing now. Even so, it was very good and I loved the ending - it really brought it home. I want you to be encouraged, as you actually did quite well with the Level 1 Judges' ratings that week. Keep rising to the Challenge and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more of your work in the future. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)