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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)

TITLE: The Manuscript of a Life
By Theresa Santy


Mattie Ralston stood in an unfamiliar place. She was wrapped in a thickness of steam and could not see beyond the tip of her nose. “How silly,” said Mattie, “I must be dreaming.” The last thing she could remember was lying on an operating table with a mask held to her face, as she was counting back from ten.

Curious, Mattie walked—toward nothing—and the smoke dissolved, revealing tens of dozens of stacks of paper. They were set in a formation and looked like gigantic markers begging her approach. She rushed toward them, excited to have come upon something. She stood near the mass of columns and paused to catch her breath. Upon the pages, were lines and lines of the most exquisite penmanship Mattie had ever seen. “It’s like a handwritten book, or a sort of manuscript,” she said to no one, “from an excessively eager author—who’s positively gone mad.”

Mattie grabbed a sheet of the paper. “Oh,” she said after reading a few lines, “a story about a little girl.” Mattie read on, swiftly falling into the narrative. Mattie’s eyes watered because the little girl had suffered much. After a short time, the story became too familiar for Mattie.

“Sounds like my childhood!” she said, in a cry of anguish.

Mattie ran from one stack to another, digesting page after page. The little girl in the story grew into a woman. She ran from her past, and she turned away from her Father.

“Then I wept,” wrote the narrator, who was also the author.

The woman in the story gave birth to a precious baby girl. The woman was a single mother, and life was severe, but the woman was strong and resolved. She drenched her child in loving nourishment, and taught her everything she thought a little girl ought to know. This child, the next generation, was the newer improved model of the woman, and the woman was grateful.

Later, the woman was diagnosed with cancer.

“This story is my life,” said Mattie.

The woman in the story fought the cancer with avidity, but later suffered a reoccurrence. The woman returned to her Father and decided to forgive her past aggressors. By forgiving the unforgettable, the woman was freed from unthinkable bondage and she lived in peace.

“Then I was delighted,” wrote the narrating author.

Loved ones ascended upon the woman to help her through this second struggle with cancer. Then, one year later—after surgery, treatments, and a feeding tube—another lump appeared and the woman faced a second reoccurrence, which would be her third instance of throat cancer. The doctors decided to operate, though the procedure would be risky. The woman prepared for another confrontation with this beast. She was determined to become one of the five to ten percent who survived.

“This story is about me, now, at this moment,” said Mattie in a rising voice. Immediately, she ran to the final column, threw down the stack of papers, and grabbed the last page.

The narrating author wrote, “I love my child Mattie, and I’m proud to call her my daughter. I weep over the suffering she has endured, but my being dances with joy knowing she will be with me, and knowing she will dwell in the fullness of my glory for eternity. I anxiously wait to hold this child of mine.”

On the last line, the author wrote, “To be continued.”

Then, Mattie’s reality changed. She was lying in a hospital room, groggy and sore, and waking up from surgery. Her ten year old daughter was asleep in the chair next to her bed.

Mattie couldn’t see out of her left eye, but this was expected. Mattie thought of her Father and wondered what would happen next. She felt the presence of her Lord at her side, and she was ready for battle.

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This article has been read 676 times
Member Comments
Member Date
angelos2 wark05/07/10
Very moving story.
so glad to see that mattie learned to persevere and forgive.
Good job, thanks!
Jan Ackerson 05/07/10
Very interesting approach to the topic!
Joanna Stricker05/07/10
How sweet! I enjoyed this story and was surprised to learn that her daughter was only ten years old. Enjoyed the descriptions of the pillars of pages.
Mildred Sheldon05/08/10
Thank you for sharing this story. We all have manuscripts and we are the author. I enjoyed this very much. Keep writing and God bless.