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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Writer's Life (05/13/10)

TITLE: The Light Behind the Spiders
By susan woolen


I witnessed what happened to painfully shy, eight-year old Peggy, my neighbor.

Writers are told to write what we know. I felt compelled to tell Peggyfs story.

Perhaps I felt a writerfs life-long desire to be the flame that quietly lights the candle or the spark that sets off fireworks that communicate, understand, and ultimately, love.

Summertime glowed warm and lovely in the suburban backyards which were filled with multi-colored daisies and thick, green lawns where the neighborhood children loved to scamper and laugh. From behind a curtained window at the back of her house, Peggy watched her giggly friends and longed to join them. They were playing gtag-youere-itg, one of her favorite games. But her father was out in the yard, acting just like a friendly neighbor, talking with the other father, the one who belonged to the happy children. Her mother lurked somewhere in the house, silently staying in the shadows. Why wonft she go out with me into the sunshine, the little girl silently lamented.

Her friends called, gCome on out, Peggy!h It was too much to resist. Tentatively, Peggy inched the black, screen door open, paused, then cautiously descended the four, dark-brown , splintered porch steps. With eyes cast down, she approached her father.

gCan I play?h she almost whispered.

gYah, go ahead,h he muttered impatiently and turned back to the neighbor.

With joy, Peggy joined the circle of her waiting, smiling friends who promptly began a new gtag-youfre ith. For a few minutes, Peggy played happily as the breeze blew through her long hair and her eyes even sparkled.

Suddenly, Peggy heard her fatherfs voice booming over her friendsf laughter. How she wished she could hide behind the big oak tree guarding the back of the yard.

gGet over here!h he yelled. Instantly, Peggy became frightened; and her friends abruptly froze in their tracks and stared wide-eyed.

Bewildered, the other children were called inside by their parents. They would go back outside later.

gWhy are you out here?h the father angrily demanded of Peggy.

gYou said I could,h she whispered in fear.

gYou didnft have permission! You disobeyed!h the father thundered. gGo to the house!h
Peggy knew her friends could see and hear what was happening and she was humiliated.

Walking sadly to the back porch, Peggy saw the spider web in the corner. Woven of white filmy strands, it stretched from the porch floor to the overhang of the roof above and filled the corner. Perched on that web were several, thick black spiders the size of Peggyfs finger nail. Terrified of spiders, Peggy trembled at the sight of them.

Though he saw the spiders, her father ordered her to stand, facing the spider web, in that corner. She knew she must not cry or risk more of her fatherfs wrath; and she knew she must not move until he gave his permission.

What did I do wrong? All she had wanted was to play with her friends.

Peggy tried to arch her back just alittle and kept her arms tightly against her sides hoping to keep those spiders from crawling onto her. Peggyfs thoughts raced. Would her father yell because she moved? Where were her friends? Now they wouldnft like her anymore. Why doesnft mom help me? Please donft let those spiders crawl on me! Though the sun still shined, summer had turned cold and dark in that lonely spider corner.

Finally, an hour later, the father released an exhausted Peggy from the corner, warned her to always obey him, and disappeared into the house.

The punishment had been so painfully unjust. Yet, miraculously, it appeared that those spiders had been given some sort of silent signal to freeze in place. None of them ever touched Peggy.

Many years later, Peggy sat with her kind, Christian counselor in his peaceful office and painfully relived the awful spider corner. It was then that she experienced a life-changing moment. Sobbing, she happened to glance toward a facing corner of the room. Silently, there emerged the image of a large, dim, foggy white spider web. Just behind it glowed a soft, yellow Light, the size of a small, round pillow. In silent awe, amazed by the Light, Peggyfs heart embraced the message God had sent. Though life could be terribly harsh and sad, He would protect her.

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Member Comments
Member Date
AnneRene' Capp05/20/10
Oh how painfully sad. My heart ached as I read this. I could feel Peggy's fear of her father and those spiders. You had me really wanting to know why her mother hid in the shadows and did nothing, although I would guess she was afraid of Peggy's Dad too. I am however grateful for her revelation of God protecting her which left me feeling much better but did wonder about all the years in between. This would be a great story to expand on!
Maria Kana Santos05/20/10
How painful and sad to know of precious children being badly treated. God knows, and He puts His angels charge over the little ones. Well-written story. Good job.
Mildred Sheldon05/24/10
Truly beautiful and so very sad. This touched my heart deeply. You did a beautiful job with this weeks challenge. Keep writing and God bless.
Dusti (Bramlage) Zarse05/24/10
Oh goodness. As an arachnophobic, I must tell you that your tale certainly gave me the heebiejeebies!! Poor child! I can only imagine. God bless our heavenly Father and His kindness in our times of fear! Your writing was great. Keep it up.