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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)

TITLE: Gone...
By Elizabeth Cain
10/15/10


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I close the door as the last car pulls out of my driveway. After cramming the whole family together for Thanksgiving the house now feels empty. Aside from Amanda’s giggling the house is completely silent. It’s almost… creepy.

“Where’s Daddy?” Amanda asked.

“Daddy will be home soon.” I reply, tenderly lifting her up. “He’s out getting us some light bu—oww!” I say as I stub my toe against the coffee table. With an annoyed groan I flex my toes and add, “Then we’ll be able to see again … Right now, though,” I said as I made my way over to Amanda’s room, “it looks like a certain little girl is tired after having all those kids over.”

“I’m not tired!” protested Amanda as I set her on her bed.

“I think you should try anyway, just in case.”

“No! Not tired! Not tired!”

Ignoring her pleas I leave the room, knowing she’ll quiet down in five minutes or so. I glance at my watch: two o’clock. Bryce will be home fifteen minutes or so, giving me enough time to tidy up the house. With a slight limp I made my way through the living room collecting Amanda’s scattered toys.



After tossing the last sock into the laundry basket I glance at my watch. Bryce will be home soon.

The phone rang suddenly, its ring dangerously loud enough to wake Amanda. With a lunge I grabbed the phone, not even stopping to check the caller ID.

“Hello?” I asked, trying to catch my breath and still sound polite.

“Lydia, this is Margret.”

She sounded like she was crying. “I-is everything alright?” I asked in alarm.

“I have some bad news… Lydia, Bryce was in a car accident... He’s
gone.”





“Thanks for your prayers, Maryelle. I appreciate it.”

“Are you sure your okay?”

I nod, forgetting for a moment
we were on the phone. “Yes, I’ll be fine. Thanks again.”

“Take care, sis.”

Wiping my eyes I hung up, leaving the phone off the hook. At the moment I just wanted silence.

“Mommy?” Amanda called from her room.

More tears poured from my
eyes. “Not now.” I chided myself.
Looking upward I pleaded, “Dear God, help me.”

“Mommy?” She called again, more desperate this time.

Bracing myself as best I could, I opened the door. I couldn’t bear to look her in the yes, so I left the lights off. In the dim light, though, I could still see her pleading eyes. “Yes, sweetheart?”

“I had scary dream... Mommy, why you crying?”

Unable to answer her I just held her hand and asked, “What was it about?”

“Daddy. He didn’t came home.”

“…”

“I didn’t like it. Not at all.”

“...I don’t either…” the tears broke free again.

“Want Daddy. Where Daddy? He make bad dreams better…”

“…Sweety, Daddy…” In anger I wanted to say ‘your daddy will never come home because a young man got drunk during the festivities and went onto the road.’ Instead, though, I took a deep breath, drawing my daughter into my arms, “Daddy is somewhere wonderful… He is with his cousin. Your grandma… Aunt Bridget. He is happy. So very happy. He is talking with God right now, this very moment.”

“When he come home?”

“He is home, Amanda. Home to stay.”

“We moving again?”

“…Soon. Your Father is getting things already for us. He is designing your room, and when it’s ready he will call you home.”

“Why can’t I go now?” Amanda asked suddenly.

“…”

Amanda blinked at me, and I was struck by the intensity of her eyes. She seemed to understand the reality I couldn't bring myself to say.

“Mom, is Daddy in heaven?”

At that moment her little voice seemed so grown-up.

“...Yes, dear, he is.”

Amanda wrapped her arms around my neck.

I held her even more tightly, our tears pooling on the blankets.

"Miss daddy..." She helplessly murmured in my ear.

“So do I, Amanda.” I whispered, “So do I.”



Time passed quickly, so quickly I hadn’t noticed it. My tears had run out, and I realized Amanda had fallen asleep.

“Don’t worry about anything,” I heard Amanda murmur softly, still sleeping against my shoulder, “God is with you, even before you pray…”


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This article has been read 251 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Misti Chancellor10/22/10
How sad for the family! :-( I had a little trouble figuring out how old Amanda was. She seemed a lot older in her speech, but was still young enough to be carried to bed. You did a good job showing the grief this kind of situation holds. Thank you for sharing this story with us.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/23/10
This is an intense conversation to have with a little one. It was an interesting and suspenseful read.
Jan Ackerson 10/23/10
Such a sad story! My heart broke with your two characters.

You switched from present tnese to past and back and few times, and the ellipsis between quotes isn't something that's usually seen. Perhaps that would have been a great place for characterization?

The accident hit me between the eyes, just as it did for your MC--well-crafted writing!