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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Predicament (03/01/12)

TITLE: Elephant Snores
By Pamela Calhoun


Shannon forced her breathing to be slow and steady. Her heart raced and everything in her wanted to scream out loud; "Stay away from me!"

Would slow, steady breaths make her predator believe she was asleep, deep asleep? Would he then leave her alone? She had never tried this tactic before. She hoped it would work.

His unsteady drunken steps continued down the hallway towards her room.

Just breathe, she told herself, slow, steady breaths.

Shannon remembered other times he had come for her. After what seemed like hours of yelling she would hear his footfalls come toward her bedroom door. Barging in he'd pull her from her warm bed and stand her in front of her mother.

The living room, so neat and orderly during the day, would always be a mess, he liked to throw things when he was angry, throw things and yell. Whenever he drank something would send him into a rage. A word spoken, a look, sometimes it seemed like their thoughts could send him off on a delusional rant.

Every day he drank. Every night when the yelling started Shannon cowered in fear.

Her mother would sit on the couch and cry for him to stop as he explained to his daughter the reasons for his current rage. "She's old enough to know what's going on!" was his response as he spilled out all of his accusations against her mother.

His tirade always ended with her impossible predicament... as he asked her; "So who is right? Your mother or me?"

There was no right answer to this question. Experience had shown her that to agree with him and say her mother was wrong was met with a smack to her head for "disrespecting your mother." But to say that he was wrong never ended well, neither did trying to "weasel out" of her responsibility as the oldest child by saying "I don't know."

Shannon knew that when she heard these angry steps coming towards her bedroom there were no right answers and there would be pain.

Just breathe, deep sleeping breaths, breathe in and slowly, steadily, out. Just breathe and maybe he will go away.

His steps stopped at the door and the door knob turned... just breathe she told herself again.

Suddenly she was awakened by her younger sister shaking her and saying; "Hey, roll over or something, you're snoring like an elephant!"

Shannon lie silently for a moment as she realized that there was no yelling, the house was quiet and everyone was asleep. There had been yelling earlier, but she must have fallen asleep. It was only a dream that he was coming for her... this time.

She smiled as she wondered; "Do elephants really snore?" and rolled over to enjoy the peaceful rest of this night.

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This article has been read 367 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Cynthia Carter03/08/12
This was so suspenseful. I held my breath as I read it. I was flooded with relief at the end.
Marita Vandertogt03/09/12
I found the seriousness of the subject and the lightness at the end a strange contrast, however, this was very well written.
C D Swanson 03/10/12
This was quite a story...It made me sad knowing that there are people experiencing this "horror" daily. And, yet just when the reader felt as if they could explode from the intensely seious nature...the MC finishes with a laugh. Good job!

It reminded me from the scene in the movie "Steel Magnolias" The scene at the graveside where Sally Field is crying "why?" And, just when you thought you couldn't get through it, they make a funny remark, "here hit her."

Good job with this wonderful entry. Thank you.

God Bless~
Robin Ocasio 03/10/12
Good Job! Wonderful!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/10/12
The title grabbed me because my favorite character has a saying Sleep tight don't let the elephants bite. I thought you handled a difficult topic well. The saying "elephant in the room" fits brilliantly in this dream. I like that no one talks about the problem (the elephant in the room) and the MC dreams about snoring elephants. There are many subliminal messages in her. Keep up the great work.
Laura Manley03/13/12
This story saddened me, but I'm glad you could end it with a bit of humor. I didn't have "him" coming after me, but I did have a relative who made my life very unhappy at times. In that sense, I could feel your MC's pain. I am glad you were able to end it on a light note. Good writing!
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/14/12
Such a sad story--told well.I loved the "snoring elephant" thought.
Geoffrey johnstone03/15/12
Very well written.
Not sure if it was on subject.
It shows a lot of promise.
I was not satisfied with the end. You started with a very serious subject and ended with humour.

However, I hope you keep writing. You certainly have a talent for it.
Luanna Diller03/15/12
Great story. I liked the way you created tension and the unpredictable ending.