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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Junk Food (08/30/12)

TITLE: When Junk Food Is a Good Thing
By Laura Manley


“Mommy, I’m hungry,” dug deep into Gabriella’s heart as her six-year old daughter lay in her arms. Before Gabriella could respond she heard the familiar signs of Isabella’s shallow breathing. She was asleep.

Gabriella reached over her daughter to turn off the flashlight that barely lit the barren room they called home. It was little more than a room in an abandoned warehouse. Their closest neighbors were the rats she heard rustling in the paper thin walls.

Sleep didn’t come easily for Gabriella. She too was hungry, but her greatest desire was that she and her daughter might live in even a small one bedroom apartment. Hope diminished each night she had to worry about where their next meal would come from.

Isabella was a sweet, gentle and loving child, never complaining about the conditions in which they lived. She didn’t know any different. Ever since her daddy had died unexpectedly last year, they had lived from day to day, taking what they found in nearby garbage cans. They called that their “junk food.” Oh, they were grateful for every morsel they devoured from anywhere they could find food. But even Isabella knew it wasn’t what other people had on their tables in their warm homes every evening. So “junk food” became a little joke between them. Sure, they were hungry but they never lost their sense of humor.

Each morning they would rise to the cool breeze blowing through the walls from the outside. But each of them had a perpetual smile on their face as they greeted the day. After all, if you’d ask them, they’d tell you they not only had each other to be happy for and with, but they had Jesus in their lives. And Jesus was going to make all that was wrong, right some day.

One evening just before Isabella fell asleep in her mother’s arms as she read from the Holy Book, there was an unidentified knock on the side of what was a door leading out into the street. Reluctantly, Gabriella gently moved Isabella onto a makeshift bed made out of old, shredded curtains and shuffled her way to the door. She wrapped the cardigan sweater closer to her as she swung the door open. There stood a policeman in all his police finery, or whatever they called it out in the real world.

“Yes,” Gabriella stood back from the door and waited for the policeman to speak.

“Ma’am, you’re going to have to move out of this place come tomorrow. The City is going to demolish this building and we’re scooting everybody out of here for safety purposes.”

Gabriella began weeping softly as she took the factual information the policeman handed her. “But, sir, I have nowhere to go. I have a six-year old daughter as well. What am I going to do?

“All I know ma’am, is that I’ve been ordered to get any people out of this building by morning. I’m so sorry.” With that, he turned and scrambled out of the door as quickly as possible.

Gabriella dried her tears for fear her daughter would hear her sniffling. She always tried to be a positive force in Isabella’s life and she was going to be strong through this unexpected phase too.

Gabriella started praying for a miracle as she curled her body around her daughter to bring the little one warmth. She felt at peace as she wrapped an old towel around them both.

When morning came, she packed their belongings in a pillow case, which also served as a suitcase. They went about looking for their junk food through the neighborhood and just as they had found a spot to sit for a spell, the face from the night before appeared before them.

“We got our stuff out of that place just about a half hour ago, sir,” She fidgeted with the buttons on her sweater fearful she had not followed the instructions as outlined on the piece of paper left with her..

He spoke in a soft tone. “You did just fine,” he said. “I’ve come to offer you and your daughter a place to stay. Me and the wife are all alone now what with our daughter heading off to college. It would be a real blessing to us if we could help you.”

Gabriella’s eyes filled with tears of gratitude as she looked up to see the officer’s wife standing beside him. A smiled quickly formed. God was still in the miracle business.

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This article has been read 359 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/06/12
This is a precious story. You really tugged at my heart. You did a fine job of developing the conflict and building suspense. The ending was nice too. God is still in the miracle business.
lynn gipson 09/11/12
Laura, this is beautiful. My son is a policeman and has a heart for the homeless. I just love this and it should be a winner! God Bless you.

What a heart tugger!
Myrna Noyes09/11/12
Your sad, sweet story gives a new meaning to the phrase "junk food." As I read, I could picture the abandoned warehouse and Gabriella and Isabella huddling inside. I'm so glad there was a happy ending for them! Great job! :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/13/12
Congratulations for ranking 6th in level one! Happy Dance!