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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Note (02/07/13)

TITLE: Permanently Inked
By Bonnie Bowden
02/14/13


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Permanently Inked

The wind howled in the dark night. Victoria heard the opening and closing of the front door. The midwife had finally arrived.

“I’m on my way to get your mother,” my husband called out in a shaky voice. He always seemed calm and confident in his role as a college professor, but having a new baby enter the world had unnerved him.

Even though my mother and father only lived on the two cities over, it would still take a few hours. The horse and buggy would still need to be hooked up and readied. It would be a long, arduous trip and take over 14 hours.

The only light in the small, dark room came from the flickering of the candles. There was no fireplace in the bedroom, like there was in the main living room.

“Come in here,” I screamed between contractions.

“My name is Maize,” the midwife announced. “I have attended ten births before this, so you are in very capable hands. Then, Maize reached down to take my hand in hers. “When you feel the pain, just squeeze my hand as hard as you can.”

After hours of dull pain, my body seemed to tear in two.

… You were crowning. I reached down to support you with my left hand, and cup your growing head with my right. I can feel the midwife grasp your slippery, wet body from my hands.

The midwife, Maize, cut the cord, and I heard your screams. She gently washed you off and swaddled your body in soft towels.

I could feel the midwife sponging my body, but the water seemed to rise off my body like steam in a kettle.

“Ma’am, I am going to try to bring down the fever, but I fear an infection is setting in,” the midwife whispered.

“Please bring me my tray with the inkwell and stationery on it. I need to say a few words to my new daughter.”

Tears coursed down Victoria’s cheeks as she wrote, the black ink smudging against the white crispness of the page.

November 15, 1883

My dearest Beth,

I wanted you to know that I loved you from the first time I felt your life inside of me. I am glad I got to hold you and watch the sweet peacefulness on your face. I know I am not long for this world; I can feel all the strength leave me as the fever rages on.

I’m so sorry I won’t have the chance to watch you take your first steps or see you walk down the aisle with the husband of your dreams by your side. It is not natural for a parent to die before her child does. But I truly believe that God has a purpose for everything and does everything for a purpose.

Be gentle with your pa, he is a kind and wise man. Since you are our firstborn, it will be a great challenge for him to know what to do. My mother should be arriving shortly to help in the transition.

When you are scared or need someone, remember to pray. God never slumbers or sleeps, so you will never be alone. Goodbye for now, but we will meet each other shortly.

Love always,

Mom

May 23, 1923

Beth heard her mother’s voice before she saw her. Even though she had only heard it in the womb, she instantly recognized it. What a sweet reunion! Her mom and Christ were there to meet her, just as her ma had said in the note.


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This article has been read 248 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Wilma Schlegel 02/15/13
This short story tells victoriously of the wonderful reunion awaiting each glory-bound soul - while reminding us of the spirit, courage and hardship of those who've gone before. Very vividly portrayed. Thank you.
Loni Bowden-Horn02/16/13
This story vividly describes a mother's love for her child. The note had a lasting impact on her daughter until the mom and daughter were united in eternity.

I may have written the story from the prospective of the midwife, since the mother died during child birth.

Enduring story about a victorious reunion in heaven.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/19/13
There are so many points in this story that I absolutely loved. You did a great job of writing on topic, and though there are other stories where the main theme is a handwritten note, the emotion behind the words impacted me. I felt the conflict immediately and you did a nice job of setting the scene.

There were a few things you might want to tweak if you wanted to work on perfecting this piece. I noticed in the beginning you told the story in the third person, but then at times you would switch to first person. It's important to stay consistent. You would use she or Victoria in the narration, but only use I in the actual letter. Your opening reminded me a bit of the infamous, It was a dark and stormy night line. Instead if you could have shown the conflict with something like this it might grab the reader more: Grabbing her husband's hand, she screamed as the pain ripped through her body. Then you could set up another conflict between wanting her husband to stay yet simultaneously still wanting him to fetch her mom.

You have a gift for storytelling. I could feel the MC's emotional and physical pain. I also liked the midwife's line of this being her tenth delivery. Back then it may have been a comforting number, but today I imagine the MC would feel a sense of panic and want someone with more experience. I think I liked that line so much because it was a vivid example of changing times. Your whole story has that theme to it and I think it was the perfect thread to sew the sections of the story together. I also thought the ending was beautiful, that even though many years had passed, the mother's voice was recognized. I wish I could keep reading about these characters and the hard, as well as glorious, times ahead. That is always a good thing--when a reader wants to keep reading so I hope you will keep writing.:-)