Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hospitality (02/07/05)
TITLE: The Silent Neighborhood
By angela belock
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Then the night comes when her prison could have become her final resting place. Tom marches in drunk as usual. His thunderous temper flares and a mirror sails across the room smashing into a thousand splinters against the living room wall. Chills of fear course through her as he comes pounding up the stairs . Jenny has but one option if she wants to avoid his life-killing blows.
Sliding a pair of shoes on she hurries to her window. Throwing it open and slipping down the fire escape she hits the ground running. Sprinting through the darkness Jenny could hear him banging on her door. Every house stands stoic, cold, and unfriendly. All the lights were on but no one answered her knocks. They turned a deaf ear to her cries.
Hurrying along she turns off on another side road. These houses which are smaller still seem just as ominous. Several doors remain close to her pleads for help. Finally Jenny sees a young woman sitting on a porch, “Please,” she cries, “May I use your phone.” Out of breath and near tears she didn’t know where else to turn.
The young woman stands up and walks down the sidewalk, noticing the fear in the other’s eyes she ushers her towards the house. “Come on inside and I’ll get you the phone.” Jenny hurries up the driveway and into the warm sanctuary of this strangers house.
As they walk through the living room the friendly stranger puts her hand on Jenny’s, “I’m Samantha.”
Jenny acknowledges the stranger but refuses to give her name. Instead she says, “I promise to just use your phone and then leave. He’s in a horrible rage.” After taking the phone and calling her friend to pick her up she walks cautiously into the kitchen.
Samantha’s husband Rick walks over to them, “What’s going on Sam?” Rick who is an intimidating power of strength at 6 foot 4 inches tall frightens Jenny. His height, his well built muscles, and his hard blue eyes would intimidate many. Samantha knows him better. She knows him as a gentle friend who is both a loving and supportive spouse. Samantha put her arm around her visitor, “He’s a gentle giant. I promise.” Samantha smiles reassuringly.
Jenny nods weakly and sits down at an offered chair. Sitting here she sees many biblical displays on the wall. One picture displays Jesus praying at a rock. She didn’t understand why he prayed so fervently. She didn’t know much about Jesus. Even as a child she had no use for Jesus. Her family had money and a social status to keep up. They didn’t feel a need for Christ or his followers. Something about that picture brought the memories back. Closing her eyes she mumbles, “I’m so scared. He could have killed me tonight.”
Rick’s head jerks up at that, “Who?’
Jenny looks over at him nervously, “My h...h..husband.”
Rick touches this scared young woman’s hand, “Nobody is going to hurt you here. I’ll make sure of that. I’ll walk you to your friend’s car and make sure you leave out of here safely.”
As Jenny and Rick prepare to leave, Samantha pushes a bible and a piece of paper into her hand. “ Have your friend take you to this shelter. They’ll help you. Please don’t put yourself back into that relationship again. God’s plans were never for you to live a battered life. We’ll keep you in our prayers.”
Tears came unexpectedly down Jenny’s face as she takes the battered bible from Samantha’s hands. It amazes her how this kind gesture breaks the dam of shame and pain she’d been feeling for years. Maybe there was more to this God then she first thought. Placing the bible on her lap Jenny feels a sliver of hope and gratitude to those gentle souls who cared enough to take in a stranger.
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