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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Lock (03/06/06)

TITLE: The Cedar Chest


The Cedar Chest

The weather beaten cedar chest stood in the forsaken New England attic covered with cobwebs and dust that collected over a lifetime of grief. I was afraid to break open the rusted lock that held the secrets to my family history.

I spotted mother's old coverlet lying in the corner crumpled up like a sad old woman. Coffee stains and stale perfume filled the folds of the blanket. I exorcised the dust from it and laid it down on the rotted wood floor.

So it began, my staring contest with this evil chest that held my family secrets. It seemed to take on life, daring me to expose its contents. This old cedar chest is the last piece to the puzzle of my mother's sad, manic life. The life that God gave her and the life she chose to expel.

The mere presence of that hideous chest caused me to forget my fear and destroy its right to exist. I went at the lock banging its seal lose with a vengeance. Hidden memories of bloody family feuds that led to the arrival of police burst forth in my head and with the onslaught of emotion rushing over my soul – the lock gave way.

Dusted muddy tears streamed down my face. It was a cleansing of evil, a release of soul. I sifted through the corroded papers and holiday cards along with acid laden photos of people with lying smiles on their faces – a portrait of a family that only existed in the mind.

Then it appeared, sitting perched and untouched by time like an evil entity. I opened the envelope and removed the ivy colored letter from its pouch. The sorted words on the paper now unlocked the mystery of her dilemma. It read,

Dear Moxie,

I'm leaving you with Uncle Jeb
because I can't handle your
outbursts any longer. You must
understand that I have to live my
life. Someday you will understand.


…And so it happened – mother was abandoned and Daddy left her too. The poor mentally fragile woman could not bear a second abandonment so ending her life must have seemed like the only solution.

The cycle continues in me. I have been abandoned by my mother and must face life alone, but I am not truly alone. I am a child of God. My only regret is not being able to reach her in time. Perhaps she could have had some peace in knowing Jesus is the lover of her soul.

I'll continue on this path God has put me on until all the secrets are unlocked, and I am able to walk in the freedom that comes from being a child of God.

This is a fictional story about cycles of abuse in family life and God's delivering power.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 03/13/06
You have some truly wonderful phrases here: "...crumpled up like a sad old woman..." "lying smiles on their faces..." My only suggestion is to omit the disclaimer, which lessens the impact of the piece. Really nice, emotional writing.
Patricia Charlton03/13/06
You handled the abuse in a God centered way. This is suspense mixed with grace and love mixed with mercy. Nicely done!
Karen Rice03/14/06
I really liked the way you brought the images out of this peice, but felt like the end was a little rushed. I know its hard what with the word limit, but once you've gotten the green light, I think this would be good expanded on.
Kurt Youngdale03/14/06
I understand the disclaimer. I often shy away from topics because I think people might think the story is real, especially when the story is in the first person like yours is. The disclaimer does take something away from the story. Having said that, I liked the imagry and I was drawn into the story.
Jessica Schmit03/16/06
Beautiful. This was written great. And you don't need to have the disclaimer at the end of the story. I think it kinda ruins the impact that this powerful piece can have. Awesome job!