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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)

By Kathleen Morris


The monster clung to my throbbing arm as I rolled in the powdery sand of the Sonoran Desert. It wouldn’t release its venomous fangs. It wanted my life, wanted my soul, and every breath that God gave to me.

I couldn’t help but think that I deserved this assault somehow, this violation of flesh?

Its evil black head snarled as it sunk its teeth deeply into my bloody veins, chewing methodically with a progressive motion.

I surrendered and lay limp as the beast continued.

With one arm free, I caught a glimpse of my digital watch, glaring against the noonday sun. I could barely read it as it spun around in my vision, dizzying me to a point of nausea. I squinted with one eye, closing the other to stop the poison induced vertigo. Yes, I can see it now. My watch clearly read 12:05 pm.

Why hadn’t the creature given up? It had already been five minutes.

I breathed against the pain, trying to exhale, gasping for air in bits and spurts. My pulse raced to the misery as I screamed for a God that had forgotten me.

12:10 pm.

Either I was reading my watch wrong or that thing was far too tenacious.

Vulnerability left me helpless, weak, a poor excuse for a woman. The monster knew when to attack. It knew how to get me the moment I sat down in the shade of the Saquaro cactus.

Why did I linger? Why didn’t I know better?

I shook my head from side to side, trying to fight the urge to pray like I once did. Every fibre of my being ached to summon my long lost hero, but I had to resist.

12:35 pm.

I read the numbers through my tears, longing for a saviour but knowing he wouldn’t come for me now. I had crept beyond the line, trod into territory I knew I shouldn’t have gone. There was no turning back for me.

The beast had seduced me far too long.

Antiserum? Was there such a thing? Could there possibly be hope for the heathen?
I don’t know. I am lost, forgotten, a hostage of my own making. All I want to do is die.

As I turned to the creature, a mirage of masculine faces danced through my head. The reptile, a chameleon now, began to speak to me as it spit out a clear opalescent fluid.

“Do not fear,” it said. “I am debauchery and you are my temptress. I know you well for you favoured me many a night.”

I sobbed at the reality, sick at what I had become.

12:45 pm.

Good…I’ll be dead in five minutes.

Quickly I placed my hand on my heart, feeling the thready beat as I convulsed into tears. The monster would be victorious soon and I would receive my just reward.

Suddenly, a shot echoed from behind me, piercing the creature. It squealed as it released me from its clutches, scurrying away as quickly as it came.

I rolled over against the brightness to see the faded image of a familiar Stetson hat. He knelt down beside me and held my head in his hands, moaning the words of my brother.

“Hold on!” he wailed. “I’ll save you!”

“Where were you?” I cried. “You left me all alone!”

“No…I told you to shoot the flare if you were in trouble. You silly stupid girl!”

He held me is his arms like a floppy doll, rocking me, squeezing me, unable to let go.

My entire body laboured with a sorrow so intense I could not breath. I fumbled for words until I found the right ones, the ones I knew I should have said a long time ago.

“I’m sorry!”

Forgiveness was my path to repentance, my way back to life, only…

My fate was predetermined.

I rose above my failing body, above the Stetson hat, above the grit and sand, and moved to a higher ground.

My soul set flight into the heavenly bajadas where tall Cholas grow wild in their well –drained soils. It was where I belonged, where my heart was most content, where I could be whole again and live eternity with my Savoir.

And never see the monster again!

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This article has been read 756 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Michelle Burkhardt02/01/07
I liked your detailed descriptions. A few times I was confused whether her fight was really physical or spiritual. I'm assuming it was both. Nice job.
Valerie Routhieaux02/02/07
Captivating from first word to last. Keep writing.
Julie Arduini02/02/07
This was a great example of showing and not telling. Strong writing here!
Donna Powers 02/03/07
You painted the struggle vividly and I was glad that it ended happily. You are a very descriptive writer and I was definitely feeling her struggle. Keep writing!
Jan Ackerson 02/03/07
Yikes, this was suspenseful and atmospheric. A few minor typos, easy to fix. I found myself letting out my breath when I got to the end.
Sherrie Jackson02/03/07
Wow! This is crazy good! Her torment and sorrow were so clearly expressed, and while I wasn't sure if this were a literal fight or not, I honestly didn't care. It was mesmerizing. I also really like that the description of heaven was in the terms of a different culture, what a Hispanic might imagine. Loved the ending. Awesome job!
Allison Egley 02/05/07
As others have said, I loved the double meaning of the fight. I saw this title early on and wanted to read it, but decided it had too many comments. ;) I'm glad I read it though. This was very good.
Tabiatha Tallent02/06/07
Wow. I don't think I breathed through the first 2/3 of the story. Great description. It kept me on the edge of my seat.
Patty Wysong02/06/07
Wow. Great descriptions--I was counting the minutes, too.
Jayne Seargeant02/15/07
Your story engaged my emotions throughout...I felt the "fight or flight" reaction emerge in my own heart as the monster brutalized the woman. I too enjoyed the cultural perspective...and was relieved and encouraged with the conclusion. Excellent writing!