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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)

TITLE: A Catatonic Mind
By Laurie Walker


Maya turned to the filing cabinet, her heart beating a loud staccato. Locked. She turned to the large oak desk. He certainly liked order – everything in its place. Not a stray paperclip anywhere. Perhaps that was why the paper sitting under the blotter intrigued her.

Maya reached for it. Peering closely she barely made out a name before her sight went blurry. She rubbed her scratchy eyes, which refused to focus; the first sign of another attack. Every time one of her headaches started she found herself confused, unable to concentrate. This time she needed to think, to find the picture, convinced it would solve the puzzle of her murky mind.

She didn’t understand why Dr. Jenkins had her photograph. A few weeks ago when she’d walked in a little early for her appointment, Maya’s breath caught as she found him gazing at her picture, immediately recognizing her own titian hair.

The shock brought on an episode. She couldn’t remember anything for a while. Fortunately, with time, her lost memories caught up. As the recollection of the picture returned she felt frantic to find it, but until now no opening for a search had appeared.

Her slender hands pulled at the desk drawers; but like the cabinet, like the dark recesses of her mind, they were also locked. She didn’t understand. Why would he secure everything but leave the door to his office open?

Another painful pulse overtook her. Maya didn’t have long, but there was nowhere else to look. Desperate for any answer she picked up the paper, clutching it tightly. Quietly she opened the door, sneaking a glance into the hallway before scurrying out.

A muffled footstep stopped her. She turned and found Dr. Jenkins’ lithe form standing near. A stray, flaxen curl dropped over his high forehead. She became engulfed with an overpowering urge to brush it back.

“Is everything okay?” he asked, his baritone voice lingering in the hallway, setting her body atremble. What was it about him that made her react so?

“I’m fine,” she said, though truly aching to candidly ask why he had her picture. Maya didn’t think they’d ever had a relationship. Of course she didn’t really remember anything about herself. Lately everything about her appeared puzzling…what was real and what was her brain’s patchy quilt of a memory.

An orderly appeared, looming behind his boss.

“May I have it back?” Dr. Jenkins asked.

“Have what, doctor?” she asked, suddenly aware he must have followed her.

“The paper you took from my desk.”

She stood, trembling, unable to come up with a convincing lie.

His face tightened a fraction. “I saw you take it, Maya.”

She clutched her nightgown, not liking the look in the orderly’s eyes, sensing he’d be more than willing to help extract it. With a huff she handed it over.

“What does it say?” she dared to ask.

“It’s a prescription for one of my patients.”

“You’re lying,” she accused.

“I’m not. I promise.”

“But it has my name on it,” she said, unable to control the quivering of her voice.

A flash of pain and Maya abruptly felt nauseous. She dropped to her knees, clutching her red curls. 'It has my name on it.' The words echoed in her mind, unwilling to release her from the truth. Her roiling stomach heaved.

Strong arms pulled her up, settling her against a broad chest. Maya lie catatonic, her body unwilling to obey such a brittle mind.

“Call someone to clean up this mess, then bring my bag.”

His scent washed over her, oddly soothing, as he placed her on a bed. Maya could have sworn she felt his hand on her hair, his lips on her brow. A knock at the door ended any contact.

“Will she be all right?” Maya recognized the orderly’s voice.

“This always happens when a memory tries to push through.”

She felt something prick her arm. It hurt.

“Do you think she’ll ever remember?”

She felt herself drifting away and struggled to remain aware long enough to hear his answer.

“In ten months she’s shown good progress. Losing a child is never easy and my wife still blames herself for accidentally killing ours. Until she can forgive herself, she’ll remain in this bewildered state.”

She felt another kiss on her head, heard the gently retreating footsteps. Even before he shut the door her mind was frantically sewing back together protective patches over her shattered, traumatized mind.

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This article has been read 1249 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Pamela Kliewer08/23/07
I wanted to see more! You really got me... You could so develop this into a longer story. Well done.

Jacquelyn Horne08/24/07
Oh! This is the beginning of a wonderful story. I wish it could go on! I like the subtle way you brought out the relationship between the doctor and the patient.
dub W08/24/07
I was absolutely glued to this story. Very well done, shades of Alton Gansky's "Dark Moon." Would love to read on...
Put this one in the puppy pen.
Dee Yoder 08/25/07
A good story seems to be just starting from this beginning. I'd like to read more about this couple some day!
Helen Murray08/26/07
Tenderly written.
Loren T. Lowery08/28/07
Great suspense and tragic. I feel there is more to this story and it is so well written that I hope in the months to come, the MC will be able to forgive herself, regain her memory and move on with her life!
Lisa Holloway08/30/07
Very creative. Congratulations on your EC!
Kristen Hester08/30/07
This is AWESOME! I love the mystery. I am so glad the doctor was her husband. WELL DESERVED win and EC placing. Congrats!
Loralee Scott08/30/07
Great writing! Congratulations on your EC!
Trevas Walker08/30/07
Beautifully Written, and Congragulations on your well deserved EC win.
christine bastow08/30/07
This was such a deserved win.
I enjoyed reading this and would have liked to read on further...
Congratulation. chris x
Angela Posey-Arnold08/30/07
You had me thru every word.
I couldn't stop reading. Very well written
Beth LaBuff 08/30/07
You have an awesome entry. Very well done. Congrats!!
Sheri Gordon08/30/07
Congratulations on your EC -- very much deserved. This is really good. Very gripping and suspenseful.
Myrna Noyes08/30/07
CONGRATULATIONS, Laurie, on your 1st PLACE in Intermediate and your 2nd PLACE EC WIN!!!!!!! WOW!! Now you can come sit up in Advanced with me!

This is a well-written, very creative story! Great job! :)
Cathy Kane08/30/07

Congratulations on your well-deserved blue ribbon. What a story! Great job! Glad to have you in Advanced!

gene hudgens09/03/07
Laurie, This is wonderful writing. The suspense is like glue. Will you please "finish" "this book". You certainly deserve #1 with this one. Gene Hudgens
Troy Manning09/05/07
Fluid & dramatically paced...very engaging!