Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Truth or Dare (08/28/08)
TITLE: A Stormy Argument
By David Johnston
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"Truth..." muttered Annie, a girl she knew from school, and the front porch collapsed with the weight of water, with the pounding rain's pulsating presence. The girls smiled, the boys laughed, and only Sarah knew the destruction that began. "Well, the first time I kissed someone..." There were shy smiles between Annie and a girl, nervous laughs from the innocent and derisory snorts from the experienced. "Her hand moved over my leg... ." Sarah's mind left the game, the circle, the room, remembering her entrance into this old country house: the porch used to hide a kitchen, revealing a hallway, leading to a doorway through which this living room trembled with fear. Annie burst into mindless detail and the kitchen burnt in a mindless rage.
The game continued and each question became something more colourful, fighting for light; each dare stood up to and reflected the truth. Sarah prayed and a momentary roll of thunder caused everyone to pause, to look up at the ravaging storm about to devour them. A shriek as the bottles were spun once more. Annie advanced her innocence and innocence fled from Annie, joined by a solitary rat hiding in the floorboards to avoid the storm. Another high-pitched question made its way past Sarah and she heard the noise of the hallway shattering as though it were glass, creating an island of the living room, adrift in the raging storm.
"Dare," uttered Brian, the most confident of boys, one hand already undoing his top button in anticipation of the instruction to come. In response to it, his hand continued down his shirt, Sarah's eyes first following then closing, a silent prayer coming to her lips as she rolled each bead between lonely thumb and dirty forefinger. Heavenly lightning paused against the window, a threat and a promise before being replaced by the sound of a thunderous roar - the team failing to notice the roaring thunder, lost in their game of excitement and danger. The doorway in front of Sarah seemed to tremble; the doorknob falling to the floor at the same time as the chimney jumped. Each hinge peeled itself away as Brian peeled off his shirt and with his clothes nestling on the floor amongst the dust, the door fell from its invisible hinges.
"Sarah? Sarah?" She closed her eyes and prayed. "Sarah? Truth or dare Sarah?" She focused on God's insistent voice, on the building falling around her, on the storm before them about to merge with the storm inside. The boy's schoolboy voice interrupted her visions and she muttered, "Truth". As her fingers moved from bead to bead, finally resting on the cross of Christ, she saw the lightning appear in the doorway and heard in the thunder God's question, "Do you believe in me, Sarah?" She rose, stepping out of the circle and the door rose with her. With the circle breaking apart she drifted through the doorway; her mouth moved towards the kitchen and the hallway heard her mutter her first word. As she repeated it, the porch rose in triumph. A simple 'yes' and the house formed anew around her.
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