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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Sightseeing (08/08/05)

TITLE: A Close Call
By Tammy Johnson


Snuggling closer to her new husband under the lush red covers, Kate could find little relief. Few places in their castle room afforded her eyes a place to rest without seeing the past. With a sigh she focused on the most modern thing she could find, her disheveled suitcase with a shirt dangling out. A smudge on the sleeve from their afternoon brought her mind back to the day they had decided to tour the famous Mary King’s Close.

“Hey, Hon?” Tate motioned for his fiancé to join him at the computer. “What do you think about sharing our honeymoon with a few ghosts?”

“What?” Kate wrinkled her brow and leaned in a little closer. A grin quickly replaced the scowl and excitement lit up her eyes.

“Mary King’s Close! Oh, Tate, we HAVE to go there! I’ve dreamt of it since my research paper in high school!”

Now it was Tate’s brow that wrinkled. Kate caught the look and explained.

“In high school I did a research paper on Mary Queen of Scots.” His scowl continued. “When I did a search for Mary QUEEN of Scots I got a link to Mary KING’s Close. Did you know it’s nicknamed the Street of Sorrows?”

Tate pulled her close under the covers and her mind returned to their honeymoon at Borthwick Castle. When Tate had first mentioned an historical honeymoon she thought of an Antebellum Plantation house complete with a Civil War tour. Never had she dreamed a trip to Scotland, the home of her ancestors, was what he had in mind.

“A penny for your thoughts? A quarter if they include me.” Kate smiled at Tate’s use of their private phrase.

“I’m afraid I owe you. I can’t stop thinking about our tour this afternoon.”

Her nose wrinkled from the imagined smells of overflowing chamber pots being dumped into the street to “stew” until morning. The guide’s dramatic shouts of “Gardez loo!” sent tingles up her spine. Although the proper translation was, “Look out!” she stifled a giggle as she imagined shouts of, “Guard your loo!”

Then the mood shifted. Their guide spoke of how the Black Death quickly spread once rats were added to the lack of running water or sanitation. Kate shuddered as the guide’s screams echoed off the stone walls surrounding them. His screams were the echo of those left to die as all entrances were boarded up in hopes of containing the disease.

No wonder this once flourishing section of Edinburgh was now believed to be haunted. Although she didn't believe in ghosts, she was very aware of the supernatural battle constantly waging all around.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Kate shuddered and Tate pulled the covers tighter around her.

“I’ve never felt the battle so thick before.” Kate said in a whisper. “There seems to be this darkness all around here. I don’t doubt that people have seen ghosts, only I don’t think they’re ghosts.”

“I’ve felt it.” Tate’s body tensed. “You know what we do with all this, Kate?” She waited. “We pray, we remember that greater is he that is in us than he who is in the world. We remember the victory of Christ and that Satan is a defeated foe,” Tate sat up and grabbed both Kate’s hands, “and then we fight back.”

Kate thought her heart would burst with love and admiration.

“Kate, I want us to join this battle. I can’t leave these people at the mercies of one who hates them. My company has a branch here in Edinburgh, I could request a transfer.” The silence gave them both a moment to process their huge calling.

Kate threw her arms around her husband as she shouted, “Yes!” Her heart had broken at the Close. So many souls separated from Christ’s love forever. Had there been someone well enough in that ancient prison of death to share hope with the dying? How many were still dying today with no hope?

Their hug sealed their decision.

“Feeling better?”

With a devious smile she quickly grabbed her pillow and shouted, “Gardez loo!” landing a solid hit to Tate’s stomach.

Mary King’s Close may have changed their lives with major changes still ahead of them, but right now, they had a honeymoon to finish.

Scripture quote from the King James Version. Ephesians 6:12

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Member Comments
Member Date
Phyllis Inniss08/15/05
A truly interesting honeymoon and a written narrative to back it up. Very creative.
Shari Armstrong 08/16/05
A good story with a clever title :) I enjoyed it very much.
Debra Brand08/20/05
I love castles! Good work involving us with your feelings and smells and all.
Crista Darr08/20/05
I love the message of laying down one's life for the gospel's sake. Using active voice instead of passive would improve this wonderful piece.
Crista Darr08/21/05
I think my previous comment may be totally wrong concerning the 'active - passive'. I'll PM you soon:)