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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)

TITLE: Message In A Bottle
By K.D. Manes


Strands of wet hair slapped at Kayla’s eyes. A loud horn blasted in annoyance when a truck skidded to a halt, narrowly missing her.

Darn it all! Let him honk! Better yet, let him run over me!

Tears and rain splattered down her cheeks. Harder… faster…pounding her running shoes onto the familiar forest path didn’t lessen the pain.

Harassing thoughts jeered. FAILURE…LOSER…REJECTED.

How did she get here? Detailed oriented, she had planned and worked hard; very hard...service oriented. She was a good teacher…great teacher! Pride and ownership marked her work. Going beyond the call of duty wasn’t unusual.

The kids adored her…most of them anyway. It just didn’t add up. What a crazy year! She should have suspected trouble with the likes of CarMichals and Harmons. Filthy rich…as if throwing a few bucks into the corral could buy their kids’ good grades and reputations. Evidently, Mr. Hillsboro, the Superintendent thought so.

Spineless jellyfish!

Yes, budget cuts were projected. Yes, she and Mr. Hillsboro sparked a few times. But, honestly, “releasing” her was nothing short of OUTRAGOUS! Every honest educator who knew her could attest to that…so why weren’t they?! Where were her so called “friends?”

“I’m so sorry…things will work out…don’t worry.”

An expert at wearing masks, she knew her colleagues perceived her as a “tough cookie.” If only they knew the truth.

Her crumbling home life drained any ray of light. Just last week, Kevin, her husband of twenty years, announced her rising suspicions. He was ready for a new venture. It was for their best interest.

Oh, really! Try telling the kids that!

Their teenagers had their own view of reality, which never coincided with hers.

Oblivious to a broken limb, Kayla stumbled, plunging over the grassy hillside. Tumbling and gasping for air, she found herself face down with a mouthful of sand. Her only solace was the ocean’s furious pounding.

Why put up with all this chaos? Let the waves swallow your misery.

Dazed, she steeled herself up. Staggering toward the lure of the waves, an aqua sheen distracted her. To her right, a vintage bottle with a cork lid stood out amongst the scattered shells.

There’s something inside.

Unsuccessfully popping the cork, Kayla resorted to smashing the bottle on a rock. Strangely, the shattered glass brought a small degree of comfort.

A scroll?

Unfolding the tattered paper, she began reading the red smeared writing.

“Precious child, call on me. I will turn your wailing into dancing. Though your heart weighs heavy now, and you’re walking through the midst of trouble, you are not alone. Joy spreads her wings in the morning. Don’t give up. Give in - to me.

Kayla quickly scanned her surroundings.

Is this a joke?!

She checked again. She was alone; save the sand, slope and sea. She was a good 10 miles from home. And, Kevin left town last night. Nobody knew her predicament; not completely. Only one explanation remained, even if it didn’t make any sense.

A wave’s mist brought her back to the letter. Trembling, she sensed his presence. How could she neglect seeking him all these years?

“The glory of the Lord is great. He will fulfill his purpose for you. His love endures forever – He will not abandon the works of his hands.”

Warmth enveloped her as a brilliant array of red splashed over the western horizon. As the sun lowered, clouds in the form of a cross bathed the skyline in hues of fiery orange.

Kayla wept. No longer could she run or deny her Sovereign Lord.

Prostrate, she relinquished her anger, frustration, and pain to him; feeling the weight lift immediately.

Dear God, you are faithful, even though I’ve been so unworthy and unfaithful to you. Still, you pursue me with love and mercy. You are kind and compassionate.

Lingering in his presence, she let his soothing balm flow over her seared heart. More tears; this time, with refreshing.

She read the remainder of the message. “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar…you have laid your hand upon me…Where can I go from your presence?
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Wow! God does know my name. He knows my story…I commit the rest of my days to you, Lord. Thank you!
Ps. 138-139

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Member Comments
Member Date
Mildred Sheldon05/06/10
I loved the way you handled this week challange. This was very well written and so very true. Our lives are master pieces or manuscripts in the hand of the Master.
AnneRene' Capp05/07/10
This was beautifully told, written and moving. What a testimony to "believers" as much as non-believers!
Jan Ackerson 05/07/10
Isn't it wonderful how God chooses different ways to talk to His children?

One thing I noticed--she was in a roadway, then a forest path, then a grassy hill, then the ocean--maybe too many settings for such a short story?

The story is full of sadness and hope--love the 180 degree turn in your protagonist's spirit.
Marilyn Schnepp 05/07/10
The message in the bottle was the manuscript? I guess. Nicely done, but always capitalize Him when speaking of the deity.
Joanne Sher 05/09/10
Beautiful language and a lovely message (in AND out of the bottle :D). I could feel her angst.
Caitlyn Meissner05/11/10
Wow! I liked the passion and anguish I could feel coming from your character. She really has a lot of life.

However, I don't think she would be finding too much solace in the ocean's waves when her mouth is full of sand. That is quite an uncomfortable feeling.

Still, your story had a very good message. How wonderful it is to know that God cares for when nothing seems to be going right.