Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Editor (05/27/10)
TITLE: Rebuttal of "The Abyss"
By Joanna Stricker
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I beg to differ with your judgment on my ability to perform. I can accept your description of my physical attributes and agree. I am filthy and covered in swill; also, I concur—the cloths that cover me are tattered, torn and soiled. Admit I must, that in my presence, rogues and scoundrels run rampant and anger and violence have free rein to do as they will. Much blood has soaked my pores and, indeed, has stained my very being.
I am not the same as in my youth, and I have seen things that would make the hardest soul blush. Unlike most, I have no need to confess my wrongs. Certainly, I protest your reprimands and pointed remarks that my guilt should be obvious—due to my presence when such ghastly deeds and sins were being committed against mankind. Say what you may, but mere presence does not preclude guilt.
I have learned that I am destined to be steered by my master’s hand—whoever that may be. I have had many masters and many lovers. I might be convinced to a small admission of guilt, in the area of pride. When I was young, men would fight over me and my beauty produced much envy. Now I am old and sag in places that I should not, and my bones creak with every stiff wind that blows my way. The bad memories, the ones that make me shudder, are of the bloodshed. Such gore I observed when a new master purged the old—such treachery and villainy, and I cannot forget the innocents brutally destroyed by gleefully-wicked men.
I refuse to accept guilt for the deaths you demand to lay at my feet. Indeed, countless times I have cradled the dying in my arms. Admittedly, I was not able to provide much comfort, but it is more than you have done. Where were you when sin laid bare the grotesqueness of life? Perhaps I have been a bit more judgmental of some than of others—after all I had witnessed their foulest deeds. But I was there and heard their last cries for mercy—or their curses. I felt their bodies contort with the agonies of death and witnessed the final rasping breath.
I am old, but still I observe this world’s depravity. I remember when I was not full-grown. I had such a sense of purpose. Deep within I have always known, life was not meant to be like this—it was a gift from the Creator, precious and with a strong flame. When it was time, I willingly submitted myself to be formed by men. I yielded my hardness and let myself be shaped by skilled hands.
But this—this life is harder than I have ever been. In fact as I write this response to your accusations, a groan rises from the bowels of my being. The cry rises to the Creator, into the heavens—“How long?”
It is time I end this letter and turn my focus toward the Creator, whose judgments will prevail. I believe my point is made, you cannot lay guilt upon me—it belongs to those who have perpetrated their crimes upon mankind.
Being acquainted with the articles within your paper—I venture to say you ought to consider your own culpability in the horrendous crimes you are so eager to lay at my door. My performance has been above reproach, I have been what I was fashioned to do. After all, I am merely a pirate ship and have gone where my masters have steered.
I think you have to cast your slurs in another direction. Someday, perhaps the Creator will put your schemes to death, and consign your soul to the “pleasures of hell” that your publication loves to tout as the “journey of a lifetime”.
I would rather surrender my judgment to the One who created me. He has an understanding of what my purpose and destiny will be. I’ll share a secret—I frequently look out over the water, searching the horizon for clouds, searching for the storm greater than all before. I long for that day when I can sink beneath the waves—never again, a witness to the wretchedness of this world. Give me the sea depths, where I can rest. Perhaps the waters will wash away the stains that have penetrated my being.
A Pirate Ship
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