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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: On the Telephone (11/18/10)

TITLE: On the Telephone
By Jasti Victor


After the evening prayers , a sudden ring of the telephone in the West side Chapel echoed loudly and made everyone’s heart skip a beat, as they waited for Mother Superior to answer it. In normal times, when praying, the phone in the vestry was kept off the hook, but now because of the present extraordinary circumstances, it was not. It was a call from the hospital and Mother Superior, unusual for her, turned towards the wall, to hide her tears which welled and nodded silently in agreement as she listened to the caller. There was an eerie silence as the sisters waited with baited breath for her to finish her talk, so they could know the latest condition of their fifteen year old Hannah.

Hannah was left on the steps at the orphanage, as a day old baby, sleeping soundly with a smile so innocent and angelic and with the deepest of dimples.

After the telephone call, Mother Superior told the Sisters the shattering news that Hannah’s condition had further deteriorated and that the hospital authorities were waiting for her written consent for an emergency operation, to save her life.

“Keep an all night prayer vigil,” said Mother Superior. Taking her duffel bag containing a Bible, some money, a water bottle and a first aid kit, she beckoned David the school driver, to take her to the King Edwards Hospital, a fifteen minute ride from the orphanage. Through out the journey, Mother Superior sitting on the back sit of the jeep with her head bowed was praying fervently, for the recovery of Hannah. Stepping inside the ICU she could not control, as tears flowed as she saw the bloodied and bandaged Hannah, heavily sedated, being taken into the operating room.

Fifteen-year-old Hannah, a strong, athletic, was brutally battered with a hockey stick by two assailants as she tried to save Agnes, thirteen the frail physically handicapped girl, the only child of David, the school driver from being molested.

Seeing a nun with tear filled eyes was something a doctor does not come across as both of them are in a profession in which human suffering is a part of their daily life. The lady doctor cautioned that the operation might go on for hours as the internal injuries were very severe, sending Mother Superior into a praying frenzy.

Mother Superior was jolted out of her thoughts as she heard the hurried footsteps of a nurse, who came out, rushing out of the operation room. The nurse was walking fast holding a tray filled with empty bottles and seeing her urgent footsteps feared the worst.
“She is sinking,” said the nurse without slowing down. “We need more blood.”

Mother Superior with no tears to shed cried silently her heart out. Never in her life, had she cried so much. Having seen poverty and sickness at close quarters and unexpected death among the children, she became immune to such happenings, but Hannah was different. Hannah was close to her and she loved her as one of her own.
Closing her eyes, she prayed, seeking an answer to the question “Why?”
"Why God? Why Hannah of all the people? Oh God, Hannah, was made an orphan for no fault of hers, assaulted for no fault of hers, and now is wavering between life and death, for no fault of hers. Why did this have to happen to her?”

Looking at her watch, through blurred red bloodshot eyes, Mother Superior was stunned that it was nearing three in the morning. Had she dozed off? Looking around and finding the duty doctor sitting in her room, she knocked and as the doctor motioned her in, hesitatingly stepped in.

“Hannah’s operation was a success.”

Mother Superior slowly walked out of the lady doctor’s room and sat at her usual corner in the waiting room for day to break. The tears refused to flow, having drained out completely and she, exhausted lost the spark of life, contemplating the mysterious plans of the Almighty. Though feeling lonely and forlorn, she never gave up hope and that gave her reason to pray, fervently.

“I can only pray and leave the rest to you, Lord. Praying to you is the only thing I can do, to look for an answer. I thank you, Jesus, for saving Hannah from the clutches of death.”

And she went looking for a telephone to tell the good news to the orphanage.

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This article has been read 380 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Noel Mitaxa 11/25/10
Very moving insights into the care that accompanies and motivates our prayer for others. An excellent story.
Gregory Kane11/26/10
Mother Superior's compassion and crisis come across loud and clear and very believable. May I make an observation about the length of your sentences? Try varying this a bit more. By all means have some long sentences, but mix them up with shorter punchier sentences particularly when you're trying to build some tension. May God bless you and lead you as you develop your writing.
Brenda Rice 11/28/10
A most gripping story. Your MC was believeable. I like this so much. Thanks.
Mildred Sheldon11/29/10
A tender gripping story from beginning to end. Thank you.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/30/10
This is a gripping story. The characters are the type that you want to root for. I was a little curious why Hannah had such an intense place in the nun's heart. I have a feeling there's more to the story bit even in the lighted words it's obvious that Hannah is super special. It did feel like the story might fit a prayer topic better than a phone topic. You did mention the phone in the beginning and end but it wouldn't have really impacted the story had you left it out. You did do an outstanding job creating suspense and I really was cheering for Hannah at the end. You touched my heart with your words and you have a great deal of natural talent. Keep writing. The world needs to hear what you have to say.
Lillian Rhoades 12/01/10
You immediately captured the writer's attention with your opening, and you did a great job with the close. Not sure if you reread the article before submission, but a reread should help spot spelling errors ( bated breath instead of baited breath) and over/under use of commas.
Loved the way your developed your story line.
Nancy Sullivan 12/02/10
Congratulations on your HC. This was a very compelling and well-written story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/02/10
Congratulations on your highly commended. You did an outstanding job. Keep writing the world needs to hear your stories!