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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: War and Peace (not about the book) (07/07/11)

TITLE: Savannah's Shelter
By Anastacia Hawkins


Savannah arrives at school. Junior high reminds her of a warzone. Profanity shoots from the mouths of students like bullets, the stench of smoke lingers on her classmates’ clothing, and the enemy, the threat of being bullied, is everywhere. Savannah reaches her locker, the slamming of the doors resounding in her ears like miniature bombs. She quickly grabs what she needs from her locker and heads down the hallway, head down, arms wrapped defensively around her small frame. She pushes her way through the jeering faces; she dodges countless insults. She is nearly there, nearly to safety. Her heart is pounding with adrenaline; she quickens her pace. She takes the stairs two at a time. Almost there, she tells herself. There’s one more treacherous corner to maneuver. As she turns the corner, a fight breaks out in front of her; she ducks and circumnavigates the riotous crowd. And she is there. She reaches for the door; she turns the handle with trembling fingers and falls into the room, her foxhole, her shelter.
“Hello, Savannah,” says Mr. Prince, the school counselor. “Can I help you with something?” As Savannah closes the door, she closes out the noise, the fear, the anxiety. She feels instantly calm and comforted.
“Just thought I would stop by for a little chat.” Mr. Prince’s room is heavenly to Savannah, so full of love and trust and hope. From the moment he first called for her, she knew this was a place she could be herself, and be safe.
“How are you doing, Savannah?” Savannah knows he wants to hear the truth.
“I’m frightened, Mr. Prince. I don’t belong here.”
“Savannah, do you remember what we read last week?”
“I meant to write it down, but I forgot. I know how important it is to write things down and keep them where I can see them. I’m sorry, Mr. Prince.”
“You’re forgiven, Savannah. Let’s write it down now, shall we?” Mr. Prince takes out two sheets of paper from his top desk drawer. Savannah loves the paper from Mr. Prince’s room. It is more like parchment. It makes everything Savannah writes on it seem more important somehow, something to be treasured. Mr. Prince hands Savannah the ink pen that looks like a quill. She lifts the white feather to her cheek to feel its softness.
“Psalm 34:7*,” Mr. Prince says as he writes on his own paper. “The angel of the Lord stands guard around those who have respect for him.” He waits for Savannah to get all the words down. She is writing slowly, meticulously. “And he saves them.” Savannah writes these last four words and sets the feathery pen down gently.
“Yes, I remember now,” Savannah says as she lovingly traces the words she has just written with the tip of her finger. “I have a protector. He is with me always.”
“That’s right, Savannah. And you have me. You can come to me anytime. I am here to listen and to guide and to lift you up.”
“Thank you, Mr. Prince. I feel so much better.” As Savannah leaves the room, Mr. Prince sees that she is standing much straighter than when she came in.
“Go in peace, dear child,” he whispers. And she hears him.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Kathy Stevens07/14/11
Very well written. You had my adrenelin pumping too, but puleeze -- give some paragraphs to my eyes. It makes it so much easier to read and so much more enjoyable. I love peace, don't you?
Nancy Sullivan 07/15/11
The school system is a war zone. Oh, that each child could be blessed with a mentor like this. Love this story.
Brenda Rice 07/15/11
Very realistic. On topic, well written, good word choices and nice pace. Paragraphs will make it easier to read, but this is well done.