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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Lock (03/06/06)

TITLE: Locked Away
By Amber Newsome


Wiping the tears from her face, Madelyn picked up the Gage Canadian dictionary from her desk. She leafed through the pages until she found the entry she was looking for:

Lock (lok) n. - (4) keep (a person or thing) from entering or gaining access

She dropped the book on the desk. Tears streamed down her cheeks and she sank on to her bed, crossed her legs and grabbing the nearest pillow, clutched it close. Madelyn rocked back and forth slowly, letting her pain make wet tracks on her cheeks.

No one understands, she thought to herself. She was just trying to protect herself. Since the assault four years ago, she showered three times every day in scalding hot water, scrubbing every inch of skin on her body until it was raw.

Madelyn hadn't told anyone what had happened, but she was sure they knew when they looked at her. Oh, the looks! When she could bear it no longer, Madelyn slowly declined more and more social invitations until people stopped inviting her out and locked herself away as much as possible.

It was titanium with a keyhole, but no key. It required a combination, but the code was always changing. Heavy chains were woven through in and around it, held in place by a smaller brass padlock. Invisible to the human eye, this was no ordinary lock. This was the lock on her heart.

Of course, Madelyn knew about the lock. She thought it was a simple lock that the right person could unlock easily. It had happened so slowly, that by the time she had realized just how wrong she was, it was already too late. Too late to win back her fiance who had just left her because of this lock.

She'd finally ventured out last year to buy her own groceries and met Rob. He was so handsome! He made her feel at ease immediately with his gentle smile and laid-back personality. Madelyn had tried to open up, but it was hard. Too hard. Rob had finally ended things. His parting words were "It is like you have this wall around your heart and won't let me through."

And that's how she got here, crying like a baby in her room. He doesn't understand! her mind screamed. Madelyn's conscience kicked in and a battle royale ensued. How can he understand if you haven't given him a chance? If I tell him, he'll leave. He's already gone, so what have you got to lose? Not even all the love in the world could bring him back now. It didn't keep him here did it? Never underestimate love. Give him a chance. It's too hard. No one said it was going to be easy, but would you rather be locked away and all alone for the rest of your life?

Madelyn sniffled, wiped the tears away and dialed Rob's number. He picked up on the second ring. "Rob, it is Madelyn. This isn't going to be easy, but there's something I need to tell you."

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This article has been read 628 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 03/13/06
This is really excellent writing - a compelling story told with sensitivity. Good job.
Jessica Schmit03/14/06
I agree with the above comment. Beautiful and touching. So very true and sad. Great job of telling it.
Jan Ackerson 03/15/06
This is very good! I think you should start with your third paragraph--not many people need to look up "lock" in the dictionary, and you did a very good job of describing her locked heart later in the story. I like the hopeful ending.
Helen Paynter03/16/06
Great writing - got to be a strong contender
Virginia Gorg03/16/06
I had to read this twice to realize Rob and "her fiancee" were the same person .. right? You don't need to define lock as you gave a wonderful description in describing her heart.