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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Soul (07/13/06)

TITLE: Sickness and Healing
By Ruth Neilson


She sits in the corner of her makeshift room, refusing to let me, her husband near her. It’s been this way since the last undercover assignment went afoul. Who is she? That’s Abby...one of the best members ever to grace our team’s presence.

Her small size and seeming demure attitude would mark her as the least likely person to become a cop. It’s a rarity to find Abby doing anything but obsessing over capturing the criminals. She is often like a bloodhound, capturing the scent, or a pit bull that refuses to give up, even after she is told that the case is going nowhere. Despite all of her ambition, she is also very careful, planning out each sting operation—because failure is not an option for her.

But with the last assignment, she got sloppy. She was grabbed and then brutally raped...and I couldn’t protect her. Now, three weeks later, I can see that her soul is slowly dieing...

Something needs to give. She has to allow herself to heal and soon. My Abby is fading away from me.

I swallow and tap once on the door as I lean against the frame. She is busy putting on the final additions of her uniform on. Unfortunately, the raven-haired beauty does not look up.

“Abby, we--”
“Danny, look, I’m fine!” She spits out, tightening the belt a notch tighter. She was thin to start with but now, she is allowing her sickness to steal away what is left of her.

“I can’t let you go in today.”
“And why not?”
“We have a few days of leave, Cap’s orders. Ya know he’s just as worried about as the rest of us. We need to talk about what happened.”

Abby stares at me, like I’m speaking in another language. Her gray eyes are darkening in either fear or anger. Right now, I am leaning towards the second. She is challenging me to cross that unspoken boundary she erected weeks ago, daring me to unleash the explosion that could equal the damage of a nuclear bomb. It has to be better than her numb reactions to the world around her the last three weeks.

“You are my best friend, my wife, and my partner...” I begin carefully, approaching her as if she is a scared deer that startles easily.

“And you failed me!” She screams, unclipping the black tie and throwing it at me.
“Yes, I failed to get in there on time to protect you, but I got there to get you out. All I’m asking is for your forgiveness...for you to lean on my strength for a time.”

“I can’t.” She states, turning back to the sleeper sofa that is now her bed. Sighing, I watch her carefully; this is harder than I thought. She has to know the truth before this goes any further.

“You can’t, or you won’t, Abby? You are killing your very soul, and that is killing me. Because the more of your soul you allow them to kill, there is less of you for me to love...I can’t watch this anymore. Abby, please, just talk to me.”

She huffs once, slowly unbuttoning her uniform blouse, revealing her white undershirt. Finally, she looks at me. Her smoky eyes have that look in them. I recognized it from busts when the criminals knew that they were caught. She’s either going to fight, flee, or accept what I said.

“Danny...” Her voice breaks as she sinks down on the edge of the sofa and softly begins to spill her guts. I ease myself next to her, carefully, so that I won’t spook her.

She needs this. No, her soul needs this. She leans against me, weeping silently, drawing strength from God and me...but mostly God. It is still going to be a long battle, but something has been broken in that moment.

Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. Jeremiah 33:6 (NIV)

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This article has been read 812 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 07/20/06
Awesome writing! What a great story--the incident unfolds gradually, drawing your readers deeper and deeper in. I'd encourage you to find a title that better fits this intense story. Love it.
Virginia Gorg07/21/06
Seems to have ended too abruptly, but a life-sounding story. (Watch words - dying, not dieing.) Thoughtful.
Marilyn Schnepp 07/22/06
Was the husband at fault? Was he the back-up cop that failed to do his job correctly? Speaking from this Reader's viewpoint, I needed to know more about the Incident...to understand WHY the deep freeze; Until that is known I can't take sides...so I feel the story was incomplete. And, of course, somebody already mentioned the "dying" episode. But the story idea as a whole is a great read...and a unique concept on the topic "Soul". So,
Keep at it...never give up!
Great potential here.
Edy T Johnson 07/22/06
This has the makings of a great story, even a novel. You've done well in introducing and giving us a picture of Abby. Too bad about the word limit, cutting things short, here. I do agree about the title. Readers like something catchy, unusual, to peak their curiosity. For example, I tried rearranging words you already have in your story, to suggest an example: "Dying To Heal." [Not that hot, but maybe it conveys the idea.] This was interesting reading.
Lynda Schultz 07/26/06
You conveyed the emotion very well. Pain is often illogical, lashing out in every direction with unreasonable intensity. Abby felt it and you showed us her pain. Yes, tell us more - there is at least a short story here.
Lynda Schultz 07/26/06
You conveyed the emotion very well. Pain is often illogical, lashing out in every direction with unreasonable intensity. Abby felt it and you showed us her pain. Yes, tell us more - there is at least a short story here.
Phyllis Inniss07/27/06
What a vivid picture you conveyed here - Abby's pain and yours too. A pity about the word count or we would have learnt more, I'm sure. Very good writing skills.
Edy T Johnson 07/27/06
Congratulations, Ruth! First place for first-class writing!
Noreen Ophoff08/01/06
The second sentence captured my attention. Your subject matter of raw feelings are hard to write about, hard to relive. You've given your characters a direction toward healing.
Joanne Sher 03/29/07
So amazingly vivid. I was totally engaged from beginning to end. Your description was absolutely enrapturing.
Julie Arduini03/29/07
Wow, what a moving piece of work here. Raw, emotional, great detail, great work here!