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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Valley (08/10/06)

TITLE: Death - The Darkest Valley
By Karen Treharne


For the third time in an hour, Patrick closed his eyes to pray.

“God? Are you listening? Do you see me lying here with open bed sores on my body? Can you feel the heat from my leg that is swollen with another blood clot?”

He paused as he ran his hand through his 33-year-old graying hair.

“Why must I suffer with a fever every day and be in constant pain?”

There was a moment of silence as Pat’s mind drifted toward sleep. All the medication made him drowsy and forgetful. Sometimes he even thought he was losing his mind.

“I’m so sick of taking pills and seeing doctors and nurses every week. Yes, they’re trying to help, but you and I both know they can’t stop the cancer. It’s already in my liver and only you know where else it might be.”

Pat’s face grimaced as he rolled onto his back. “Are you there, Father?”

His mind wandered again, this time into a drug-induced nightmare of dread. He felt like he wasn’t himself; darkness surrounded him and a foul smell assaulted his nostrils; his feet stumbled on a rock and he instinctively knew that he was in the valley of death.

When he woke up, he looked around the once familiar room that had become a place of strangeness. Instead of ‘home sweet home‘, it felt like a jail cell and smelled like a hospital. His friends no longer came around, and one by one they quit calling as well.

He dozed again until he heard the phone ring. “Hello.”


“Right. Of course it is.” He was putting the phone down … but then even though he didn’t recognize the voice, there was something familiar about it, and he continued to listen. His breathing came in gulps and his lips felt dry.

“God, is it really you? Are you going to heal me? Is it finally over?”

“Yes, Father. Of course I trust you. I know your way is best.”

Before he could say another word, Pat heard the phone ring again, and he responded with a jerk. He scoured the table for his cell, but it wasn’t there. It rang again and he saw that it was in his hand …


“Hi, Pat. It’s me, Julie. I forgot to tell you I’d be late in the morning. I can’t come until 10. Will you be alright?”

“Oh, sure. I’ll be fine - uh, did you call earlier?”

“Yes, I did, but the phone was busy. I was kind of surprised actually, but then I figured you might be talking with one of the other nurses. Is everything okay?”

After a thoughtful pause, Pat answered. “Yes. Yes, everything’s good. See you in the morning.”

Pat looked at the cell and tried to understand what had just happened. “God said it was almost over. He said He has been with me every minute. He said, ’My love is sufficient‘.”

Pat’s head fell against the pillow, unable to hold it upright any longer. “Okay, Father. Your will be done.”

His eyes closed once more. This time a comforting peace descended on him. The pain in his leg subsided, and the darkness surrounding him was slowly replaced with light.

He breathed a sigh of relief and reached up from the valley to the outstretched hand of God.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Paynter08/19/06
You painted a very vivid picture of his fretful, fevered agony. Good writing.
Marilee Alvey08/19/06
I enjoyed this story...if "enjoyed" could be used here. It was very poignant. I felt his relief upon arriving home. The ending was well done.