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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Melody (08/24/06)

TITLE: Fear Factor
By Karen Treharne


She sighed at the calm of the evening. A gibbous moon hovered above the night’s heat, a crescent of haloed light. She leaned back in her deck chair, propping her bare feet on the porch railing, barely aware of an elusive melody in her head chorused by the rhythmic sound of the ocean’s waves.

Beth closed her hazel eyes. It was finally over. The divorce papers signed - the house to herself - and the fear …

She jumped when she heard a noise, turning in her chair. The only light was in the kitchen. She trembled as she stood up, folding her arms across her chest and gripping them with her hands.

“Is anyone there?”

There was no sound except for the refrain of the water as it rushed toward the shore behind her.

“What’s wrong with me?”

Jack’s not ever coming back. He’s never going to hit me again. He is finally out of my life for good.

So why am I still scared?

She checked the locks on the doors and turned a lamp on in her bedroom as well as one near the patio doors. She swallowed the lump in her throat and took a deep breath, hoping to reduce the tension between her shoulder blades.

“God. Thank you for being with me through the court proceedings. I couldn’t have done it without you. But, I’m still afraid, and I need your help to overcome these feelings. Please … “

Standing by the railing as she prayed smelling the salty aroma of seaweed, seagulls, and shellfish that merged in an undistinguishable mix, she smiled at God’s “secret recipe” of creation. She soaked up the repetitive echo of the familiar sounds and taste of the beach that once again were as soothing to Beth as a song bird’s opus. Over the last three years - since she and Jack married - the pleasure and peace of its refrain had been taken from her.

She wondered if she’d ever love anyone again - or if anyone would ever love her. The gnawing and churning in her stomach felt like a premonition. “God. Please help me.”

Exhausted by the emotions of the day, her strength sapped as in the heat of summer, she slumped in her chair. Her blouse wet around the neck and her hands were cold and shaking; she tasted bile with the memory every intense minute.

The melody returned to haunt her as she was lulled to sleep by the watery orchestra playing off shore. An old tune. A church song from her childhood.

I know that, she thought. What is it? What are the words?

When she woke up, darkness had fully engulfed the night and the ever present fog presented a veiled curtain of smoky gray to mask her earlier view. Beth had a reassuring feeling of constancy as she went inside. Her hands were warm, and the ache in her back was gone. As she strolled down the hall to bed, it suddenly came to her. “Jesus loves me, this I know … “

The evasive song revealed at last!

“Thank you God. You are so faithful.” She wasn’t cured yet, but now she knew that cradled in His loving arms, her fear would subside.

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This article has been read 905 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Beth Muehlhausen09/01/06
So glad God showered her w/ a literal song to provide peace. I also liked this line about a more subtle, but probably powerful melody: "echo of the familiar sounds and taste of the beach that once again were as soothing to Beth as a song bird’s opus."
Joanne Sher 09/03/06
This one definitely had me jumpy - and I love how that simple song comforted her. Wonderful description!
Venice Kichura09/05/06
Wonderful! I can see why you're in Masters!
Deborah Bauers09/05/06
You seem to have captured the raw emotion that a woman feels who has been physically abused. This piece would minister so beautifully to recovering victims of abuse. I love it!
Jan Ross09/07/06
Very well done! A good ministry tool ... great work! :)