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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Teacher (10/26/06)

TITLE: Something Greater
By Amy Michelle Wiley


Something was wrong. My eyes scanned the classroom, resting last on the new girl, Milaya. I had anticipated problems with her. I stepped closer. Her gaze was down and vacant. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. This, I had not expected.

The bell rang and she started. A tinge of red spread over her cheeks and she hurried for the door. I waited until the room was quiet before leaving. My steps echoed around the room, bouncing unnaturally as though hinting of unseen watchers.

The teachers’ lounge was already darkened. Only flickers of orange broke the blackness here and there, and incense hung heavy in my nostrils.

“You are tense.”

I knew the voice and my dread grew stronger.

“Yes.” I forced the sound through my dry throat. “There is one who has come who is…” I could not continue.

“…who is in league with the enemy.” He finished for me. “What will you do, Ms. Stene?”

It was a test. My future hung before me on a mere thread. In my few months teaching at this school I had been tolerated. That was all. It was my own fault, for I had stood in the background and observed.

This was my chance. “I will not let this spirit stay. It will be banished.” I raised my chin and looked into his shadowed face.

For once he seemed pleased. “Tonight I will request your guide.”

My time had come. I would be chosen. I would be part of something.

I stepped out of the room, intent on hurrying to my cottage to grade papers before the meeting tonight. I nearly ran over Milaya.

“Ms. Stene, I was wondering if you could help me with the writing assignment.” Her eyes darted back and forth between me and the room I had just exited. She shifted.

I hesitated. Perhaps this would give me the in I needed to release the poor girl of the oppression she struggled under. “All right.”

“Could we go outside to study?” Her back twitched with a hint of a shudder. “I can think better in the sun and fresh air.”

She didn’t fool me. I knew what she was attempting to flee. It would do no good. They surrounded us. I could feel them, encouraging, urging.

“I was unsure what you wanted us to write about.”

“What do you feel you want to write?”

She shook her head. “I thought you wanted us to write something about questions in the back of the science book--to answer them. But I’m not sure of all the answers.”

“Milaya,” I leaned forward, finding her eyes with mine. “Let your spirit rest. Forget about ‘the right answer’.” Taking a stick, I drew it through the sand at our feet, leaving patterns in the texture of golden grains. “Empty your mind and let what you have learned speak to you.”

She straightened and I let the branch fall from my fingers, expecting to see her eyes veiled. But there was no dullness in her face. Indeed, her blue eyes flashed and bore into mine until I felt naked. Even the spirits abandoned me in the strength of her gaze.

“Who are you to tell truth to flee?”

A coldness clutched at my bones. I knew we were no longer talking about school.

“God has given us a spirit of love and power and sound mind.” Her voice was clear, reaching to my very gut. “I refuse to join your answerless society, because I have the answer. I will not empty myself, because I have within me God Himself, before whom this school’s spirits tremble and flee.”

Though her voice was soft, it was as though the heavens had opened and spoken with a voice of thunder. The air around me trembled with fear. Trembled with power.

“How dare you speak to a teacher in such a way!” I gasped the words, drawing around me a thin vestige of dignity. I could feel them again, the familiar spirits rallying around me, angry and mocking. I had been accepted by them. This child could not win.

But she was not finished. “In the name of Jesus Christ, get away from us. She is not yours.”

The words again brought an instant vacantness. “No!”

“Turn to Him. He waits for you, Ms. Stene.” Her face was calm. Confident. Full of a perfect belonging. She had something within her.

Something greater.

2 Timothy 1:7

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This article has been read 1384 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Pat Guy 11/02/06
Wow! I loved the story line, and with so few words you did it justice. I wish you had more words to create smoother transitions.

I loved being caught up it the moments of victory.
Betty Castleberry11/03/06
I read this story twice, and was awed both times. It is a powerful read. Well done.
Shari Armstrong 11/03/06
Wow -good stuff! I could definitely see this expanded.
Joanne Sher 11/04/06
Oh wow. Such amazing description and tone here. This kept me intrigued from beginning to end, and sent chills up my spine. Well done!
Jan Ackerson 11/06/06
Yowsers! This was top-notch stuff! Way to stand your readers on their collective heads!
Stephen Paynter11/07/06
A very strong piece of writing. The tension was ... er ... taut, I suppose. The whole atmosphere chilling and unsettling. I've read many attempts to describe such spiritual confrontations, but few have come as close as capturing the meance and hostility. Compelling writing. Extremely well done!
Beth Muehlhausen11/07/06
Gripping and intense...great character portrayals. I could "feel" this story!! Lots of layers here - lots to think about. I, too, would love to see it expanded. :-)
Marilee Alvey11/08/06
Wow! Master's, indeed! It was gripping. I didn't see it coming. Very creative. How refreshing. Something I hadn't seen yet. Making the teacher the enemy. So well done and very deserving of an award. You did it masterfully without heavy dialogue or description to cut the tension. Well done. Thanks for the "brick" that encouraged me to read this.
Catrina Bradley 11/08/06
I felt like I was reading Frank Peretti! (That's a compliment :) ). He's got some competition if you continue in this vein. Great stuff.
Sara Harricharan 11/08/06
WOW! This was amazing! I was a little confused as to how they got outside, where Milaya suggests they go out, but you didn't show that they really did go out, and then the teacher is drawing in the sand. Otherwise, this was a thrilling read! :) Quill's off to you!
Donna Powers 11/08/06
Wow! A powerful story, and it was very well written. A wonderful description and a compelling read. Thanks for sharing this.
Jesus Puppy 11/08/06
Awesome.. the student becomes the teacher. Well done story. You caught me again.
Valora Otis11/08/06
Yikes! You made shivers run up and down my back! This was fantastic. Well done.
Val Clark11/08/06
A very compelling read. Well done. Just one question: 'Her gaze was down and vacant.' How can the POV character see her vacant gaze if she can't see her eyes?
Marie Fieldman11/08/06
Technically, this was very good.It kept me interested... It was really different for me ,though.

Good job. You did very well with the theme considering the stipulations.