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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confident (07/05/07)

TITLE: Shattered Secrets
By Marlene Bonney
07/09/07


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The simmering heat from the midday sun beat down mercilessly upon them as they weeded the commune garden.

“Why, Jake? Why did mommy and daddy move us here?” whispered Richelle to her older brother.

Jacob wiped his sweaty forehead with the back of his forearm impatiently.

“Sh-h-h! Do you want detention? Shut up and listen like you’re supposed to!” Jacob commanded .

Talking to each other was forbidden because it would diminish the effect of the messages playing on the compound’s loudspeaker system. Richelle’s eyes teared up pitifully as she continued working. She missed Gram and Gramps and her friend, Suzie. She missed her pretty animal-themed bedroom back home and her second grade classroom at St. Vincent’s Elementary. But mostly, she missed living together as a family with Mommy and Daddy and Jake and baby sister, Kelsey.

“WE HAVE THE ONLY ANSWER. WE MUST SEPARATE OUTSELVES FROM THE EVIL IN THE OUTSIDE WORLD. WE BECOME STRONGER AS WE UNITE IN LOVE AND HARMONY!!” The strong voice continued on, “WE ARE COMPLETE IN EACH OTHER! GOD IS ON OUR SIDE! YOUR CHILDREN ARE SAFE HERE. WE DO NOT NEED ANY ASSISTANCE FROM THE GOVERNMENT!”

Jacob’s heart ached as he observed his little sister’s downcast face. He wished for the thousandth time that he hadn’t told their parents about his homeroom teacher’s remarks about God’s nonexistence and about some of the hall bullies trying to give him drugs back home. Afterwards, he could hear their muffled voices long after everyone should have been asleep through the registers that connected the two bedrooms. Nothing had been the same after that. Jacob had watched boxes and suitcases accumulating in the guest room and conspiratorial glances between his parents, and then the hidden brochures and cassette tapes he discovered in a kitchen cupboard on one of his middle-of-the-night quests for snacks.

“Secrets, and now, lies!” he muttered to himself, as he remembered the day before they left when Mom and Dad had been so certain life would be perfect here.

T H E Y--W I L L--C O M E

Just then, the supper gong blared and the people orderly and silently formed their pre-ordained lines to file into the common room. Meals were one of the few times they were allowed subdued chatter, but most would devour their meager portions in silence, savoring each bite as a cherished gift.

T H E Y--W I L L--C O M E

He saw his parents now from a distance at their assigned table. They looked so old and tired! He knew they had to attend classes through the night even though the initial orientations were over. He had observed that children were subjected to the least indoctrination tactics because they were the most trusting.

T H E Y--W I L L--C O M E

“I’ll end up outsmarting them all and my family will soon be free from this place!” Jacob asserted in his heart. “I know The Game will save me!”

Jacob had his own secret and he was proud of himself! Every night at precisely 9:00 when the lights went out and the loudspeakers droned messages, he spent time mentally reciting anything he could remember about his old life: names of friends and relatives, his old address and phone number, songs, and he even told himself stories of how it used to be. After each memory, he would repeat, with great feeling,

T H E Y--W I L L--C O M E

“They” were his grandparents. He was counting on their rescue. He had taken one of his parent’s tapes and a ripped brochure he rescued from the burning barrel the night before their departure. He had left them in the old maple tree stump in his backyard, a special hiding place where he and Grams passed notes to each other. He smiled now, as he remembered how she would sometimes leave a warm cookie or muffin for him to find upon his return home from school. Jacob hoped he would dream about his old life again tonight, even as he repeated his chant one last time before drifting off to sleep . . .

T H E Y--W I L L--C O M E

He was suddenly awakened to sounds of upheaval and sirens accompanied by being wrapped in the old familiar smell of his grandfather’s embrace.

T H E Y--H A D--C O M E


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This article has been read 461 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 07/13/07
Wow! This story reminds me of the Jonestown disaster several years ago. Indoctrination is never good; Christian or not. A suspenseful story.
terri tiffany07/13/07
Good ending!! The suspense built well - good title too.
Debbie Roome 07/14/07
Very good. The suspense built well and was resolved wonderfully at the end.
Joanne Sher 07/14/07
Great job with the suspense here. You had me riveted for sure!
Melanie Smith-Taylor07/14/07
Thanks so much for a story in which a boy's beliefs are assured. I liked how the frama built and that the grandparents did come. Nice!!
Jan Ackerson 07/15/07
Oh, wow! More, more, more! There's a novel in this one!
Kristen Hester07/18/07
Oh, I got chills when I read "They had come." This is soooo good. I really enjoyed every word. I am so glad the boy was confident in his grandparent's love and that they did indeed come.