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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)

TITLE: In a Fog
By Laurie Walker


At first glance through the screen door Catherine became certain giants had invaded the neighborhood. The man’s blonde head towered over her slim five-foot-eleven. For the first time in her twenty-eight year existence she felt petite.

“May I help you?”

“I’m John,” he said, “and I think I can help you. I’ve been working across the street and noticed your swamp cooler a little under the weather.”

“It is?”

His gentle smile softened edges that demanded severity, instantly drawing her in. She blushed in spite of herself.

“It is. Swamp coolers normally aren’t so loud.”

“I didn’t know,” she said. “Everything’s still strange to me. My parents, well they died.”

“I’m sorry.”

She’d heard the words often enough. People flung them out when they didn’t know what else to say. Strange, but Catherine felt he truly meant it.

“Thank you.”

“May I go on your roof and take a look?”

Readily letting in this massive stranger should have been her last reaction, but for reasons Catherine couldn’t fathom she felt an instinctive need to trust John. She led him to the second floor balcony where a stepladder allowed him access to the roof.

“I’ll just be a minute.”

“Be careful,” she said, and he offered another smile.

“I promise.”

She couldn’t believe someone so tall dared thrust himself to greater heights, and watched in fascination as he nimbly ascended the roof. After a few moments she turned to the cityscape lining the entire valley. As a child Catherine had loved to sit here and watch the sun set behind distant mountains, as though it were a special gift God granted her every night, something special just between the two of them.

How quickly things change, she lamented. Figuring all kids were supposed to rebel at some point, Catherine turned her back on God and family the moment her birthday made it legal.

It didn’t take her long to realize she’d gone too far. Like a child wandering through an intense fog she’d allowed the distorted voices of the world guide her away from that which kept her life calm, peaceful: home.

Catherine couldn’t even remember the last time she’d seen her parents. Years, maybe, had passed since the day she’d stormed off, never once thinking it might be the last time…Where had her chance to make things right disappeared to?

A sob so deep, so intense gripped her, demanding a release she had not yet allowed. She placed a hand over her face, willing her body to pull itself back together.

Oh, dear God, how did I get here? What happened to me?

A voice, deep and warm, called from above. “You need to fix your bearings.”

Catherine whipped around to find the silhouette of a gigantic man framed from head to toe by light blazing from behind. An angel, she thought, shielding her eyes with a hand.

The angel crouched and morphed into the gentle giant named John, his beautiful smile embracing her.

“Sorry about that. The sun’s at just the right angle.”

He quickly climbed down the ladder. “You’re bearings need to be replaced. If you’d like I have the parts in my van. I can fix it quick.”

She nodded, unable to speak, his words having struck a chord she’d thought too damaged beyond repair. My bearings need fixing. Her heart pulsed with the insight suddenly infusing her mind.

Catherine wandered into her parent’s room, a place she had not dared enter from the moment she came back, and headed directly for a familiar bookcase nestled in the corner. From its depths she retrieved the family Bible, caressing its worn, leather cover. How many times had her parents read this, hoping for answers to jump off the pages on how to deal with their wayward daughter?

She sat down on a rocking chair, clutching the precious book to her chest, barely aware of John tinkering above her. Never before had Catherine appreciated just how soothing her parent’s influence could be, like balm to a troubled soul, and regretted having avoided this room for so long. Pictures of mother, father, and daughter filled every extra space. She had never realized…

Perhaps their prayers had been answered after all. Perhaps the lost little girl found her way out of the fog; could find peace and calm once again, starting right here.

“All fixed,” said John, suddenly appearing in the doorway.

She gazed at him, offering her own tender smile. Not yet, she thought, but I’ll get there.

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This article has been read 1015 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Loren T. Lowery09/21/07
This has the makings of a great novel. I believe in fate and fate seems to be knocking at your MC's door.
I also believe, as your MC does, that her parents' prayers are being answered.
Wonderful, engaging, hopeful story.
Leanna Roe09/21/07
I've been there. I could feel what she felt. I loved it. Beautifully written.
Joanne Sher 09/22/07
Wonderful descriptions - and I love all the parallels. This absolutely begs to be fleshed out and expanded. You really only touched the surface - but what can you do with the word limit, eh? Your last line, however, is perfect.
julie wood09/22/07
I really enjoyed this story! The characters come alive through description and dialogue--I can see and hear the helpful blond "giant" and feel with the main character.

Intriguing message about two different things in Catherine's life that need "fixing"--both physical and emotional. Great parallel drawn here!
Dee Yoder 09/22/07
This is a great story. I wish I could read many more chapters about this MC and her journey to find her lost spiritual life. The added spice of a handsome stranger is a bonus!
Sheri Gordon09/24/07
I agree -- this sounds like the makings of a wonderful novella. I'd love to hear more of the story. Good job.
Catrina Bradley 09/24/07
Beautifully crafted, and a wonderful story. The spiritual insight she was given from hearing she needed to fix her bearings was great! Loved the ending. Excellent! :) Cat
Sharlyn Guthrie09/24/07
You have excellent story writing abililty. A few sentences could have been shortened to make them more effective. Still, I enjoyed this very much.
Beth LaBuff 09/26/07
Beautiful writing! What a great story. Love the "bearings".

We have a swamp cooler too. :)
Loren T. Lowery09/27/07
Congratulations on your placing - this was a great story and has a lot of potential for expansion as well. Keep writing! Loren
Pam Carlson-Hetland09/27/07
Absolutely excellent. Congrats on your placing. Well done and definitely deserving.
Sheri Gordon09/27/07
Congratulations on your 2nd place. I really enjoyed this story.