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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)

TITLE: One Last Song
By Ruth Neilson


The chilly air sank deep into Katherine’s bones as two soldiers grasped her forearms. She allowed them to drag her listless body through the wet, gray muck. Her matted brown hair fell in front of her dull green eyes and concealed the weak smile. She had not been broken.

Ungracefully, the soldiers threw her onto the moist wooden floor where she landed with a grunt. As boney, yet gentle, hands eased themselves underneath her arms, she slowly looked around. It was dark in the cramped shack; she blinked several times everything seemed to be in shades of gray.

“What happened to her?” Shannon hissed from her hiding spot in the dark corner.

“They tried to make me talk.” Katherine admitted, as she leaned heavily against an offered, boney shoulder from the shack elder, Grandmother. Grandmother clucked quietly as her gnarled hands examined Katherine’s body for injuries.

“Did you?” Shannon snapped.

Katherine turned her face towards Shannon’s. “I would never talk.”

“Hush...” Grandmother muttered as she eased Katherine onto a rough wooden plank. The splinters hurt, but they were a welcome change of pain. “Shannon’s a new one. You know that... She’s just bitter because her gathering was arrested when someone here broke...”

Katherine grimaced as Grandmother continued her examination. “We’ve been trying to tell her that no one from our body would betray a gathering.”

“She’s new to the faith, isn’t she?” Katherine muttered, through clenched teeth.

“Breathe, Katherine.” Grandmother softly chided as she wrapped a battered limb in a dirty rag. “Yes, she is...”

Katherine nodded. “She just needs a little bit of encouragement then.” Grandmother chose that moment to yank her twisted leg. Katherine gritted her teeth and tried not to scream. The soldiers thrived from the screams of their prisoners; the more a person screamed, the bolder the soldiers became in their methods of torment.

Her leg settled back into its joint and Katherine rested her head against the plank. She took several deep breaths before calling out for every woman in the building to hear, “God’s grace is sufficient for you, for his power is made perfect in weakness.”

“Katherine, you need to rest,” Grandmother muttered as Katherine stubbornly shook her head.

“They need this encouragement.” She whispered.

Moving to Katherine’s left shoulder, Grandmother clucked her tongue. “You should be resting, Katherine, not wasting your energy trying to encourage us,” Grandmother’s voice drifted off, “Katherine... why don’tcha, sing us one of your hymns.”

Katherine frowned and blinked in confusion. Singing was a rare luxury that she saved only when someone was dying. “No one has died...” She muttered. “I’m just weak is all.”

Grandmother smiled faintly as she found another rag. “Just sing for me, Katie. I want to hear you sing.”

Katherine closed her eyes and sighed before starting to hum softly. “Louder, Katherine, sing for us.” Grandmother quietly encouraged.

Katherine took a shuddering breath as Grandmother tied the rag around her shoulder.

“I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no powr's, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection”

When her voice fell silent, Grandmother quietly felt for a pulse before removing the rags from Katherine’s body. The other women in the shack turned away, some sniffling, others wiping tears away, but none crying loudly. Grandmother continued to remove the cloth and then began to prepare Katherine’s body.

“Grandmother...” Shannon whispered, “Why was she chosen?”

Grandmother paused in her preparations and gazed into Shannon’s bright green eyes for a long moment before quietly stating, “Because you weren’t ready yet.”

After a long moment, a light came into Shannon’s eyes. She nodded and found herself smiling faintly. Quietly, Shannon stated, “I think I’m ready, now, Grandmother.”
2 Corinthians 12:9

“How Deep the Father’s Love”
©1995 Kingsway's Thankyou Music
Words and Music by Stuart Townend

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This article has been read 1166 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 11/16/07
Wow! Incredibly moving story especially knowing that this is a reality for Christians in many parts of the world. You've written this very well. I love the song you've quoted.
william price11/16/07
A super story! Maybe a few to many discriptions. I always try to not let my writing get in the way of the story when I know the Lord has given me a good one. This is great, and please my comment is only my opinion. I really, really liked this. Can't wait to find out who wrote it. Keep up the incredibale work. God bless.
Marita Vandertogt11/17/07
Wow - this is a powerful piece... I could visualize the whole thing - you brought the characters and setting to life almost like a mini movie clip. Very well done!!
Joanne Sher 11/17/07
Amazing description, characterization, action, EVERYTHING. This is incredibly powerful. This packs a powerful punch.
Seema Bagai 11/19/07
This piece is amazing. Chilling. Heartbreaking. Vivid. Lots of emotion packed into a small space.
Deborah Engle 11/19/07
This was heartbreaking, and yet, could very well be a reality. It certainly made me think. In a situation like this, encouragment would be so important.
Dee Yoder 11/20/07
I can't imagine this kind of suffering, and yet it's a reality for many Christians. Good story and characters.
william price11/22/07
Congrats, Ruth! Excellent job. God bless.
Allison Egley 11/22/07
WAY TO GO, RUTH!! You now have TWO entries contending for BOB! Congrats!!!!!!
Helen Dowd11/22/07
Ruth, you certainly deserved to be FIRST for this excellent story... Oh that we all would be as ready as that young woman was. It reminded me of some of the story of Corrie Ten Boon, telling of her prison experiences....May God bless you in your writing...Helen
Beth LaBuff 11/22/07
Congrats!!! on your level win and EC win!!!
Debbie Roome 11/23/07
This is an amazing story - so powerful. Well done on placing first.
Dianne Janak11/23/07
Congratulations Ruth... your story is an inspiration to all of us. You deserved both wins!
Karen Wilber11/23/07
This is fantastic - excellent characterization and message. Congrats on EC - very deserving!
LauraLee Shaw11/24/07
Oh, how moving and sad and beautiful. Congratulations on being recognized for such an incredible piece!
Catrina Bradley 11/28/07
Congrats, Ruth! Well deserved #1. A moving and powerful story.
Gypsy Dallas-Smith01/25/08
What an amazing story. Very moving. It is very visual. Thank you for sharing this piece. Awesome job!!