Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)
TITLE: Three Generations... One Prayer
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The middle one explained their case. She finished with, “…Ist for the younger generations your honors, pleast. The cycle must stop.”
“Vert-welt,” was the reply.
The youngest pumped one thumb in the air and said, “Yest!” She was hushed with a look from the middle one.
The three approached the Aging Chamber, still holding hands.
The eldest entered first, but a young girl waved at them through the window in the Transformation Tunnel. Granny had turned into a school girl.
The mother took a deep breath and entered next. She too was transformed into a five year old.
The youngest joined the other two in the tunnel, but without transformation: three generations… one age.
Holding hands--and giggling nervously--they proceeded to the Time Chamber…
They were dispatched to a large farm pod--and back fifty-three years.
“Sheest coming,” said Mother-girl. Though it looked much different, she knew the pod well.
A fourth girl, about their age, plopped down by the wind-stream to wash her wounds. She was crying. She didn’t see the others, not yet.
Granny-girl winced at the site of the girl’s battered body.
The girl looked up at the sound of Granny-girl’s intake of breath. She froze mid-motion as she noticed the three shimmering girls standing upstream.
“Angels…?” she whispered.
Mother-girl spoke. “Always remember that God ist with you, no matter what.”
Granny-girl added, “Do not become them. You must choose another path--for yourself, for your children...”
The youngest walked over and draped a necklace onto the girl’s outstretched hand, “To remind you of God’s everlasting love.”
The three girls started to fade from view as they were returned to their own home--and year.
Their time was up; their mission complete. Would it make a difference?
They were themselves again. The sail-float home was quiet. There wasn’t much to say--until they approached their home pod.
Mother, who was captaining, gasped.
Granny looked up from navigating--and smiled.
Daughter said, “Ooht! It looks so beautiful… Doest this mean…?”
The water gardens weren’t the only difference. The ark was all spiffed up too, not the least bit run down. Someone had obviously taken great pains to care for it all.
When they entered the kitchen Meave looked up from her soup pot and asked, “So how wast your shopping excursion?”
Mother said, “I’d say we got just what we wanted.” The others grinned.
Gone were her mother-in-law’s acid tongue, quick temper, and the stench of stale liquor. Meave’s clothes were neat, pressed, and colorful. There was no sign of her usual stained houserobe. That she was even up at that hour was a miracle in itself. She usually didn’t make an appearance, cursing about something, until late afternoon.
Mother recognized something glittering at Meave’s collar, something shiny--the necklace. She knew the medal was still there too--picturing Jesus on one side and Mary holding a young Jesus on the other. It was the medal her daughter had given Meave that very day--and yet also fifty plus years ago, in Meave’s youth…
It had worked. They had actually changed the course of Meave’s life. One loving moment had made a world of difference. They--and God--had given her hope.
As the four women amiably prepared the evening meal they heard the rumble of a truckup boat outside.
“Daddy!” the daughter cried at the sound of the front ramp. But she was taken aback at the appearance of her father.
Gone was his beer belly and scruffy beard. He was dirty and smelly in his work clothes, but his eyes were bright--not red, not bleary, and not angry.
“Howst my favorite five year old?” he asked. He was home early--and his words weren’t slurred.
His daughter hugged him tight, even with all his grime. She looked up into his bright blue eyes and said, “Daddy? Ist it really you?” Her voice was a whisper--like she knew better than to question her father if he was in one of his moods...
“Of course ist me. You expectin’ someone else?” He laughed all the way upstairs and into the shower.
The daughter, for the second time that day exclaimed, “Yest!” and pumped one thumb into the air.
Mother looked stunned, as if she couldn’t quite believe it was all real.
They’d done it. They’d stopped the cycle. At least there, in that one house, they’d stopped it…
This story is loosely based on a child’s dream: different generations being the same age--at the same time.
This was combined with the author’s prayer that all children have a happy childhood; God’s peace to all who didn’t/don’t.
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