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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)

TITLE: Saved by Gracie
By Tim Pickl
07/14/08


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It was a glorious Spring morning outside of AngelsWings Mental Health Center. Flashy songbirds announced the day, chirping at the sun as it beamed through vertical blinds in Gracie’s room. Gordon, Gracie’s Grandfather, slowly pushed his walker into the room. There he spotted Ruth—Gracie’s regular nurse and an old friend--attending to Gracie’s needs.

“Good morning, Gordy.”

“Good morning, Ruth. How’s my Gracie doing?”

“She’s doing much better today.” Ruth carefully lifted Gracie’s head and slid a pillow underneath. “It looks like she’s going to have a good day.”

“Hallelujah--I need to finish our story.”

“Well, that’s great—but please don’t push her too hard.” Ruth cautioned. “She pays for it the next day, because she gets restless and doesn’t sleep so well.”

“I know….I know. Thanks Ruth for all you do, every day. We love you.”

“Oh, it’s my pleasure, Gordy. Gracie’s such a delight to have here at AngelsWings. Everyone loves her. And I love you both, too.”

As she did every day, Ruth gently closed the door and whispered a short prayer.

+++

Gordon sat down in the chair near Gracie’s bed. He reached over and opened up an aging laptop on the side table, and pressed the power button.

“Good morning, Gracie. How are you feeling today, precious?”

At first, Gracie was groggy. “Wha…? Who? Who are you?”

“Oh, Gracie--I’m Grandpa. You remember, right?”

At that moment the old laptop beeped twice, and an OUT OF MEMORY error appeared on the screen.

“This old thing…” Grandpa grunted. “It’s old and slow, like me.” He removed the laptop’s battery, waited, clicked the battery back in and powered the laptop on again.

Gracie agonized, “Ohhh… my head.”

“Oh, Gracie.” Grandpa patted her hand. “Let me read our story so far, so we can remember together.”

“Oh, goodie! I love to hear stories. Does it have a Princess?”

That cut to the heart. As Grandpa wiped tears from his eyes, he started reading.


In early 2007, Dr. Gordon Pratt was in town celebrating his wonderful granddaughter Gracie’s 6th birthday. Dr. Pratt was a famous, highly-sought military surgeon, and that day Dr. Pratt got called away on an emergency at the local military base. Gracie insisted she go with her Grandfather, and—as he almost always did—he agreed.


Grandpa Gordon looked up from the laptop into Gracie’s eyes.

Gracie sweetly whispered, “Princess Gracie…. Princess Gracie….” Gracie closed her eyes, and entered her imaginary world with a smile.

Grandpa Gordon returned the smile, and continued reading.


On that fateful day, Dr. Gordon drove over the speed limit—with Gracie in the front seat--toward the military base down the 2-lane highway.
Gracie felt conflicted in her heart:
She was excited to have her Grandpa home, but simultaneously she dreaded the thought he’d be leaving again soon after the emergency.
She knew her Grandpa would return—but when?

Suddenly—



“Suddenly he took Princess Gracie away!”

“Oh, Gracie, honey, let me read on.”


She knew her Grandpa would return—but when?

Suddenly a transport truck appeared in the passing lane—the lane they were in--heading straight for them. “Grandpa!” yelled Gracie, and reached for the wheel.



“Princess Gracie saved the day… Gracie saved the day!”

“There, there now, sweetheart. Just listen….”


Instantly, the car swerved and was clipped on the side by the truck. Then, the car spun and crashed into the ditch.

The truck screeched and stopped. The driver ran back; first he pulled Gracie, then Dr. Gordon from the wreckage. Gracie was badly injured. Blood poured from gashes on the side and front of her head. The trucker flagged down some help from other military cars passing by. Several men in uniform appeared, and carried Gordon and Gracie to cars and rushed them to the military hospital.



“Ruth! Ruth was there!”

“That’s right Gracie, you’re remembering.” Gordon answered, smiling, then looked up to Heaven. “Thank You, Father.”


Moved with compassion, a faith-filled Christian nurse named Ruth cared for Dr. Gordon and Gracie. Most of Dr. Gordon’s injuries healed over time, but Gracie’s head wounds affected her memory and some cognitive functions.

For over 19 months, Gracie Pratt has lived at AngelsWings Mental Health Center in an amnesic, imaginary state-of-mind.



“That’s what I have, so far.”

At that moment, Ruth entered and witnessed a miracle.

Suddenly invigorated, Gracie sat up, pointing. “I remember now! I’M Gracie… YOU are my Auntie Ruth.”

“Yes--”

“And… YOU are my Grandpa. I KNEW you’d come back!”

“Yes! And YOU are my Gracie. Hallelujah!”


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This article has been read 920 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Cathy Kane07/19/08
Very interesting! So glad that Gracie got her miracle!
Sunny Loomis 07/19/08
Faith with all three characters comes full circle. Nicely done.Thank you.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/23/08
It was interesting how you had the story within the story. I was glad for a happy ending, too.
Mariane Holbrook07/23/08
I'm a sucker for happy endings. This was an entirely enjoyable read and I know you had a great time writing it!
Gerald Shuler 07/23/08
Pleasant read, Tim. I enjoyed the story in a story format.
Sara Harricharan 07/23/08
Whoo hoo! Go Gracie! I'm SO glad that she came back! I loved the story format and the way that he read the story in between of her careful, remembering interruptions. Lovely! ^_^
Lauryn Abbott07/23/08
Thank you for this lovely story of a miracle fulfilled. I loved the happy ending!
Yvonne Blake 07/23/08
Very creative way of showing the return of amnesia. Well done.
LauraLee Shaw08/07/08
You packed a whole lotta story into a tight word limit. Great job. Your creativity never ceases to amaze me. God has gifted you with a great ability to write "outside the box." Bravo!