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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Light and Dark (05/21/09)

TITLE: The Nightmare
By Gerald Dean


I abruptly sat up in bed, shivering, yet sweating profusely, muttering gibberish.

A recurring nightmare had plagued me every night for the last month. I had reached the point
where I dreaded the night and the darkness it brought whilst I slept. I longed for the light of the
day, far away from the foul demonic creatures that visited me in the depth of my restless sleep.

Just being in the house oppressed me and left me cold..

It was just after sunrise, I wanted to be out and away from the house, so I set off, walking
aimlessly. I was soon across the eastern side of the town and into the open countryside.

I plodded on despondently. The sun was low behind the trees, casting flickering puddles of
light and slender interlaced shadows in the lane. The occupants of an open horse drawn carriage
cheerfully bid me good morning and passed me by. Like a child I slowed my pace and listened
intently, to see how long I could hear the rhythmic clip clopping sound of hooves, before they
completely dissolved into the background buzz of the countryside.

It had been light for a couple of hours. The fresh air was invigorating. I vaulted an old wooden
stile and scrabbled up the side of a steep hill. Blackthorn bushes, their fruit fat and purple, lined
the path, delaying the evaporation of early morning dew. I gingerly chose my footing on the cold
moist surfaces of smooth stones embedded in the red Devon soil.

As if waiting for its cue, a large white cloud cleared the surface of the sun, allowing arrow
straight beams of light to pick out myriads of airborne insects, darting to and fro and gyrating like
so many characters in a crazy Broadway musical.

As I approached the hill top, large spots of rain fell, releasing earthy smelling spores that mingled
with wild honeysuckle and dog rose. I sheltered for a few moments under a tree enjoying the
unforgettable fragrance that seemed to permeate all around.

Crazed by the sudden rising rain breeze, two giant oaks, tossed their leafy green locks in the face
of each other, critically eyed by a short row of lombardy poplars, standing properly and
obediently to rigid attention.

The rain ended and at the summit I turned and looked back. The beauty stretching before me
was breathtaking. As the Psalmist wrote.

‘Only a fool says in his heart there is no God’.

Many aspiring writers must have stood like me, poised pretentiously on the brink of incomparable
expression, searching in vain for descriptive words that could not be found, words so illusive they
did not even exist.

“ What words did God use when speaking the universe into existence?”

“ What language does He use when instructing the angels?”

“ Oh Father give me words, colourful and descriptive enough, to mosaic a literary masterpiece,
worthy of faithfully portraying Your creation”.

Looking to my left the pastures undulated and folded like a gigantic crumpled tapestry, here and
there peppered by quaint hillside cottages and farmhouses, some thatched and others decked in
pretty red tile. Down the valley I could see the lane by which I had just come, running sinuously
into the distance and on back to the town.

I closed my eyes deliberately, to shut out the scene before me. Then humbly whispered my
appreciation to the Creator, for He is infinitely more wondrous and worthy of our praise than are
even the most glorious works of His hands.

Then as a great maestro collectively conducts the actions of his players, this microcosm of
creation seemed to have been directed to pause for breath for a moment. For in an instant, the
soft hill breeze stilled. The magpies constant chatter and chiding relented. Shrill ascending larks,
slowed and hovered, closed their wings and plunged noiselessly earthward. Tireless distant farm
machinery ceased its incessant droning.

Surely in silence, God had acknowledged my simple prayer.

The grass had now dried. I lay down, feeling relaxed and at peace.
How long I was there I cannot tell, but now lights were twinkling and winking in the valley
below. I headed home in the fading light, night was fast approaching.

That evening in bed, I could sense God’s presence.
A cloud of darkness had been lifted from me and replaced by His healing light. My fear of the
night, had gone. I thanked Him.

From that night on, I slept as peacefully as a babe in arms.

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This article has been read 426 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 05/29/09
As a word lover, I really enjoyed the middle bits where the narrator is asking about the language of God.

I wish you hadn't ended with a common phrase (slept like a babe in arms)--your writing throughout this piece is so uniquely yours that that one phrase was a bit of a letdown.

This is beautifully written--I felt immersed in it!
Sunny Loomis 06/03/09
Beautiful descriptions! I could picture the scenery. Thank you.