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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Twilight Years of Life (07/02/09)

TITLE: Amelda's Amelia and Great Nan Esmeralda
By Colin Swann


Amelda's spirit began to wither on hearing his final diagnosis, it just seemed such an unusually severe word. “Amelia has Progeria.”

“What's that doctor? Amelia isn't three yet – how can you be sure? And what is it?”

“It's an acceleration of the ageing process. From this point on, one year will be like a normal person's eight. If your daughter reaches twelve, her body will be like an eighty-year-old's; lifespan is to about thirteen.”

The doctor's prognosis had been correct; titanic struggles and trials had been encountered from that time on.

Amelia's daddy had deserted them just before her fifth birthday. He said, “I can't handle it any more,” and left – in fact he disappeared; they never heard from him again. Jim couldn't cope with yet another of Amelia's birthday parties; all those mums with their normal children.

His friend Bob had said, “It's a crying shame that you called her Amelia. That's the name of a disease which causes limb defects.” This confirmed Jim's worst fears that their family was cursed. What a coincidence to have a daughter with an affliction of stunted limb growth.

Since that time Amelda and Amelia had been living with Great Nan Esmeralda at her country cottage.

Amelia rubbed the sleep from her sore red eyes, then asked, “Nan-Es, has Mum already left?”
Her mum had always worked to support them after Jim departed.

“Yes Darling!”

Later, cuddled up together, slurping hot chocolate in harmonious gulps, Amelia asked, “Nan-Es, Mum said that I may be with Jesus when I'm thirteen – can I have a special party for my birthday before I go?” Amelda had been honest with her when she had been old enough to understand.

“Yes Sweetheart, we'll make it the bestest ever. Can it be for us both? Mine's the month after – and we are growing old gracefully together.”

“Oh, Nan-Es, that would be wonderful.”

Amelia, now twelve, was already looking older than Nan-Es' eighty six years, albeit in a 3 ft. frame. The back of her head was like the scraggy haunch of an Arctic Fox with mange. The skin furrows over her face made her resemble an elderly Hispanic female. She had fingers that were bony with big knuckle lumps giving them the appearance of small oak twigs infested by galls.

“Right then, Amelia, what shall we do for our birthday bash?”

“You said that people were betting on whether you or me would be with Jesus first.”

Esmeralda cut in, “I was just joking with your mum, Darling.”

“You know I love Jesus and I'm not afraid of dying. Nan-Es, can we have a Jesus Party?”

“What's one of those?”

“We can make it up. You could invite your friends and me mine.”

“OK Sweetie, but you tell me what you want – I've no idea.”

“We could make pretty invitation cards – I could paint colourful flowers and you could do the writing.”

“Sounds sound.”

“We could have a Bible person fancy dress contest with a prize for the best.”

“Yea, that would be good. I could sew our outfits. Think I'd like to be Miriam but I'm not sure how – I'll have a try though. What about you Sweetie Pie? ”

“Mary, and I'll dress a doll as baby Jesus. I think that would be good. And my friends could have a Bible animal and flower painting competition like at Sunday School.”

“We'd better get cracking then Mary or we'll never get these outfits ready in time. We've got about a month!”

A couple of weeks later Amelia had a bad flare up of her arthritic joints. She had to be excluded from the party plans – strict instructions to rest up. But, Nan Esmeralda kept at it and gave a progress report to Amelia about every three minutes.

A few days later she said, “Mum, my arms and legs really hurt bad. I want to go to bed.”

Amelda picked her up, cradled her and carried her upstairs.

“Mum, I love you.”

“I love you too, my Sweet.”

Amelia was asleep before Mum had tucked her in tight. Her lovely life expired that night. The disease had won the battle. She died just one week from her thirteenth Birthday.

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This article has been read 794 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jim McWhinnie 07/09/09
Moving story that had my heart all the way to the end.

I almost got lost in the dialog section. The reader might need a cue or two. No big deal.

I am not a big fan of semi-colons, but that may simply be my preference.

This story is well worth a rewrite because it is a beautiful moment.
Mariane Holbrook 07/12/09
I love the way our UK friends write. This was a tear-jerker written from a sympathetic heart. Thanks for entering it!
Joy Faire Stewart07/13/09
Love the idea of a "Jesus Party" and the interactions of the characters.
Karlene Jacobsen07/13/09
This was really a bittersweet story, so tenderly written.
Patricia Herchenroether07/13/09
I've seen these little aged children and my heart goes out to them. A touching story and an excellent creative subject for this topic.
Christina Banks 07/15/09
What a wonderful story idea. The struggles that little girl must have faced, growing old so quickly. I like the idea of a Jesus party!
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/15/09
Sad story--with hope, told very well
Sara Harricharan 07/15/09
Very well done! Your title explained the family realationships just wonderful and I was sad that the story just ended, I was hoping for more. You could definitely expand on this idea-there seems to be so much more to it. Great job!
Carol Slider 07/15/09
A sad story, but you humanized this rare illness very well. I can imagine how heartbreaking it would be to see a child die like this.
Connie Dixon07/15/09
There's always a happy ending when you know Jesus, but it's the middle that makes you wonder how life can sometimes be so cruel. Great writing. Loved (and hated) your story.
Edmond Ng 07/15/09
Sad ending, yet with certainty of eternity with the Lord. The comparison of who's going first to Jesus is somewhat heart wrenching. You've expressed the feelings and the emotions in your writing very well.