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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)

TITLE: The Red Book
By Cathy Hulin


She had missed the mark again. Three times she tried, with twice the effort of anyone she knew, only to end up with one harsh reality; failure. It was staring at her right in the face, burning a hole in her heart.

"Maybe I am going crazy?" the studious co-ed imagined. After all, it was only one more test. But not the kind of test that her young peers would understand. Cassie contemplated the consequences.

It had been years since the bleeding had stopped. Knowing she could have a future, Cassie enrolled herself into the best University, in the finest vicinity, making sure she received the utmost education for her bright future.

Despondency had returned. The discomfort was more dreadful than before. Defeat was her new future. A specialist around could not be found to usher in any hope. "I can't believe it's back," Cassie whispered between sobs.

Reaching for the Red Book for the first time in years, Cassie searched for the specific day in her journal that noted when her affliction had ceased. She found the entry and cracked a weak smile.

"The doctor's said I am free!!!! Well, not really free, but that's what it felt like when the test came back negative! After years of treatments, I am now at liberty to be whoever I want to be!"

"I remember that feeling," Cassie sighed. "But I will never get it back." It was time to tell her friends and family the truth. No doctor can cure her, no riches will save her life. A few more notes of follow-up from her crimson past did not bring the hope she was scouting for. Now the Red Book had failed her too.

Hugging the dissertation, Cassie lied back on her college dorm bed for one last time. Packed and ready to go, the frightened junior stared up at the ornate ceiling of pretentious extravagance pondering the last few years of her life.

From rich in life, to poor in spirt. Returning to elaborate living, but now a tawdry, grotesque finish. Time had ceased. In a flash of anger, Cassie tossed the Red Book over her head in hopes to mar the beauty around her.

Clippings, momentos and pages of faded reflection flew across space in slow motion. Violently breaching the binding on the elaborate stucco, the album of memories came flooding back down onto Cassie. Her sobs were lost on a hopeless agenda.

One Year Later:
The reclusive brunette unpacked her belongings whistling a wispy warble of "I've been working on the railroad." Whistling was her way of forging a less painful move into the prison penthouse her parents chose for her to waste away the next four years of her orderly life.

Scanning the diminutive and dusty dorm room, the petite med student cocked her head to the side. "Why is the bed so close to the bathroom?" she questioned out loud to no one. Wendy hastily rearranged the furniture for maximum aesthetics.

"What's this?" Wendy wondered, reaching for several scraps of paper now dislodged from its temporary home between the wall and the headboard. Wendy whispered out loud the adage from the faded text.

"Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required." Wendy whistled a composition of discontent. In sympathy, she read on. Another slip of crumbled paper announced, "And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over."

"My suffering has only just begun," Wendy quickly discerned. "I would welcome peace."

Opening up the bedside drawer to stuff the notes inside, she spied a bible advertising neglect. Abruptly picking it up in exchange for the journal pages, Wendy opened the epistles ceremoniously.

A pressed rose marked the gospel where Jesus healed the woman with the issue of blood. Wendy plopped down on her bed and buried herself into scripture.

Down the isolated, reserved hallway of the educational institution, a whistle echoed its reverberation until it found a window of escape.

Out past the whispering willows, encircling a meticulously manicured lawn, the faded sound of "Jesus loves me this I know..." found its way into the hearts of the blushed and bruised children of God.

2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/09/09
Isn't it nice how God puts people in just the right places?

I had to read this several times before I was clear on what was happening, and some of your word choices seemed a bit heavy-handed.

Your last paragraph is quite lovely...thanks!