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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)

TITLE: Ginger Snaps
By Sara Harricharan



It would be one of those kinds of days again.

My head ached terribly. The first sign, I shouldn’t have bothered to wake up. Sometimes I wondered why I bothered to sleep, if waking was such a hassle that could never seem to be avoided.

Then I remembered how dark sleep is. It’s black as night, black as licorice, black as pepper. It is peaceful, mostly.

The peace gives such a false sense of security. I craved it, because for a few blissful hours, I saw nothing, felt nothing and said nothing. I only breathed. Existed. It is paradise.

As I woke, the dream faded away. Then I am reminded of how much my head hurts, my heart hurts…and my hands. There is never a window where I can throw the pain away and close the latch straightaway, so it cannot creep back in.

Pain is a monstrous creature.

A master of torture.

I have known it for thirteen of my eighteen years.

But I am not a maiden in distress.

I was awake, and therefore must get up and move. Today is Monday, I think. I cannot be certain, but the air felt right. It was empty and almost quiet, which is what Mondays feel like.

Shuffling out of my bedroom, I crept down the stairs on my hands and knees, eventually reaching the kitchen. It took a moment to find my feet again, while convincing my head that the dizziness was normal enough and would pass. The coolness of the pale peach tiled floor was a refreshing jolt to my bare feet, allowing the realization that I could feel something.

Eventually, my fingers find the marble countertops, walking along the edges until they brushed against the ceramic calico cat cookie jar.


Elsie’s school is having a bake sale today, to raise funds for the science club. I know Mummy doesn’t have time to bake anything. Mummy never bakes anything. But I read cookbooks. We don’t have any other books.

With some effort, I eased into a stool and paged through the open recipe folder on the counter. It is more for show than use, but sometimes I like to look at the pictures. Today, it is turned to a recipe for Ginger Snaps.

They looked yummy.

I wondered whether they could be sold at a bake sale. Elsie should have something to take with her.

This recipe doesn’t look too hard, maybe we have the ingredients.

And so we have and so I do.

The cookies are done by the time Mummy stops in for work. She is surprised to see I am on my feet and in the kitchen. My efforts are rewarded with a kiss to the scarf wrapped ‘round my head.

I barely feel the caress, only the warm touch from her hand on my shoulder. Even though the oven was working, the kitchen now seems cold.

“You shouldn’t be out of bed, darling.” Mummy cooed, fluttering around the kitchen, expertly bagging out the cooled treats in colorful paper bags. “You need to rest, we’ve got check-ups tomorrow, remember?”

Her eyes followed me as I took the pitcher of milk from the fridge and set it on the counter. I did not want to think of the empty hospital or the doctors trying to help me. Their helping hurts me more than the cancer. I don’t know why they can’t make it go away or leave me alone.

Mummy is saying something else. It sounded like she wanted me to go back upstairs and get some more rest. I’m tired of resting. I can’t keep my eyes closed anymore. I want everything to stop.

Like a bubble.

I like bubbles.

I followed Mummy to the door and let her out. The sunshine was too bright to look at. I retreated to the kitchen and the silence.

There was one stack of cookies left on the counter. I counted eight of them.
Gingermilk is good for depression.

I think so.

It tastes like gingerbread, but…drinkable.

The cookies are crumpled into the pitcher of milk and hooking one skinny arm through it, I hauled the treat upstairs. Almost all the way upstairs.
Something squishy is on the top step.


Now my head really hurts.

I’m cold and wet. The soggy gingersnaps are puddle around my face. Everything is hazy. I guess a little nap couldn’t hurt. No one should mind.

They’re not home to care.


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This article has been read 765 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Francy Judge 01/24/10
Your story is very poetic and sad. You did a good job creating a somber voice for the narrator. Nice work.
Noel Mitaxa 01/24/10
You drew me in. The intro seemed to promise humour, but without being mawkish you have honestly profiled what pain does to how we think. I hope the pain in this entry is only that of your MC rather than yours personally but, either way, this touching snapshot is very thought-provoking. Thank you for a personal reality-check.
Rachel Phelps01/24/10
Beautiful prose and enveloping atmosphere. Amazing!
Allen Stark01/26/10
For those who have experienced the things in your story, it was easy to form a mental picture. Your scenes had an obvious purpose to them and recreated scenes of a wife working through her cancer therapy.
Patricia Herchenroether01/26/10
A very sad story, but well-told.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/27/10
You did an excellent job of describing the thoughts and feelings of someone who has hurt most of her life. My heart ached for the loneliness, and helplessness of the MC.
Bryan Ridenour01/27/10
Very well written. You caused me to feel the MC's pain, both physical and emotional. Well done.
Jan Ackerson 01/27/10
Lyrical and heartbreaking, Sara!

I was a little bit distracted by the tense switches.

Loved the stream-of-consciousness voice, and the way you draw your reader in to empathy with your protagonist. Lovely.
Sarah Elisabeth 01/27/10
Wow, very sad. I felt I was in the aching mind of your MC...Amazing job
Barbara Lynn Culler01/27/10
How heart breaking and so very real. Good writing.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/27/10
You're great at pulling at the reader's heartstrings.
Lyn Churchyard01/27/10
You never fail to amaze me with your versatility in writing style. Well done.
Ruth Brown01/27/10
This should be in a publication for Cancer survivors. It was very real.

Good job, Sara.
Eileen Knowles01/27/10
You did a great job capturing the emotion of sorrow. I felt for your character and her lack of "purpose" and just existing. Well done.