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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Eek! (02/25/10)

TITLE: Childhood's End
By Jesus Puppy
03/01/10


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Childhood’s End

Little Mayeng was awakened in the early morning hour, just passed midnight, to the skriech and squeaks of rats in the ally near by. Her mother spoke soft yet commanding as she handed over a slightly less soiled dress to be put on in the near darkness.

She dressed woodenly, then took an offered cup and sipped, the taste of the stale water she drank did nothing to remove the dust of the day before, nor the dry, scratchy feel in her throat.

The long walk from the small Cambodian village she and her mother lived in was hard, and the noise of traffic in the still bustling city of Phnom Penh was frightening to the girl. Now, woken after so slight a rest, eyes still blurry from lost sleep, she moved to her mothers directions in a drunken, reflex actions.

As a cold bowl of watery porridge was placed in Mayeng’s hand, she drank, most found its way into her tiny mouth. The scolding from her mother was the only notice of the few drops that had spilled down the front of her ragged dress. No more had she finished than her mother was pulling her quickly through the dark alleys and dimly lit streets.

Even at that late hour, crowds filled the road side markets and alley shops, those out fulfilling their nightly business. Traffic seemed endless to the mind of the ten-year-old girl from a country village. Had her mother let go for even an instant, she would be lost in the crowd of leering, dark faced men.

Her fears changed to confusion in moments. She saw the dimly lit front of a mission run church-house, yet hopes of stopping for shelter were dashed in seconds as her mother continued on. Her mind was assaulted with the things around her. Rats scurried over piled garbage left to rot at the sides of buildings. The strong smell of human waste came from the open sewer drain that ran through the center of each alley they passed. The sight of other children, barely clothed, standing in front of open shops, even at that late hour. The profane shouts and laughter of unknown men that stood in the shadows as they walked by.

Mayeng glanced over her shoulder and saw the light of the church haven no more than a couple streets back when they finally came to halt near the entrance of an alleyway. Her mother stopped and spoke with another slightly younger female, making many gestures in Mayeng's direction as she told of her daughter's good health. The woman nodded, though clearly not pleased, and handed her mother a few crumpled bills.

Mayeng’s confusion changed to utter despair as her once loving mother turned, grabbed her roughly by the arm, and shoved her toward the strange woman.

“You go with her now,” the flat emotionless tone as she left, broke what was left of the child’s heart. Darkness descended, as the brothel doors closed on her life forever.

_______________________________________

Author's footnote for article information:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4038249/


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This article has been read 522 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/04/10
The fact that this does happen in the world makes it even more heartbreaking. You did a wonderful job of telling a horrible story.
Allen Stark03/05/10
I was stationed near the Cambodian border as an Army medic. What you have shared had to have been written from the inside out. You hooked me from the very beginning.
Brenda Shipman03/07/10
Such a graphic accurate retelling of an event that happens more than we can even imagine, I'm sure. This would be very powerful if it were developed into a novel. It's a nightmare that needs to be brought more into the light. There were a few wording glitches in some places (i.e. "passed" midnight should be "past"), but overall, very effective writing!
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/08/10
Your story broke my heart. You brought to life the unimaginable horror that some children face. The pause at the church on the way made the story even sadder.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/08/10
Now that I know who the author is, I'm not surprised it's such an amazing, sad story. You do have a wonderful way with words. It's even better the second time around, it rips at my heart.
Ruth Stromquist03/08/10
VERY vivid description of a tragic scenario. I think you could polish up the punctuation and phrasing a bit more (example "Her mother spoke soft yet commanding" -- "commanding" kind of slowed me down), but the story did an excellent job of what it was intended to do. I tried to use the website reference to get more info, as the story interested me enough to do so, but it sent me back to their homepage instead of to the news story. However, the point is, your story was compelling enough, that it drew me to want to know more and to take the time to try and look it up. REALLY WELL DONE!!
AnneRene' Capp 03/09/10
This story gripped my very soul. Your ending was perfect and I agree with Brenda, would love to see this as a novel. Your descriptions made me feel as though it was I, seeing through the girl's eyes. Good Job - Good story!
Leah Nichols 03/10/10
Such a deep piece! Many good things stand out here. Word choices are wonderful - you pick them well. Maybe it's just me, but I felt a tiny bit distant from the characters, due to the narrative tone. I think you could draw the reader in a little closer to the MC so he/she feels what she's feeling. Nicely done! I really like your writing style.
Beth LaBuff 03/10/10
...so sad... you put us in her life (what she saw, and felt) right up until her "childhood end"ed.. Chilling! (Excellent writing!)
Connie Dixon03/10/10
Great title for this heartbreaking story. You helped your reader feel the emotion of the helpless child. Great job.
Carol Slider 03/10/10
Wow... this is shocking and heartbreaking. Eek, indeed. It's horrible to think that stories like this are played out around the world every day. Thanks for the reminder of all we have to be thankful for, and all those who need our prayers.
Patricia Herchenroether03/10/10
Heartbreaking; intense story, told well. A couple grammar glitches did not take away the meat of this reality.
Ann Grover03/11/10
Very descriptive... puts the reader right beside Mayeng, sharing her world. Sad, scary, touching...