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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword (04/08/10)

TITLE: The War in Me
By Karlene Jacobsen


These last months have been crazy! I was sure Jon and Marisa would show me the way back to the group home once they found out about my pregnancy. After all, are they not pastors of a respected church in the community? What will the parishioners think?

Well, Jon followed me to the clinic that day and convinced me to keep the baby and let them raise it; after he treated me to lunch and then several movies, of course. I’m not real crazy about the idea, but the alternative is worse. The last time I aborted, I ended up sick—infection then my aunt and uncle decided three suicide attempts, an abortion and petty theft was too much destructive influence for their small children. (Now you know how I ended up in the group home.)

Honestly, I couldn’t believe Jon and Marisa kept me around after all the money I stole from them and their church. Several of the members sure tried to convince them to send me back. I tried to help them by stealing their car. When the police arrested me, I was certain the group home was my destination. Jon showed up, though, posted bail and took me home. He never said a word other than, “I wish you would tell me why you are doing this.” Once he went so far as to say, “you know, I’ll be willing to wager, deep inside that coconut shell, there is some sweet, tender girl aching to have a family.”

Here we are, two years later, I’m sixteen, about to have a baby, and scared to death. Jon and Marisa have taken me shopping. They bought gobs of baby clothes, stroller, and car seat then took me to the maternity section and bought stuff for me too. I couldn’t understand why they were so nice. Maybe just ‘cause they’re getting my kid?

Later, they took me with them to purchase decorations and furniture for the nursery. When they painted, they had me stay with one of their faithful church members—an older woman named Tricia. They said it was best for me and the baby that we don’t inhale paint fumes.

She read her Bible every breakfast, lunch and dinner. Being that she is a sweet Grandma that no one dares to say “no” to, not even me. So every day for a week, three times each day—on good days, on stressful days, we read for snacks too—we sat and she would read before we ate. I think I must have been causing her some stress, because by the end of the week, we had at least two snacks between each meal and before bed.

I was thankful for my own room when finally I could return to Jon and Marisa’s house. I could finally have some time alone and not have to hear those words read to me all day every day.

There was a problem though. I dreamt about the stories Tricia read. One night I woke in a cold sweat after dreaming about the man, Jesus, being brutally beaten and then nailed to that cross; the worst part was his eyes. They bore into me. I couldn’t escape his gaze no matter where I went.

Another time, I dreamt Jesus was sitting with my mom and dad on the plane as it crashed, his face wet with tears as each of them held hands. I was angered more. How could he be with them and not me?

I woke in a fit. After dressing, I rushed into the kitchen. Jon and Marisa sat at the table having their morning coffee. They looked up smiling. As I stared into their faces, my stomach roiled, anger flashed and I exploded. Poison spewed on them with such force, they sat waiting for the hurricane to end. “I hate your Jesus! Tell him to leave me alone!” I screamed.

“I will tell him for you if you’ll answer me why.” Jon said softly, his eyes reddening as they filled with tears.

“Because he let those men kill my parents.” I ached from the force of the emotion finally released. “Why did he let my parents die? I need them.”

Jon stood silently, I raged on, “That Book. It ought to be thrown it into the fire.” I wailed.

He tucked me into his arms and held tightly until the war me subsided and he whispered, “Now healing can begin.”

I don’t understand it, but Jon’s right.

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This article has been read 734 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/16/10
Wow this really touched me. You did an outstanding job on all of your characters.
Beth LaBuff 04/18/10
You've written a gripping story. I admire those like Jon and Marisa who choose to not give up. Your ending shines with hope.
Mona Purvis04/19/10
A real struggle, external and internal. Written with passion.
If I could say something constructive...work on your sentence structure. Sometimes, plain and simple are best and less confusing.
Enjoyed it.

Gerald Shuler 04/19/10
It seems that Jon used the mightiest pen of all to write the word "Love" in her heart. This showed some powerful emotion. Good writing.
Patricia Herchenroether04/19/10
Very good story. All that grief bottled up turned to rage, but love brought it out so that healing could begin. Your entry is so real and true. Well-done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/20/10
Good job with the emotion and with your characters
angelos2 wark04/20/10
Very moving Message!

I agree with Mona concerning your sentence structure, unless you were intentional in keeping with a sixteen-year old voice?

Jon is a man after my own heart.

Good job.
harvestgal Ndaguba04/21/10
Wow, I loved the characters too. This brought tears to my eyes. Keep writing.
Ruth Stromquist04/22/10
You brought through the girl's confusion and inner conflict extremely well!
Author Unknown04/22/10
:rubs head from tossed brick encounter:

I like the story as a whole, but definitely it could use some editing w/ the sentences, MC voice- things like that. Something maybe having a buddy to read through beforehand might help with? (I'm willing if you'd like.)

I'm not sure how on-topic it was but the story itself was compelling and kept my attention.

Keep up the good work, and keep on writing!

:extends bandaid for painful red stuff:
Sarah Elisabeth 04/23/10
Karlene, congrats on placing in the top fifteen in Advanced!
Diana Dart 06/04/10
I loved the voice of this MC, so raw and genuine. The ending was great - super fast paced, a little unexpected and not wrapped up in a tidy bow. This plot has got some serious potential for expansion (hee hee, plot, got... am I a poet or what? NOT)