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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Touch (the sense of touch) (08/05/10)

TITLE: The Intruder
By william price
08/12/10


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“Keep still lady,” the brawny male voice ordered in a whisper pressed to my ear. Stiff whiskers pricked my skin. Goosebumps rumbled down my back. A strong, firm, calloused hand held my mouth shut. I could smell the dirt under his fingernails. I could hear his wristwatch … tick … tick … tick.

A musky cotton blindfold was bound tightly behind my blonde-haired head.

A knife was extremely close to my throat. I couldn’t see, but I knew it was there. The blade radiated cool. Its razor sharp steel edge held steady millimeters from my sweating skin.

My own trembling must have created the contact. A tiny slit leaked blood; warm blood. It meandered slowly down my throat, dripping inside my nightshirt where it finally tickled my belly in an absurd mixture of bizarre conflicting senses.

My heart pounded like mallets beating a kettle drum. I could feel its deep percussion. My body vibrated fear.

I whimpered, audibly.

He held me tighter. “I am going to kill you …”

My blood chilled. His knife touched my skin. I heard its slight incision. Another slit released a second small stream of blood.

“…if you don’t be totally quiet.”

If?

I took a slow breath. He said, IF.

Police sirens and dogs barked in the distance. The barking dogs angered me. Of all nights, God, why did Elijah have to be at the vet? Thanks. A subtle change in my captor’s voice interrupted my irreverent rant.

“Dios, por favor rescartarme.”

I wondered why he spoke English to me and muttered his prayer in Spanish.

The knife eased off my throat when sirens faded.

“I’m going to remove my hand from your mouth. If you scream I will kill you. Nod if you understand.”

I nodded, very slowly. His grip loosened.

I asked hoarsely, “Why do you want God to rescue you?”

He laughed wryly.

“I don’t want to die today. Didn’t you pray when my knife was at your throat?”

“Pray? All I could do was feel the insanity of my blindfold, my neck bleeding, your voice threatening … your hand … knife … whiskers … my life ending.”

“And still, you did not pray. Didn’t you believe I was going to kill you?”

“I still don’t know that you won’t.”

He cleared his throat. “Why didn’t you pray?”

“I didn’t see the point. Why are the police after you? Why pray in Spanish? Are you going to kill me?”

“Ha. A lot of questions, but I will say our future depends on your prayer.”

“My prayer?”

“Yes, I can only pray in Spanish and I do not believe God hears that language anymore. And we need a miracle.”

“But you prayed in Spanish earlier?”

“A bad habit.”

“That’s silly.”

I knew I shouldn’t have said that, not because it might have angered him, but because I related.

“Silly,” his voiced boomed in violent whisper, “what’s silly is a bound woman who won’t pray when a stranger has a knife to her throat.”

“Well, that’s not half as silly as an outlaw blindfolding a blind woman.”

There was tangible silence. I sensed his stare.

“You’re blind then. For that I’m sorry. So no car I assume. Ha, my luck.”

“Eso es correcto, amigo. They don’t give drivers licenses to blind people. Your compassion is overwhelming. And concerning prayer, you lose there too. I don’t believe God listens to blind people.”

His response startled me. “You’re wrong, God listens to the blind. I know, my grandmother’s blind, and she taught me to pray.”

“And you’re wrong,” I blurted, “I know God answers Spanish prayers. My dad preaches in Mexico.”

A profound quiet followed.

He broke the silence.

“I escaped from jail.”

“Why?”

“My grandmother’s dying.”

“What was your crime?”

“Stealing a car.”

“To see your grandmother, right?”

“Si …”

I felt him loosen my blindfold. I heard him walk to my kitchen and turn on some water. I soon felt cool cotton swabbing my throat. He started to cry.

“I’m not a killer.”

Any tenseness or fear was vanquished by a Heavenly presence I hadn’t experienced since childhood before my darkness visited. I remembered watching dad preach; feeling the presence of God.

A new comfort touched my heart. I started to pray, “Aunque pase por el valle de sombra de muerte.”

My ex-captor joined in, “temeré mal alguno, porque tú estás conmigo.”

We finished together, “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort us …”


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This article has been read 435 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anita van der Elst08/13/10
Skillfully written--you took this reader right into the scene. Great dialogue! However I am left questioning why this intruder had to hold the woman at knife point (her expert hearing ability plus being in a nightshirt gave me the sense that he woke her up to do so), if all he wanted was to take her car? Poor planning on his part? It's going to bug me all day. LOL! Other than that, good job!
Mid Stutsman08/16/10
He had already stolen the car...it's what he had been in jail for before he broke into the blind woman's house.
Nice job on creating desperation, cynicism, intrigue, and using the connection of prayer to diffuse the tense situation. A nice ending "touch" would have been to have her reaching out with her hand to take his before they finished the prayer together... Great job on the Spanish, btw!! :)
Amy Michelle Wiley 08/16/10
I used to make up stories just like this when I was little and got scared of a bump in the night. Good job and nice twist that she was blind.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/16/10
OOHH this is filled with suspense and inner turmoil. I devoured and loved every word.
Rachel Phelps08/17/10
This is wonderful. The tension, the characters, the dialogue. Really, really great.
Ruth Brown 08/18/10
This was an excellent read. I was captured immediately and touched at the end.
Sandra Petersen 08/18/10
I couldn't stop reading until I reached the end. Great use of dialogue and description. I felt goosebumps, not knowing what the captor had in mind and how graphic you might have to be with it.
Gregory Kane08/30/10
Now that is what I call a great hook. And a strong message at the end - well done.