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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Year(s) (01/20/11)

TITLE: After All These Years
By Nancy Bucca


Roll away the stone.

That's what he said.

Roll away the stone.

He's not kidding.

Roll away the stone.

His question fills her stomach with butterflies.

Roll away the stone.

Her lips curved downward like crescent moons placed against his joyfully upturned smile would make a perfect ring. Add a diamond, and...

Roll away the stone.

It's the fifth time he's asked her. And still she wavers, like a boulder teetering on the edge of a precipice. The snake has failed to deliver. That's why he insists she...

Roll away the stone.

It's not easy to resist the grease-stained elbow tickling her funny bone or the sweet laugh dancing circles around her sour pout. And yet the pull of gravity refuses to let her...

Roll away the stone.

He's right of course. Painfully right.
A familiar lump swells her throat like a time bomb. What if she falls to pieces on him?

His deep brown eyes pour rivulets of mercy into hers. "I understand your hesitation," he assures her. "You're battling the same fear that gripped my heart when he waved that knife in my face."


A shiver runs down Becky's spine as she vividly recalls the chilling tale of her friend's near death experience -the one that resulted in his salvation. She shudders to think that it is now her turn to be flung into the same fire.

After all, they've no funds to pay a professional plumber, and without a miracle they'll lose the farm.

How she wishes he wouldn't push her so.

Touching his ring finger to hers he vows, "If you will take my hand then I will help you push."

The words flow like oil from his lips. She can almost see them ooze down into the pipe and loosen the rock. His handsome features draw her in.

At last she decides to do it - even if the resulting stench makes matchwood of their relationship.

Grasping his outstretched palm in hers, she grits her teeth and waits for him to strike the first chord.

Eager to oblige, he sends a stream of deep rich notes floating toward heaven like a bubbling brook. In contrast her croaking attempts to make a joyful noise sound like a "rib it." Total stink-ola in case he hasn't noticed.

He must be tone deaf, for the more she croaks the louder he sings. Either he wants to drown her out, or he's just being polite. Whatever the reason, it melts the iceberg of rejection eclipsing her heart.

Suddenly there is a loud rumble followed by a deafening quake and a cry of "Look out!" Like a fire cracker an unidentified flying object pops out of the kitchen sink and drops to the floor. She turns to pick it up.

Cradling it in her palm, she sees that it's a rock - a clear shiny rock the size of a golf ball.

Turns out his so-called "word of knowledge" was right after all. Seems there really was a stone clogging the pipe - a truly marvelous stone, worth a hundred times her father's yearly salary.

"Told you it would work," he says. "Years of ancient wisdom packed into that little black Bible show the power of music to turn stones to miracles. And look at the size of this one!"

Yes indeed, thinks Becky. Whether the stone lies over a tomb, in a pipe, or over the door to one's heart, coal turns to diamonds the moment age-old blockages are removed - such as the stumbling block that for ten-plus years has kept her from seeing this marvelous gem for who he is...

A complete airhead totally oblivious to her feelings! Why, just look at him packing his tools as if he had more important things to do than lounge around her living room! His off-the-cuff comment "Looks like you and your father will be able to pay the mortgage after all" leaves her stomach in a knot.

How dare he dump her after she just bared her soul to him?

Angrily she turns her gaze away from his.

Ignoring her he takes swift steps toward the foyer, but stops just before he reaches the door. "I'm going to the field to meditate," he says. "But before I leave there's a very important question I must ask you."

Her heart does a flip-flop. Can it be? Yes, Isaac Abeson. No matter what, the answer's yes.

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This article has been read 486 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anita van der Elst01/28/11
I'm intrigued by this story & its wonderful flow of words & imagery. I keep thinking I'm going to get it but even after reading a second time, I'm still not quite sure what it's all about. But I wish I did.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/30/11
Your words have a poetic feel. I like how you take A part of the Bible and use it for an everyday answer. I think you may have been hampered by-the word count or maybe. I'm just thick I thought I understood understood parts, but I didn't get it all. Keep writing
Noel Mitaxa 01/31/11
Very descriptive, but you have a lot going on here. Maybe the word limit got in your way, but I think I can see a couple of stories that need to be separated and developed.
Dawn Thomason02/03/11
Congrats on your 2nd place win!
Troy Manning02/04/11
I appreciate your story's highly allusive &, yes, at times, elusive style. I much prefer a story that calls to mind a number of different images (e.g. unclogging a pipe, giving birth, singing, expressing feelings, etc.) than one that gives a univocal, closed meaning that one quickly grasps then moves on. Glad it received the high recognition. Congratulations!