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

TITLE: The King's Handmaiden
By Elizabeth Baize
01/27/11


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Ten . . .Nine. . . Eight . . . Seven . . .Six . . . One bottle of tears in that spacious box? “No!” The cry burst from Katelyn’s lips as mere seconds separated her from the year’s end. She longed to rewind the ticking clock, force back the unyielding cardboard flaps, and contribute but one item of value. Five . . . Four . . . Katelyn’s eyes locked on the colorless vial that seemed to crouch in shame in the box’s darkest corner. Three . . . Two . . . A sob burst from Katelyn’s lips and like a solitary meteor, a final tear joined its companions. One. Silently and seamlessly the flaps fell together. The box was closed. Katelyn caught her breath and slowly exhaled as reality began to triumph over her desires. She could not altar the contents of the box; the stroke of midnight had sealed that option forever. In defeat, Katelyn averted her face from her past year and slowly her surroundings faded into merciful oblivion.

**************************************
Slowly Katelyn's eyes reopened. She struggled to orient herself and reconstruct what had happened. Surely she hadn’t overslept. Mom might need her! With a tremendous effort she attempted to traverse her room. In slow motion she felt herself falling. She must have tripped! Shaking her head in dismay at her own clumsiness, she found herself on the level with a cardboard box. Somehow it seemed familiar. In a moment her memory came flooding back bringing that dull, aching dissatisfaction with herself. Maybe the box was all part of a dream. She felt oblivion returning and tried to wrap herself in its shroud. “Katelyn,” the voice pierced a detrimental hole in that wonderful oblivion. It could not be, but it was – her mother’s voice. What was she doing here? She was bedridden! Hadn’t she depended on her daughter to meet her simplest need for over a year? Wasn’t the hope of her complete recovery from the accident rapidly fading? Katelyn felt a hand on her arm and did not resist as it pulled her into an upright position. “Look, Daughter.” Katelyn obeyed and focused on her mother’s finger as it drew her attention to that hateful box. Yet the finger was tracing a golden inscription that had mysteriously appeared on the box's ordinary exterior. Katelyn slowly mouthed the words, “Contents: Precious in the eyes of her Savior.” She opened her mouth to object, but paused as her mother’s hand reached out to squeeze her own. “Katelyn, don’t attempt to tell me what is in that box; I know. Yet you yourself don’t recognize the treasure it contains. You’ve spent your year in service. You’ve given your strength to care for me. Yet even in your weakest moment, the love of the King has shone through you. He sees, Katelyn. Trust the true contents of that box into His hands.”

***************************************
Katelyn lay still as she returned to consciousness and reveled in the peacefulness of early morning. Had she fallen asleep yet again? Everything had seemed so real! She flipped on her lamp, raised herself on an elbow, and gazed across the room half hoping . . . . The patter of bare feet sounded in the hallway, and a four-year-old fist wrapped a quick staccato that jerked her from her daydream. “Katelyn, Happy New Year! Let’s go surprise Mom!” Katelyn smiled and scrambled to open the door for her little brother, but as her feet touched the floor she paused and whispered, “Thank You, Lord, for renewing my joy in today’s calling.


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This article has been read 382 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lisa Fowler02/02/11
Tender story. Thank you for sharing.
Yvonne Blake 02/03/11
Unique!
(a double dream...how interesting!)
Margaret Kearley 02/07/11
Thankyou for this unusual but beautifully written story - it was just what I needed to read this morning; the last line particularly! Praise God that His mercies are new every morning. Thankyou