Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Dropout (05/12/11)
TITLE: FROM THE DARKNESS
By Linda Goergen
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She seemed to creep along in timeless darkness, so was stunned when faded words, City of Faith, beyond forest wall, appeared, tacked to a tree. She stared at the words and at trees so close and thick, it seemed useless to find a way through. Doubt almost smothered her until she saw the crack at the base of two old trees. It was filled with filthy debris, but the more she looked, the more she believed she could push it aside enough to squeeze through to Faith. She dug, hoping someone in Faith could help her! But entering, she saw how small Faith really was and everywhere people were either stumbling in a daze or sleeping! She cried out for help but no one seemed to hear! She tried to wake a women, but the woman only opened her eyes, glared, then went back to sleep. Next she ran to a young man, stumbling along, begging him to help her see Faith. He replied that he was too tired. “PLEASE”, she screamed to them all, “Wake up! Exercise!” but none would. She saw mustard seeds lying all around the ground and begged them to eat some, but they all ignored her. So crying she moved on, but before leaving Faith she grabbed up a mustard seed and swallowed it.
She again inched her way along the dark path wondering how far it was to the next place. Faith had been too small and too weak to help her, but maybe the next place could. She shivered as she stumbled along, frantically trying to find a sign. The longer she went down that lonely path, the more she ached and she was sure she heard screeches coming from somewhere in the dark telling her she was on the wrong path, to turn back. Just as she considered that, she saw a pitiful looking sign, so scarred it was barely readable saying: City of Hope, just ahead. Just over the bridge of Despair.
She ran, desperate to get to Hope before the screeching could swallow her and eternal minutes later, she heard the pounding of her feet, racing the pounding of her heart, as she made it across the bridge. She knew she was in Hope, but wanted to believe she was lost when she looked and saw person after person lying dead! She fought to hold on to sanity as she screamed for help, but the only answer she got was her own echo. She walked, examining Hope, but just saw death, in various degrees of decay. She saw a burial ground with words “REGRET” and “LIES” carved in two entryway posts and she noted that much of Hope had already been buried there. She ran, more afraid than she had ever been, but as she left she saw a glimmer on a tiny stone of Hope and she grabbed it.
Back on the dark path she didn’t think she had the strength to make it to another city. And why bother she thought. But something drove her on and she found it wasn’t far from Hope at all that she saw the sign for the City of Love. It almost seemed too gaudy the way it stood out there among the thorns and she feared to trust the arrow pointing the way. This would be her last try she thought and walked through the gate into Love. But all she saw was shadows busily moving here and there. She sat and watched them, they all seemed to be doing good deeds but none could hear her real cry for help. In agony, she screamed as loud as she could, but still they remained unhearing shadows of Love.
Then she saw him, sitting on a hill, next to a cross, surrounded by light. He was staring at her, a stare that compelled her to come. She crept slowly at first, then ran and when he reached out and she accepted his touch, then knelt before him, she knew she had found the greatest place of all. The place of real Love, real Hope and Faith that would forever pull her from the darkness.
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