Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Bouncebackability (06/05/14)
TITLE: In The Valley Of Darkness
By JK Stenger
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Why had she come?
I was responsible. It had been all my fault and now my wounds would be ripped open even further. I would feel the pain again in all its raging fury, a pain that I had tried so unsuccessfully to overcome.
O God, I can’t take it anymore.
Not a day had gone by without thinking of the accident. How often had I relived that awful moment and seen those fear-stricken faces in front of my car? The shuddering impact, the screeching tires, the screams, and then the deafening silence.
It taunted me relentlessly and without mercy. My shame and remorse encased me like a shroud. I know I shouldn’t have been drinking so much. I could usually keep it under control. Except that day. That fateful, horrible day.
The party had been fantastic. The weather was sultry, the music invigorating, and the girls stunningly beautiful. And then of course there had been all those drinks.
I killed two children that night. Two young children who were crossing the street with their mother. One with blue eyes and golden blond hair. The other with little curls and dark eyes. I didn’t see them. They appeared out of nowhere. But it had been my fault. In that one split second of stupidity, many lives had been changed for the worse.
And now the mother of those girls was sitting in front of me. She had told me her name was Peggy. Oh God...
Of course God had nothing to do with it. He was angry. Why wouldn’t He be? Hell would be too good for me.
When I first heard that she wanted to see me, I refused. I was too scared and didn’t think I could face her. But she insisted, so I reluctantly agreed.
So here I sat, staring at the floor. Away from her eyes that had seen so much pain because of me. She would curse me. Of that I was sure. She had every right to it, and I just had to take it.
When she came in I noticed her hair was grey. She was only 35 years old. I don’t want to do this.
She spoke my name.
I had to answer her. I owed her that much. I needed to give her the chance to pour out her anger and hate. I deserved it.
I looked up.
She is crying?
I quickly lowered my eyes again. But she touched my arm.
"Bernard...look at me."
Oh God...I cant stand it. No tears…please God, no tears…I started to shake. I wanted to keep my mouth closed, but somehow it opened and suddenly, I sobbed, "I am sorry."
The dam broke. Big tears rolled down my cheeks while I kept repeating, ”I am so very sorry.”
She took my hands in hers. Her words were gentle. I heard no hate. "It´s alright, Bernard. It´s alright."
I looked up. Her eyes were tired, but somehow, they sparkled.
"Ì have forgiven you Bernard."
"How can you forgive me." I stammered the words. "After what I’ve done?"
"Forgiveness is the only way, Bernard". She handed me a tissue, while she wiped her own eyes with her handkerchief. "God knows I have struggled. I have been angry, and I have fought with God. But I’ve found peace. He came to me in my pain and carried the load with me. I will never understand on this side of Heaven why my girls died, but I now understand that Jesus is carrying the pain. And that’s enough."
A new wave of tears threatened to overwhelm me.
"You are wounded too, Bernard. You need to know that you are forgiven and that there is hope, if you too will hold to His hand and bounce back."
"Let the healing begin.”
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