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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Control (01/30/06)

TITLE: Modern Day Tomb Dweller
By janet rubin


Tammy huddled in the corner of her bedroom, drew her knees up and buried her nose between them. One black light bulb cast a dim glow into the otherwise darkened room. Her parents’ angry voices boomed through the wall.

“She’s out of control! It’s time that she find somewhere else to live.”

He hates me.

“John, she’s only fifteen. You can’t throw her out.”

Maybe I’ll save him the trouble.

She turned up the music screaming through her headphones and squeezed her eyes shut. This drowned out the shouting, but not the other voices in her head.

Just kill yourself. No one wants you.

Tammy’s head throbbed and she wanted to scream. Reaching under her bed, she slid out a box. Tears dripped from her chin and soaked her flannel pajama pants as she pulled out a stained towel and a razor blade.

The demons salivated in anticipation of blood. Doeg, head of the legion, inhaled the salty scent of human tears and smiled. It had been so easy to enter her; they simply floated in with the evil lyrics that pulsed without ceasing through her headphones or mingled with the marijuana smoke she sucked into her lungs. She was so vulnerable— lonely and self-loathing. Now, they controlled her.

“Come on,” he hissed, “cut yourself.”

Tammy lifted her top, revealing a stomach scarred with lines like railroad tracks, the one closest to her ribcage still healing. She dragged the blade just above it, with enough pressure to slice the skin. A line of red appeared in the razor’s wake. She cut a little deeper, made this line longer than the last, and watched indifferently as the liquid dripped down her side and pooled on the towel. Her heartbeat slowed; with cutting came relief.

The demons cackled. Doeg shrieked with delight. This game never ceased to thrill him. Destruction was intoxicating. Mortals were made in the image of God. Destroying them was the next best thing to the impossible act of destroying Him. The legion had been at this for millennia.

As Tammy slashed at her stomach, Doeg recalled the man they’d tormented in the tombs. The tool was a sharp rock rather than a razor, but the excitement was the same.

And the boy they possessed. How fun it had been to send him stumbling into fires. Doeg sniffed hungrily remembering how the stench of burning flesh filled his nostrils.

Those stories ended badly, but this one would not. His eyes darted about the room until they rested on a cigarette lighter.

Troubling images filled Tammy’s head. Girls taunting her, ridiculing her black clothing and body piercings. Another boy who’d used her and left.

The cutting wasn’t enough. A lighter caught her eye. She picked it up, turned it over in her hand, then flicked it to life and held the flame below her forearm. Her stomach lurched as pain seared her flesh.

“Oh God help me!” she whimpered.

The demons quivered as the tiny hairs on Tammy’s arm sizzled, the foul smell of burning hair filling the air.

Tammy dropped the lighter. The noise in her ears was suddenly too much. She turned down the volume and twisted the tuner in search of something mellow. Through the static, a deep voice emerged. “Come to Me, all who are weary…”

Doeg cringed. “NO! Not that station. Change it Tammy!”

Tammy let go of the knob though and lay back.

“I will give you rest…”

A nervous quiet settled over the legion.

The radio voice continued. “You might feel there’s no hope, but there is. Jesus Christ…”

The name was like an explosion, knocking the demons backwards.

Tammy turned up the volume, her brow crinkled. The man was talking about blood—Jesus’ blood.

“You might think you’re too bad to be loved by God, but that’s not true. Jesus Christ,” the demons moaned and covered their ears, “shed His blood for you. He wants to help.”

Tammy stared down at her vandalized mid-section. The soothing voice invited her to call for help, 1-800-NEW-LIFE. She reached for the cordless phone with a shaking hand. The demons struggled to their feet, preparing to attack. Doeg was screaming orders. “Don’t let her! Use whatever you can—fear, shame, lies…”

Just then a song came on, the chorus repeating that awful name, Jesus, again and again. The demons watched helplessly as Tammy dialed the phone. They’d lost control. Someone on the other end picked up and Tammy began to sob. “I need help.”

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This article has been read 1148 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anita Neuman02/06/06
Oooh, this is creepy and so real - and brilliantly written. You've gotten into Tammy's head and expressed her character in a very moving way. You've also made the reality of spiritual warfare very clear. Great job!
Maxx .02/06/06
Oooo, Frank Peretti look out! This is really catchy. Nice work. Held my attention throughout. The personality of the girl is painted very nicely. Could be a winner!
Birdie Courtright02/07/06
This is a powerful story. I've known kids who did this. I've known kids who were released in much the same way Tammy was. Very true to life. Thanks for writing about a hard subject, and writing it very well.
Betsy Tacchella02/08/06
Very well written! You captured my interest and held it throughout. Do I see a book about to emerge from this???
Jan Ackerson 02/11/06
I loved the fact that what drew Tammy in was talking about Jesus' blood--she understood the power of blood already. What a masterful touch!
Karri Compton02/11/06
Fantastic job - very creative.
Cassie Memmer02/11/06
Very good writing! Sad but real life. I'm thankful she found hope in Jesus. Great job!
Dara Sorensen02/11/06
Absolutely amazing! I think I see a winner here!
Cheryl Harrison02/11/06
Very well done. I work with kids who struggle with cutting themselves. Their pain is as real as their wounds. You have taken a serious topic and written it in a way that could reach kids like this. I hope you will consider doing some more writing along these lines. If not a book, then maybe a series of bible study illustrations on difficult topics (abortion, suicide, eating disorders, etc...) Good job.
Beth Muehlhausen02/12/06
This is amazing. The demonic portrayal works so well...! Very involving and effective. I found myself staring at the computer screen, trying to envision her cut on the stomach.....gave me chills. Also appreciated the fact that simple song lyrics and the NAME of Jesus held such power for change! Awesome. :-)
Pat Guy 02/13/06
Janet - this was one of my personal favorites. Good work! Gripping, real and holds on to the reader from beginning to end. I enjoyed your work.
Jan Kamp02/13/06
So real it almost broke my heart. There are so many kids in similar situations and so often parents & Christian friends don't take the time to understand the battle for their souls that is taking place within their minds. Excellent job - an eye opener. Congratulations!
Linda Watson Owen02/13/06
Congratulations on a very well deserved win! Your charged message is riveting in this piece. I'm sure the Lord will use it to reach needy young souls. Blessings to you!
Joanne Malley02/13/06
Chilling portrayal of evil and how Satan's minions are eager to control. It's truly a victory when we can rejoice over battles won. Great entry!
Reni Bumpas02/14/06
Fabulous job of capturing the pain and struggle of so many. Oh that we had Jesus's eyes to see people like her with compassion rather than judgment.
Vanessa Severino03/16/06
This article is definitely a must for all parents and young people to read. I highly recommend it for someone in the valley, undergoing spiritual warfare. Its so comforting to someone hearing the whispers of the enemy,to know what is going on "behind the scenes" when we call out Jesus name with our hearts, and He calls out ours. This was an amazing illustration, of what happens to the enemy, when Jesus is mentioned. My prayer is that all will remember this in the midst of an attack, to call out his name, because when we do the enemy has to go. This was truly a blessing, you will touch many oppressed hearts with this one...Lead me to cry out for the hurting even more, asking GOD to break our hearts over the things that break his heart, and how light triumphs over evil...thank you so much, for being a vessel of GOD with this article...GOD BLESS