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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Personal Peace (06/01/06)

TITLE: Midnight whisper
By Helen Paynter


Tuesday, midnight.
Just another night for Anna.

Trudge up the damp concrete steps. Push open the lockless door. Scuff at the broken glass that litters the floor.

Scarred wrists protrude from the shapeless cuffs of her sweater.
Perhaps her extra inches compensate for the shriveling of her soul.

She sits, back against the wall, chewing listlessly. Earlier, a passer-by tossed her a pre-packed sandwich. Its plastic-clad sterility mocks her squalor.

She can barely remember the clean touch of cool cotton beneath her cheek. Or a soft duvet embracing her. Tonight, as every night, her pillow is her bag of belongings.
Belongings. What a strange word. The few things that belong to her belong nowhere, as she does.
Her sleeping bag is her only defence against the evils of the world.

She lies down, a grey shape amid grey shadows.

Her eyes close. She settles herself, curled like a fetus.

Deep in her brain, a cluster of cells releases melatonin, draught of sleep. It leeches into her veins, jostles with blood cells, and pulsates with the insistent rhythm of her heart. It courses around her body, lapping at nerve ends and muscle fibres. Soon, every recess of her tired frame is bathed in its milk.

Her clenched fists relax. Her breathing slows. Her face softens. She is a child again.

Adenosine, waste-product of a busy brain, is suffocating her neurons. But they have a mind to tomorrow, and all the thoughts they have yet to think. Molecule by molecule, the poison is consumed and recycled into raw brain power. Tiny bullets stored in her arsenal of concentration.

She does not dream. This is a place where no-one can intrude. A holy, uncluttered place. A safe place.

Her brain waves slow their frenzy.
Alpha - moderato.
Theta - adagio.
Delta - largo.
Across the dance-floor of her mind they tread a stately pavane.

Tuesday, midnight.
Just another night for Anna.

And tonight, as every night, the Holy Spirit broods over her naked soul, breathing upon her with the call of Home.
Stirring up memories of Eden, and whispering to her of Heaven.

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This article has been read 1243 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sue Dent06/08/06
Oh yes, quite masterful! Now, off you go-if you haven't already left, to masters I mean.
david grant06/08/06
Marvelous. One of the best this week. Yes! Move up to Advanced and show them how to write!
Jessica Schmit06/08/06
Incredible. I agree with everyone else. You're a master. You're words are amazing. Simply breathtaking. Astounding writing. I was so engrossed with this piece. Incredible job.
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/09/06
I like this...A little science lesson tucked inside a beautiful story.
George Parler 06/10/06
Bravo! A true word smith. Very nice.
Marilyn Schnepp 06/12/06
Did anyone use the word Breathtaking? Awesome? Fantastic? Truly, this is an artistic masterpiece from the pen of a great writer....
Great Job!
Rita Garcia06/12/06
All the above comments and more! The Master's touch!
Jan Ackerson 06/12/06
Your last paragraph literally made me gasp--I had no idea that you were going there. Wow!
Dr. Sharon Schuetz06/13/06
Wow, this is amazing. Whew, thanks.
Pat Guy 06/13/06
Wow ... breathtaking ... awesome ... every word - perfect. Wow!

One that is a must read ... over, and over, again. Wow!
Sherry Wendling06/13/06
I love it! Bravo, my friend! The Breath of Life is all over this one. Exquisite wordsmanship blended with the heartbeat of heaven...I agree: you're a master, touched by the Master!
Suzanne R06/15/06
I read this twice, it was so amazing. Just beautiful!
Alexandra Wilkin09/15/06
Just catching up with some of your work after my time away Helen - and your powerful descriptions, and inventive use of both ordinairy and extrodinairy - leave me bathed in satisfaction. Always a pleasure to read. God bless. xx