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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Abundance (06/08/06)

TITLE: The Scars
By Maxx .


The drapes over Grandma’s sliding door billowed, the evening sun flickering low through meager Joshua trees. I stood in front of a full length mirror and let my clothes fall to the carpet. You can’t hide from yourself when you’re naked.

My finger traced dimpled fat curving below my teenage belly. I understood why nobody liked me at school. Why would they? I was hideous, grotesque. Flabby hips, lopsided breasts, freckled skin. The Wiccan pentagram above my thigh had faded into a murky green tattoo. I scowled.

In my hand I held nail-scissors, blades open, glinting.

Grandma had gone to the hospital. She said I should go, too. The doctor claimed Mom was dying, but her coma looked a lot like the drunken stupor she’d lived her life in. She couldn’t cope, stopped trying after Dad died, never loved me. I didn’t blame her. Mom had left me for a bottle. Death was only the next step of abandonment.

Numbness clouded my senses. I knew I should be feeling something, but I was hollow, empty, a bucket with holes.

I’d never cried. Not for Dad. Not for Mom. Not for me.

The house popped and moaned as the desert air began to cool, like a jaw snapping closed. I trembled, my skin becoming puckered with goose bumps and I squeezed my eyes shut.

My hand tingled, the scissors seemed alive.

I raised my left arm, slow, reverent, as if opening a sacred vault. Purple scars mottled the delicate tissue below my armpit. They traced the indentations of my ribs. Each a witness, a testimony to worthlessness … my legacy, all I deserved.

I’d wanted Dad to die. I wished for his death, and it happened. A car accident while he was stoned, coming home, to me. It would have been just the two of us. He never remembered things he did when he used. But I did. And I wanted him dead.

Mom had slapped me after I told her. She refused to forgive me.

Three days later I stole his straight-edge razor. My first cut. It felt … justified.

But at least it felt.

Darkness closed in about me, the shadows of evening growing into night. I blinked at the dim body reflected before me. Pathetic. A buzzing filled my head like a swarm of angry bees and a sickening laughter crept from the pit of my stomach.

The sting of the blade was familiar, reassuring. I drew it across my skin, piercing my side. A crimson line seeped and spread. Blood streamed, outlining my torso, bathing the roundness of my hip.

I smirked.

Pain was reality, the one thing I controlled.

The doorbell rang. I spun about, heart jumping into my throat. I stayed still, not breathing, hoping the person would leave.

An urgent knock, loud and persistent. “Tabby?” Again. “It’s Danni. Your Grandmother asked me to come by.”

The wetness on my skin grew cold. “Uh.” My teen leader. I hurried to the bathroom and snatched a towel from the wicker basket. “One minute.” I held it to my wound, placing pressure with my elbow as I struggled to dress. The bleeding slowed and stopped. I pulled on my t-shirt.

I opened the front door.

Danni smiled. “Hi.” A deep warmth softened her voice. “We’ve missed you at youth group, and with your Mom …” She paused and touched my cheek. “I want to make sure everything’s …” Her gaze moved to my side. A red stain was oozing through the fabric. “Oh, Tabby …”

I glanced to the floor, my throat beginning to burn. “I’m sorry.” A sob caught then surfaced.

She came in and closed the door. “You don’t need to punish yourself, remember? We’ve talked about how Jesus accepted our wounds as His.” Her eyes teared as she took my hands and led me to the bathroom. “Paul said, ‘I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus.’”

I lifted my shirt as she rummaged for bandages. “I have scars.”

Danni tilted her head, lips parting. “We all do, honey. You just choose to wear yours on the outside.” She stroked my hair. “But Jesus loves you and wants to fill you with abundant joy.”

My brow creased and my mouth stretched thin.

“Tabby, you can be healed by his wounds.”

I flinched as she sprayed on the disinfectant. “I think I’d like to feel joy. Will you help me?”

Gal 6:17 From now on, don't let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus.

1 Peter 2:24 He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds!

New Living Translation

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This article has been read 1348 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Debbie OConnor06/15/06
Harsh, but real. I felt the end wrapped too quickly. I would have preferred more story as opposed to the scripture at the end. This will disturb people, but it is happening more often than we'd like to think or know. Well done.
Lori Othouse 06/16/06
Yes, it was disturbing, but a great insight into some of the pain around us. The transition at the end was a little quick, but it's hard with the word limit. I think this could be lengthened and really minister to some hurting people going through similar emotions. Great job!
Jesus Puppy 06/17/06
An amazing view of the true pain of a "Cutter." Having friends that suffer so, I know the trial of seeing them through to the love of God.. This is truly a blessed story. May the Lord use it and you, for reaching others. A well done story drawing the reader in with each line.... Very well done once again..
Jessica Schmit06/17/06
I didn't find this disturbing at all. maybe that's a bad thing. I knew a few people who did this and I think you protrayed th emotional baggage of this story extremly well. I think I know who you are. I could tell by the second line. I'll have to re read it to get the other fourteen stories interweaved throughout this masterpiece! :] Great, great work. Oh, but for my negative, I didn't like the ending. I thought it was resolved too quickly. But, that could just be me. But if it's you, it's not your usual style. None the less, excellent piece. Beautifully written.
Melanie Kerr 06/17/06
I really felt for your character and kept thinking "Where is the positive, uplifting part?" You described her emptiness so well. I rejoiced when Danni came in! And she didn't judge but just loved and encouraged.
Sally Hanan06/17/06
This was a great piece of writing in many ways.
I think that instead of the last line you used, I'd let a whirring of hope stir deep down within, something she has perhaps nver felt before, and leave that as the ending.
Pat Guy 06/17/06
I think this is perfect from beginning to end. It captures everything.

Your ending implies they have already talked and a friendship of accountablity had evolved. I loved Danni's response and words - perfect.


Ann Darcy06/18/06
I have a feeling I know who this is, but we'll have to see...

I loved it up until the end. I felt like it was too tidy and easy. Yea, sure she might have this kind of reaction through time, but I felt like as a teenager with the emotional baggage she had, she wouldn't just give in so fast, at least on the cover.

However, I loved your descriptiveness in this and the emotion it evoked. It's a very real issue today and I think you've captured it beautifully! Thanks!
Suzanne R06/19/06
This is written by a master, that's for sure. Your descriptions are magnificent. I was a little disappointed with the ending - thought the comment about the scars on the outside was a bit too pat. I am just slightly confused about Paul's scars from beatings for his faith relating to this poor girl's scars. But that's my opinion only. It is great writing. I bet I know who the author is too ... we'll see!
Kevin Kindrick06/19/06
Wow, chillingly familiar. I had a freind who went through this, and several attempts at suicide.

I went to her wedding in April, she's starting on the path to following Jesus. There is always hope!

God bless,

Pat Guy 06/20/06
Maxx ~ if I had known this was yours, I would have found something wrong with it! :)

And sitting in front of you this time isn't going to do me any good either. (I need a raspberry emoticon)
terri tiffany06/20/06
Excellent first paragraph. The descriptions were detailed and chillingly real. I agree that at first I thought the ending was quick but when I reread it, I think that indeed it wasn't the first time the person helped and at some point we hope a person asks for help...that was the point. It didn't mean she would never do it again..she was just asking for help. Very nice job!
Jan Ross06/20/06
I've read this one more than once and each time the visual image is more profound. Excellent! The pain you conveyed is all too real, but then so is the Jesus who heals the brokenness that leads to such a place as this.
Brenda Craig06/20/06
Such descriptive writing and insight. Not to dark, but painful to say the least. Wonderful writing? This would make a really good short redemptive story with great potential to help someone going through this. I hope you expand it.
Sherry Wendling06/20/06
I'm enthralled with the way you can make even inanimate objects seem alive: "The house popped and moaned as the desert air began to cool, like a jaw snapping closed." You are Master of Mood!

The ending was OK, but it was a little too neatly wrapped up to feel like a genuine Maxx. How to make a happy ending while maintaining the delicious complexities and layered meanings of your stories? Dunno. Only Maxx can pull it off!

Jan Ackerson 06/21/06
Beautifully written, and put me in the "liked the ending" camp. Perhaps a bit weak on topic, but your writing and your strong imagery are outstanding.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz06/21/06
Maxx, you'll never really be in the box. You so captured a hurting subculture that needs help. I've counseled girls who did this and know not only that it is a serious reality, but that you clearly brought this illness into the light.

I thought the ending was a tiny bit hurried; however, the youth leader stopping by was really a natural occurrence. Good job.
Helen Paynter06/21/06
Loved it - (in a flesh-creeping sort of way!) - and it deals with a very important subject. I agree with the majority about the ending, though, just a little too 'pat'. Otherwise it's perfect.
Trina Courtenay06/21/06
Another great entry from Maxx. I pray it wins, you never know who will be reading this quaters bk.

I look forward to reading your work each and every week.

Amy Nicholson06/22/06
This will probably bless more people than you will ever know. Bless you for your obedience in writing it.
Crista Darr06/30/06
This is just amazing writing. You have a great gift for bringing the writer into the story - something only the best of authors can do.