Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Whine (05/23/13)
- TITLE: Please Shut The Gate!
By Pauline Carruthers
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“Out, ducks, out!”
I tell her I’m busy, but we will go to feed the ducks in five minutes as soon as I have finished putting the laundry away. She looks at me trustingly, hazel eyes shining beneath her fringe of dark wispy hair.
“Doll, pram, out!”
She is persistent and I pick up her precious doll and strap it into her toy pushchair. She looks up at me, tiny white teeth showing in a wide smile as she takes hold of the pushchair and faces it towards the kitchen door. I put on her new red jacket and little black shiny shoes, open the door and look out into the garden. The gate is locked. She is safe. We have placed a large notice on each side of the gate, reminding anyone who might come through to remember to close it firmly.
It takes me maybe five minutes to put the laundry away and grab a light jacket and bread for the ducks. I step out into the garden. She is nowhere! The gate swings open. Running, running, breathless, heart pounding in panic, light sandals crunching on the gravel path. She knows not to go through the gate, but she is nowhere! Slipping, sliding, I fall, but don’t feel the grazes on my knees or know there is blood running down my legs and into my sandals. I can hardly breathe, but I run. It’s seconds, only seconds, yet it feels like a lifetime.
I reach the duck pond. Her doll’s pushchair hangs over the edge, wheels still spinning. My chest hurts; my heart feels like it’s being wrenched out.
“Lord Jesus, she’s only two!”
The lily pads float softly on top of the murky water as I peer into its hidden depths. Beautiful pink and cream lilies we had admired only yesterday, now menacingly block my vision. Who has allowed those lilies to grow so massed together like an impenetrable shield? I don’t know what to do. I can’t see beneath the water. Shall I slide in alongside the lilies and be beside her? I close my eyes. I don’t want to see! A silent whine escapes from the depths of my soul and rises into the blackness, like the sound of a wounded animal in the night. Though it is silent, I can feel it tearing through my senses; excruciatingly silent, and painful, not permitting me the release of sound.
It’s seconds, only seconds! I open my eyes as she emerges from the bushes, ducks waddling, and quacking, pushing and shoving against her precious little body.
She doesn’t understand why I am sobbing.
“Thank you! Thank you. Thank you Jesus!”
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