Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Write for the SUSPENSE and/or THRILLER Genre (10/23/14)
- TITLE: The future stolen
By Trace Pezzali
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It was early morning, though the chill was losing its bite. The boy, already on his way to visit the sick girl, now ran, nauseated with dread.
People had gathered in the courtyard of the house. Several were on their knees, their contorted faces scrubbed grey with dirt and patterned with muddy trails of tears. Others tore at their coarse tunics and cried to heaven. Flutes filled the air with haunting lament.
He saw the small child who sought his own face.
“Mathias,” she choked. He swept her up into an embrace. Each sob she cried into him added to his burden.
The teenager overhead a conversation:
“He’s been sent for. The master went himself.”
“It’s too late now.”
“I must see Anna,” Mathias said to the sister. She led him around the house to a window set in the limestone brick, and then left him. Once his eyes adjusted to the dim interior, he saw the dead girl. The twist in his guts nearly floored Mathias. Anna’s sweet lips were slightly parted from her last breath... lips he’d traced with his thumb only a few days ago. Gone from Anna’s face was the tension of pain she’d worn.
The distraught mother grasped a lifeless hand in both of her own, lips pressed to cold fingers. “My darling. My darling,” she groaned.
Mathias swept the knuckles of a clenched fist across his eyes to push away angry tears. The future had been stolen.
Over the death-song of the crowd, a clear calm voice carried from the courtyard.
“Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.”
Scornful laughter came in response. At the man’s command for the mourners to go, the courtyard became quiet, and now Mathias saw the travel-stained man framed in the narrow doorway of the room which was unclean with death. In turn, Anna’s father and three other men entered.
The stranger crossed the space and knelt by the mat, his back to Mathias. He took Anna’s other hand in his own, and spoke life.
Incredulous, Mathias sucked in his breath as Anna obeyed. Confused but alert, the young girl sat up and was helped to her feet. Anna, his Anna! Oh God, praise God, his Anna, alive!
“Give her something to eat,” the man spoke gently to the mother, and to the father “Tell no-one of this.”
“Thank you,” they managed to say in their amazement, before the man left.
Mathias was torn between meeting the man who had resurrected his beloved, and filling his sight with Anna resplendent in health.
His curiosity and longing to follow the stranger overwhelmed him. Mathias kicked up the dust with his sandals when he made a hasty dash after the departed company. He caught sight of them a short way up the road. From this distance Mathias joyously called out “Wait, my Lord!”
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