Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: A MIGHTY FORTRESS (don't write about the song) (04/23/15)
- TITLE: Running to hide
By Jonati Vosloo
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Without warning a dark shadow shifted over the rolling hills, lightning flashed across the sky and with a thunderous roar the clouds poured out their daily four o’clock showers on the African farm. Raindrops danced in the dust, settled on grass blades and formed big glassy pools on the freshly polished porch.
In the house Sarah’s dad jumped from his chair in the study, bellowing down the hallway. “Sarah, go and call a servant to come and sweep the front porch. It’s wet after the rain!”
Rage in his voice curled like grey smoke down the corridor. Sarah’s heart missed a beat as she ran down the long hallway. Little bare feet tapping unevenly on the wooden floor while holding anxiously on to two tightly woven plaits with her small fists. Her heart now throbbing in her ears, and her breath urged her on, “Run little one, run!”
At the back door, for a moment, Sarah leaned against the whitewashed wall. A tear slid down her cheek. She wiped it away, covering her eyes with her arm. Sara’s clouded mind tried to make sense of her dad. “Was it his voice that made me tremble and let my mouth go all dry or was it the familiar icy glaze in his eyes blazing inexplicably with fire?” Perhaps it was the beating of her heart preventing her from knowing why she could not think about anything else apart from running.
Outside the house Sarah saw the servants huddled together on the back veranda hiding from the sudden afternoon shower. They were cheerfully scooping food skillful with hands from the black three legged iron pot in the middle of the circle. Sarah did not have the heart to ask anyone to stop her meal in order to sweep the front porch so she decided to rather do it herself. She returned to get the grass broom, thinking about the soft sweeping sound of the broom splashing through puddles of rain on the cement floor. Oh, how she would love to hear the familiar sweeping sound again.
Soon the front porch was filled with the sound of the broom singing its grassy-swish-in-rainy-puddles song. Delighted in the joy of the moment, her fear was pushed away, if only fleetingly. The sun was warm on her shoulders and the swishing sound of the broom through the puddles filled her ears. She felt calmed.
Halfway through the second broom-song his voice cut sharply through her moment of bliss. A painful silence followed as she heard, “Did I not tell you to get a servant to sweep the front porch?” She looked up and heard his heavy breathing, seeing his eyes glaring at her from under the rim of his hat. Fear swirled around her bare feet and crawled up against her legs till it reached the hem of her cotton dress. The broom clattered onto the cement floor under her feet and a silent scream rose in her heart. She stroked with her hands across the printed flowers on her dress as if they needed soothing too.
His rasp exploded into a shout as he yelled again, “Did I not tell you to go and get a servant to sweep the porch?” His voice pierced her heart as she cringed in terror. Before her knees could buckle under her, she turned around and ran.
That was the day her running started…
Running away from lightning in eyes…
Running away from thunder in voices…
Running away from the ability to relax and be at peace…
Her running never stopped until that one day fifty years later when she, tired of running, saw HIS eyes looking at her. She leaned forward and put her weary head on her knees allowing toxic tears to run freely down her tired legs, whispering softly, “I am done. I can’t run anymore.”
The counsellor sat in silence before she asked, “What do you see?”
Sarah: “I see a strong tower reminding me of a Mighty Fortress.”
The counsellor: “What are you doing?”
Sarah: “I walk into the fortress. I give Him my running and my tiredness. I am home.”
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