Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: SNOOZE (07/20/17)
- TITLE: The Empath
By Ann Sullivan
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She came hoping other writers would attend the impromptu meeting at the Full Moon Café, but here was John – alone – the one person she would’ve avoided. He motioned for her to sit down at a table in the back of the café. He had a Coke in a plastic cup topped by a straw with tooth impressions around the rim and she shuddered. The Coke was half gone and diluted by the melting ice while droplets of sweat dripped down the outside.
She set her books on the table asking, “Can I get you anything? I’m needing a coffee.” She hoped the walk to the counter would give other writers time to insulate her from a vis-à-vis with John. It didn’t.
Their conversation began awkward – not worth mentioning. He talked about his back blurb and whether she liked his front cover, all black with a lick of red flame titled Fire. She did like it but wondered why he covered his face in a long grizzled beard and a gray moustache. He had a youthful face behind the hair and his deep brown eyes which should have been a beguiling centerpiece were lost to the bushy façade.
She noticed the author’s name on the book cover. “That’s not your name.”
“I know it’s a pseudonym.” He stuttered. “Actually, it’s my grandfather’s name.”
Now fully awake, she knew why she was here – alone with him, but she didn’t comment. “Here, can you read this? I wrote it the other day.” She handed him two pages – just a beginning which he read and handed back to her without comment.
“I need to use the restroom.” he said as he rose from his chair.
She thought, he feels it and is running away. She sighed. This is what she wanted to avoid. Well, I’m not leaving without doing my job.
When he returned she asked. “So what do you think?”
His eyelids fluttered like a stammering first-time speaker and she almost felt sorry for him - but not quite. She just waited maintaining eye contact. She could feel his affliction. He said. “It’s not really a story – it’s more like poetry – I mean where is it going?”
“It’s a story about a man’s downfall, his redemption and the woman who prayed him through it for two years. He never knew she prayed, but it’s what saved him.”
John began gathering his things from the table. Papers, books and a laptop disappeared into a brief case resting on the chair. “Can’t he just find redemption in himself?”
She returned with a definitive, “No.” Then she sighed again. Time was short, the snooze button no longer worked, and as he left she knew this was the beginning of another redemption – John’s – alias Isaak Abrahamson.
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