Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Don’t Look Back (04/19/12)
TITLE: Banishing the Ogre
By Joy Bach
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The fight or flight syndrome never left her.
Morning light … and before she even opened her eyes … she could feel its presence. As she readied herself for the day … each movement required her undivided focus. Was she walking too heavily across the floor? If the family living downstairs complained about her noise … there would be consequences.
Eyes cast downward; she silently ate the oatmeal and burnt toast placed in front of her. More silence as she gathered her school books and moved cautiously toward the door. So far … so good. But the day stretched out before her … long and tiring. There would be no rest this day … or any day … for her exhausted spirit. The ogre was everywhere … even at school.
She observed the other kids … laughing and shoving … talking and playing games. Apparently they didn’t care they were being watched. What would that feel like … to be unafraid of punishment? As that thought flitted through her mind, she frantically glanced around. Where was it?
Was it waiting until school was over to show itself?
Her steps were slow and methodical as she headed home. Would it be tonight … or would she be safe one more day? The relentless tension in her body became even more severe the closer she got … her stomach in painful spasms. Evenings were the very hardest.
Constantly trying to be perfect was utterly exhausting.
Carefully she placed her school books on the table … their one and only table … where she would have to do her homework. But she hadn’t been cautious enough.
“It’s a sin to be upset and bang your books on the table like that. You’ll have to go to the altar on Sunday and confess that sin.” The words or else hung in the air.
When would the ogre strike?
Bedtime … and she eased herself onto her side of the bed. The other side was reserved for her mother as they shared their one and only bed. But sleep was elusive and restless. The ever-present ogre waited for her to slip up even now.
Was there no way to banish the ogre?
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