Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: BROKEN (12/06/18)
- TITLE: Red-Light Love
By Stephen Kimball
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“Marie, what’s wrong, are you okay?!”
She recognized the muffled voice through the pounding of her head, but was unable to respond. Confused and gasping for air she blew a bloody clot out of her nostrils onto the worn shag carpet. She felt wetness as she swiped at her left eye which had swollen shut and as she brought her bloody fingers into focus through her matted hair the tears began to flow; the loud sobs letting Sister Theresa know that she was in the room and in trouble.
Mustering all her energy, she began slowly crawling toward the door. The pain was almost unbearable. Suddenly, the door burst open. Sister Theresa rushed to her side, shed her coat and threw it over Marie’s naked torso.
Kneeling beside her, the nun who had been living in a room down the hall whispered an off the cuff prayer, “Oh God, help this girl. Help me to help her.”
“Call 911!” Sister Theresa barked at the man who had helped her break open the door.
He began to scour the room for a phone.
“No!” Marie managed to say with urgency. “He said no cops – or I’m dead.”
“Okay baby, you need help. We must get you to a hospital. We’re going to get you up and out of here - now!”
Sister Theresa scrambled back to her room to retrieve a gown that would work to transport her friend to the hospital.
“Are your legs okay? You’re going to have to stand so we can get you to the car. Do you have anything you can’t leave behind? You cannot come back here.”
She shook her head, “Nothing.”
Unsure of herself, she repeated the words she had heard a few minutes before. “I can stand. I can stand. I can stand in your love.”
The two good Samaritans shot a confused glance at one another as they flanked the girl and boosted her to her feet. The rescuers supported her weight with one arm while using their free hands to wrap her up in the gown. Once she was on her feet, instinct and adrenaline took the three of them to the back of the Hotel where Sister Theresa parked her car. To keep her out of sight, they laid Marie down in the back seat. Sister Theresa muttered another prayer “God help us, don’t let Tony see us leave.”
“Stay here with her while I go get my things…Please.”
“Yes, yes” acknowledged the man.
Five long minutes had past when Sister Theresa appeared out of the shadows hurrying toward the car, both hands full. She threw her things in the trunk and thanked the man for his assistance.
“What is your name?” she asked.
“God bless you Angel…you have been one tonight.” The two smiled at one another before Sister Theresa slid into the driver’s seat and cranked the engine. She donned a Pittsburg Steelers ski cap that she had in the car, instructed Marie to keep down and slowly headed down the alley, avoiding the front of the building. She didn’t stop praying until they were safely inside the hospital.
“Are you family? Only family can go back with her.”
“I am a sister.” Sister Theresa responded with a straight face.
After some tests and eighteen staples in the head they finally released Marie into her “sisters” capable hands. Marie slept the entire two and a half hour drive to the convent. She stayed ten weeks detoxing and recovering from her beating. Captured by the love of God, Marie was completely transformed. During that time, she contacted her parents who were delighted to invite their daughter back into their lives. She moved to a small town somewhere in the Midwest, got a job and a tattoo that will forever remind her – “You can stand in my love.”
Re-energized, Sister Theresa moved on to another seedy hotel in a city not far away, praying continually that she be a vessel, in the hands of God, to heal the brokenhearted.
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