Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: End (02/13/06)
- TITLE: A Storm in the Night
By Kenn Allan
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Hope stirred in Jenny’s heart. Could it all be a dream? She rushed across the room to the side of the crib and peered over the railing. Except for the rumpled sheets strewn carelessly across the mattress, it was empty. It wasn’t a dream. She was completely alone.
The room grew noticeably darker.
“No!” she wailed, backing away from the crib. This was not how it was supposed to be. Giving birth to Joey meant an end to her loneliness. For the remainder of their days, she would be his mother and he would be her son. She would shower him with unconditional love and never give him any reason to abandon her in favor of his own selfish desires or earthly lusts as his father had done. As God had done.
Fueled by a sudden surge of anger, Jenny faced the window and shook a clenched fist at the impending storm. “How could you do this to my baby?” she shrieked. A blinding flash of lightning revealed the fury etched in her face with hellish contrast. “I will have nothing to do with such a cruel God!” She grabbed the curtains and jerked them shut, plunging the room deeper into a world of nightmarish shadows.
A peal of thunder rolled across the sky, shaking the room to its foundations. In response to the movement, the musical mobile over the crib swayed and chimed a few hesitant notes. The six dangling angels began dancing in the darkness.
Jenny watched the angels, her heart filling with regret over what she had said. “I really didn’t mean it,” she apologized to the ceiling. “It’s just that Joey and I had so little time together. If we could only share a few more minutes, maybe one last song...” She wound up the mobile, releasing a tinkling rendition of Brahms Lullaby. She began to sing:
“Lullaby and good night, thy mother's delight,The words broke apart in her throat, choking her. She collapsed into a white rocking chair angled in the corner near the crib. It had been their special chair. With trembling fingers, she lovingly lifted her only picture of Joey from the nearby dresser and clutched it to her breast. The rocking chair thumped hollow against the wall like the irregular beating of his imperfect little heart. As she wiped the tears from her eyes, Joey’s picture slipped from her grasp and clattered onto the floor.
Bright angels beside my darling abide,
They will guard thee at rest, thou shalt wake on my breast,
They will guard thee at rest...”
Behind the curtains, a spray of sympathetic raindrops pelted across the window.
“Oh, God, is this how you felt when your Son died?” Jenny sobbed. “How did you bear the pain?”
At that moment, the moon peeked from behind the thinning clouds. A narrow shaft of light passed through the gap in the curtains and reflected off the glass of the picture at Jenny’s feet, filling the nursery with a soft radiance. Once again, all the cheerful colors came alive.
“I think I understand,” said Jenny, gazing around the room in wonder. “Joey is still alive, just like your son, Jesus. Only his suffering has ended.” The moon shone a little brighter. “Very well, into your hands I commend his precious spirit.”
Exhausted, Jenny curled up in the rocking chair and surrendered to the mercies of a dreamless sleep. For the remainder of the night, the moonbeam crept steadily up the rocking chair and caressed her with its reassuring light while passing breezes outside the nursery window breathed a hushed lullaby:
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed,The storm was over.
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed.
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