Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: EERIE (07/28/16)
- TITLE: Shadowed Spaces
By Tracy Nunes
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Escape. That’s all…that’s all. I run to anywhere He’s not. He’ll eventually find me. He always does.
My toes leave an impression in the damp moss as I step trembling through the woods. A sharp rock pricks my feet but I barely notice. Running builds up thick callouses.
It wasn’t always like this. Me and Him. I was in love. So in love. We met the summer I turned seventeen. When we were introduced, I was speechless. Not much took my words away then, unlike now. I’ve lost my words – or the ability to spit them out anyway. We spent every spare moment together that summer. He was as gentle to me as a summer rain. And I soaked up every drop of that quenching water.
He got me when no one else did. Not my parents. Not my neighbors. No one. They didn’t protect me -but He did. He loved me like no one ever loved me. A crazy girl I was, thinking we may have actually invented it – love I mean. It felt so real and new, like something no one else had ever known.
Then, a grey-skied afternoon while walking alone in woods much like this one, the shadows that I never feared when He was with me became groping hands and lunging hips. I screamed. I begged. But He wasn’t there. And they didn’t listen.
When it was all over. When I was bleeding and half-conscious, I felt Him close by. I felt his gentle touch. I received it but I no longer trusted Him. He never hurt me – not once – but He allowed others to. It didn’t matter that I’d told Him to stay away. To let me walk alone; independent of His watchful eyes.
Afterwards, I was no longer a young girl in love but a broken woman hell-bent on mending myself, feeling dirty and stained, yet resenting His inaction. What a mess I’d made.
The cicadas in the trees around me shout of their escape from the soil. I guess I’m not the only one crying out. It must be confusing to be under ground for years, only to rise for a brief time, then die an unheralded death. The frogs sing back-up to the cicadas’ song and I whisper the chorus…
Bone weary and cold
Life ebbs and flows
Like a creek that’s lost it’s
way in the drought…
My heart cries out
Shadows – out of them came darkness and dread. Yet, even I could admit that they make the edges, the shapes and brushes of mystery to this me-portrait; and contrast and conflict to my story, even though it’s my story I’m often trying to flee.
As I tread on through the trees, a spark of light pierces the thickness in front of me. The glow expands and contracts as if breathing. Shadows turn and twist in the light, making unearthly, unknowable shapes. I’m compelled forward despite my twisting gut.
The woods go silent as I approach the light. Closer I edge. As I do, the shadows lift. It is He. He’s come for me as I knew He would. Fear and relief flood me. Running from Him leaves me bereft. Even in running, I long for His touch.
He reaches out His hand, as He has a thousand times. Only this time, I see something I’ve overlooked since that day so long ago – how did I forget this? Blood on his palm. His blood, mixed with tears – His and mine. It is one drop, then a steady flow that expands to an immense, all-encompassing flood. It pours over me and seeps into every shadowed space. It floods the places I’ve worked hard to keep clean, only to find rotted again. It floods all of my labors for atonement and exposes them for what they are – not bridges to Him but walls to keep Him out.
I scream out my regret at all of the wasted time. His palm strokes my hair. His heartbeat slows mine. My shadows disappear. They can’t run from His light.
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