Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: GET COLD FEET (10/12/17)
- TITLE: At the Edge of Insanity
By Loni Bowden-Horn
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A dim light spills into a slit of her prison cell. I watch as her faint shadow creeps back and forth. She mutters and curses to herself. I observe her lips curve into malice and twisted insanity, she screams and moans, and when her door opens, she lurches at the guards cackling, a contorted laughter that sends shivers up my spine.
I witness the prison guard storm the cell and slam her against the wall. He grabs her, pulling her arms behind her back, and handcuffs her. She spits in his eyes and tries to bite him. He slaps her across the face with his black leather gloves.
“Who do you think you are, number 92? All this incessant pounding on the door? No one is listening to your cries,” sneered the guard.
My heart begins palpitating like a skittish deer scampering away during hunting season. The guard’s frustration simmers at a low boil. A murderous rage flares in his eyes like a burning flame. His savage, burnished-colored face, is smouldering like a powder keg ready to explode.
Nightmares plague my every thought. I envision the young women lying on the cold floor, her hands bound behind her back. She crawls like a dog eating scraps off the floor.
“The Lord wants me to reach out to this woman, so let’s pray that we can bring her to our cell.”
The other prisoners whisper, “Why do you want that one with us? The word in the block is she hacked her husband into pieces and threw them in the river. She is not human but a devil in disguise.”
My courage falters. Who am I but a mere prisoner? I can’t even speak her language. I shrink back and am reluctant to answer God's calling. I’m just a scrawny little wisp of a girl, a lily-livered coward.
A voice cries from my heart, “Am I not a Christian who follows Jesus. How can I avoid caring for this woman simply because she is difficult to love?"
I wait. Four days. Twenty days?. I call to yet another jailer and ask if the woman can be brought to our cell.
“The chief jailer wants to know why you want her” another jailer asked.
“The poor woman is a refugee in a distant land,” I said. “And she is about to be sentenced to be executed in a country where the language and customs are different from her own. I don’t want her to die alone."
It was late afternoon, when a male jailer shoves the young women in the cell, “Here’s the filthy beast you asked for.”
The prisoners back up to the far corner of the cell holding their noses as the stench from her clothing infiltrates their nostrils.
Long tangled hair blows about her face. I hold her from the back. She struggles to free herself, trying to bite my fingers. I desperately hold onto her. Just like a boxer in the ring, I am willing to go the distance. My foot falters and we both fall flat on the floor.
Her breathing becomes labored and her eyes glossy. Her body goes limp, but her piercing eyes remain fixed on me. The merciless cold wind blows through a crevice in the floor. I lay her feet caked with excrement in my bosom to warm them, and I place them against my chest so the woman’s feet are close to my heart.
I pray to God for guidance. I realize that Jesus is fighting in this battle. By my own nature, I would have shied away from her, but I feel drawn to her like a magnet. Here I was holding onto an unspeakably vile woman. Only the mercy of Jesus would cause me to do this.
The trumpet for retiring blows.
I nod my head and drift off to sleep. I begin to dream. A vision of the woman I am holding future's comes to mind:
A door from the east opens into heaven. A tree springs up with mighty cherubim surrounding it. In the back of the tree was a flowing river with crystalline water so clear and pristine that it shimmers like diamonds.
I can see a throne in front of the tree. The woman falls to her knees and removes Jesus’ sandals. She pours a bottle of expensive perfume on his feet. She wipes his feet with her long flowing, raven hair and heaven is filled with its sweet fragrance.
“If I Perish” by Esther Kim Ahn
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