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red writing hood link up fail

February 27, 2012

On Friday, I wrote of my plan to link to a prompt created by the folks at Write On Edge: Where Inspiration Meets Community.  Due to extenuating circumstances (which may or may not include a forgotten laptop and an unwillingness to type 300 words on my phone), I missed the deadline to link up with Write On Edge.  I still completed the assignment, however, and hope to link up to other WOE prompts in the future.

As a reminder, the prompt was this Gandhi quote:

“It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Below, please find my stab at it (pun intended).

*****

She’d never noticed the nerves in her fingers before; never noticed how their long tips burned as she clenched her hand tighter, then tighter still.  Blood was gone from her fingers.  They were white as milk, she guessed, though she couldn’t even make out their outlines in the mossy darkness.

What did she know about hurting anyone?

Sweat trailed down her back, under her dirty yellow tank top and between the wings of her fine shoulders.  She was a spring, coiled tightly behind the overgrown bush where she’d begged to relieve herself.

“Please,” she’d asked him, hating the whine in her voice, “I’ve got nowhere to run.  I promise.  I’ve got nowhere to go.”  He’d grunted his permission, holding the hunting knife in one hand, the flashlight in the other.

“Hurry.” His voice had sounded like sickness, like wheezing.  He’d barked out a cough.

Now, as dry branches scraped her knees and she tasted blood on her lips, she was diseased by only one thought:

What if I can’t?

The pipe was cold underneath her right thigh.  It was about a foot long and heavy, she guessed, but she wouldn’t know its true weight until she bore it over her head, ready to strike.  Then, there would be no turning back and nothing left to do but run. Dark as it was, she could only guess which way to head first.

When she was twelve, she went on night hikes at summer camp, no flashlights allowed and no moon to guide her.  “Your eyes learn,” her camp counselor had promised, “just wait,” and they had.  Now, she comforted herself with that thought.

My eyes will learn.  My hands will learn.  There’s nothing left to do but this.

“What the hell are you doing back there?” his voice again, thick like his knife.  “Get back out here right now.”

Dry leaves crackled beneath her shoes.  Her legs felt strong.

Now.

*****

Today, I hope you do with courage whatever must be done.  Thanks, always, for showing up.

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