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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: In The Kitchen - deadline 7-19-12 @ 9:59 AM NY Time (07/12/12)

TITLE: Barefoot and Pregnant
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom


The door slammed, jolting Hannah to her feet. Her hand jerked, knocking over the coffee mug. She gasped as coffee splattered everywhere. Her eyes darted to the doorway between the kitchen and the living room, then back to the mess in the kitchen. She took two steps to greet her husband, then quickly turned back, grabbed a towel, and flung it over the pool of coffee.

Keith bellowed from the other room. “Wife, why didn’t you greet me? I worked hard all day and you can’t even get off your fat bum to fetch me a beer?”

Hannah twisted her hair around her fingers, and then she yanked out a clump and watched wordlessly as it drifted to the floor. Swallowing hard, she shuffled to the swinging door just as Keith, from the other side, shoved it open, smashing the door into her face. Her hands flew to her nose in a feeble attempt to stop the gushing blood.

He balled his hand into a fist. “You stupid cow! What are doing, spying on me?” He kicked violently and the door splintered into pieces.

Hannah crouched on the floor, covering her face with her hands. “I’m sorry...I... I tried to … to…” She tipped her chin into her chest, hunched her shoulders, and sobbed.

Keith jerked her arm, yanking her to her feet. “Look at this place; it’s disgusting! Do you do anything but watch TV?” He pointed to the one under the cupboard. “You never would’ve gotten that if I’d known you’d do nothing but sit here, guzzle coffee, and watch talk shows instead of doing the cooking and cleaning.” He reached over and pulled the TV off the wall and threw it to the floor. “Clean it up and get my dinner ready now! A woman’s place is in the kitchen and the bedroom and don’t you forget it!”

Pastor Dave picked up the remote and clicked pause, freezing the atrocity on the screen. He turned to face the young couple on the couch. “So, tell me your thoughts.”

Paul took a deep breath and snorted through his nose. “We come here fer pre-marrin’ counselin', not to be ambushed. The Bible says the wife should submit to her husband in every way. Dude went easy on that whore. I’m gonna rule with an iron fist. Kelsey’s gonna do what she be told. I’ve heard your panty-waist sermons about love and bein’ helpmates to each other. Seems to me, you need some brushin’ up on God’s Word.” He reached over and yanked Kelsey's arm and started to pull her up.

Holding up his hand, Pastor Dave managed a slight smile. “Slow down, don’t get upset, Paul. I just want to make sure everyone is on the same page.” He pivoted and looked Kelsey directly in the eye. “What do you think?”

Kelsey nibbled on her fingernails and tapped her foot repeatedly. “Like Paul said, he knows best and I should leave the thinking to him--no matter what.”

Pastor Dave massaged his temple. “Kelsey, I’ve known you for years and you’re smart. What about your dream of becoming a surgeon?”

She started to speak, but Paul quickly muffled her by pressing his hand over her mouth. “She can practice her cutting in the kitchen by choppin’ up food fer my dinner. It's the man's job to provide.”

Picking up the remote, Pastor Dave leaned closer. “Please, just watch the rest of the video.”

Paul flung his arms up. “Fine, but some hokey movie ain’t gonna change nothin'.”

Pastor Dave looked directly into Kelsey’s eyes. “Just so you know, these are real people, not actors. Hannah’s parents were worried about her safety so they hid a camera in the kitchen.” Pastor Dave pushed play and the couple on the screen came back to life.

Keith punched a hole in the wall. “I’ll teach you to have dinner ready.” He stomped out of the kitchen.

Choking back tears, Hannah ran after her husband. “Keith, I’m sorry. I’ll work harder; I promise.”

Paul crossed his arms and jerked his head toward the TV. “Is it over? C’mon let’s go.”

Pastor Dave, once again, held up his hand. “Wait, listen for it.”

Suddenly, the undeniable crack of a shotgun echoed in the room, followed by a soft thump. Pastor Dave flipped off the power. “Kelsey, are you sure you want to get married?”

Kelsey buried her head in her hands, shrugged her shoulders, and whispered, “I don’t know.”

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This article has been read 547 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 07/19/12
Wow...that was tough to read. I'm saddened by the words and even more so to realize this still goes on today. A sobering story that hurt my heart. How I pray for all abused individuals to be set free through Jesus Christ..and phsically escape their tormenters. So sad.

God bless~
Dannie Hawley 07/19/12
Intense, riveting, well-written. I'm still catching my breath... incredible read. Such an agonizing truth that this is still happening to women today.
Ellen Carr 07/21/12
This is really hard hitting! Well written and moving. How sad that this situation can really exist in 2012.
Jenna Dawn07/23/12
Wow. This is very powerful. Very well crafted, believable dialogue, flowed well with an unsuspected ending.

One tiny thing . . . make sure you put a space before, after and in between periods in an ellipse. It seems to be my mission to teach this on Faith Writers!

I'm not so sure my story is "head and shoulders" above yours. ;)

Great job.
Hiram Claudio07/23/12
It can be hard, especially in a forum where we desire to create uplifting stories of the Lord's boundless love, to write a truth such as you have and to do it well. You have succeeded amazingly!

This was truly riveting. As one who does a bit of pre-marital counseling, I found myself wanting to get a video like this one to show couples (although I've never faced a prospective groom like Paul ... or a prospective bride like Kelsey). The truth in this piece is so powerful and the need for it to be communicated cannot be understated.

Awesome work!
Noel Mitaxa 07/24/12
Your title wrsapped it up. Then you unwrapped it in such a powerful way. Regrettably accurate portrayal through your dialogue. I wonder of the pastor realised that he had the same guy face to face as he had in the video tape. Well done.
Genia Gilbert07/24/12
So sad, and too typical. My daughter got out of a terrible situation with mostly the verbal abuse, which was escalating to the physical stage. She did indeed stay for awhile because she was pregnant. You did a great job with a common tragedy.
Ken Ebright 07/24/12
Wow, When I read the first few paragraph’s I didn’t know I was watching a video. What amazing way to do a story about violence against women.
Leola Ogle 07/25/12
Wow! That was an intense read. The sad part is that this happens all too often. This hit close to home and was hard for me to read, although it was very well written. Thank God, I got out of a bad situation, though. Thanks for sharing. God bless!
Leah Nichols 07/26/12
Wow, this was really intense. Not sure that 750 words can really capture all you wanted to say. Very realistic portrayal. Great job of putting the reader into the scene. Excellent ending, too - I wasn't sure how you would wrap it up. A little weak on topic, but strong entry otherwise. Nice work, my friend. :)
Genia Gilbert07/26/12
Congratulations on your tie for 8th place in Level 3. This is a thought provoking entry, and great writing.
Ellen Carr 07/26/12
Congratulations Shannon your 8th placing too.
Sandra Renee Hicks 08/01/12
Hi -

Thank you for this gripping story. It is very well done.
Yes, indeed, it engages!

I believe the last sentence could be stronger.