Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Inner Strength (04/20/06)
TITLE: A Stranger in a Purple Land
By Amy Michelle Wiley
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That’s what she tried to tell herself. After all, the trees had gloppy orange trunks, and the leaves were blue and fluffy. A pink sun shone in the pale purple sky and the grass was a deeper purple, and sparkly.
Jena felt more completely alone then she had ever felt before. She stared toward the sky, wondering if the God of her childhood was in a world like this.
Then something caught her eye. A person was kneeling on the shores of a green lake. Relief flooded her and she ran toward the woman. “Hello!”
The woman didn’t turn around. Even when Jena stood right next to her and spoke again, she only leaned forward and pulled on a line disappearing into the water. She yanked out…something. It certainly wasn’t the fish Jena had expected.
The lady noticed her then, and jumped a little. But she only stared, then turned away. Jena’s chest tightened. She watched as the woman gathered a pile of slimy green things she had pulled from the lake, casting little glances at Jena the whole while. Her mouth opened, and for a moment it seemed no sound came out. Then Jena’s ear caught strange clickings and murmurings.
The woman stared expectantly.
“I’m sorry,” Jena faltered. “Do you speak English?”
With a smirk, the woman marched away.
Jena ran after her, desperate to not be left alone again. They reached the top of a hill, and she stopped short. Spread out below, were box-shaped forms in every color imaginable, suspended in mid air, their walls quivering and swaying in a slight breeze.
People stared at her out of the corner of their eyes. The language was more audible here, amplified by a whole village speaking with constant clickings and tisks, and always a steady hum in the background.
Jena wandered among them, vainly trying English. The colors of the village and clothing produced a garish effect, fakely cheerful.
Fear clutched at her stomach and she pulled back. The people’s obvious resentment of her presence made her wonder what they would do to a foreigner. She only closed her eyes for a second, but when she opened them she was alone.
Everyone had vanished.
Jena cried. Her eyes burned from the brilliant colors, and though it was quiet now, her ears were muddled from the speech of this world. She would never be able to distinguish the different characters, much less attempt to repeat the sounds.
“My child, why do you cry?” An old man bent over her.
Jena thought once again that perhaps she was hallucinating. “You would cry too, if you found yourself dreaming in a God-forsaken world.”
The man tugged at the end of his long, white beard. “God has not forsaken this world. He is here just the same as on any world. I can also assure you that you are not delirious.”
A little something died inside Jena when he said those last words. “And why should I believe that God is here?”
“Perhaps the fact that I happened across you today should be enough.” He bowed a little. “I am Quen. Welcome to Rembntiz.”
“Welcome!” she spat. “I hate this place. I cannot even communicate. And I hate purple!”
Quen regarded her sadly.
Jena felt somehow that this man knew what was to be known about this world, and perhaps others. “Please, tell me when I may go home.”
He looked away. “This is now your home, Jena.”
“No!” Jena pressed her hands over her ears. “I can’t live here.”
“In Rembntiz, the people’s lives are not always so easy. But there is something they call Mmdgnn.” The sound rumbled from inside him. “In our language that would be… a strength that comes from within. From our faith in God, and our perseverance. My dear,” he looked at her, his blue eyes striking, “you will need Mmdgnn if your spirit is to survive here. It is your choice.”
He left as quietly as he had come, and Jena was alone. She stood for a long time, there at the base of that purple hill. “Mmdgnn.” She tried it, this word that came from within. Then she looked up, up to the purple sky, toward the God that lay beyond it.
This story is dedicated to all those who live among Rembntiz worlds, and find the inner strength to thrive.
“The Deaf are foreigners among a people whose language they can never learn.” --Olof Hanson
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