Grace Marshall

 

"The Waterfall" Part 2 of 2

Grace Marshall - Tuesday, November 08, 2016

It was following me with brutal intentions; I just knew it. Why else would it be following me at all? For some reason when I’d gone from the open field I had been running through trying to dodge a lion and I had made it to the woods, a bird decided to take chase.

I still couldn’t figure out why there was a lion in the first place; it must have escaped from a zoo. I heard a loud screech from the sky and I shot my eyes upward. I saw a massive underbelly and then the bird was suddenly beside me.

I tried to glare at it but unluckily for me that was right when I came upon a log. My foot caught the edge of the wood and my body was thrown forward. I tried to catch myself but failed. I saw the waterfall right in front of me.

It wasn’t a huge waterfall, just a gradual decline but the stones were massive. I tried to take some sort of preventive measure but it was useless, there was nothing my pounding heart could do.


*

For some reason when I regained consciousness I wasn’t wet or shivering. My head didn’t even hurt. On the contrary, I felt warm, dry, and comfortable. I stretched out my limbs and felt no fear or worry.

I breathed in deeply, blinked my eyes, and decided to look around. I felt something soft against my head. I sat up in surprise. I was in the middle of a field somehow. The sky wasn’t brooding with rays of sunlight barely able to seep through the clouds, instead the sun was shining brilliantly and the sky was a dazzling shade of blue.

The warmth soaked into my bones. I turned around and found the source of the soft feeling against my head.

It was a young and beautiful lamb without blemish.

~Part 2 of 2 of "The Waterfall"
Grace Marshall



 

"The Waterfall" Part 1 of 2

Grace Marshall - Tuesday, November 01, 2016

 

“She’s dying,” I barely heard my father say.

My mother was going into hysterics. She had been by my side for the past several days and had held my hand with every drip of chemo but it was no use, I was dying.


I had already lived past their expectations. The doctors had said three to six months and I was on my seventh month, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold on much longer. I had only held on this long for my mother, but I was weak and I was tired of trying; my father knew it.

The hospital room was blurry and so were the shapes of my mother and father and trying to concentrate on them just made my head ache so I closed my eyes.

*

‘No! No! No!’ Rushed through my mind as I desperately plunged onward. I was exhausted. The air I fought to suck into my lungs burnt with fire.

My legs ached and my ankles were burning. Each oncoming tree, branch, or bush was just another obstacle to dodge or leap over. The woods itself seemed to be an obstacle to overcome. I could hear the wind whistling past my ears and feel the shadow following me. It was a black and looming shadow even though there was hardly any sun to cast the shadow on the ground, as the sky was dark and sinister.

Sometimes I could see it from the corner of my eye, swooping through the trees. I wasn’t sure what it was anymore. Somehow it had gone from the initial lion in the field to some type of predatory bird.

~"The Waterfall" Part 1 of 2
Grace Marshall

 



 

"Last Time" Short Story

Grace Marshall - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tony Roberts lay beaten and battered on the floor. Blood glistened on his broad shoulders and sweat dripped across his well-defined brow. He had been whipped for some time but he could remember every individual lash upon his back with vivid accuracy. He had crawled the last several yards back to the cabin he was assigned to.

He lay panting on the floor with his aching body and closed his eyes. His mind drifted back to his wife that had been cruelly wrenched from his grasp. She had been sold on the auction block while he had to stay behind with the knowledge that he was helpless and cling on to some small fragment of hope that she may come back; a fragment of hope that was soon dispelled. It was as if every time he thought he was going to be able to keep moving by trying to block out the world, something would happen to cause him to be jolted back into reality and it was a cruel and stunning reality that he was sucked into.

He was so used to being abused, but every time he was treated unjustly it still struck a chord of indignation in him. He wasn’t meant to be a slave, he wasn’t created by God to be a slave and he couldn’t handle it anymore. He was tired of being abused. He was tired of being beat and yelled at without cause. He was tired of lying on the floor in agony, pain convulsing through him, while his body tried to repair itself. He was tired of working every single day so someone else could live in a big house and wear fancy clothes.

As Tony lay on the floor marinating in his thoughts he realized that he had no reason to continue in life. He had no reason to stay and be a slave. He had no purpose in his life at all but to be unjustly treated and he decided that his purpose in life needed to change. He decided that that was the last time he was going to be beaten and lie on the floor in misery with whiplashes across his back.

*

Four days later Tony decided to act on his resolutions. He had been beaten for the last time. He had been treated as less than human for the last time and he was going to do something about it.

At the end of the day he trudged back to his cabin and impatiently waited for the hours to tick by.

The darkness around him drained into his brain and his eyes stared uncomprehendingly into the blackness. After Tony felt as if enough time had passed he slowly sat up, his ears straining to recognize the noises of the night. He couldn’t hear anything out of the ordinary or any of the men that patrolled the cabins to ensure the captivity of men, women, and children such as he. He made as little noise as possible, gently settling his feet on the floor and padding softly to the window. He listened to the noises of those around him softly snoring and breathing, it all seemed to remain even and steady. He slowly forced his body through the window.

 

 

The outside night air was cool and refreshing as the breeze danced across his skin. Tony moved forward with caution, his breath catching in his throat every time he heard a sound that seemed out of the ordinary. Before he made it to the tree line of the woods at the edge of the property, he stopped four times to press his body flat and firm against the dirt as he heard footsteps. He held his breath until they faded.

Tony exhaled as he crossed the threshold of trees. His feet were swift and quiet as he walked away from the place that caused so many memories of torture to haunt his nightmares. He figured he could keep his quick walk up for a good long while and they shouldn’t find him missing until dawn broke on the horizon.

 



 

Gadiel's Last Hope

Grace Marshall - Tuesday, August 09, 2016

"Simon, the American colonel now leading the platoon of tanks forward smushed head of his cigar against the side of his tank, watching the fuse burn out and the last dying ember of ash roll down the side of the tank.


It had been days since the last encounter and he was tense. He felt that danger was always lurking over the next hill. Tense in the way that while his muscles were relaxed his eyes were always searching and his ears always listening. The next concentration camp was supposed to be close but he knew there were also soldiers on foot marching from the north. He was supposed to make it before they did.

He leaned back slightly and listened to the droning of the tank’s tracks as they clicked onward.

***

Gadiel lay bruised and beaten on the floor for about twenty minutes before his flogger returned and struck him in the ribs with a well-aimed boot and told him to get up and stop bleeding all over the floor. Gadiel barely felt the kick but let the oxygen whoosh from his lungs without struggle. He couldn’t dedicate energy to focus past the pain emanating from his back.

He forced his body to pick himself up from the floor, dreading the possibility of another round of blows and stood up on shaky knees. He hardly had the strength to stand and trudge back to his cell before he collapsed on the floor. He let his mind drift to his family that had been taken away for a shower and never came back.

He seemed to be an experiment of human torture, how much a human could survive before giving up. Unlike many of the others, his torturers had barely made him labor before starting the experiments. They pulled his fingernails out, they let his beard grow so they could rip it from his face, and they peeled the skin off his legs. He had been whipped for disobedience, a form of torture they seemed reluctant to use as it seemed so crude and unable to shed new light on the world of torture.

He closed his eyes and thought about his daughter Avigail and her laughing eyes and smiling face. His sweet six-year-old that was now lost to him forever and with images of her laughing face dancing through his mind, he fell asleep."

~Grace Marshall
Snippet from the short story, "Gadiel's Last Hope"

 



 

The Ranchers Only Daughter

Grace Marshall - Thursday, April 28, 2016

“Naomi, Naomi, Naomi,” the principal shook his head, tapping his pen against the papers on his desk.

Naomi shrugged in response, letting her eyes wander around the walls of the principal’s small office.
 
“Why did you have to go and do this?” The principal stood up and sat on the corner of his desk, his eyes narrowed in a stern glance. “You are usually a good kid.”
 
“He tried to kiss me,” she protested, her eyes snapping to him.
 
“Mhm.”
 
“That’s sexual assault. Besides, his parents should have smacked that butthead up a little bit so I wouldn’t have had to fill in for them. I was just making up for all the years they didn’t do their job.”
 
“It’s not your job to discipline Ralph,” the principal admonished.
 
“And what kind of name is Ralph anyway?” Naomi’s face betrayed just how ridiculous and outdated she believed the name to be.
 
The principal sighed in exasperation, “We are not here to discuss his name, Naomi.”
 
“Well, it’s his fault,” Naomi retorted, then internally scolded herself for getting short with the principal.
 
“Naomi, what do I do with you?” The slump of his shoulder’s clearly displayed the principal’s dismay.
 
“Say ‘good job’ and give me a gold star,” Naomi mumbled, slouching in her chair.
 
He laughed good-humoredly and stood up from the corner of his desk. “I don’t think Ralph would appreciate that very much.”
 
Naomi just shrugged in response and the principal chuckled at her once more. “So what do you propose I do then as a form of punishment, since I doubt a gold star would be a very good idea?”
 
“Why do you find it necessary to punish me? I was just protecting my virtue,” Naomi’s annoyance was clear in her voice.
 
“Well, if I just let you go around punching men cause they asked you out, other people will think it is acceptable to just smack people around.”
 
“He’s a boy, not a man. I didn’t punch a man.”
 
“Oh?” The principal raised his eyebrow.
 
“Yes.”
 
The principal pursed his lips for a moment, “Well, I’ve already given him punishment.”
 
“Oh?” Naomi said, sitting up straighter, she opened her mouth to say more but the principal didn’t let her finish.

“Yes,” the principal put up his hand at Naomi, motioning to her to cease in her train of thought. He cleared his throat after a moment, and continued, “And as for you…”