Short Story: Deliverance

ShortbreadDenise MelvilleShort Stories › Deliverance

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About this Short Story

Written by
Denise Melville


The journey of a child in a religious cult.


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When a tiny pair of hands flashed before her eyes, the woman blinked and drew the sign of the cross on her chest. She glanced at her own hands; red and calloused through constant contact with carbolic soap, scalding water and stiff brushes.

The tiny hands were unblemished, a soft rose petal pink, with fingers like chubby sausages. They belonged to Tilly, a mischievous cherub with eyes as blue as periwinkles and a giggle that tickled your heart.

The woman never laughed, and on the rare occasions when she spoke, her words sounded abrasive, like sandpaper scratching brick. Only germs mattered now, and her life became a non ending struggle to eradicate them. She inspected every surface meticulously for grime and dust. If anyone walked over a washed area leaving a mark, it must be scrubbed again until her arms ached. If she missed the filth, something terrible might happen. She could…

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Adam West Guest Editor said "A interesting choice by Diane (thanks I overlooked this one) for the weekly Gems feature - I don't recall a similar story on Shortbread, Denise - really well put together - brought to mind Margaret Atwood's grim story A Handmaid's Tale - many thanks, Adam"
1 year ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor said "A very powerful and moving story that left me feeling quite sad. Well written and vividly communicated the stark, harsh reality of the situation. Many thanks. Regards, Nik"
1 year ago
Denise Melville replied saying "Thanks for reading Nik. I appreciate your comments"
1 year ago
Diane Dickson Guest Editor said "A difficult story to read and I think that handled it very well. It was sad and gripping and in a way rather shocking,especially when one takes into account that it is surely based in truth. A very well presented piece of writing and extremely moving - Well done - Diane"
1 year ago
Denise Melville replied saying "Thanks Diane. Unfortunately although this story is dramatised, some children have no choice in the cults they are exposed to."
1 year ago
Peter Heppo said "This was really good Denise - compelling and chilling and the story held my attention all the way through. Thuis is the first of your work that i have read but I will be back to read some more ......"
1 year ago
Denise Melville replied saying "Thank you Peter. It is always nice to read that someone has taken the time to read your story because there is a lot of competition. I enjoy experimenting with a lot of different types and I hope that you will enjoy a another story I will write at some time in the future!"
1 year ago

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