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A SHORT STORY: Enemy of the Soul by Lorilyn Roberts

Last updated on August 3, 2022

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The aging woman drew the window blinds even tighter. “No light,” she declared. “Light hurts my eyes. I mustn’t let in the light.”

She stuffed towels between the blinds and the glass window and taped the blinds to the windowsill. She lived alone, locked in self-imposed solitary confinement with little human contact. She wanted nothing—not love, not pity, not even comfort. Those emotions were for humans who still felt human, but she had become a fragment of humanness long ago. She didn’t want to feel. She only lived to conquer the terror that welled up in her heart during the day and the predator that invaded her room at night.

“Why did they construct windows in this room?” she lamented. “I could keep ‘it’ out if it weren’t for the windows.”

Tap-tap-tap. The knocking on the door alerted her that her meal had arrived. She grabbed some cash from her cash jar and opened the door for the delivery man.

“Keep the change,” she said, which was hardly a tip, but enough to keep him coming back the next day.

She wasn’t going to eat right away, but the smell of chicken and rice soon filled the room. She relented. Pulling up a chair, she sat beside the covered window—an obsession that filled her with dread, but her weak-willed spirit held her in bondage.

“I will conquer ‘it’ tonight,” she mumbled. “I won’t let ‘it’ into the room.”

Night came earlier in the winter months, and soon shadows filled the room, etching strange patterns on the walls. She heard whispers through the window, the rattling of the blinds, and the lisping tree branches scraping the window. The screen had long ago been mutilated by “it.”

“No,” she cried out. “You can’t come in.” She tried to hold “it” back, the monster that wanted her. All night she fought it—with every ounce of physical and emotional strength she possessed. But “it” always won. She would fall asleep exhausted when “it” left at the first ray of sunlight. “It” hated the light—more than “it” hated her.

“If only I could be set free of my misery,” she wrote on a piece of paper. “I don’t want anything except to get rid of ‘it.’”

Her husband had abandoned her, and her children had cut her off long ago. Somewhere on those streets below the window, they lived. “I must tame the window. I must keep ‘it’ out. I must conquer the enemy of my soul.”

She didn’t need love. She didn’t need anything; she was quite capable of taking care of herself. If only she could destroy “it.”

Then one day, she heard a different kind of knock. “Who could that be?” she muttered. Months had passed since anyone had come to see her. She timidly approached the door.

“Who is it?” she asked.

“I have a package for you, Ma’am,” the voice said.

“A package?” she asked.

“Yes, Ma’am.”

The woman unbolted the door, and a postman who held a small brown envelope greeted her. “Can you sign here, Ma’am?”

The woman initialed the package receipt and closed the door. As she strolled toward the unkempt bed, she read the name, “U.C. Little.” Her heart skipped. She hadn’t read that name in years—her ex-husband. Why would anyone be sending his package to her? She tore open the envelope to discover government papers inside.

Her ex-husband would need these papers, but she wouldn’t send them to him. He should have taken care of this a long time ago. “Am I my ex-husband’s keeper,” she smirked.

She took great delight in tossing the papers aside. “Another chance for me to get back at him. He took away my dreams. He doesn’t deserve anything from me.”

That night, the darkness grew fiercer, and nightmares invaded her mind. The intensity of the spiritual attack made it difficult to tell the natural world from the unseen realm.

The next morning, feeling tired and disheartened, she fixated her eyes on the covered window. “I can’t keep ‘it’ out. I’m lost,” and her defeatism brought her to her knees.

“It” is winning,” she admitted. “I’m dying.”

“If only…I could do things all over again.” She turned to the table where the government documents lay discarded.

Weeks passed as she lamented her inability to defeat “it.” With her strength diminishing, she was ready to give up. Living only to beat “it” was futile. She wanted to die, but that would mean “it” had conquered her. Never!

One morning, she heard a knock on the door. She recognized it as the knock she’d heard once before. “Another package?” she mused. “Surely not.”

She went to the door, and indeed, the same postman stood there with another brown envelope.

“Can you sign here, Ma’am?”

The woman complied and shut the door. But this time, she didn’t tear the package open and dump the contents on the table. Instead, she sat by the covered window with the envelope on her lap. Did she want to spend the rest of her life cut off from the world, from her children, from everything?

“What a waste,” she heard a voice say. Startled, she glanced around the room, but no one was there.

She stood and walked to the dresser, pulling out a pen and envelope. Where did her ex-husband live? She returned to the window chair and peeled back some tape from the window blind. Eclipsed sunshine peeked through the open crack. Dull from darkness, her eyes flinched at the intense brightness.

What would U.C. Little think about the package when he received it? She attached a note—unthinkable a few weeks earlier.

She smiled, delighted that she could see the light—bright, unrelenting light. It didn’t matter what U.C. Little thought—she could see the light.

Jeremiah 9:21 (KJV):  “For death is come up into our windows, [and] is entered into our palaces…”

 

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