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Drama Fiction Inspirational

This story contains sensitive content

Trigger warning: Physical abuse and thoughts of suicide.

             It was so terribly cold. Snow was falling, and it was almost dark.

             Sofia trudged on, wrapping her arms around her body to try to keep herself warm. With a light jacket and wearing jeans with holes in them, she was not prepared for this weather. But she did not care, for she had to get out of the home where she was abused by her father constantly. The one who was supposed to protect her felt his wrath after her mother died. His entire demeanor changed that fateful day. A father who showed love, compassion, and kindness changed into a monster. Habits that he had let go once he married and had a child came back in force once his wife died. Sofia was the prime target.

             “Why did you have to leave?” she asked so many times.

             She was not sure where she was going to go. Part of her just wanted to find a place to sit and let the cold take her away. Take her away from the hell that was her life.

             In the corner of her eye, she saw a shadow flit by. She looked in that direction seeing no one in sight.

             “Must be my imagination,” she thought. “Maybe my body is already shutting down.”

             Another shadow passed over her head, and she was pretty sure she saw this one. Looked like a human figure that was all black. Fright started to envelop her as she wondered what was going on. Whatever it was, left an ill feeling in her gut. It was like the many times when she heard her father come home. A dread of what could be coming her way.

             “Maybe I should return home?” she thought.

             No! she could not return to that monster. One day soon he will end up killing her or after he passed out, she would kill him. How has life turned so such thoughts come to mind?

             “Hello!” a warm voice called out. A voice that seemed to put a little warmth into her.

             Sofia looked to her right and saw an old man with a beautiful smile standing in the doorway of a small house.

             “What are you doing out in weather like this dressed so?” he called out.

             She just stared at him as it seemed like a voice spoke into her ear to ignore him and move on. But something told her if she did, she might as well walk off a cliff.

             “Come on in here and warm up!” the old man called out as he smiled, showing off his white teeth. “You won’t last much longer out there!”

             “You won’t ever be the same if you enter the house,” the voice spoke in her ear.

             Sofia shook her head as if to get rid of the voice that was more vile sounding than when she heard her father’s angry voice.

             “If I enter this house to my end, so be it,” she thought. “If I go back home, my end will surely come. If I stay out here, my end will come tonight.”

             All these dead ends in life. To have such high hopes for the future and it crumbles in moments on one fateful night. What a cruel joke to be played in her life.

             “I can’t keep this door open much longer!” the old man called out. “At my age, the cold is not a friend to me!”

             Sofia walked up his driveway and cautiously went up the couple of steps onto the porch.

             “Please come in,” he said as he went back inside his house.

             She entered the house into a living room. To her left was a dark brown sofa that looked quite comfy. To her right was a rocking chair of a lighter brown color. In the corner of the room to her right, on the opposite wall, was an old television set, and below a window to her right was what looked like an old-time media console that emitted faint music.

             “Where is the old man?” she asked herself as she looked around.

             Maybe this was a mistake.

             The front door closed, which made her jump and spin around. No one was there.

             “What the hell is going on?” she thought.

             “Not sure if you are into coffee yet at your age,” the voice of the old man came from a room to her left. “If not, then hopefully you like hot chocolate.”

             “Hot chocolate, please,” she replied as she looked around at the pictures on the walls.

             One of them showed a hand reaching down to what looked like a man sinking into quicksand. Another one showed a lamb lying beside a lion. The last one showed a figure in white carrying a woman who looked like she was in distress.

             “Interesting pictures,” she muttered.

             “While I get the hot chocolate prepared, please take off your wet jacket, shoes, and wet socks. There is a nice, warm blanket on the back of the couch you can use to warm yourself up.”

             Sofia took off her jacket, shoes, and socks and sat down on the couch.

             “Don’t worry about getting the couch wet,” the old man said just as Sofia stood back up, realizing her pants were drenched. “If you will feel more comfortable, there is a pair of pants in the bedroom at the end of the hallway that will fit you, I’m sure. Unfortunately, they do not have holes like your current ones. It is up to you if you want dry or wet pants.”

             “Let me try the pants,” she said as she went across the living room and down the hallway. She went past one doorway that led into a bathroom. She entered the bedroom, which was quite small. Had a single bed, a dresser, a nightstand, and an entrance into a closet. Lying on the bed was a pair of pants. She went over and picked up the pair. She checked the size and saw they would fit her perfectly.

             “Why would this man have a pair of pants for a girl in his room?” she muttered. ‘Strange and creepy.”

             But she had a feeling as she spent more time in this house that there was nothing wrong with this man. She felt more at peace than she had felt in a very long time.

             She closed the door and took off her pants and put on the dry pair. She now felt so much better.

             Sofia left the room and went back to the living room.

             “Where should I put my wet clothes?” she asked, seeing he was still in the kitchen.

             “Hang it up on the hooks on the door with your jacket and socks.”

             Sofia saw her clothes were already on hooks, so put her pants on one.

             “Sorry I left my wet clothes on the floor,” she said.

             “No problem at all. I would have done the same if I were drenched.”

             She grabbed the knitted blanket that was colored like the rainbow and sat down and covered herself.

             As she sat down, the old man came into the room with two large coffee cups.

             “The outside of the cup is just warm, so don’t worry about burning your hand,” he said, handing the cup to her that had a shiny rainbow on it. Then he went over and sat in the rocking chair.

             “Before we talk, Sofia, my name is Joseph,” he said, showing off his shiny teeth again.

             “You know my name?”

             “Oh. Well, I have heard your name called out by your father as you hurried down the sidewalk.”

             “Um, okay.”

             Her home was a couple of blocks from his, so she found it hard to believe he heard her name called out. Especially at his age.

             “So, as we enjoy our drinks and pleasantries, I must ask why you were outside in such conditions in such poor attire?”

             Sofia had a feeling Joseph already knew the reason, but it couldn’t be possible. Could it? She really wasn’t into the heaven and hell thing, so didn’t believe in angels or demons on your shoulder. Even though those shadows outside and the voice creeped her out. Maybe…

             “I just needed to get out of the house to get some fresh air.”

             “Hmm,” he responded as he scratched his chin. “I believe there is more to it than what you say. I can understand the fresh air part, but instead of standing on your porch you decide to take a walk in this weather.”

             Sofia knew there was no way to get around Joseph.

             “I’m tired of my father hitting me constantly,” she said. “You don’t see it as you look upon me since he is careful about where he hits.”

             Joseph looked at her with a sympathetic look. He took a drink of his hot chocolate before he looked at Sofia once again.

             “Your father and you have experienced a significant loss,” he said. “You are both still in great pain. He directs his pain on you instead of both of you relying on each other for healing.”

             “I think he blames me for my mother’s death,” she whispered. “She went out to get dinner for all. She was going to my favorite place to eat, but never made it due to a distracted driver.”

             “The unfortunate accident took your father down the wrong path,” Joseph said in a calm tone. “You did your best to stay on the path. Now, it’s even more difficult, as your father punishes you regularly. I’m so sorry you are living this life.”

             “Yeah,” she muttered as she looked down at the cup.

             “Please do not fall off the path,” he spoke. “You are so precious and there is so much good you can do in this world.”

             Sofia looked up at the old man, seeing a tear running down his cheek.

             “Why do you care what happens to me?”

             “We are ALL given a gift. You might not think so, but you have a gift. Once you start using it, you will help others. It will bring healing to yourself and healing to others.”

             “I don’t really know what my gift is.”

             “The gift will be the opposite of what the enemy is using on you now. You will turn it to good and spread it among others dealing with the same trauma. Just have faith.”

             Sofia was not sure what to say. Being so down. Depression dragging her down into a ball on the floor. Experiencing anxiety every time she was in the same room as her father.

             “Take those feelings and turn them around to use,” he said. “Get up. Learn. Bring the love back in the home.”

             “It’s easy to say such when you are not experiencing it.”

             “I understand, but we all experience trials in this fallen world. Your father has lost his way. Use your gift to bring him back. He knows that you hate him, which in turn makes him hate himself that much more. Take the first step to bring love back into the home.”

             “I’m not sure if I can.”

             “I know it is tough. You have experienced much pain from your father. It doesn’t help that the enemy strives to keep a wedge between you two.”

             “Are you talking about demons or some invisible monster?”

             “I believe you experienced the enemy when you were outside.”

             “I didn’t imagine what was going on with the shadows and voice?” she asked.

             “Tends to happen when the enemy is close to gaining their prize.”

             “So… would that make you an angel?”

             “I am one to let you know to never give up hope. Not on yourself or your father.”

             “I just don’t know if I can return home,” she said as she finished her drink.

             “Be strong. I know what he has done is wrong. You can send him to jail and go live with another family. But is that what you truly want to do? Your life might get better, but you will always recall the day you sent your father to jail and wonder if that was the right thing.”

             “I don’t want to send him to jail, but I can’t deal with his abuse anymore. If it continues, something terrible will happen.”

             “You have the gift to change it,” Joseph said. “Remember the way your father once was like? Show your love even during the storm. Change will start taking place.”

             “I do not know, Joseph. I had heard of horror stories of family members taking out other family members.”

             “Your family is not one of them. Unfortunately, others have gone too far off the path. Tragedies happen due to humanities sins.”

             “I need to think about it. You are of great wisdom, but I’m having a hard time thinking of going back home and show love and forgiveness after what he has done.”

             “Stay here tonight,” said Joseph. “It’s not wise to head out in such weather. See how you feel tomorrow.”

             “I thank you,” said Sofia.

             Earlier, she would have found it bizarre and scary to think about staying in a stranger’s house. But she felt comfortable with Joseph. He was like Grandpa Nicholas, who was kind and full of advice.

             Sofia slept on the couch that night and had the most peaceful night in a long time. She was awakened by Joseph clattering around in the kitchen.

             “I’m making some pancakes!” he called out.

             Sofia remembered having breakfast with her grandpa. Before she went into the kitchen, she wiped away a tear.

             She entered the kitchen and went over to the small table for two.

             “I am not one to make large pancakes, so I made two smaller ones for you. Have more if that is not enough.”

             “Thank you,” she said as she sat down.

             There was little talk as both ate.

             “I’m stuffed,” she said, putting the fork on the plate.

             “That is good. You may rest some more, or the weather is much better so you can return home.”

             “I don’t know,” she muttered, wanting to stay in this climate.

             “Your father is worried about you. First time you have left and not returned. He knows he has gone too far. He is worried that he has lost you.”

             “Part of me wants him to worry. For him to be in pain.”

             “Do not go down that path you will regret. This is a chance to make both of your lives better. But it is your choice. Free will. I cannot force you.”

             Sofia said nothing as she contemplated.

             “Take a little rest on the sofa,” said Joseph, standing up. “I have lovely music to listen to that will help. I will be in my bedroom doing my morning rituals.”

             Joseph went over and put on some relaxing, uplifting music, then he left the room.

             Sofia laid back and closed her eyes. She did not want to leave.

             “Are you ready to go home?” she heard abruptly, popping open her eyelids.

             “I didn’t hear you come from your room,” she said seeing that an hour had passed.

             “I apologize if I scared you,” he said with sympathy.

             She remained quiet for a moment before speaking up. “I don’t think I can go home.”

             “It will be much better. Trust me.”

             Sofia looked at Joseph and believed him.

             “Can I come back?” she asked.

             “The door is always open.”

             Sofia got herself ready, seeing all her clothes were dry. Before she walked out the door, she gave Joseph a hug.

             “Thank you,” she said.

             “You are definitely welcome.”

             Sofia left, seeing that the snow was already gone. She took her time, not wanting to see her father.

             “Let’s get this over with,” she said as she came to the house.

             She opened the front door and was stunned to see her father feet away. He was expressionless as he stared at her. She took a step back as he took a step toward her. Then the next moment, the tears flowed from his eyes as he opened his arms.

             “May I give you a hug?” he asked.

             At first, she was reluctant, but then she went into his arms.

             “I’m so sorry,” he said as he cried hysterically. “So sorry.”

             Soon she was in tears. Both stood for minutes, hugging, and crying.

             “I thought I lost you due to my stupidity,” he said when they finally sat down.

             They talked, and the healing began. It would take a long process, but if they stayed on the right path, they would unite.

             Before they stood up to do other things, her father said, “An old man stopped by while you were gone. We ended up having a friendly chat. A chat that has helped me immensely.”

             Sofia just smiled as she went to her room. Back to a home of safety.

March 16, 2023 23:55

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35 comments

Russell Mickler
00:03 Mar 23, 2023

Hi Corey - a good read! Like the others, I liked the pictures and descriptions of the house, but the emotion the old man showed Sofia was, for me, even more creepy, lending to an unexplainable familiarity … I liked the lead up to the end. Moving …. Well done :) R

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Martin Ross
16:54 Mar 21, 2023

Given the world we live in, I was apprehensively sure where the story was going — so many abused runaways will seek love or “safety” anywhere without asking questions. You subverted that very nicely without ignoring the danger she MIGHT have been in. Love the atmospheric opening and the menace in the shadows. Thanks!

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Corey Melin
18:14 Mar 21, 2023

Thank you for the comments!

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Graham Kinross
05:51 Jul 04, 2023

Reuniting them at the end is a sweet move. It’s good to have positivity here as well as exploring the grim things we sometimes do. Well written, Corey.

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Corey Melin
02:28 Jul 12, 2023

Thank you for the comments

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Graham Kinross
05:26 Jul 12, 2023

You’re welcome.

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Graham Kinross
05:26 Jul 12, 2023

You’re welcome.

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Carly Arden
07:49 Jun 19, 2023

GREAT LOVE SPELL CASTER DR PETER THAT HELP ME SAVE MY RELATIONSHIP. TEXT OR ADD HIM UP DIRECTLY ON WHATSAPP +1 (646) 494-4360 My name is CARLY ARDEN. I want to give thanks to DR PETER for bringing back my ex husband. No one could have ever made me believe that the letter I’m about to write would actually one day be written. I was the world’s biggest skeptic. I never believed in magic spells or anything like this, but I was told by a reliable source (a very close co-worker) that Trust is a very dedicated, gifted, and talented person, It was ...

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Carly Arden
07:49 Jun 19, 2023

GREAT LOVE SPELL CASTER DR PETER THAT HELP ME SAVE MY RELATIONSHIP. TEXT OR ADD HIM UP DIRECTLY ON WHATSAPP +1 (646) 494-4360 My name is CARLY ARDEN. I want to give thanks to DR PETER for bringing back my ex husband. No one could have ever made me believe that the letter I’m about to write would actually one day be written. I was the world’s biggest skeptic. I never believed in magic spells or anything like this, but I was told by a reliable source (a very close co-worker) that Trust is a very dedicated, gifted, and talented person, It was ...

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Elijah Cooley
12:16 Apr 11, 2023

hey, great job at making it onto the leaderboard Corey!

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Corey Melin
14:42 Apr 12, 2023

Thank you. Been around for awhile

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Glenda Toews
15:54 Mar 29, 2023

I was getting kind of angry at you for writing how she needed to be the one to help her abuser father, very happy that Joseph visited them both :D!

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Corey Melin
19:42 Mar 29, 2023

It was straying that way but put that part in since he needed more help than she did. It was tough to write this story since I can picture this happening and wanting to put my full fury on this father.

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Glenda Toews
01:11 Mar 30, 2023

I know, I'm working on a story now that is difficult to write ..its fiction based on real events and the events aren't easy to be in....I'm glad it was uncomfortable for you..and yet you still showed mercy and hope, good job!

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MJ Simons
03:30 Mar 25, 2023

Corey, you did an excellent job with this prompt. I was a bit conflicted with the story because I believe the Lord wants us to embrace reconciliation with the broken relationships in our lives, but not if it will cause us further abuse. I was happy that the father seemed genuinely repentant of his actions. Sofia must have been scared, but she was courageous. I saw similarities with the original, The Little Match Girl, and I'm glad you gave it a happy ending. Nicely done!

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Corey Melin
12:52 Mar 25, 2023

Thank you for the comments! It’s definitely a tough subject to write about. As I wrote the story I thought about how the father needs to face his due, but thankfully we are all given 2nd, 3rd, and so on chances to redeem ourselves

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Edward Latham
14:27 Mar 22, 2023

Nice story Corey. My favourite part was the mystery and descriptions you gave about Sophia entering Joseph's house. It was uncertain and eerie at first, but hope rose out to win at the end

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Corey Melin
16:21 Mar 22, 2023

Thank you for the comments. I like to put in the Twilight Zone in many of my stories

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Elijah Cooley
13:07 Mar 22, 2023

I have just started on Reedsy and have no Idea how it works

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Corey Melin
16:19 Mar 22, 2023

The contest this one is on ended last Friday. This coming Friday is when they pick a winner. Of course you have to pay $5 do be put in the contest.

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Elijah Cooley
13:07 Mar 22, 2023

is the winning bit at December 31st or every week?

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Elijah Cooley
12:52 Mar 22, 2023

so beautiful

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Elijah Cooley
12:51 Mar 22, 2023

wow... so good. I don't know if you won with this one but you should have.

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Corey Melin
15:32 Mar 22, 2023

Thanks for the comments. The contest ends this Friday

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Elijah Cooley
12:27 Mar 24, 2023

thanks for answering. some people don't

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3i Writer
06:19 Mar 19, 2023

I was thinking the story might be better if you focus less on the dialogue between Joseph and MC and more on MC's interactions with the shadows outside (the enemy that gave MC bad thoughts) cos the shadows are what intrigue me the most.

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Corey Melin
14:14 Mar 19, 2023

There were many ways I could have taken this story. Even though it was dark in someways I didn’t want it to go too far down that road. Thank you for the comments

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Viga Boland
20:13 Mar 18, 2023

Well that was a most enjoyable read and positive end to what looked, initially, like a sinister read. Nicely done Corey. Thank you for a lovely interpretation of this prompt

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Corey Melin
14:10 Mar 19, 2023

Thank you for the comments!

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Amy Jayne Conley
13:54 Mar 17, 2023

Oh my goodness, this was so deep... but so beautiful... wow. At first, I thought Joseph would be a creepy guy hell-bent on being creepy and weird, maybe something bad would happen... but that ending was such a sweet twist! I hope whatever the father went through, it changes him truly. Amazing work, Corey!!

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Corey Melin
14:49 Mar 17, 2023

Greatly appreciate the comments. You hear stories the majority of the time of the creepy ones but there are still good out there

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Lily Finch
00:56 Mar 17, 2023

Corey, Sofia and her dad both undergo change due to Joseph. Quite the feat in one story, but the dad is the most radical change. The character of Sofia is naive but demonstrates good judgment in her choices. Joseph was double dipping on this one. LF6.

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Corey Melin
14:47 Mar 17, 2023

Thank you for the comments! Joseph was at work. Wish it happened more often

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Mary Bendickson
00:45 Mar 17, 2023

Angels among us.

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Corey Melin
14:46 Mar 17, 2023

Yes indeed. We need them

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