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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Discern (08/12/10)

TITLE: The Lights Go Out
By Kara Dunham


The bright flash of lightning caused Laura to look up from her book. The rattling grumble of thunder shortly followed. The loud boom jittered her inside reminding her that she was alone. She slouched deeper into the couch, pulling the blankets tighter and held her book closer. Another flash brought more rounds of blustering growls.

Rain poured down heavily adding to the cacophony of the storm. Light flashed once more, this time followed by a buzz. Laura stared up at the lights as they turned to blackness. The rapid change from light to dark blurred her vision. All around the room, wherever her eyes turned, light-shaped blurs danced, mocking her temporary blindness.

She closed her eyes, forcing herself to take in deep breaths. More light flashed around her but the darkness continued. She felt foolish and juvenile to be so afraid of a rain storm. Each time she felt she had convinced herself it was nothing another loud boom would jolt her house.

She slowly opened her eyes trying to adjust them to the darkness. It was little use, the blackness was thick and the lightning's sporadic light made things worse. Shapes were forming themselves in her living room. Nothing was distinguishable but something within her knew they were bad.

The sound of the storm faded as her own heart beat grew louder. She could not look away, a captive of her own fears. More lightning flashed. The old shapes vanished, but new ones formed in the opposite corner. Monsters of hideous size and proportions. She didnít believe in monsters! But her eyes told her otherwise and her heart beat in agreement. Reality was lost, and she could no longer discern what shapes were her furniture and which were the monsters.

She felt lightheaded and realized she had been holding her breath. She let it slowly seep out and then inhaled deeply, closing her eyes. This time she felt the presence of a new light flash across her eyelids. It was a light most comforting in her desperate moment of fear. She was safe now.

To confirm her suspicions, she heard two car doors quickly close, followed by footsteps hammering up the stairs onto the porch and the sound of a key unlocking the door. Her fears were quickly forgotten replaced with tremendous relief as her parents entered the living room, equipped with a flashlight.

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This article has been read 308 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Loren T. Lowery08/20/10
You're certainly know how to tell a good, gripping story that keeps the reader engaged. My only comment would be to be cautious in the use of too many adjectives to describe the situation (such as the storm/thunder/lightening. You did an excellent job setting the atmosphere and being overly descriptive can actually dilute the affect rather than enhance it. I enjoyed this story very much and the ending was well done! Keep up the great work.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/20/10
I remember thinking there were monsters at every turn when I was home alone too.
Heather MacInnis08/22/10
Very descriptive! Nicely done!
Margaret Kearley 08/23/10
Very good descriptive writing. The fear and then the eventual great relief of the MC - were vividly portrayed. Well done.
AnneRene' Capp08/23/10
Although I get scared silly, I love thunderstorms. I was nestled right beside you on that couch and so relieved when your parents and THAT FLASHLIGHT arrived! :)
Betty Castleberry08/23/10
I like your descriptions of the the thunder..grumbling, growls. Good imagery. I love thunderstorms.

A couple of minor grammatical errors, but all in all, a good read.
Virgil Youngblood 08/23/10
An entertaining story with a great ending. Well done.
Brenda Rice 08/23/10
I live in the deep south and thunderstorms are a daily event this time of year. I felt as if I was there with you in the middle of a stormy night, frightened and very thankful that someone came home.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/30/10
Congratulations for placing in the top 8 of your level.