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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Crime and Punishment (not about the book) (07/21/11)

TITLE: Out of Contol
By Loretta Leonard
07/28/11


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“Get out of my face,” screamed Carol. Her face grew bright red with anger and her hands quickly became a fist. Her arms protected her face from any punches that might come her way. Frightened but looking for the right opportunity, Carol landed a punch to her father's shoulder and stepped back. Her resentment escalated. She had finally had enough of the bullying that she had received. She stepped back and kicked her leg with all the force she could manage but she missed the mark.

“You think you can do anything you want. We'll just see who's boss in this household,” yelled Doug. Not even thinking about what he was doing, Doug slammed Carol against the wall and delivered a punch to the stomach. He placed his arm firmly against her throat as if to choke her but realized that he had to stop when she began to have problems breathing. His taekwondo experience taught him to act reflexively. His step daughter had given him a real headache for quite some time but reaching the teenage years was the most difficult of all.

“When I tell you to do something I want you to do it. Not hours later, either.” Another punch missed its mark but formed a big cavernous hole in the sheet rock on the wall.

“You're not my real father and I don't have to listen to you.” Emotions were on autopilot and Carol could only think of getting away from the abuse dished out by her step father. “I hate you!” Her anger turned to rage and deep hatred.

Doug gave Carol a shove directly into the glass mirror by the bedroom dresser. Irregular lines in the mirror inched along the surface and some glass shards fell to the ground. Both Carol and Doug seemed to be totally unaware of the events in the rest of the home.

The reality of what had occurred became crystal clear in a few moments. Doug's wife confronted both of them and demanded to know exactly what had happened. She rescued Carol from any further punishment, if you could call what was happening punishment.

With blue lights flashing, a patrol car drove down the long driveway and stopped. Two officers came up to the front door and entered the residence. They had received a 9-1-1 call from someone nearby and needed to follow through with interrogations. Each family member had a chance to tell their version of the evening's happenings. Doug felt completely drained and exhausted from the early morning encounter. With no more adrenaline left to fuel the escalating anger, Doug felt a sigh of relief. Later on he would have no memory whatsoever of the event.

Doug overstepped the boundary between punishment and abuse for the last time. He was questioned over and over about his actions on that explosive night. Regret would come later.

Doug was whisked away by the police at 3:00 AM. His life had turned topsy turvy and he was no longer able to stay in his comfortable home just watching television or relaxing after a long day at work. This wasn't fiction; it was reality.

At the precinct, Doug surrendered his leather wallet, removed his Smartphone from his hip pocket, relinquished his wedding band and placed his cash into the dish on the counter. After Doug had been processed he was taken to a new area and given the latest fashion apparel, a bright orange jumpsuit. He was escorted to the top floor with dull gray concrete walls but no windows..

Dealing with the problems of domestic violence is difficult for all family members. Emotional pain runs deep into the recesses of the mind. Being judgmental and passing the blame on to others accomplishes nothing. We don't need to feel unloved and unimportant. As Christians we have the solution to finding freedom from pain. We need to believe in faith that God will guide us each day

As Christians we also should not be quick to judge one another. Ephesians 4:32* admonishes each of us to “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another just as God also forgave you in Christ”, Let God open your eyes to opportunities to help others. Let them know that God can change the direction of their life.

*(Holman Christian Study Bible).


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Member Comments
Member Date
Jennifer Dawn Dexter07/28/11
Nice story idea. You started off with some good "showing" during the fight ... however, you slipped into a lot of "telling" after that. If you aren't familiar with the term "show don't tell" or "showing versus telling", this is a perfect aspect of writing for you to explore and grow in. This was the first piece of constructive criticism I received on a challenge and it has really helped my writing.

An example of "telling" sentences would be these:

Doug's wife confronted both of them and demanded to know exactly what had happened. She rescued Carol from any further punishment, if you could call what was happening punishment.

You could "show" what is going on by changing it to something like this.

"What's going on here?" Doug's wife demanded. "Carol, come here", she said while putting her arm protectively around her daughter.

This keeps the reader engaged in the story, which is more exciting and interesting than simply being told what is happening.

If this were to be written for a devotional book, then your ending would be appropriate. However, if the intention is to simply be an engaging short story that includes a lesson to be learned, it is better to reveal the lesson within the story in a way that isn't preachy. But again, it depends on the intended purpose of the writing.

I am pretty knew to this type of writing, but these are two things I quickly learned and I bestow upon you, a fellow beginner challenger! Keep writing!
diana kay07/31/11
some powerful emotions her and well told.
I found the story drew me in. the way you told it initially was very engaging but once he was arrested it seemed like the writer stepped back into description.
How did the dad feel how did the mom and daughter feel. this would have kept the story more "real"
great writing though!