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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Donít Look Back (04/19/12)

TITLE: Unwelcome Guests
By LaRue Kendrick


Unwelcome Guests

It was Ninaís job to gather eggs from the hen house each evening. She picked up the woven basket with straw in the bottom from where it hung on its back porch hook. With the basket in one hand and a Popsicle in the other, she opened the screen door and strolled across the yard to the hen house. It wasnít dusk yet, so the chickens were still roaming around the yard and orchard in search of bugs, worms and other chicken delicacies. Yuck!

In days past, Nina had received her share of scoldings and punishment for throwing eggs at the chickens just to hear them squawk and flap their wings as they ran away from her. She had finally learned her lesson that this was not acceptable behavior, no matter how much fun it had been and even though no chicken had ever suffered anything but surprise.

Occasionally, when she went into the hen house, there would be a harmless bull snake slithering across the floor looking for eggs to eat or even in the nests where the hens laid their eggs. The nests were fastened to the wall and off of the floor but the snakes could get into them anyway. Dad always said they were good snakes because they helped keep the mice away, but they were no friend to Nina Ė no way! She always ran away from the hen house in search of someone bigger than herself who would take the snake out of the hen house and relocate it to the garden or nearby field.

On this particular day, Nina casually opened the door to the hen house and was paying more attention to the last bite of her Popsicle than to what was lurking in the nests. She walked up to the first nest, casually put the Popsicle stick into her back jeans pocket, then put her hand in to gently pick up the three eggs and place them carefully in the basket. Mom didnít appreciate broken or even cracked eggs because she had dropped them into the basket too hard. What she saw next took her breath away. If the snakes had made her turn tail and run in the other direction, this was even worse! Looking at her with black, beady eyes was an all-too-familiar black critter with a white stripe down its back. Nina dropped the basket, breaking the three eggs already in it, and ran as fast as she could to get away from the skunk. The eggs would have to wait until this guest moved on.

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This article has been read 293 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 04/26/12
Hahahahahahaha... This was a funny and cute light hearted entry. Thank you... I could really see the MC running from the little critter without looking back!

Thanks. God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/26/12
I really enjoyed this. You had me chuckling throughout it as I pictured poor Nina doing her job.

I think this would make a delightful picture book with a tad bit of polishing. When writing for kids, try to keep the sentences down to around 8 words or less (also make the paragraphs shorter). For example this sentence -- Occasionally, when she went into the hen house, there would be a harmless bull snake slithering across the floor looking for eggs to eat or even in the nests where the hens laid their eggs. -- has over 30 words in it. That's a tad long for adult stories. You can tighten it up like this --Occasionally, she'd entered the hen house and saw a harmless bull snake. He slithered across the floor, searching for an egg to eat.
I made the verbs active and broke it into two sentences.

I giggled throughout. I thought the ending was perfect. I didn't expect a skunk at all and I really like it when I'm surprised. You did a great job covering the topic in a fresh way. This is a great story and I really enjoyed it and am eager to read more.
Marina Rojas04/27/12
From someone who used to collect the eggs at home, I salute you!

The story was cute, the surprise ending was great and it sure brought a chuckle to my heart when I flashed back to all of the surprises waiting for you when you "pick" the eggs.

Ya did good!
PamFord Davis 04/29/12
Funny ending, but if I encountered snakes or skunks it would be no laughing matter! Thanks for taking us along to the hen house.

Wing His Words!