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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Staff (01/31/13)

TITLE: Staff of Redemption
By brian ward


How can this be Jessie? You have ruined everything! What did I do Elaine? Ugh really Jessie you are going to play dumb after that stunt. Elaine please for all things good calm down. You want me to calm down, well I tell you what how about you pack your bags and get out of my studio. Fine, you think just because this is your studio you can kick me out, Have you forgotten that I paid over half of the closing cost for this dump Elaine?

I do not care Jessie what you did for me, ever since you brought that hideous stick here, everything has started falling apart. Hideous, excuse me but that is the staff of redemption. Who cares what it is called I just know it is grotesque. You sit there day after day holding that thing like it has special powers. Look Elaine you know I have done hours of research on the staff of Moses. Of all the passages in the Bible regarding staffs, I am willing to bet you cannot name one as special as mine. Ha you think that thing is special, just look at it, what a piece of junk! Now get away from me. You and that wretched thing have managed to ruin my Mona Lisa smiles collection.

(Telephone ringing). Hi, you have reached the office of Grant and McAlister we are unable to come to the phone right now, but if you will leave a detailed message, we will call you right back. Well that figures I need to get these paintings fixed immediately and my painter is unreachable. If Jessie were here, I would take the stick and burn it. I have no idea how it changed the face of my paintings but somehow some way it has. Right now, I wish I could just disappear. How am I going to replace my clientís art? The check has already been cashed and spent!

Hey Glen how have you been? Who is this, Glen said with animosity. Sorry man I thought you would recognize my voice. Itís Jessie Crossman from the book club. Oh, ok, sorry I was so short with you, but I have been having a lot of prank calls lately. So what can I do for you Jessie? Well my fiancť just kicked me out and I need a place to crash for a couple of days. All right friend I got an extra room but I need to talk to the wife first, give me an hour. Thanks, Glen I appreciate it.

Jessie pulled up to the old warehouse district; he had planned to get his stuff out of the studio before Elaine could return from town. As he got closer to the side entrance Jessie could see that the door had been jammed. Before he could pull out his phone, something hit him hard. Thirty minutes later Jessie came to, gasping for air unable to reach the cloth that had him gaged. Slowly he opened his eyes; he was in the back of a cargo van. The windows had been removed and replaced with sheet metal. Jessie knew he was in trouble, he just hoped that he would see Elaine again so he could apologize. If he could change anything, he would gladly get rid of the staff, just to hold her and kiss her soft lips one more time.

The van came to screeching halt. Unaware of what was going on Jessie remained still and calm. With every breath, he prayed for mercy from God. Get out a voice shouted, the voice was deep and raspy. It reminded him of Sam his father. Come on hurry up get out here, you have some explaining to do. We need to know what you did with the Moses staff. You had better hope you still have it! A dark figure appeared from behind the vanís door. Look Jessie we do not want to hurt you, just tell us where the staff is and you can go. Jessie thought to himself, yeah right they knocked me out cold then they say they will not hurt me. How hypocritical is that?

Look guys I have the staff its back at my place. Where, we searched the whole area. Well if you had of just asked I would have saved you a drive. Hey, stop getting smart with us kid. We have our ways of making you pay. Why did you steal it from his lordship Constantine?

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This article has been read 263 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 02/08/13
Wow- This was quite intense. I enjoyed the ending. You've managed to leave the readers wanting more. Good job with biblical reference.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/10/13
You have a genuine gift of storytelling. I think you did a great job of building the suspense in this story.

You do need to brush up on some of the mechanics of writing like quotation marks, starting a new paragraph each time someone different is speaking, and checking for typos. The best thing would be to find a proofreader who can help you through those rules and rough patches. You may also want to get a book that helps with the mechanics. My favorite is Strunk's Elements of Style. Another great source is on FW message boards (the main board is Writing Discussions) under the thread titles Ann's Grammar Basics and Jan's Writing Basics. There is a plethora of knowledge and help hints here.

I think this story is an excellent take on the topic. One goal a writer has when writing on topic is to write in such a way that the reader could guess what the topic is or write in such a way if you were to remove the topic words the story would fall apart and not make sense. Many people incorrectly think that just a quick sentence with the topic word in it makes the story on topic. Your story is an excellent example of how to make the topic word the center of the story.

There are eight criteria the judges use when scoring a story. I believe you would score the lowest on crafting (proper grammar, punctuation, flow, predictability). I think you would score better in the creativity criterion. You have a nice creative and interesting take on the topic.
The ending criterion may be a tad weak as well. I want to know what happened next. It's always a good sign when your reader wants to keep reading. It's difficult to get a complete story in under 750 words, but there too is another place where a proofreader or challenge buddy could help you.
I think your beginning was also quite good. (Though it's confusing because it is difficult to follow who is who and who is speaking or doing what. I thought Jessie and Elaine were both females until I reached the middle or so of the story.) But you introduced the conflict immediately and I found myself eager to keep reading.

Keep writing and working on ways to polish your craft. There is no doubt that you have amazing raw talent, and with some tweaking, would have an outstanding story.