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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Key (02/14/13)

TITLE: The Dream
By Richard Hicks


Ray turned the ignition switch again. The car back kicked and sputtered for 3 minutes then, went dead.

Judy said with a sarcastic voice, “what are you going to do now mister mechanic?”

Ray highly aggravated said, “Don’t start with me Judy!” They set in silence as rain pelted against their car.

“I guess the car is out of gas.” Ray was debating in his mind; do I get out in this thunderstorm? I will be okay just as long as I don’t take Judy with me, she can sit in the car.

Finally he mustered up the words, “I will walk, and you can stay in the car, just lock the door and do not open the door for anyone.”

“You are not leaving me in this storm” said Judy right as the lightning flashed crossed the black sky.

Ray and Judy had been married for 36 years. Now especially that the kids were grown, Judy had prayed deeply that God would help their marriage. They were at their wits end with each other.

They had managed to set aside some time to go on a vacation, to try to salvage what was left of their relationship.

There was a deadening silence that chilled the air that night. Ray was not intending on staying in the car. “I am walking up to the next house.”
Finally Judy bolstered up enough courage, “then I’m going with you.”

They both bolted out of the car at the same time and walked hurriedly up the road.

They both see a house up ahead with the lights on. Judy ran with Ray running behind her. They got up to the front porch, and Judy was already knocking on the door.

The elderly man answered and peeked out. “May I help you folks?”

“Yes our car ran out of gas” Ray said shivering.

“Why don’t you folks come in and get dried off first,” smiled the elderly man. Judy hurriedly walked in and then Ray.

“My name is Bill Wise, you two get freshened up, and I will get Ella to make you some coffee. Ella we got company. “

Soon enough, they were all sitting down in the kitchen all drinking coffee. “What brings you around these parts said Bill?”

Ray and Judy both stumbled with their words, finally Ray blurted out, “we are on a vacation.”

“The Blue Hill Mountains are indeed very beautiful this time of year,” Ella smiled as she sipped her coffee. “Too bad you ran into this horrible weather. Please stay until the storm passes.”

Judy chimed in, “We are in no hurry.” Ray just shook his head and looked down at the floor.

For the next several minutes Ella and Bill got acquainted with the couple. From what Ray and Judy gathered they were a very happy elderly couple. Judy finally got up enough nerve to ask Bill and Ella, “What’s your secret? How have you stayed together for so long?”

Bill and Ella looked at each other and said at the same time, “Jesus.”

“If it were not because of our faith and love in Jesus we would have never made it.”

Ray said, “But how…?”

Bill cut him off short and said, “Ray, do you and Judy pray together?” He nodded his head no, and looked down.”

“Ray, do you want your marriage to work, Ella gracefully said?”

Ella held out her hand, “let’s pray together.” She already knew the answer. They all held hands. Bill cleared his throat. “Father in heaven, we bring this couple before you, unite them in Your Spirit and Your truth. “Show the true key to happiness is you, Jesus.” Become alive in them once more, we ask and pray In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

As they opened Ray opened his eyes from the prayer, He realized He was in the car and Judy was right beside him in the passenger’s seat sleeping. The sun was rising, as Ray shook off his slumber. Then he had remembered the storm the night before, and had realized he had been dreaming. But this was no ordinary dream, he smiled for the first time in several months as he took Judy’s hand…

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This article has been read 416 times
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/22/13
This is an interesting and charming little story. It reminds me of the first sermon my son, who is studying to become a minister, gave at his sister's wedding. It was Is love enough? Most people would think the answer would be yes but it takes so much more than just love and Jesus is a key part of that equation.

You have several little errors like missing punctuation in the dialog, using the numeral 3 instead of writing it out (You should write out numbers less than ten and some say less than a hundred) that a good proofreader would help catch. I also noticed, you repeated some things. For example this line: Judy said with a sarcastic voice, “what are you going to do now mister mechanic?”
You don't need to say in a sarcastic voice because it's obvious from her words that she is being sarcastic. Instead you could identify her as the speaker with something like this: Judy threw her arms up in the air. "So what are you going to do now, Mister Mechanic?"

I'm really bad about reading titles before I read the story so I didn't predict the ending, but if I had seen the title first, I would have known immediately that it was all a dream. For me that would have taken the twist out of the story and I love a good twist. You seem to have a good take on the dialog. It felt natural. Your message is a timeless one for sure. Keep writing, you never know how God will use your words to touch someone's heart.
Noel Mitaxa 02/23/13
A good warm story that flows very well, with a strong ending that invites us to believe that there is new hope for this couple.
Your writing shows a lot of promise because it is well-earthed.
C D Swanson 02/23/13
This was a poignant read and it touched my heart. I felt the sincerity in the entire piece. Nicely done.

God bless~
Virgil Youngblood 02/23/13
I think you are off to a good start with your writing. There is a little book that helps me greatly. You will find it worth the read: The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. & E. B. White. Another book, Punctuate It Right! by Harry Shaw, is another valuable tool. Best wishes.
Cheryl Harrison02/23/13
Nice story. I liked the ending.

One thought: Print your story and circle all the words that end with "ing". Pick one or two and try to reword your sentence without an "ing" word. It's a great exercise.

Good job!
lynn gipson 02/23/13
I like that Judy had prayed for God to help their marriage, and then he had the dream that changed his heart. A lovely story with a lovely message. You write with feeling and tenderness. I enjoyed this. Keep writing.
Lillian Rhoades 02/23/13
I, too, didn't read the title, so the ending was a pleasant surprise.

Good readers make good writers. I tell that to myself all the time.:-) Read, read, read all the fiction stories you can find - on Faithwriters, magazines, short stories, etc. Improvement comes with more reading and more writing. More showing than telling will also improve your storytelling

One way to do this is by using colorful, more descrptive verbs.
Review your piece and find all the "said" words. See if you can substitute "said" for something else more colorful and descriptive. Ex. "Judy jeered,"Ray blurted out..."

Sometimes the way we speak does not always translate into good writing.

For ex.
"Bill cut him off short, and said... Consider this: Bill interrupted him. "Ray do you...,

"Ray shook off his slumber..." Consider something more descriptive. "Ray awoke just as the sun peeked over the horizon..

You're off to a great beginning as a fiction writer.
Judith Gayle Smith02/23/13
This is so delightful! I too did not catch the dream theme and was a wee bit disappointed to see the old folks go (married almost 40 years - with Jesus at the center, the surround and the core) . . .
Danielle King 02/24/13
I agree with all that's been said already. I think your idea is good and you've got great potential, so keep reading other's work and definitely keep writing. Well done.
Kim Norton02/25/13
I really enjoyed this piece. Beautiful story. I have to agree with everyone on this. I encourage you to have someone proof for you as there were several grammatical errors. And, I did read the title, which gave it away for me. :(. But, I thought you did a great job!
Susan Montaperto02/25/13
I enjoyed your story and was also suprised by the ending.
Thank you. Keep writing.
God Bless.
Myrna Noyes02/26/13
This is a charming little story, and you drew the main characters quite well. You also used some good strong verbs such as, "bolted" and "blurted" and you had some nice descriptive phrases that helped me "see" things better. Your story just needs a bit of polishing to reach its full potential! :) The suggestion someone gave to read, read, read will definitely help you become a better writer. I look forward to reading more of your work!
Bea Edwards 02/27/13
I liked you story and think you have great potential. Practice makes perfect so keep writing and honing your craft. I applaud you for taking this step and putting your heart out there for others to read.