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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Help (02/20/06)

TITLE: She's Gone
By Ann Darcy


“Heeeellllpppp!” I screamed as I saw the man grab my daughter and start running in the opposite direction at the top of the hill. Fear shook my body, what would happen to her? She was my life; the only person who had ever really loved me.

“Please, somebody help me! He’s taking my daughter!”

Startled people looked up the hill to where I was pointing, but he was already gone. I knew there was no way I could catch him. I had never been a runner, but urgency forced me to try. The fear of my sweet Amy gave me speed like I had never had before—but it wasn’t enough.

As I finally came over the crest of the hill I realized it was absolutely useless, the man in the black jacket had disappeared, and he had taken my daughter with him. He was probably ripping out of the parking lot and accelerating down the street by now. He was gone. In my head I could hear my Amy calling for me to help her; screaming Mommy’s name.

“Oh God! Please, please rescue her. Keep her safe.” I wailed. I started turning to the people at the top of the hill, begging. “Please, can somebody help me? Did anybody see a tall man carrying a little girl about ten years old? Please tell me somebody saw her? Can somebody please help me?” I screamed. Rage and terror overshadowed everything.

One by one they would shake their heads with an apology in their eyes; sullenly telling me they hadn’t seen my precious girl—they probably thought I was crazy. One even dared to mutter that this was the safest park in the city, that this was highly unlikely. The last person I dared to ask was a tall man, he had tanned skin and dark hazel eyes that shone with compassion. He stepped towards me, holding his hand out trying to steady my nerves.

“Did you see which way the man went?” he asked. “I just got here but I’ll help you find her.”

I almost broke into sobs right there, simply because someone would help me. “I…I di… didn’t see.” I managed to explain. “I let her go up the hill because she likes to ride down it on her scooter. I should have never let her go. Why didn’t I go up—”

“Hey, you can’t think like that. Right now you need to focus.” The man said, he put his hand on my shoulder and tried to calm me. “Ok, you stay here and look, and I’ll look in the parking lot. Will you be okay?”

I nodded and he took off. I started searching, looking everywhere I could think. Under bushes, behind slides at the playground, in the bathrooms, behind the outdoor amphitheater, and anywhere else it might be possible to hide. Then I looked everywhere again, and a third time, just in case. Finally, after half an hour I couldn’t take it any longer, she was gone… probably forever. My knees buckled in agony and I fell to the ground, all the hope in me had gone. I let the sobs wrack my body.

“Mommy, Mommy!”

I looked up to see her running towards me. Was I hallucinating? I couldn’t believe it, my little Amy there in front of me.

“Amy, oh, my baby you’re safe!” I ran and pulled her into myself letting her warmth soak into my arms.

“Mommy, that nice man helped me get away,” she said, still breathing hard. I looked up into the stranger’s eyes and mouthed the words “thank you.” Tears of joy ran down my face. He knelt down and wiped one away. His eyes said the “you’re welcome” and everything else that there might be to say… especially that he might just be around to help us again.

“CUT. That’s a rap,” the director yelled. “Kelly, you really do know how to make it feel real. That was some incredible acting.”

“Oh, thanks. You just gotta put yourself in that situation,” I said. “It really helps”

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This article has been read 768 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Phyllis Inniss02/28/06
Really convincing. I wondered why no one called for the police.
Sandra Petersen 02/28/06
This was suspenseful, and struck a tender note with me...I have been the Mom in this story within a story, wondering where my youngest could have gone. Never an attempted child abduction, though; she was a wanderer when she was only 4 or 5 years old. What a twist at the end! In a way, the ending was a little of a letdown for me, but certainly was a surprise. The emotions you packed into this were very realistic. Well done!
Jan Ackerson 03/03/06
Cool--a twist on the "it was only a dream" scenario. Took me by surprise! Good job.
Cheryl Harrison03/03/06
This was very good. Had me from the beginning and the ending definitely took me by surprise. Great job!
Debbie Sickler03/03/06
I think you captured the mother's emotions well with this paragraph: “Please, can somebody help me?...” I screamed. Rage and terror overshadowed everything.

I also really like that you gave a twist at the end. Unfortunately, it seemed to come out of no where. You built up all these great emotions, then it was like, "Never mind. It didn't really happen." Made it feel like you cheated us.

If you left off the bit about the movie scene, then we are left with a happy ending for the daughter and possibly a romance for the mother. As a movie ending, we're left not really knowing anything about the main character, other than she is an actress.

David Ian03/04/06
You're mixing two media here; literature, which has the advantage of a narrator to describe actions, inner feelings and thoughts, as well as tags to dialogue. Then when we are jerked into the movie set segment, it negates the literary conventions. I think it would be better if the first part was all dialogue with NO narrative bits or dialogue tags, then when we cut to the movie set, we still have consistency. I do question what the purpose of the movie situation is, since we really have a complete story here, but if you'd want to keep it in, I would suggest having an absolutely unresolvable dilemma for the mother that the reader says, "How is the mother going to get her child back out of THIS mess?" and then cutting the scene is actually a welcomed resolution for the reader. Good job of portraying tension and conflict, though. Well done.
Marilyn Schnepp 03/04/06
I, too, kept wondering why somebody didn't call the police; and of course I was happy with the ending...but it was a feeling of being cheated...however nice! Great writing, and that's what this is all about! Good job.
Shari Armstrong 03/05/06
Ok -first you have my heart in my throat, then a happy ending -and it was a movie! well done -and awesome twist at the end -NEVER saw that coming!