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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Vision (08/03/06)

TITLE: When the Bough Breaks
By Teresa Collins


The warm air was filled with the soft fragrance of spring, the birds sang, as if, in celebration. It was the day Tess gave birth to her beautiful baby girl. Tess and her husband Jake were told they would never be able to have children.
This was a day of great joy.
As Tess held her sweet miracle to her breast she knew life was complete. They named their daughter Hope as she was the hope they carried in their hearts that this day would come.

The years passed quickly as Hope went from pigtails to a slender, beautiful young woman. Long golden hair, a warm smile, her eyes sparkled with innocence. Tess and Jake raised Hope in a quiet home with an abundance of love and Christian values. Hope graduated with honors.
Tess and Jake were proud of their daughter.

The day came when they would say good bye as Hope left for college.
“I love you, mama, I’ll call everyday and write once a week!”
“Daddy don’t worry I’ll always be your little princess.” Hope gently wiped a tear from his eye.
“Be careful Honey we love you!” they yelled almost in unison waving their arms in the air as she drove away.

Hope settled into her dorm and loved her professors. Tess and Jake loved hearing every little detail when she called and in the letters she wrote.

The phone rang. Tess answered.
“Hi Mom!” it was Hope.
“Mom, I’ve got the greatest news, I got a waitress job.” Hope announced.
“Hope, are you sure you can handle a job and school?”
“Oh yes Mom all my friends have jobs.”
“Well, Ok but if it starts to interfere…” “Oh it won’t.” Hope interrupted.
“Ok Mom, tell daddy I love him, gotta go, I love you both.” Hope said as she hung up.
Tess looked at the phone dismayed as her daughter rushed away.

Tess and Jake became concerned as the letters stopped and Hope hardly called home anymore. They justified it with her very busy schedule.
They planned a surprise visit to see Hope.

Tess and Jake arrived at the dorm.
Hope’s room mate answered peeking through the barely opened door.
“We’ve come to see Hope.” Jake said quietly.
“Hope said she was going home a couple weeks ago, I haven’t seen her since.” the girl said.
Jake looked at Tess speechless.
“Would you mind if we came in?” Tess asked.
“Sure, Come in.”
The girl quickly moved some books from a futon to make room for them to sit.
“Hope said she got a job a few weeks ago working as a waitress, do you know anything about that?” Tess asked anxiously.
“I believe it was the Lucky Dollar about twenty minutes from here on highway thirty.”
They thanked the girl for her help as they left.
They knew they had to find Hope.

The lights of the Lucky Dollar illuminated the sky with a big neon sign that blinked Girls Girls Girls .
“Looks like a busy place.” Tess said.
They hurried to the door and were greeted by a tall muscle bound man.
“Ten dollar cover charge.” his voice rung loud and deep.
“We’re trying to find our daughter.” Jake said anxiously.
“What’s her stage name?” the man asked
Tess and Jake looked at each other.
“We don’t know, can we just come in and look?” Jake insisted.
“You can look but if you stay you’ll have to pay.” the man said as he opened another door into the club area.
Tess and Jake were horrified by what they saw as they entered the smoke filled, dimly lit club. The music was loud. They made their way through the standing crowd of mostly men. Tess held tight to Jake’s hand. Nothing could have prepared them for what they would see next. They saw a stage with poles and six naked girls dancing. As they looked at each girl they were relieved. Then they spotted a girl with long golden hair and as she turned around their hearts sank as they saw their precious Hope.

Hope was an adult and able to make her own decisions. Jake and Tess would make it a point to meet with Hope to discuss her choices. They held on to their vision for Hope’s future and remembered the scripture in Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.(NKJ)

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Member Comments
Member Date
terri tiffany08/10/06
I liked your style all the way through except for the ending as it sort of fell short. It could be due to the word count.:) I found myself drawn into the story and felt the fears the parents were feeling. I thought there was truth to it and made a good point. Very nice.:)
Jan Ackerson 08/11/06
A tragic story--glad you ended with a note of hope.

I was left wondering what caused Hope to change so drastically--

There was quite a bit of "Tess and Jake", almost as if they were one character. This might be stronger if written entirely from one parent's POV, with an emphasis on "showing, not telling."

I like the way you had Hope's parents continue to give her love and support despite their disappointment.

Jen Davis08/16/06
A very sad story that held my attention all the way through. I wanted to know if here were any other signs that she was heading in such a direction. I also wanted to see Hope's reaction to her parents finding her.