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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)

TITLE: He's a Good Kid
By Sheri Gordon
04/11/07


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Thump!

“Did you here that?”

Brian was working late … again. Sitting in his makeshift office that once resembled a kitchen, he hollered into the den where his wife was watching American Idol.

“Hear what?” Sharon muted the television and tried not to sound annoyed at her husband for interrupting her program.

“That thumping. It sounds like something’s hitting the house.”

“It’s probably the dogs wrestling, or in the bushes.”

Not wanting to miss her favorite contestant, and hoping to convey to her husband that she was a tad miffed that he was still working, Sharon turned up the volume on the t.v.

At the commercial break, she hit the mute button and called into the kitchen/office. “Have you talked to Trent? He told me twenty minutes ago that he was almost home.”

“No. But don‘t worry.”

Thump!

“I heard it that time. Have you seen anything?”

“No. It never happens while I’m looking out the window. But it’s hitting right here.”

Thump!

“That dumb dog.” Brian stared outside in disbelief.

“Who?”

“Reba. I think she’s throwing her ball against the window.”

“Maybe she‘s trying to get your attention. She probably wants you to play with her.” Sharon turned back to the television. She wanted to hear her least-favorite contestant sing so she could give a fair critique of the performance.

When the show ended, Sharon headed to the kitchen to check on her husband, and try to take her mind off the fact that their son still wasn’t home.

Thump!

“That does sound like one of Reba’s toys hitting the window. Have you seen her do it?”

“No. But every time I look out she’s staring back in at me.“

“She has kind of a strange look on her face. Go play with her.”

“Maybe later. Let’s leave this room -- hopefully she’ll stop. Anything from Trent yet?”

“Nope. He didn’t answer when I called. I thought I heard his truck earlier, but I guess not. My worry and anger bugs are starting to run wild. Why can’t he just do what he’s supposed to do?”

Brian steadied himself for one of Sharon’s tirades. How he prayed she would relax and realize their son was a good kid -- just pulling typical slightly-irresponsible, teenage antics. Lord, please help her to calm down and rest in the assurance that You’re big enough to take care of everything -- even Trent.

Sharon continued …

“I do not want to go through this for two more years. If he doesn’t start working a little harder on grades instead of running around doing whatever, he won’t get into college. He’ll be going to City and living here. Won’t that be grand?”

“Honey, relax. It’s spring break. He’s hanging out with friends. That‘s what teenagers are supposed to do. Try him again. And be nice. He probably didn’t answer because he’s driving.”

Sharon silently prayed as she agitatedly hit ‘redial‘. Lord, give me the patience for a teenager driver. Help me to talk nicely and not make a big deal out of nothing.

“Hey.” Trent’s casual answer indicated that he was unaware more than forty minutes had passed since he told his mom he was almost home.

“WHERE ARE YOU?” So much for Sharon’s patience and nice tone.

“I’m here.”

“Where’s here?”

“Home.”

“You’re home?” Had Sharon been so engrossed in American Idol that she hadn’t heard, or seen Trent come in?

“Yeah, I’m home.”

Sharon followed her husband into the den.

“He said he’s home. But where?”

Thump!

Brian and Sharon turned to look out the picture window that encompassed an entire wall of the room. Their golden retriever, Reba, stared back in at them.

“Are you kidding? That dog followed us. She just threw something off this window.”

“Now I’m getting a little freaked out.” Sharon hurriedly closed the curtains and sat on the couch with her husband, trying to pretend nothing was wrong.

Moments later Trent came bounding into the room.

“Didn’t you guys hear me? Dad looked right at me and I froze. I’ve been outside for, like, an hour, throwing Reba’s ball at the windows. I can’t believe neither of you heard it.”

Brian and Sharon stared at each other as the events of the past hour started to make sense. For the first time in weeks, unadulterated laughter spewed from Sharon’s inner soul as she realized the foolishness of her hysteria.

Thank you, Lord, for watching over Trent, and blessing us with a good kid.


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This article has been read 864 times
Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood04/12/07
I loved this story! Great humor--it could easily qualify for that genre, as well! I can just feel the parents' embarrassment when they realized their misunderstanding.

Wonderful dialogue and use of sound effects--I could hear that repeated "Thump!"

Just a couple typos--"hear" spelled "here" near the beginning and one quote with no close quotes after it.

The dog came alive for me with her puzzled looks!

Terrific job!
Jan Ackerson 04/12/07
Ooooh, I think I found the right one!

This is adorable--written with an appealing realism.

(On a side note, I'm an AI fan, too--who're you rooting for?)
Elizabeth Baize 04/12/07
You did a great job of capturing the scene, building suspense, and bringing everthing to a satisfying conclusion. I enjoyed this!!
Jacquelyn Horne04/14/07
Cute family story. Good writing.
Marilyn Schnepp 04/15/07
Loved this story - kept me intrigued throughout. But I still can't see how a son looks like a golden retriever? Weird...or am I missing something. Kudos to you! But still a mystery to me. Go figure.(^.^)
Val Clark04/17/07
An intriguing story with good dialogue. It would have been more satisfactory if I'd known why the kid didn't knock on the door or use a key or am I completly missing the point here. If I am PM me. Having said that the story was tightly written and kept me engaged to the end.
Joanne Sher 04/17/07
Cute story with good description. I also found the repetitive "thump" effective. Good stuff.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/18/07
What a clever mystery with just the right touch of humor!
Julie Arduini04/18/07
I loved the thump and besides great overall writing, I thought the dialogue made this one just click. Great work!
Catrina Bradley 04/18/07
Great job setting the scene and keeping the reader intrigued. Your sixth paragraph seems to be missing a word? And I wanted to holler at them to just go look outside and see what the dog wanted, for crying out loud! Maybe their son was laying out there hurt and the dog was trying to get their attention. Just the way my mind works - Good writing, tho!
Bonnie Derksen04/26/07
Well done Sheri.
Great dialogue between your characters. I, too, loved the common "thump" thread throughout.
You did a great job of setting the stage and showing us what you saw and heard.
Congrats on #11.