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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Don't Cut off Your Nose to Spite Your Face" (without using the actual phrase or litera (02/14/08)

TITLE: Runaway
By Shirley McClay
02/20/08


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Luke wiped his grubby hand across his eyes and smudged the tears and dirt. His steps were slow and heavy and matched the litany drumming in his mind. She doesn’t care. No one does. It’ll be best if I’m gone. Then they’ll be happy.

The bag over his shoulder was heavy and his arm was aching. Sitting down on a rotten tree stump, he removed his toy canteen from the bag and gratefully gulped the water.

Maybe when Dad gets home and hears how Mom treated me… maybe they’ll come looking for me. Or maybe he’ll be mad, too. The tears made fresh tracks through the dirt smudges and Luke again brushed them away. After taking another drink he returned the canteen to his bag and hefted the lightened load onto his other shoulder. He needed to keep moving. They would all be looking for him.

It was hard to push his way through the deep grass. Grasshoppers kept popping out and he had to keep his mouth tightly closed or he’d have a mouthful of tiny gnats. “Ah-choo!” Uh-oh! I forgot to bring tissues. His sleeve smeared more than dirt this time.

Been gone most of the day. It must be almost time for supper. The fresh cow pie was hidden until his sneaker squished into it. He blamed his watery eyes on the smell. After all, seven years old was too big to be a cry-baby.

Finally Luke made it to the shelter of a huge oak tree. He sank down on the far side of it and leaned back against the trunk.

What a horrible day. He had disobeyed Mom and was spanked and sent to his room. Instead of coming down when he was ready to apologize, Luke had packed his bag and slipped out when she wasn’t looking. Now he was far away where no one would ever find him.

Luke’s growling stomach reminded him that he had missed lunch. Opening his bag, he pulled out a package of stale, crumbly crackers he found under his bed. She’ll know I’m starving. That should make her sorry.

He thought that the book he'd brought would help pass the time, but Cookie Monster just reminded him of the yummy smells in the kitchen as he was leaving. The tears started again. Maybe I’ll never eat another one of Mommy’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies ever again!

A feeling of wetness spreading through Luke's jeans brought him to the realization that the ground under the tree was damp from last night’s rain. This is getting worser and worser. He looked around for a dryer place to sit and then noticed the darkened sky. The clouds were black and ominous. A storm is coming. What if a tornado comes and sucks me up? Then the rain started. And Luke realized that all he wanted was to be in his Mommy’s arms.

He grabbed his bag and ran back the way he had come. The downpour wouldn’t keep him from making the long journey home. I’ll beg Mommy to forgive me and promise to never disobey again. Maybe she’ll let me have some cookies and hot cocoa. I sure am hungry. And wet… and cold. And alone.

Darla stood at the sink watching the sprinkles of rain make patterns on the patio. It wasn’t much and it would be gone just as quickly as it had come. The little black cloud was already toodling it’s way across the sky. And Luke was toodling down the hill from the upper pasture. She had known he wouldn’t go far or be gone long. It was obvious even from here that his demeanor had changed. His adventure had taught him a lesson that her anger hadn’t.

As she had watched Luke hike his way up the pasture and away from her, Darla had realized that her day had been spent the same way… avoiding and even running from God, when He was waiting for her to turn and throw herself into His welcoming arms. She decided against going after Luke, and used the time to pray and keep an eye on him.

Darla had spent the last half hour watching her son’s battle and giving her own struggles over to her Daddy. This morning’s irritability had been replaced with the intense joy of her restored relationship. She dished up some soup for her Prodigal and pulled the cookies out of the oven. He would be hungry. They could talk after he finished lunch.


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Member Comments
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Laury Hubrich 02/21/08
Oh, I love this little boy and I also like how the mom handled the situation. Very cute story. Very nice descriptions, too! Awesome!
Laury
Marita Thelander 02/21/08
"I forgot to bring tissues. His sleeve smeared more than dirt this time." I love the picture this paints in my mind. This is very well written and absolutely adorable.
Sherry Castelluccio 02/21/08
How precious! I loved how mom allowed Luke to work out his anger on his own, while keeping a careful eye on him. Isn't that just like God? What a sweet story. Thanks for sharing :)
Jan Ackerson 02/22/08
Awww, poor little guy, and a very sweet story. Made me wish for a cookie...
Holly Westefeld02/22/08
Now this stirs up some memories. I love this gentle take on the topic, and the parallel of both mother and son learning about the futility of running away.
Marilyn Schnepp 02/23/08
A delightful story of the "Runaway"...and an interesting way in which the mother handled both her and her son's returning back to a closer relationship with those they loved. Well done.
Joanne Sher 02/23/08
Great characterization, and I love the two-pronged lesson.
Mary Hackett02/24/08
Lovely little story! What little boy hasn't run away...
Lyn Churchyard02/25/08
What a lovely story. LOL and the little guy thought he'd been gone the whole day and it was almost supper time. Love the way the Mom realised her relationship with the Father was out of sync too. So well written
Seema Bagai 02/25/08
Cute story. I liked how both the parent and child learned something from this situation. Keep writing.
LaNaye Perkins02/25/08
This story is so cute and reminded me so much of my sons when they were little. This was just precious. Well done.
Tim Pickl02/26/08
A wee bit of tough love for Luke! Excellent story
Debbie Wistrom02/26/08
Loved that mom got a lesson too. many great descriptions here. Keep it up.
Joy Faire Stewart02/27/08
Love the way Luke was brought to life by the vivid descriptions. And wonderful message.
Joshua Janoski02/27/08
I loved the descriptions and dialogue. I had a feeling that the little guy wasn't as far away from home as he thought he was. I also thought it was clever how you injected the mother's struggle with running from God. It made the story's lesson stand out even more. Thank you for sharing!
Sara Harricharan 02/27/08
What an adorable character! You made Luke so real and I really liked Darla too, the double comparison here was pretty good. I liked how she knew that he'd left and would be okay. That made this nicer-and easier to read knowing that Luke would be all right. ^_^ Good job! ^_^
Beth LaBuff 02/27/08
You've captured all the idiosyncrasies of a little boy with this, My favorite is his thought, "This is getting worser and worser." Then you related the story to our relationship with our heavenly Father...and it's so true. Very good work on this.
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/27/08
Wonderful characterization, especially of the little boy, wonderful message, wonderful story.
Loren T. Lowery02/27/08
Simply a sweet, tender and lovely story, very well told. The message is clear and meaningful regardless of the age of the one reading it. Well done, indeed!
Dee Yoder 02/27/08
Aww...such a cute character. I did that once-ran to the backyard and hid under the picnic table. I thought I was out there all day, too! Very authentic and sweetly told. Just right for the topic and I like the tie-in with his mom's feeling about her Father.
Pam Carlson-Hetland02/27/08
Adorable story written very well. Loved it. The ending was so well done. Great job.
Catrina Bradley 02/27/08
Great writing! Plus excellent descriptions, characterization, and lesson.