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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Gossip/Rumors (either or both) (10/28/10)

TITLE: Abigail's Awakening
By Scarlett Farr


Ka-thunk. Ka-thunk. Ka-thunk. The sound echoed down the hall, heralding the arrival of Abigail Stoutmeyer, see-er of all and teller of all at Shady Oaks Retirement Village. Abigail’s walker slammed into Gertrude’s door, pushing it open as she shuffled in to report on the latest sighting of Beatrice Latham.

“For goodness sake, Abigail. Can’t you come into a room without taking the door off the hinges?” Gertrude scolded, glancing up from her knitting long enough to scowl at the unwelcome intruder.

You know I can’t help it with this darn walker. And why is your door closed? What are you doing in here so secret-like, anyway?” Abigail countered, ignoring Gertrude’s tone. “Besides, I have news. I just saw Beatrice in the Rec Room with Arnold. She was hanging over the arm of his wheelchair, all cozied up to him. His daughter walked in and wheeled him right out of there. Probably in the nick of time too, before Beatrice could set her hooks in him.”

“Maybe Beatrice was being polite to Arnold.” Gertrude suggested. “I imagine she was just being neighborly and introducing herself. Remember how hard it was to be the new person and not know anyone? You should stop spying on Beatrice and try to make her feel welcome.”

“Hmmph,” replied Abigail, raising her right eyebrow and lowering her voice. “I heard she had to leave Pleasant Valley because she was a little too polite over there, if you know what I mean.”

“Oh my goodness Abigail,” Gertrude gasped, “where did you hear such a thing?”

“I have my sources,” said Abigail as she ka-thunked back to the Rec room.

Abigail headed to her favorite spot in the corner by the mailroom. There she had a perfect vantage point to watch all the comings and goings of Shady Oaks. Bob Banks came wandering by sporting his usual confused expression.

“I’m not falling for that old, Alzheimer’s bit he’s trying to sell,” Gertrude mused. “He may have fooled some people into believing he keeps forgetting where his room is but he doesn’t have any trouble remembering where Gladys Craven’s room is.”

Abigail’s attention drifted back toward the door. “Well, look who’s coming down the hall. George is back from the hospital. Sure is funny how clothes stopped disappearing from the laundry room while he was gone.”

George shuffled past Abigail and soon the Rec room was quiet. Abigail’s eyelids began to droop and she folded her hands in her lap in preparation for her afternoon nap. She caught wind of a conversation in the mail room and the opportunity to eavesdrop was too tempting. She could make out two female voices, discussing one of the residents.

“I have worked in other facilities for eight years and have never run into this before,” said the younger woman.

“It happens occasionally,” said the older woman. “The best strategy is to remove the problem as soon as possible.”

Abigail’s ears were on full alert, taking in every word so she could share it later. She leaned to the right as far as she dared, risking flipping the chair over to hear the conversation. The younger voice spoke again, “I have the file in my bag. I think I have all the documentation to substantiate a transfer to another facility. Could you take a look at it now?”

“Sure, I have a few minutes before my meeting,” said the older woman.

Abigail was almost giddy and she couldn’t bear it any longer. She eased out of the chair and quietly ka-thunked over to the doorway. If she could get a peek at the name on the file, she would be on the ground floor of the latest drama at Shady Oaks: someone was getting kicked out.

Abigail ka-thunked into the room. “Oh, hello. I didn’t realize anyone was here. I came to check my mail. Please don’t mind me.”

“No problem, Miss Abigail. In fact, you saved me a trip to your room. The residents filed a complaint about your constant gossiping. I’m afraid you have to leave Shady Oaks. “

“Please don’t throw me out,” a panic-stricken Abigail wailed. “I promise I will never gossip again.”

“Miss Abigail, wake up, honey. You dozed off, you’re having a bad dream,” Abigail’s eyes fluttered open to the Rec Director gently shaking her shoulder.

Taking a moment to compose herself Abigail looked around and saw Beatrice sitting on the couch watching television. Abigail ka-thunked over and smiled broadly, “Hi, I’m Abigail. Welcome to Shady Oaks.”

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This article has been read 719 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jackie Wilson11/04/10
I liked this! Abigail is quite a character! Dream sequence was very smoothly done, with the little twist at the end. Thoroughly enjoyed your story.
Mildred Sheldon11/04/10
Loved Abigail's dream. A very cute story.
Nancy Sullivan 11/04/10
This is so well written and entertaining. Dream sequences sometimes leave the reader feeling a little cheated, but this one absolutely works. Great job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/05/10
This was such a wonderful delight to read. I chuckled throughout it. The pictures you painted were truly art.

My only suggestion would be to resolve the conflict by something other than a dream. The rest of your story was brilliant and the dream ending is one done too many times.

It is quite obvious that you have outstanding talent. I hung onto every word. I also even feel in love with poor Abigal. Brilliant job!
Brenda Rice 11/07/10
I was there at the nursing home seeing these people for real. I really enjoyed this. Good writing.
Cheryl Harrison11/08/10
So cute! Loved every word.
Jan Ackerson 11/09/10
This was so good!

My only problem was the dream bit; it's just not my favorite way to resolve a conflict.

Nevertheless, this was a highly entertaining story that I enjoyed very much!
Rachel Phelps11/09/10
Echoing what others have said - your characters and setting were excellent - the dream wrap-up seemed almost too pat. Your talent is obvious.
Catrina Bradley 11/10/10
Your dialog is excellent, and the sound-effects of Abigail's walker made this wonderful piece even more realistic. GREAT job!
Caitlyn Meissner11/10/10
I loved the setting for this story. You did a good job communicating your message. :)
Nancy Sullivan 11/11/10
Congratulations, Scarlett, on your 2nd Place. This story was so fun. You set the scene and drew a very memorable character for your readers. God Bless.
Jackie Wilson11/11/10
A well-deserved placing for a great story! I'm so happy for you!
Al Lovelady11/11/10
Excellent work! I didn't see it coming so the "dream" ending worked well. (The title should have given it away, I suppose.) And Abigail was easy to dislike so good job on your character development.
Cheryl Harrison11/11/10
Congratulations! I knew this was a winner the first time I read it!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/11/10
Congratulations for your high ranking!
Henry Clemmons11/11/10
This was excellent!!!!! Very impressed. Love it all from characers, dialogue, plot to sound effects.
Great job and congrats on placement.
Hannah R02/24/14
I loved it! The beginning had me laughing!
Frana Hamilton02/25/14
A very well-written story. It's a sad story but one we need to be aware of.

I like the title because I want to think that she awakened to the problem and can change her ways.

Good job.