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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fragrance (10/24/05)

TITLE: A Welcomed Guest
By Christl Boyd


"It stinks in here!"

An apology tumbled out of Abby's mouth like a waterfall. She'd grown accustomed to hearing herself say the same words over and over within the last hour. Although she had cleaned her home in preparation for the evening's festivities, there was a horrific odor that now filled every room.

After the first few guests had made the same comment, Abby excused herself in order to search out the offending malodor. No matter where she roamed, every room in her home contained the same stench.

She had noticed an unpleasant smell as she'd dressed that evening, but after putting her gym clothes in the hamper, she assumed the problem had been solved. As she thought back to earlier that night, however, she realized that even after she'd doused herself with perfume, a slight odor had remained.

As her colleagues continued to fill her home, the foulness only increased. It was unreal! Abby thought she would die from embarrassment, if she wasn't suffocated first. As the minutes passed, she realized that the smell only worsened as more guests entered thru the front door.

Could it be that her party guests….her colleagues….were bringing the stink with them? Abby shook her head at the crazy thought, but as she walked around the room, she realized that the odor was indeed coming from her party guests! What was she going to do?

"Excuse me, but could you please leave my home because…well, you stink!"

Abigail Felicia Simmons! The mental reprimand screamed it's disapproval as if from her own mother's lips. Asking people to leave her home was simply not an option. So, the brave young hostess squared her shoulders, took a deep breath thru her mouth and reminded herself that the party would be over in a couple of hours.

"If you don't mind me saying so, your perfume is simply wonderful!"

Abby turned around to see a group of people surrounding a woman near the front door. Wherever she went, people's noses turned in the air towards her. As the sea of admirers parted, the welcome attendee made her way over to the party's hostess.

"I'm sorry for being so late, Abby," the woman apologized. "I'm afraid I got caught in traffic. Can I help you with anything?"

Abby found herself breathing deep the fragrance that now surrounded her. It reminded her of the freshly laundered clothes her grandmother hung outside to dry during the summer months. When at last, she came to her senses; Abby couldn't wipe the smile off her face.

"Abby, can I help you with anything," the woman repeated.

"Help me," Abby questioned. "No. No thank you."

The woman smiled in return and walked away. As the other guests surrounded her, the stench returned. Abby breathed in deeply thru her mouth once more and made her way towards the woman. The closer she was to this welcomed guest, the easier she breathed. Although it wasn't appropriate 'hostess' behavior, Abby decided to remain in the woman's presence, rather than mingling with the other guests.

Much to her surprise, everyone remained around the woman till the evening's end. After the last few guests had left, Abby was relieved that the brunt of the stench was gone. As she took in a deep breath, the hostess realized however, that a slight odor remained.

As she walked toward the kitchen, it lessened until the fragrance of clean linens surrounded her once again. The welcomed guest was cleaning dishes in the sink. As Abby neared the woman, she decided that she'd finally venture the question she'd been dying to ask all evening.

"I just have to ask; what is the name of the perfume you're wearing?"

The woman blushed and spoke quietly, "I've had several people ask me that tonight and I'm so embarrassed."


"Because, I'm not wearing any perfume. I guess, it's just me."

Abby shook her head and smiled. As the woman continued the task at hand, the hostess decided that not only would her parties benefit from this welcomed guest, but perhaps her own life could be changed as well. Although the fragrance the woman wore could not be purchased in a store, the scent she emanated left a lasting impression. And that is something, Abby wanted for herself.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/02/05
A very good allegory, and you niftily refrained from bopping your readers over the head with the spiritual application.

Two quick suggestions: when Abby thinks "...Excuse me, but could you please leave...", put it in italics rather than quotes, so the reader realizes she's not saying the words aloud. Also, perhaps show us some "stinky" behavior from some of the guests, to drive home the difference between them and the sweet-smelling woman.

I really like this story a lot!
dub W11/02/05
Very interesting indeed, yes, the italics will help the thoughts, also pay attention to pronoun reference - once or twice I had to besure I knew the source of the discussion.
Garnet Miller 11/02/05
I like to surround myself with 'fragrant' people who exude the love of Christ from the inner Man. Thanks for sharing:)
Nina Phillips11/02/05
I liked the interesting take in your story. It kept my attention as it wasn't shot-gunnish towards any certain problem as to why the guest (not individual) would have a foul odor.
I thought this was an exceptionally nice way to teach a lesson. God bless ya, littlelight
Linda Watson Owen11/03/05
What a creative way to make a worthy point! You had my attention all the way.
Debbie Sickler11/03/05
I also liked how you didn't force the lesson, you just let the story tell it for it self and I think it would have been good to show a little taste of what made the guests stinky.
B Brenton11/04/05
Nice message. Nice writing. It flows. Yay! Perfect title as well.
Marilyn Schnepp 11/04/05
It reminded me of that awful stinky, musky perfume that so many women wear - that smells like medicine. Your story kept my interest to the end...which is rare.
Julianne Jones11/05/05
Great story. While Christians would grasp the allegory I think you need to show some of the 'stinkiness' of Abby and her guests if the story is to have a wider application. Well done.
Michelle Burkhardt11/06/05
Nice Job. I agree with the thoughts being separated. I had to read it twice because I wasn't sure if she said it out lound. Great title.
Deborah Porter 11/07/05
Christl, congratulations on your 3rd Place in the Editors' Choice and your 2nd place in the Level 2 awards. Quite an achievement for your first entry in the Challenge. Well done! That means that it's time for you to move up to Level 3. Again, congratulations! Love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)