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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Achoo (04/11/13)

TITLE: Peace iFrom The Barn
By darlene thompson


The crack of the bat and shattered glass thundered in the ears of Billy. He threw down the bat and raced into the barn. The screen door flew open with a bang and out stepped Billy's mother Betty. "Billy, where are you? I know you broke the living room window! You had better come in now!"

Billy scurried up the hay loft ladder. He jumped behind some bales of hay and covered himself with lots of straw. He hunkered down as still as a mouse.

Billy's father, Frank, was hot on his trail. Both he and his wife rummaged through the tool shed, garage, barn stalls and even went next door to the neighbors. There was no sign of Billy.

Billy shuddered under the hay. "Why don't I run away? But I don't know how to survive. Man, this straw itches! Perhaps, if I just stay here things will calm down."

Well, he has to come in some time," said Frank." "I've wasted enough time looking for him. We've told him so many times not to play near the house. You would think he would remember. I'm going to the barn and feed the horse and milk the cows."

Betty replied, "I'll keep an eye out for him. When he gets hungry enough, he'll come in." "Yes, I'm sure he will," answered Frank.

Frank poured some oats for the horse. He sat down on the stool and began to milk. "Achoo, Achoo," came from the loft. "Billy, is that you?" "Yes, Dad, it's me."

"Now why did you run off? You know you broke the window and should have told us immediately." "Yes, Dad, I should have but I got scared. You and Mom have told me many times not to play near the house but I did it anyway." "I'm sorry, I really am." "I was afraid you would ground me and I wouldn't get to play Little League for the summer."

"You're right about a punishment coming your way." "Son, we've always been fair with you--so why would think we wouldn't let you play baseball?" "I thought the punishment would fit what I did after you and Mom had told me not to play around the house."

Billy and his parents sat down at the kitchen table. Frank said, "We lost a lot of time looking for you and trying to clean up the mess." Billy said, "I'm sorry I ran off Mom. It won't happen again." His father said, "For the next three weeks you won't get an allowance. You'll wash and dry the dishes, and use your own money to pay for the window." "I understand. I will do it." "Son, mostly we want you to know we love you even when you make mistakes. You can tell us anything. Do you understand?" Yes, I do and I will take responsibility for what I do from now on." Billy rushed into his parents arms and gave them a big hug. Billy looked up at his parents and said, "You all are like Jesus. He forgives and you do too."

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This article has been read 210 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 04/22/13
Your story shows how fear often keeps us from doing the right thing. Most of the time, the right thing isn't as scary as we had anticipated--just as your entry conveyed. This would be a great Sunday School story for the little guys.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/23/13
This is a charming story. The beginning drew me in immediately. I could empathize with the poor kid. I think everyone can remember a moment like that from their childhood.

I noticed a few little things like when a new person starts speaking, you start a new paragraph, even if it is just one word. You also had a POV shift. The reader can only know what the MC sees, hears, feels, or thinks, so when you switched to the parent's thoughts and actions, you had a shift. One way you could have fixed it is to have Billy hiding in a vantage point where he could see his father. This is just an example. Billy peaked his head out and his heart pounded as he watched his father search for him.
That shows what the dad is doing and gives the reader a peak into the MC's emotional state.

In the beginning, you did an outstanding job of showing the reader. Words like hunkered create a splendid picture. The dialog might need a bit of polishing to make it sound more natural, but you did a nice job of delivering your message. The story was definitely on topic. There's nothing like a good achoo to give away a hiding spit. All in all you did a nice job on this piece.
Judith Gayle Smith04/24/13