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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Prosperity (05/11/06)

TITLE: The Price of Wealth
By Rachel Rudd


“I want to be rich when I grow up,” the sixteen year old Camille informed her parents. “Then I can buy everything I want and never have to worry about anything. I can do what I want whenever I want .”

With a knowing smile her parents responded, ”Yes, I’m sure that sounds like a good idea to you, but you know what? We are rich. We have clothes to wear, food to eat and a place to sleep. That’s a lot more than most of the world has. And most importantly, we have the treasure of God’s love.”

“I don’t really care what you say. I am going to become a top executive and be in charge of other people and my own life!”

Camille’s long body floated in her Olympic-sized swimming pool. A bottle of champagne sat nestled into the holder beside her. Her long-blond hair spread out around her perfectly sculptured face. She glanced up at her maid approaching from the four story English manor house.

“Barbara, bring me another towel and some aspirin. I’m getting a splitting headache.”

“Yes, ma’am, right away.” A few moments later Barbara returned with a tray. “I brought you today’s newspaper that just arrived.

“That will be all for now.”

“What’s the news, Camille?” her boyfriend questioned.

“Religious right conservatives discriminate against the adoption of children by same-sex couples.” She shook her head in disgust. “I don’t understand it, Daniel. Why do they persist in forcing their beliefs on the rest of us? What gay people are doing isn’t harming anyone!”

“Yeah, I know.” Daniel grinned as he knew what was coming next. “Why can’t we all just get along.” He flipped his boyish hair around to face Camille. “Hey, you know what? How about we invite some friends over tomorrow night to discuss the new book I just read-Spiritual Awareness and Enlightenment? The Smith’s and the Little’s have read it. I bet they’d get a kick out of having a discussion group.”

“That’s fine with me. Just remind Barbara to put the kids to bed early. I don’t want them poking their heads in when we are trying to talk.”

The next evening, six well-dressed adults dined together. While the couples relaxed in the living room, Daniel brought up the content of the book. “So, what is your opinion, John, on the different levels of enlightenment and the path to divinity? I think that if we relax our bodies enough to a complete rest then we will achieve the harmony we all desire.”

He flashed a smile at Daniel and nodded his head. “I agree. There is nothing like being totally at peace.”

Camille spoke up, “What about the concept of inherit sin? My parents taught me that when I was little.”

Daniel’s eyes sent daggers her way. “Why did you ruin a perfectly good conversation? I thought you didn’t believe in that stuff anymore.”

“Oh, I don’t. I just wondered…never mind. I’m going to retire to my room. Have fun and goodnight.”

The door slammed behind her on her way out. When the icy air had melted, the discussion continued as the wine flowed freely into lips well versed in its seduction.

Up in her room, Camille’s tired eyes grew to heavy for her and she fell into a deep slumber. When she awoke the sun danced playfully on the carpet and the birds sang outside the window. I wonder where Daniel is, she thought. He probably never made it upstairs to the bed.

Camille check their bedroom for signs of him. In her dizzy state, she didn’t notice the clothes hanging out of the closet and the missing suitcase. Maybe he’s gone to work, she reasoned. But a quick check out of the kitchen window disproved that theory. His black Porsche sat in the driveway.

This is really strange. Then she found it. A hurriedly scribbled note taped to the refrigerator door.


Thanks for all the fun years that we had together, but I can’t hide it anymore. I love John more than anyone else on earth. Together we find perfect peace. Don’t worry about me taking your wealth. You can have it. I only want John.


Camille fell down on the floor in a heap. When the last of the tears had soaked her cheeks, she groaned in uncertainty, "Maybe my parents were right. Maybe there is more to life than I know."

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 05/19/06
I'm glad that she returned to her parents' teaching, although she had to go through great difficulty to get there. Be careful of word choices (inherent / inherit) and edit for spelling, word endings, etc. a bit more closely. Good job with writing dialog, and with giving us a story that moves right along.
Lisa Vest05/22/06
I enjoyed reading your piece. It flowed well. The ending is ironic, those issues in the newspaper she didn't want to think about did end up affecting her.
Jessica Schmit05/22/06
I rearlly liked your story line. It was a really interesting and fast movinmg read. I have a few suggestions to make this piece flow a lttle easier. First, watch your adjectives. "Long body" and "long hair" were used in the same paragraph. Also, the opening seemed a tad "forced." You wrote "the sixteen year old camille." Skip the "the." And that sentance would flow a little better. I loved your ending. it was fabulous. But you "told" the readers what they should be thinking. If you skipped the last line she spoke, it would've been a more dramatic ending. The audience wouldn't have felt like they were forced the message and it still would be very clear what the message was. I am in no way saying this a "bad" story. You have a wonderful storytelling voice and I hope to encourage you in this and help develop that gifting which is obvious. A few minstakes, but your talent is there. keep writing and rewriting and you'll be pushing out masterpieces! Take care Rachael!
Pat Guy 05/22/06
A ponderous piece that reflects todays attitudes very well. Money and freedom to live as one pleases with no restrictions - how sad. A high price indeed. Good job I'd say!
Lynda Schultz 05/22/06
This has tons of potential - perhaps needs more than 750 words to really get into the characters and the circumstances. I thought Camille got her "sudden revelation" a little too suddenly in that last paragraph - a little kicking and screaming would more than likely have come first. I loved this line: "the wine flowed freely into lips well versed in its seduction". It flowed like the wine probably did. All in all, a good job.
Linda Watson Owen05/22/06
Yes, good job on this contemporary story. And I too think the line about the wine flowing is exceptional writing.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/23/06
This is a good story. You created believable characters and dialogue. I agree with the others, a little tightening up would make this into a fabulous story.
David Story05/23/06
I like this. You tackled a couple of tough subjects that do indeed reflect today's attitudes, and I like the way you tied it with the topic.
Good writing. Nice job.
Anita Neuman05/23/06
Great story-telling here. You've captured a lot in those 750 words! I would have enjoyed seeing Camille argue her point just a bit more in that dinner-party discussion before she gives up and goes to bed. Give us a bit more conflict/tension. Overall, a great effort. Keep it up!
dub W05/24/06
Some major mechanical problems here that are easily fixed. A very interesting concept and fairly well told.
terri tiffany05/24/06
I read this and thought first what a good way you pulled the reader into the story. Yes, there were a technical errors here and there and maybe she did change too quickly but overall, your writing was very good and I can see you have much talent! Keep at it!