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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Great (07/06/06)

TITLE: Paradise Revisited
By Gini Branch


“This is going to be great.” she said.

“Yeah, like getting your teeth cleaned.” Jeremy replied to his mother.

“Why do you always have to act that way? Just once, I’d like to see you be positive about going somewhere with us.”

“Maybe I will when you go somewhere I want.” Jeremy turned on his heel and marched off to his room. The door slammed.

“What is it with him? He was never like that before.”

“Don't know, Honey.” Bill looked up over his glasses. “Maybe he's just growing up and thinks it's uncool to be with his folks. He'll get better once we get there.”

Helen finished packing. “That's it for us. Guess I should go into the lion's den to see if he's ready.”

“Yeah, Mom, it's all done. I’m ready to go.”

“Your toothbrush, too?”

“Yeah, Mom.” She could hear him moving around.

“OK. Don't stay on the computer all night.”

“I won't.”

“Jeremy, time to get up.” his mother called through the door. No sound came from behind the closed door.

“Jeremy. Wake up! We have to leave pretty soon.”

Still no sound. She opened the door. The bed was empty, undisturbed.

“Bill! Bill! Jeremy's not in his room. He's gone.”

He dashed up the stairs, threw back the door and looked.

“That kid has really done it this time. Call Bev's and see if he's there.”

“Is his stuff gone too?” He checked the bathroom. Toothbrush. Comb. Cologne. Gone.

Cologne? Wonder if he's got a girlfriend? Never said anything about one. The computer. Maybe there's something there.

“Bev hasn't seen him.” Helen said.

”Did she ask Rob if he knew anything?” Bill asked while he typed a few characters.

“Yeah, nothing. They cover for each other, though. Remember when we caught him drinking? Rob lied for him then. Who knows about this time?”

“Well, I'm trying to get into his computer. He's got it passworded.” Bill typed a few more lines and quit. “Can't get in.”

“We should call the police.” Helen said reaching for the phone.

“Afraid we may have to this time. That kid…”

Bill started down the stairs, stopped and called back to Helen. “Let me check the rest of the house first. Then we’ll call them. Why don’t you call and see if we can get the tickets changed, to a later time. They’ll want more money but at least we can still get out today.”

“But what if he's not back. We can’t leave without him.” Helen said.

“We go without him. We planned this for a long time and he's not going to spoil it like before. We go and he can just hang out wherever he hiding. He’s legal age.”

“We can't do that.” Helen’s eyes glistened.

“Yes we can, and we will. Go call the airlines. I'll check the house.”

“What are you doing here?” Bill shouted.

“Waiting on you. You said we had to leave and so here I am.”

Bill looked Jeremy up and down. Same clothes, no shower.

“Where have you been? Your mother and I were worried about you.”

“None of your business. I'm here now so we can go. Just like you wanted. So let's go.”

Bill drew back his arm, Jeremy ducked. Bill relaxed his arm. “You aren't going to get me this time. I’m not wasting my energy trying to bust you up. Get in the car. Now.”

“Helen! He's here. In the garage. Get your stuff, we're leaving. We can still make the flight on time.“ Bill threw the luggage into the trunk and slammed the lid down over them. The car shuddered.

“Jeremy, what do you think you're doing? Where have you been?” Helen asked a few miles down the road. After the temperature in the car cooled.

“We've already been through all that, Helen.” Bill ended the conversation. The rest of the drive no one spoke.

Hours later the plane landed on the main island. Native girls placed lei's on the newly arrived necks. Jeremy refused his with a sullen growl, pitching it onto the ground. The girls picked it up and smiled at the next person in the line.

“This is going to be great.” Jeremy thought. “Just great. Two weeks in paradise, and I'm stuck with these idiotic fossils. Just wait. I'm going vacationing. A permanent one. Without them. It’ll be great. Really great.”

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This article has been read 578 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marilyn Schnepp 07/13/06
This story lured me in, kept me interested, then dropped the ball. Unsatisfactory ending...(just THIS Reader's opinion, however). Otherwise, nicely written.
Steve Uppendahl07/14/06
Very cool concept. I truly like the idea, but I needed a bit more clarification/detail. Why would a teenager not want to go to Hawaii? If he can leave all night at home, he can surely do the same in paradise.

The ending left me wanting more, which is a good thing. But, in my opinion, a bit too much is left hanging. I'm intrigued by your characters, try expanding this idea into a longer piece. It would be well worth reading.

Keep it up.

Delores Baber07/14/06
Very good example of how one teen's rebellion can hurt others and spoil the hopes of enjoying each other as a family. Strange way to use the word "great". In sarcasim. What adults would have thought was really great, a teen rebuffs. Nothings great with the "folks" around cramping his style. I thought the story ended in an appropriate, realistic manner for today's high-risk teens.This is not a fairy tale where everyone lives happily .... well, you know.
Donna Haug07/19/06
You made good use of dialog. I have to agree about the ending though. I found it discouraging. I guess we don't always need perfect wrap ups ... but then I never like sad endings. just me
Gini Branch07/19/06
Sorry guys. This kid didn't have a happy ending once he began to happen. It just wasn't to be. Ever met one of those characters in writing?