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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Work (07/27/06)

TITLE: Unfinished Business
By Mishael Witty


Amelia set down her coffee mug and flipped the newspaper page. Her eye fell on an ad for a store that promised to sell you the perfect birthday gift for your loved one.

‘Birthday?’ Amelia glanced at the date at the top of the page and slapped her hand against her forehead. Of course! Her grandmother was turning eighty today.

“Hmm … I can give Gran a call right now,” she said to her cat, Harry, who sat on the kitchen table in front of her. “I’m sure she’ll forgive me for not having a present.”

Harry blinked and purred in agreement. Just as Amelia started to dial Gran’s number, the wall clock chimed. Amelia glanced at her watch and set the phone back down. She didn’t have time to talk to Gran now. She was going to be late for work.

“Well, Harry. I guess I’ll have to call Gran later. Maybe I can meet her for lunch. She would enjoy that.”

Harry stood up, stretched, and plopped his white furry body onto the abandoned newspaper.


The morning flew by in a blur of non-stop phone calls, emails, and angry people barging into Amelia’s office looking for their paychecks. The computer that handled payment processing for the whole company refused to correctly print out any checks. It was Amelia’s job to inform everyone about the pay delay

Amelia sighed as the 59th person stormed out of her office in a huff. She looked at her computer’s clock. 11:59. It was too late to try to arrange anything with Gran. By the time she could go pick up some carryout, get over to Gran’s house, and get back to work … Amelia’s thoughts were interrupted by the persistent ringing of her phone. She groaned before she answered it. There would be no taking lunch today.


At 5:15, one of Amelia’s co-workers popped her head inside the door. “Hey. You wanna come to dinner and a movie with us?”

Amelia looked up from her computer screen. Her vision was blurred, and her head felt foggy. She rubbed the back of her neck, which was tensing up.

“Ah, count me in. That sounds like just what the doctor ordered.”

Amelia saved the spreadsheet she was working on, closed all her applications, and turned the monitor off. She grabbed her purse and went to meet her friends.


Amelia stumbled into her house later that night. She opened a can and put some food out for Harry, who clawed impatiently at her leg. Then she went upstairs.

The bed looked so inviting she didn’t even bother to get undressed or participate in her regular nighttime beauty rituals. Amelia stretched out and wriggled her feet under the covers. She giggled as Harry pounced on them before curling up next to her.

Harry’s loud purr, which usually acted as a natural sleep aid, was not working tonight. Her eyes felt like they were glued open. Thoughts raced through her head. She had forgotten to do something, but what? Scenes from her day flashed through her mind.

‘What is it I need to do?’ Amelia thought. ‘I just don’t know. I need to sleep now. Maybe I’ll remember in the morning. ’

Amelia closed her eyes and allowed her worn-out mind to give in to the seductive call of sleep.


Amelia sat up straight in bed. She knew what she had forgotten - her grandmother! The digital clock beside her bed told her that it was 3:00 a.m.

“How stupid and selfish can I be? Oh, Gran! I’m so sorry!” Amelia cried as she grabbed her laptop computer and connected to the Internet.

She arranged for some flowers to be sent to Gran in the morning with a note of apology. Then she picked up the cordless phone from her bedside table and called her boss’s voicemail.

“Hi, Dana. This is Amelia. I’m calling to let you know that I won’t be able to make it in to work today. I need to take a personal day to attend to some unfinished business.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
terri tiffany08/09/06
Great story! great writing. The office scene was written very realistically. I noticed a period was forgotten after delay. (You probably saw it after submitting!:)) anyways...good ending, nice dialogue and good pace along with a great reminder to us all. I also like the opening paragraph as it caught my atttention immediately.