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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)

TITLE: Life Dream
By Corinne Smelker


With a spasm of churning legs, her entire body leaped ahead, but still it seemed with each step, each shuddering breath he was keeping pace with her.

It wasn’t meant to be like this. The city was meant to offer fame and fortune. Instead it had swept her up like so much detritus and then didn’t even have the energy to spit her back out.

She paused to listen, hearing only the rasping of her own oxygen-starved lungs, striving for each breath of life. She could no longer hear him, perhaps she was safe after all.


“Tiffany-Amber, please reconsider.” Tiffany-Amber’s best friend since pre-school, Hillary begged, grabbing her arm in an effort to hold her back.
“I’ve made up my mind, and nothing will stop me,” Tiffany-Amber said with a toss of her raven-black hair. “I was Miss Huckley County, I can make it there.”
Reluctantly Hillary released her as the Greyhound bus pulled up. “Please, please at least write, won’t you?”
“Of course,” Amber-Tiffany gave her friend a big reassuring hug, “I’ll tell you all about my first big new acting job.”


How long had it been since she’d written? Weeks? Months? Days blurred into weeks as Tiffany-Amber came to the sorry realization that there were thousands of girls all chasing the same dream, all after the wealth, the fame that seemed to come so easily to the television stars.

Losing her waitressing job had been the final straw. Rent was due, her studio apartment cost more than her parent’s house down south, and the electricity had already been cut off. “You know, there is something you can do to pay the rent,” her slumlord leered. Out of desperation she gave him what he wanted.

After that first time it was easier to justify the future times with other men on the street. “Just for tonight,” she’d tell herself, “then I will get a new job.”

But the next day never came. She was always too tired from the previous night’s exploits to gather the energy to dress well and hunt. Her once glossy hair was limp from neglect and dark rings had set up residence around once-bright eyes. Despite her pallor she had no trouble finding men. She could never admit to herself she was ‘turning tricks’ and had become a prostitute.


Four o’clock in the morning, and Tiffany-Amber walked with determined strides to the convenience store. It was late, cold and raining again. She wanted a coffee to warm herself, besides no johns had come by her corner in an hour.

With her head down, avoiding the rainbow-tinted oil and water puddles, she was unaware that she was being followed, until she felt the hand on the back of her neck and saw the glint of steel by her side. She broke free, and ran, legs pumping as they took over, as though she was flying once again over the hurdles as the high school champion.

Safe!! Tiffany-Amber gathered herself, deliberately slowed her breathing, and turned around to make her way back to her apartment. “This is it,” she muttered. “I’m done! I am going home. I don’t care what my friends think. I was stupid for thinking I could make it. Tomorrow I’m buying a ticket back.”

The path home took her along the city’s main river, fairly well-lit although deserted on this frigid night. She didn’t even feel the first slice of the knife across her neck, aborting the scream that rose from her throat. Her hands rose defensively and were sliced to ribbons. She could hear the life-blood flowing from her, and the soft suction noise as the blade returned to her neck.

“Noooooooo!” she tried to scream. No for this final injustice, no for ever starting down this dark road, no for the agony her death would cause her parents, no for thinking she knew better than everyone else. God forgive me…

Her blood ran over her assailant’s new Nikes in a trickle, and the trickle widened to a steady stream of ruby red, and trailed down to feed the already swollen river.

The rain begun again.

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This article has been read 778 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 01/31/08
The ultimate deception. You've got the makings of great here.
Joanne Sher 02/02/08
Very, very vivid descriptions - very evocative writing.
Betty Castleberry02/03/08
Oh my, how sad. I could see this very clearly in my mind. Very good writing.
Kristen Hester02/05/08
Wow. What a vivid portrayal of this girl's sad life. Good writing and good descriptions.
Kristen Hester02/05/08
Wow. What a vivid portrayal of this girl's sad life. Good writing and good descriptions.
Holly Westefeld02/06/08
You certainly grab the reader's attention, and I learned a new word, detritus.
I don't always use happy endings, but this was really heavy. I would much rather have seen her dash to the safety of the convenience store, call the police, and get that ticket the next day. But that's just me.
Jan Ackerson 02/06/08
I really like the structure of this, with the several vignettes and flashbacks. And the trickle of blood and the rain at the end--superb imagery.

Did you notice that in the 2nd vignette, you switched her name once? Something to fix if you send this on anyplace...

The suspense and climax are masterfully written...great job all around.
Sara Harricharan 02/06/08
Very interesting...and so very sad. I think you nailed the topic, but you also hooked the reader here. Nice work.
Sheri Gordon02/06/08
Wow. This definitely is an attention-grabber. Written very well, and a great illustration of the topic.
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/06/08
This is a well written story of extraordinary sadness on the topic.
Loren T. Lowery02/06/08
My only wish is that it had turned out better for her, but real life does not always have plesant endings. Great job of realism and the way you showed the flashbacks was very creative.
william price02/06/08
Very moving!!!!! Writen with such soul and heart. I like very, extra much. God bless.
Pat Guy 02/06/08
You sure 'showed' us the topic - in fact - we lived it too! Great writing Cori ... poor 'Amber-Tiffany.' ;-) (tehe)
Laura Godson08/04/09
Wow! How gripping is this?? This story pulls you right in. Very effective writing, I'm a fan!!