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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)

TITLE: Release
By David Story


She slid the folded bills across the counter to the officer on the other side of the cashier’s window. He looked at her before counting it. After putting the money into a drawer, he handed her a brown envelope and a pair of shoes.

She took the large envelope and stared at the shoes.

“His shoestrings are in the envelope with the rest of his things.”

She nodded, grabbed the belongings, and walked out.

Slowly she made her way to the car and got in behind the wheel. She was tired. Very tired. Exhausted.

She waited.


He was stretched out on the concrete cot when he heard his last name.


He jerked up and turned toward the cell door, where a guard was waiting for the gate to open.

“Someone’s come for you,” the guard said. “You’re free to go.”

Jeremy Owens got off the cot, walked across the hard concrete floor, and walked out of the jail cell.


As soon as she saw him, she looked down. She turned the key that was already in the ignition, and the family car roared to life. She glanced in the rear-view mirror at the lone object in the back seat, then slipped the car into reverse. Backing out of the parking spot, she made her way to the entrance of the jail.


Jeremy watched the car as it made its way to where he was standing. He shivered in the cold morning air as he waited for the car to make its way to him. When he saw that there was only one person in the car, and who that the person was, he hung his head.

He’d expected his father, or maybe his brother. He’d expected anyone but her.

He stood on the edge of the sidewalk and took a deep breath. The car pulled up to the curb and stopped. He avoided looking at the face behind the wheel, and instead walked around to the passenger side of the car.

The door squeaked as he opened it, and he scooted into the front seat.


They drove in silence, not a word spoken between them.

Jeremy noticed the box in the backseat and wondered about its contents. Without trying to be too obvious, he half turned his head and saw that the box was partially open. He noticed one of his shirts sticking out at the top.

He turned back and stared at the road ahead.


It was in a neighborhood neither one of them knew when she pulled the car to the curb and slowly came to a stop.

She turned the car off and took the keys out of the ignition. Clinching them inside her fist, she held on to the keys as she got of the car.

Once out of the car, she opened the back door and leaned into the back seat and with both hands pulled the box out of the car.

The slamming of the car door echoed through the eerie silence of the morning.


Jeremy watched her as she got the box out of the car, and then went around to the sidewalk. He watched as she first set the box on the sidewalk and then walked over to his door. He kept watching as she opened his door and then stood off to the side. He studied her face for a moment, not sure what to do next. When the intention was too obvious to ignore, he slowly got out of the car.


She never looked at him.

When she felt he was safely away from the car, she simply shut the door, and walked around to the driver’s side.

It was only after she opened her door that she finally looked him in the eye. After a few seconds, and without a word, she got into the car, started it, and drove away.


Jeremy watched the car until it was out of sight. He looked down at the box at his feet. Tears filled his eyes as he picked up everything he owned.

He looked first to the left, and then to the right, as he tried to decide which way to go...

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This article has been read 864 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Loren T. Lowery05/01/08
The double entendre of the title mixed with the theme of the story is excellent and your sprase use of words to tell your story proves the point that "less is more"
This may be a sad story, but it is wonderfully expressed.
Sara Harricharan 05/02/08
Oooh....wow. There is so much said here in so little words. I wonder what he'll do next, the silence between them was quite the setting for this. A favorite of mine this week, excellent job! ^_^
Emily Gibson05/03/08
This is the essence of "tough love", sometimes the only love a mother has left that will make a difference. You have portrayed it perfectly.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/03/08
Your story gripped me.It is so very visual, and you told it masterfully.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/03/08
Your story gripped me.It is so very visual, and you told it masterfully.
Joanne Sher 05/04/08
So visual and masterful and just amazing. Wow. Not sure what else to say.
Joy Faire Stewart05/05/08
I was drawn into the story by the first paragraph and the rest did not disappoint. Excellent writing!
Sheri Gordon05/05/08
Wow--this left a huge thump in my throat. What a powerful, yet simple, story. I really liked the format, the phrasing. Excellent job with the topic.
LauraLee Shaw05/05/08
You built the tension in this story beautifully and then sort of released it at the end...I would've loved to see a happy ending, but I have the freedom now to make one up instead.

Simply marvelous.
Myrna Noyes05/06/08
This piece crackled with emotional electricity--mine! :) What a story! It has suspense, mystery, mood, and feeling. Very well done!
Chely Roach05/06/08
Wow...what a understated narrative of the heartbreak of tough love. Very well done.
Willena Flewelling 05/06/08
Wow. Excellent! Something no mother ever wants to go through, but it's the mark of a great mom if she does what is needed.
Jan Ackerson 05/06/08
So very masterful--to fully characterize the mother, without having her utter a single word. Outstanding.
Melanie Kerr 05/06/08
Very powerful writing. The silence of the mother - it is not how we expect mothers to act! Very readable.
Lynda Schultz 05/06/08
This reminded me of a young man I know who had to go through a similar experience in order to come to his senses. Very visual and well done.
Joshua Janoski05/06/08
Wow. You said so much without a single line of dialogue between the mother and son. That right there is truly masterful writing.

I really liked the ending, because it allows me to picture my own ending to the story, and I am picturing this son turning his life around for the good because of his mother's actions.

Thank you so much for sharing this. This is one of my favorites this week.
Peter Stone05/06/08
You kept my attention throughout. Makes one think what parents must go through when their children fall away like this.
Janice Cartwright05/07/08
I brought away from your story something totally different than your other commenters. But that's the beauty of an open-ended plot like this: freedom to draw one's own conclusions. To me the mother had been cold all along and that was why Jeremy came into such terrible consequence. She was exhausted from running from her own guilt and her showing up to release her son was a first tentative step in the right direction. She circled the block, came back and picked him up. :)
Debbie Wistrom05/07/08
Yea for Mom. Tough love is just that. Loved the open ending, I can sit here and make some up.
Martha Davis05/07/08
Excellent! I once interviewed a juvenile offender who told me the hardest thing about being arrested was the look on his mother's face. The handcuffs and shackles paled in comparison to the disappointment he knew he had caused his mother! So well written and maybe a great piece of a longer story?!?
Betty Castleberry05/07/08
But, but, but, I want more! This is so GOOD! It absolutely has the makings of a novel. Let me know when you finish chapter two.