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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)

TITLE: Heaven is Where the Home Is
By Bryan Coomes


A cool, crisp autumn evening breeze greeted me when I stepped out of the dingy yellowed taxicab. The hour-long drive from the airport in the city out to the small town where I had grown up felt like it had lasted an eternity. It was a few moments after the car had pulled away, before I was able to pull myself from the awestruck stupor at the sight of the Southern styled porch-front colonial that as a child had seemed larger than life and the idyllic place to raise a family. The house had it all: white picket fence, fruit trees, beautiful flowering plants of various style and hue, just to name a few. The home, gardens, and general setting were both charming and distinguished; the envy of many a neighbor.

The entry gate was gently tossed about in the breeze, its slight creaking like the sound of a poorly tuned violin. As I approached, a sudden gust caused the gate to swing wide open as if welcoming me home. Stopping a second before proceeding through, I peered at the cobbled walkway that Dad had purposefully and tirelessly fashioned those many years ago. I remember watching him carefully place each piece only to pick it up, brush it off, and rotate it ever so slightly until he finally smiled and then replaced it, more often than not, as it had originally been set. Those stones were uneven now, some raised, others cracked, and still others missing pieces and generally looking quite weather worn. Dried and dying remnants of weeds that had sprung up amongst the cracks and crevices littered the once inviting pathway.

My eyes followed the path to the front porch that held such fond memories of my childhood. Mom and Dad used to sit quietly together each evening on the porch swing, Dadís arm around her as she snuggled up to him, both enjoying each otherís company and delighting in just watching us kids frolicking about the yard. I had spent many an hour daydreaming while gently rocking on that swing which was now missing a board from the seat and dangled by only one of its mounting chains. The posts and spindles that once were a bright gleaming white had turned ashen in color and more than a handful of spindles were either broken or missing while the far corner post was shortened and supported by a cinder block. Upon reaching the front porch I paused to turn and gaze about the once lush lot only to find the toll that the apparent years of neglect had taken.

Turning back to face the house I was drawn to the familiar soft glow twinkling through the sheer and lace draperies that adorned the large bay window in the living room as well as the glass inlaid entry door. That beacon shone forth as the first sight of comfort since my arrival; the light bringing a soothing to my soul. I slowly opened the storm door that was devoid of screen or glass and banged firmly on the entry door that unexpectedly fell open at my knock. Stepping into the foyer my eyes were immediately pulled down the center hall to where the source of the light emanated from around a corner, adjacent to the kitchen. As quickly as the soothing calm had come, I found that it had vanished without a trace.

The wood floors creaked underfoot with each step as I was compelled like a moth to a flame to move toward the light. My breathing deepened as I took in the air that once would have wafted with any manner of delightful aromas but now was rife with naught but dank mustiness. Psalm 23 began pouring from my lips, combating the anxiety that heightened with each step as I passed through cobwebs, noticed several critters scurrying about, and drew nearer to the turn at the end of the hall that would reveal the source of the slowly pulsating light. Pausing one final moment, I concluded the Psalm, ďand I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever,Ē and then turned the corner.

The angel was hovering in the spot where my parentís bodies had been found. This was the first time I had returned to the house since they were murdered over twenty-five years ago. The angelís smile put me at ease and his words were a balm to my soul. ďFear not, for your parents dwell in the house of the LORD.Ē

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This article has been read 490 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 06/05/08
Yikes, that ending sure took me by surprise! great job with juxtaposing the peaceful tour of the home with the revelation of that last paragraph.
Sara Harricharan 06/09/08
Oooh, good twist at the end. I didn't see that one coming! You had such neat memories and descriptions going here, the ending was good though, it added a whole new layer to this! ^_^
Catrina Bradley 06/09/08
Oooh, not the ending I was expecting at all!! Great twist! Good descriptions throughout; nice job overlaying the sad & decaying present with the warm & beautiful memories of past.
Beckie Stewart06/11/08
I could see the house as you described it. I felt the difference of the mode, but the ending was a surprise. I like those kind of endings.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/11/08
Your descriptive detail made the story come alive. The twist at the end was "wow"! Great writing.
Norma-Anne Hough06/11/08
Wow I loved your descriptions and could feel your emotions. The ending was very well done and surprising.
Debbie Wistrom06/11/08
I like how the gate opened to welcome her home!

I was confused that there would be light in an abandoned house, but you built the suspense and explained it with the angel. Good work!
Joanne Sher 06/11/08
Absolutely phenomenal descriptions. Wow. And then end took me by surprise. Lovely.
Lollie Hofer06/11/08
Sometimes the descriptions are as fun to read as the story line itself. That was true in this story. Your descriptions were colorful and detailed. Also, you did a fantastic job showing your emotions. Well done!
Edmond Ng 06/12/08
Very well written! I like the detailed description throughout the story, building up emotions and suspense. The angelic visit gives a perfect ending to the story with peaceful assurance that calms the soul.