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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Truth or Dare (08/28/08)

TITLE: Daring to be Impressive
By Dan Blankenship


“What? That’s the worst thing you’ve ever tried to cover up from your parents, breaking your mom’s laptop?” Glenn Mayfield yelled from his seat on the couch. “We should make her do the dare for having such a lame story.”

Jill didn’t know what to say to Glenn’s angry outburst. She wasn’t even supposed to be at this party. She should have told that truth, that she had lied to her parents and said she was spending the night at Britney’s. Would that have impressed them? Truth or Dare was such a stupid game.

They were all staring at her now. What? Were they waiting for her to say something? Time seemed to be standing still. Is that my heart beating? Oh my gosh, I can hear my heart beating. God, please, give me something to say.

“Seriously, Jill, that was pretty lame. Haven’t you ever shoplifted, tried drugs, or got a little drunk?” Jessie Brownston asked.

All eyes jumped from Jessie back to Jill. Jill continued her pleas to God: Why can’t they let this go? Why can’t I think of what to say? Please, Lord, give me something to say to them. I feel like I’m going to faint. They had turned on Jill like a pack of rabid dogs. In fact, she was visually seeing them as barking at her. Ten agitated teen-dog-people snarling for the blood of one of their own. The pack was not backing down.

Something in Jill snapped. Words started coming out too fast to edit. She made note of them only after they had left her lips: “Listen, I’m really sorry that breaking my mom’s laptop is the worst thing I can think of, but I don’t take a lot of pride in doing bad things. I’ve never shoplifted, tried drugs or got drunk. In fact, tonight is the first time in my life I can remember lying to my parents. So I’m sorry if I’ve made your stupid game into a boring event, but not everyone thinks of their parents as the enemy.”

“Take it easy, Jill,” Heather Nowell replied, “you don’t have to be so snotty.”

“You’re right, Heather. I need to just be on my way home. I can’t believe I ever thought coming here and pretending to be someone I’m not was going to be any fun at all. I’ll take the dare; and I’m daring myself to walk out the door and let all of you say whatever you want about me. All of you cave in to peer pressure on a level that far exceeds my obedience to the rules my parents set for me!” Wow! Lord, that last line was awesome. Thanks!

Jill walked out the front door of the Mayfield home. The teens sat quiet for a few seconds, thinking. Then they all began laughing. “What a loser!” Glenn yelled at the top of his lungs.

“I can’t believe she’s never shoplifted,” Jessie said.

“Hey guys, look!” Heather yelled, calling the others to the living room window. “There’s someone walking behind Jill.’

Pulling the curtains all the way back, the entire group stared toward Jill as she walked down the sidewalk.

“What are you talking about?” Doug Haven asked. “I don’t see anything!”

“No, Heather’s right, Glenn yelled. “There’s something…someone…Wow, do you see that? It’s like a big shadow thing following her! That’s creepy!”

“I don’t see anything, just Jill,” replied another teen.

“I see him, or it, whatever it is,” another girl added. “Let’s go outside!”

Jill heard noises behind her. As she turned back, she noticed her vision was obscured by something, almost as if she was looking through a thin sheet of water. That only lasted a second, and then she saw all of the kids at the party running her direction.

“What now?” she mumbled.

“There was…well…he’s gone now,” Glenn said as he slowed to a walk.

“I didn’t see anything,” Doug added. “I think someone snuck some drinks without telling the rest of us.”

“Shut-up, Doug, more of us saw it then didn’t,” Heather screamed.

“I bet it was an angel,” Debra Billings yelled from the back of the crowd. “Jill has her own guardian angel.”

All of the teens turned and stared at her. The first one to burst out laughing was Doug, then Glenn, then Jessie, and then, even the first person to see the mysterious figure, Heather, began laughing.

The group turned back toward the house, and Jill began walking home again, her friend close by.

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This article has been read 877 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Arlene Showalter09/05/08
This story is great, really great. Good message, good dialog, good flow, good job!
Danae Cowart09/08/08
You did a good job of evoking that angry feeling of shame a person might feel when others are mocking them for doing what they feel is right. One improvement you might make would be to make it harder for her to decide to walk out--give her a reason to stay and try to fit in. Then her decision to leave will be more impressive.
Patty Wysong09/10/08
A nice story that's both comforting as well as challenging.