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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Game of Life (09/11/08)

TITLE: A Day With Herself
By Sara Harricharan



Jessica slapped the alarm clock off the nightstand, grimacing at the crash. “That's minus five points, self.” She muttered. It took a few seconds longer to rouse herself enough to sit up in the pitch black of pre-dawn. Her fingers fumbled for the night light, a soft, pale-gold glow, on the way to the bathroom.

Life's just a game...

The line trailed through the cob-webs of her brain, not yet awake. Mechanically she washed and dried her face, brushed her teeth and took a shower. The disjointed routine forced her wide awake when she pulled out mismatched socks. “Nice going, self.” She congratulated. “Minus two points.”

Nothing stays the same...

Jessica took the narrow, sagging, stairs two at a time. Home used to mean luxury furniture and people to do things far too trivial otherwise. This house, her new house, was much too small for anything. She snorted. Dan's idea of home was something 'cozy'. She reached into the upper pantry shelf for the usual box of cereal. Her fingers met empty air. “Congratulations again, self.” She muttered. “You're going to have a creative breakfast.”

Life's different flowers...

A quick omelette of red peppers and red onions mixed together in the perfect power breakfast. “Mmm....I think that's worth...um...thirty points?” A giggle slipped out and Jessica took a moment to fish out a decent china plate with matching cutlery. “Let's see...that makes it twenty three points total, right? Not bad for the early bit, eh?”

Come in many different colors...

The doorbell rang as she grabbed her purse, ready to step out the door. She stared into an armful of deep, scarlet roses, with a delivery cap sticking out over the top.

“Mrs. Jessica Carter?” The fellow offered a clipboard and pen. “Please sign.”

She took the pen and painstakingly scrawled her name across the empty space indicated.


She stood in the doorway, holding the bouquet. “With love, Dan.” She set the vase on the entry desk. “Add fifty points. A total of seventy-three...before noon.”

Raining at the trainstop...

“Let's see, where to...oh bother that!” Jessica scowled at the faint drizzle beginning. “Just what I need...rain.” She paused in mid-sigh. “Oops...minus three points...leaving a total of seventy. At this rate self, you'll be double-checking all day...”

Raining at the bus stop...

The train doors opened and she stepped out onto the platform. The bus stop was down the block, just another short walk...in the rain. She hummed softly to herself, waltzing through the bustling crowd, her thoughts elsewhere.

At the bus stop she fumbled for a scrap of paper and pencil to match. Words trickled out from her head and onto the whiteness, allowing a bit of fog to clear away. Her thoughts were on roses, a husband overseas and the fact that a new bestseller was due from her heart. “Note to self...minus ten points...I really should write this in my planner. Lunch with agent on...you're slipping self...minus five points....on...Friday!” A delighted giggle escaped. “Aha! A total of sixty-five. Mmmm...got to reach a hundred, you know.”

The screech of tires and breaking glass, shattered the private moment. A nearby glass windows exploded, sending sharp shards everywhere.

“Get down! Get down!” Someone tackled her from behind.

Jessica gritted her teeth against the hard landing as Reese landed solidly on top of her. “Code ten, code ten!” He barked, shifting. “Mrs. Carter, you okay?”

She didn't dare bob her head as he surged to his feet and pulled her up after him. She found herself tucked into a car and down the road before her wits caught up. “Reese?” Her voice was whisper-soft.

He sighed. “Mrs. Carter...we've done our best, truly, but if you keep wandering off.” He hesitated. “I won't be the one to tell your husband. You know he worries and his enemies...”

“I”m sorry, Reese. It won't happen again.” Jessica parrotted.

His sigh filled the car. “What was it this time?”

She shrugged. “A mixed up day with myself.” The smile resurfaced. “Thirty-five points self. Congratulations, you've reached a hundred.”

“Again?” Reese closed his eyes.

Jessica laughed. “Yes...again. I've got this silly little tune in my head...something about rain and flowers.” The dreamy look returned, her mask of protection as her world rebuilt.

I wish it would stop.

Copyright 2008.

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This article has been read 889 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 09/18/08
This is really well-written, and I can picture this woman, and every moment of her day...

...but I don't get it.

I'll come back and read it again, because it was a pleasure to read...maybe the light will dawn. (sorry)
Beth LaBuff 09/19/08
I like your common thread, the points added and subtracted during your story (and her running total). I like the contrast of your beginning, where everything is simple and 'life is her game,' and then all the drama of your ending, things were not as simple as we first thought, and the curiosity over just who her husband was. All this was interspersed with the song. Excellent work.
Shelley Ledfors 09/21/08
I look forward to your explanation, because--much as I hate to admit it--I don't really "get" it. I DO like it, though! It is very engaging and I wanted to read more, to find out more. I hope you'll expand it into a longer piece.
Allison Egley 09/21/08
This was interesting. I got that she was subtracting points for bad things and adding for good, but I'm not sure why. lol I got the impression she was overseas and her husband or son... or someone was in the military? Maybe something with Alzheimer's? I'm probably way off, but this is a very intriguing story!
Kristen Hester09/21/08
I really like this. It's very interesting and well written. I loved when the secret service type tackeled her. I can't wait for the explanation. Is she OCD? Kind of like "A Beautiful Mind?" I can't wait to find out what was happening!
LauraLee Shaw09/24/08
You are so creative. Your explanation puts it all together, you novelist you!
Lauryn Abbott09/24/08
Ooh, I like this. Very intriguing. The explanation helped. As always Miss Sara, I want more... :)
Celeste Ammirata09/24/08
Great writing! You had me captivated. Your explanation helped me understand. Very creative. Nicely done
Karlene Jacobsen09/24/08
I feel like this so often; a little out there, where no one else can follow. I am glad I read the explanation first though.

Well written.
Chely Roach09/24/08
Great story...I was completely intrigued. Well done.