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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Passport (07/25/05)

TITLE: Escaping Doomsday
By Crista Darr


The stench from the river wafts across the darkness as I limp painfully down Canal Street, wishing I could disappear into the shadows. The weight of hidden jewels, sewn into the lining of my overcoat, beats against my thigh with each agonizing step. My eyes nervously search the street for any sign of life. I am a wanted man; I cannot be seen.

The moon glows an eerie red, like a demon’s eye staring down on my every move while casting its spell of pestilence on this forsaken city. Death cries echo through apartment windows above me. I shiver in the harsh, Chicago winds.

The rendezvous point comes within view – Meadowbrook Cemetery. I wonder if my corpse will join the dead tonight. Treachery and betrayal are expected but I have no other options.

It was the dream – the dream of destruction. I close my eyes and shake my head to try to break free from the vision of terror. Why didn’t I leave with the others? Why did I resist the truth, resist the inevitable? I ignored the warnings, clinging to the pleasures of a life I should have left behind.

I thought they were fanatics, ranting their doomsday prophecies, but now they are safe and I am surrounded by madness. Call me crazy, but I believe them now.

A sliver of the moon spying through the black, rolling clouds, casts ghastly shadows on the tombstones. I hobble over a mass of freshly dug graves toward the angel statue with the broken wing.

There she is, sitting at the feet of this broken angel. Her tangle of auburn hair whips furiously in the wind.

She rises to greet me. Her remarkable beauty gives her the appearance of an angel as well, but a fallen angel – doomed and damned.

“Jimmy,” she whispers, “you’re bleeding.”

I glance down at my bloody pant leg. My mother and sister were not as fortunate.

“Did you bring the jewelry?” she asks, stroking my arm the way she used to before the world turned upside down.

“Did you bring the passport?”

“Jimmy, baby, don’t be so cold. You know I have it. I wouldn’t try to trick you.”

Her wanton eyes resurrect my memories of her – memories that should remain dead and buried.

I rip the seam from my pocket and dig deep for the jewelry. My mother’s diamond wedding band and my sister’s locket among the treasures. They would not need them anymore.

She reaches out her hand to take hold of them. “Is that the hand they put the chip in?” I hiss.

“Oh, Jimmy, don’t get started with that superstitious talk. This is not the mark of the beast. What’s the matter with you anyway? You used to be a sensible guy. I miss those days Jimmy. Don’t you?” She leans closer, gently pushing her body against mine.

Familiar passions arise in me and I take a step backward. I belong to Another now. “Just give me the passport.”

Finally, the ticket to safety lay in my hand. I study it carefully. It is an exceptionally forged document.

“Where are you planning to go anyway?”

“Anywhere but here. Destruction is coming. All the nations that forget God will be cast into Hell.”

She laughs; that mocking laugh that makes me want to hit her. I turn to leave.

“They deserved to die!” her shriek pierces me with its cruelty. “They betrayed our country. They were fools. The god you boast of left them there to die and your only reward for trying to save them is a gunshot in the leg. They should have killed you too, you…you…you Jesus freak!

Oblivious to the pain in my leg, I hasten my steps to get away from her forever.

Slipping the passport into the ripped out seam of my coat, I head north toward the airport.

The unexpected force of the sudden explosion throws me face down on the ground. I quickly lift my head to see the ominous gray mushroom cloud rising as a beast, devouring the city skyline and rolling across the sky like a scroll. My skin begins to sizzle from the intense heat. I am too late.

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This article has been read 1309 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Karen Ward08/01/05
Some great descriptive work. I liked the imagery of "moon glows an eerie red, like a demon’s eye"
Cheri Hardaway 08/02/05
I love the descriptions in this piece. I also like how the piece keeps you guessing - I thought I knew where this was going, but it wasn't confirmed until the very end. Gives one a lot to contemplate! Nice job.
Debbie OConnor08/02/05
Excellent description. Realistic dialogue. Reads like a scene from a novel or movie. Great job!
Beth Muehlhausen08/02/05
Eerie, haunting, gripping. Well done!
Nina Phillips08/03/05
From the title, and the first paragraph, the story was given away-and I felt I recognized the story. Still compelling, descriptive, good characterization, and a very good entry! God bless ya, littlelight
Sally Hanan08/03/05
Great piece of writing.
Nina Phillips08/03/05
I would like to apologize about the comment "felt I recognized the story"--
No offense intended. I should have said, I could relate to Doomsday prediction at the end of the story having heard so many people talk about it. I felt myself the story had a predictable end, and that's what happened. Great story though! No intent for it to be taken otherwise. God bless ya, littlelight
Pat Guy 08/04/05
I feel you did a great job of portraying the reality of the Tribulation! I enjoyed reading this.
Debra Brand08/04/05
Suspenseful and a little frightening when you realize this could be the truth SOON!
Joanne Malley08/04/05
Chilling. Very good writing as well as a good read.
Linda Watson Owen08/04/05
I was glued all the way! Great read!
Maxx .08/05/05
This is a great scene. I love this sort of writing... great to see some pieces moving in this direction! SInce I like it so much, I will pick a bit at it. First, try to avoid first person when the main character dies. I always stop to think "Who wrote this if he's dead?" Second, try to avoid adverbs... use a stronger verb. Adverbs detract. Again, a very nice scene and I love the dark and brooding mood. Excellent!
Amy Michelle Wiley 08/05/05
Facinating! Good job!
Shari Armstrong 08/06/05
Suzanne R08/08/05
Congratulations, Crista! Wow - this was one chilling piece.
Val Clark08/08/05
Well done, Christa. Hard to keep the reader in suspense when they know the 'story' but you did it well. Love your descriptions, gave me a real sense of place and atmosphere. Yeggy
Deborah Porter 08/08/05
Crista, congratulations on your excellent win. You are most definitely on a roll. Love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Bill Shurkey08/09/05
Crista, congratulations on your win! I enjoyed your great use of imagery, description and suspense. You set the mood from the beginning and kept it going till the end. Although the topic is a familiar one, I don't believe it can be told enough. You should seriously consider turning this into something longer. I do agree with Maxx. First person isn't the best choice if the protagonist is going to die. In a longer piece you could experiment a little, maybe even use multiple viewpoints if it was long enough. Keep up the great writing!
Cyndie Odya-Weis08/10/05
nice descriptions- a very solid piece- moving- thanks
Jan Warrick08/12/05
Wow! Vivid descriptions. Compelling piece. Great story.
B Brenton11/08/05
Wow.... uh, wow.
A deserved win. Creepy and you brought it all to life.
Marilyn Schnepp 04/19/06
Certainly a page turner! Loaded with intrigue, mystery, violence and death...and kept me on the edge of my seat (if I'd been in a Movie Theatre)! A well deserved Ribbon, Crista! Brilliant writing!...and a "special" thank you.