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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Black (10/15/09)

TITLE: The End of a Long Day
By Delores McCarter


Mandi had a long day at work. From seven a.m. to seven p.m., she handled fussy clients, cranky co-workers, and inflexible vendors. She picked up a pizza on the way home and looked forward to a night of cable TV.

She closed her car door with her right hip and juggled her oversized handbag, a large stack of mail and her pepperoni pizza up the sidewalk. Most of her neighbors were already home so she missed out on a close parking spot.

She turned the corner and stood at the base of the stairs and looked up into the darkness. The porch light at the top of the staircase was burned out.

Oh that’s just great, she said to herself. It was pitch black without a hint of light. She couldn’t even see her hand in front of her own face but she wanted to get inside and relax. She took a deep breath and took each stair carefully to be sure she didn’t miss a step.

She fingered her keys and tried to make out her apartment key by touch. As she concentrated on the key, she saw a pair of red eyes looking back at her. Then something growled at her.

“AAAAHHHHH!!!!!!! “ She screamed, taking the steps three at a time. She probably defied gravity all the way back down to her car. She struggled frantically to find her cell phone. She panted instead of breathing and willed herself to calm down.

What if that thing comes down the stairs? She thought. She opened her car door and jumped inside. After giving herself a moment, she dialed 9-1-1.

“9-1-1. State your emergency.” The dispatcher said.

“This is not an emergency. Would you please transfer me to the non-emergency number?” She asked frantically.

After a series of clicks, she heard another dispatcher come on the line.

“Police Department.”

“There is a wild animal blocking the entrance to my apartment!”

“Ma’am. Animal control is closed for the night.”

“I understand that, but I need to get into my house and that thing is growling at me!”

“Hmm…. Let me check for an officer in the area.” The dispatcher stated.


“Ma’am. We located an officer in the area. Please stay near your vehicle so he can find you.”

“I will. I’m too scared to get out of the car.”

As soon as she hung up, she remembered the pizza. It was still on top of the car. She could smell the pepperoni so leaving it out there was asking for trouble. She opened the car door, grabbed the pizza and placed it on the seat beside her. She didn’t feel any more secure sitting in the car than when she was standing on the staircase. Finally, a black police cruiser pulled up beside her.

“Did you call the police about a wild animal?” The young officer asked.

“Yes, officer I did. It is up those stairs.” She pointed at the darkened staircase.

“Please stay in the car.” He said, grabbing his flashlight and baton.

As soon he he walked upstairs, a white blurry object dashed down the stairs and around the corner. The police officer returned to her car.

“What in the world was that?” She asked him.

“It was just a possum.”


“Ma’am, you need to get that light reported right away. I’ll hold the flashlight on the staircase for you.”

“Oh thank you so much.” She said, gathering her belongings.

“That pizza smells good. I see I got here right on time.”

“Would you like a slice of pizza, officer?” She asked, blushing. She was thankful that he couldn’t see her face.

“No thank you, but I will swing by and see if your rental office fixed that light. Don’t forget to call them in the morning.”

“I won’t. Thanks officer. I really appreciate it.”

“It’s just part of my job. Good night.”

“Good night.”

She took a shower, slid into her favorite nightgown and clicked on the TV. As she opened the pizza box and pulled out a lukewarm slice. She felt grateful for her life, despite all the adventures and drama it brings every day.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/26/09
Oooh, I hate possums! They're like giant rats, only without the charm.

Fun story--maybe a bit of a fizzle toward the end. I'd have liked a hint that maybe Mandi and the young officer might spend more time together, rather than the "wrapped up" final paragraph.

I'd have been terrified, too--and you portrayed that very well.
Allen Stark10/26/09
Very simplistic story, but I felt the darkness the entire way through.