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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)

TITLE: Dusty Papers Proliferating
By Marijo Phelps


I picked up the last page of the dusty stack, thinking it strange that my finger smeared the ink. Knowing my desk is definitely a work in progress, the unexpected finding did not surprise me at all. However, usually I quickly remembered what was where even though it looked like total chaos to the casual observer.

What had I been working on that was this thick? Why did the ink smear? I had not just printed this out as the dusty top paper confirmed. No, but wait, beyond my finger more ink appeared. This was being written before my bleary eyes. Sleep was definitely the next thing on my list for today.

I shook my head and put the whole stack of papers down as I stumbled off to brush my teeth. I was sure this would all look much better in the morning. Tripping over my irate cat, I made my way into bed.

Sunlight was coming in the window, highlighting the dust floating in the air.


My squinting eyes told me it was already after 9 AM. I was usually up by 6, oh, my! Guess I might have overslept a bit.

“Yes, I hear you, you think it is way past time for breakfast, don’t you?”

It caught my eye from my desk again. Almost beckoning me to come to it but my cat’s intense crying came in first place.

“OK, let’s get you some stinky cat food , come on” Tika was rubbing and rubbing my lower leg trying to make the can opener and “mama” move even faster. I grabbed a cheese stick to quell the growling of my stomach and turned, almost on auto-pilot to my desk.

I couldn’t stay away from the yellowed paper stack which drew me back to it. Flipping pages it seemed a story of someone’s life. Then I remembered that back page had seemed to have wet ink to my sleepy eyes the night before. A grin broke over my face “I really must have been exhausted” was my murmured thought.

Just then the phone interrupted my musing.


By this time I had reached some of the latter pages of the manuscript. I was astonished to see something in print which had just passed my lips. “Yes, I hear you, you think it is way past time for breakfast, don’t you?” The one-sided conversation I had finished with my cat not moments before.

“Hey, Lynn, it’s Jen why do you sound like you just got up?”

My best friend, Jen, was on the other end of the phone. I told her quickly about the night before, the pile of papers that seemed even thicker this morning and my puzzlement over them.

“When did you first find these?” came Jen’s query.

“You know how my office is, one day I simply realized there was a stack of papers on my desk that I didn’t recognize and it really didn’t sink in, then. Soon I realized that dusty paper package seemed to be growing thicker, I think I began reading it then.”

“Weird, when did you realize it seemed to be your story, your life being written?”

“Just now when I read what I’d said to Tika when I opened her food this morning. Man, I don’t know if I even want to look at the final page, the ink seemed wet last night but I was SO tired.”

“How about this morning, what does it say, is it still wet? Lynn, why are you too quiet, why can I hear nothing but your breathing?”

“My, my finger has ink on it Jen. The printing is continuing on, our conversation is all there in writing and more is being inscribed.”

“What does it say? Don’t leave me hanging here.”

“Choose you this day whom you will serve……”

“Remember when we talked about needing to decide and make a commitment? About asking for forgiveness of God? Lynn? Lynn? Oh, my goodness I’ve got a dial tone!”

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This article has been read 638 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dolores Stohler05/06/10
Your story kept me reading even though I wasn't quite sure what it was all about. Ah, mystery! There's something magic about it. But your story ended too abruptly to suit me. I would have liked to read more.
Jan Ackerson 05/07/10
This is a VERY clever idea!

My only problem is with the POV switch at the end--it's necessary because of the events in the last few paragraphs, but it's a bit jarring nevertheless.

I loved the science fiction/fantasy/mystery aura of this, and the aha! moment of realization at the end.
Mildred Sheldon05/08/10
WOW! That's about all I can say. The suspense drew me in like a moth to the flame. Outstanding.
Carol Penhorwood 05/08/10
How creative! Loved the message you presented here!
Joanne Sher 05/11/10
Very creative piece, Marijo. Love the eeriness.
Phee Paradise 05/11/10
Fascinating concept. You definitely need to write more of this. I want to know more about your first character.
Beth LaBuff 05/11/10
Great creativity here and perfect reminder that our days/lives are being written. Your title in relation to that is wonderful.
Yvonne Blake 05/11/10
Oh wow! What a creative idea! This could be developed into a longer story!
Rita Garcia05/12/10
Wow! Fantastic and I love it!