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

TITLE: Out of the Cobwebs
By Carole Robishaw


“Josh, this drawer is stuck. I can’t believe all this furniture just left in the attic. It looks really old. We really should get an appraiser to come in and tell us if it’s worth keeping or not.”

With a few more jiggles the drawer opened, revealing a stack of paper. Pages and pages full of beautiful, but totally unreadable script. Sarah picked up the pages on top and squinted. “Josh, this looks like really old writing. I can make out a few letters here and there, even a few words, but …., well, I just can’t make out enough to know what it is.”

“Put it back, we’ll figure it out later. Come and look at what I found.” The muffled sound came from somewhere on the other side of the dark attic.

Sarah made her way back to Josh’s voice, pushing cobwebs aside as she went. “Sarah, we need more light. Go see if you can find another flashlight. No, never mind, let’s see if we can pull the shutters off this window. I think we need more light than a flashlight will give us.”

They worked on the shutters for several minutes, managing to get one of them open, letting glorious sunlight pour in, flooding the back area of the attic. That gave them enough light to be able to open a couple more shutters.

“Look, you’re going to love this. I found some boxes of books. Now we can see to figure out what they are.”

They quickly began going through boxes, pulling out several leather bound books.

“Oh, wow! This is a serious find. You don’t bind just anybody’s books in leather. Josh, these all seem to be by the same…oh, it’s your grandfather’s name. Your grandfather wrote all these. I don’t remember anybody ever saying there was a writer in the family. They seem to be poetry! Josh, your granddad was a poet!” Sarah laughed so hard she almost fell off the tiny foot stool she was balanced on. “A poet, so that’s where you get your talent from. I can’t wait to get these downstairs so I can read them.”

“I had no idea. I wish I had known. I want to compare my poems with his. Sarah, look at the flyleaf, these are all dedicated to my grandmother. And my mom, look, that’s mom’s name there. She would have just been a baby then.”

They sat there reading the romantic poems to each other, losing all track of time until they were startled by Josh’s cell phone. They realized it was getting dark in the attic. They had spent hours totally absorbed.

Josh let his cell go to voicemail, but the moment was shattered. It took several trips to carry the boxes down to the first floor.


Josh’s mother was going to have her birthday in two weeks and Sarah was planning a huge party. But what to get her? Marian had everything already. That’s what happens when you’re wealthy. If you want something, you get it, you don’t wait for special occasions to receive it as a much hinted for gift. Not like in Sarah’s family. Birthdays were very special occasions because it was your special day and she always thought for weeks about what she wanted.

Sarah was driving herself nutty with all the ideas she would get and then promptly drop. Time was running short. Several days later Sarah remembered the papers in the drawer upstairs.

Sarah had a friend who was a writing analyst, so she took the pages to him. When the phone call came she could hardly believe it was really true.

Marian’s birthday was a gorgeous sunny day. All of Marian’s friends had come, and the food was perfect.

“Marian, I have something special for you.” Sarah set the beautifully wrapped box on the table.

Marian pulled off the wrapping, exclaiming “You really didn’t need to do this, but, whatever it is, I’m sure it will be perfect.”

Marian looked at the open box, clearly puzzled at what she was seeing. Slowly she lifted the cover of the loosely bound book.

Tears came as she read the page that was revealed. “This is my father’s manuscript! My mother said there was another book he was working on, but…. Oh Sarah, this IS perfect. Thank you! After he died… I never, oh Sarah.” They hugged, sharing tears of joy.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/06/10
This is an endearing story. I can easily imagine the joy I would have if someone were to surprise me with the words of my beloved mother. The emotional dialogue was spot on.
Ann Grover05/11/10
Lovely story, with a happy satisfying ending. What a treasure to find!
Beth LaBuff 05/11/10
oh, I loved exploring the attic with them, so much so that your cell phone (in the story) jarred me back to reality. :) Great imagination with this!
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/11/10
Your story took me right up into the attic enjoying the findings with your couple. Very well done.
Edmond Ng 05/11/10
A lovely story that touches the heart! You have expressed the emotions in your writing very well. I could picture in my mind the moments at the end of the story and feel the overwhelming joy and sadness all mixed together.
Loren T. Lowery05/12/10
Your writing put me right their in the attic and I wanted to explore and make discoveries with them. Your ending could not be more perfect. Great job.
T. F. Chezum05/12/10
Well written story - A very nice read. Good job :)
Edy T Johnson 07/05/10
Your writing really creates atmosphere. I love the mysteries to be found among the cobwebs in attics. I also think personal creations from loved ones beat "store-bought" gifts - and especially for the one who already has "everything!" Good story, Carole! I appreciate your comment on my "Falling Waters...." story, too. Thank you!