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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hotel/Motel (09/12/05)

TITLE: Chasing the Dragon
By william seitz


Chasing the Dragon

Rolling out of bed, he sits up and gathers his thoughts. Like some kind of movie he had seen, or as if he was in a whole different life for the first day ever, reality eluded him for the time being. Still dark, but it was time to leave, it was always time to leave.

Rising up he slips into the same clothes that still lay next to the bed. The room was cold and musty. It felt used, as if some type of chemical was stored their, laundry soap or something. Reaching to the nightstand he grabbed the mahogany case and reinserted the stainless steal syringe.

Kneeling down to pick up the surgical tubing, a cold arm riddled with holes fell out from under the covers and hung limp. Another track star, another good time, and the florescent light outside the window flickered.

“Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, look at what I got!! I look like you now Mommy!”

“Sunglasses? When did you see Mommy wear sunglasses?” She said, amused by the moment her precious gift was bringing.

“By the pool at aunt Cathy’s house, remember, you had them on there!” With the glasses falling down her nose it was hard to take her any other way than adorable.

“Go put those back now honey, maybe we can get you a pair some other time.”

“Hey Barbara, how are you doing?” Out of nowhere he stood in front of her.

“Oh, Marc, you startled me, it’s good to see you.” She said warmly, settling into a comfortable stance.

“Yah, it’s been a long time, is that your daughter? She is growing so fast. How old is she, four?”

“Five,” Barbara said with the wonderment at the growth of her daughter.

“Hey listen, I’m really sorry to hear about Chet. I can’t even begin to understand the loss you must feel… if there is anything that I can do...” Marc’s soothing words seemed to melt all traces of insecurity from Barbara’s face.

With a sad down caste look she said, “it’s hard, the lonely void is the worst.”

“Look Barbara, I am staying in town for a couple of days, why don’t you and I get together and talk, get caught up.” Marc said, drawing her in with sounds of compassion.

Looking up into Marc’s eyes she was captive to the possibilities. “Really? It would be just so, so good to have someone to talk with...” as if to fall into his arms right there in the department store.

A short stocky man cuts her off, “excuse me ma’am, I am sorry to interrupt you but we have been watching you and your daughter on the surveillance camera. We caught your daughter trying to steal a pair of sunglasses and have her in custody in our security room. Would you please come with me?”

Her mouth dropped open, she thought, ‘is this really happening?’ Lord, of all the times why now? Coming back to the moment she looked at Marc and then again at the security officer. “Yes, yes, of course.”

Stepping forward Barbara turned back towards Marc, “ I’m sorry Marc, bad timing I guess, it was good to see you again and I hope I see you around.”

Guided by her intuition, Barbara left Marc standing as she ran off to the next scene her life as a mother demanded.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Anita Neuman09/19/05
I think you have a good story here, but you're not conveying everything that's in your head onto the page for us. A little more info, and a clearer point of view would make this a much better read.
Val Clark09/20/05
I think you’re trying to show how Barbara is saved from being reconnected to druggie Marc by God intervening with her daughter’s theft of the sunglasses. ? Correct me if I’m wrong. I’m confused because the move from para three to four was so abrupt; initially I thought the child was in the same room as the man. Maybe you’re trying to tell too many stories here. Watch your tenses, you start with him in the present and move him into the past in the second para. Love the nuances behind: ‘she was captive to the possibilities’. Yeggy
Jan Ackerson 09/21/05
I was confused, too. I think Marc is a fully realized character, I just didn't have enough description of times and places to tell me what was going on. And I think the last sentence was anti-climactic. Give this a re-write, and I think you'll have a powerful story of "what might have been."
Phyllis Inniss09/22/05
I share the comments of the above readers. I wondered if the man in the room was a relative who had died and Marc was offering his sympathy.