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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Inner Person (09/09/10)

TITLE: The Remains of the Day
By David Story


The bedroom door slammed shut.

She listened to the sound of footsteps descending the stairs.

Wiping the tears from her eyes, she walked over to the vanity and sat down. It took her a full minute to look in the mirror.

By the time she got downstairs the guests were waiting.

“Hello, everyone,” she smiled.

They smiled back.

She mingled with them.

She made small talk with them.

She listened to their conversations; nodding or shaking her head in response to a question, smiling when someone said something complementary.

“The kids are all in college now?”

“The house looks wonderful.”

And then finally …

“It was a lovely dinner.”

Once the dishes were clean and the downstairs’ lights were off, she went back upstairs.

She could hear his heavy breathing as he slept.

She walked over to the vanity and sat down.

When she removed her makeup, the bruises were still there.

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This article has been read 630 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sarah Heywood09/16/10
I like the white space between the sentences. It made what you have to say deliberate and important.

Sad story - I hope the MC finds the courage to leave the trappings of her home and social life to escape her abuser.

Very good use of the topic. I enjoyed this, despite the sad ending.
Charla Diehl 09/16/10
The masks people wear to appease others is so sad. This short but strong piece left me hoping that the MC would find inner strength for happier days ahead.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/18/10
This is such a sad, short glimpse into the lives of far too many people. Good job packing so much emotion in so few words.
Barbara Lynn Culler09/19/10
I could tell by the guest's reaction-"they smiled back" that they knew.

Powerful stuff. Great job.
Holly Hoell09/20/10
wow! I echo... lots of emotions in few words. I almost feel like it needs a selah at the end! How very lonely and almost hopeless feeling for her I would think.
Allison Egley 09/20/10
Oh, so sad.

The ending seemed a bit sudden, but I'm pretty sure you meant it that way.

You portrayed a story that is too often reality. Nice job in tackling this though subject.
DK Landers09/20/10
Good job bringing attention to the secret violence that invades some relationships. The story is well-written and it made me want to pray for your main character.
Catrina Bradley 09/20/10
Wow! This concise tale says all it needs to, and says it well.
Rachel Phelps09/20/10
Wow, the sparse style is impeccably done here. Excellent!
Cheryl Harrison09/20/10
You packed a lot into this short story. I felt your MC's pain. I was not sure how it would end, but I felt like it would be bruises or she was grieving the death of her husband. Good job drawing in the reader. Thanks!
Gregory Kane09/20/10
Your title really captured the theme of your tale. Nicely understated. One little quibble: I think you meant to say complimentary without the 'e'
Loren T. Lowery09/21/10
Wonderful job with understatement. To the reader there was power behind what was not being said; a tone of not is all as it seems. And then, the conclusion says it all, filling in all the blanks.
Lillian Rhoades 09/21/10
I said "Wow" before I read the other comments. You give O Henry real competition!
Little is much when written the right way. You did it!
Just one observation. Brevity gave me little opportunity to see more of the inner self of the main character. Still, very impressive.
Lillian Rhoades 09/21/10
P.S. I LOVE your title!
Christina Banks 09/22/10
You packed a lot into a very small space. Nice writing!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/23/10
Congratulations for placing 24th overall!