The Official Writing Challenge
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This was so entertaining. You managed to capture suspense, fear, blood and guts, love, simple times and a lesson in less than 750 words. I couldn't picture a horned toad or having a picnic in the desert but thanks to your story I felt like I experienced one today.

The ending felt a tad abrupt and of all of the judging criteria I fear that might be your weakest.

But you nailed the topic and did so in a fresh way. I also liked the message. It's funny how often I tend to think everyone has similar experiences, but you showed the era in which we were born, as well as the location, can make something as simple as a picnic a unique adventure.

Also that some things are the same -- like a brother who likes to tease and a father who protects and a mother who gives care. As I'm typing this, I'm hit with the realization like with the picnic not every child experiences a protective father and a caring mother. It reminds me that our biggest weapon is praying for those children and, if able, reach out to protect and love them. That's a beautiful message!
I totally loved this! Especially the part about refusing to eat the chicken. I have a firm rule that I don't eat anything out of my pasture.
(Not that they don't get sold for food.)
An excellent job of letting the reader feel "the anxiety and fear" of the MC. This was a highly descriptive piece that had me feeling so sorry for that "headless chicken." I may never eat a chicken again!

Nicely done.

God bless~
Very absorbing read, even with the wildlife that likes to invite itself for free food. Great scope of emotion and energy, which has not deterred me from looking forward to my next meal of chicken.
I don't live in the desert, but I have watched the method of getting a chicken "ready" to be eaten. Funny thing, the one who did it in my family was my sweet,plump little grandmother who was the kindest lady I ever knew. lol. Go figure. But... I still love fried chicken and picnics.
OOps, forgot the most important part. I thought your story was well written and very interesting. I just got carried away with the memory.
This was such an enjoyable read. I never thought I would be so captivated by a story tht described the butchering of a chicken ... but I was. The interaction between the MC and her brother, as well as the overall feel you painted, truly did bring us all back to a simplier time.

This was fun and very well written. Nice work!