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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Escape (01/02/06)

TITLE: For Real
By Pat Guy


Gripping the side of her bed, Noreli starred at the floor. For once her mind was blank and empty. She had nowhere to go and no desire to move. She wasn’t hungry this morning so she shuffled off to the bathroom to take a shower – it never helped.

Gripping the side of her bed, Chariss starred at the floor. Her mind was racing – uneasy. She knew what she had to do but she had no desire to get moving. She wasn’t hungry this morning so she shuffled off to the bathroom to take a shower. For once she’ll enjoy the cleansing feel of the hot water.


Chariss hesitated in front of her sister’s apartment. Disgust mingled with concern as she wondered, Why does she always have to live in such a dump? She could live with me and we both could save some money. Her fingers ached from their grip on the steering wheel as taunting thoughts continued to hold her back. This is NOT a good day.

She glanced over to the apartment and noticed her sister motioning for her to come in, ‘Oooh boy, this is it.’

‘I could hear your junk heap a mile away Char.’

‘Well, if we lived together maybe we both could do better.’

‘Ok, ok. You have breakfast?’

‘No, I’m not hungry.’

‘How ‘bout some coffee?’

‘Sounds good – fresh ground?’

‘Yep, as always lil’ sis!’

While Noreli busied herself with preparing the French Press, Chariss waited silently, fidgeting around the small living room.

‘Ok Char. Out with it. You sit outside like a scared rabbit forever, and now you can’t sit still. So ok - it’s Creeps birthday. Who cares? I’m glad he’s dead! I’m glad he suffered. He deserved it and I wished I could’ve seen it! The only good thing he did was not tell anybody. If I’d known …’

‘What Nori … if you’d known … what? Pull the plug? Remember what you told dad when you left?’

‘… What do you mean?’

‘You know … .’

‘… Char … what do you mean?’

‘You know … if he ever … .’

Noreli froze. Staring at Chariss’ lowered gaze, her controlled tone belied her volcanic anger, ‘That creep!’ she hissed. ‘I told him … ’

She rushed to her sister, embracing her trembling body.

‘I told him if he ever touched you I’d kill ‘im. I meant it. It’s why I showed up… to make sure … he’d better not … I’d …’

‘I know Nori … I know you did … it didn’t … stop.’

Nori dropped her head to her hands. ‘He put it on you, didn’t he?

‘Nori! Nori! That’s not why I’m here! I need to tell you something else!’

‘Why didn’t you tell me! Why didn’t you tell me! … He said he … he said … Oh Char … I’m sorry …why didn’t I … ? If I’d only known …’

‘You would’ve what Nori? Then what? You would’ve been taken away from me. You’d be in jail. I couldn’t …’

‘I have no life now Char… what does it matter?’

‘Nori. You have FOREVER! Don’t let him do this!’

‘What are you talking about?’

‘I’ve found a way … to forget – a way for it to go away.’

‘DON’T – even – go there, if your gonna talk about God! What good is God when he doesn’t hear kids so scared they’re cryin and beggin’ Him to make ‘it’ go way? And He DOESN’T! Just DON’T!’

‘Nori, you know what I found out though? It’s all gonna be gone one day! For real! Everything’s gonna be new again. Even us Nori! ‘It’ll’ be gone … and we won’t remember. We won’t remember … ever again … forever! Don’t let him take this away too! We can be together – we can be free … it’ll happen Nori … really! Please … I …’

‘Char… tell me … what about Creeps? Where will HE be? I want to see him burning in HELL! I want to watch him scream and beg!! THAT’S what’ll make me feel good - to know HE’s bein’ tortured … forever! That’s all I want.’

Noreli turned away from the Hope in her sister’s eyes, yet her heart ached for the Life that shone on her face. She didn’t want to take that away from her. She loved her too much. Whatever it was - her sister had found a way… a way to escape this torture.

If only ...

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This article has been read 1192 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 01/10/06
There was much to like about this piece. Your opening almost-parallel paragraphs beautifully set the tone for the differences between the sisters. And I like the fact that thought Chariss is a new believer, she's still struggling with negative emotions.

The dialog was a little confusing in points, and might be cleared up with some descriptive phrases here and there. I realize that there was a word limit, and also that you were being delicate with an unpleasant topic. All in all, I think you handled this skillfully and realistically. Just some things to consider if you ever expand it...

Love your ending...if only.
janet rubin01/12/06
Hmmm. I only read this once. I'm sure if I read it again, I'd figure it out, but upon one reading, it left me pretty confused. Maybe give the reader some more clues about what is happening. Good stuff in there too- keep writing.
James Clem 01/12/06
A story that lingers in your mind - that's the mark of a great story! Well Done.

I Agree that the dialogue is confusing but it is real. Reading it, I felt "I think I know what's going on".

You spend a lot of words on the lead-in to the "real story" which could be used to provide more detail during the dialogue. I would create the tension of the dialogue right off the bat and go from there.

This story is worth expanding into a larger piece.

Linda Watson Owen01/12/06
Wonderful characterization! A story with a 'real' feel to it too. I as a reader was with you all the way. Yes, great ending.
Cassie Memmer01/12/06
Well done. Written with care and skill. Clear to those it will reach.
Debbie Sickler01/13/06
I read this earlier and found the dialog confusing, but now that the house is quiet and I read slowly, I really liked it. The lack of tags added to the fast paced 'real time' feel of the conversation. And I agree that you could have left off the beginning about the showers and just started in front of the apartment.
Amy Michelle Wiley 01/13/06
I agree with what the others said, it was just a little confusing, but added to the realness of it. Great story!
Lynda Lee Schab 01/13/06
Wonderfully real. I could picture this as a drama being acted out. I agree that the opening should be eliminated and maybe add more descriptions behind the dialogue. But the scenario was true-to-life, the feelings and emotions came through loud and clear. I also loved the ending, "If only..." Well done!
Blessings, Lynda
Suzanne R01/13/06
Yes, I agree with that ending of hope. Great dialogue. Pretty names too. Well done with the way you handled such a sensitive topic.
Val Clark01/14/06
Y'know, I think the showers are important. They give the reader the nuance that for some reason both women usually feel unclean after a shower. For some reason, on this particular morning, one doesn't. This sets up questions for the reader and opens up an earlier understand of the dialogue. Delicate subject handled well. Yeggy
Anita Neuman01/14/06
After reading it twice, I agree with Yeggy - the intro sets the stage well for the sisters. I think there's a bit of room for tightening the dialogue (not much room, mind you, because it's very realistically written) so that you could add a few beats here and there. That would make it smoother and clarify the POV once in a while. Great job overall!
Marilyn Schnepp 01/14/06
"Stared" at the floor. I think that "starred" got me off the track at first. However, I find this "unpleasant" subject prevalent throughout the Challenge this week...and it's so sad and I never realized it was that wide spread. Thank you for sharing.
Maxx .01/14/06
The broken dialogue and half sentences make the story read very fast paced and rushed... like an emergency is unfolding before us. I think it works as they realized the terror they each had to endure. Great message at the end. Loved it!
Laurie Glass 01/15/06
Your characters are honest and realistic. Great job on handling a delicate subject. I can see this piece touching hearts.