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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fulfillment (04/06/06)

TITLE: A Destiny to Fulfill
By Shari Armstrong


Dalia saw her son approaching. He was so much like his father. That same strength and determination.

“Mother, I’m leaving school.”

”What? Kaelin, you can’t!”

“I’m sorry, but I have to. I just feel this need to move on. Like I have to find my destiny. Find fulfillment. Out there, somewhere. I just know I can’t do that here.”

She just stared at her son, unsure of what to say next.

”Mother, I’m not happy here. Can’t you understand?”

”I understand, just like I understood when your father decided he needed to explore new things. I don’t have to like it to understand it. Everything was fine, until that day that he didn’t return. We still don’t know what happened to him. No one has seen him since. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you, too.”

“I don’t plan on being gone forever, I’m sure Dad didn’t either.” Kaelin sighed. “I miss him, too. Maybe that’s why I need to go. To understand where he went. Go the same places he went. Maybe I’ll even find out what happened to him.”

Daila felt her heart sink. “All right. I suppose I can’t stop you anyway.”

“I love you, and I’ll be back soon. You’ll see.” Kaelin darted out.

* * * *

As Kaelin headed out into the world, he soaked in everything around him. The colors, the sounds, the warm light coming from above. He met many colorful characters along the way. They all had a story to tell, and he loved hearing them. But, it was time to write his story. Time to have his adventure.

But, one story hooked his imagination. Even though he was nothing but an old crab, Charlie had the best stories. “Charlie, tell me about The Wild again.” Kaelin said, as he stopped to visit his friend.

Charlie stretched. “Well, The Wild is that place that only the bravest dare venture.” His low, gravely voice made it sound even more mysterious. “Many who go there, never return. You have to be vigilant, never let your guard down.”

“How do I find The Wild?” Kaelin was feeling the excitement building. This was it.

Charlie pointed him in the right direction, and Kaelin was off to finally fulfill his destiny. It was getting late, but he went ahead and started his journey.

As Kaelin reached the edge of the wild, it was beginning to get light. He noticed a delightful smell, and realized he’d been so excited he hadn’t eaten all night. He followed the smell, in hopes of finding the meal that went with it.

* * * *

“Ummm, I’m stuffed full.” The man leaned back, stretching

”Yeah, that filled me up, too. That was some good fish you caught this morning.”

“Yup, and he sure put up a fight, like that one last month. Almost got away.”

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This article has been read 1269 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marilyn Schnepp 04/14/06
Perhaps I'm dense, but on the first read I was completely baffled, stymied, and...well, let's just say I was inadequate to comment; then on second read I got the message...but the point was disappointing. Creative and well written, however.
Sue Dent04/14/06
This just needs to be longer. I want to no more about the other colorful characters he met. You said they were colorful, I want to hear about them! Intriguing story! Me thinks I see a novel in this.
Sue Dent04/14/06
Excuse me, that was I want to KNOW more.:)
Jan Ackerson 04/14/06
This one puzzles me. The first part seems like a realistic short story, then it dips into allegory country, and the ending is just, well, puzzling. I think you still had some words to use...could you have clarified this situation for your readers? Your writing skills are apparent, and you draw your reader along.
Carla Feagans04/14/06
Your story drew me in, and there was some good writing throughout.

However, I too was confused and had to read it twice. You had some clever phrases (like "even though he was nothing but an old crab").
Sue Dent04/14/06
A fishy novel at that! I know I'm "hooked".
Shannon Redmon04/15/06
I'm confused...I thought he would find his dad and maybe he did at the end? You have an interesting topic and your story drew me in but I got lost in the ending.
Helen Paynter04/15/06
Kaelin's a fish, right? Think I've got it. Rather clever, although perhaps we need a few more clues to make us sure. Interesting story.
Pat Guy 04/17/06
Since I caught on by your hint that the story was about a fish - it was great! Maybe your title could indicate it somehow without giving it away. It still is a really good story if the reader knows or suspects. Not sure about the 'smelling' part - but I liked knowing and it didn't ruin it for me. It was funny and poignant that way.
Crista Darr04/17/06
Be careful not to give history in dialogue that would not normally be spoken. Would the mother actually tell the son all those things he already knows? Colorful characters? Show us those colors!! Blessings!
Teri Wilson04/17/06
I thought this was clever. I did "get it" the first time I read it. I particularly enjoy stories told from interesting POV's.
Debora Dyess04/17/06
Rest assured--I got it by the time you introduced the 'old crab'. Maybe because I have read and reread more childrens books than I can count (or care to count!) I caught on pretty quick to the beginning and to the end (poor lil' fishy...)
I think maybe you dwelt too long on his goodbye to mom. The description seemed sparse (on purpose?)and, while you couldn't have put too much in (you'd ruin the surprise ending) maybe a bit more would have helped flow. You could have come up with some pretty catchy sea names for the characters he met and perhaps just mentioned them in passing to 'bait' the reader a bit more. I think, too, that I would have had the crab try to discourage him, tell him that some adventure is good, that pushing your boundries can be a good thing, but The Wild is a dark, dangerous (evil?) place, not to be ventured into AT ALL--paint a clearer picture that that's way past the limits of good sense, safety and wisdom.
Cute idea, hard to do with a limited word count!
Debbie Sickler04/17/06
I only read this after you hinted, so I already knew it was about a fish. But then I got distracted with lunch before reading and forgot about the hint. lol I still was reminded of it though, when I read the clues, such as leaving school and the old crab, so I think I would have figured it out with out already knowing. :)

I like the names you chose, Kaelin is a lot more interesting to read then Tom or Joe. I had a bit of a problem with their talk though, when the mom said the spiel about the dad not coming back. It seemed like she was informing the reader of what her son should already know. And I agree about shortening the good bye to make room for the characters you alluded to.

Nice imaginative take on the topic. I think Debora's ideas about warning of the dangers of pushing your limits would be that 'great meaning' you were looking for. ;)
Jean Elizabeth 04/17/06
You did a good job in the first section introducing the characters and that made the ending so much sadder! The poor mom! I can just see her distraught at home all alone! I'm not sure what the point of the story was though - never venture out into unfamiliar territory? I caught on that Kaelin was a fish when you introduced the crab. I liked the creativity of the story - a fun read.
Beth Muehlhausen04/17/06
Thanks fellow commentators, for filling me in! I didn't get it w/ the first read...but then ended up laughing at myself for being so dense! Well written, I just needed another fishy hint somewhere early on (maybe that was just me, though).
Garnet Miller 04/18/06
I'm at the end of a long list. After reading the comments, I get it now. How humorous!
Shannon Redmon04/18/06
I came back to read after seeing your hint! I'm so glad I did...just call me ditzy! Sooo he's a fish! I like it much better and now I see the clues! Sorry about before!
Jan Ackerson 04/19/06
*smacking myself on the forehead* Of COURSE he's a fish! And that makes this sotry absolutely charming. I love your "gotcha" ending. Sorry about that earlier confusion; you played absolutely fair with your readers. All the right clues were there! Lots of fun here.