The Official Writing Challenge
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Sad, but true story for many people. You stayed on topic and kept your story relevant with today's world.
I would love to know the ending!!
An all too familiar scenario! Many people, I'm afraid are in the same boat when it comes to the security of jobs. Your story flowed well from paragraph to paragraph and kept my interest to the end. Great job!

Great story! The tension builds throughout, and I like how you used dialogue to show us their complicated relationship. The ending left me hanging a little too much, but it does reflect real-life... we never know what tomorrow will bring. Nice job - and right on topic.
You did a good job at helping your readers to empathize with these two characters, and the pacing of this piece is very good.

I think a story like this would be better if told in past tense. Present tense is used more for literary and slow-paced pieces with a lot of internal monologue by the MC.

I very much liked your little details like the falling pencil and the allergy ruse. These helped me to get to know the characters better.

In the middle section, the back-and-forth between the two characters could perhaps have been interrupted by a few more of those sorts of actions, or some dialogue tags. And be careful with your dialogue, that it sounds as casual and realistic as people actually speak. It was a bit stiff in a few places. Also, the ending was a bit abrupt.

This was a unique take on the topic for this week, and I appreciated your original approach. It was a story that many of your readers could relate to, and it was a compelling read.
Great approach to the topic! You create strong connection to your characters using there dialogue; the one thing I might do different is, like Jan said, change to past tense.

Great job. Very realistic feeling.
I think the ending is very appropriate. This is a work of contemporary fiction for which open-ended endings are acceptable, sometimes even preferred.

The ending is also consistent with the realities of the work world today. Even if Helen is not one of the employees who was laid off, she will still have to reapply for her job. Even if she is rehired, there is no certainty that she will keep the job.

Good piece!