The Official Writing Challenge
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Straight to the heart. Your words are astounding. Could see this "The lone candle on the cupcake snuffed out and sent a faint swirl of pale gray smoke into the room."

Oh, goose bumps, oh my. Wow! I'm not even sure I can comment yet. I'll just say that you got my adrenaline going. Wow...
I could not stop reading this. It is wonderfully written. I could see, hear and feel it all. Excellent work.
Wow.. I didn't want to finish this story but had absolutely no choice... you pulled me in, hooked me and dragged me, kicking and screaming, to the very last words. Amazing, amazing writing.
One of the best titles I've ever seen here at FW, and the story certainly lives up to it.
Wow. Very powerful. Incredible.
Excellent details and descriptions; the gift wrapped in funny papers, the bat by the icebox, the single chocolate cupcake... One of the best entries I have read this week.
This left me with a lump in my throat and several questions. Still, I think you concluded it well. Haunting!
Oh, this is just so distressing to read and yet it happens every day to some family, some poor mother, and some poor child. Haunting is the word and when I know that God helps a child to overcome a life such as this one, then I know He has true power! Only God could redeem the man and give a good life to children of such terrible abuse.
Oh wow. This is so powerful. The picture you paint is so vivid. Excellent descriptions.
Oh wow. Amazingly powerful and gripping and frightening and Masterful! Excellent.
Can I echo some of the "Wow" comments? This is great, Loren. There is so much packed into here, the emotion, the setting and the vividness. Wow. Awesome writing-you did good! ^_^
Oh, this was really good. I'm kind of glad I wasn't the only one to do a story about a bad father. Sadly, the real baseball Cardinals have had a few recent run-ins with drinking problems... Was that intentional?