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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Ding-Dong (05/16/13)

TITLE: For Whom the Bell Doth Toll


Title: For whom the bell doth toll

“There they go again, talking to us. They’re trying to show us the way. Every time we turn South, they sound louder. Let’s try going this direction.” Teddy was trying not to sound scared in front of Larry. Teddy was the older of the two boys, and he wouldn’t dare sound unsure of himself. Besides, Teddy was the one who talked Larry into going on a hike today. Larry normally hated hikes, because he got so tired all the time.

“Ding Dong, Ding Dong,” rang the bells. “ I can hear them real clear now,” sang Larry, as he jumped up and down, with Joy. We’re not lost any more. Let’s go home. I want to see my mom. I’m really tired.”

The bells they heard were ringing in the tower of the small church across from Teddy’s house. God must have had them ring to lead Teddy in the right way. God always leads us if we will follow.

Larry’s face was as white as a sheet and he was panting quite a lot. You see, Larry suffered from Cystic Fibrosis. If he got very excited, his lungs would close up and he wouldn’t be able to breathe. Also the mucus in his lungs would almost choke him. “Teddy , wait up, I can’t breathe very well. Come pound on my back to get rid of this mucus,” cried Larry.

Teddy hurried back to Larry to loosen the mucus in his lungs. As Teddy was tending to Larry, it suddenly became very dark. Teddy could hear the thunder and see the lightening off in the distance. “Oh, Oh , it’s going to rain, we have to get home. I think it‘s this way. Hurry Larry,
The two boys hurried as fast as they could, but soon the bells began to get softer. “Why aren’t they ringing anymore, Teddy ? Where did they go? Are we lost again?” With that question, Larry began crying and choking up. I can’t breathe, help! (coughing).

Now Teddy was scared. He went over to Larry and helped him lie down on a pile of soft leaves. Looking down tenderly, Teddy comforted him, “You just stay here and rest. I’ll cover you with my coat. I’m going to look for the path before it gets any darker. I’ll be right back, and I’ll bring your dad so he can help. I’ll leave this Ding Dong cake with you in case you get hungry.”

Off went Teddy like a flash, searching for the path. After about an half hour , Teddy heard the bells really loud and he finally found the right path. Teddy went running toward the house, shouting for Larry’s Dad. “ Come quick, Larry’s in the woods. We went on a hike and got lost, Larry got sick and I had to leave him, because he was coughing so hard. I had to find the path before it got dark. ” Teddy’s words fell all over themselves.

The two left running. Teddy was leading the way as fast as he could go. They reached the tree where Larry laid. He looked so still that Teddy thought he was dead. “Oh no, Larry has choked to death! It’s all my fault !” With that, Teddy began to cry.

Dad felt Larry’s pulse. There was a very weak one. Larry’s dad picked him up and ran back to the house. “Get the car out and let’s go to the hospital, quick! I think we have enough time to get his lungs to working.”

Mom and Dad raced to the emergency room. The hospital staff had the oxygen tent ready, and the mucus removing tools on a tray . They began working right away . Pretty soon Larry was sputtering and coughing. The doctor came out and said that he would be alright for now. He would need lots of rest and was not to go on any more hikes . Teddy was very thankful and promised God that there would be no more trail blazing. If it hadn’t been for the bells, they might still be in the woods!

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This article has been read 369 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/23/13
This is a great story. You do a really nice job of creating the conflict and building the suspense right away which draws the reader in.

Try to do more showing and less telling. One way to do that is to avoid passive verbs like was. For example this sentence is telling: Now Teddy was scared.
But change it to this and it shows the reader and paints a picture: Goose bumps popped up on Teddy's arms as he licked his lips, his eyes darting about searching for the correct path.

I think the Church bells ringing was an excellent way to be on topic. You have a lot of talent and this is one of those stories where you didn't need to use the word ding-dong to be on topic. Sometimes people think they have to mention the topic words in order to be on topic. This story, however, focused on the sound of the bells to get them home safely.

It is a fresh and creative take on the topic. I would have left off the last line and the package of Ding-Dongs (that would have been a horrible thing for him to eat with the mucous choking him, though a kid wouldn't know that, but I sensed you added it because you wanted to make sure it was on topic.) I know how it is to second guess myself and wonder what the reader might think. You have some amazing talent and I would say believe in the story you wrote because you did nail the topic.

Even the ending, which can be difficult with the word limit, kept building the suspense. You did a fantastic job with this one.
Joanne Sher 05/26/13
Good job with building tension. Enjoyed the story. Thanks!
C D Swanson 05/27/13
Powerful story with a clever use of the topic. It made me sit on the edge of my seat...nicely done!

God bless~