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

TITLE: The Beckoning Sound
By Deborah Sampson


Lori scrambled out of her nice warm bed, that deep clanging sound could mean only one thing. In the small coastal town she lived in the old bell was used when someone was lost. The clear sound of the one hundred year bell could be heard now throughout the town.

‘Ding-Dong’ the clamor just seemed to go on, as she struggled to finish dressing, she just about had her shoes on. Grabbing her hat and car keys she was out the door.

Arriving a half a mile down the shore, she was not surprised to see the town folk gathering.

Lori jump out of her jeep now, she hurried toward the group. “Hey, what’s going on?”

“Oh Lori, I mean Sheriff Reynolds, I didn’t know you were back from your vacation. Jason and Jenna are missing.

“I got in late last night Wyatt.”

“How long ago Patti, do you think they took off? Have they done anything like this before?” Lori looked at Patti as she answered.

“About four hours, and no they haven’t done this before! We have to find them now, Lori! I thought they were in their beds, when I checked on them, they were not there.” Patti looked in deep shock; she just kept shaking her head in disbelief.

“Calm down Patti; give the Sheriff time to get things lined up.” Derek reached to give his x-wife a hug, we will find them. “We just have to pray that God will take care of them.”

“Derek, just leave me alone, this is another time of you relying on your stupid faith. Just get away from me. I have no time for this. Our twins are missing, Patti was sobbing now, they are only eight, and your almighty God isn’t going to do anything now just as He didn’t the last time we needed Him!”

“Sheriff, we found one of the small sailing vessels, missing from the dock: we are going to take the watercraft out and start searching.” Wyatt motioned for Lori to follow him.

“Lori, they do not have life vests, they are locked in the office at night.” The water looks calm but further out it is choppy, and Lori, there’s not much of the moon shining tonight! It will be almost pitch black as we leave the docking area. The current would pull them along quickly. Lori, I’ll call you when we know anything.”

“Thanks, Derek, bring them home unharmed, please.” Lori shot up to God a quick prayer in asking Him to watch over the two, and to bring them back to their parents.

The group continued to search around the area, in hopes that they were just hiding and not out on the water. Three hours into the search and still nothing, Wyatt had radioed twice that they had not found them. The night would be long, for it was only one thirty and daylight did not come till nearly six a.m.

Someone handed Lori a cup of hot coffee as she watched the people, Derek and Patti was sitting on the lonely pier together talking now, maybe they could be strong for each other.

A second boat had been dispatched and was now on the water, each searching in a different path.

Patti was very young when she had the twins, and shortly after that, trouble started in the marriage and on top of a pregnancy that turned out terribly wrong. That’s when the divorce took place; the loss of newborn was more than they could deal with.

After that Patti wasn’t the same and she quit coming to church, the twins went with Derek on the weekends he had them.

“Sheriff Reynolds?” Wyatt is coming in, his radio is braking up, but I swear he said he had them both with him. He was about five minutes out.

“Praise the Lord, Patti and Derek, they have been found!” Lori smiled at them as everyone cheered.

Wyatt pulled up to the docks, and the kids came running down the ramp, right into the arms of their parents.

“Sorry, mom and dad, boy, were we scared! It was so dark! We were lost and we remembered about prayer so we prayed to God to help us, and He did!”

The smiles on the twins showed it all. Patti just looked at them and Derek, as she knelt and hugged the kids, she too told God Thank-you!

Lori thanked Him also as she told the others thanks for a job well done.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/23/13
This is a great story. You do a nice job of building the suspense. There is nothing worse than waking up and finding out your kids aren't where they should be.

Be careful with the quotation marks. You may want to double check the rules on them as they can be hard to remember. If the same person is speaking, there is no end quote at the end of the paragraph, but a beginning quotation mark at the start of the new paragraph.

Another thing that I struggle with is POV shift. Lori seemed to be the MC so that means the reader can only know, see, hear, and think what she knows. So when you went into the background of the mom and dad, that is what is called a POV shift. it's not easy to do in only 750 words, but perhaps you could have used dialog to show that background. For example the mom could have said something like: "Oh Lori, I already lost my newborn. That stress broke up our marriage and now I might lose the twins too!"

Overall, though, you did an excellent job of coming up with an exciting story that was on topic. You also had an important message in there as well. Having the kids realize they needed to pray was fantastic. I enjoy stories where kids resolve the conflict and though they did the wrong thing, they figured out the best solution was to pray. Nicely done.
Joanne Sher 05/26/13
Good suspense in here for sure. So glad it worked out in the end. Nicely done.
C D Swanson 05/27/13
Wow -this was intensely suspenseful...It kept me wondering and couldn't wait to see how it turned out! nicely done.

God bless~