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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)

TITLE: Changes For Amanda
By Sara Harricharan
07/15/08


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The barred windows and private security ranks, made the old-fashioned castle feel like a prision. Standing inside Grandmama's mansion, I felt lower than the servant that escorted me to her private quarters. I was happy in the twenty-first century, visiting felt like a time warp.

My parents never spoke of her, except to mention that Mum is not welcome there. Daddy's prompting and the hundred-dollar bill enclosed with my gilt-edged birthday card is my only reason for being here.

The escorting maid spoke through the intercom by the door. “Granddaughter Amanda, to see you, milady, send her in?”

The reply crackled through as I was nudged through newly opened doors. Shadows claimed every wall and the tiniest sliver of light trickled through a crooked curtain. I took two steps and tripped.

“Are you all right?” Hints of panic accented the new voice as light viciously sliced through the room.

I was blinded twice.

The sunlight paled in comparison to Grandmama. For an elderly woman living in a medieval hovel, she was positively modern. Dark blue jeans, soft beige blouse and knee high black boots. Elegant pearl drop earrings finished off her look with a delicate golden necklace.

“Amanda?”

I stared into murky olive eyes, accepting her perfectly manicured hand. “G-grandmama Thalia?”

“Just Grandmama.” She rang a tiny bell on the nearby desk. “Ally!” The maid escort entered. “Straighten up, we'll be in the west wing.” She started for the door, pausing mid-step. “Amanda...that includes you.”

My feet obeyed, trailing after her. Silence reigned until we reached a locked door, from an invisible pocket, Grandmama withdrew a slender key. She turned the locked, holding the door open.

Ducking under her arm, I found myself standing in a colorful sanctuary of light. Rainbow streams filtered through stained glass, illuminating a pedestal in the middle of the round room.

“I'm glad you came. I wasn't sure if your mother would agree.”

“Why wouldn't she?” My chin upped a few notches. “She's the nicest Mum in the whole world!”

“I know.” Grandmama opened the ivory jewelry box on the pedestal. “I wouldn't have let your father marry her if she wasn't.”

“What?” I stared at her.

“My husband had a problem, not I. He never knew you were in the picture, or he might have changed his mind before he died. I didn't invite you here to talk about family though. Your father tells me you want to travel the world.”

“When did he tell you that?” I fiddled with a fraying belt loop.

“Come-” She beckoned, a golden charm bracelet in hand. “-you're old enough to have this. I wanted to give it you before I leave.”

“Me?” I took the bracelet, wonderingly. “Where are you going?”

“According to duty and your grandfather's wishes. I must visit the estates once every eight years and have dinner with the diplomats in each country. It's time again. I would like to invite you to join me.”

“What?” The words came woodenly from my mouth. “I barely even know you! And I know even less about-”

“I know there are gaps between us. But I am trying, Amanda. It wouldn't hurt to try a little yourself.” She caught my hand. “This is a memory bracelet. It holds pieces of me, I couldn't share with you.” She fingered a red gemstone. “This is your birthstone. You were born healthy and happy, with a passion like this red.”

The second smile touched her face. “On your first birthday, you tasted your first piece of cake. That's why there's a tiny cake here. On your second birthday...”

Her voice continued with a familiar rhythm, she had a charm for every birthday and a memory to accompany each of them. For a grandmother I knew nothing about, she knew me.

“...and lastly, a crown, as you cross the threshold of womanhood, you are a...princess.”

“Princess?” My brain melted to oatmeal mush. “What?”

Her lips twitched. “I'll explain later. I must leave today. Visiting diplomats is hard work, especially maintaining the balance between two powers. Your father thought it was time you knew more about the family. You're a bright girl with a lovely future ahead of you, however you decide. But there's a world out there, Amanda, dear, and many things to learn.”

Copyright 2008


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This article has been read 890 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Colin Swann07/20/08
very different and certainly interesting. great description too!! Thanks for your unique piece!!
Edmond Ng 07/21/08
An interesting piece and a good read for the start of a longer story. Princess Amanda deserves further coverage to let the readers know how she is to work towards royalty.
Ellen Dodson07/21/08
I agree. You're writing is clear and engaging. But, I feel that this is the beginning of a story. It was hard for me to feel any love for Amanda from the grandmother. She seems too reserved and matter-of-fact--more businesslike than joyful to finally have her grand-daughter at her home.
Norma-Anne Hough 07/21/08
Let's hope we will hear more about Amanda. Lovely story line. I love the way you write and thanks for your comments on my article.
LOL. NORMS
Lauryn Abbott07/21/08
What a nice little story, here. It felt a bit like a tease - I want to know more. Your descriptions are great. Good job!
Sunny Loomis 07/21/08
Intriguing piece. I like the relationship being formed between grandaughter and grandmother, even the memory bracelet keeping track of the passing years.
Dee Yoder 07/22/08
Unique and creative-just like you! The beginning of an intriguing story, certainly, and two wonderful Characters to further explore, make this a good entry!
Mariane Holbrook07/23/08
You did such a good job with this! I so wish we had the option of a 1,000 word limit sometimes. Some stories you just don't want to end too soon and yours was one of them. Kudos!
Loren T. Lowery07/23/08
Wonderfully written and all the makins of another developing story. Reminds me a bit of fantsy every girl must have...well done as you've captured that dream beautifully.
Betty Castleberry07/23/08
This reads like the beginning of a Gothic romance. I would love to read more. The charm bracelet was a very nice touch. Good work.
Yvonne Blake 07/23/08
Very creative! I like your description of the Grandmama and the castle.
Well done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/23/08
Such a creative mind you have! I loved the description and am eager to go on Amanda's journeys with her.
Joshua Janoski07/23/08
This was great. I just want more! I think you could take this and really expand on it to make a much bigger story. I was very engaged in the story, and I hated to see it end so quickly. Isn't that 750 word limit a pain sometimes? ;)

Thank you for sharing. You brought a unique entry to the table this week as you do every week.
Helen Dowd 07/30/08
Very different! I wouldn't have wanted to be Amanda. I can't imagine having to live in a world like that. Great imagination. Well told story..Helen