Thursday, August 4, 2011



Over the past two weeks, 9 stories were posted in response to our first ever Writing Challenge. Now it's time to select the winner!

Here are the rules:

1.  Anyone can vote. You do not have to be a follower of the blog.
2.  Contestants may vote, but NOT for themselves!
3.  You may vote only once. If you attempt to vote more than once, all your ballots will be disqualified.

The story with the  most votes will win one of the following novels:  Water For Elephants, The Latte Rebellion or Bad Girls Don't Die.

All the stories have been pasted below for your convenience. When you are ready, please complete the ballot form HERE. The last day to cast your ballot is next Thursday, August 11th. The winner will be posted on Friday, August 12th.

#1:  MY GIFT by Mary F.

I gather the box up, bring it inside. With no clue what is inside I tear open the box and peek inside. Never would I have guessed that inside that box would be the twelve love letters I wrote to my husband at war years ago, with 12 letters to me that he wrote back, that I never got. As tears rolled down my cheeks, I read each one as he told me how he was captured and held hostage but could write one letter a month and someone had found and sent them to me after all this time.

#2:  DRAMA QUEEN by Lissy J.

“Here’s your ring back,” says the note in the package that was dropped at my doorstep.
Cool-headed Sarah! How composed, considering that I broke off our engagement last night. When I wanted the ring back, she briefly lost control:
“I’ll never take this ring off my finger,” she had screamed, throwing a flowerpot at me.
Seems she changed her mind. I open the box. It is the ring. And Sarah kept her word: the ring is still on her finger, cleanly chopped off right above the knuckle.
Drama queen! What if I had asked for her hand??

#3:  SUCKED by Dorine W.  (exceeded 100 words)

Debbie sat on the bumpy sofa, a brown package held firmly in her hands. She turned it this way and that, nothing rattled, what could it be? Who could it be from?
Her 16th birthday was still weeks away, she knew the exact minute, she was counting the days.
"What the heck." She tore open the wrapper, her nails slicing through several layers of tape.
"Drat." A plain brown box, no store label, no cute design, nothing to hint at what was inside.
With a shrug of her shoulders, Debbie opened the box, her eyes wide in excitement.
But, there was nothing there, it was totally empty.
"Real Funny!" But, she couldn't resist, she leaned down over the box, nearly sticking her head into it's small confines. That was when she felt it, the pull, a sucking sensation. She tried to lift her head up, but the force grew stronger.
With a strangled cry Debbie felt herself being sucked into the box. She didn't have time to think about the box only being two feet wide, or the fact that her shoulders wouldn't fit, there was no time at all. She felt her insides twist and then, bam, she was in a dark void, flying like a banshee through nothingness.
When her body hit something hard and unyeilding, she opened her eyes, looking around in shock, speachless. She lay on a rocky outcrop, high up on a bleak mountain. Above her, two moons rose high in the sky, and not just any sky, a hazy purple sky.


I can’t move it from the front stoop. It’s too heavy for one person to carry, and there’s no one else to help. The postal service won’t take it back, though I don’t see why. It’s just a box, really. Solid wood, seamed tightly. I would guess cedar, or maybe a well-finished oak. It could be the cousin of the dinette table that I just bought. Except, of course, that this is much closer to the ground. And six feet long. And human shaped.


Ding dong.
I jump over the dog on my way to answer the door. The UPS truck usually honks, but I hadn’t heard anything.
I look out the peephole, but I don’t see anyone on the porch or any truck in the street. Cautiously, I open the door. There in front of me is a rather large box with my name on it but no return address. Books always have return addresses. Before I can reach down to grab it, it shudders, just a little. Then I see the air holes…definitely not books.
Instead, it is my dream come true.

#6:  THE DAWNING by C.E. Hart

I opened my door, alerted by the frosty air. It coiled around me, causing my flesh to prickle. Through the dimness of dawn, I noticed a crate on the walkway, draped with a russet blanket. As I neared and knelt before it, I detected a slight stirring beneath the cover. Snowflakes melted upon contact as I watched intently, yearning for proof that my weary eyes were not deceiving me. At last, through a mounting barrage of tears, I witnessed another movement. I inched back the cover and began to wail. The pleas for my newborn’s safe return were heeded.

#7:  UNEXPECTED by Chuck D.

The loaf-sized box could be from anywhere, wrapped in grocery bags and packing tape. When was the last time I received anything I wasn't expecting?

Pick at the tape, get my hand under a strand, pull — and slice my palm open. God! Lay down railroad tracks of band-aids but my life soaks through.

Drive one handed to the ER. Try to zip round a Prius — crash right into an SUV!

Sitting on the curb an hour later, the guy explains something as he wraps my hand, but all I can think about is that blood-soaked box.


Pride and bankruptcy paralyzed Brenda from traveling to see her Australian father.
She had pined for him for nine long years.
‘If you marry Ron, forget me,’ he had said.
Penniless and alone in America, Brenda understood.

A package arrived with no return address.
Inside, an airline ticket to Australia with an option: she could cash it out!

‘I’ll solve this mystery later,’ Brenda thought.
She flew over to find her father dying.
She stayed by his bedside holding his hand.
As he took his last breath, he smiled at her.
‘You chose to come!’ he said and was gone.

#9:  THE BLACK BOX by Connie W.

A tattered black box? I began a mental list of who it could be from. My parents were dead. Anyone else would have a returned address. My curiosity over came my fear and I tore it open. My eyes squinted-was it a paperback? There were no words at all, just black and white pictures of me as a baby, a toddler and young child. Only my parents had access to these intimate pictures. That was impossible! My mother died early of alcoholism. My father died caught within a lifelong schizophrenic bubble. Startled, I awoke crying. The black box was empty.