First Campaign Challenge

For the Rachel Writes first campaign challenge, we’ve been given the following instructions:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem.
Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: “the door swung shut.” (also included in the word count).  For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

Here is my entry, and it is exactly 200 words.      Entry #85

The door swung open beneath the belly of the Boeing 707.  Baggage handlers positioned a large box.  A group of young men and women in uniform stepped out of a van.  They slipped into formation as they walked with precision towards the aircraft.

Amidst the roar of passing aircraft, Bella heard quiet sobbing and felt the linking of arms to hers.  It was her extended family, there to support her and receive their loved one. The reality that Noah had made his final journey home sliced through her like the cold north wind.

“Mama is that Daddy?” asked Michael.  His arms tightly wrapped her neck.

“Yes, sweetheart, it is.”  She held him closely.  Tears streamed down her cheeks as she wondered how Michael would ever remember his father’s love.

In her grief, Bella looked up at the terminal windows.  Hundreds of people stood there holding their hands over their hearts.  In that moment she felt wrapped in their grace.  They didn’t know Noah, but in their quiet compassion they were honoring his service and her family’s grief.  It was a beautiful moment of sadness.

The Honor Guard carried the flag-draped casket across the tarmac to he hearse.  The door swung shut.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

52 thoughts on “First Campaign Challenge

  1. Oh wow, Pat. What depth of emotion! “The reality… sliced through her like the cold north wind.” Oh my. What eloquent, stirring, moving, words. Thank you.


    • Thanks for reading my story. Yes, it is interesting how different each story is. Thanks for giving me your number. I’m #85 (my photo didn’t show). Have read a lot of stories, but not all.



  2. Hi Patricia: An awesome story. I loved the way you described the emotions of the children, and the view through the eyes of the wife/mother of the soldier going home. Wonderfully emotional and descriptive.


    • Thank you for wiriting such a nice comment. I really believe that the real heroes are the families. I wanted to show the grief. But I also wanted the wife to realize that in her deepest pain she was wrapped in the love and grace of something bigger — and to recognize that.

      Our stories had some similarities — I remember your story very well. I first thought the son was a soldier going to war, but when the door shut, I immediately wondered if it was a prison door. I voted for you, because I thought it was so well written and left the reader wanting to know more.

      Again, thank you for your message. Hope to get to know you better.



  3. Wow. So heartbreaking and wonderfully written. I especially loved the second to last paragraph and the part about how she felt wrapped in the grace of strangers showing their respect. Great, great entry.


  4. Hello fellow Campaigner. *waves* I’m still making the rounds, but it’s very nice to ‘meet’ you. 🙂

    This was a very timely, touching and heartfelt piece. Well done.

    Have a lovely weekend,


    • I appreciate your reading my story and commenting. Yes, there was deep sadness, but I wanted to convey that the wife also was aware the blanket of love and grace that surrounded her. Again, thank you for stopping.


  5. I’ve been so busy trying to read all the entries, I haven’t commented on many. I had to comment on this one though. It is incredibly well written and evokes such sadness and pride. Beautiful.


    • Angela,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to give me such lovely feedback. It is a subject that touches my heart. I showed the wife’s grief, but also wanted to show she recognized that love and kindness of the human family. Again thank you. I too have read so many entires, but still haven’t commented on all. Will check out your blog and entry. Again, thank you.


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