Hunting for Christine - Writing Challenge by Chris Mills

The Challenge

Chris Mills issued a writing challenge with the following conditions:

Drama

One thousand words or less

Walking cane

Coffee Shop

It is my pleasure to be a part of this challenge.

Coffee Shop New York City
Coffee Shop New York City

Surprise Phone Call

As he packed his belongings, he suddenly received a surprising phone call from the coffee shop, Wholly Grounds. The owner said Christine had come in and learned of his hunt for her. In fact, she was there right then. Frank was so excited he grabbed a cab and quickly arrived. He spotted her and saw her get up, using her red cane, and come toward him from her plush seat in the library area. As she threw her arms around him, all ninety pounds of her, in a teddy bear hug, he was both surprised and pleased.

The Beginning of a Friendship

They had met in Germany where he was stationed, five years ago, and she was on a trip to visit relatives. Coffee shops were their favorite meeting places, as she was addicted to peppermint coffee. They had a few dates, and he learned she was low on money and had some health problems and no insurance. Their relationship was just friendship, and he did not lust for her.

Rothelberg, Germany
Rothelberg, Germany

The Hunt

Now back in the United States, he had tried looking her up in the phone book to no avail and tried to contact relatives. The Internet showed no record of her death, and she wasn’t in any hospital. Once, he thought he saw her on the street and ran quickly after Christine. But she quickly disappeared around the corner. She did have that red cane, so he knew it must be her, remembering how fast that cane took her.

He kept returning to the coffee shop, Wholly Grounds, that she said she frequented, as he tried to find her in the Bronx in New York City. Aware, that she sometimes went elsewhere, he looked everywhere. With the look of a frantic man, Frank met many folks along the way who remembered her - Christine, the fiery redhead, who used a bright red cane. It reflected her femininity with a small red and white bow in the middle of the brightly painted wooden decorative cane.

Cane
Cane

Plush Coffee Shop

Wholly Grounds was an elegant coffee shop that might only exist in a large city. It was a large red brick building that seated about one hundred people. A bakery filled with yummy delicacies in all colors stood in the middle of the shop. Books filled one area with various open seating arrangements and a disabled area..

It surprised him that Christine would frequent the shop, but it was actually quite reasonable in price. He knew she liked it because of some German delicacies. He later learned that the proprietors were originally from Germany, and that is how they knew of Christine. He wondered where she could possibly be, almost hiding from her favorite place.

Giving Up

Frank finally talked further to the owners, learning that Chris had recently become engaged to someone she met at the coffee shop and was on a long honeymoon. His face gave away his disappointment, and yet he knew this development might solve all her problems. Preparing to leave the city, he felt his visit was all in vain, until he received the phone call.

Reunion of Couple
Reunion of Couple

Reunion

After all these years, they still recognized each other. He felt his heart skipping a beat, as they sat down to renew acquaintances. It was as if no time had passed, since they last saw each other. He asked about her health, and her look was grim. She said her leg was worse and may be cancerous. She had just broken her engagement, as she did not want her fiancé to bear this burden, and she had some reservations about their relationship, in addition to being without insurance. Her reliance on her lovely red cane was very obvious to him, and Frank remembered the insurance problem.

Money for Christine

Then the whole story came out. Frank, talking as fast as he could, almost unintelligible, told her the reason for his intensive hunt for her. He said, “Christine, I have just inherited a large sum of money from my parents, and I have never forgotten you and your medical issues. I have looked everywhere for you to offer my funds to help in your healing."

He saw tears welling in her eyes and her look of compassion as she replied, “Frank, I cannot believe that our brief friendship led you to such an impossible offer to me, a nobody, who has always walked with a bright red cane. Nobody ever asked many questions about the cane or my health, but you have such a caring attitude to make me feel like I am somebody, maybe even a special person, and not a nobody. I know you mean it, and I will never forget your sacrifice.”

He looked at her in disbelief that she would not consider herself special, as she was one of the most special persons he had ever met. In that moment, he finally realized that fact. Their eyes met, and they both realized how intense their relationship had become. It blossomed in the middle of the Wholly Grounds coffee shop in the plush area near her favorite German delicacies and peppermint coffee. Frank realized he could help return her to good health as a miracle from the Angels. Maybe, she might even discard her favorite red cane with its lovely red and white bow.

More by this Author


Comments 23 comments

Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 14 months ago from Southern Georgia

Great effort in response to Chris's challenge, Audrey. Especially for your first FF try. :)


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 14 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Audrey, Who doesn't enjoy a rekindled love story? I certainly do, and I love the one you've written for this challenge. You mentioned you had trouble with the backstory. You'll have to show me where you had trouble because you actually did it perfectly. You began in the coffee shop, flashed back to the backstory and ended in the coffee shop. The whole time period in which the story occurred was mere minutes. Without the backstory, the present story would have had very little emotional impact on the reader. There are certainly places you could have saved words and kept the pace up, but those are minor adjustments you can make to your writing of flash fiction. Congratulations on a wonderful first attempt at this short format.


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 14 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Author

Thanks Randy - I had trouble with the back stories. I think I might do better a second time. I appreciate your kind comment. Next time, fewer characters, descriptions, and maybe not so long. I thought it had to be almost 1000 words. It was fun writing it. Blessings,, Audrey


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 14 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Audrey, the word count is a maximum of 1000 words. You are well under that, which is fine.


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 14 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Author

Thanks Cam for your kind words and critique. I am really a non-fiction writer with a few attempts at fiction. Your comments make me feel so good, as I know what a great flash fiction writer you have become with lessons, experience, and participation in contests. I admire you for initiating this challenge and have read excellent entries. Good luck in your current contest. You are already a winner in my book. Blessings, Audrey


annart profile image

annart 14 months ago from SW England

I love this response to Chris' challenge. It's fun to do, isn't it?

The name of the coffee shop is charming and fits your story too. You've done a great job with this; the setting and your characters are alive - we see them and feel their emotions. The red cane is a good, bright thread throughout!

Well done!

Ann


Jodah profile image

Jodah 14 months ago from Queensland Australia

Audrey, this was a great first attempt at fiction. A feel good love-rekindled story with a happy ending, what more could we want? Glad you took up Chris's challenge.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 14 months ago from New York

This is a great response to Chris's challenge! You've written a story with all the required elements, especially hooking us in the beginning and keeping us interested! Very well done right down to the happy ending.


drbj profile image

drbj 14 months ago from south Florida

What a sweet story, Audrey. Well done, m'dear.


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 14 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Author

Ann - I did enjoy this challenge, my first flash fiction. I used the name of a coffee shop in my neighborhood, and used my neighbor as the fictional lady. She does use a cane. It is fun to use what you already know. I appreciate your kind words, especially from someone like you with such expertise. I liked using the cane also, as a part of the character's femininity and weaving it into the story. Have a great day. Blessings, Audrey


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 14 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Author

Hi John - I just read your response to challenge which is hard to match. Thank you for your response to my story and your enjoyment of the challenge. I also love rekindled love stories and enjoyed writing it. It is fun to think of ways to make it interesting and fun. I will be back at your site again soon to see what's up. Blessings, Audrey


annart profile image

annart 14 months ago from SW England

I think it always helps to use what and who you know; you've got the image and the knowledge on your doorstep so you don't have to invent it!

I think you have a flair for flash fiction so looking forward to the next.

Ann


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 14 months ago from Hyderabad, India

Beautiful story, Audrey. You have come up with such an awesome piece for which I have been waiting since many days.


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 14 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Author

Hi Venka - You are the greatest of commenters, and boost my confidence. Calling my story awesome means a lot to me. It is such fun to write a flash fiction story, as a pleasant diversion from non-fiction writing. I know you have already done flash fiction, and these challenges make the site rise and shine. Blessings, Audrey


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 14 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Author

Hi Tillson - You are such a good writer, and I appreciate your taking the time to comment. You enjoy a happy ending as I do, and one that keeps your interest. It is such fun to do these challenges and improve writing skills along the the way. I remember that you have the skills for the challenges and for creating happy endings. Have a great day. Blessings, Audrey


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 14 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Author

Hi Drbj - Thanks for your kind words and for reading this flash fiction challenge. It is such fun, almost as much fun as your funny hubs that make us laugh and make our day. What would we do without a place to write? Have a good day. Blessings, Audrey


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 14 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Author

Ann - Thanks for your encouragement and replies to my comments. It does help to write about scenes and folks familiar to you. It becomes more personal and passionate. Blessings, Audrey


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 14 months ago from Stillwater, OK

How endearing a tale, Christine. It helps renew one's faith in humanity, after all...


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 14 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Author

Thanks Deb - I like stories with happy endings that show a caring attitude. Thanks for reading and commenting. It's funny how we become attached to these philosophies in our writing. You are so kind to stop by and visit my site. May your day be great up there in Stillwater. Go OSU. Blessings,, Audrey


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 14 months ago from USA

I love the charitable angle you have chosen here. We should all strive to be a blessing in the lives of others -- those we know well as well as those we do not.


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 14 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Author

Hi Flourish - I love to write stories with a moral or a blessing to others. That is probably because I try to help others, beginning with my years in social welfare. Thank you for the kind comment about our being a blessing to others. My story deals a little with non-fiction to write what we know. Thanks for stopping by. I miss you when we don't connect. Have a great evening. Blessings, Audrey


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 14 months ago from sunny Florida

O Audrey...what a lovely story. A time of reconnection and demonstration of love at its deepest level...being willing to help someone who is truly in need.

Well done....I felt I was IN the Wholly Grounds...just off to the side watching this unfold.

Angels are on the way to you this wee hour of the morning ps


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 14 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Author

Hi Pat - I am so glad you enjoyed my challenge, and the story of Wholly Grounds coffee shop. This is like a story of your love, and love is what makes us dance and be happy. I am glad you felt the reality of this story, and those kind words make me feel humble. Have a great day. Blessings, Audrey

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