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By: Kevin R.
California, Age 13

In a land far, far away, there lived a teenager named Jack. He was sixteen to be exact, Born on December 26, 1981. He lived with his parents and had no siblings. He lived in a small town that was surrounded by cedar trees. The only thing you could smell was cedar. Everything sounded and looked like a peaceful world, but it wasnĂt. The town that Jack lived in was full of deception. He had many problems in his life, but one bothered him the most. It was like a splinter in his brain that he could not pick out. He had lived many years of not believing in God and never wanted to. He felt it was never required.

His parents went to church often, but could not get Jack to come. ˘Jack, you must come to church and pray to God with us,÷ said his dad. Jack replied, ÷I donĂt know why you and mom even believe in such nonsense. Who would be stupid enough to even think about believing in something that you donĂt even know or see. What if God doesnĂt really exists,÷ Jack yelled. ˘You better take that back,÷ dad yelled. ˘Take what back,÷ said Jack. ˘You better take back what you said about me and mom believing in God,÷ dad said. At the top of JackĂs lungs, he yelled, ˘NEVER! I will never go to church. I will never believe in God, any other spirit, and other things that you canĂt see.÷ Dad walks away and goes to bed, while Jack eats the rest of his pizza.

That night made JackĂs dad feel like Jack wasnĂt even his son. The next morning after the disagreement, Jack had a severe fever and did not want to eat anything. As a result, his mom took him to see a doctor. The doctor had very terrible news for Jack. The doctor said sadly,÷ Well Jack, you seem to have a foremost bad case of leukemia. They call it Chronic Lymphocytic leukemia.÷ Jake appeared worried and asked, ˘Am I going to die doc?÷ ˘Well, sadly yes, but you will live for about three to four years. No one has ever lived past four years, Sorry,÷ said the doctor faintly able to say it. Jack yelled, ÷What do you mean SORRY? You never tell someone they are going to die and just say sorry. What type of doctor are you? Mom, lets go home!

The next day Jack woke up early in the morning because of a terrifying dream about his disease. He walked to his parents door and heard them crying and talking to each other about Jack. Jack walked softly in his parentĂs room and said, ÷Dad, if God was really real, he wouldnĂt have let me have this disease and die at a young age. I thought I heard you say that God can do anything he wants to do. Well, I guess you are wrong about God, therefore, donĂt talk to me any more about God.÷ Jack walked away weeping and wanted to kill himself.

As the days went by, then the months and finally years went by, it seemed that Jack wasnĂt going to die at a young age after all. About five years past by and still death didnĂt come. Jack totally thought it was a miracle. That night when he realized he wasnĂt going to die, he thought of his life very deeply in depth. He woke up the next morning feeling weird and then it hit him. It was like he was not confused anymore about religion. He learned faith through god. There is a God somewhere out there and he did believe in God because he was cured from his disease. So he asked his dad cheerfully,÷ Dad, do you want to go to church because I have a confession to make to God.÷ And he didÓ


Author's comments

Dear Kevin:
Congratulations on your story. It is very well written. You have used plenty of details, letting us know your protagonist name , his age, and something about the place where he lives. It is very nice when you mention the cedar smell, it helps us to experience your story.
Your use of image is also excellent: ''like a splinter in his brain'' is something that the reader will remember. It certainly caught my attention.
It is also very good that you use dialogue and let the reader hear the actual words of the characters. I would have liked to know why you said that the town was full of deception, I was waiting to hear more about that.
I can very well understand Jack's despai after he was diagnosed with such a serious illness, but what had caused his anger before? Did he see people who preached one thing butr behaved in a different way?
If I had had some explanation about his anger, it would have been more convincing for me.
Sometimes writings are more powerful if they are not too extreme, or too exagerated, and more like the human experience, where there seems to be a little of both, good and bad, frequently at the same time.
This is very insightful reading and I congratulate you warmly on it. Keep on writing. I think you have much to tell. The more you write the better you will get at it.
Best wishes, your author friend, Alma Flor Ada