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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Fearful (08/23/07)

TITLE: I Had to Say Yes
By Rachel Burkum
~10th Place


The atmosphere became deathly still as I was yanked onto my feet and brought forward like a specimen on display. The only sound was the ragged breaths behind me, signaling that terror had seized the room. No one moved.

My eyes closed tight, rebelling against the scene my mind knew was there. As if trying to trick reality, my brain sought to pretend I was in a place where horrors like this didn’t exist.

The question shattered the silence. It had been asked twice, and the tightened grip on my collar promised it would not be repeated again. The hushed whimpers behind me drove to my eyes the stinging tears that yearned to cascade down my cheeks. I knew I had to say yes.

Adrenaline surged through my veins as the battle between right and wrong intensified. Sweat poured down the back of my neck, drenching my shirt. Chills ran down my spine as my body began to shake. I could feel the panic wrapping its tentacles around my soul, threatening to squeeze out any life that was left. A whisper in my ear tempted me to say no.

My feet felt as if they had absorbed a mind of their own as they struggled to free themselves from the floor. I wanted to run. My ears latched onto the sound of someone else doing just that. My heart pounded in my chest, sending my pulse racing. All senses screamed at me to do whatever it took to save myself. But I knew I had to say yes.

I opened my eyes. The stare of my challenger came like a slap in the face. It drove through my very being, taunting me…daring me. My hands slowly turned to fists as rage gave courage the wings to soar. Cowardice would not prevail.


I never heard the shot. I never felt the pain.

Some would say I died that day. But I had never felt so alive.

Standing up for what I knew was right had come with a price tag even I had shuddered at. But never could I imagine the price of denying my Lord’s name.

Accept Jesus as Your Savior Right Now and be Certain of Eternal Life.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/30/07
Tense and full of feeling!

A few minor grammatical tweaks, nothing major.

This short little piece is a real gem, and very inspiring.
Ann FitzHenry08/30/07
A very powerful piece.
My favorite line: Some would say I died that day. But I had never felt so alive.
Rhonda Clark08/31/07
You gave me chills. A great reminder of what goes on all over the world everyday. The rejoicing at the end gives us all hope.

Dianne Janak09/02/07
The takeaway on this was chilling, convicting, intense, and challenging. Would we? Would I? The hope at the end is our reminder! There are many things worse than death.
Marilyn Schnepp 09/02/07
What was the question? I guess it doesn't really matter...as the story touched my heart. Creative! Well written! ...and an enlightening and provocative read. Very nice indeed!
George Parler 09/05/07
Very intense writing. Wonderful job.
Lynda Lee Schab 09/05/07
Oh I so feel for the people who have and will have to make that life & death decision. This would also work wonderfully for this week's topic of "Bold." Powerful and intense. Great writing!
LaNaye Perkins09/05/07
This was riviting and full of suspense. I loved it!
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/05/07
I have hoped it would never come to it, but have hoped also I'd have the courage never to deny my Lord. You've presented a very thought-provoking piece.
Lynda Schultz 09/05/07
You can taste the fear here - great description. I'm so glad that the answer was "YES!"
Brenda Welc09/05/07
Very convicting! Deep and intense. Great writing!
Jacquelyn Horne09/06/07
We read this with the assumption that this is what will happen in the future. But I'm sure there have already been those who had to make this choice. Very sad, but true.
Kristen Hester09/06/07
Wonderful! Congratulations on making the EC list! Great job.
Sheri Gordon09/07/07
Congratulations on your EC. This is powerful writing.