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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)

TITLE: The House
By Sue Durand


They bought the house of their dreams. It was a white colonial with pillars and an income apartment to help with the mortgage. It sat diagonally on the property where once it had overlooked fields. The front of the house still faced the street but houses had sprung up around it.

When you walked up the stone front steps, the wrought iron door welcomed your eyes. When you opened the door, the staircase went up and curved at the top. Many hands put the patina on the banister over 100 years. The living room had a high ceiling and three windows that gave sunlight. The dining room held their large table. The kitchen was small; they thought it cozy. There was a door that went you from the kitchen through the sun porch to the back door. It was a bright porch crammed full with the washer and dry, recyclables, and the tiniest of toilet rooms. Two bedrooms and a large bathroom upstairs ensured a place for their family to stay when they visited.

Their age made buying a home difficult but they want to buy this house. At the age of 75, they purchased it. It was perfect for them because they could own this house instead of renting.

When they had been there a few years, she started having trouble breathing when she lay down in bed so she started sleeping in her chair. She would go upstairs to bathe once a week. It became difficult for her to sleep in a bed at all so downstairs became her permanent perch. Navigating the stairs became more difficult because of heart problems. Lymphedema in her legs made it impossible to bend them and caused them to be hard to the touch. She would navigate the stairs on her hands and knees or scoot down on her backside. Mostly, she would send her husband to fetch and bring whatever she needed. He could still use the stairs with very little difficulty.

Her ability to stand to cook and do dishes and other simple tasks lessened as time went on. Her eyesight started to fail as well so the combination of symptoms made each task almost impossible. Her legs worsened to the point where she could hardly move. She developed a blood-borne infection that put her in the hospital. She was delirious and her husband, with the beginnings of dementia, didn't know what to do or who to call so she lay on the floor where she had fallen until her sister came and called the ambulance. She did not recover completely from that bout with illness so their inability to mange each day grew. He had never known how to cook or do every day tasks so many things were left undone. Her always-immaculate house now grew dusty, unswept, and unscrubbed. It was difficult for her family, accustomed as they were to her blustery, competent ways.

Then came the day it took 3 people to get her into the house she had wanted so much. Her husband, granddaughter, and daughter-in-law helped. It took 15 long minutes to navigate 3 steps and the doorway. All she would say was that she was never leaving the house again. If she left, she knew she might never come home again.

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This article has been read 340 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/01/08
How sad!

Try to avoid using the 2nd person (you), as in your second paragraph. The tie-in to the topic might be a little weak here...

...but it's an excellent character sketch. Thanks for writing!
Marlene Austin02/01/08
Very real descriptions and sentiments throughout this piece. :)
Laury Hubrich 02/02/08
This is a sad account of growing old and sick. You did a nice job allowing your readers to feel for your main character. Keep on writing!