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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Search Engine (10/06/11)

TITLE: The Hidden Clue
By djvenzke Venzke


Tamie took a couple of slow breaths, hoping to slow her hammering heart. Where was he?

Dez, her husband of three years, was supposed to be home by now. It was two hours after
when he should have materialize at the front door. His refusal to answer his phone had
Tamie feeling very perturbed. Where was he? If he was delaying his arrival to create a
setting for an anniversary surprise it was working. Only he was the one who was going
to be surprised when he experienced his wife's tongue lashing for putting her through the
past two hours of consternation.

Tamie battled against the whispers of accusation that came uninvited to her reasoning over
Dez's absence. "He doesn't care about your feelings." "He's dense about the female species."
"He forgot and he's out with the guys.”

Tamie plopped down in front of her laptop and signed in. Maybe he had left an email that
explained everything. Why hadn't she thought of this before? She quickly glanced down the
list of unread messages and sure enough, there were two from him. One was sent shortly
after he'd arrived at work and the other had been sent about an hour ago. She clicked on the
morning message and read it quickly, chuckling involuntarily at her husband's silly wit. It was
a brief anniversary greeting. In it he admitted that he'd left for work without waking her and
giving her an anniversary kiss. "Don't know where my head was," he insisted.

Tamie went back to her in box and clicked on the second message. It had been sent from
his cell phone and had her instantly alerted that something was wrong. "Clue-Search Engine. I
wan…" She drew a quick breath, but didn't realize she was holding it until her lungs protested.
Her heart accelerated and a whimper surfaced from the depths of her emotions. The text
message had been interrupted somehow and then her calls had been going directly to voice
mail since then.

The whispers returned. "He's been in an accident." "He's dead." " He can't answer his phone
because he's in the hospital," taunted another mischievous thought.

Tamie's first thought was to call the hospital to see if Dez had been brought to the
emergency room. Then her eyes caught the brief message and were held for a moment.
"Clue-Search Engine..." What could that be about? What was she supposed to search for? The
only thing she was wondering about at the moment was where is Dez. It was a crazy idea, but
she was desperate enough to give it a try. She typed in her husband's name, "Dez Smith" and
clicked the search arrow. The top link on the page that appeared was one of those that
advertisers pay to have positioned at the top of the stack. It had been placed there by her
husband. The link was entitled, “Howmuchyoumeantome@ouranniversary.com." Tears welled
in Tamie's eyes as she clicked on the link and began studying the web page that appeared. She
knew it would take hours to fully explore the site and she marveled that Dez had put forth the
effort to design and build it.
She looked at a paragraph at the top center of the home page. It was written by Dez to her
and the more she read the more she had to dab away tears. It read:

“I know you have probably wondered what’s going on tonight, but I have a reason for what

I've done. There’s a saying that you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone. Hopefully you

understand what I’ve done here. I want you to know that had our roles in this little drama

been reversed I would have been going crazy. I can’t imagine life without you. Hopefully you

have a better idea of how much you mean to me. Please forgive me for my unusual

anniversary scheme. Hopefully you can understand and accept my love for the rest of your

life. Dez”

Suddenly the front door opened and he stood there with a bunch of flowers and a gift. He
looked so forlorn, hesitant, intrepid…helpless. He looked like he would burst into tears if
she didn’t show that she understood.

“You nut!” Tamie shouted as she rushed at him. The flowers flew right and the gift flew

left as Dez tossed them to free his hands to embrace his beaming wife.

Call her crazy, but she understood.

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This article has been read 457 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jody Day 10/20/11
Your first sentence was a good hook. You did a good job of portraying Tami's worry, her inner thoughts.

You can clean up the way the paragraphs look in the 'preview' when you submit.

Very creative, and on topic:)
Margaret McKinney10/20/11
Very true to life- I have been looking for the message and emails, have heard the whispers telling me my husband doesn't care! How true! Great job!
Brenda Tucker10/20/11
Ah, the beauty of making her wait and then leaving a suprise. Love it.
Rachael Severa10/20/11
I like this original story.

I've learned that when you have a character emphasizing a thought, it's acceptable to put the words in italics italics. Do away with the quotations.

I'm not sure if the one sentence word throughout the piece was intentional, but it would read better and more clear if written as a straight sentence.
Gloria Grenada10/20/11
So much passion. If this is real I hope you always feel the same about him. I enjoyed this.
Catherine Maher10/21/11
Great start and flow. Kept my interest fully engaged. The tension about where's Dez was great. Portrayed how satan whispers in our ear...I could feel it and relate. On topic for sure. Has some grammar errors, easily fixed.
I love how he left clues for her. Lots of fun reading. Good ending too. I could just see those flowers fly!! Great job.
C D Swanson 10/21/11
This was so many things, clever, emotional, and on topic- and it is believable as well.

Nice job - thank you for this imaginative entry. Good job. God Bless~
Ruth Neilson10/22/11
Such a fun story! I agree about cleaning up your story using the preview setting and I cannot wait to see more coming from you.
Patricia Protzman10/22/11
Great start, flow, tension, and satisfying conclusion. Formatting and double spacing paragraphs will make this a better read. Keep writing!
Jan Ackerson 10/23/11
Your strength was criterion #2 (unique, fresh, memorable). I've read most of this week's entries, and none of them took an approach like this. Well done.

Work on #3 (craft). I felt that the emotions of both of your characters didn't entirely fit the situation, so the story read as somewhat contrived.

Another strength was #7 (flow). The conflict drew me in, and I definitely wanted to know how it would all resolve.
Linda Goergen10/24/11
Very imaginative and suspenseful story! Great job of weaving an entertaining story around the topic. You did a great job bringing across Tamie’s emotions too, first her worry and aggravation and then her happiness at what he had done for her. The story had a good message too! I thoroughly enjoyed this!
Jacqueline Burrell10/24/11
This piece kept my interest from beginning to end...a good read. Thanks for sharing and good luck!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/26/11
This is really clever. I enjoyed it and could really relate to the MC and herself-doubts. When writing her thoughts out you may want to put them on italics ( at the start and then type at the end of the thought.) If you don't want to do that then only put one set of quotes around the thoughts. It's okay to have several sentences or thoughts in one set of quotation. marks. Also make sure you hit preview before submit. Your timing is excellent. My Anniversary was Monday and I felt many of the same insecurities. God is truly awesome.
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/27/11
You did a very good job here with the suspense in your creative story.
Yvonne Blake 11/01/11
Well done! I liked how you showed the wife's emotions: worry, doubt, fear, confusion, and finally, joy.

I was a bit confused as to exactly why the husband was so late,(I assumed it was to develop the personal website for her.) but the last scene shows that it didn't matter.

This story shows the ups and down of a good marriage.
Jacqueline Burrell11/03/11
Congratulations on 3rd place!!!
djvenzke Venzke11/03/11
Thanks everyone for all the comments. My first experience in the Challenge has been fun. I just wish I could get the hang of the formatting. I'll eventually figure out how to get a proper looking submission in the box.