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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Donít Look Back (04/19/12)

By Ellen Carr


All was quiet, deathly quiet. Nothing else was moving. The lanes of the city were silent, empty of the thronging daylight crowds.

Amy walked alone, slowly, lightly. There was time, plenty of time. It was peaceful and nothing interrupted her solace.

Then she heard them, the footsteps. Something or someone was padding along behind her. She was being followed. An icy shiver ran down her spine. She paused, and the footsteps paused. She moved on and they moved on. Her heart beat fast and loud. Surely the following presence could hear it. She dare not stop or look behind her. Deep inside her a voice whispered, 'Don't look back!' On she walked, willing her feet to a nonchalant and even pace.

Fear gripped her soul, turning her breath into silent screams. There was no one to call to, no other being existed in the maze of city byways.

'Turn the corner,' said the voice inside her, 'but don't look back.' She turned right by the misty light of a street lamp and entered a jungle. Green overwhelmed her, vines hung from encroaching trees. Ferns spread their verdant tendrils towards her. The path narrowed to a scarcely-visible track. But the footsteps continued behind her.

A scream rose to her throat and tried to escape...

'Are you awake Mrs Rose? It's alright. Everything's fine. You've come through the operation magnificently and you're in the recovery room now. I think you were dreaming.' Someone was there. Someone had come to help.

Amy opened her eyes and saw a smiling face. She saw white walls, instruments. There seemed to be tubes attached to her. She closed her eyes and let herself drift slowly back to consciousness and safety. All was well. Gentle waves of joy swept over her.

'I'm alive,' she whispered. 'I'm free and I'm safe. I survived the operation.' Her thoughts ran back to the nightmare and she turned them into a prayer.

'Thank you Lord, for taking away the menace that was following me. I know within that I'm whole. I'm on a recovery road with you. And I won't look back.'

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Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Bucca04/26/12
Oh, what a creative piece. I didn't know it was an operation until the end. Marvelous work!
C D Swanson 04/26/12
Excellent job with this piece. You crafted this brilliant entry in a suspenseful way and also surprised me at the end... Which is the sign of a great writer - fooling the reader!

I loved it. Thanks!

God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/28/12
I absolutely love the first half. In fact, I thought this would be in the running for one of my favorites.

However, when you got to the dream part, I stopped holding my breath. Now don't get me wrong I absolutely believe that God talks to us through our dreams. But it is such an overused literary tale that unless the POV is vastly different, I feel let down. Also when you are under anesthesia, they put you in a faux sleep. You are never in that deep state of sleep you need for dreams. I suppose the dream could have come after they reversed the anesthesia and was waking up and dropping back off.

Now remember, that dream part is just my opinion and doesn't make it right. Plus you did a marvelous job in the beginning. My heart was literally thumping in my chest. I'd moved up to the very edge of my chair and realized I was holding my breath. The other thing isn't huge to me because I have a habit of not reading titles, if I'd read yours, I don't think I would have felt all that delightful suspense because the title gives the ending away.I do want to stress that I really really liked the beginning and the ending was still good but not as outstanding as the first part. Overall you did a great job.
Ellen Carr 05/03/12
Not sure if it was appropriate to comment on my own work I waited until the judging was all done.
Thanks for your comments. Shann, your comments helped me see some things I hadn't realised: that the title sot of gave the ending away(Of course I should have realised that!Thanks.); that it might sound as though God had spoken through the dream. (That wasn't my intention - the 'menace' that had been following her was the illness.) But a writer shouldn't have to explain her work so I should have realised how it could be read. Thanks for the constructive critique. It is most helpful.