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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Tie (02/28/13)

TITLE: Cutting The Ties That Bind
By Graham Insley


In the faint glimmer of moonlight the headstones were just visible. A perfect night as Michael searched the burial sites for his fatherís grave. The old man had died twelve months ago; but young Michael was not here to pay his last respects. Nor was he alone.

Something was alive and moving in the sack he carried; and something else was following him.

Canecross was a demon of renown; he was as ugly as they come and twice as sinister. His aim in this world, and certainly where Michael was concerned, was to lie, deceive and lead humans into confusion, doubt and fear. He sneered with glee as he followed the troubled teenager.

Michael had suffered far more than any young man should. His father, an alcoholic belligerent bully, had not made life easy. Head hanging heavy on his neck, Michael wore hurt, anger and rejection like most people wore jewelry. But tonight he was going to try and free himself from those heavy chains.

Anthony, the teenage leader of the spiritualist group he belonged to, had again explained this afternoon how to cut the soul ties that bound these young folk to their hurts, fears and anger. Many of the groupís members testified to how different they felt since they had followed through. But even Anthony was not aware of Canecrossí influence in all of this.

All of these young people had suffered at the hands of abusive parents. Most had needle marks on their arms, carried rebellion like a badge of honor and had signs of self inflicted wounds over many parts of their body. Their lives, with their battle scared souls, were the perfect playground for someone like Canecross.

The idea had been a simple one. Use positive thinking to get these kids to turn their lives around. Then get them involved in easy, non threatening spiritual exercises. Finally, get them into more sinister practices; like animal sacrifice and blood oaths. It had been so easy to take this final step once Canecrossí evil mind had made the link between these kids and their parents.

Taking a sharp, large knife and a hessian bag, Michael had crawled to the neighbor's chicken coup just after midnight. He now carried the contents of that bag on his journey to imagined freedom.

There was, however, one thing that gave Michael pause; her name was Sally.

Sally had been a member of the same group as Michael; hardly surprising, she was his sister. One year older than Michael, she had an intimate knowledge of what he was suffering. Needle marks, self made scars and a permanent scowl had also been her shield against the abuse; but Sally had already gone through the ceremony that had brought freedom and light into her long night of existence.

Michael envied the new shine in his sisterís face; and now it was his chance to stand in the warmth of freedom. A little chicken blood was a small price to pay.

Michael really loved his sister and they had been tied together for as long as he could remember. Fortresses built from the rubble of shattered childhood; thatís what they had been to each other. So when Sally had left their little group to join a different one he became confused and hurt.

She had accepted a sacrifice to gain her freedom; what was the difference? At least he wasnít depending on real human blood that was now two thousand years old; but nor could he deny the change he saw in her life. It wasnít false or put on, he could tell, and it seemed to penetrate into every corner of her life. She no longer wore a badge of shame but proudly wore a radiant smile that said, ďIím different, come and ask me why.Ē

She had told him boldly this afternoon, in no uncertain terms; ďIíll be praying for you Michael; binding you to the love and freedom that only Jesus can offer. Iím hoping you will come to understand that the Sacrifice has already been made. Donít go through with this. If you want the change that I have, then find it the same way I did.Ē

The cemetery caretaker was hopping mad that morning because of the mess heíd had to clean off some of the marble gravestones.

Whoever had let that chicken go had sure made his job difficult.

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This article has been read 486 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lisa Hudson 03/07/13
I don't know if I can speak with any authority but I was mesmerized by your story until the end. I think your writing was very nicely done and I was so excited to realize his sister was leading him to Christ. The sudden introduction to the groundskeeper was disappointing for me. Again, great, great writing!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/11/13
Wow this is so intense. I felt the suspense build as i read and even found myself holding my breath. You fully grasped the topic. your MC felt real and in pain. There are just so many good things about the story, but Wow covers it best.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/11/13
I try not to read comments before I comment. I do know what the other person meant about the grounds
keeper. it's called a POV shift. The reader can only see things from the point of view of the main character. As soon as you mentioned the caretaker's emotions you had a POV shift. You could have possibly had Michael hiding watching as the character stomped about and muttered about the mess. Or you could have just had Michael stop and tell the chicken "Be Free" This is an awesome piece and you did do a great job. You may want to consider going to the message boards under Writing challenge, and click on Throw a brick. it's a good way to get more people to read and comment on your article.
Judith Gayle Smith03/13/13
Who told you you are a beginner? This is a wow of an entry - a tale well told!
Lisa Hudson 03/14/13
Congratulations on First Place! Great job!!!!
C D Swanson 03/14/13
Congrats! God Bless~
Cheryl Harrison03/14/13
Congratulations on your 1st place! Great job.
Adele Threadgold03/15/13
I read the rules and you are supposed to move up to the next level once you have appeared in the Editors Choice award and been placed first at beginner level... so off you go and continue with your great stories :)
Bea Edwards 03/16/13
Congratulations-Write on young man! Distinctive but reminiscent of CS Lewis.
Exceptional story however maybe a little more intro to the groundskeeper's place in the story. It was a great ending just kind of abrupt.
Well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/17/13
Congratulations on ranking 14 overall!