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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Art (01/18/07)

TITLE: HOW TO SAVE A LIFE
By Kathleen Morris
01/18/07


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Fear consumed me when I saw the alarming sketch.

The class had just handed in their art assignments, but I really didn’t expect what sat on my desk staring at me. It was a drawing of a girl slitting her wrists, a very disturbing masterpiece. The entire drawing was done in black and white except for the invading crimson blood that pooled around the expired body.

“Who did this?” I asked my students as they shrugged past me when the bell rang.

Sweat beaded at my forehead and my pulse raced as I took a closer look at the drawing. A name had been scratched into the t-shirt of the helpless victim.

“Amy?”

This couldn’t be Amy Marshall?

I could feel my heart pounding in my chest as I ran down the hall, asking where Amy was, darting in and out of empty rooms as the school quickly emptied.

Immediately I brought it to the principal’s office hoping he’d have some advice for me.

“No Karen, I’m not surprised,” the principal shook his head with a smirk. “Kids are into a lot of weird stuff these days. You should have seen what someone did last semester. It would have sent shivers up your spine.”

“But the theme for their assignment was ‘day dreams’ not this,” I fumed. “If Amy is thinking of killing herself….”

“Oh, come on now,” he laughed. “Don’t you think you’re over-reacting just a tad?”

I shook my head, realizing I was going nowhere with this man. I grabbed the sketch and headed out the door.

If he wasn’t going to help, then she would call Amy’s parents.

I picked up the phone and punched in the number but nobody answered. Great!

Amy Marshall was a good kid. She went to the same church she did and attended the youth group on a regular basis. How could she sketch such an upsetting picture? This wasn’t like her at all.

Rather than waste time at school, she decided to drive to the church office and show the Youth pastor Amy’s drawing.

“When will Pastor Dave be back then?” I asked with an anxious frown on my face.

“In an hour,” said the secretary.

"I might not have an hour."

“Do you have Amy Marshall’s home address?”

“Just a minute,” the secretary thumbed through some files. “Here we go.”

I memorized the number and raced to my car, praying that I would catch the girl before she did anything stupid.

"Lord, please help me to get there in time."

Traffic was bumper to bumper. I tapped my steering wheel with my thumb, mentally trying to move the vehicle in front of me, hoping the light would stay green so that I could at least make it through the intersection.

As I sat there, I prayed for guidance, swiftness, courage, and most of all for me to be wrong. But I wasn’t wrong… I could feel it. I knew that feeling all too well and it served as a constant reminder to a time of darkness so long ago.

Finally, the vehicles started moving and I pulled up in front of Amy’s house. I knocked on the front door but nobody answered.

“Amy!” I shouted, heading around back.

"Lord, guide my steps and help me find this hurting soul."

I opened the unlocked door and entered into the dark home. Perhaps this was all a case of me overreacting? Maybe the principal was right?

I stopped then and listened to what I thought was the sound of the bathroom faucet.

“Amy?”

I quickly headed down the hall to find the bathroom. I turned the corner and stood in shock. The bathtub was speckled with blood and an assortment of dirty razor blades littered the countertop around the sink.

"Nooooo!"

If she isn’t in the bathroom, where is she?

"Lord, I need to find her. Move me in the right direction."

Suddenly, my feet headed down the hallway and I stopped in front of a large bookshelf. To the left of it was a large linen closet cracked open just a smidgen.

“Amy?”

The voice cried, “Go away!” but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I knew the pain. I knew the horror. I bent down to her and said nothing. I didn’t have to.

I pulled up my sleeves and showed her my own scarred wrists…the only thing that would draw her into my arms.


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This article has been read 513 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Niki Tschirgi01/25/07
I really liked this story, it drew me in immediately and kept me reading all the way to the end. I stumbled a little reading it when you used "I" and "she" a couple of times in the middle but overall a very well written piece.
Jan Ackerson 01/25/07
Oooh, very good! Loved the ending in particular.

The title doesn't do justice to this suspenseful and meaningful story. This is great stuff!
Julie Arduini01/25/07
I felt the urgency, I loved the ending. Captivating.
Chuck Livermore01/29/07
I really liked the way you contrasted the compassion of the teacher with the disinterest of the principle. An effective piece.
Joanne Sher 01/29/07
Exceptional! Such amazingly vivid and engaging detail. I loved the end.
Patty Wysong01/29/07
Wow! I could feel the over powering urgency and found myself praying you'd get there in time. What an ending!
lynn rodgers01/29/07
tis made me cry. i've been Amy. so many times i tested the pople around me sent signals and so many times they were just like the principal.
Tabiatha Tallent01/30/07
This was a very emotional piece. My heart was beating right along with the teacher's. Great work.
Latrelle Nicholson02/01/07
This was a very well written story. I, too, was drawn in immediately. The end was powerful. Your writing style made the entire work visual. Thank you for sharing your gift.