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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)

TITLE: A Thief and the Priest
By Kylie Fenimore


The old priest opened his eyes and with blurry vision, attempted to take in his surroundings. The church was empty except for him, lying on the cold marble floor at the altar. Placing a hand on his forehead, the priest felt the warm trickle of blood running down his face. The thief must have attacked him, but he couldn’t seem to remember anything. All he could picture was a fist swinging towards him and an awful lot of pain.

Trying to ignore the shooting pains in his head, he tried to work out what had happened before he had been knocked unconscious. He remembered the thief, but he couldn’t remember much else. He did, however, remember someone trying to take the church’s valuable antiquities. These beautiful objects had been in the church for many hundreds of years and the villagers were very protective of them.

Standing up on shaky legs, the priest tried to piece together a motive for why someone would have tried to steal these precious things from a church. What sort of human would do that? Dusting his sweatshirt off, he realised that it must have been his day off. Why else would he not be wearing his robes? ‘That makes sense’, he thought to himself. ‘I must of heard a disturbance and come in from the cottage only to interrupt the thief. That would explain why the thief has dropped all of the things he was trying to take out.’ He made a mental note to tell this to the police when they turned up.

Just as the old priest was starting to clean the church up, the foyer doors swung open with force, and standing in the doorway were the police and a man who looked like he also was a priest. “Oh thank goodness! I’m so glad you’ve arrived!” the old priest said as he approached the men.

The other priest and the police looked rather confused. “Ah… what exactly do you mean, that we’ve arrived?” the other priest said.

“Well, I have been waiting for you to come and examine the evidence of course!” The old priest explained, slightly bemused. “We have to catch the thief who’s been stealing our village’s prized possessions!”

The old priest looked from face to face, trying to work out why they all looked so befuddled. After a while the senior constable stepped forward and spoke softly. “But surely you realise Sir, that you are the thief!” The old man was stunned. What were they talking about? He had been attacked in his very own church and had stopped the robbery. There must have been a mistake.

“But this is my church – I am the priest of this Parish” he stated.

It was now the other priest’s turn to speak. “I am afraid you must have suffered a nasty knock to the head. You were the man who was trying to rob us and when I caught you in the act, you lunged at me. Unfortunately, the only thing I could find to defend myself was this antique candelabra. I knocked you unconscious and ran for help. You must have lost your memory during the blow and thought you were me. I hope I haven’t done anything too permanent!”

It took a while for this to sink in with the old man – surely this couldn’t be true, but a priest wouldn’t lie.

With his head hung low, the police led the old man away. He was ashamed and felt rather annoyed at what he had done – after all, he had enjoyed being a priest!

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This article has been read 672 times
Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood04/12/07
What a twist to this story! The old priest's identity effectively caught me off-guard! Great portrayal of an ironic situation.

Wonderful descriptions and dialogue. I could feel with the confused old man and his painful inner thoughts--even though he did turn out to be the thief. Could also see him dusting off his grimy sweatshirt.

Great job!
Nathan Perkins04/12/07
The blanks in this story could be filled in several ways. I laughed out loud because the old priest assumed he was wrong and that the man wearing the robe must be right. Did I get the story correct? Was the old priest the real priest and was it the thief that was wearing the robe?
James Clem 04/12/07
Fun twist - good writing.
Michelle Burkhardt04/13/07
Is there a fine line between good and evil? Nice story line. Good job.
Jacquelyn Horne04/14/07
I guess I was a little confused too. I understood that the man in the priest's robe was the robber. Not too clear. But it is a good story. I guess, like the priest, I didn't quite understand.
Edy T Johnson 04/17/07
I like the way your mind works. This is a creative mystery story for sure. You made the "old priest" a believable and lovable character. I hope you expand this (beyond the limits of the word count), as I see a mystery that remains to be explained (I personally think there must be another thief we don't know about, yet, and this "old priest" might really be one, with a past connection with this church in his memory).
Emily Ritter04/19/07
I enjoyed the twist at the end. I never saw that coming. Very nice writing here. I could even see/feel the blood, as it was described.
Shari Armstrong 04/19/07
This is great!!! :)
Rita Garcia04/19/07
Congratulations! Masterwriting!
Catrina Bradley 04/19/07
Congrats, Kylie! I could have sworn I left a comment on this when I read it earlier this week - I enjoyed the twist!