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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)

TITLE: The House That Said "Ouch".
By Lyn Churchyard


The four children giggled and jostled for positions on the rug in front of their mother’s chair. This was their favorite time of the day, when their mother took them on an adventure each night just before bed.

“Now, what story would you like to hear tonight?” Kate whispered, as she switched the overhead light off and dimmed the lamp, which added to the excitement of the children.

Four young foreheads furrowed, thinking of what to request.

Six-year-old Luke answered first. “Our house, tell us the story of how we got our house.”

His older brother Simon snorted in contempt. “We already know how we got the house. Mommy and Daddy bought it.”

The younger boy was unperturbed by his brother’s scorn. “It’s special. God gave it to us.”

The two older children, ten-year-old twins, Jesse and Jake, rolled their eyes. It was always the same; Luke and Simon arguing about who was right. The twins looked at one another. “Kids” Jake mouthed at Jesse.

Their mother intervened with a laugh. “How about I choose a story?”

“Good idea Mom.” The twins chorused.

The four children settled down and looked at their mother expectantly. “It’s a story about our house, but a very different story,” their mother began, turning the lamp down even further. It cast a pale glow that seemed to enclose them in a soft ball of light, separating them from the darkness of the rest of the room.

“It all started when Daddy and I brought the twins home from hospital. The house seemed happy somehow, as if it could see everything that was happening. Then when Simon came along two years later and Luke a year after that, the house seemed to dance with joy on its foundations.

Luke and Simon’s eyes grew bigger and bigger, and the twins grinned at one another in delight.

“Then, one day, about three year ago, the house said “Aaaargh” as it watched a small boy draw with a bright red crayon on the walls of the family room.

“Oh, poor house.” whispered Luke, as he reached out a hand to stroke the floor.

“Did the house really get upset Mommy?” asked Simon, knowing he had been the one with the crayon.

“I think the house understood that these things happen sometimes, but it would prefer that they didn’t.” His mother said, cupping his chin in her hand.

“Mom.” Jesse frowned trying to formulate her words. “I think the house was really, really sad last year.”

“Why is that Jess?”

“Because when Jake was in hospital after he fell off the garage roof and broke his leg, the whole house seemed to be crying. It even kept me awake at night.”

Luke flapped his hands. “And when I fell down the stairs, I heard it say ‘ouch, ouch, ouch’.”

Simon giggled. “That was you Lukey, you were the one saying ‘ouch, ouch, ouch’.”

“Well, the house could have said it too.” Said Luke, refusing to be put off.

Jake had been sitting quietly through this exchange, his head tilted slightly to one side.

His mother looked at him. “You’re very quiet tonight darling.” Jake was her serious one – the one who felt things more deeply than the other three – the one who occasionally astounded her with his wisdom.

None of the children noticed their father slip into the room and stand quietly in the shadows.

Jake took a deep breath. “The house can’t really see things or feel things, can it Mom?” He looked up at his mother and she could almost see the wheels turning as he thought things through. “I mean, it’s just bricks and wood and nails and stuff.”

His mother smiled encouragingly, waiting for him to continue.

“When Simon drew on the walls, you and Dad were upset and when I fell off the garage roof, everyone was sad, and when the people in the house are sad or upset, it feels like their house is sad too.”

“So why do you think some houses feel ‘friendly’ when you walk into them and others don’t?” Kate wondered what he would come up with this time.

Jake thought for a moment and then smiled. “Because when families love Jesus and are kind to one another and kids play together without fighting, people like coming to your home to visit. It’s the people who make the home feel nice.”

Kate looked across the children’s heads at her husband and smiled. “Welcome home.”

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This article has been read 793 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Gregory Kane06/07/08
I think you nailed the topic with this one. Excellent!
It’s an interesting point as to why some houses feel friendly while others feel downright spooky. I find that it’s easier to pray in the home of a really godly family even when no one else is around. Not that bricks and mortar carry emotions, but there’s more to this world than we can see and touch.
Jan Ackerson 06/07/08
Very sweet!
Joshua Janoski06/08/08
I loved this line:

Luke flapped his hands. “And when I fell down the stairs, I heard it say ‘ouch, ouch, ouch’.”

I think your title fits the story perfectly, and I really like the lesson being taught here. It truly is the people who make a home special.
Helen Dowd06/08/08
Very homey. It gives a cosey feeling to the reader. Good title, too. I guess lots of houses say, "Ouch." And this sounds like a home as well as a house, as it should be...Helen
Debbie Roome 06/08/08
It cast a pale glow that seemed to enclose them in a soft ball of light, separating them from the darkness of the rest of the room. This is a lovely word picture...and houses definitely do have a "feel" about them.
Debbie Wistrom06/08/08
Your title is great, and I love the emotions. I especailly love the calm surranding these family members at bed time.
Beth LaBuff 06/08/08
Very creative idea. You've told this well… I couldn't wait to read what the kids were thinking concerning how their house felt. You've added humor to the heart-warming aspect of this.
Catrina Bradley 06/08/08
Great insights in this story, as told through the wonderful dialog. I just love the whole "feel" you created with your writing - a peaceful, loving atmosphere. A real home, one I'd would want to grow up in.
Helen Murray06/09/08
I think this is very powerful writing, not because of the delicacy with which personalities are drawn, or the beauty of the storybuilding scenario, but because it draws the reader into its heart and its thinking style so deliberately. Magnificent.
Sara Harricharan 06/11/08
Awww! What a neat story time! I liked the twins best of all, Jake especially. It was a great story, I was half-expecting a spooky ending, but the happy one worked much better! Nice job! ^_^
Beckie Stewart06/11/08
This was excellent. I love how home was shown here.
Aaron Morrow06/11/08
Great job! Excellent characterizations and dialogue!
Loren T. Lowery06/11/08
You could just feel the love and hominess (is that a word?) of this piece. Reading it simply makes you feel warm and good all over.
You have some great tag lines in here, too. Loren
Pamela Kliewer06/11/08
I really liked this. It was great seeing the kids helping describe what a home is. Well done.
Joshua Janoski06/12/08
Haha. Placed again in intermediate. You are on a roll my friend. Congrats! :)
Gerald Shuler 06/12/08
Four ribbons in your last four entries... get use to it. You are a wonderful writer. Loved this one. It could be a fantastic children's book.
Sara Harricharan 06/12/08
Whoohoo! It's up to advanced for you! Congratulations! Awesome writing! ^_^
Lollie Hofer06/12/08
Congratulations on your win. This was a wonderful story, it captured the essence of what is a family and a home. Everything you write is a thrill to read. You have a special gift from the Lord.