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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Snap (09/04/08)

TITLE: The Prodigal Song
By Celeste Ammirata


Mike couldn’t look at Nancy as they walked the dark path back to the party. She sniffed, and he caught a glimpse her hand moving toward her face. Was she crying? He reached out his arm, wanting to comfort her, but stopped, and shoved his hands in the front pockets of his jeans. After all, she came on to him. What guy with blood pumping through his veins could turn down a girl like Nancy? And when she hesitated, doubt in her eyes, he said the things girls wanted to hear, kissed her the way they liked to be kissed…

A wave of guilt and shame crashed down on him—as it always did—leaving remnants of broken promises and shattered dreams in its wake.

Demons chased him relentlessly. He used his anger to make him a favorite of college recruiters, in both football and baseball. When slamming into padded gorillas—or going after a ball that dared try to sneak by him, either at the plate or in the field—he showed no mercy. Off the field, he searched for other ways to assuage the demons. He drank, a lot, desperate for the alcohol to numb the pain. When alone with a girl, for those few brief moments, he could forget. But the ghosts always came back to haunt him. He had fallen so far deep into the pit of despair—he’d long since given up hope of ever climbing out.

He could see Kit—his first and only love, young and beautiful—sitting on the dock, swirling her feet in the brackish lake water. She’d smile at him as the wind played with her hair. He’d push back a strand that covered her beautiful green eyes and tell her they reminded him of sea glass. She’d laugh.

“Michael, I’d love to see this mysterious sea glass you’re always talking about.”

And now Kit was dead. Because of him.

She called to tell him she was stuck at a gas station in town. After filling up, she had gone to the ladies room. When she came out, her car wouldn’t start. Mike knew that Jeff was working that night, and she’d be safe with him. He looked up to the guy like the older brother he never had.

He waited twenty minutes, to see Houston beat the Mets in the bottom of the ninth, before heading out to pick her up.

When he got to the station, there was no sign of Jeff or Kit. Two days later, hikers found her raped and strangled body in a wooded area outside of town. Police arrested Jeff later that day. And Mike turned his back on God.

He walked Nancy to her car. As her taillights faded into the night, he stood in the deserted parking lot and whispered, “Kit…I’m sorry. I’m not the guy you fell in love with. Everything changed when you left.”

That night, he dreamed he was sitting on the bleachers, watching himself play. Suddenly Kit was there, sitting so close, he could smell her coconut shampoo.

“We made a vow, Michael, remember? To wait until we were married before sharing our bodies?”

“Well… you died.” He reached out and touched the green sea glass, in the shape of a heart, hanging around her neck on a silver chain.

Her laughter wrapped around him like the softest breeze. “I found sea glass in heaven. You like it?”

“Yeah, I do.” He swallowed hard. “I miss you, Kit.”

Her eyes penetrated his. “So, this is your legacy to us? Drinking in excess and sleeping around? How many girls, Michael? Do you even know?”

He had no excuse. “It doesn’t help. It only makes me miss you more.” Tears burned his eyes. “I’m sorry, Kit. I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for you.”

“You have to snap out it, Michael.” He smiled. She always told him that. “I forgive you. Jesus forgives you. You have to forgive yourself. Turn back to God. Give Him your pain and let it go. It’s time for you to move on. Live this life God’s blessed you with. Cherish the small things. Be happy.” Tenderly, she touched his cheek. “I have to go now. I love you, Michael. Make me proud.”

Mike woke up abruptly. He had seen his Kit again; and she forgave him.

“I’ll make you proud Kit, I promise.”

For the first time in years, he felt a glimmer of hope.

“God—are you there? It’s me…Mike.”

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This article has been read 801 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shelley Ledfors 09/11/08
Wow. Very nice entry. You have packed a lot of story into the word limit here. That's not easy to do! Great ending!
Judith Gayle Smith09/11/08
You have me weeping. This is heartbreakingly well written. If this is a true story - my heart is hugging yours. Thank God for the peace we have through the Christ...
Beckie Stewart09/11/08
Wow, this is well-written.
Lisa Keck09/13/08
I liked this story but wondered if your title is a typo since I see no mention of a song or music. Good resolution. I think adding one more "snap out of it" after "she was always saying that" would've made the point stronger. Overall good storytelling.
Sharon Kane09/14/08
A moving story. You wisely avoided making it seem that it is possible to 'snap out' of such overwhelming grief, while showing how there may indeed be a very sudden turning point leading to the road to recovery. Jesus enables us to be victors, not victims.
Jan Ackerson 09/14/08
Excellent job on the characterization of Michael. The non-linear timeline confused me a bit--I had to read twice to get it all straight in my mind. Great ending!
Joy Faire Stewart09/14/08
Regrets are always sad. Great job of writing.
Chely Roach09/14/08
Such a bittersweet story...I loved the detail of the sea glass. Lovely.
Scott Sheets09/15/08
Very touching story written very well. Great Job!
Leah Nichols 09/15/08
Well done! I was able to follow the story just fine. I agree that the dialogue could be stronger - there's a lot of descriptions vs. dialogue. Nice job. :)
Elizabeth Harshbarger09/15/08
This is a poignant and touching scene of life's lessons learned. In regard to the topic, the 'ah ha' moment is most fitting. I always enjoy your submissions and am so pleased to have you back.

Kristen Hester09/15/08
This story is very well written and kept my attention the entire time. I loved the detail of the coconut shampoo. I would have liked to see Kit say "snap out of it" once more to make it stronger on the topic, but VERY GOOD JOB!
Kristi Peifer09/16/08
Well written! I was impressed by how you were able to capture a guy's point of view convincingly.
LauraLee Shaw09/17/08
this is very well-written, and I love the message we're left with at the end.
Gerald Shuler 09/17/08
Written like a scene right out of a romance movie. Good writing.
Karlene Jacobsen09/17/08
Good story! Well written. I could feel his heart pain as I read.
T. F. Chezum09/17/08
Very well written story. Great job.
Joshua Janoski09/17/08
So many great romantic pieces this week, and yours is right up there with the best of them. This one not only has romance but a powerful message as well. I loved the descriptions of Kit.

One of my favorites in the intermediate category this week.