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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Asia (02/26/09)

TITLE: Memoirs of a Secretary
By Kayla Holenski


Azure was tired of hiding her tears all day, but her job called for a certain degree of professionalism. She’d never felt such raw overpowering grief before. It had been a week, and the strain of pretending was beginning to wear on her. Lost in thought she almost missed hearing the doorbell ring in her small apartment
Before she could answer it a flurry of fiery red hair and Chinese food had settled on her couch. A small smile tugged at Azure’s lips, there was a reason why Sherri was her best friend
“I have lemon chicken, fried rice, and some sort of green goo that is probably healthy.” Sherri announced proudly as she arranged her collection on the coffee table. Pausing to scrutinize Azure she pronounced, “You look awful!” Azure settled on the sofa beside Sherri. “Thanks, you look great too.” she shot back.
Sherri’s brow furrowed in sincere concern, “Have you slept since…?” Azure blinked rapidly to hide the onslaught of tears. “If you count half hour catnaps, I slept five hours last week.”
“You’ve got to do something, you can’t keep this façade up.” Sherri opened a Styrofoam container and shoved it at Azure. “What do you recommend? Throwing myself at Corbel? Quitting my job?” Azure retorted.
“Nope! How about a missions trip?! The missionary at church last Sunday was looking for volunteers, and my parents, and they said that they would fund you if you wanted to go.” Sherri’s voice became animated as she revealed her plan to Azure, and her bright pink fingernails flashed as she gestured with her hands.
“You mean Dr. Garland? He’s from Hong Kong for goodness sakes!” Azure exclaimed.
“It would only be for a few months, what better way to get away? There’s no possible way you heal while working with Corbel every day!” Sherri declared.
Azure carefully picked up a piece of lemon chicken and nibbled on it thoughtfully, “I think you may be onto something Sherri…”

Azure attended the Church of God for two years prior to becoming their secretary. She had been completely blindsided by the gossip that flew when she was hired. The church ladies were certain that an attractive man like their pastor Corbet Jacobson and a beautiful, single woman could not possibly work in close quarters without some sort of scandal. Azure was enraged at the time, but looking back now she wondered how the ladies had known?
She had indeed fallen for Corbet, and he for her. They’d been dating covertly for months, and although nothing illicit had occurred, Corbet felt guilty. He said he felt like he was deceiving his congregation. When Azure suggested going public as a solution he became agitated and said it was over. Other than a curt greeting and monosyllables they hadn’t spoken since.
Azure had been unprepared for the grief that engulfed her. Other than her best friend Sherri she hadn’t been able to confide in anyone. Added to the stress of having to work side by side with Corbet regularly Azure was beginning to find it all overwhelming, perhaps a mission trip would be the answer, she could work through everything without having to face Corbet daily.

Only two weeks later Azure woke up in a small, shared apartment in Hong Kong. Despite the packing frenzy and long flight there the trip had proved to be just the medicine needed.
A light tap on the door sounded and Azure padded over in her bare feet to answer it. She was utterly shocked when she opened the door to find Corbet with a bouquet of roses. He extended them to her and raked his fingers through his wavy auburn hair. Azure opened her mouth only to have him hold up a hand to cut her off.
“Don’t say anything, let me talk first.” He took a deep breath and plunged in. Azure, I came to apologize, I’m sorry that I didn’t respect you enough to be honest about our relationship from the start. And I’m deeply, deeply sorry if I hurt you. I love you, and I’m not sure if I can live without you. I hope and pray that you can forgive me and give us a second chance?”
Azure buried her nose in the roses and extended her hand towards Corbet, “How about if I show you around Hong Kong?”

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This article has been read 402 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Norma-Anne Hough03/06/09
Sweet story. Would have made easier reading if there was a double space between your paragraphs. I liked your MC.
Josiah Kane03/06/09
You really brought across the emotions of your MC, and the simple raw exhaustion too. I'm not sure how much it has to do with Asia (You have very few details about the actual trip which distinguish it from say Africa or South America.) None the less you did a great job of making your characters very human.
By the way, don't forget to read some of the other stories in Intermediates and leave feedback. Let's all help one another.
Kellie Henningsen03/06/09
Your story drew me in and I felt the pain of your MC. I needed to keep reading to find out what she was grieving over. Good job!
Connie Dixon03/06/09
Wow, that was not the ending I was expecting. Great writing....chilling story.
Mildred Sheldon03/06/09
Thank you for a beautifully written story. I love happy endings and you did a great job in the telling.
Jana Kelley03/07/09
Nice story. I wanted to know if she finished her mission trip in Hong Kong or not!
Karlene Jacobsen03/09/09
One thing I want to know is why Corbet felt the need to hide his relationship with Azure in the first place? Other than that, this was a very moving story. I'm glad he came around in the end. The emotion of Azure was vivid and well-written.
I personally would love to see this expanded and the ending played out with as much emotional connection as in the beginning. (Strictly my opinion of course.)
Loren T. Lowery03/11/09
This story moves along with a quick pace with some very real emotions and situations expressed in a promising way.

I think this article would be greatly enhanced by the proper use of writing dialogue and punctuation. It helps the reader move through the piece and get into the meat of the story. EB White's "The Elements of Style" is a great little book to have around for reference.

You handled the situations of the characters and their subsequent reactions in a compelling way.