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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)

TITLE: The Voices
By Brenda Rice


So now, I know the truth. Now, I understand the whispers all my life. Was it worth it to eavesdrop on my parents? They trusted me, but I couldn’t be satisfied. They have given me everything. But the feeling never left me. I knew deep inside myself there was more to my story. So, I invaded their privacy, their sanctuary. I heard their voices. Their strained voices speaking the truth that I’d longed to know.

“NO! I forbid it! He will turn from us and we will never see him again! I cannot bear it.”

“He is a young man now. You have raised him well. He will never turn from you. You, my dear are the only mother he has ever known. Why do you have such fear ?”

“He’s our only son! Our only child! My heart cannot endure him learning the truth. He will hate us! How can you, his father, contemplate telling him the truth?”

“My dear wife, I love you more than I love my own life. I would die for you. All I’ve ever done is for you. I wanted you to be happy. But, I see that I have failed. You are not happy. You live in fear and dread. The son we could not produce, I found a way to give you. But instead of completing our marriage, it fractured it. Making you afraid of living life to the fullest, of enjoying the abundance that we have.”

“Stop, please. I love you too, my darling. All I ever wanted was to give you a child. When I couldn’t do that, I was sure you stayed with me out of pity. I’m so sorry that I’ve given you so much grief. I am very grateful for all you have done for us. I have failed you once again. Please forgive me?”

“You have not failed me, my love. But there is no joy. I have given you everything, but joy. It is I who has failed. My treasures are you and the boy. I have no other loves. My work has always been to provide for you and for our son. The successes mean nothing to me without the two of you. We have lived a lie where John is concerned, and it has tainted our lives. Telling him the truth will set us free. Don’t you see Maria, we can be free?”

“No, Paul please don’t ask me to do this.”

“Maria, John is a fine young man. He can handle the truth. He loves us. I have no fear of his reaction. Trust me dear one. The truth will bring us freedom. Finally, we will have the joy that has eluded us.”

“How can you be so sure? Where does your confidence come from? I want to believe that telling John the truth will give us the freedom and joy you are foretelling.”

“Then believe me, Maria. My confidence comes from God. I have prayed for the time and the way to tell John the truth. He has answered me. Now is the time and John is ready to know. Please don’t stand in the way. Let me do this with your blessing?”

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This article has been read 467 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nichole Hall10/21/10
I liked the conversation between the parents. It seems to be a natural conversation two parents would have when they are hiding a secret from their child. You depicted the situation well in very few words! I like the aspect that the child is eavesdropping. Hearing the conversation from that POV was a great idea. It just gave your piece that little something 'extra'. Good job!
Mildred Sheldon10/23/10
Very well put together. I loved this from beginning to end. This is what a true conversation is all about and the son listening was perfect. Thank you.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/23/10
You did a nice job showing how each character believed in the impassioned pleas to each other. You had suspense and conflict.
Jan Ackerson 10/24/10
Unique story for this week--and I really appreciate that!

I'd have liked a few clues as to the setting (time and place) of this piece, and John's age. The parents seems to be speaking in the rhythms of speech from many years ago, but there were no details in the story to help me to place it.

You did a good job at portraying the parents' agonizing decision.
Shelley Ledfors 10/24/10
The agony of the parents--especially the mother--really came through in this piece.

I, too, wondered about the setting / time of the story. Their speech style was more formal than most people use today.

I really liked the twist of the son overhearing the conversation.
Bola M. Eyinla10/24/10
Very nice piece! I would have loved to see more of the child's reaction after finding out the secret. Anyway, this was neat! Thanks.
Dee Yoder 10/24/10
My grandmother used to say that anyone who eavesdrops will never hear good about themselves and I guess poor John got more than he bargained for.

As with Jan and Shelly, I had trouble trying to nail down the era since the conversation was much more formal than modern times. If you meant it to be more modern, an easy way to achieve that is to use contractions! That's how we all speak in our everyday lives here in the good ol' USA. If you meant to portray an era of times past (Victorian, for example) then you nailed it. A little clue as to era would have cleared up the bit of fog surrounding the tone.

I like the way John "heard" the truth--sure do feel sorry for him, though!
Colin Swann10/25/10
I enjoyed your interesting story of how hsving secrets
can haunt us and ruin our peace of mind. Good job of portraying this!
c clemons10/28/10
The conversation was truly stilted regardless of time period. If your reader is from this era the conversation would have a truer feel to it. A good take for topic though.