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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Download/Upload (11/17/11)

TITLE: December 22 -- Who Loves Me?
By Kathy Stevens
11/23/11


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“The calendar reads December 22. The big grandfather clock continues to tick . . . tick . . . tick. I don’t know why because time has stopped for me. I . . . I should change clothes and get more comfortable – I dressed especially for Ryan today because we had plans together. I loved this new dress with the pretty pin tucks in the top and the way it fits me to a T. He always did like me in blue. He said it brought out my beautiful eyes. Are my eyes still beautiful?

“Ryan told me today, that he is leaving me for Sheila, my best friend. I don’t know how to feel. I think I’m numb – I really don’t feel anything right now. This morning my life was fine – or so I thought.

“Now my life is destroyed – it’s all gone. I should call Sheila – but I can’t. We’ve been friends since grade school. We didn’t make any decisions without bouncing it off of the other. We were so close . . . . I am losing my two best friends – to each other.

“Why didn’t I see it? Yes, Ryan has been a little moody for the last year, and Sheila has been extra busy, with work . . . she said.

“Since her husband died last year -- oh, now the picture is clear. Ryan has been with her a lot, but he said he was helping her with the details of getting settled again after John’s death. Yeah, he sure was helping her.

“The television is still on in the next room, and I hear the beautiful Christmas carols we used to sing. This has always been my favorite time of year, but now, somehow . . . the choruses sound hollow. It’s just noise. There’s no substance to anything. Does any of it count anymore?

“I faintly remember the busyness of this time of year, but for some reason, I can’t seem to remember what I’m supposed to do. I sit, alone, in my big, beautiful home. I remember when Ryan and I were finally able to build it. It was our dream home and everything we both wanted. That was ten years ago.

“Collecting pictures of the rooms I loved, I scanned and uploaded each area into a folder so I could access them quickly when I needed them. I worked, and dreamed into existence, each pristinely fashioned nick and cranny of my beautiful creation. It was perfection manifested. Now . . . now, it seems cold and uninviting. It's as though the life has left all of the rooms. They’re as empty as my soul. It’s all gone. I’m just a vacant shell.

“I hear ice hitting the windows. It’ll be a cold night. I love a good cup of coffee, while I sit in my big, overstuffed chair in front of the crackling fireplace. Running my finger around the top of my favorite cup gives me some kind of consistency – something familiar that has not deserted me. Funny, isn’t it?

“I’d better check to see if we have enough coffee. Maybe Ryan could stop on the way home . . . .

“What’s the matter with me? There is no more Ryan, no more Sheila, no more anybody. I am alone . . . totally alone.

“The girls won’t be home until tomorrow – how will I tell them? How . . . can . . . I put it into words. They will see my pain. How can I ever . . . .”


“Download Me.”

“Huh?”

“I will never leave you or forsake you. Download Me.”

“Lord?”

“I Am your forever love. When you have Me, you lack nothing.”

“But . . . but . . . what about the pain, the hurt, the rejection, the betrayal from two people who were supposed to love me? What about that?”

“The world is the world, but love can conquer the world.”

“Yes, Lord, You are my only hope now. I . . . I do feel Your arms around me. Your warm surge of love is passing gently through my soul.”

Pulling a silk chenille lap-blanket up over her shoulders, she listens to the fireplace pop as shadows of light and dark play around the room. Colors reflect in the big, crystal chandelier seeming to resurrect the room. Love creates life.

“I have downloaded Love, Himself, and I know I will never be alone.”


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This article has been read 156 times
Member Comments
Member Date
CD Swanson 12/01/11
Wow! This packed some powerful emotions here! I got the chills with God saying "download me."

The story was poignant, and painful; and I could hear the anguish from the MC as she struggled with the reality of her grim situation. And, then -there He is! As always- right there!

Beautiful job of a haunting story filled with lost love, yet fulfilled with Him as she comes to feel His unconditional love.

God Bless~
Nancy Bucca 12/01/11
You created quite a picture, beautifully told. I could see it all in my mind's eye. Great job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/03/11
This really tugged at my heart. The pain leapt of the page and was palpable. You did an outstanding job of drawing the reader in.

I'm torn between thinking the dashes and the ellipses were distracting or thinking they helped show her state of mind. Perhaps if you hadn't used so many.

I think you meant nook and cranny instead of nick. Also at the end you suddenly smutched to third person. I know the first part represented the MC's thoughts but I think it would have worked better if you kept it in the first person or used the third person earlierperhaps to show some of her actions while she was thinking.

The message is a good one. It is difficult to get through life's third without God carrying us through the rough times.
Jennifer Suchey12/03/11
You painted a great picture of a woman torn apart and you wrapped it up nicely.

I agree with Shann on the use of so many dashes and ellipses. I understand why they are there, particularly in this piece as the MC's thoughts trail and shift. However they did distract some. The use of so many suggests the writer cannot think the right words to use or other punctuation. They can seem like more of a crutch when I know that is not what you intended. I suggest you Google the proper use of both. For one thing, an ellipse is technically three periods and three only, no space in between each, but a space before and after.

I also was thrown off when the story went to third person at the end. I, too, realize it is now a narrator instead of the MC's thoughts, but with the whole rest of the story coming from the MC, plus dialogue with God, the reader is now thrust out of the lovely world you created and is now hearing from an outside voice what is going on.

You did a great job of drawing the reader in right from the beginning. Wonderful story telling. :)
Jennifer Suchey12/03/11
CORRECTION: I have to take my foot out of my mouth and correct what i said about no spaces between dots in an ellipse.

According to one site I found "most style guides" say to include a space between dots. Grammar Girl also says to include a space. Here's is Grammar Girl's article on the use of the ellipse, when to use them and how. http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/ellipsis.aspx

The basics are this:

1) Use three dots only, not two or four.

2) Put a space between each. ( . . . )

3) Put a space before and after each.

4) When ending a sentence with an ellipse, include a period, which would make the ellipse look like it has four dots. It, in fact, has three dots plus a period.

5) Make sure the ellipse does not get separated on two different lines.

Sorry for any confusion!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/03/11
Actually to go a bit further on Jennifer's comment about ellipses, it is considered proper to either have three dots without spaces ... or to put spaces in between . . . as long as you are consistent throughout the story, both ways are acceptable. I think it's one of those things that the British English prefers one way and we Americans prefer the other.
Hiram Claudio12/12/11
This was an amazing piece of writing. I was taken in from the beginning. This was SO well written.

I too liked how it was resolved - with the love of the Lord starting the process of healing the pain in the MC's heart. So much power and victory in this piece.

Thank you so very much!