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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Day's End (01/01/14)

TITLE: When Trouble Brews
By Catherine Craig


The cup’s smooth handle fit to Josh’s hand perfectly, just as it always had. Slowly, he lifted the glass – almost reverently – to his lips, anticipating the taste of the amber brew. Then, precisely at the moment the cold liquid hit his mouth, he spat it out, slamming the receptacle down onto the table. Disgusted, self-loathing swept over him.

Is this what he wanted? Really?

“Daddy, will you help me?” With eyes round in her small face, and a hint of fear Josh wasn’t sure he imagined or was actually present, his four-year-old daughter held out her doll to him. Its arm was broken.

“Sure, honey, Daddy will fix it.”

Josh gently took the article from the little girl’s hands and fit the arm back into its socket, twisting it into place. Turning his attention back to her, his heart fell. Her small shoulders shook as she sobbed; with her back to him she stood hunched over the counter vainly trying to hide her tears.

“What’s wrong baby?” he asked, rising and crossing the distance between them to squat down and put his arms around her. Feeling the tension, her resistance to him, he said with false cheerfulness, “See, I fixed your dolly – she’s all better now. Don’t cry!”

But, she only cried harder. Her tiny body quaked as he held her close, his face pressed to hers, trying to comfort her. Tears, wet and salty, streamed down her cheeks and mixed with his as he cried, touched by whatever ravaged her.

Finally, the storm abated. Pulling away from Josh, she wiped the back of her hand across her face and sniffed. He watched as her dark eyes, still luminescent with tears, measured him. He waited for her to speak; the seconds ticked by loudly from the clock overhead as they mutely stared at each other.

He couldn’t stand it any longer. Breaking the silence, Josh spoke first. Searching for the right words, he asked, “It’s not the doll, is it? There’s something else that made you cry, isn’t there?”

“Yes,” she sniffed at him, lowering her eyes to the floor.

“Why can’t you look at me? Is it something I’ve done?” Remorse filled him as he anticipated her next words. He was right.

“Daddy, you promised!” she wailed, the last word ending in a cry as she began to weep again. “You promised!” This time her words were shouted in anger as she ran from the room and pounded up the steps. A door slammed from upstairs; his daughter had retreated to the sanctuary of her bedroom.

Josh sat heavily back down onto his chair at the table, and noticed the beer glass still where he’d left it. He picked it up, walked over to the sink and dumped it down the drain, then grabbed a paper towel to wipe up the beer he’d spit out.

Is this what he wanted at the end of the day, when all was said and done? Hadn’t he changed? As Josh stood there, the sun broke through the clouds. A shaft of light coming through the kitchen window illuminated the glass he’d just emptied as if God was trying to tell him, “Yes Josh, you did. Like light in a dark place, I’m still here, here to help you.”

The fatherhood of God, thought Josh wryly, remembering his resolution to quit drinking, and to follow Christ. If God can forgive me and is willing to give me a new start this day, will my little girl? Can she trust me; will she even consider it?

Josh swallowed and rolled his eyes upward in a single heartfelt one-word prayer, “Help!” Slowly, he placed one foot in front of the other, and moved toward the stairs. He placed his hand on the smooth rail, and climbed the first step…


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This article has been read 232 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 01/10/14
I’d love to have your input into the free writing lessons available on the FaithWriters forums. This week’s lesson is on writing devotionals, and next week will cover writing on topic for the weekly challenge. Look for it at http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=67, or if you’re on Facebook, you can “like” Faithwriters Writing Lessons.
C D Swanson 01/10/14
I really enjoyed this piece. Well done.

God bless~
Sara Harricharan 01/10/14
Ah, I see how your title came into play there. Very nicely done. I was hoping I would have learned the name of Josh's daughter, but that was alright. I'm glad he found the strength to give up the drinking, it was a good character twist. Thanks for sharing!
Jan Ackerson 01/13/14
You're very good at using a variety of sentence types and structures to give your story a lovely flow. Love the double meaning in the title.
Catherine Craig 01/14/14
Thank you.
Larry Whittington01/15/14
Yes, we hear Satan's lies every day: "Just drink responsibly".

It seems he says this about every evil: just be careful, just be safe, you owe it to yourself,...

Christians need to be like Josh and quite living the lie.

Good story in so many ways. Good warning for husbands, wives and children.

Keep writing with His word open before you.
Sheldon Bass 01/15/14
Oh I love this. It's the best entry I've read yet. Beautiful and touching. And an issue which has effected many lives.

I think you really nailed it with this one, though I don't know how the judges will feel about how well it fit the topic. You have a fan!
Amelia Brown 01/16/14
Congratulations!!! Well done.
Cynthia G. Peoples 01/16/14
Congratulations! Beautiful story and well written!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/16/14
Congratulations on ranking 1st in your level and 21 overall! (The highest rankings can be found on the message boards.)
Matt Guddat01/16/14
This was great. Not too rushed, at a steady pace. Very applicable for some people who have such battles to face.
Margaret Kearley 01/17/14
Many congratulations on your well deserved win. A story that touches the heart - beautifully written.
Catherine Craig 01/17/14
Again, thank you.