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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)

TITLE: The Invisible Child
By Jesus Puppy
02/08/06


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The Invisible Child

Nicholas stepped aside to watch the heavy hay wagon roll past into the village. The day had been long and the road wearisome; he was in sore need of break. His mind wondered of the small amount of coin he might get from the people if he had a show here. Even the larger villages these days were not wealthy by any means, and the most he could hope for was a meal and some wine or drink given for a song at one of the Inns.

"Good day, Sir, could ye spare a coin,"

Nicholas heard the words spoken softly from the road side. Looking around for the beggar, he could see no one at first. Then, in the shadows of a few bushes and a good sized stone, he saw the form of a small child. A young girl of perhaps ten summers, covered in dirt as though unwashed for months. The minstrel looked down, doing his best to seem bothered by the sight of the dirty child.

"Come now," he said in a rugged tone. "What is this? A child lost in the weeds from the look of it. Out with you child, let's have a look at you."

"No harm, sir."

The child's frightened voice shook with fear as it tried scrambling farther under the bushes, but with a firm yet gentle hand Nicholas drew the child out to stand before him in the midday sun on the road side. She looked like a common child, and not too pretty even if she were clean, but the sweetness of her voice could be heard quite well.

"Why do you hide in the bushes if it be coin you seek?" Nicholas asked calmly as he sat himself on the stone, viewing the child before him. "Fear me not child, but speak. I am needing a break from the road, speak to me a moment, if it is worth your coin."

"I am invisible to most, sir." The child looked down at the dirt beneath her feet, not even daring to smile. "Some just drop a coin and move on without looking."

"And not stop to notice such a lovely child? Unheard of, not to mention heartless."

"'Tis true, sir," the child said, chancing a quick glance up at the man. Nicholas was surprised at the depth of her eye, shining in the middle of such a dirty face, and he smiled within himself.

"Well, I see you just fine," he said, then added with a smile and laughed, "Though I must admit, I would see you better without all that grime."

The child looked down at herself as though confused as to his meaning, not even noticing the sad state of her apparel.

"Though I know of an even better child unknown by many even today," Nicholas sighed.

"Then it be poor like me?"

"No child," the minstrel stated. "Though born in a barn, this child is a King."

"Never seen a king, though I heard the Imperial Guard rode through Skopje once."

"Oh, but this is not just a king, but One who rules over all," Nicholas smiled down at the child. "But that is a story for another time. Perhaps while I take my break you could show me your fair city of Skopje, maybe even show me to your parents so I might bless them with the tale as well."

"Have none, Sir." The child looked down, as though fearing his reply. "Least no family to speak of. Have 'em Sir, but near to never seein' 'em."

"What be your name child?" Nicholas asked softly, saddened by the look of the poor child; homeless, weak, perhaps days without a good meal.

"Agnes be the name me mum give me, Sir."

“Well, don't you worry sister Agnes," Nicholas smiled, as he stood up and took the child's dirty hand, "you have more family in this world than you know of, and all from the same Father. I tell you what I will do; my break is over, so, if you show me around, I will tell you the story of the greatest King ever born."

The smile on Agnes' young face seemed to light up the road side as the two walked slowly into the growing Macedonian village of Skopje. Her eyes like flames, as she listened in awe to the traveler relating the tale of a loving King, named Jesus.

_____________________________________________________
Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia, on August 27, 1910. At the age of twelve, she felt strongly the call of God. (Nobelprize.org) This fact has no bases for the story only the names were used.


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This article has been read 1171 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/13/06
This is beautifully written, but I'm not sure if the language and circumstances are right for the early 20th century. It seemed to come from a couple of centuries earlier...but I could easily be wrong. Your Nicholas is a great character!
James Clem 02/16/06
This was a tantalizing glimpse of Agnes's story. Good beginning. I enjoyed the dialect, time/setting is unknown. Expand it and see where it leads.
Shari Armstrong 02/17/06
A beautifully told story- good characters!
Maxx .02/18/06
Very well written story. The characters were strong the pacing was perfect. It trickled out slowly throughout the piece... which is a good thing. The only downer for me was the disclaimer at the end. The story is strong enough to stand on it's own. If it's fiction then change the names and make it fiction through and through. If it's based on Mother Therese then do a bit more research and make it patterned after the truth. But to write a killer story and say This is not based on Mother Therese ... I just used her name.. doesn't quite work.
Betsy Tacchella02/19/06
This is a captivating article. It kept my interest all the way through. You are very creative in your writing. This is a winner.