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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: End (02/13/06)

TITLE: The Saloon
By Edy T Johnson


The Saloon

This certainly wasn't how I had pictured Hell. It was dark and smokey, to be sure, but that could be expected in an old crowded wild-west saloon. Yet, I knew I was in Hell, just the same. Even with all the people around me, I found Hell to be a lonely place. I couldn't see a friendly smile anywhere, even the man behind the bar seemed to purposely avoid looking at me as he poured drinks for his customers. Everyone, busy with his own preoccupations, ignored this one desperate teenager that was me.

Somehow, I heard or maybe just understood that there was one way to get out of this place. Even as I searched, in vain it seemed, my heart held hope. Somewhere, there must be one person that would help! Somebody, surely, would do the impossible, and tell me what was written on my back.

Yep, that was the secret. If I could find one person in Hell that would have mercy on me and tell me the message I carried on my back, I would be free. It didn't work to try to see my own back reflected in the wall-sized mirror behind the bar. The light was too dim, the mirror too crackled, and my eyes too near-sighted to make out what might be written there, for others to see, but not me. This was a most unusual and interesting nightmare.

At last, the man of my dreams broke through and rescued me. And, I clung to his back as we galloped out of that bewildering dream. But, I don't know how it all came to pass.

Because, I never did discover what was written on my back, in my blind spot. People did look at it, but turned away, unwilling to help me. Could it have been a message from the Word, that these folks didn't want to know, I wondered. And, I speculated what that Word might have been.

"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" (I Peter 4:17) Perhaps that was the message. Or, it might have been "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:20) Yes, I think that must have been it. Even though lonely in a crowded wild-west saloon named Hell, I was never alone. My Brother-Friend had promised to be with me to the END. And, He was there! And, so I awoke, awestruck at my remarkable teenage dream, which I still vividly recall nearly 50 years later.

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Jan Ackerson 02/20/06
This is fascinating! I know that you were recounting a dream, but since it "reads" like an allegory, a little bit more explanation at the beginning would have helped at bit. How did you know that something was written on your back? Maybe add some dialog for character development. I think this has the potential to be a very powerful story.
Lynda Schultz 02/21/06
I agree with Jan I would have liked to read more. But good job nonetheless.
Joe Moreland02/24/06
What a great story. Very unique and creative. Imagine a dream burning up inside you to be written for nearly 50 years! Gee, I wonder what could be behind something like that? You have a great touch, and I, too, would love to read more.
Tina Abplanalp02/26/06
Thank you for sharing your dream. You described it well so I could easily envision it. Dreams have a way of uniquely teaching us what's in our hearts. I think the word on your back was "Christian." No being in hell would certainly utter it. The Lord came and claimed what was his. I'm so glad he did. I think the title of your story should be changed.
Edy T Johnson 03/01/06
I just want to thank all of you for your kind comments about my writing. Writing is great fun, but even more so when we receive feedback from our readers! Thank you for your encouragement!
Kevin Kindrick09/19/06
Wow - what a vivid picture, and a powerful dream. Indeed Christ is with us, and in Him we are more than conquerors.

Well done, and God bless,

Marilyn Schnepp 09/24/06
Yes, a very weird dream. You have me wondering what was on your back. Most dreams fade away with time, or by morning,but some, like yours, stay with you a lifetime. Very well done. Kept my interest throughout.
Jacquelyn Horne04/13/07
Cruising the challenges. This is a good story here. Dreams can make a difference in our lives.