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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Abundance (06/08/06)

TITLE: She Thought She had it All
By Dr. Sharon Schuetz


Pain plagued Meg’s powerless form. Duct-tape suppressed any movement in the tiny trunk. Three-hundred-horses under the hood, potholes, darkness, and searing pain joined forces against her. Terror wrapped its icy fingers around her throat, suffocating her. Bound and gagged, Megan Sanders, Lincoln High’s Cheerleading Captain, was at the mercy of her captors.

Meg had no warning that afternoon that her life would take such a drastic turn. The day started like any other. After school, at the soda shop she joked around with friends. Blonde hair hung loosely around slim shoulders; hazel-eyes scanned the room, her thick red lips puckered at the corners for effect. Joking around was a euphemism for tormenting the kids from the tenements across town, especially Beth Alexander, the waitress who worked after school to help her family.

Meg’s crowd hurled cruel insults at her. Beth had the audacity to challenge Meg’s hypothesis that one couldn’t be happy without money. Beth’s Scriptural response, “…I have come so that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 MKJV) wasn’t appreciated.

Beth Alexander, with her flawless complexion, long auburn hair worn back, and contagious smile, explained that Jesus came not only to atone for our sin, but we receive abundant life when the Holy Spirit lives in our spirit. This abundant life includes spiritual power through a personal relationship with God. Meg was livid as Beth concluded, “In this kind of relationship, we can find joy in any circumstance.”

Meg was especially hard on Beth that day. She made an order and then refused to pay for it, saying that Beth must have written it down wrong. She knew Mr. Strickland would take half the cost out of Beth’s paycheck, but she didn’t care. “Let’s see her find joy in that,” she smirked, backing out of the soda shop.

A quick stop at the Post Office changed everything. She never looked in the back when she returned to her car. He was crouching in the floor, behind the passenger’s seat. A thin sun-baked hand held a gun to her head, forcing her to pull over down the road to pick up a friend. Grinding her teeth together Meg slowly inhaled when she saw his friend’s beady black eyes and leathery face. “Drive ‘til I tell you to stop. You’d better not do anything stupid.”

Just outside of town, Meg went in the trunk. Ghoulish laughter permeated the car. Meg’s eyebrows furrowed in pain as she listened. Desperate to hear what they were saying, she couldn’t make out their words. Her thoughts raced. Oh, God. Where are they taking me? What’s going to happen to me? Please don’t let them hurt me. Pain, fear, and engine fumes lulled her into a fitful sleep.

Meg woke to the squealing of brakes as they rolled to a stop. She had no idea where they were. The smell of pine needles mixed with exhaust fumes filled the air. She heard them plot while they built a campfire. Cackling over their plans, they both agreed that she would die after supper.

Meg’s mind was reeling. Thoughts flashed like frames on a strip of broken film. Let’s see, if I can kick a panel out maybe I can reach around with my… No, I can’t move my legs. My arms are so numb. What can I do? There’s no way out. Am I actually going to die? Oh, God! Let’s see, I remember they taught us a prayer in Sunday school. Now what was it that stupid teacher said?

The smell of fried bacon and biscuits invaded her senses, hunger pangs screamed for relief. She heard forks scraping against dishes, pans tossed on the ground, and footsteps. The footsteps were getting louder. Let’s see, what was it? Now I lay me down to sleep... No, that’s not it! What was it? I bet Beth Alexander would know what to do.

The key turned in the lock, as the sun-baked hand stabbed a gun in her face. “Come on, Missy, it’s time for a walk.”

Meg staggered forward like a drunkard, every limb screamed in agony. “We’ll take the tape off your mouth if you promise not to scream.”

Her temples pulsed, eyes darting between her captors pleaded for mercy. She nodded in agreement. “Please, don’t do this,” desperation engulfed her.

Callous hands pushed her toward the woods, “Enough with the tears already.”

Meg’s mind was spinning desperately. I guess Beth was right; my money can’t help me now.

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This article has been read 1083 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marilyn Schnepp 06/15/06
"And....." What happened? Sorry, great story, written well, but your readers need an ending - one way or another your readers want an ending.
dub W06/16/06
Yeah, begs for more. Pretty good job, the first part was a little convoluted but the point of Beth/Meg feud was clear. Probably, a "to be continued", would have solved reader problems.
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/17/06
I don't think it needs much more ending. But I was unsure whether she believed in Jesus at the end, or just realized her doom. Perhaps tweeking the last line a little, or even adding just one more thought line, would do the trick. Great story, though!
Ann Darcy06/17/06
I agree with Amy. Maybe clarify whether or not Meg was a Christian, but otherwise I loved it. I really don't think it needed more. I got the feeling she was going to die, I don't really see the men being kind hearted at all. But it had an ending to me. :) I loved your descriptions and the tension I could feel during it! I think you did a wonderful job!
terri tiffany06/20/06
I thought your descriptions were very real..not overdone. I think it jumped abit from the beginning about her and Beth(?) and then to what happened to her. I did like the ending..we knew her fate then though hoped for a different one.
Sherry Wendling06/20/06
Bravo! A bold stroke, Sharon, very compelling, chilling. The lack of a 'feel-good' ending is what makes the reader ponder the whole point in a personal way.

My 'suspense sense' begs to see your opening start at the chronological beginning, and let the horror build from there. I'd vote the second paragraph as your opener. The "trapped in trunk" description is powerful, too...It could go in the section where all that is happening.

All in all, a very compelling entry! I'm glad your wonderful talent is exploring all the amazing possibilities!
Brenda Craig06/20/06
The point for me was this: All of us should be careful of what we say and do,for we may reap what we sew in some form or fashion. It may not be to these depths but eventually it will come somehow. Very forceful way to present a selfish and careles heart. The ending demands some personal evaluation of our own attitudes and thoughts. Kudos, great job.
George Parler 06/20/06
You definitely drew me in to a compelling story. But I was left undone as a reader. Of course keep in mind I one of those happy-ending-kind-of-guys. You built the suspense very well. Good job.
Suzanne R06/21/06
So sad......

I'd like to know why she was abducted ... it seemed kind of pointless to me ... but that is just my view.

Your descriptions are excellent. Well done.
Jan Ackerson 06/21/06
I think your ending is quite clear, expecially when taken in combination with your title. Great job of building up both suspense and terror.
Sue Dent06/21/06
Why do I immediately think one of the kidnappers names must be "doog"? I don't think I necessarily wanted a better ending--just not sure I wanted to be left to think about what the ending should be . . . Meaning, you did a very good job of telling your story!!! Ample description, ample diagloge, good flow! You made me dislike the girl enough that I was ALMOST glad something bad happened to her. Just not that!!! Maybe tripping on her way out the door or something!
Sue Dent06/21/06
Hey, my LOL got cut-off because I put it in HTML brackets. Oh, here it is. LOL
Rita Garcia06/21/06
Powerful message woven throughout, no matter what the outcome, the message comes through loud and clear.
Perfectly penned, leaves much food for thought.
Jen Davis06/21/06
I think her fate is clear by the ending that you have. Now, if the story was to take a turn for the better I would definitely want to know. But as it is, the ending suggest the worst and that is enough. You had me sitting on the edge of my seat. Well done.