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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cooking or Baking (01/04/07)

TITLE: The Vortex
By Amy Michelle Wiley


The fan cast dark shadows across the floor, the dim light blinking with each pass of a crooked blade. The man leaned over the back of Tom’s chair, breathing heavily. Tom shivered. It was just like the interrogation rooms on TV. The ones where the guy ended up flopped over the table, bloody and battered.

“You have two minutes to start talking.” The man’s voice fit the scene. Dark as the room.

Tom opened his mouth. Nothing came out. He tried again. “I just wanted a cook for the restaurant.” His voice was a pathetic squeak.

“When did you first meet her?” The man paced. His uniform rustled like it had been starched.

“Nine months ago. Tamara brought in a resume personally.” He hated the way his voice betrayed him when he spoke her name. “She had good credentials, so I hired her right away.”

The man’s steps landed hard on the floor, beating in sync with the fan. Tom continued, “We all fell I love with her--er, with her cooking, I mean. Chicken Florentine, salmon with just the perfect touch of lemon and basil, sole with artichoke hearts. She baked crème puffs every week. Sometimes she made chocolate ones, just for me.”

A thump made Tom jump. The man’s voice was low. Threatening. “What was the nature of your relationship with Tamara Masterson?”

“N-nature?” There was the squeak again. Tom looked into the dark recesses of the room and wondered what jail was like.

“Were you seeing each other?”

“Well, yes, I guess you would say that.” He could smell cookies baking, see the dust of flour on her cheek, the smudge of chocolate on her lip. And her eyes. As deep and rich as hot chocolate.

“When did you last see Tamara?”

The future hung there, close enough to touch in that square room.

“I, I just wanted to cook her dinner. She was always cooking for me and I just wanted to do something nice for her.” He was talking too fast. “Just give her a break for once. Let her sit back and relax.”

The man leaned down, his sour breath right in Tom’s face, each word a physical punch. “When did you see her last?”

“She was in the bathroom. Slumped on the floor.” It killed him. Killed him to say the words. To know the truth.

“Did you poison Tamara Masterson?”


The world turned into a hurricane, churning around him, sucking him into a black vortex. Was she dead? Had he killed the woman he loved?

The door flew open, light blinding him. A woman in white stood before Tom. Judgment.

“Food poisoning. E-coli. We gave her antibiotics. She’ll be fine.” The woman turned to leave as quickly as she had come. “You can see her now.”

It was a good thing Tom was sitting down. His body was a noodle. It was all he could do to draw air into his lungs.

The man sat down with a thump. His voice was low. “What did you want? What did you want with June Masterson?”

Somewhere Tom found his voice. Somewhere in the depths of his heart. “To marry her, sir. I want to marry your daughter.”

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This article has been read 1498 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Pat Guy 01/11/07
Wow. This had good pace and intrigue. Loved the mysterious atmosphere. Enjoyed the read!
Shari Armstrong 01/11/07
Hehe -that's probably just how it feels......not that I've had to experince that.

Nice ending (despite the name boo boo -and I know that feeling all too well LOL)
Kathleen Morris01/12/07
I love it! It made me laugh especially at the end. Wonderful writing!
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/13/07
This was really a great story.
Debbie Sickler01/13/07
Very nice cop drama you had going on here. Great dialog and fun ending. :)
Aylin Smith 01/13/07
I simply loved this!
Kate Grey01/14/07
Good suprise ending. :) It was a fun story.

Joanne Sher 01/15/07
Excellent descripion and suspense. I was absolutely at the edge of my seat throughout! And, of course, I just loved the ending!
Jan Ackerson 01/15/07
This is really clever! Great title, too. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
janet rubin01/15/07
Oh, oh, oh! My favorite. Yup, this was the one:) Big smile here in CT after reading it. I might give it a different name though... No matter. A winner!
Betty Castleberry01/15/07
I like the feel of this piece, and the ending surprised me. It was a very good read.
Chuck Livermore01/15/07
Great story! I like the twist at the end.
Joanney Uthe01/15/07
Aweesome! Drew me right in. I don't think I breathed until I got to the end. Great unexpected ending.
Trina Courtenay01/16/07
Awesome read. Flowed nicely but the end was the greatest part of all! hehe - thanks for the smile and the laugh.
Caitlynn Lowe01/16/07
Very enjoyable to read. The dad's actions seemed to match well with those of the typical father. :)
Crista Darr01/17/07
Nice twist. I never saw it coming. Your dark, suspensful tale ends with a chuckle. Great work, Amy.
Sally Hanan02/07/07
Haha, this was brilliantly done :) You should repost it in the articles section.
Kaylee Blake 05/08/07
Amy, I love it!!!!!!! Oh, my parents are going to get a kick out of this one! LOL!