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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)

TITLE: Garbage Diving
By dub W


I didn’t expect to meet anyone at the garbage dump; but fate has a strange habit of rearing its head at the most inopportune times. The dump is a huge area near our town, where all of the city garbage trucks deliver their loads.

She was there, before I arrived. She was bent over a stack of trash, poking though the green bags. When I arrived she was about fifty or so bags down the hill from where I was standing. I had gone to the dump to search through dumpster drops for a certain weapon used in a recent holdup. A witness had reported that the thieves had thrown a weapon into a nearby trash bin – a common practice with thieves, to buy a Saturday night special, use it once then toss it.

“Hey.” I yelled across the sea of trash.

She looked up, but didn’t answer.

I tromped into the garbage a few steps and yelled, “I say, did you lose something??

Sunlight reflected off of her sunglasses when she stood up. “No, I just enjoy the smell. What’s it to you?”

“Okay, sorry, stupid question. I’m a cop and not many people come to the dump.”

“Your beat, huh, nice.” The sarcasm in her voice was obvious.

I thought I might top her. “Beats writing parking tickets.”

“Really? Sheesh. You gonna arrest me for something?” She bent back over and opened a trash bag.

“Nope. Here to dig through the trash too.”

She was dressed too well for garbage dump diving. I was in police-issue coveralls and gloves. She was in tan slacks and a white blouse.

I stepped deeper into the trash. “Tell me what you are looking for, and if I find it, while I’m looking I will get it to you.”

She didn’t bother to look up. “Pewter Cross and my wedding rings. I think I scraped them off of the kitchen counter.”

“This is where route 12 dumps.”

“Route 12, yeah, I know. That’s what they told me.”

By four in the afternoon I was exhausted, my companion had moved further up the hill as the afternoon progressed, and apparently had left by the time I topped the mounds. I figured she had given up.

I hailed the dump’s bull dozer driver. “See that woman digging in the trash?”

“Yeah, she asked me where 12 dumped.” He pointed to where I had been. “I told her over there.”

“Know who she was?”

“Nope,” he said. “She just showed up early this morning, dressed like going to work, but driving a beat up old Dodge. I noticed the car, partly cause the old design license plate, probably expired.”

“Too classy for digging through trash.”

“Yeah, I thought so too. By the way route twelve won’t dump here tomorrow, if you’re comin’ back.”

“Spect I will be, didn’t find what I was looking for.”

He started the dozer and I hopped in my departmental vehicle and drove directly to the YMCA for a quick shower. But, in the parking lot was an old Dodge, just like had been described. Indeed, the plates were expired.

I stopped at the front desk. “Anyone know who that old Dodge belongs to?”

The woman behind the desk held her nose. “Phew, I think that belongs to Kathy. Why?”

“Plates are expired, but I won’t ticket her here.”

The clerk waved me though. “I’ll tell her.”

I let it pass and headed for the shower. The thought kept crossing my mind. What has a beat up car, a pretty woman, the YMCA and the dump have in common? Minutes later I was out of the shower and in the office of the Y director.

“Kathy Schuler was her maiden name. Nice kid. A regular in the Aerobics program. She done something?”

“Oh, no. I just noted her car.”

“Yeah, I think she is still a hostess down at the Midtown Café, too bad about her husband. I think the military funeral was just a month ago, it was in the paper.”

I took a deep breath. “Here.” I pulled out my wallet and handed him a hundred dollar bill. “I imagine her new license will run that about that much. Tell her it was from a friend.”

He looked at me strangely. “Okay.”

“I’ll be back tomorrow for another shower, I got some extra searching to do at the dump tomorrow.”

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This article has been read 1107 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Edy T Johnson 04/12/07
A great chapter one; you have my attention. But, I know there's more to the story. Keep writing!
Leigh MacKelvey04/12/07
I was interested all the way through , your writing was great! I didn't quite get the end, though. Did I miss something? I loved the dialogue and the stlye of writing.
Lynda Schultz 04/13/07
This has the making of a fascinating story - it caught me and held me right to the end. I didn't quite catch the connection between all the parts, but it set my imagination to work trying to figure out where all this might be going. Hope we'll see the rest of the story. Great work!
Kate Grey04/13/07
I enjoyed your story. It made sense to me. :) I agree that you could definitely turn this idea into a longer work.
Jacquelyn Horne04/14/07
Just when I got into the story, it ended! No answers to all the questions. Really good writing, but I wanted to know more.
Marilyn Schnepp 04/15/07
I see this story as a love story about to begin. Husband dead, wedding rings lost, and a lonely and kind policeman doing a dirty job. This is a great story that kept my undivided attention all the way through. Extremely well written until near the last when some words were left out...but still a terrific read and enjoyed the trip to the "phew" site, and the underlying mysteries to come. Very Creative! Kudos!
Heather Scott04/16/07
Very cute. It sounds more like a love story than a mystery.
Jan Ackerson 04/17/07
Wonderful! Great (and stinky) atmosphere, excellent characterization, and just enough clues for the astute reader to fill in the blanks and want to keep reading. That's definitely the way to do a mystery in 750 words.
Cheri Hardaway 04/17/07
Very nice! Left me wanting more. This could result in a very nice novel. Blessings, Cheri
Sara Harricharan 04/17/07
Very vivid, easy reading. It made me wish there was so much more than just this little piece. I liked how the thought kept nagging the cop and he finally figured it out to go and do something nice for Kathy.
Rita Garcia04/17/07
FANTASTIC STORY - I wanted to read more...and more.

Julie Arduini04/17/07
Yep, this is the start of something very good here! I got it and loved it.
Joanne Sher 04/18/07
Great characterization and setting development. I was intrigued, and agree that we need MORE.
CeCe Lane04/18/07
Thou shalt not write cliff-hangers. Forget Delaware. Plop in front of thy computer and finish it. I wanna know.
Loren T. Lowery04/18/07
Such a worthwhile story. Reminds me of the theme running through "Dr. Hudson's Secret Journal" and a more recent movie called "Pay it Forward".
And, joining the others in asking it's not finished is it?
Betty Castleberry04/18/07
Whew! I could almost smell the trash. This is *really* good. I would love to read more. It has the makings of a classic romance/mystery. Blue collar meets white collar and all that. ;0) Well done.
Shari Armstrong 04/18/07
Great story - I wonder if he ever found the weapon? :)
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/18/07
More...more...more, please!
I love your descriptions, your characters, and your humor.
Val Clark04/18/07
Looks like you're on another novel roll. :-) yeggy
LaNaye Perkins04/19/07
This left me wanting to know more. Sounds like the beginnings of a great novel!
Janice Fitzpatrick05/29/07
Nice job! I really like the storyline. It kept my attention and left me earnestly waiting for more. Very enjoyable!Keep up the writing. Lord bless your gift.-Janice