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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bold (emotionally) (08/30/07)

TITLE: Revelations in the Dark
By George Parler


He stands waiting in the middle of the dark. The room begins to glow dimly. Finally, through the small window, a ray of the morning sun bathes his face. His eyes close; the warmth is welcomed. He denies death’s cold embrace one more night. Coughs are heard nearby, reminding him of the heaviness in his own chest. He fights the urge to yield to it.

“Lord, I am weak. I don’t know how much more I can take.” He hears a scream in the distance; shouting and cursing follow. His arms and hands begin to ache remembering the broken bones. “Why didn’t I consider these things before now?”

“Lord, I don’t know if You hear me but I pray to You anyway. It’s my only comfort, my only hope. I am ashamed of having thoughts of taking my own life to escape my tormentors, but I am too afraid to do so. Constantly, fear whispers to me. Speak to me God; drown out those whispers. Speak to me, please.” Tears flood his bludgeoned face as he drops to his hands and knees.

A small sliding door opens and a tin plate with a spoon full of oatmeal is shoved into the cell floor behind him. A familiar voice is heard, “Eat up, it’s your last meal before you die today.” It was the same every morning; the same cold food and same message. But it was a lie. You never have the luxury of dying. Death had become more precious than all the world’s riches.

Footsteps approach, keys rattle in the door, his cell door! His heart races as he staggers to his feet backing into the corner. The door swings wide as two guards enter. “It’s your turn again, preacher. Let’s go.”

“No! God, no! Not again!” He struggles to keep them away but pain races through his body as he succumbs to their nightsticks. Shackled and handcuffed they drag him unconscious down the silent hall.

Water splashes in his face. “Wake up! No time to sleep!” He finds himself handcuffed and shackled to a familiar wooden chair with a bright light in his face. The chair shakes as his trembling hands grip the arms of the chair.

“Okay, now you know the drill, I’m going to give you choices. Do you remember what they are?” He nods his head up and down, sobbing. “We do not have to do this. You can return to society as a useful citizen. All you have to do is denounce this false God who you claim is the one all powerful God. If he is so loving and powerful, why does he let you suffer these things? You can stop this needless pain and suffering right here and now. Just say the words, ‘There is no God, no Jesus, and no Holy Spirit’ and you can leave here a free man. Then you simply sign this document to become a United World Order citizen and receive a small magnetic strip injected under the skin of your forehead or, if you choose, in the back of your hand. Then all of this will be over and it will be like a bad dream that you can put behind you as you move on with the rest of your life in the pursuit of happiness. So what is your answer; freedom?” He puts his face directly in front of the preacher and glares at him through eyes as black as coal. “Or will it be more pain? But I promise you, my patience has grown thin. What you have experienced so far will be child’s play compared to what will happen to you. So what is your answer?”

Meanwhile, in his empty cell the sun still shines through the window. Strangely the bars on the window display the shadow of the cross in the middle of the floor where the preacher stood. Suddenly, the distant echoes of his screams and agony break the silence, finding their way back to the empty cell.

Finally, silence follows the sound of the guillotine. The clouds gather as a storm approaches. The cross fades from the floor as the brightness of the sun withdraws from the room. In the corner of the cell where he would always retreat from his tormentors was a message engraved on the wall from Revelations 20:4; left for those who would come after him.

The rain washes the guillotine’s stain as death groans in disgust in the darkness of the empty cell.

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This article has been read 1212 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 09/06/07
You did an amazing job of creating a sense of place, both in the story and in the head of this persecuted man. This is truly excellent.
Dee Yoder 09/06/07
Oh, I don't want to be in a place like the minister was in. There's a real sense of foreboding in the writing, and right away the reader senses bad times are ahead. The scenes you described are vivid and scary.
Virginia Gorg09/08/07
Well written and very possibly future-telling, according to Scriptures. Kept me reading - good characterization.
Laurie Walker09/10/07
Chillingly written. I felt very impressed by the pastor, however, in never denying God. Remarkable.
Lisa Holloway09/11/07
Good, vivid writing. Frighteningly real in spots.
Peter Lawson09/11/07
good work! your write up is precise and intresting.
Jan Ackerson 09/11/07
Beautiful, and excellent use of the presnet tense to capture the immediacy of the moment.
Beth LaBuff 09/11/07
Great writing with a tough subject that's even hard for a Christian to think about. What a day that will be! Good title for your story too.
Betty Castleberry09/12/07
This is a powerful piece. I could feel your MC's agony. Very well done.
Sue Dent09/12/07
Oh no you don't George! Billy and his Chilli have got you hands down! Ohhhhhhh, you would pick THIS week to enter something like this! Arrrrggghh!

Such an excellent job! I got chill bumps! Unless those darn fleas from Joanne's entry last week are back. :)
Diane Bertrand09/13/07
This is a great story. I love the use of imagination in depicting an inevitable reality.
Patty Wysong09/13/07
I was rivetted, George. Excellent job. You put us in his place--truly an awful to be. Wow. (Congratulations, by the way!!) :-)
Kristen Hester09/13/07
Wow, wow, wow! Congratulations on placing. This is great and a well deserved win! Bravo.
Loren T. Lowery09/13/07
Great writing, mood, atmosphere, message. Congratulations on a well-deserved win!
Rita Garcia09/13/07
CONGRATS! WOW! This is master writing at its finest!
Sheri Gordon09/13/07
Congratulations on your EC. This is really good writing. Your descriptive phrasing makes it easy to be in the story. Great job.
Julie Ruspoli09/13/07
Wow George. Such an intense story, and so perfectly described. I could picture the scenes so well. Great job!