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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “Don’t Try to Walk before You Can Crawl” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/17/08)

TITLE: My Memento Mori
By Sharlyn Guthrie


I sit behind him, my crush, during second hour. His Armani intoxicates me, stealing my sensibilities, encircling me like the soft black lock that curls around his earlobe. He is so hot! I observe him curiously, hungrily. How can I possibly attract his attention? It is more than I dare to hope for.

Second hour ends and we stand. I smile weakly as he turns and his eyes graze mine. He nods. Something catches in my throat, sending electricity through my torso. I am the spider; he is the fly. I have caught his eye, if only for a moment. In time I will learn what his interests are, how to turn his head. I will make him feel as special as I want to feel. He will be mine. It is what I am setting my heart on.

It’s hard to concentrate. His muscular shoulders, easy gait, and ever-present confidence invade my consciousness. He excites me, makes me shiver. He’s a senior; I’m a mere freshman. I am awkward with boys and have never dated –yet. Can such a child as I keep his interest? I watch the girls that make him smile; study their expressions, mannerisms, appearance. In time I will learn to be like them. It is what consumes me.

Weeks have passed. I have spoken only with the acquired language of sophistication. He remains indifferent, yet regards me with lingering, approving looks. Adjusting my form-fitting skirt and squaring my shoulders, I brush past him, hoping he will notice. My dreams consist of little more than feeling his breath warm on my neck, his heart pulsing against mine. It will be ecstasy.

I am delirious when the silence is broken after second hour. “Want a ride home?” he asks. I nod coyly, stifling a scream. The day can’t end fast enough. I imagine how it will be: revealing my dreams and desires, unraveling the mystery that is him, holding his hand in mine, discovering love. I will cherish each word, each moment, each touch. It is the fulfillment of all my intentions.

He drives past my street. “We are going to my dad’s,” he says, and suddenly we are there, alone. He pulls me to the couch. His kiss is greedy, rough. I try to pull away, but his grip is unyielding. His breath and his words reek. He is the spider; I am the fly, lured by desire, caught in my own web. Each long, wretched moment is endured rather than cherished. At last I end in a heap, grasping helplessly for what has been snatched from me. It is not at all how I imagined it would be.

I gaze in the mirror before second hour. The girl whose hollow eyes stare back needs more eye-liner and lipstick if her secret is to be kept, her shame concealed. With resignation, I slide into my seat. The figure slouching in front of me no longer embodies my dreams. Still, he dominates my thoughts. He does not speak, or even acknowledge the damage left in his wake. It is no longer his Armani that I smell, but rather his stench. I’ve tried a hundred times to scrub it from my body, expel it from my memory; yet it lingers, threatening to suffocate me. It is my memento mori, my constant reminder that part of me has already died.

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This article has been read 1053 times
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Sara Harricharan 01/24/08
My thought for this is that it is so heartbreaking. I was with her, seeing, wishing and hoping that he'd be nice and they could have a happily ever after. The title fits the somber ending quite well. Good job.
Lynda Schultz 01/24/08
Vivid descriptions—this gave me the chills. Wonderful writing.
Karen Wilber01/24/08
Yes, very vivid and sad. Tremendous lesson here.
terri tiffany01/25/08
Very detailed and visual! you write well and made each line flow into the next. Good ending too!
Kristen Hester01/28/08
Chilling. Excellent writing. This is so engaging and powerful. Bravo.
Dee Yoder 01/28/08
Both the parts where her own words return to haunt her: the spider and the fly; and the smell of his Armani, are excellent tools to show her change in feelings about this man. Gripping narration and descriptions. Though I was afraid of what was coming to her in her foolish adoration, I felt sorry for the MC because of her naivete.
LauraLee Shaw01/28/08
As a mommy of a daughter, this horrified me. The piece gripped me in a powerful and haunting way, but I pray it gets into the hand of those who could be impacted by it. It is right on from the perspective of many a young girl.
Jan Ackerson 01/28/08
Awesome writing--really drew me in, and the structure and pacing were perfect.

I don't know of any high school freshman that could write with such articulation, which caused a bit of dissonance with me. The sentence "he is so hot" is more like what a freshman would write, but it seemed out of place in this beautifully textured writing.

This is powerful, powerful stuff.
Sally Hanan01/28/08
Very well written and realistic.
Loren T. Lowery01/30/08
Powerful, riviting and intense. A lesson that only seems to be learned and understood in the agony of regret. Tereffic writing.
Beth LaBuff 01/30/08
Your "spider to fly" then from "fly to spider" illustration is perfect for this expertly written entry. I wish every young woman could read this. Excellent, excellent writing!
Catrina Bradley 01/30/08
Love this! You captured the desires of a young teenage girl, and the pit-fall of moving too fast with too little experience and wisdom. You made the first person work beautifully. The line "He's so hot!" seems out of place with the rest of her eloquent thoughts, but fits great with her age and belies her true maturity level. Excellent writing! :-)