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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)

TITLE: Angel of Lights
By Joanney Uthe


Angelica scrutinized the unfamiliar image in the mirror. A gorgeous woman replaced the naive girl she’d left behind on the farm.

“Angel, let’s go. We got some dancing to do. Some guys to meet.” Brenda stood, miniature purse in hand, at the apartment door. Angelica hated her childhood nickname, Angel.

“I hope I can still walk after dancing in these shoes. Maybe I should change....”

“Don’t you dare! The shoes are part of the look. Besides, if you meet Mr. Right, it will be worth it.” Brenda glanced at her watch. “Hurry, or we’ll miss the bus.”

Angelica exited the bus, staring at the neon signs illuminating the city. Working only a few blocks from where she now stood, she’d never noticed most of the businesses now apparent in colorful lights. She passed by the dark, locked doors of her favorite deli and the corner bookstore she loved. Overtaken by mixed feelings of excitement and dread, Angelica took a deep breath and followed her friend into the nightclub.

Unable to hear anything Brenda said, Angelica studied the dance floor, feeling guilty for the alcohol in her glass. Yesterday it would have been illegal for her to be here; today it was a matter of conscience. Pushing her guilt down deeper into her soul, she reminded herself that this was why she moved to the city – to escape the limitations of a small town and her parent’s religion.

“Want to dance?” The young man’s ogling eyes disturbed Angelica but before she could respond, Brenda answered for her. In a matter of moments, she found herself on the dance floor with a total stranger. A stranger named Brady.

Throughout the evening the two girls danced and talked to Brady and his friend Lars. Angelica enjoyed the dancing and the pleasant conversation, yet a still, quiet voice gnawed at her conscience. With each drink, she found it easier to ignore, although it never ceased.

In the ladies’ room Angelica expressed her hesitation to Brenda. “I really think we should stick to the original plan and take a taxi home instead of leaving with strangers. We don’t know these guys.”

“Oh, Angel, you really do live up to your nickname, don’t you? This is the original plan. The taxi was only a back-up if we didn’t meet some guys we liked.” Brenda nudged her arm. “Brady’s a good-looking guy. Are you sure you want the night to be over?”

“It did go fast, but I think we should have them meet us somewhere public a few times before we go anywhere with them. Get to know them first.” She could hear the slur in her own words.

“We came to find some guys.” Brenda’s scolding tone informed Angelica that she wouldn’t back down. “We’re going to a 24-hour restaurant. Is that public enough for you?”

In the quiet of the restaurant, Angelica’s conscience still persisted. She shouldn’t be here. She could still take a taxi home. She focused on the excitement of the evening; the music, the dancing, the fun. How could this all be as wrong as her parents so adamantly insisted? She’d moved to the city to move away from their influence and would not let it control her life.

As Lars drove away from the restaurant, Brady moved closer to Angelica in the back seat. Should she let it slide, or move away? Where should she draw the line?

Lars pulled into an unfamiliar apartment complex. “Anyone for a nightcap?” Brenda eagerly accepted the invitation for both of them.

Inside the apartment, Angelica repeatedly removed Brady’s hands. When he grabbed her and started to force himself, she escaped into the hall. Where could she turn? She didn’t know this part of the city. The truth of that statement hit her. She didn’t know where she was, but she didn’t know the city’s dangers, either. Perhaps her parents had been right. But where could she run for refuge?

“Whoa, there.” A familiar voice broke through her fearful thoughts as she collided with someone. She looked up to see the friendly, yet worried face of her co-worker, Jill. “Angelica? What’s wrong?”

Angelica glanced in fear towards Brady behind her, his slurred speech calling her name.

“Come into my apartment, where you’ll be safe and tell me what happened. You can sleep here and I’ll take you home after church tomorrow.” Jill’s words soothed Angelica as she followed her into another apartment. Angelica’s head matched Brady’s pounding on the door, but she was safe.

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This article has been read 752 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 01/31/08
Very good story. I like the suspense. Right on topic. Very good writing!
Joanne Sher 02/04/08
Very good story for the topic - this felt quite realistic. Nice job!
Catrina Bradley 02/04/08
Very suspenseful - great opening to introduce where the MC is in her life. I'd make the second sentence read "had replaced" but don't know which is correct. :) The topic is evident, and I like a happy ending. Good job!
Jan Ackerson 02/04/08
Whew, I'm glad I didn't read this two years ago when my "baby" moved to the big city! (She's fine).

My only red ink is the sudden appearance of the co-worker just in time to save the day. Maybe she should have been introduced earlier?

Good job with the building of suspense, and with character development.
william price02/04/08
Very nice job. The writing was good, the story was a bit predictable, but entertaining. I also thought the sudden appearance of the work friend was a little awkward. But, you held my interest, had me read the entire story and ministered your point very effectively.
God bless.
Joy Faire Stewart02/04/08
The story held my interest from the beginning and felt very realistic.
Linda Watson Owen02/04/08
Great choice of topic development because this type of experience happens every day. I just wish the positive ending happened every day too. Thank you for letting her be rescued. You made the reader feel like we were right there. Great job!
Debbie Wistrom02/04/08
I wish she had listened to her voice and enjoyed her time in the deli and booksote. You have plenty of material here for more. Keep it up!
Beckie Stewart02/05/08
Great story. Had me captivated, and glad she was rescued. This type of situation many times does not work out as happy for those who innocently abide where they should not abide.
Pam Carlson-Hetland02/05/08
Great story writing that is very realistic. I like how you set the stage early explaining how the MC was dressing different, the neon lights of the city, and then into a nightclub (the glittering part) and then into a dangerous situation (the not gold part). Good job. Loved it.
LauraLee Shaw02/05/08
This story kept me intrigued from beginning to end. Nicely done.
Hanne Moon 02/06/08
I'm glad for the happy ending - you really kept me reading with this. Great job!
Tim Pickl02/06/08
The glitter and glam of the city is a scam--excellent writing!
Holly Westefeld02/06/08
Well, I took the sudden appearance of the co-worker as a "God thing," and those are rarely foreshadowed. Thank you for the happy ending.
Sara Harricharan 02/06/08
Oh! So glad that Angel found a friend that could help her in such a difficult situation. You certainly kept the pace of this going, so much action here. I'm glad that she was able to end the 'horrible' evening-ah, if we'd only really listen to that little voice! ^_^
Loren T. Lowery02/06/08
Powerful, well-written piece. This line: "Yesterday it would have been illegal for her to be here; today it was a matter of conscience."
sums it up for me. If only we would listen more to that still, small voice within.
Karen Wilber02/06/08
You really defined the character of Angelica well with the phrases you used - she scrutinized, stared, studied. I could feel how hesitant she was compared to the quick moving Brenda.
Betty Castleberry02/06/08
We always get in trouble when we ignore that inner voice, don't we? I like the suspense you built. Nicely done.
Kristen Hester02/06/08
Good writing. You story is very well told. I could picture it all and was nervous for Angel. I'm gld she escaped.