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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)

TITLE: Pirates, Hidden Treasure and the Haunted House


It happened a long time ago, but it seems like yesterday—probably because I tell the story so often. The only reason why I tell the story is because it’s why my family is the way it is. You see, we are a family with roots—oh, you think your family’s has roots too…okay; let me explain what REAL ancestry means.

In 1801, my great, great, great, great grandfather, built this house. He had been a pirate ever since he ran away to sea and became a captain’s cabin boy. The ship was called the Black Raven… its captain’s name was…

“Electra, will you please stop telling that tale.”

“Aw…Dad. Why not? It sure beats the real story.”

“There’s nothing wrong with our family’s history, or this house. Don’t forget the reason why you were named Electra.”

Sandy, one of the girls at Electra’s pajama party, bounced off the bed. “Tell us, Mr. Chapman. We really want to know about your house…and your family.” The other girls joined in the pleading.

“Okay, you asked for it.” Electra took the popcorn from her father, pointed the bowl toward her desk chair where she had just been sitting and motioned him to take over the narration.

“Electra was right about the year…that’s when the house was built, but that’s where the truth finishes.” He waited for his daughter to join the three other girls cross-legged on her bed and watched her pass the popcorn round before continuing. “Basically, my father bought this house to save it from being bulldozed. The locals wanted it demolished for safety reasons. My father made an offer, bought it and renovated it. It’s been our family home since I was a boy. There are a few rooms that have never been restored but it’s stable.”

Sandy stared at nothing in particular. “You mean those rooms could be haunted?”

Electra burst out laughing. “You must be kidding.”

“Please continue,” one of the girls requested, her eyes focusing on Electra’s father and ignoring his daughter’s outburst.

“No, the house is not haunted—not that I know of. The rooms have just never been needed. There’s no great mystery, only the family who my dad bought it from, lost all their fortune and the house was left empty for years."

Sandy looked puzzled. “Is that it? Electra, I think it’s a great story. Okay, tell us Mr. Chapman how Electra got her name.”

“It’s not all that interesting,” Electra commented casually wriggling back against the bedboard and stuffing popcorn into her mouth.

Her father paused and took a moment to continue. “Electra’s mother was beautiful. She had red hair…”

“That explains your hair,” Sandy teased.

Electra pushed Sandy playfully off the bed, causing Sandy to squeal and the others to laugh.

“She died in child birth.” He continued unperturbed. A hush filled the room before he continued. “I didn’t know what I would do or how I would bring up our little girl on my own. I brought her back here to my family home where my parents helped until they passed away. Not only was Electra born with red hair but she looked like she had a shock and caused her hair to frizz. Her Grandmother named her. Electra’s hair lost its frizz but the name stuck. Her shock of red hair always reminds me of her mother.” He stood and left the room, closing the door quietly behind him.

The girls remained speechless. Electra climbed off the bed and placed the popcorn on her desk before anyone spoke.

Sandy followed Electra and stood behind her, hesitating before speaking. “You have never told me the real story, Electra. Why wouldn't anyone like the true story about your family and your home?”

Electra turned; her eyes were filled with tears. “I wish I knew my mother but I do know so much about her. Dad and my grandparents made sure I knew everything about her. Every birthday I tell my pirate story so I don’t get sad. I guess I didn’t realize until today, just how sad my dad gets.”

The girls gathered around their friend in support. “Your family sounds wonderful,” Sandy exclaimed. “Your family home is beautiful. Why don’t we get your dad to show us around?”

Electra smiled and wiped her eyes. “That’s sounds like a great idea. Maybe we’ll find some pirate ghosts or some lost treasure.” She took Sandy by the hand and led the girls from her room in search of an adventure.

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This article has been read 688 times
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Great story, but I'd really like to hear Electra's version also. It would be great to have both versions merged into a story too long to post in a challenge but I'd bet you could find a magazine that would be interested.
Jan Ackerson 06/05/08
Cute idea for a story!

Without quotation marks at the very beginning, I thought this was a 1st person narrative, so having Electra referred to in the 3rd person jarred me a little.

You've written two very sympathetic characters--good job.
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/06/08
Fun story! I like her making up a story but then getting to here the real story.
Sara Harricharan 06/09/08
Oooh, I liked this! I liked the name Electra and I wanted to see her version of the story! Such a fun character. ^_^
Chely Roach06/10/08
This was such a cool story...I loved the realism that Electra would tell a fictionalized story to cope with her pain. Wonderful writing.
Dee Yoder 06/11/08
It's wonderful how much our homes become a part of our lives. You described a great home and wonderful characters in this story. I like the tie-in at the end with why the MC tells the pirate tale to her friends.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/11/08
You showed very well what a great home Electra's father had made for her to grow up in. I particularly enjoyed your characterization development here.
Joanne Sher 06/11/08
Love the voice of this - and fun characters for sure. You are SO improving, sweetie.
Beckie Stewart06/11/08
This is good. I love the way it brought in imagination and real emotions.
Debbie Wistrom06/11/08
I want the pirate story, or the haunted house story.

It was touching that she admitted that birthdays were hard and that she recognized it to be true for her Dad as well.
Norma-Anne Hough06/11/08
Touching story and beautifully told. I enjoyed reading it.
Gerald Shuler 06/11/08
I found the treasure! I found the treasure! It's the love and respect found in this wonderful home.

Great telling of a heartwarming tale.
Gerald Shuler 06/11/08
I found the treasure! I found the treasure! It's the love and respect found in this wonderful home.

Great telling of a heartwarming tale.
Joshua Janoski06/11/08
I know of several people who used to make up stories in order to forget about what really happened in their lives. Sometimes that's how people deal with pain.

Electra's story, though untrue, sounded like it was interesting, and I wish her dad had let her finish it before telling the real tale.

This was very good. I really enjoyed getting to read it. Thank you for sharing, Aunt Chrissy. :)
Aaron Morrow06/11/08
Thanks Chrissy, I really enjoyed this entry. The character movements were especially well developed. Thanks for sharing!!
Lollie Hofer06/11/08
I was intrigued by the title and the story didn't disappoint either. Loved how you changed the voice after the first few sentences. Very creative.
Loren T. Lowery06/11/08
Great job of story telling, Chrissy. Now I'm hungry for some popcorn, too. I especially liked this line:
"No, the house is not haunted—not that I know of. The rooms have just never been needed." It say a lot about the depth of the writer's emotions. You have great range and keep improving. Loren
Catrina Bradley 06/11/08
The title is a true draw! I wish you would have put the beginning narrative in quotes, but other than that, this is a delightful tale. You wrap it all up nicely without it being too put together, if you know what I mean. Grand!
Helen Dowd06/13/08
Nice homey story. I could just see the girls sitting crosslegged on their bed, listening...Enjoyed it very much...Helen