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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bridge (07/31/08)

By Kevin Rodgers


Randy starred down the gloomy, winding road and sighed deeply. This was his life; his very miserable life.

“How could this have happened?” he asked himself. “I’m thirty years old and in great health. I’m married to a gorgeous wife. I have three beautiful daughters, more money than I can spend, and people respect me.”

Peering down at his feet, he ran his sweaty hands through his hair as he continued. “Yet…I’m miserable. I have everything I could want. But I’m just not happy. I feel…empty. Nothing I do seems to help. Nothing I buy seems to help. Nothing…seems…to help.”

Randy wiped a tear from his eye, looked back down the snaky road and turned to leave his ruined life behind.

A narrow timber bridge now lay before him. An old splintered sign engraved with the word “Noitavlas”, spanned its entrance. The Noitavlas Bridge was the oldest bridge in the town of Nede. Some say the bridge preceded the town itself.

Though Randy was born and raised in Nede, it wasn’t until the age of twenty-four that he knew the bridge even existed. Very few people in the town used the old bridge anymore. Even fewer seemed to mention it at all. To most, the structure served as nothing more than a relic; a lingering piece of the past that no longer served a purpose. They now put their trust in the newly constructed bridges that connected the town with the other communities nearby.

Numerous times over the last six years, Randy found himself standing at the edge of this ancient bridge. Each time for the same reason: to put an end to his horrible life. However, the fear always proved to be too much for Randy. Not only had he never gone through with it, he had never even stepped foot onto the bridge.

Today was different though, Randy had finally extinguished all the remedies he knew of; to no avail. He had now hit rock bottom. There was only one thing left to do; to end his misery once and for all. His mind was made up. This time he would go through with it.

Randy walked closer to the bridge and peered over the edge of its sturdy railing. Sharp, jagged boulders lined the bottom of the deep canyon.


Startled, he turned. A middle-aged man with dark hair approached from across the bridge.

“Who-who are you? What do you want?” Randy asked nervously.

“I’m Haissem, and it looks like you could use my help. Tell me, what do you want?”

At first Randy said nothing. He only starred at this odd stranger that somehow knew his name. Had they met before? Randy couldn’t recall. “How did this man know I was here? I’ve never mentioned my trips here to anyone,” he thought.

Breaking the silence, the stranger added, “I’ve seen you here before; many times in fact. What is it that you’re looking for? What do you want Randy?”

“I-I want the pain to stop. I’m tired of the loneliness. The emptiness is too much. I want…I want – I want to end my misery.” As tears trickled down his cheek, Randy looked directly at Haissem. “That’s what I want. That’s why I’m here.”

Haissem nodded, taking in all of Randy’s words. “You know that there’s only one way to end your misery, right?”

Randy then began to cry as he noticed that he now stood mere inches from the edge of the bridge; inches away from the end. Randy looked over his shoulder and once again starred down the long dark road that led to his life of chaos. “Yeah…I know. That’s why I’m here.”

“Randy, don’t look back. There’s no other way. Do you want to go on living a miserable life? You don’t have to; not if you take the final step. In one step, you can put an end to your loneliness, put an end to your emptiness, and find a cure for your misery. What’s it going to be? Only you can decide.”

With those words, Randy closed his eyes and took the final leap. A sense of relief lifted as his foot rested on the wooden plank of the life-changing bridge.

“Come,” Haissem called. “Follow me.”

Randy opened his eyes. His life forever changed the instant he put his faith in the saving grace of his Lord. Joy now consumed the emptiness he had felt for so long. His miserable life was transformed by a simple leap of faith.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 08/07/08
Your idea for this allegory is very creative. When I went back to reread I could appreciate some of your descriptive hints more, "very few people use the old bridge anymore," "even fewer seemed to mention it at all," "to most, the structure served as nothing more than a relic." Your title fits this perfectly.
Scott Sheets08/08/08
Beautiful analogy! Tragically many do see the path of faith in Christ as an ancient and outdated way. Nice Job! One minor critique, you used 'starred' multiple times, but I believe you wanted 'stared.' 'Stared' refers to vision, while 'starred' refers to something covered with stars.
Ellen Dodson08/10/08
You've taken a tired topic and reversed it by using a demon at the end. But your rushed conclusion seems so tacked on . Especially since this is fictional, use subtlety in the end. Example: Randy considers following Haissem but notices a coldness in his eyes or a smirk in his smile. God would be good to provide Randy and out in this situation, pointing out the demon's deceit.
Ellen Dodson08/10/08
Oops, sorry!!!!! I reread. I didn't get it before. The twist in this is even more unusual than I originally thought. This, is a "suicide" to life without God. : )
LauraLee Shaw08/11/08
Creative and clever, this kept my attention. Your ending is perfect.
Kevin Rodgers08/11/08

Noitavlas = Salvation spelled backwards

Nede = Eden

Haissem = Messiah
william price08/11/08
Excellent creative concept. Enjoyed the cleverness. And your ministry point was well delivered. However, I wasn't a big fan of your title. Now, this isn't bad. I just think, imho, as creative as your entry was/is the title didn't seem to carry as much creative weight, though I see how it fits. Anyway, I wouldn't have added that if I didn't think your piece was top notch. Thanks for the great read. God bless.
Shirley McClay 08/11/08
What a great twist in your story. Nicely done! I love the idea of suiciding the other direction...lol. Nit even sure how to say what I mean.. You did a great job with the concept!
Mariane Holbrook 08/11/08
So clever and creative! I couldn't stop reading, no kidding! Kudos! Well done!
Joshua Janoski08/12/08
I enjoyed reading this through the first time, but then I went back and re-read it after I saw the other comments. You packed a lot of depth and meaning into this story, and I really enjoyed it. I like allegorical stories, and this was a great one.

I don't think that I have read any of your other works, but I look forward to doing so after reading this. Thank you for sharing.
Marlene Austin08/12/08
So glad your MC leaped to Jesus rather than death. Very creative take, excellent writing. :)
Helen Dowd08/13/08
Very different. I knew Randy wouldn't really jump, and I am glad he took the step in the right direction....God bless you as you continue giving blessings to people through your writing...Helen
Joanne Sher 08/14/08
(welcome back - a fitting "return" for sure). This is quite cleverly constructed and wonderfully presented.

I have a suspicion that the names have some sort of significance - am I right?

Hope you're back for good, my friend :)