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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hide and Seek (08/07/08)

TITLE: The Next Destination
By Betty Castleberry


A tall palm stood just outside Hanna’s window. She rolled over in the bed and attempted to shake the fuzz from her brain. The morning sun glistened off the sugary white sand, urging her awake.

She fumbled for the phone on the nightstand. “Room service? Bring me a pot of coffee. Now.”

As was her habit on awakening, she scooped a handful of pills into her mouth and washed them down with a glass of tepid water. She talked aloud, to no one in particular. “Thank goodness for diet pills. I’d be as big as a house otherwise.

“I wish I could remember the name of this island. All I know is that I’m in the Caribbean on Saint-something. I think I liked Mallorca better with all those cute Spanish guys.” She looked out at the waves that deposited ribbons of foam along the sandy shore. “I can’t swim anyway.”

Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door. A lovely island accent with undertones of French called, “Room service.”

“Leave it in the hall. Put your tip on my tab.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

She listened as the footsteps faded away. There was no way she would have allowed anyone to see her so early.

Hanna opened the door slightly and retrieved the tray. She was pouring a cup of coffee when her cell phone rang.

A smooth male voice greeted her. “Hanna, you were to call over an hour ago. You know if you want to play, you have to follow the rules.”

“So sue me, Richard. I’m just waking up.”

“I know you sleep late, but it’s four o’clock in the afternoon.”

“Oh no. You’re not going to trick me. I won’t tell you what time it is here.” Hanna grinned triumphantly. “It’s your job to guess where I am from the clues I choose to give you, if you remember right.”

“Of course, but there’s nothing wrong with a little honest trickery. What’s your clue?”

“How about ‘saint‘?”

“You’re not at the Vatican again are you, angel? You were there just a couple of weeks ago.”

“No. Pass my clue along and I’ll call in another hour.” She punched a button and set her phone to voice mail, then decided to go for her morning walk.

Hanna looked at her reflection in the mirror. Her perfectly waxed eyebrows and collagen-puffed lips needed nothing. She smoothed some bronzer across her cheeks to enhance her already flawless, tan booth-browned skin. Sunglasses and a straw hat negated any need for further primping.

Only a few people strolled along the shoreline, ignoring Hanna. The leisurely walk allowed her to think about where she would go next. She could go anywhere in the world she wanted, but she had already been everywhere that really interested her. At first she thought playing the international searching game would be fun, but it soon became boring. Her friends wouldn’t admit it, but she believed they were tiring of the game, too. All of Hanna’s money didn’t seem to alleviate the boredom that followed her wherever she went. She felt as if she had no purpose in her life.

It had been nearly an hour since Richard’s call. She reached for her cell phone to call him when she saw a young man approaching her. At first she thought she had been recognized, but he gave no indication that he knew who she was. Ordinarily Hanna would have told him to get lost, but there was something intriguing about this man, and besides, he was very cute.

He smiled. “Hello. Nice morning, isn’t it?”

She smiled back, flashing her expertly capped, brilliant-white teeth. “Divine.”

“I’d like to give you this, and hope you take the time to read it.”

Hanna looked at the pamphlet he handed her. A cross and the words “The Empty Tomb” graced the cover. She frowned and shook her head.

“Is something wrong?”

“I don’t do religion.”

“This could change your life. In fact, it could be just what you’re looking for.”

Hannah looked at the young man, not knowing quite what to say. She turned the pamphlet over and over in her hand. Finally she spoke. “I am hiding, you know.”

“You may be trying, but no one can hide from God. He will always find you. Keep the pamphlet.” He smiled and walked away, leaving footprints in the sand and a burden on her heart.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 08/15/08
Very creative take on the topic. Good job of characterization with your MC--she seemed very real. Wasn't expecting the twist. Enjoyed the read.
Dianne Janak08/15/08
ohhh... I loved this. The game felt almost real.. I wonder if anyone really does this?? Great ending.. even though I guessed it, it didn't take away from the creativity and the lesson... very well written...
Lynda Schultz 08/16/08
Love the lesson. Well done.
Laury Hubrich 08/17/08
I loved the ending. Wow! Very good work.
Mariane Holbrook 08/17/08
This was so different and so very good! I want to see you get another double win for this one and we'll throw a porch party you won't forget! Kudos, kiddo!
Joy Faire Stewart08/17/08
I enjoyed the intrigue, and it's delivered with a wonderful message. Excellent writing as always.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/17/08
I think I've mentioned before that you have writing gifts in more than one genre. Your message is delivered perfectly, and your MC is so real I think I've met her. Excellent writing.
Yvonne Blake 08/17/08
Interesting setting and plot, very creative!
Kristen Hester08/17/08
Oh! This is so very good. I loved the character, the setting, the plot. This really kept my interest. The ending was powerful as well. Great job (again!).
Helen Dowd08/17/08
Great lead in for the story. You portrayed well, a lost soul, not wanting to be found, but desperately needing--and wanting--to be found..."I'm hiding, you know."..."Well, you cannot hide from God..." Great conclusion....Helen
william price08/17/08
Great on many, many levels. This is one of my favs. Superbly great job. God bless.
Heather Sargent08/17/08
Another winner here I say! Well done, now I have to go make millions so I can play Rich Hide and Seek. Sounds fun!
Lauryn Abbott08/18/08
Great story here. You painted a perfect picture to show that 'having it all' doesn't really mean anything if you don't have Him. But it would be fun to hide with her on this international game of hide and seek! :)
Ellen Dodson08/19/08
It's not so much what you've written here, but what you say between the lines. The MC sleeps in ridiculously late and is extremely bored--sounds like despondency, apathy, or maybe even depression. She seems to possess a happy persona, but, yeah, she needs Christ. This character represents many. The ending seems more like a transition into a series. : )
LaNaye Perkins08/20/08
I loved everything about this entry. You kept my interest from the first word to the last. Well done my friend.
T. F. Chezum08/20/08
Creative take, good plot, good ending ... overall a great read.