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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Truth or Dare (08/28/08)

TITLE: The Words That Torment
By Melanie Kerr


My dearest Samir,

I cannot hope to explain my actions to you and have you understand what I did. I am not asking for your forgiveness or your prayers.

You can have no idea how long I lay in bed this morning, watching you as you slept beside me, drinking in every contour of your face knowing it would be the last time I would wake up beside you. I longed to stroke your cheek, rubbing a finger against the morning stubble, but didn’t want to wake you. Somehow, you would have known what I thinking to do. You would have seen it in my eyes. You would have said something, to persuade me, and I would have listened. I always listened to you, and that was the problem. I should have listened to my heart.

The journey to the underground station was so different this morning. The same people travelled on the bus. The woman with the long blonde hair had almost finished the book she was reading. There was a mother in the seat opposite. She jiggled a soft toy in front of her baby’s face and hummed softly. Up until then, I hadn’t really made up my mind.

I glanced out of the window. The bus was passing by the park. It should have been a grey day with clouds menacing an overcast sky. There should have been rain, weeping down the windows. People should have been walking with shoulders huddled down in coats buttoned and belted, but it was sunny. Sunshine seeped through the trees, sprinkling glints of silver onto wet grass. Someone looked up at the bus and waved.

The poster plastered to the side of the bus just above the seats reminded me that “Jesus came to give life –and give it abundantly”.

I remembered your words, whispered in my ear the day we first noticed it.

“Jesus may have come to give life…but his so-called followers know only how to take.”

Infidels, we called them, marching into our countries, raping the land of its treasures, imposing their godless democracy upon us, scorning our modesty and opening the door wide to depravity and immorality.

The words “Jesus came to give life” seemed to haunt me at that moment. Why should he be the one to bring life while we must be the ones that end it? In the confines of one room, surrounded by my brothers and sisters chanting verses from the Qu’ran, polishing up our resentments and hostility, the plan to bomb the underground station seemed glorious and noble. But what kind of God do we serve that demands the destruction of innocent lives?

“Innocent?” I heard you say, “Where is the innocence in the bombs that destroy our homes? Where is the innocence in a democracy that allows you to choose a tyrant who points a finger and calls you a barbarian because you choose a different way of life? The baby bouncing on its mother’s knee today will be the soldier pulling the trigger on the rifle tomorrow. None are innocent!”

Carried away by the tide of hysteria and holy zeal I dared to volunteer. I gladly shouldered the burden of the rucksack packed with its cocktail of explosives. I convinced myself I would feel no pain as the force of the blast ripped my body to shreds. I was ready to surrender my life for the cause. Standing before Allah, stained in the blood of his enemies, I would hear him say to me “Well done, my good and faithful servant…”

“Jesus came to give life.” Those words refused to be ignored. They tormented me. They whispered words of hope.

I dared to listen.

I chose to cherish life, not destroy it.

I left the bus at the next stop and walked the short distance to the police station. I handed over the rucksack with its explosives.

I will not give them your name. My truth is not your truth and I will not impose it upon you.

Be assured I will love you always,


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This article has been read 1811 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Johnna Stein09/04/08
Very powerfully written with beautiful details!
Catrina Bradley 09/04/08
I didn't know what her decision was going to be, and I'm glad for the action she picked. Very nice!
Joanne Sher 09/06/08
This is masterfully done. I was on the edge of my seat throughout trying to figure out what was going on. Expertly crafted with an ending I definitely was not expecting.
Pat Guy 09/07/08
Wow ... VERY good take on the subject and done VERY well. Wow.
Glynis Becker09/08/08
Sad, yet hopeful. I love the words you chose and to write it in the form of a letter is beautiful. Great piece!
Jan Ackerson 09/09/08
VERY good, and very timely! I was hanging on every word.
Kristi Peifer09/10/08
Gripping! I love the story. I did find myself wondering how the letter got to Samir, as it is written after the fact. Would her writing this from prison lead the police to Samir?
Dee Yoder 09/10/08
You really had me guessing at which direction this woman was going to take right up until the end. I have such a hard time putting myself in the shoes of people who do this--just what are they thinking as they get on the bus...watch their fellow passengers...and then-it's over. Good job getting me inside this character's head. I shudder when I think of the kind of hate or the kind of fear that motivates this type of merciless and savage revenge.
Benjamin Graber09/11/08
Wow, this is very well written... Excellent job!
Patricia Turner09/11/08
So well written. I thought she was going somewhere to commit suicide, and I'm so glad your MC got the Truth in time. A beautifully written take on this topic and a well deserved EC win!
Samantha Arroyo 09/11/08
This is fantastic. Well done. You crafted a wonderful piece that kept me hanging on every word. And I absolutely love your voice. It's very distinquished.
Sheri Gordon09/11/08
Congratulations on your 1st place. This is very good--and very chilling reading it today. Great job with the topic.
Judy Meyers09/11/08
I loved your story. Thank you for putting your life into it and making it real.
Carole Robishaw 09/11/08
This very definitely earned first placed, congratulations. Very well done.
Chely Roach09/11/08
Oh my...this was gripping. Incredible work. Congratulations.
Jason Swiney09/13/08
Awesome, simply awesome. I loved the description of the day was (sunshine) compared to how the MC thought it should be on such a potentially tragic day. This was scarily realistic. Congrats on a 1st place EC, well deserved.