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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Kingdom of God (03/12/09)

TITLE: Satin Doll
By Chely Roach
03/17/09


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Amelia Adams was smoking hot, and Graham was determined to make her his own—at least once.

He hadn’t seen her around the campus for days, so Graham opened his laptop…also deemed the almighty porn-pump by his roommate, Bill. He searched Facebook and MySpace without luck, and finally just simply Googled her. As Graham scrolled the page, halfway down was a BlogSpot result bearing her name. The abbreviated blurb made him stop in his tracks:

Please pray for our sweet Amelia…after her fourth round of chemo, it appears as if she has developed a nasty infection that has settled in her brain. The neurologists here at Barnes have her on high powered antibiotics, but…

When he clicked on the link, he was peeved that his latest target was out of commission. Simultaneously, he felt like a tool for even thinking such a thing, much less that he didn’t even realize she had been sick. Amelia was five miles away in the hospital, fighting for her life, and here he was, disappointed he didn’t attack her first. You’re such a jerk, dude.

But as he scanned the blog post, he started to wonder if it was about his Amelia. It said she was in the PICU; and unless she was one of those homeschooled-and-graduated-at-14, college-junior-at-seventeen kind of girls, he couldn’t fathom why she would be in the pediatric ICU. He himself had spent months recuperating in the PICU back in Chicago, after his entire family was decimated in a drunken driving wreck.

With more questions than answers, he scrolled through previous posts. Each one had at least twenty comments which he ignored. But September fifteenth’s post answered his ultimate question; it was not the Amelia he was chasing.

It was a four month old baby with the same name.

With a breath of guilt laden relief, he was about to close the site when he spotted the tab header “photos”. Graham was unable to avoid the compulsion to see her…this baby with leukemia and a devastating brain infection.

She was a doll; her chubby, dimpled face with satin skin, happily struggling to lift her head up and prop herself onto her elbows. Her blonde hair was nothing but wispy tuffs and a pink bow, and her eyes were bright blue, with eyelashes long and luscious. She wore a gigantic, gummy grin.

He shut the laptop and went to bed. Sleep didn’t come easily.

After classes the next day, when he checked his email, he went back to Amelia’s blog…he couldn’t shake her sweet face. There was a new post, asking for people to sign up for a continuous, round-the-clock prayer vigil. Although the post was only seven hours old, almost every half hour slot was accounted for; even for the middle of the night. Someone else was arranging for meals to be brought to the hospital for the young couple.

But baby Amelia still struggled to hang on.

After three months, Graham was exhausted from finals and moonlighting as a cyber-stalker. That’s what he felt like anyway. He didn’t know these people, but he was continually drawn back. The infection had ravaged Amelia’s brain; the fluids no longer drained properly, so a shunt was put in. Then another. She suffered seizures and more surgeries. She couldn’t move her limbs; even her eyes. And she was in horrible pain that was difficult to treat with such a delicate patient.

Graham’s heart broke daily for Amelia and her parents. Day after day, they poured out their hearts…the fatigue and sadness…the righteous anger and “why’s” of it all. But to Graham surprise, they managed to do something he never could do in hard times…they constantly praised God. They thanked Him for their daughter, that He had spared her life. They took joy in caring for her, even in her catatonic state. With every post, they thanked the multitude who’d pledged their daily prayers.

One Sunday morning after graduation, Graham read from Amelia’s page, “We have never so tangibly felt the love of God, as we have through the hands of His chosen people. You have cloaked us in His love and mercy. We are blessed; blessed to have daily glimpses of the Kingdom of God, while we trudge through our living hell. Bless every one of you who reads this…”

For the first time in the decade since he buried his alcoholic father—the drunk who had maimed him—Graham wept.

And for the first time in his entire life, he prayed for someone else.

Amelia.


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This article has been read 778 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ruth Hayes03/19/09
God can work rapidly in a person's life but often times He touches hearts through a slow building awareness. In the space of just 750 words, you managed to convey that growing connection in your MC without offering a sudden, forced ending. Strong introduction, well developed MC and a well timed conclusion -- great job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/20/09
My first thought when I reached the end of your touching story was, "Amelia had a convert." I was as attracted to the precious baby as your MC. Good storytelling!
Janice Fitzpatrick03/20/09
This is so touching and I like how Graham's interest and obsessions change and his heart is softened. Great change, from "wanting" the "hot" Amelia to wanting to check in on the infant Amelia and her parents. I wish we were allowed more words for these challenges, as I would have liked to see more to this piece, it was so good.:0) Very well done! God bless!
Emily Gibson03/22/09
This is an excellent contemporary setting for how the Kingdom of God can impact our lives in subtle and unexpected ways.
Joanne Sher 03/22/09
This is absolutely masterful. You certainly made your mc a real person, just like the rest of us. You did an incredible job walking that thin line. Excellent.
Tallylah Monroe03/22/09
This is my favorite so far this week. I think it is such a creative way to write about the topic. Thank you.
Gregory Kane03/23/09
What a fantastic turn-around. At first your MC was self-absorbed and despicable, yet by the end the reader couldn't help feeling sorry for him, even though he was still very much lost in his sins.
There was one line that read false to me right at the end - the bit about his father having maimed him. I don't know if this was physical or emotional, but depending on which it would probably affect how I would re-read the story. I'm not even sure that the line needs to be there. Aside from this minor quibble, it's wonderful writing with a great understanding of human nature.
Eliza Evans 03/23/09
Definitely a unique take on the topic. Good for you!

I stumbled on the word "Decimate".
It is the wrong word.

Decimate actually means "to destroy in large numbers/proportion" - so your usage is off here.

I think saying,"His family was killed" just simply and starkly...has more "pow" anyway.

That's my opinion.

Love your creativity here.:)

I really like the ending 2 lines, too.:) Good job.
Jan Ackerson 03/24/09
Very strong story--What I like most about it is that it's a study in contrasts. The conflict is also beautifully drawn...great job! (Love the song titles theme, too...still think you could have used 'Louie, Louie').
Sheri Gordon03/24/09
Very good story, and very good writing. The contrast between the MC being drawn to hot Amelia and baby Amelia is brilliant. Excellent job with the topic.
Bryan Ridenour03/24/09
Wonderful look at how God sometimes uses our tragedies to bring outsiders to Christ. Very well written. Great job!
Karlene Jacobsen 03/24/09
Excellent work! I love how we set ourselves on a path, thinking it is going one direction and "bump" into God.
Mona Purvis03/24/09
True vision of conflict in a tortured soul. You start out with such a different ego and then something happens along the way to start the heart melting.
Only God can use anything for good.
Love it.

mona
Dee Yoder 03/24/09
Beautiful story and very touching to see how this family's tragedy was a witness to the MC. I hope this is happening in real life right now--somewhere in cyberspace!
Diana Dart 03/25/09
Wow. With such a stark, raw beginning (right from the opening line), this entry wasn't at all what I expected. The MC's fascination/transformation had me breathless - suspenseful AND believable. Excellent.
Sheri Gordon03/26/09
Congratulations on your EC. Very good writing and story.
Bryan Ridenour03/26/09
Congrats on the EC!
Carol Slider 03/26/09
What an amazing story of a young man's journey to a selfless love of others! Congratulations!
Jim McWhinnie 03/31/09
Michele,

Beautifully human rendition of grace at work in our human condition. Your gentle grace is so evident in your writer's touch.
Loren T. Lowery04/15/09
Beautiful and captivating - this story of the transformation of a selfish life. You handled the transition delicately as it should have been with a child leading the way. Inspired!