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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)

TITLE: The Shirt
By Delores McCarter


My husband Jake was taking his employees out to an Italian restaurant for lunch so I tried to persuade him to change out of his favorite shirt that morning.

“You know how white shirts attract stains.” I informed him. “Let me get you another one.”

“No. I’m wearing this one.” He said adamantly.

“Ok, but don’t fuss if you get a stain on it.” I said, smirking at him.

“Nice shirts are meant to be worn, not stay in the closet.” He said, caressing my neck. Fifteen years of marriage and Jake could still make me feel like a newlywed.

That afternoon, I got a phone call that instantly set my heart in full panic mode.

“Mrs. Holmes, your husband is at Palmetto General. Please get here right away.” A nurse instructed stoically.

“Hospital?! What happened to my husband?”

“Ma’am. I don’t know. I was just asked to inform you that he was here.”

My heart felt as if it was about to come out of my chest and my brain was processing things in slow motion. I don’t know how I got to my parents’ house. Daddy took one look at me and decided to drive me to the hospital.

“Let’s say a prayer right now that he will be all right.” Mama advised. On the front lawn, we bowed our heads and said a quick prayer. My children didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to tell them so I didn’t say anything.

“Put it in God’s hands.” She said, giving me a big hug.

I smiled but my thoughts bounced from the silly argument I had that morning about the shirt to what the emergency room nurse said.

“Stop worrying.” Daddy said.

“That is easier said than done.” I responded.

We arrived at the hospital and I raced up to the information desk looking for Jake. I was sent to a curtained off area where he was lying on a bed with his eyes closed. I couldn’t tell if he was breathing or not.

I walked slowly to the bed and froze. I was tense with fear but I managed to lean over in time to hear him breathing. I felt like I was holding my breath for hours. Then, something red and white caught my eye beside the bed. I looked over and saw it was his shirt balled up in a chair. I unfolded the shirt and almost passed out. It was covered in blood.

“What in the world happened?” I asked myself.

I tried to wake Jake but he didn’t move. I wasn’t sure if he was unconscious or just asleep. Thankfully, the doctor walked in. I dropped the shirt back on the chair before the doctor looked up from her chart.

“Are you Mrs. Holmes?” She asked.


“Hi. I’m Doctor Lexi Porter. Your husband was involved in a car accident about an hour ago. . .”

“Oh my goodness!” I interrupted. My heart felt like it was sinking.

“…but he is stabilized now. His blood pressure was highly elevated when he arrived and he sustained some deep lacerations across his chest but he has recovered very nicely. I was told that he arrived at the accident in time to pull a mom and her baby out of the car before her car exploded.”

“So that explains all the blood on his shirt.” I said, holding up the red and white garment that I didn’t recognize anymore.

“I’m sorry! This should have been tossed out.” She grabbed the hazard waste trash can and held it toward me.

“Will my husband be ok?” I asked tossing the shirt in the can.

“Yes. We gave him something for his pain and he can go home and rest for a few days. He received some stitches so he will be sore for awhile. The redness and pain will subside eventually. Here are two prescriptions that you can fill while he is still asleep.”

“Great. By the way, how is the mom doing? What happened to the baby?”

“The mom just got out of surgery and the baby wasn’t hurt, just admitted for observation. Thanks to your husband, mom and baby are both doing fine.”

“Thank you so much, Doctor Porter. I cannot believe that I actually gave Jake a hard time about not getting his shirt dirty today.” I said.

“Well in light of the circumstances, I’m sure he has been forgiven.”

“Yes, of course.”

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This article has been read 466 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/09/09
Having recieved a similar phone call, I can attest that it's the last thing anyone ever wants to hear!

An easy fix--some of your dialog is incorrectly punctuated. Instead of...

“Stop worrying.” Daddy said.

...the punctuation mark before the end quotes should be a comma:

“Stop worrying,” Daddy said.

(note that if you've used a question mark or exclamation point, you can keep those the way they are).

So glad for the happy ending!
Allen Stark10/09/09
Nice job of MCing the story. Your action felt very real and pulled me into the story right away.