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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hotel/Motel (09/12/05)

TITLE: Golden Haven
By dub W
09/12/05


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He sat on the edge of the bed holding his face in his hands. The filthy mattress rested on cement blocks - spaced around the base; and where sheets once protected the surface, now only a torn Army blanket graced the yellow stained surface. His feet were covered with the remnants of once white socks and dirty red toes protruded through the strings and out from the worn openings.

“Oh, God.” His moaning plea verified his pain. A lone cockroach looked up at the sound, then scurried to a darker corner. Sheets of plastic flapped in a missing window and somewhere a distant train whistle added to the music of the room. “Oh, dear Jesus.” His voice was more prayer than expletive, but completed the concert.

He brushed the mop of hair off of his eyes and tried to focus on the brown paper sack resting on a folding chair in the middle of the room. The chair back was stenciled “property of Golden Haven Hotel.” He rose and attempted to move but the vitamin E deficiency made it difficult to stand and focus his gaze. He took one step and waited for the world to catch up. The doctor at the clinic gave him a shot and a piece of paper. The shot wasn’t bad, and he felt better immediately, but he lost the paper. He didn’t need literature to tell him that he was destroying his body, and if he could reach the sack, the end would be sooner than later. Thank God for small favors.

Somewhere a siren echoed through the streets, he cocked his head then remembered where he was, he had crawled into the old hotel sometime in the night or perhaps some other time, dates and time were unclear. He managed another step. Maybe crawling is better. He sunk to his knees and tried to put a hand down on the floor, but missed, and his palm slipped out beneath him causing him to fall on his chest and bump his chin on the cracked linoleum . He rolled over on his side, the searing pain in his stomach made him double up in a fetal position. “Auggggg.” A tear ran down his face and dropped onto the floor, a curious red swirl snaked through the liquid.

He thought he saw something move across the room and reached a hand to grab it, but only air was in his grasp. With his hand out reached he managed to stretch the length of his body toward the chair and touched the leg with his fingertip. Somewhere outside his door voices were shouting, or fighting, it didn’t really matter.
They don’t care.

He worked his other hand free and pushed his body toward the chair, his arm rocked the chair and the sack tipped over and a strange shaped plastic bottle fell out and bounced on the floor. An ounce of liquid splashed on the linoleum. He thrust his hand through the liquid and licked his fingers. A flash of the doctor’s warning blinked in his memory. “Who cares?” His shout bounced off of the vacant wall.

“I care.”

The voice startled him. He rolled from where he lay and searched for the source. An image silhouetted in the window opening was standing with open hands.

“I care.” The voice repeated.

Somewhere in his the recesses of his mind he remembered a God of old. Something he thought he believed in during his youth. He remembered his belief, and being told of faith. “What happened?” he heard himself say as he heart answered and called out, help me Lord, is it you Lord?

“I care.” The voice again repeated.

______________

The article in the next day’s paper only read “Local man found dead in closed hotel. The former Golden Haven is frequented by the cities’ homeless, the victim apparently died of natural causes. Police are searching for relatives.”


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This article has been read 1270 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Phyllis Inniss 09/19/05
You painted a graphic picture of one on the road to hell, saved by the grace of God when he called on Him.
Anita Neuman09/19/05
Captivating and intriguing. This was very well-written! A couple of minor typos - nothing to get too worried about.
Alexandra Wilkin09/20/05
This is very descriptive and well observed - I found myself praying for this man. I like this very much; even though the setting is dark it is still uplifting. God bless.
Lynda Lee Schab 09/20/05
Captivating was the word I thought of while reading - but that word has already been taken LOL. But it definitely grabbed my attention and held it. Written very well - it's all in the details, which you painted vividly. I was there with this man throughout his agony-filled last moments.
Nice job.
Blessings, Lynda
janet rubin09/20/05
Amazing writing. It was painful to read, it was so good. Beautiful ending.
Nina Phillips09/20/05
I liked this story for it's realism. Although dreary in ways, it causes one to realize the hope for the hopeless. A light shining through the darkness in the story. So, sad that he couldn't have lived in the end though. God bless ya, littlelight
Pat Guy 09/21/05
Very very Good!
Jan Ackerson 09/21/05
Everyone else has already mentioned all of the wonderful things about this piece, so I'll just say that some of your sentences are run-ons; using semicolons or periods would clean it up a bit. This is very minor, though. The story is compelling and very, very well-written.
darlene hight09/21/05
You painted hopelessness in brilliant color. This is very well done. I enjoyed it and felt it to the bone :)
Debra Brand09/21/05
Excellent capturing the hopelessness of life without Jesus. Good writing too. Leave the brush at home.
Jan Warrick09/22/05
Very moving story. Love the descriptions. I could see the scene you painted.
terri tiffany09/22/05
Very vivid descriptions. great writing!
Linda Watson Owen09/22/05
Marvelous poetic imagery in prose, such as the suggestion of the serpent destroyer in "...a curious red swirl snaked through the liquid." Masterful writing! Loved it!
Suzanne R09/23/05
You painted the picture of his surroundings very well. The repetition of 'I care' was very effective. Well done!
Shari Armstrong 09/23/05
A bittersweet story.
Amy Verlennich09/23/05
I think you did a great job describing the scene by keeping it simple (some have a tendency to get "wordy"). You keep me 'til the end. Great job. Blessings, Amy
Julianne Jones09/25/05
Well-written and an accurate description of his physical state. I just wonder about the tenses in the third paragraph - it took me a few minutes to realise that the visit with the doctor was history. A poignant tale well-told.
Deborah Porter 09/26/05
Dear Dub, Congratulations on your 6th place win in the Editors' Choice. As much as I know you've been pretty critical about this particular entry over the last week, I have to say that it was universally appreciated by all the judges. Feel free to tighten up the areas that you aren't happy with before it goes into the anthology, but the thing is that the story hit its mark and I really do believe that it was a great choice. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Crista Darr09/28/05
Brilliant. Stirs up compassion for your character and all others like him.