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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Inner Person (09/09/10)

By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom


Teeghan grimaced with pain as she stepped into the boat with her family. She’d been sick for half of her life; her pain robbed her ruthlessly. Today, she wasn’t going to let the virus ruin her family time.

Everyone was having fun. Teeghan was in pain, but she loved watching Lyndie reel in a fish. The sky was beautiful. Teeghan tried to force her eyes open, but sleep won and she drifted off.

Suddenly, Teeghan awoke, the sun was gone. Her body shivered violently. She listened for her family, but she couldn’t hear anything but the howling wind. The waves crashed against the boat. Teeghan could feel her lunch starting to make its way upward. She clung to the edge of the boat and chunks of sandwich came hurling out of her mouth.

Her body was jostled by the waves. She ached before, but now she was in agony. It took her every ounce of strength to check the boat for her family. Eventually, Teeghan had to admit that she was totally alone; her family was gone.

She choked back sobs and looked to the heavens. The rain was biting at her face. “Why God, why do you hate me? I’ve been in pain too long. I wanted one special day with my family.”

She fell to her knees, her energy spent. She turned her rage inward. “What a stupid, thoughtless mother, you’re an idiot! What mother falls asleep while her family is on a boat? So what if you were hurting? You’re nothing but a fat, lazy, useless blob. No wonder God hates you.”

Teeghan let her pain and exhaustion overpower her as she once more fell asleep.

Tragically, she awoke in the frigid water. Pieces of the mangled boat were all around her. For hours the sea tossed her around like a rag doll. She desperately clung to the debris while blood oozed from her fingers.

She drifted in and out of consciousness. Later, she awoke on a beach. Huge blisters covered her body. Her tongue was swollen and stuck to the roof of her mouth. She tried to swallow, but there wasn’t any saliva to soothe her raw throat.

She groaned and flopped onto her back. “Please God, I can’t do this anymore; let me die. Bless my family. I know my illness has taken me away from them, but I don’t want them to remember that hideous virus when they think of me. Please let them remember the good times. Don’t let them resent me because I was too sick to make it to all of their events. I need to be remembered with love.”

Teeghan felt her spirit spinning away. She knew death had won; she cried for her family. With one last breath she started to let go…

Then she heard voices. She willed every muscle in her body to move. Slowly, she turned her head and opened her eyes. She thought she must be hallucinating. She wasn’t on the beach, but in a hospital bed. Her throat was sore from the endotracheal tube that connected her to the ventilator. There were monitors beeping and several IVs in her arms and neck.

Best of all, her family was safe. Her oldest, Emma, was smiling at her. “Welcome back, Mom, you sure scared us. The doctors said that the virus had attacked your brain; they didn’t think there was any hope. We need you, please don’t leave us.” Emma’s tears splashed on Teeghan’s face.

Teeghan motioned for something to write with. Her husband, Christian, found a pencil and piece of paper. Teeghan scribbled, What happened to the boat? How did you all survive?

Her son, Quin, read the note. His face became clouded. “What boat? You’ve been in the hospital for weeks. You had herpetic encephalitis. Then you stopped breathing; they put you on a ventilator.” Quinn sobbed as he gently laid his head next to Keeghan’s.

Lyndie’s voice wobbled. “We didn’t know what we’d do without you. I hate seeing you in pain, but you are always there for me. My friends’ parents all work. They never talk or play games like we do. You’re the best mom in the world.”

Keeghan realized for years she had allowed her illness to hold her hostage. She had been beating herself up for something she had no control over. She wrote, Today is the first day of the rest of our lives and it’s going to be wonderful.

Her family shouted, “AMEN!”

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This article has been read 756 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Gina Fifo09/17/10
You had my attention all the way! As someone who deals with chronic pain and family activities, you were right on target with thoughts and feelings of the MC. I especially liked the happier outcome from what I expected. Well written, great job!
Genia Gilbert09/18/10
Pain in the inner person - how well you illustrated that! Glad your MC had an uplook and hope at the ending.
Sarah Heywood09/18/10
Oh, ok - I was really getting confused until the end when it was revealed that all the previous happenings were part of delirium, not real life.

The image of her vomiting was awfully graphic...but my boys would probably love reading that description. I, however, shuddered.

Nice story with a good message - keep writing!
Barbara Lynn Culler09/20/10
Had I read this before I knew who wrote it, I would have known who wrote it.

Wow, what a story, that you must endure time after time after time.
Catrina Bradley 09/20/10
I guessed when she woke up alone on the boat that she wasn't in "reality". You really had my attention, and I love the happy ending!
Edmond Ng 09/20/10
Feeling alone in a crowd and feeling oneself to be a burden to others are two things that always make a person's life miserable. You have captured the emotions of such a feeling in the inner person of the MC in your story very well. May we as believers in the Lord learn to care for our loved ones, especially those who are sick, to love and care for them, and to show them they are not alone.
Rachel Phelps09/20/10
Wow. Wonderfully presented.
Kristi Peifer09/20/10
Wow, nice job! I was really drawn to the part where she's in the boat alone. Like others, I was expecting a tragedy, but you surprised us! Way to go!

One question, though. Is the MC's name supposed to be Teeghan or Keeghan? It changed toward the bottom, so at first I thought Keeghan was a separate person, like one of the children.
Gregory Kane09/20/10
I was glad that the boat disaster was the result of a delirium as otherwise I would have complained that it didn't flow well and left the reader with too many unanswered questions. But being sickness induced, the tone seems quite fitting with the benefit of hindsight
Loren T. Lowery09/21/10
As I read this I couldn't help but think of the analogy of the pain we must sometimes suffer to receive the revelation of how blessed we really are. And, in that search, if we do indeed "survive" discover, too who and what we really are as well.
Terri Schroeder09/21/10
You did a masterful job writing this. Great ending, too. I also noticed the name spelling change at the end--must have been a typo.
Christina Banks 09/21/10
I'm glad that she really didn't have a boating accident. The MC's name change at the end threw me off for a moment. Nicely done.
Virgil Youngblood 09/22/10
Spooking, how similar in many areas our submissions were this week. I enjoyed yours and relate to the emotions expressed. The title and ending are fitting.
Heather Palmer09/22/10
The MC seemed to feel very alone. I liked that reality proved how much she was loved. I really liked your story.
Sarah Elisabeth 09/22/10
Wow, what a story. You continue to be in my prayers, Shann. God will always love you!
Joan Campbell09/24/10
Thanks for sharing the links, Shann. Such deeply personal writing - even in your choice of names for the children. What I loved was that your MC realised her great worth and significance to her family. And I might add, to her friends :-)
Charla Diehl 09/24/10
A very interesting story that accurately describes what it's like to live with chronic pain.
I, too noticed the name change towards the end--also in the beginning Teegan's name seemed to be overused--so maybe use pronouns (she, her) sometimes when referring to the MC.
Other than that tiny red ink, your story intrigued me and made me curious--then your ending cleared up the questions in my mind.
AnneRene' Capp09/27/10
Talk about 'GRIPPING'....I was in complete suspense. I couldn't understand how her family could abandon her like that. I was so upset! What a horrific nightmare and then to wake up in the hospital and unable to speak. WOW...you had me in that bed, actually feeling as though I was Keeghan, or was that Teeghan :) :) :). Truly though, I lived this story as I read it and felt the overpowering love from the kids too. What a great "feel good" ending with your MC working past feeling like a nuisance and starting fresh with determination from that love. I would love to see this continue. Your life will definitely be a best seller, so what are you waiting for?
Patsy Hallum09/28/10
So moving. I really think you should write a bood about your life. The nightmare had me crying!