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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)

TITLE: The Talk of a Lifetime
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom


Mylee was exhausted. She had spent most of the day looking after her roommate, Abbey. She didn’t really mind; she loved Abbey and believed God put her on earth to watch over her. She knew that Abbey was destined for greatness.

Abbey had a serious medical problem that left her in a great deal of pain. When Mylee was ready to move out on her own, she’d heard that Abbey needed someone to watch over her. Mylee had no doubt that God brought them together. They needed each other. Mylee had been searching for a home and Abbey had been praying for a friend.

Mylee stretched and yawned. She wanted to crawl into bed and fall asleep, but she knew Abbey needed her. The pain was becoming unbearable. Mylee shuddered when she heard the agony of Abbey’s screams.

Abbey’s husband and kids were home, but she hated when her kids heard her screams. Mylee paced back and forth in front of the bedroom door. She listened intently, but didn’t hear anyone coming. She didn’t know how anyone could sleep through the ruckus, but she was glad that they did.

Mylee took a deep breath, then pushed the door open and entered the sickroom. Abbey was sprawled out on the bed. Mylee carefully settled in next to her. She looked at Mylee and grumbled, “What, I was in the hospital for a week and nobody could even bother to put clean sheets on my bed?” Mylee just looked at her with her green eyes shooting sparks. “I know, Mylee, it’s not your job, but the kids could have managed to do it.”

Mylee shook her head and listened. “You’re so sweet to listen to my ranting.” Abbey gave Mylee a big hug. “I don’t know what I’d do if it weren’t for you. It must be hard on you when I go into the hospital.”

Mylee’s eyes flew wide open when she saw Abbey reach for the pill bottle. She raised her eyebrows and gave her the look. She growled, “Take it easy on the pain pills. You just took some not that long ago.”

Abbey pushed Mylee aside. “You don’t understand; it hurts so badly. I just want it to stop.” Abbey let the tears fall freely. Her whole body heaved with each sob.

Mylee wrapped herself around her dear friend. She could see the pain and fear in her eyes. She gently nudged the pill bottle from Abbey. “What, afraid you’ll be out on the streets if I die of an overdose?” As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Abbey wanted to reach out and grab them back. It was too late, though. She had gone overboard and hurt her friend’s feelings. “I’m sorry, that was a hateful thing to say. I didn’t mean it; I just feel like I’m nothing but a burden. Maybe it would be easier on everyone if I just drifted off to sleep and never woke up.”

Abbey sighed when Mylee turned her back to her. The words cut through her like a knife. Abbey picked up the pill bottle again. She carelessly fingered the cap, “Are you sure it wouldn’t be better for me to just take the whole bottle? You wouldn’t have to stand guard every time I have a flare-up. The kids wouldn’t have to see me all puffy and ugly. Mark is young enough to get remarried and live a normal life.”

Mylee turned around swiftly and batted the bottle across the room. She hissed, “Don’t ever think that again. God has big plans for you.”

Abbey shook her head. “Thank you, Mylee, you saved my life. I was letting pity pick apart my soul. The Devil works overtime when I’m at my lowest. I can’t leave my family the legacy of suicide. They would think I lied when I told them God will always give us the strength to endure any problem. Thanks for listening.”

Abbey bowed her head. “Dear Jesus, thank you for providing me my every need. If Mylee hadn’t knocked those pills out of my hand, I would have killed myself. Please forgive me. I know I still have work to do. Amen.”

Abbey scooped up Mylee and scratched her behind her ears. “I think the pain has subsided enough for both of us to get some rest.” Abbey flopped back onto the bed with Mylee on her stomach. After listening to Mylee purr, Abbey closed her eyes and fell asleep.

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This article has been read 769 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jeanne E Webster 10/22/10
Nice story of how important it is to receive support from others. People need "people" everywhere.(Yes, God uses animals to help us too.) Good writing and smooth read. Blessings. :)
AnneRene' Capp10/22/10
I absolutey and positively love this. One moment I'm laughing (because I have cats just like Mylee) and could picture her body language, p e r f e c t l y! Also felt the warmth of her comfort. The next, my heart is thumping to the bottom of my stomach as I feel the depth of your aloneness, discouragement and agony. Great ending too! This was definitely worth the extra one week wait. :)
Tiara Huffman10/24/10
Oh my goodness! the whole time you made me think Mylee was a sweet young lady! but Ladies don't purr! I loved it. Oh sweet Abbey my heart goes out to her,and if Mylee hadn't I WANT to jump in there and knock the pill bottle clear across the room! You did a great job....I almost just gave away the author that would have been bad.
Barbara Lynn Culler10/24/10
I like the way you made Mylee seem like a human at first.

For anyone following your posts on the forum, they would have immediatly known who wrote this piece.

I wonder tho,in this story, is just knocking a bottle of pills out of your hands reason enough to believe you have reason to go on? That is, unless Mylee actually did bat them out, and then I would take that as a sign!

God does have a plan for you, and He is already using you as greeter and an enourager!
Laury Hubrich 10/24/10
Well now, I had no idea it was a pet. Caught me off guard:) I could really relate to Abbey and her pain and thoughts. I think you maybe should have left it hanging, though. You tidied up the story too quickly. Very good writing!
Genia Gilbert10/24/10
Hey... my brain is so dull today that I had to go back an reread it after I realized who Mylee was. Good "conversation" idea! Well written, and point well made about needing to tell things out honestly. I also liked your conclusion that God indeed has a great purpose, even when we can't figure it out.
Carol Penhorwood 10/24/10
I hear the depth of despair and feel for the one who lives with pain. It is not an easy road, but it's a path with many witnesses watching how one deals with pain.

Loved the surprise ending (but then I love cats) but wish it could have been longer so that the "problem" could have been dealt with more completely.
Dee Yoder 10/24/10
I had hints and clues that MAYBE this was a kitty, and I was glad to read it was! I have also had a cat who helped me thorugh some very tough days...nothing like that soft fur and lovely purr to bring solace. And, yes, a conversation with your pet is definitley rewarding. Sometimes, a good vent with a sweet animal kingdom friend is just the right medicine! Enjoyed this sweet and honest read.
Joan Campbell10/24/10
This is filled with so much emotion and depth, that the surprise ending catches your reader completely off guard (unless they are wide awake, which I'm not because it's almost 11 pm here!) I loved it. I also love how you deal with your own struggles through your writing - it's a real blessing to others!
Gregory Kane10/25/10
A lot of people have already commented on the message underpinning this moral tale. Let me then make a comment about sentence structure. Take a fresh look at your story and count how many times you have a sentence beginning with the name Mylee. I appreciate that you are playing a game with the reader but think about using a pronoun a bit more or maybe starting with a participle. Anything really to break up the sense of repetition. Hope this helps. Gregory
Mona Purvis10/25/10
As I read it the second time through, I thought about how little it takes sometimes to make a real difference. You point that out so well. Simple story on the surface, but still waters run deep.

Caitlyn Meissner10/25/10
I thought something was weird at the beginning, but didn't know what it was till the end. Good story! You kept me interested all the way through. :)
Lollie Hofer10/25/10
Not much more I can add that hasn't been said but still wanted to comment. I liked the surprise at the end...I so didn't see it coming. I could hear and feel the anguish of the mc. Some good points were made about your sentence structure. Overall, well done.
Nichole Hall10/25/10
I had no idea Mylee was a cat! That was a sweet surprise. I could relate to the mc's pain as I have an illness that keeps me in bed a lot of the time. I could really relate to the thought process of how the illness effects the rest of the family. As a mom I found that to be a natural feeling. In time I've come to realize that God uses my illness to bless me through my children (especially when I'm having a hard time). Good job writing this in a very realistic way!
Colin Swann10/26/10
A very interesting story of the loving care for another human being who is suffering. Lovely!
Terri Schroeder10/26/10
This story is great. I thought it was a cat right away, then I decided--no, it's not a cat. Then it turns out to be a cat after all! I liked the mystery effect of it. Great story and I can relate--my little fur buddy is a dog though.
Beth LaBuff 10/26/10
I didn't have a clue that it was anyone other than a human until the end. :) I was so intent on concentrating on the pain of your MC, wishing there was relief for her. I'm a cat-lover, so this warmed my heart!
Edmond Ng 10/26/10
It's sad to know a pet is better company than the people we love and care, yet it is out of love we seldom want to trouble people with our cares. A good read with a clear message for all of us to learn to be more sensitive to the needs of others.
T. F. Chezum10/27/10
Very well written. My cat Moose is my fury nurse / guardian. There is definitely a special bond between animal and human ... especially when the human needs extra encouragement.
Loren T. Lowery10/27/10
I see so much potential in this story. I agree with Gregory regarding the overuse of names and substituting pronouns or simply rearranging the sentence structure. I'm a huge fan of those who can write giving animals human qualities(Anthropomorphism) because I truly believe that they can teach us a lot. I hope you keep it up!
Amy Michelle Wiley 10/28/10
Since I know you, I figured out right away that it was an animal, but I'm not sure I would have otherwise. You had a POV switch in the middle of the story, and I agree about the varied sentence structure, but otherwise very well-done. Don't you love how God cares enough about us to even use our pets to reach out to us and show us His love?