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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Crime and Punishment (not about the book) (07/21/11)

TITLE: I Hate My Job
By Clyde Blakely


“No word from the Governor, I’m sorry.”

I hate this job, how many over the years has it been? It doesn’t get any easier. Especially when they’ve been here for so long, a listener observes.

“How long until…?”

“A minute after midnight.”

Quick glances of the clock.

“What do I need to do?”

“Have you gone to the bathroom?”

“I suppose I better, it was a big meal and I wouldn’t want you to have to clean it up,” a hint of a smile accompanies the twinkle in the eyes.

“I’ve got to know you over the years; still have the sense of humor. How’s your faith holding up?”

“I’m ready.”

Even though I don’t like what I do, it is so much easier when I hear this. I know there is always fear but just knowing what lies on the other side for someone in this place reduces the stress.

“I’ll be back when you’re done. Do you mind if we pray when I return?”

“You don’t have to ask. You’re the one who taught me how.”

Thank You Lord. You have assigned me this work to do and You make it easier during times like this.

“Okay, I’m ready. Can you come into the cell? Kneel with me?”

“You know the rules. We have to kneel together with the bars between us.”

“Okay. But this is the last time we will praise our Saviour together with bars between us,” the twinkle returns.

Two believers, one a free man, the other soon to be free, worship the Great Forgiver. One man the enforcer of “the law”, one no longer under the “law of sin and death.” Both scheduled for “life” with one’s appointed time known.

“I’m sorry to have to break this up, you two, but we need to keep on schedule,” the warden arrives.

Through the bars hands clasp harder, heads rise to meet tearing eyes. Tears of joy and sorrow.

The separation will be short. Too short.

Cuffed hands and feet, the slow pace gives all time to reflect. The door with the big window opens.

“Does ‘Old Sparky’ really spark?” Forcing a smile.

“Friend, if it does, it will be the closest to fire you will ever experience,” genuine smiles greet moist eyes.

“Old Sparky.” I hate that name but how he mentioned it I’m more comfortable with sending this one off…power me up!

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This article has been read 442 times
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Brenda Shipman 07/28/11
Couldn't quite figure out if the condemned man's friend was a chaplain in the prison, a guard on death row, or one of the men to operate "old sparky." Whatever the relationship, you effectively portrayed the tenderness of their bond and shared anticipation of spending eternity together. Dialogue seemed genuine. Whole scene reminded me of "The Green Mile" - but infused with faith, hope and love.
C D Swanson 07/29/11
Poignant dialogue between the prisoner and the other man, which I presume, in my mind is the chaplain; I like how you never defined who he actually was, it was the reader's choice, open to interpretation. Good job - especially the part of "being free shortly" obvious that he accepted Christ and repented. I liked it, reminded me of an old time novel. God Bless you~
Leola Ogle 07/29/11
Excellent, heart wrenching story. Well written. Thanks for sharing. God bless!
Linda Goergen08/03/11
So much emotion and vision put into the conversation and perspectives – love how this shows how differently death can be viewed with God in your heart! Good job on this!
Linda Goergen08/04/11
Congratulations on your third place win – I am so happy to see your story, where you brought 1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? alive in story form, be a winner! So well deserved! Happy for you!
Noel Mitaxa 08/04/11
Obviously your hatred of your work is not shared by the judge!!! Congratulations on your placing for a well-crafted entry.