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

TITLE: The Oak Wood Crash
By Colin Swann


As a boy, Tim had been a nervous soul who had constantly been picked on. Now a decade on he was still imprisoned in the cocoon of the inhibitions that had woven themselves around him because of the bullying he had received from his peers way back then.

He had come to love his own company best and spent all his time locked away in his cluttered pad. Days of musing passed by with imaginary planning of revenge, but he knew he was too cowardly to face the many who had wounded his soul.

Tim's intentions to act specifically against the offenders had mutated into a general dislike of society. He was planning his action towards a faceless mass. It would all be created around his beloved Oak Wood. This had been a haven for his tortured mind and an escape from the mocking crowd. He had loved to experience the thrill of the noon express speeding along the edge of Oak Wood - but that was some time ago and before he became a fully fledged recluse.

He had decided he would create a catastrophic train crash as a means of vindicating himself against society. It had been in planning for weeks now it was to be put into operation.

He positioned the metal derailing object on the track where it would have most effect. The impact damage it caused was maximised by the derailed train crashing into stout oaks causing the carriages to concertina into a mass of tangled wreckage.

Bodies had become entangled among the mass of iron and wood. Bloodied escapees were fleeing along the line in terror. A man was cradling a lifeless child and a hysterical woman chased after them with flailing arms. A young man and woman, in bloodstained and tattered clothing, fled holding on to each other.

Tim stood there looking transfixed at what he had done. The scene he had created was horrifying but gave him a profound satisfaction that he had power to spawn such chaotic confusion.

After a while the reality of what he had caused began to dawn on him and he fled from the scene. He deeply regretted what he had created and knew he must confess and share the guilt he felt. He rushed to the only contact person he had, his mother, and confessed to what he had created.

They stood together looking at the painting and he asked what she thought of it. Tim was no mean artist and the crash depiction hanging on his wall looked very realistic. She told him it was obnoxious and he needed the canvas smashing over his head.

Tim took to heart what she had suggested and used it to imaginary effect to expunge memories and exorcise revenge demons from his tortured thoughts about the past. One by one each of the guilty ones had the crash painting smashed over their heads. Sometimes his imagination ran riot and he pictured, in his mind's eye, that it was the actual train crash impacting them.

Strangely, this helped to set him free from the prison he had built around himself. He knew that one day that the finality would be to literally smash it over someone.

He loved his mother and would never harm her (or anyone else for that matter) but the final solution was in his own hands and upon his own head.

The smash of that crash knocked him to his senses!

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This article has been read 484 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Catrina Bradley 07/29/11
Wow. I'm literally catching my breath. Looking into this kid's mind is terrifying! The voice was excellent for this narrative tale. The flow was a little rough in a few places - a good smoothing over to tighten up some sentences would make this piece even stronger. Still, as it is, it's FABULOUS!
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/29/11
What a tortured mind you reveal in your mc. I was fooled, at first, to think he actually caused a train to crash; it was creative to show his desire for revenge in a painting. Some haunting sentences here...
Noel Mitaxa 07/30/11
Very scary stuff in the whole build-up to "the scene he had created." That line really reeled me in, though I wondered how fleeing to his mother was going to fix him up. And as it turned out, he was fixed up more "easely" than I'd suspected. Still, it's a sign that creativity can emerge from a painful past.
Very well done.
Laury Hubrich 08/02/11
Looking into teenager's lives is a very scary thing. You did a nice job doing just that.
Loren T. Lowery08/03/11
I've read that depicting such thoughts that can run wild in one's head is a good and therapeutic way to expunge them from our selves. I think your story does a good job of reflecting this. I liked, too, the way you told the story from the MC point of view. It gave the reader an intimate (leading to a sympathetic ear)to the young man's life.
diana kay08/04/11
great writing and i liked the twists and turns... The oak wood seemed to have many layers of significance and i wondered if you might draw that out.... I am glad he expressed his anger through painting rather than "real life destruction" but you brought out well how revenge can punish the person who is holding the grudges. Glad you moved this on to a hopeful conclusion.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/06/11
Congratulations for ranking 8th in level 3.