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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Comedy of Errors (not about the play) (08/18/11)

TITLE: It is not Good that a Hand Should Be Alone Pt. 2: A Comedy of Terrors
By Troy Manning


After arriving home, the doctor set Warren’s hand on the arm of his sofa and went into the kitchen for cookies and soda water. When he returned, the hand was missing.

The doctor searched high and low for Warren’s extremity and even called him to see if perchance it had returned to his house. Given the fact that they lived more than a mile apart, the doctor knew how stupid his question must have seemed to Warren. Even a pedestrian would not be able to cross such great a distance in so short a time, let alone a hand. Still, the doctor held the line while Warren looked around his home.

“It’s not here.”

“No, I didn’t suppose it would be,” admitted the doctor. “If it does show up, would you please give me a call?”

“I’ll do that,” Warren said. “I didn’t really want you to take it though. Sometimes it takes trying to do without something to make you see how much you really depend on it.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll return it to you,” the doctor said. “But I would like to run a few tests on it first.”


The doctor hung up the phone and looked back over some of the low places then sat down and ate one of the cookies. He was about to turn on his television when he heard some scratching sounds. Was that his cat?

Yes, it was his cat. His cat scratched again and the doctor got up to open the sliding door. As he started toward it, he discovered that he was unable to move his back leg. Was that Warren’s hand holding his leg? No, his pant leg had somehow gotten attached to the bottom of the lamp-stand. As he reached down to free it, he again heard the scratching sounds.

Upon entering, Bluebell immediately went to the doctor’s leg and began sniffing it. She then began to hiss loudly. This struck the doctor as strange because, even if it were Warren’s dismembered hand that she smelled, why would she perceive a human hand as threatening? He began to wonder if Bluebell had been abused as a kitten before he got her and then he drank some soda water.

The sound of knocking at the front door was both too loud and too high up to have as its origination a severed hand. The doctor opened the door to find a very distressed Warren. It seemed that his hand had returned and was quite beside itself. It discovered that Warren had thrown away the story it was writing and, due to its detached condition, it lacked the faculties with which to recall much of it. Warren showed the doctor the pen marks up and down his arm where his hand had stabbed him.

After cleaning Warren’s arm with peroxide, the doctor accompanied him back to his home to try and talk to the hand. What the hand lacked in arm-strength, it made up for by the sharpness of the objects it selected for tossing. A letter opener stuck fast in the doctor’s ear, causing his mouth to cry out and his eyes to water. Warren helped him extract the projectile and held on to it so that the doctor wouldn’t use it to maim Warren’s hand further in a fit of pain and passion.

After getting the doctor seated and calmed, Warren spoke with the doctor about re-attaching his hand without waiting to take it in for an examination. Warren then went into the kitchen to see if he could find some cookies for the doctor while his hand went to find some peroxide.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Cheryl von Drehle08/26/11
A+ for creative whimsy. I especially liked the part about throwing away the story the hand wrote. One suggestion: think about re-working the ending so it is more climactic… needs a surprise twist, so you end on a high note rather than just abruptly. You did a good job of describing what the disembodied hand could and could not do. Work with that more. Fun story.
Danielle King 08/27/11
I agree with the above comment. This was very creative and written in a way that held my interest and curiosity in wondering what was going to be the outcome of the detached hand. But then in the last paragraph it sort of tapered off rather than having a surprise punch line. However very original and appropriate for the topic. Well done!
Tom Parsons 08/28/11
This made me laugh out loud (I don't do abbreviations like LOL!), and wANTED to "give you a hand" at the end.

I agree with the other comments. The ending is a bit abrupt; the story needs a stronger punch line at the end. Perhaps you should put the hand in a boxing glove to achieve this!

Sorry. I couldn't resist that.