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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Click (04/18/13)

TITLE: The Secret Room
By Vince Martella


“…seven, eight, nine, and ten. Ready or not, here I come.”

Diego ran past the corner bodega, down an alley and thru a doorway next to Mr. Chang’s restaurant. He loved this afternoon ritual with his friends. Being latchkey kids, they had a glorious hour or so of freedom until their moms came home. They were, for this precious short time, the masters of their destiny.

Manny was “it” today. Diego had spent the entire school day thinking about this game and his special hiding spot. He had found it last week while running errands for his mom. He had never seen the door before; he figured there must have been something in front of it that was recently removed.

Diego carefully turned the knob and slipped inside. At the end of a long corridor was a set of stairs leading to a basement. A small door stood at the bottom of the landing. Diego crept down the stairs quietly, opened the door quickly and stepped inside.

The room was dark and damp. For a moment Diego felt a tingle of fear, like a cold, clammy hand, rise up his spine. A small, darkened window let in a weak shaft of light; just enough to cast an eerie shadow or two. Diego gulped hard and quelled his fear. He sat quietly until he could hear nothing but silence.

“Welcome to my humble abode,” said a voice in a darkened corner.

Diego screamed and jumped back into the door. It creaked closed and latched with a deafening “click”. He grabbed the handle and pulled frantically, but the door was locked. He began to shake and cry and pull with all his might, but it wouldn’t budge. He spun around and tried to pinpoint where the voice came from. Three sides of the room were in complete darkness. Diego huddled in the shadowed corner and spoke at the room.

“Stay away from me. Don’t come any closer.”

“Well, that’s no way to treat a man in his own residence," the stranger said. "I don’t remember inviting any guests, but I’m glad you dropped in. Make yourself at home.”

Diego could feel the hair stand on the back of his neck. The voice sounded distant and to his left. It was calm and soothing, yet sinister.

“My name is Malcolm,” said the stranger. “You might as well get comfortable, because you’re going to be here for a while. There’s no way out. Just relax. You and I are going to have a good time together.”

Diego jumped up and began to scream for help.

“Listen to me”, Malcolm said sternly. “If you don’t shut up and sit down right now, I’m going to come over there and things are going to get ugly.”

Diego slumped to the ground and whimpered quietly.

“That’s better,” Malcolm said softly. "Now, why don’t you come closer so I can get a better look at you?”

Diego shuddered. His eyes desperately searched the room for a way of escape. He began to panic as fear gripped his chest and he struggled to breathe.

“Didn’t you hear me?” Malcolm’s voice was raspy and agitated. “I want you to take your shirt off and come over here now, or I’m coming over there after you. If you make me come get you, you’re going to make me very angry.”

Diego was paralyzed with fear. He couldn’t move if he wanted to. He heard Malcolm begin to stir. He shut his eyes tightly and prayed. A Scripture verse suddenly came to mind, “Whatsoever things you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever things you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

With his eyes closed and with as much desperation as authority, Diego cried out, “In the Name of Jesus I bind you, you evil spirit and I loose this door right now.”

The room went deathly quiet and Diego opened his eyes.

“That’s it?” howled Malcolm. “That’s all you’ve got? I’m coming over there now and I’ll show you some binding.”

Diego spun around toward the door and caught a glint on the door frame. A silver key hung from a nail! Diego grabbed it and unlocked the door.

As light flooded in from the hallway Diego could see a chain link fence framed the left wall, and Malcolm was on the other side.

He realized Malcolm was indeed bound and he remembered another Scripture: “The devil is a liar...”

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This article has been read 381 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Christina Banks 04/28/13
Wow! That was edgy, and a bit darker than most things I enjoy reading. I like the way you ended it. It all could have gone so badly.
lynn gipson 04/28/13
You had me at hello on this one. On the edge of my seat. I felt Diego's fear and will remember the verse he said. You have a great way with suspense and story telling. Well done!
Judith Gayle Smith04/28/13
My heart is beating in overtime! What a story! You write so beautifully, and your characters and surroundings just grab me, along with your superb descriptions. imho - this is a winner . . .
Judith Gayle Smith04/28/13
My heart is beating in overtime! What a story! You write so beautifully, and your characters and surroundings just grab me, along with your superb descriptions. imho - this is a winner . . .
Virgil Youngblood 04/28/13
I like the suspense you created. You asked for red ink so I note this: Early in the story you wrote "...window let in a weak shaft of light; just enough to cast an eerie shadow or two. But later you wrote (MC standing in the same open doorway) "As light flooded in from the hallway he could see ... chain link fence..." Why, then, could he not see it earlier? Perhaps, I missed something. Overall, a well crafted story.
Cinda Carter04/29/13
I usually don't read stories quite like this one but you made it so vivid in my mind. As Christians we have the authority to bind and loose through the name of Jesus Christ. I find this to be our Spiritual Warfare with evil spirits, seen or not seen. It was a story well told and it kept you on the edge.
Cheryl Harrison04/29/13
Yikes. Creepy, but I read it all the way through. I wanted out of that basement! Keep writing.
Alicia Renkema04/29/13
This was so scary!! My stomach was lurching all the way through. Talk about riveting, knee-knocking, and having all your emotions tied up in your throat? Oh my gosh... This was perfect for the topic and extremely well written, now I just have to say, be still my beating heart. The scriptures were so perfect for this piece. Thank you for the needed reminder that as we apply His word the devil really is under our feet. He certainly is a liar and God's precious truth wins every time.
Loren T. Lowery05/01/13
You handled this so well. I was riveted to the unfolding events, wondering how it would all work out - secretly glad this is workshop for Christian writers! You are master at suspense and character/scene development.
Bea Edwards 05/01/13
Oh so spooky. I was so relieved when your MC self rescued himself with scripture!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/01/13
Wow this is a powerful story. you had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up.
Sheldon Bass 05/02/13
Excellent piece, very captivating! Congrats on your Highly Commended! I felt that it might have ended just a touch too abruptly, but maybe that's just me. I could feel the clammy hand of fear myself, good job.
lynn gipson 05/02/13
Congratulations on you HC! Well done.
Alicia Renkema05/02/13
As I think you know, your writing is among my favorite at FW. This was another excellent piece, and a real nail -biter. Congrats on this well deserved HC. Blessings...
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/02/13
Congratulations on placing 4 in your level and 13 overall! (The highest rankings can be found on the message boards at http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=55&t=36971&sid=fc51905b09e1c3a6153917b33a0614a4 )
Claudia Thomason05/03/13
Gripping, scary, riveting, but I couldn't look away. Great job. Congratulations on your HC ranking.