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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Start (01/16/06)

TITLE: The Scent
By Pat Guy


She had no warning that something like this would happen.


The arms of a stranger – cold and eager … what did it matter? It’s just a body. A commodity. An art she developed dispassionately. And she found herself a nitch. Not on the streets, but with a friend, who told a friend, who told a friend, until one of the ‘friends’ wanted to pay for it all. She had hit pay-dirt.


An unfamiliar sound brought her back to the hospital room she occupied – for who knows how long? She never cared for doctors, so she never went to one. She figured she’d just walk in, get it over with, and leave.


Get it over with and leave. It’s what he did when she was a kid – then the tables got turned. She'd paid a high price because of that Jerk; now they all had to pay a high price for her. Anger had protected her – contempt became companion and solace.


A knock on the door released Leah from the stupor of her thoughts.

‘Yeah? Who is it?’

‘Miss Connell? My name is Kayla Torres. I’m from Trinity Church. May I come in? If you’re resting, I’ll just leave my card on this table in case you need anything later on.’

‘No, it’s ok. What’d you want?’

‘We have a New Mommies Ministry where …’

Mommy? Leah was off again while this lady rambled on.

She looked at the living bundle squirming in her arms. The scent of new life – the fragrance of new purity shot through her like a bolt. She had no warning that something like this would happen.

A protective rage coursed through her veins as she tightened her hold on this tiny human with tiny fingers and toes. She brushed the softness of fine baby curls across her cheek.

Words like precious, sweet, innocent … helpless, came flooding back from long forgotten fairytales and poured over this … this … rosebud. She looked like a little pink Rosebud.

All her senses absorbed the wonder of such pure beauty and trust. No one … NO one … was EVER going to take her away. And no one … NO one … was EVER going to touch … her baby … her little girl. How could anyone ever do those…?

Leah’s legs began to shake. Heart pounding, she felt her arms weakening. The thought came quick – terrifying, I can’t breathe! Blinking, Leah tried to clear the blur of her baby’s face while she tried to control her voice. But her words sounded muted and far away, ‘Lady, I don’t know what you’re sayin or why you’re here, but if you can help me – I need help … now.’

Rushing to Leah’s side Kayla whispered, ‘Do you want me to get the nurse?’

‘No! No nurses! No Doctors! I don’t want ‘em!’

Kayla spoke calm and soothing as she directed Leah’s attention to the baby beginning to respond to her mother’s fear, ‘What’s her name?’

Name? She had no clue what to name a baby! With her thoughts diverted back from whatever caused this unexpected terror, Leah answered through the fog still clouding her mind, ‘Um … I haven’t decided yet. I was thinking … maybe … Rose. But no, no kid is called Rose. You said you’re from the church? The only thing I remember about the Bible is Genesis and the Adam and Eve thing. Jenny kinda sounds like Genesis – kinda like the beginning. You know … like the beginning of the Bible … but …’

Her words came soft and slow now, as she looked at her baby sleeping so peacefully – so relaxed. She lifted her close to her lips inhaling deep and sure, her own eyes closing – enraptured by the pure scent of new life, ‘Like … the beginning of something new – like maybe … Jenny Rose.

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This article has been read 1160 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sally Hanan01/23/06
I enjoyed this from ' a knock at the door' but the intro ws too scattered for me to understand where she was coming from. One thing I've learned here is that you can never assume that readers know what you're talking about, you have to spell out everything.
Amy Michelle Wiley 01/24/06
I think I figured out most of what happened in the first part and the last part was great!! Wonderful story!
Marilyn Schnepp 01/26/06
Perhaps I'm missing something here; I can't seem to put the puzzle together...scent, start, early years; however, the story does have its touching moments - I just can't seem to grasp the meaning. Thank you for sharing your obvious talent with us.
Cassie Memmer01/26/06
Thought and feelings were evoked by this entry. I was a bit confused by the statements: She had no warning that something like this would happen. I had to reread some parts a few times to get a handle on her history. But I think it was a heart-wrenching story. I kept thinking, someone needs to help her to deal with her past so she can live in her present. Without a word limit you might fill in some gaps and make it even more beautiful!

Shari Armstrong 01/26/06
What a journey -don't drop the first part. Without the dark, the light doesn't shine!
Jan Ackerson 01/26/06
I think this is an awesome piece of writing, Pat. Very powerful, one of my favorites of yours.
Laurie Glass 01/26/06
I think that without the beginning, the rest wouldn't have as much meaning. Your beautifully written words painted pictures and I could "feel" the new hope springing up at the end. Very touching.
Pat Guy 01/26/06
Since we know I wrote this - I have a suggestion for anyone else who reads this. How about if the opening sentence is expanded just a little to set up the scene in the hospital? (I think so)

I like this one and would like to fix it. Thanks!
Crista Darr01/27/06
Pat, at first I thought she had an abortion. I do see a girl hurt by immorality - the party, the relative? I think we need a little bit more information in the intro, but keep it intriguing. The rest of the story is FANTASTIC. I hope you do perfect this piece.
Val Clark01/27/06
I'd leave in the beginning but make the second flash back a little less obscure. Is there some way you can do it without using the words 'flashback'? It's a powerful piece and I think that you have captured the characters confusion and fear really well. Yeggy
Val Clark01/27/06
PS Good on you for trying something different.
Julianne Jones01/27/06
Ok, I'm gonna go against the flow. I say leave it. Don't change anything except perhaps to omit the words 'flashback' and perhaps use italics instead. I thought it was great, had no problems 'getting it' and just loved the phrase "the fragrance of new purity". To me this seemed to be what the whole piece pivoted on. Great writing. No, exceptional writing. Well done.
Debbie Sickler01/28/06
This was interesting to read, but the sketchy details and flash backs left me a little confused in the beginning. I agree that this would be better if you used italics instead of the words flash back. It would be less distracting and keep the reader in the moment more.

I liked the way you portrayed the fear of a new mother, heightened by her troubled past. She was easy to relate to and feel for. And I loved the name Jenny Rose. It's pretty and great story behind it.

Let us know when you post the revised version! I'd love to read it.
Sandra Petersen 01/28/06
I wondered about the beginning of this story. Was Leah a prostitute, or just a teenager who had fooled around once too often? I think the former because of the reference to the 'high price' they had to pay for her.
In the second paragraph you meant 'niche', not 'nitch'.
I liked how you got Leah around to identifying with her newborn daughter and giving her a meaningful name. Oh, that more in the church would reach out to the hurting ones before they become hardened and suspicious! Thank you, Pat!
Candice Kettell01/28/06
The flash backs didn't throw me personally. I could however see where you 'could' aproach the flash backs differently. That said *Big smile* I loved it. A young girl raped, going down a dank road after, becoming a hooker later, finding herself with an unwanted pregnancy, despair, THEN it happened all at once. She was a mommy. This is HER baby. And all those instincts kicked in for her all at once, overwhelming her. Personally I would like to see this story expanded. More details. Something you obviously could not get squeezed into a challenge entry lol.
Maxx .01/28/06
Hmm, the story started at "There was a knock at the door" Everything before gets lost and doesn't help. The reader picks up at the door and runs with it from there. The info up top is important, so work it into the body of the text. Don't seperate it out. Your writing is great, as usual... so use those skills to build those flashbacks in later.

Great trying something different!
Linda Watson Owen01/29/06
Pat, this is wonderful. I didn't have any trouble understanding it. Your weaving of the emotional dimensions in your MC is stellar!
Suzanne R01/31/06
The scent ... of something new ... new life ... Jenny
Rose ... beautiful! Just beautiful.