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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: End (02/13/06)

TITLE: The Appointment
By Crista Darr


Jake races the Camaro down the treacherous mountain road. Magnificent pines rise above the plunging cliffs, hiding the sun. The mouth of the canyon longs to swallow him into darkness.

Drive off the edge of the cliff, Jake.

The tires screech around each corner, blending with the taunting voices.

You worthless coward.

He turns up the music and rounds the last curves to home.

Old man Nelson waves as Jake steps out of his car.

There’s that self-righteous old man again.

“Jake, I’ve got something for you.”

Mr. Nelson shuffles toward him, a book tucked under his arm.

It’s a Bible! That crazy old man is giving you a Bible. Tell him to get lost.

Nelson extends his arm, presenting the book.

Jake puts on his best smile, “Oh no, Mr. Nelson, I don’t want your Bible. You keep it.”

“Jake, I believe the Lord is telling me to give this to you.”

He’s a kook. Now he’s hearing things.

“So am I,” Jake mutters.

“What?” Nelson says, “What did you say, son?”

“Oh nothing, sir,” he reaches out to take the book. “Thanks. That’s very kind of you.”

Tell him, Jake. Tell him he’s a lunatic and God is dead. Throw that book of lies on the ground and spit on it.

Jake shakes his head as if trying to be freed from a noose. He looks at Nelson. The old man’s eyes seem to bore into his soul. Jake shudders.

“Are you all right? You don’t look so good.”

“I just need some rest. Um…I gotta go now.”

You idiot! Just get a gun and shoot yourself.

Jake walks to the door.

“I’m praying for you, Jake.”

He steps inside without looking back and throws the book to the floor.

You are a failure. Get your rifle, load it, and finish this.

“I hate living,” Jake says.

The demons encircle him, mocking, knowing their victory is near. They enter him, their claws slicing into his heart, pulling him down into the pit of despair.

If you were dead your misery would be over.

“Shut up! Just shut up!” Jake’s shout echoes off the walls.

A gentle wind blows from the Nelson home, wafting into Jake’s open windows. The curtains rustle as the angels, carried on the breeze, enter the room. The Bible flutters open. The demons tremble.

Jake looks at the Bible, its pages turning as if alive. He kneels beside the tattered book.

No! No! Don’t lower yourself to that nonsense.

His hand jerks forward as if pulled by some unseen force. He runs his fingers over the worn pages and wonders, “Is there hope?”

Pulling the book into his lap, he reads, “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”

Jake slams the book closed. Fury rises up inside of him. “Why is it always about judgment? What kind of God are you anyway? Standing up there with a club ready to clobber everyone.”

Jake moves to the gun cabinet. He pauses at the sight of his reflection in the glass doors.

“Who am I?” His handsome face has impressed many. The corporate ladder was an easy climb, but fraud tainted every step. As he stares at his reflection, his face contorts into a gruesome monster. His eyes glow blood red. His lips curl into a snarl.

Jake shatters the glass with his fist and grabs a rifle.

A gust moves across the room. “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”

“Leave me alone! Just leave me alone!”

Hurry up! Load the rifle. Your torment will be over in a second.

“Is death really the end?” he wonders. “Is there a Hell?”

Jake drops the rifle. He falls to the ground, sobbing into his hands.

The angels surround him, pulling the claws of darkness from his breaking heart.

He crawls across the floor to the Bible. A gold inscription graces its leather cover – “David Nelson.”

Jake remembers the kind old man’s words, “I’m praying for you.”

He picks up the gift and turns its pages. A verse highlighted in yellow glows in the sunlight, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

“Can it be that easy? Can God save me from myself? Can he save me from Hell?”

The demon voices are silent. Jake feels something new. It is hope.

“Lord Jesus, please forgive me. Please help me.”

The angels rejoice as the Father says, “Yes.”

*Hebrews 9:27-NASB
**Romans 10:13-NASB

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This article has been read 1019 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anita Neuman02/20/06
Great story! Watch out for point-of-view shifts - you moved into the mind of the demons and the angels. It wasn't enough to distract from the flow of the story, but it is a technical detail to watch for. I loved the line "Don’t lower yourself to that nonsense." - what a clever picture!
Debbie OConnor02/20/06
Well done. I love the insight you give into the mind of the demons and their determination to destroy Jake. I think your POV is fine. I had no trouble following the story. I love the scripture that pierces Jake's thoughts. The Word of God is sharper than a double-edged sword...nothing else can penetrate that kind of darkness.
Maxx .02/21/06
The message is right on. The saving Grace of God! Woo-Hoo! The presentation through the dialogue made this sing right along. Crisp and direct. Very strong story. Good job!
James Clem 02/21/06
Good dialogue - excellent fast paced flow. The Bible falling open mechanism reminded me of a story where someone is opening the Bible randomly to hear God speak and turns to the passage: "and Judas went out and hung himself." The next random opening found the verse, "go and do likewise."
Jake was luckier than that guy. Good job.
Lynda Lee Schab 02/21/06
Excellent entry. As mentioned above, it was fast-paced and flowed smoothly. Present tense is difficult to write but you did it expertly. Great job with the silent dialogue. A contender this week, for sure. :-)
Jan Ackerson 02/22/06
"...The angels surround him, pulling the claws of darkness from his breaking heart..."

This was a great sentence, in a very powerful and well-written story!
Shari Armstrong 02/22/06
Very powerful - wow
Pat Guy 02/23/06
Very well done - good flow - great visuals! Beautiful, terrifying and victorious! Amen!
Linda Watson Owen02/23/06
Yes to all above! And I too especially liked the Bible opening and the pages moving like it was alive. Great story and so skillfully written!!
Julianne Jones02/24/06
The pictures you painted with your words were extremely powerful and moving. So many lines I loved - too many to list. Great writing. Well done.
Carla Feagans02/27/06
I agree with the previous comments, you did a great job with this. It was very fast-paced and moved right along, which can be difficult with so much internal dialogue. Many great lines, and I loved the addition of envisioning the demons and angels as part of the scene.
Phyllis Inniss02/27/06
I agree with the above comments. A truly great story.
Suzanne R02/27/06
I love 'happy ending' stories :-) And this was a beauty. The best part about it is that in God, this is a truly feasible story. Great work as always, Crista!