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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)

TITLE: Wilted Roses
By Jessica Schmit


“Hey Joy, nice clown make up! Trying to look like Satan again?!”

“ Clarissa, she is Satan! Joy, You should really try wearing something besides black. It does nothing for your complexion.”

Joy, stone faced, pushed through the crowd of giggling high school girls. Their Cover Girl faces gleamed in mocking delight.

An evil presence danced around the forsaken teen. His cunning voice soothed her enraged feelings.

The time is soon approaching.

Her face darkened with twisted remembrance.

Yes Master. And then we will show them. We’ll show everyone. Joy’s murderous thoughts appeased her troubled mind. Her pale face gave way to a slow smile as her gaze fell upon the inverted pentagram tattooed on her wrist.


Maggie Winther opened the door to her daughters’ room. Caution accompanied her. Her eyes focused on the satanic pictures and symbols which masked the manila walls.

Lord, I’ve lost her. I’ve lost my precious Joy.


With shaking fingers Joy fumbled with her lock combination . Contemptuous voices paraded their sadistic messages to her from the hallways of “Saint Margret’s High School.”

click A low groan escaped from the locker as the metal door opened.

Dark eyes peered inside. Joy’s bony fingers closed around her long black trench coat. A perfect mask to hide her withered body.

The Master's voice returned.

Let us go talk.

Where Master?

At the sacrificial ground. Leave immediately.


A broken mother kneeled beside her daughter’s bed. Lord, please. PLEASE speak to her. Get past the lies she’s believing. Lord, expose the darkness!

Thoughts of a blond little girl skipping with her mom passed through Maggie’s mind. A past not forgotton by the present darkness.


Ashes covered the sacred ground. Joy lit the man made altar.

I am here Joy. What have you brought me?

Evil enshrouded her young face. She slipped her hand into her coat pocket and pulled out a picture.

“Them. I have brought you them.”

Joy grinned as she watched the smiling faces of her classmates be consumed by the crimson flames.

The time is approaching. Are we ready?

“Yes Holy One, we are.”


“Oh God. You breathed life into my little girl. You’ve spoken promises over her. You formed her. Oh God, please show me your plan for her life. I need to know. I need...hope.”


Captivated by the scarlet embers, Joy stretched her fingers to the flames. The smell of burnt flesh tickled her nose. She withdrew her hand. With a clenched fist she tried to squelch the rising pain. Agony continued as the flames turned cold.


“Father, accomplish your purpose in this girls’ life. Satan, you will not succeed! Do you hear me! She is not yours! I speak peace, joy and hope back into Joy in the name of Jesus!” Fiery rose up within the young mother. A godly passion emerged.


Joy’s black fingernails touched the surface of her front door. She glanced at the wilted roses shrugging helplessly in the garden. Weeds had taken their toil on the young beauties.

Something’s wrong. Joy’s mind began to race. Panic ensued.

Nonsense! Go inside Joy. We need to continue planning.

She slowly turned the familiar door knob and stepped inside.


Father, she’s home now. Please speak to my little girl! Maggie finished her prayer as she slipped outside her daughters’ room.


Joy made her way up the stairs. Nausea welled up within her.

Ignore that. Go to your room.

Joy obeyed.

Go see your precious one.

She lifted her mattress to uncover the Colt .45. She stroked the metallic surface. Dark delight flickered in her brown eyes.

Five more days my child. Five more days until we achieve our goal. I am so proud of you.

Remembrance of haughty glances and malicious remarks crashed thunderously in her mind.

Atonement will take place! Your hand shall bring justice. The day approaches when you will be the one they fear.

Joy glanced at her calendar. June 13 was circled in red. Joy’s 16th birthday was scribbled below the date.

What a birthday it will be!

Her fingers caressed the cold metal pistol.


Maggie’s eyes fell on her calendar. June 13. My little girls’ birthday.

Maggie, I am with you. Pray. Pray over that day.

The battle for Joy was just beginning.

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This article has been read 1185 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Paynter05/25/06
Oh, no... you're going to leave us there?! Actually, I love the ending - no easy answers. Great writing, scary story, inspiring example of the mother's prayer; well done.
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/25/06
Woah. Powerful story. My heart shudders for those caught in the trap of Satan. Would that they all had a praying mother.
Sherry Wendling05/26/06
Excellent! Your pen is a powerful crook to pull our heads out of the sand. This is not just a scary story. The issue is real, and it is happening everywhere. Some of these kids don't have praying mothers. May your boldness awaken us to fight for them. You did an absolutely beautiful job!
Melanie Kerr 05/26/06
Excellent! You created tension throughout the story.
James Clem 05/26/06
Very disturbing - which is good writing.
I think a word is missing here: "Fiery rose up within the young mother."
Note: I don't consider this to be on topic. Having a character named Joy does not make it on topic (IMHO of course.)
Very gripping writing - expected to see her 16th birthday fall on Friday the 13th.
Rita Garcia05/27/06
Heart gripping and powerful!
Has the master touch!
Suzanne R05/27/06
Oooh - scary! I like the way you use 'St Margaret's School for the daughter of the godly Maggie. And finishing with the battle for Joy just beginning. Good writing. Just be careful of those apostrophes for possession ("girls' [girl's] life / birthday") - probably just typos.

Good writing.
Jan Ackerson 05/28/06
There's a lot of wonderful stuff here, and to me the best is the ending...the battle for Joy. What a great place to leave it--both suspense and hope.
Joanne Malley05/28/06
Wow! What a dark tale - eerie, but terrific storyline and writing. You did an awesome job! Jo :)
T. F. Chezum05/28/06
WOW! ... Just wow. Excellent! An awesome story.
Anita Neuman05/29/06
I think this was very much on topic - because the spiritual battle for joy is very real and constant. You've done a great job making our hearts break for a very dark character. I pray that I could have this mother's heart for every "Joy" I meet.
Rachel Rudd 05/30/06
Excellent writing-the spiritual battle portrayed is so real in so many kids' lives, except they don't even know it. I liked the ending where the Lord spoke to Maggie...truly, the battle must go on.
Maxx .05/31/06
ooooo.. this is great! Dark storyline, unresolved ending ... did I write this? lol! Actually, I don't think I did because I try to not seperate my stories into sections. Which means that somebody else did! The movement is nice, dark and indirect. There are also some very good pieces of symbolism. Very nice. Adds depth and layers. Don't be afraid to be even more subtle with some of your lines. Over all, most excellent. You wrote a great work! :-)
terri tiffany05/31/06
Wow...it gave me the shivers reading it and that feeling a parent gets for their children in the battle for them to remain in the Lord. I think this was done so well!! Excellent!
Linda Watson Owen05/31/06
Gripping and powerful indeed!! My mind nor my eyes ever wandered from first word to the last! You reached out and grabbed your reader and wouldn't turn loose! Great story...great writer!!
Crista Darr06/02/06
This is great work, as usual for you :-) The only thing that distracted me from this powerful piece is the inconsistencies with the bold face and italics. Sometimes mom's prayers are in italics, sometimes quotes, sometimes bold? Still, this was awesome. Probably lost points on topic, but this piece is so good, you leave the reader wanting another chapter.