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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Expert (09/05/13)

TITLE: The Witness
By Karen Milkiewicz


The clock ticked ominously above her head, counting off the seconds until she’d be called in. She paced the length of the floor, her high heels clicking on the cold, hard tile. Her palms grew clammy and she realized her fists were clenched. Even with the chill of the air-conditioning blasting from the ceiling vents, she felt a bead of sweat dripping down her back. How did she end up here?
She sat on an upholstered bench at the end of the lobby, rubbing her feet. She was not used to wearing heels. She was much more comfortable in her trusty Danskos, shoes meant for standing at the lab bench all day. Her legs began to jump restlessly. She resumed her pacing. Eighteen steps from one end of the lobby to the other. She glanced up at the clock for the hundredth time. Surely they’d be ready for her soon. Her stomach clenched. She sent up a silent prayer. “Lord, help me. Please grant me peace.”
She sat again, this time on the bench at the other side of the room. She stared at a mole on her hand as the clock continued its merciless countdown. She should be prepared; they’d gone over the questions countless times already. Never with him there, though. Not in front of a judge and a room full of people. She didn’t belong here. She belonged back in her lab, where data were just data, and the numbers didn’t spell out life or death. She sat again, her hands shaking. Another prayer, this time more desperate than the first.
“Lord, I am no expert. I don’t deserve to have my words responsible for freeing or convicting a man. Please, Lord, take this from me. I give this trial to you. Let your will be done.”
Her pulse slowed and her breathing now came at a more natural pace. God was in control.
At that moment, the heavy paneled doors leading to the courtroom swung open. A stony-faced man in uniform motioned to her.
“They’re ready for you now.”
She stood, smoothed her skirt, and followed him. The doors swung shut behind them, sealing her inside. There was no turning back. As he led her up the aisle, she stared straight ahead, painfully aware of the crowd around her. She could feel their eyes as she made her way to the front of the room. When she drew close to the defendant’s table, she tensed. Focusing on the witness stand ahead of her, she ignored the faces. Faces she hoped she’d never see again. She reached the place where she was told to stand. With the Lord at her side and a Bible under her hand, she declared:
“I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help me God.”

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This article has been read 253 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Larry Whittington09/12/13
This was a nice short story write.Just enough information was given about the girl for a reader to know who she was and why she would be a witness.

The conclusion was up for the reader to fill in.

Good description of the emotions she had while waiting.
Judith Gayle Smith09/13/13
Excellent! Gripping. I couldn't stop reading it through to the end, which came much too quickly.
Bonnie Bowden 09/14/13
I wanted to write this same story, but I ran out of time to finish it. I love the description of the main character.

More spacing between the paragraphs could help with readability.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/17/13
This is a brilliant take on the topic. You did an outstanding job of building the suspense. I could feel my heart beat harder as I read. The details like sweat and pacing were perfect examples of showing not telling. You could have said She was nervous as she waited. Instead you painted a picture that did a great job of not only showing the nerves, but making me feel it. The only suggestion I would offer would be to break it into smaller paragraphs and double space them to give the reader white space. Overall, I think you nailed it. Many writers struggle with a good ending, especially with the limited word count, but you nailed it.I think this is my favorite so far this week.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/19/13
Congratulations! I really loved this story and hoped it would do well. Not bad for your first entry! I can't wait to read more.
Jan Ackerson 09/23/13
During the break in the Weekly Challenge schedule, I’d like to invite you to the FaithWriters forums, where I’m holding a weekly free “class” in various writing strategies. Participation is strictly voluntary, but I give free and timely feedback on all contributions. I’d love to have you drop by! http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=67