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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of ďAll that Glitters is Not GoldĒ (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)

TITLE: Lucky
By Hanne Moon


My ďsistersĒ all tell me how lucky I am. Theyíre giggling and laughing as they run the water for my bath, fix my hair, and lay out the clothes that Iíll need for this special night. Iíll be dressed in white, like a bride. I should be excited, but Iím just scared.

Iíve never been lucky before. I donít guess my life was really bad, itís just Iíve always felt like background noise. Iíve never felt like anyone really loved me. My granny did, but she died several years ago. I was the middle child, and it seemed that I was easy to overlook.

And then one day I met Marsha, and she and I became friends. She told me about Father, and her ďfamilyĒ, and how Father loved them all so much. Just once I wanted to be loved like that, to feel as special as Marsha felt.

I started going to services at Heavenís Temple. It was kind of weird. It wasnít really a church, like granny used to take me to. It was more of a community, where everyone lived together. When I first met Father, the thing I noticed was his gentle smile, and the kindness in his eyes. He sat down with me and asked about my friends, my family and how I was doing in school. He looked at me when I talked.

I wanted to cry right there. I never wanted to leave

It wouldíve been nice if daddy had put down the evening paper just once to ask about my new friend, or if momma would have slowed down just a little and expressed an interest in what I was doing. Neither of them noticed, and I felt myself drawing away from them little by little.

Then one day Marsha invited me to spend the weekend with her at the temple. Mom and dad didnít even ask who Marsha was when I told them. I guess they figured I was 17, and grown up enough to take care of myself.

That night Marsha told me that Father thought very highly of me. He said I had a wonderful mind for spiritual things and that I would be a welcome addition to their community.

I never went home to pack my clothes.

Father has made it a point to see to it that Iím completely educated in the ways of our faith. Sometimes after services heíll take me off to the side and sit with me, his arm around my shoulder as he talks about the revelations and insights heís receiving from God.

Everyone tells me how lucky I am to have Fatherís undivided attention. Lately, however, Iíve become somewhat unsettled in Fatherís presence. Donít misunderstand Ė he has never hurt me. Iím just not sure whatís expected of me.

Or I donít want to take that thought to its logical conclusion.

When Marsha came to me this morning and said that Father wanted to see me this evening, I wasnít entirely surprised. She told me that Father thought it was time I was fully brought into the community.

ďDo you know how lucky you are?Ē she said. I should have been grateful, but I was only terrified.

Now as I put on the dress, I feel icy fingers of fear tap dancing up and down my spine. I canít stop shaking. Iíve burnt all my bridges with my past, and thereís no where to go. I feel like a lamb being led to the slaughter when Marsha comes to get me.

Father opens the door to his room. He runs his eyes up and down the dress, appraising me. He smiles and holds out his hand. I take it, mine ice cold in his.

ďDo you know how lucky you are to be a part of this work Iím doing?Ē he asks as he shuts the door behind him.

Funny, I donít feel lucky.

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This article has been read 976 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 02/02/08
Ooooh - this is masterfully creepy and haunting. You absolutely sent chills up my spine. You have an absolute gift for insinuating what is going on without telling. I could learn a lot from you. Absolutely excellent.
Holly Westefeld02/04/08
Chilling. What more can I say.
Mary Hackett02/04/08
Oh, how frightening that her parents are so blind!!! And I'd have to agree with the other comment--your ability to foreshadow evil without actually getting down to details is enviable. This story drew me in right away and scared me. It captured the feel of a cult, too.
Sherry Castelluccio 02/04/08
Yes, this was brilliant and very chilling. Well done.
Mary Barrow Little02/05/08
You exposed the dynamics of cult recruitment expertly. Good writing!
Debbie Wistrom02/05/08
Wow. I see why Joanne picked this, I think we may see a placement here as well. So sad and so real. Especailly loved the last line. Keep up the good words.
Jan Ackerson 02/05/08
Wow, this is powerful! Excellent writing, bringing us right into this poor girl's heart.
Karen Wilber02/06/08
Excellent writing. You really captured her fear. Good explanation of how some get lured into cults. Great example of the topic.
Tim Pickl02/06/08
Wow! This one reads like a chapter from a novel. Excellent writing....but a scary story!
Joy Faire Stewart02/06/08
This is so haunting and sad. You draw your reader into the emotions. Excellent!
Betty Castleberry02/06/08
Well, "Father" is a real creep, to put it bluntly. Very well told, and your point was well made. You did a great job with this.
Julie Ruspoli02/06/08
Such an emotionally stirring story. Well written. Right on topic.
LauraLee Shaw02/06/08
This gave me chills. I like the way you went from larger paragraphs to one lines. You somehow managed to pack a lot of emotion in a short amount of time. Great job.
Sara Harricharan 02/06/08
Your last line is really powerful. It adds to the haunting feel of this piece. I was with her, wishing that it wouldn't come out to be a fraud, but it did. You made me care about her and especially connect, knowing how difficult it is to be the middle child. Excellent writing! ^_^
Loren T. Lowery02/06/08
I don't think there can be a finer example of the importance of family than what you have just written.
Your writing was tight and suspensful, leading to an unexpected but believable ending.
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/06/08
What a sad, sad story presented perfectly. You hit the topic exactly.
Laury Hubrich 02/06/08
Wow! What great writing! I was immediately drawn in. Wonderful job!
Corinne Smelker 02/06/08
Creepy, but good.

This is 'real' writing - I am so glad to see us as Christians not always have sappy sweet stories with happy endings.
Sheri Gordon02/06/08
Very good writing -- and a very strong message. The POV voice is perfect. Excellent example of the topic.
Dee Yoder 02/06/08
Great suspense elements in this story. It has just the right kind of ominous background without being too obvious that something evil is about to happen.
Kristen Hester02/06/08
Very well written. I felt the fear like I was there, about to be led into the room. You did a great job putting the reader "there." This is very creepy and very powerful. It's also a good message for us parents to give our children the attention they need and deserve. Bravo.
LauraLee Shaw02/08/08
Congratulations on a well-deserved 3rd place!!!! :)