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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Fire-fighter (10/05/06)

TITLE: A Brothers Love
By
10/10/06


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The call came through at 5:00 am. Fire-fighter Joe gave final instructions to Marcus. Fire evacuation warnings continued broadcasting over radio stations. The air-conditioner struggled against the rising temperature. The smell of smoke hung in the air.

“Marcus, please be careful. Leave immediately you hear the evacuation orders. I’ll be praying for you.”

“You be careful too, Joe.”

The brothers had been through a lot together. They would get through this. Joe drove to headquarters where the other fire-fighters were ready to leave.


Fire raged through acres of trees like flaming torches exploding relentlessly throughout the day. Joe wiped his face on his sleeve. His fire retardant overalls clung to his overheated body. Perspiration trickled from beneath his helmet, stinging already reddened eyes. The mercury had crept above the forecast maximum by mid-morning and kept rising. Joe’s two-way radio crackled constant messages reporting enormous smoke clouds blanketing the city. Someone yelled to Joe above the roar of the fire. Joe turned to see his Captain approaching. He was stooped over covering his face with a filthy handkerchief.

“Joe, we have to move back.” He choked.

Joe whistled, motioning the crew back. One fire-fighter collapsed before reaching them. Joe raced over and assisted him to the tanker. The Captain handed out fresh water bottles and shouted instructions above the deafening roar.

“There’s a cross wind and we’re right smack in the middle of two fire walls. Houses are directly in its path but we won’t get there in time. Another crew was sent out an hour ago, no one’s heard from them since. We’ll head east toward the city. Let’s pray we can get there in time to help prevent the fire jumping the highway.”

“We have to get out of here first,” yelled one of the crew.

“We will.” Joe sent up a desperate prayer.

Flames blazed on both sides of the fire trail and smoke threatened to stall the engine. The five fire-fighters huddled closely in the three seater cabin. Joe didn’t expect anyone to ride on the back. Visibility was virtually zero. The Captain continued to drive blindly in the direction of the highway.

“Look out!” Joe yelled.

An eagle flew directly into the windscreen with a loud crack. The bird fell away smearing blood down the cracked glass.

“Turn left now.” Joe gave further directions onto the highway and they sped towards the city. Lights flashed and sirens screamed.


Teams of fire-fighters were flown in by military aircraft. Volunteers supplied sandwiches and drinks for the dehydrating men and women. Telephones were installed at base camp so fire-fighters and volunteers could be connected to loved ones. Joe could not contact Marcus. He prayed, remembering the tragic car accident that took the lives of their parents two years earlier. Marcus was fifteen at the time, Joe was twenty three. “Lord, please be with Marcus.”

Joe’s crew rested for an hour before relocating to a suburb southwest of the city. Their mission was to build a fire break and saturate everything. Most residents had already been evacuated. Working into the night Joe continued to pray. He was exhausted. Escalating smoke obscured the stars. Two more fire-fighters collapsed in the searing heat. His Captain was taken to hospital with third degree burns after the command vehicle exploded a few feet from him.

“When will it end, Lord?” Joe prayed, watching the ambulance drive away.


Around midnight on the second day the wind died. Joe lifted his face to heaven just as the rain came down.

“Thankyou, Lord.”


The sun rose to reveal the devastation. Joe returned to headquarters. All that stood was the blackened concrete walls and a buckled door. There was nowhere to park the fire truck. His car had been incinerated where he left it three days before. He turned the truck around and drove slowly through the smouldering suburb towards what had once been his home. Houses everywhere were burnt to the ground. Vehicles were still burning. Families gathered to see what they could salvage but only smouldering ashes remained. At his address the smell of burnt losses lingered in the air. The radio transmitted news of forty houses destroyed. One fire-fighter was dead, two missing. His next door neighbour had been found dead from smoke inhalation.

“Lord, Where is Marcus?”

Joe looked out through the cracked windscreen to see Marcus rushing towards him. With a thankful prayer and tears in his eyes, he leapt down from the truck to embrace his brother.


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This article has been read 1634 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Val Clark10/12/06
This is a great story of courage and commitment above and beyond the call of duty. It’s well told, holding my attention throughout.
Thomas Kittrell10/12/06
Wow! As a firefighter I can relate to the details in this one. Thankfully all fire calls are not this drastic, but a firefighter never knows what will develop before its all over. Great work in capturing and holding my attention.
Thomas
Lindsey Pitts10/12/06
Great detail describing the fire, the scene, the character's thoughts. Interesting story, it kept my attention all the way to the end.
Amy Michelle Wiley 10/14/06
Great story! There were a few missing commas and wrong word tenses, but this kept my attention riveted. Keep up the good work!
Allison Egley 10/14/06
Wow! I loved this story. A few minor grammar problems, as have been mentioned, but the detail was great. It kept me riveted throughout!
Bonnie Derksen10/14/06
Wow, Chrissy! What incredible detail. I felt the fire, heard the eagle crack the windshield and was relieved with Joe when Marcus appeared.

We've experienced a devastating fire in the valley where we live. Many homes and buildings destroyed, fortunately no loss of life.

You wrote with all of the feeling that we lived with during those intense weeks in 2003.

Well done and keep writing!
Bonnie
Donna Emery10/15/06
An excellent and heartwarming story. This was very well told and it touched my heart.
Sara Harricharan 10/18/06
This was great! Awesome job! I really enjoyed the strong bond between the brothers. :)
Joanne Sher 10/18/06
Chrissi - this is SO well-told - your description is absolutely wonderfully vivid and detailed. I was especially captivated by the paragraph that began "The fire spread through acres".

Wonderful!!!!
Shari Armstrong 10/18/06
A fast paced entry, never sure where we were going next, which works well with the unknown aspects of firefighting.
Pat Guy 10/18/06
wow! This packs a punch! Great atmosphere, realistic details - I felt as if I was in the middle! Good, job of writing!
Jen Davis10/18/06
The detail of this piece drew me in, and the tension throughout held my attention. Good job!
Betty Castleberry10/18/06
Your descriptions dropped me right in the middle of the fire scene. Good job!
Donna Haug10/18/06
Favorite lines: "Fire raged through acres of trees like flaming torches exploding relentlessly throughout the day." and "At his address the smell of burnt losses lingered in the air." Good work!
Aylin Smith 10/18/06
I have chill bumps! Awesome!
Julia May10/19/06
Chrissy - Congratulations on your first place entry! Way to go girl! This is an awesome story. In Christ's Love,

Julia
Bonnie Derksen10/20/06
Chrissy!!! Congratulations on your EC win! I am sooo excited for you.

You deserved this one... so, bask in the glow, girl. Looking forward to more of the same..

Luv, Bonnie
Venice Kichura10/21/06
Wow, Chrissy!

This is masterfully written!!
Sorry I took so long to comment...You won't be in Beginners anymore...Congratulations on a well-deserved win!!
Karen Ward10/23/06
Chrissy, fantastic job, well done and congratulations!!

:) Karen
Valora Otis10/23/06
Congrats on your EC and first place win! This is a beautiful entry: I savored every word. All of the above and more my friend. Bless you for writing this.
Everest Alexander10/25/06
Congratulations on your win, Chrissy!

I celebrate your win with you - Well done! And keep up the good work!
Edy T Johnson 01/25/07
Here you are, famous! With an Editor's Choice and First Place win under your belt, and I am just discovering it all at this belated date! I am certainly impressed with your writing, and it is no wonder this was such a winning entry. Even though it is tardy, I have to say, "Congratulations, Friend!" You do a great job writing.
Jan Ackerson 03/29/07
Thanks for the link, Chrissy! It's easy to see why you moved up in FW so rapidly.
Tabiatha Tallent03/29/07
This is a great story and very well told. Lots of detail and action kept me on the edge of my seat. Congrats on your win.
Julie Arduini03/29/07
Another great example of writing that shows, not tells. Like all the others, it is no wonder you moved up so quickly. You truly have a gift, thank you for being obedient to the Lord with it! I'm blessed reading your fine work.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/04/07
What a journey you took us on! The imagery is powerful. I was holding my breath for Marcus to be safe!
Laury Hubrich 09/12/07
Great story. You've really moved up quickly, Chrissy!