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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Good and Bad (05/07/09)

TITLE: Shelter in the Storm
By Zolgar the Insane


Dorian glanced to the sky, a storm was brewing and it looked to be a bad one. This made him uneasy, storms always made them more aggressive. He would have to try and find shelter before night fall at the latest.

He could see a building on the horizon and headed for it, though he held little hope due to the level of decay this area had seen. Before the Outbreak, this would have been a pleasant suburb of a thriving city. Now it was a desolate wasteland, like everywhere else.

As he neared the building he noted that it remarkably looked to be inhabited. He secured his belongings and checked to see what he had he could trade as he walked towards the entrance.

The gate swung open and three men walked through, two carrying AK47s at the ready, though not trained on him. The third approached him, and older man carrying what looked to be an M1 Carbine slung over his shoulder.

“Welcome traveler.” The older man greeted him. “Seeking shelter from the storm?”

“That I am.” Dorian replied. “I have goods I can trade for the lodging, and perhaps a meal.”

“No need, traveler. All are welcome in a house of God. I am father Alexander Bishop.”

“A Father? What denomination?” Dorian hid the distrust in his voice.

“We've mostly cast off the ideas of denominations, we have some Southern Baptist, Messianic.. wait, you're more interested in the .. newer denominations. Don't worry, we're not one of those zombie cults.”

“That's a relief.” Though Dorian still wasn't entirely relieved, religious groups still tended towards lunacy, but it beat being caught out in a storm. “I am Dorian, and I appreciate your hospitality.”

“It is good to meet you, Dorian.” Alexander said, turning to head back in the compound. “Now come inside, before we attract unwanted attention.”

Entering the compound, Dorian was somewhat surprised. There was little difference between this and any other survivors compound, except for the large cross in the center.

“Jacob, go let Annabelle know that we'll have one more for dinner,” Alexander said to one of the door guards, “and see if you can find a spare bed for out guest.”

“Yes, Father.” Jacob replied, darting off.

“I am curious Father,” Dorian said, “how do your religious views mesh with what it takes to survive?”

“You mean how can a Christian man kill that which is arguably human? It's no different than a Christian going to war for his country, we fight to survive. It pains me every time I have to kill one of the Afflicted, but I know that if I do not, he will go on to kill others. We pray for the souls of the Afflicted, and for the safety of the survivors.”

“Get asked that often?”

“Yes, though the more common one is 'how can you worship a god that let this happen?'”

“I wasn't going to risk offending you by asking.”

“The answer is simple, God gave man free will, the evils of man are man's doing.”

“Valid point, I suppose.”

“I don't expect you to agree, few do.” Alexander said, “Anyways make yourself comfortable, dinner will be in about two hours. Though portions will be slim, we are short on supplies.”

“Beggars can't be choosers.”

The night passed without event. The storm moved in shortly before dinner was served, and raged on most of the night. Dawn brought with it a clear sky, and Dorian's departure. He slipped out of the compound as the sun began to rise, before most of the inhabitants were even awake.

He spent the better part of the day trudging north, it was nearing dusk when he spotted a semi truck and headed to investigate. As he neared he could smell the Afflicted, and see the signs of a recent struggle on the truck. The rain had washed the truck clean, but did little for the other remains.

He circle the truck until he had a clear view of the other side, there were two Afflicted milling in the shade of the truck, his .303 made short work of them though. He waited to see if any more reacted to the sound.

He moved to the truck, checking the trailer he found it full of supplies, apparently a trade vehicle. On checking the cab, he found the keys were still in the ignition.

“Paydirt.” He smiled, now wealthy beyond his wildest dreams.

For a moment he looked south, before starting the truck.

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This article has been read 356 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Allison Egley 05/17/09
Oh wow. This almost sounds like it could be a "prequel" of sorts to the movie I am Legend.

I felt the ending was rather abrupt.

Great "outside of the box" idea!
Mona Purvis05/20/09
The story held my interest and made me think. Very good storytelling.
Diana Dart 05/20/09
Raw and dark - I like! Maybe a description of Dorian, something to make the reader feel more in his skin, would have engaged a tad more. Great storyline, smells like more...?
Sheri Gordon05/20/09
This makes me want to read more...what came before, what comes after.

There are a few typos and a couple of awkward sentences that I stumbled through. Perhaps a second read by someone would catch some of those.

I usually don't personally like these darker stories, but this had me very interested. Good job.
Glynis Becker05/20/09
Dark, yes, but thoughtful and intriguing. I enjoy these sort of philosophical debates and I was pulled into this story immediately. Great job.
Catrina Bradley 05/20/09
Excellent story! I was totally engaged. I love the way you ended it - leaving us wondering will he or won't he? I hope he will.
Gregory Kane05/20/09
Nicely done. Kept expecting Milla Jovovich's Alice to walk round the corner at any point.
I like the way you weave some Christian ethics into the post-apocalyptic genre. It's good that you don't offer easy answers but rather the tension of living in a twice-fallen world.
My one criticism is that we don't get to see into Dorian's soul. Hence the reader has no idea whether he will turn south and help the community or push off on his own. As things stand there's simply not enough information to make a decision and hence this robs the ending of some of its force. But, hey, I think you can tell that I liked your entry!