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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)

TITLE: Avalanche
By Cherie B.


Jacob’s fingers burned as he dug feverishly into the snow. Panic coursed through his veins and he tried hard to ignore the pain as he struggled to free his daughter from the snow. He knew she was down there somewhere. He tried to remember exactly where she was standing when the avalanche came.

“Oh God, help me.” He pleaded. “Help me find her!”

He dug deeper, then wider, afraid he was in was the wrong spot. He moved over a few feet and began another hole. He was still hot from the exertion of skiing but his hands were freezing from the contact with the snow. The gloves he usually wore were sitting beside him in the snow, abandoned to give him a better grip as he dug.


There was no response.

“SARAH,” he continued to call out as the pile of snow beside him grew. He couldn’t feel his fingertips anymore and knew the blood levels in his hands were dangerously low. If he didn’t find her quick he would loose his fingers and she would die of frostbite. Her tiny eighty-pound body would not survive long buried in the freezing snow.

“Oh God,” he cried, “not my little girl! Don’t take my little girl. Let me find her!”

He stopped his panicked digging just long enough to close his eyes and concentrate. “God please,” he begged for the life of his twelve year old. “You are my savior. Save my little girl.”

He looked up into the white sky as tears threatened, his nose stung fiercely from the wind. “God please.”
He dug further to his left and saw his first glimpse of pink. Sarah’s snowsuit! Hope exploded through his body filling him with extra-human speed. In an instant he had her uncovered, out of the hole and laying on the ground.

“Sarah,” he rubbed her cheek. It was cold. Her eyes were almost closed, and she was groggy and unresponsive. He had to get her warm, and fast!

He unzipped his coat and picked her up. He hugged her as close as he could to his own body to share his warmth then pulled the sides of his coat around them both. He couldn’t zip it up, but he didn’t care. She was close to him and he would be able to get her to safety.

He left the skis and gloves and ran. Sarah’s legs flopped loosely against his own as he ran towards the backwoods ski cabin. Their rented winter cabin was just inside the tree line. It had a breathtaking view of the steep mountainside and was close enough that Jacob had succumbed to his daughters pleas that morning to watch him ski rather than help his wife make breakfast.

He kicked himself for being so stupid. He should never have let her stand at the bottom of such a steep slope alone, especially when new snow had fallen the night before and he was unsure of it’s stability.

“Rachel!” He yelled for his wife as he neared the cabin. He felt Sarah’s breath on his neck and thanked God for signs of life.

“God, Thank you.” He whispered as he ran. Let her be okay. He prayed silently.

Rachel opened the door and terror spread across her face the instant she saw them. “What happened?” She stepped backwards as Jacob burst across the threshold.

“Heating blankets, get the heating blankets,” he ordered. Rachel disappeared into the bedroom to get them while Jacob rushed Sarah to the fireplace. He tore off her snowsuit and starting massaging her limbs, trying to increase circulation. He looked for any reaction on her face.

She had to be okay; she wasn’t down there very long. And God, … God would make her okay.

Jacob inspected her limbs and her digits as he massaged them. Nothing white or yellow, that was promising. No frostbite. But hypothermia was still a very real possibility. Just a few minutes buried in the snow could severely lower a person’s body temperature.

The massaging was helping, so was the heat from the fireplace and the heating blanket Rachel had placed over her little body. Color was returning to her face and Jacob could feel a strong steady pulse at her neck.

He and Rachel joined hands and prayed, “Dear God, thank you for letting her be alive. Please show us; … let us know she is okay. Please.”

Sarah’s eyes slowly opened.


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This article has been read 901 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Pamela Calhoun08/20/09
I love this! The torment of a loving father trying to save his child yet knowing without God there was no chance. Perfect ending! Good job.
Patricia Turner08/20/09
You drew me into this father's agony and I felt the cold and the agony right along with your MC. I'm glad it was a happy ending. Great job!
Genia Gilbert08/20/09
This is very good. It held my attention to the last word. Nice writing!
BILL HUNT08/21/09
Breath! Breath! Breath! You tore my breath and my heart. Now maybe, others can see how us Daddies feel! But your final "Daddy" brought a tear to my eye. Yes!
Ada Nett08/24/09
I think this was a very well-written submission. It kept my attention through-out the entire story. I was drawn in from start to finish! Excellent writing! I was with the Daddy all the way and even felt his anxiety when he forced himself to stop long enough for a moment of focused prayer . This was a good point to make in the story and something we need to always remember in the heat of a distressing situation ...loved that this story's "daddy" remembered to focus and call out for his own "Daddy" to help them!Excellent writing!
Beth LaBuff 08/24/09
I enjoyed reading this story. The anxiety level you created was gripping. Your one word ending aptly finishes the story.
Mona Purvis08/24/09
Very good, indeed. You told this suspenseful story like a pro! You have talent and I hope to read more of your work. You're on your way. Just the right mixture and a strong message.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/24/09
Great suspense story. I was digging with your mc!
Edmond Ng 08/24/09
A very well-written story filled with intensity and capturing the hearts of the readers asking for more. Well done.
Colin Swann08/25/09
A well written and exciting story which I'm glad had a happy ending. Thanks - Colin
Yvonne Blake 08/25/09
Good emotions and dialogue... great ending!
Catrina Bradley 08/25/09
Excellent adventure story!! My heart is racing. Great writing, and I love the ending.
Deana Thomas08/25/09
Whew! My heart rate went up reading this! Well written.
Kimberly Russell08/26/09
You did a really great job on this piece--held the reader right from the start to the end. Great!
Val Clark08/26/09
Strong emotional connection with the main charaacter which keep the story moving, well done. One thing, and you probably know this but then again you might not: 'of it’s stability.' You only need the apostrophe when make it is into it's.
Lisa Johnson08/27/09
I agree with Bill...I had tears in my eyes when I finished reading the story, too. It is an excellent entry, I hope it does well. I look forward to seeing results in the morning. Good luck.
Eliza Evans 08/27/09
Huge Congratulations, Cherie!
Chely Roach08/27/09
Wonderful story...congrats on your win!
Jacob Drollinger08/27/09
Amazing what you did in just 750 words! Simply extraordinary. Well done.