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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Where Angels Fear to Tread (not about the book) (09/08/11)

TITLE: Close Encounters
By Shawn McNamara


Our faith gets tested in a multitude of ways, every single day. The most difficult tests are those that come from the ones closest to you …

Shane anticipates Carla’s return home after spending the weekend away at her sister’s.

He sits on the couch, wrapped in the glory of football’s return when the dogs begin to pace excitedly. A symphony of grunts and groans, whimpers and whines are accompanied by the whoosh from the whipping of tails and the clicking of nails tapping like little dancers on the tile floor.

In the distance, the sound of a car door closing followed by the little chirp of the alarm getting set.

Shane now joins the dogs in preparing for the return of the woman of the house. The gate to the private courtyard opens and the symphony offered by the dogs now sounds more like a stampede of wild cattle.

“Mommy’s ho-o-o-o-me!” teases Shane, before he opens the door for his wife.

He can barely get in a kiss hello before the dogs are now singing and dancing, jumping at Carla’s feet begging for her attention.

“My babies” she says, “Did you miss your mommy?”

“Hi huzzyband, did you miss your wifey?”

“Eh, you were gone?” he sarcastically mutters with a smirk

“Of course I missed you my dear. How was your trip?”

“Well, baby Joe is just running all over the house now. His one year birthday is next month so I’ve made plans to go up again. Karin was very well behaved this time and is doing much better with baby Joe now.”

“How’s Byron doing?” Shane asks

“He’s doing as good as always although he was a little upset because he was stuck with the kids all weekend. He knew that Donna and I were going to be out most of the weekend. That’s what they agreed to.”

“I can understand both sides of that argument. How much money did you spend?”

“Well, it was an expensive weekend. My sister and I were out shopping most of the weekend. I think I spent about two hundred dollars or so. I’m going to go upstairs to put my stuff away or it’ll never get done.”

Shane sat there on the couch, in silence … trying to maintain a peaceful state of mind.

He takes the stewarding of what God provides pretty seriously, and considering he lost his job two months prior, the only part of the conversation he remembers was the ‘expensive weekend’. He wanted to say something so badly, but knew if he did … it would all come out wrong and a war would be waged.

After a little time in the bible and some prayer, Shane finds a little peace and calls it a night.

In what feels like a few hours later, the alarm sings its rising song but the sun has yet to make an appearance.

Shane gets up and goes through his normal routine all the while curious to the weekend’s financial deficit. He finally gets to the office and begins his normal financial overview. As he begins to enter all of the transactions, he begins to realize that two hundred dollars was a poor guesstimate.

It was more like three hundred and seventy dollars!!

"Are you kidding me!!" he mutters with a clenched jaw

Carla was still in the shower. There was much time to sit and be stirred. The warming temperature in the room was a sure indication that Shane’s blood was beginning to boil. He was losing the ability to focus as his mind raced over the bills that still needed to be paid and words like; selfishness, thoughtlessness, carelessness and entitlement.

Much like the night before, he knew not to say a word. Inside he was a hellish playground … a place where even angels feared to tread.

“Honey, I’m leaving. Have a great day!” he hears.

He didn’t even realize the shower stopped running. “How much did I miss” he thought

“I’ll see you later” he hastily responds

“What’s wrong husband?”

She must have picked up a scent of some kind … darn his tone.

He pauses for a moment, he had to say something but he wanted the words to be right.

His favorite songs lyrics popped into his head, “for I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been, come rising up in me again.”

“Nothing I’m ready to talk about right now Carla, maybe later.”

The test of faith is victorious … this time!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Bonnie Bowden 09/16/11
I really like the opening line. The words of the song you chose echo in my mind, also.

Your theme is very relevant, but at times I felt you needed to show the reader, instead of, tell the reader the story.
C D Swanson 09/16/11
This was an interesting and clean read. I especially loved this:
"...by the whoosh from the whipping of tails and the clicking of nails tapping like little dancers on the tile floor." Having dogs, I envisioned and heard that which you were depicting. Liked it, good job. Thanks for posting. God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/16/11
This is an interesting story and one many people can relate to, especially these days.

I don't think you needed the first line.You start out telling the reader something, then do a great job in the middle of painting a picture then in the end you go back to telling again.

Also remember the quotation rules too... If the same person is talking in a new paragraph,you don't put end quotes at the end of the last paragraph --just at the start of the new paragraph then quotes again when the person is done speaking. There were a couple of times when I thought it was a new speaker but then realized it didn't make sense and it must have been the same one.

Keep working on doing more showing, you have a goo start on it. It's something many writers struggle with. You have a great idea for your story and the message is one everyone can understand. Keep writing:)