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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Risk (05/17/12)

By James Dick


The young soldier was trembling. He had been hunkered down in his foxhole for three hours while the mortar barrage continued. There was no way to move due to the incessant machine gunning between shells.
It was terrifying. He could hear nearby comrades crying in pain and the noise was unbearable.
Most of the trees and foliage around him were gone, torn to bits by the piercing blasts. And between blasts there was a brief, frightening silence as if nothing survived except his wounded buddies.
He thought to himself that someone needed to do something. He wondered why his lieutenant hadnít given any orders. Was he meant to die crouched in this godforsaken mud hole? Would anyone know what happened to him?
Just then, another huge blast sent a torrent of mud skyward from his position. His bunker had taken a direct hit.
When he opened his eyes he was amazed that he could still see. He ran his hands over his body to see if he was missing anything. Was he truly alive or just dreaming?
As he became aware of a searing pain in his left hip he noticed the shrapnel. A large piece of metal had become lodged in his hip. Blood was oozing out and he began to feel sick.
To his surprise, however, he was able to move his leg. While it was painful, he was still mobile.
Thatís when he decided he had to do something. He wasnít just going to lie there and die.
As he peered over the edge of what remained of his position, he spotted a machine gun nest. If this could be taken out, then the unit would be able to maneuver to the mortars.
Looking to his left, he saw a shallow trench would provide some cover. Ignoring his pain, he crawled into the trench without being spotted.
Being undetected by the gunners, he followed the trench to within twenty meters of the machine guns. The continuing noise of the mortars kept him from being heard.
At this point, he crouched, said a little prayer, and pulled out two grenades. He took one in his right hand and placed the other beside him on the ground.
He pulled the pin on the first grenade. He arched it high toward the enemy guns. Then he immediately launched the second grenade in the same manner.
Suddenly, the grenades exploded. The guns stopped and he could hear the anguished cries of the enemy soldiers.
He waited for a short period just to make sure there were no other enemy combatants nearby looking for him.
When he approached the gunnerís location he found three dead enemy soldiers and one severely wounded. The guns were damaged and unusable.
He whistled back to his unit between mortar rounds and received response from several soldiers. He signaled for them to follow the route he had taken. Soon they arrived at his location.
The radio operator arrived with an intact radio and told everyone that their leader had been killed. He also carried the lieutenantís binoculars.
The young soldier quickly grabbed the binoculars and surveyed the distant scene for the mortar location. He quickly spotted their position on a hillside. He rapidly radioed the coordinates for air support.
Within minutes a Huey gunship approached, located the mortars, and destroyed them from the air.
It was over. The young soldier and his buddies would live to fight another day.
When he arrived back at base camp he learned that his lieutenant and six others had died during the action. Three more had been wounded. But he and the other twelve were alive because of his willingness to take a calculated risk.
The young soldier had risked his life in a dangerous situation. He evaluated the situation and realized there was no other option. His assessment was accurate and his action had worked.
Sometimes, however, risk doesnít end so well. We can lose a business, personal finances, family and even our life if we make a risky mistake.
But there is one place where taking risk will never fail us. Will you risk all that you have for God? Will you make that life or death choice? Only by risking it all with your Lord and Savior can you earn eternal life. And the remainder of your earthly life will also be greatly enriched.
Donít be afraid. Take the risk. The rewards are endless.

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This article has been read 411 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Vicki J. Cypcar05/24/12
Wow! This is so realisitic I'm wondering if it is fact or fiction. Great job.

C D Swanson 05/24/12
An all together moving and prolific piece that demonstrates the risks our military take every single day for our freedom.

This had me on the edge of my seat...I felt as if I was in the foxhole with the soldier!

Thank you for this incredibly authentic and compelling story.

God bless the military, and their families.

Blessings to you~

Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/28/12
This is an interesting story. You did some nice bits of showing the reader what is happening. I liked the character. He felt real and I could tell he was a hero.

Though you did do some good showing, a lot felt more like telling. Show don't tell is a difficult to master. Try replacing was, are or is with active verbs. For example the first sentence is telling show me with something like this. The young shoulder trembled violently while sweat dripped down his face. His hand rattled so that he almost dropped his rifle.
I hope this helps a bit to show you what I mean.

The ending felt almost liked it was tacked on. Many people think because this is a Christian site, there should be a religious message but that's not true. Perhaps if you had started in the beginning with the solider praying for wisdom to know if he should risk his life or something similar, the ending wouldn't have felt tacked on but instead it would have come full circle.

Both of the things I mentioned are techniques that writers of every level need to keep perfecting so you are in great company.

You have a natural storytelling gift. You nailed the topic in a fresh and clever way. I've read several stories this week and this is the first war story.

I liked your character he felt quite real. The dialog/thoughts really helped me contact to him. Dialog is another good way to show the reader what your MC is like. Your beginning started immediately with conflict and drew me right in. The more I read, the more the suspense grew. You really did a great job with this piece. Keep writing you have a lot of natural talent.
lynn gipson 05/29/12
Wondeful...well written and one of my passions....our troops and how they risk their lives every day for our freedom....God Bless

Jody Day 05/30/12
Good job of creating suspense. I was enthralled and anxious to find out how it turned out.

Be sure and make a space between paragraphs. It will be easier to read.

Try to avoid alot of passive verbs (was, were, etc.) in favor of stronger verbs. You began one sentence "Being undetected by the gunners"...'Being' is unnecessary and weakens the sentence. I am working on this in my writing as well.

Keep writing, you have a gift for storytelling.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/31/12
Congratulations for placing 9th in level one!