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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Achoo (04/11/13)

TITLE: Saved By A Big Sneeze
By Richard Hicks


Amos waited as patiently as he could in line. He deducted that the heavy-set cashier lady named Michelle, was new and very slow. All Amos could think of was the ice cream melting before he got home. He should have known that coming to a convenient store in the middle of the night was a bad idea. In front of him was a tall and lanky black guy in his mid-20’s. Amos eyed him carefully. He definitely stood out from the crowd of shoppers. Well over six foot tall, skinny, with an intense, nervous look about him. Amos suspected that this guy was up to no good. The stranger handed the cashier a note as He looked anxiously around the store.

Before Amos knew what was happening, the guy pulled out a gun. He demanded money from the cashier. Michelle stood there trembling, as if in stage fright, as the robber shouted at her. The robber reached out and grabbed Amos by the collar, "Get over there and get me the money!" Amos stumbled and caught his balance as He went behind the counter. He knew he didn't have time to calm the cashier, so he put his hands gently around her and moved her away from the register. "Open the cash register old man,” said the robber, as he lunged across at Amos.

Amos carefully hit the no sale button and out swung the cash drawer. He took out a brown bag and put in what little money was in the drawer, giving it to the robber. Seeing that there wasn't very much money in the paper bag, the robber demanded Amos to lock the front door.

The other people in the store were bewildered and shocked as the lock made a bolting clash-like sound. They were all at the robber's mercy at this point. "Open the safe," said the man, as he pointed the gun back at Amos, he then motions the gun towards Michelle now in tears. ”I've been watching this place for several days, and I know she knows how to open the safe,” says the robber.

Amos stayed as calm as he could, went over by Michelle, and sat down beside her. He spoke to her gently, "There is nothing we can do now, so you need to help me to open the safe."

"The directions are on the back of the clip board in the office," she stuttered. “The office is in the back of the store beside the restroom.”

Amos was in the office looking for the clipboard. As He walked out He noticed a guy hiding behind some stacked crates with a fire extinguisher in his hand. They nodded to each other together about their plan. Back at the front the robber was getting antsy, "Get back up here he shouted, and let’s get this money thing going."

By this time Michelle was overrun by her nerves and so was the robber. Amos needed her to decipher the safe’s instructions so he motioned for her to come by him as it was under the cash register. Amos had scribbled a note for her to make a loud sound. Before everyone knew it, a sneeze exploded from her nose. This was no ordinary “ Achoo!” It sounded like a rifle shot into the air being fired multiple times. The robber, thinking someone was shooting at him, ducked down just as the metal fire extinguisher whopped him in the head. He was out like a light.

The next morning Amos had to snicker as he read about the robbery in the paper. The title read, "SAVED BY A BIG SNEEZE."

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This article has been read 204 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Alicia Renkema04/18/13
You created very believable characters and had a lot of good action in your piece. I could feel the inner angst inside your MC although he was remaining calm on the inside for the sake of Michelle. You also had nice pacing throughout, it did not feel rushed. One thing I did think about is the title did give the ending away a bit even though it didn't say how it exactly saved the day. I really enjoyed this -- it was a fun and creative read.
Christina Banks 04/19/13
Your main character remained remarkably calm in the face of great danger. I wouldn't have handled things so well.
lynn gipson 04/19/13
I thought this was absolutely wonderful! On the edge-of my-seat kind of story. Yes I knew it was going to be a sneeze but it didn't take the suspense away for me. You are a very good story teller, with a definite way with words! Great!!
Judith Gayle Smith04/19/13
You are far too gifted to limit yourself to the "Beginner Level". This is superbly crafted, rivetting and, at the end, most satisfying. God bless you . . .
Cheryl Harrison04/22/13
I agree with the other comment -- It's time for you to move up! I enjoyed your story. Great job.