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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of A Stitch in Time Saves Nine (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/03/08)

TITLE: Crystal Clear
By Debbie Wistrom


Wham! The car lurched, causing me to hit the head panel. Not again! A tirade of accusations swirled around me. I blamed myself for this, since it was my second encounter with the abyss in the middle of the road in two short weeks. I limped the car to the side of the road, and got out to survey the damages. A noise that sounded like an angry laryngitic teakettle was coming from the passenger side. The rear tire was turning into a puddle of rubber as I looked on in disgust. Shoving my hands toward the sky, I screamed, I dont need this! More recriminations ensued, this time directed at pothole and the incompetent road crew who should have fixed it after I reported its location.

The blue streak continued in full force until I realized I had an audience. An embarrassed throat-clear got my attention. This stretch of road, especially at this early hour, was usually deserted and solitary; it was a lonely drive that I enjoyed, so I was surprised at the presence of another. Well at least this might be someone that could help me change the tire, Oh noooooo came wailing from my core when I realized that the spare was still at the shop from last time I met this ever-widening chasm on my daily commute to the city. I meant to stop and retrieve it, but other things had taken priority.

Do I need two spares, find a different route to work? What more can I do? beseeching the empty expanse above, I stomped my foot. After my last encounter with the black hole of Old Post Road, I vowed to pay attention to the pavement until the county decided to step up and fix this menace to machinery. Our arctic winter weather when it flirts with early thaws causes the pavement to heave and contract, wreaking all sorts of havoc for unsuspecting vehicles, causing headaches for motorists.

How about a sled and a team of dogs? In my renewed fit of rage, I had forgotten that I wasnt alone. I turned toward my audience, an older woman bundled against the cold who was sitting on the fencepost.

That might do the trick, but with my luck, Id forget to feed the dogs and they would go on strike. Shaking, my head, not sure what my next move was, I crunched over to her. What brings you out so early on this crisp morning? Catching a glimpse of her snowshoes, I felt my chance of rescue slip away.

Repositioning her camera and reaching for a thermos, she opened it and filled the cup with steaming liquid, and handed it to me. Im trying to capture the elusive pogonip. Actually today is my first day and Im scouting the area so when the conditions are just right, Ill know where to go to get the best shots. Seeing my confusion, she explained, Im a photographer on assignment for a new nature magazine. Im out here to shoot the heavy winter frost that coats trees, well everything else in its path, as the result of a heavy fog. The intense white of the ice crystals clinging to any surface it envelopes when contrasted against a steel gray sky is a fairytale-like vision that my editors want for the debut issue.

Well the weather weve had lately should make that possible; in fact; we may have had that kind of frost just last week, though Ive never heard it called that before. Thanks for the coffee and good luck, Id better get after it.

My truck is stashed back at the cabin; Ill go get it and take you to town. The light is about gone and I was going to town later anyway for groceries. Ill be back in about fifteen minutes.

With no other hope in sight, I agreed and waited in the cold confines of my wounded car. Wondering how long she had been eavesdropping, I was embarrassed all over again. After the last incident with the pothole, I committed to work on my self-control but today Old Scratch was at it again and negative thoughts were creeping back in. I put my foot down, one more time. As the old truck approached, it was obvious that I needed help. Repenting for my lack of faith, I offered a prayer of praise God for my rescuer, His Son disguised as a photographer on a crystal-clear morning.

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This article has been read 874 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Temple Miller01/10/08
I love how you've given the characters distinctive voices and personalities. I also love your imagery and word choice. "Puddle of rubber" is so unique, yet exactly how a flat tire looks. Good job!
Jan Ackerson 01/11/08
Excellent writing! I was entirely captivated by the voice of this entry.
Joy Faire Stewart01/11/08
Unique descriptions that paint a realistic picture with words. Great job!
Joanne Sher 01/14/08
Great job with characterization and voice. Nice.
LauraLee Shaw01/14/08
Wow, your dialogue is so engaging. I LOVE this line: A noise that sounded like an angry laryngitic teakettle was coming from the passenger side.
Catrina Bradley 01/14/08
Your descriptions are excellent. Good job.
Dee Yoder 01/16/08
I could see the whole story as though I were watching a movie. Very vivid dialogue and imagery. It's a slice of life that's pulled out and examined perfectly.