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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Don't Cut off Your Nose to Spite Your Face" (without using the actual phrase or litera (02/14/08)

TITLE: Sniper Backfire



I looked about the crowded and loud police station to see several of the gang, Snipers, in handcuffs waiting. Jimmy, the leader, nodded to me and beckoned me over the best he could with a tilt of his head. I stepped that way, but stopped to look over my shoulder at the huge cop behind me. His smile and nod affirmed I could go talk with Jimmy.

“Where did you go? You know better than to just wander off.”

Jimmy’s tone grated against my nerves and I felt my muscles stiffening in defense. I took a deep breath as I decided to try a prayer. It couldn’t hurt, but would it even work? Lord, help. I have no idea what to do or even how to ask, but I know you have the answer. That didn’t sound like a good prayer, but the calm returned again like a cool breeze in the heat of the city.

I felt myself smiling suddenly as I cocked my head to take in Jimmy’s tattered clothes. Blood splattered his t-shirt and jean jacket. One of his eyes was swelling shut. How could I be smiling at the sight of him? No doubt my humor had come forth due to this barely a man in handcuffs trying to give me the father act.

“Whatcha smiling at? This is not funny.”

He spat the words at me and I simply shook my head unable to remove the smile.

“So what did you go off and do?”

“I asked you first.” Jimmy snarled.

I pushed aside a snide remark that came to mind. It did not seem like the kind of remark Jesus would make. However, I was so tempted to spew it out at him.

“I needed some quiet, thinking time.” I shrugged and then looked about the station again when several people started shouting across the room. I recognized some of the gang we had many turf wars with. “You go after them or did they come to you?” I pinned my gaze back on Jimmy.

“I went after them. They got their just reward.”

“Did you?”

“What do you mean by that?”

I cocked my head to one side as I really thought about it. “Is being here in handcuffs your just reward?”

He leaned close enough to me that I smelt the cigarette smoke in his clothes and beer on his breath. “You are out of the gang so you better watch your back.”

“That’s okay.” Then I finally felt my smile fade as I asked, “You went after them this time simply because one of them called you a few nasty names on Saturday, didn’t you? Finally felt like you had enough of the gang to really get into a fight?”

“No one disses the Snipers ever!” Jimmy shouted it causing the other gang to throw remarks back at him. “Yeah, bring it. We won this time.”

“James Barton.”

I glanced over my shoulder and stepped aside for the officer.

“That’s me.” Jimmy lifted his chin proudly.

“You have been charged with assault and destruction of property. You will be held here unless bail is posted.”

“How much?” Jimmy managed to keep his self assured stance.

“Five thousand dollars.”

“What? No way!” Jimmy looked about as he appeared to deflate before my eyes.

“Must have been some fight. I’ll pray for you, but I don’t believe you will get out of this one.” I gave him a sad smile.


I turned to find the mountainous, black cop that had come to my home beckoning me over to his desk. Without looking back at Jimmy as he was taken away to a cell, I made my way to the officer and took the indicated seat.

“Your alibi is legit.” He looked up from his notes at me. “Your timing was impeccable.”

I arched a brow as he smiled at me.

“You are free to go, but I don’t want to see you out there with them again. I want to see you in church.”

I blinked. “Okay.” Then I realized I had seen this man before with his infectious smile. He had sat right behind us at church. My smile returned. “I’ll definitely be there.”

“Very good.”

I shook hands with him and departed wondering about how it turned out. I could have easily been in the mix of it all and thrown in jail because of useless words and bad attitudes.

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This article has been read 524 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/22/08
Good job with the authentic dialogue and setting.
Holly Westefeld02/22/08
Nice job of showing both sides of the topic, those who escalated revenge, and Mallorie realizing when it was time to break the cycle of violence.
Marilyn Schnepp 02/23/08
Excellent page-turning type writing, with an intriguing twist and turn, plus a good moral at the end. I thoroughly enjoyed the creative read, the story itself, the title, and the constant mystery that managed to skirt around the edges throughout...luring the reader on to the finish line. A triple Kudos!
Joanne Sher 02/23/08
Good sense of place and nice job on the dialog. Enjoyed this read.
c clemons02/26/08
Interesting story held my attention. I am wondering, however about the relationship between Jimmie and Mallorie. Were they childhood friends? Brothers? Also a few more commas here and there would smooth out the read.
Debbie Wistrom02/26/08
Especailly like the mountainous cop. Keep up the good words.
Sara Harricharan 02/28/08
Pretty good! The dialouge between them was realistic and I liked the character of Mallorie. I'm assuming that they were brother/sister? Friends? They seemed closer. I liked how the cop at the end turned out to be someone she knew from church. Just a tip: It helps sometimes to put the prayers, or thoughts in italics, so that the reader is sure that it isn't said aloud. Otherwise, good job-and I really liked the title! ^_^
Beth LaBuff 02/28/08
I was drawn into your story with your dialog. It's sad sometimes that "name calling" is all it take to set off this kind something like you've described. You've definitely hit the topic, and I liked the way you came at it, from the angle of NOT cutting off your nose. Good work on this.