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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)

TITLE: Gramps Not Grumps
By Scott Hesch


"Roger that Alpha Niner-Two-Niner." Henry heard from the cockpit of his private jet. He would be landing at the "cabin" in just under ten minutes where he would rendevous with his wife and greet his daughter and son-in-law at the front door. They would be arriving approximately seven minutes after himself. His cabin consisted of a private landing strip, a six-thousand square foot home with a detached two-thousand square foot garage/hangar. All miles away from the rest of the world. He had made the move permanent five years ago after his daughter had left for college. Though hidden from society, Henry was in no way cut off from it. His phone bill was one of his highest. Spending long hours talking to diplomats and economists, engineers, and politicians, Henry was informed. After his motorcycle accident two years ago though, he had decided that early retirement was best. Though out of the game, Henry was not out of the loop, and he enjoyed pulling on that large network of strings he had spent years developing.

As was his custom, he let his phone ring no less than twice and no more than three times. After looking at the callers number, Henry answered his phone on the third ring.

"X or Y, Dale?" Henry demanded, his usually emotionally detached voice, spelling out in large bold letters: I AM NERVOUS.

"I just got off of the phone with our contact and he confirmed the subsequent chromosome."

Henry was overjoyed. He had blamed his daughter for not being the son he wanted. And when his daughter went off to college and started dating that church boy after she got "saved", he imagined his hopes for having his son in a son-in-law, crushed. Now all I'll have is some sissy choir boy and a second conscience, he thought. Carly had first done the "you're all going to hell, Jesus loves you thing". Then she quieted down for a little while. Right after his accident, however, she had said that her "loving" God had allowed his accident as a warning. That had set him off. He had hurled names he wished he could take back . Things like "the daughter I wish I never had". He had hated himself for saying those things.

"Great Dale. Thanks."

"Um... my pleasure Sir." Dale muttered, as he hastily hung up his phone. This new trend of "thank you's" was a bit unnerving coming from his old boss who he had known to be a very hard and shrewd man.

Carly would be dreading this meeting, not knowing of any change. Henry knew that Carly's call was an answer to his prayer that God would bring his family back together. This time as the family of God. Carly, would think that she was setting out to again be cast in a den of lions or a fiery furnace. Dale had confirmed that he would be a grandfather to a baby girl, not boy. What better way than for his daughter to have a daughter, not a son. What better way for him to right his wrongs by giving his daughter his approval to bring this precious girl into this world, when for all she knew, he would disown her for even attempting such a heinous crime.

The accident was God talking and He had completely re-wired Henry just less than a year ago after he had surrendered to Him. He was a changed man.

Henry's palms were sweaty as he walked down the stairs from his plane and through his hangar to the house. He was greeted by his wife Joan who was wearing her smile that seemed as if it had been there forever. But he knew the bitter truth was that he played a big part on why it had eluded her face for the past thirty years. It wasnt until she too had made her decision to follow Jesus after she had seen the miraculous changes in her husband, that Joan really began to smile again.

"You had better get ready, you know they're going to be here soon."

"Seven minutes, five minutes ago," he said with a smirk as he kissed her on the cheek and pointed to his head, his trademark sign he gave when he was letting others know he had inside information.

"So, what did you find out? Was Dale able to get the sonogram readings from the doctor they saw today?"

As he was about to tell his wife the good news, the doorbell rang. They were early. Two minutes early.

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This article has been read 625 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Patty Wysong04/10/08
This feels like a snippet from a larger piece. What an interesting person Henry is! It felt like there was more telling than showing here, but I realize there was a lot of backstory going on. I love how the title ties in and fits this so perfectly.
Tessy Fuller04/11/08
I really liked the characters but it was just too much for a short piece. I felt like I was rushed from one paragraph to the next. Trying to make the connection of times gone by to the present story distracted me from a more enjoyable read. My favorite part was his "trademark sign" That was good.
Glynis Becker04/12/08
I would love to read more about this family. It would make a really great longer piece where things could more easily flow. Great job!
Joshua Janoski04/13/08
With the word count limitation, it is very hard to cram everything into a piece of writing sometimes. I think this piece is very well written, but it left me hanging. I would love to see you post an expanded version in the regular article submission area. This family is very interesting, and I would love to hear even more back story and also what happened next with the family.

Thank you for sharing. Keep on writing!
c clemons04/16/08
What? I'm not sure what happen here. I believe you were trying to tell a much broader story. Given the word count you must learn to condense, condense, condense, so that the reader is not left hanging. Henry sounded like the Dad in meet the Fockers. Overall writing was good.
Joanne Sher 04/18/08
Congratulations, Scott, on placing seventh in your level with this piece. Great work!