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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Whine (05/23/13)

TITLE: Dead or Alive
By Graham Insley


It was no more than a faint noise; distant, soft, almost unheard. But Eli knew that noise and had no doubt about its meaning. The enemy were approaching.

The slow whine would increase in tempo and be replaced by a faint beat; like small, marching feet in the distance. Next would come a swishing sound beating at the air; until the wings of a thousand demons were pounding the air like base drums. If prayer failed, all would be replaced by clanging swords, buzzing arrows and thudding battle axes; not to speak of the screams and moans of the wounded.

A small whine but a very large army approaching, thought Eli as he cast a fervent look at the angel beside him; "Have they even started to pray?"

'No! They're too busy arguing about raptures and tribulations."

"What? Are you saying...?"

"Eli, their end time theology is nonexistent."

"And they have no idea of what's coming their way?"

"None whatsoever!"

"Mercy. Are they going to get pummelled! Come on; we'd better get a move on."

Quickly the two angels ran from the church car park and headed up town. They had to pay someone a visit.

"Do you think she'll make a difference, Eli?"

"Bound to. This old darling is regarded as too old and feeble in the head. But she'll stop them fighting and start them praying."

"But will the church members take any notice of her?"

"If they don't then I pity them. This lady is nothing but pure fire when it comes to fighting for the Lord. She's the one who told them to hold tonight's prayer meeting; but then took sick and couldn't get there herself."

As they approached the house the soft, distant whine of the approaching enemy was overshadowed by a low chant; just audible and coming from the house.

"She's praying."

"Didn't expect anything else." Eli crept to a window and peeked in. "Yep. Sick or not, she's on her knees and talking. Come on."

As the two angels entered Granny May's parlor, the old lady paused, lifted her head, cocked one ear towards the ceiling and her voice took on an excited edge; "They're here, Father. I just felt 'em walk in. I know they're here."

She paused to listen before replying; "Yes sir, Lord. If You say so."

Another slight pause before; "Lord, it don't matter how I feel; if they'll support me I'll walk between 'em."

As she tried to rise from her knees she fell face first and would have crashed to the floor, if four strong hands had not quickly caught her arms and lifted her.

Supported on either side she headed for the church.

As she stumbled through the front doors, eyes quickly turned and folks jumped to their feet in concern.

"Granny," cried one young lady, "You shouldn't be up and about."

"Granny May," called a man from the front, "let me get someone to take you home."

"Now you all listen up and listen good. While you're all here debatin' and fussin' about what's acomin', well, what's acomin' is almost here. Don't you realise the Pharisees and Sadducees made exactly the same mistake. Before they could finish debatin' if He was the Messiah or not, darn me if they hadn' up and killed Him. Don't think it'll be any different this time. If you don't want to miss what's acomin', well then, you best get out of your head and onto your knees."

Everyone looked at Granny with stunned silence as she let both barrels fly. "Stop fussin' 'n' fightin' with each other and start fightin' the enemy. Spiritual warfare means just that. Spirits, both good and evil, are gunna fight for your souls today. And the good'ns are going to need your prayers. Demons 're real and you can either fight 'em off with prayer or spend eternity conversin' with 'em later."

Then, before their very eyes, Granny May simply disappeared as the front doors burst open and a young man came running in; "I've got bad news. We just called by Granny May's place. She's dead! We found her lying on the parlor rug."

Those that were there looked blankly at each other before the pastor spoke; "I think we had better all pray."

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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/31/13
Wow what a thrilling story! I so totally enjoyed this as I leaned in closer eager to capture every word. My heart pounded as the enemy grew closer. I think you also nailed the topic in a fresh and creative way.

The only red ink I would offer would be to start off with a bigger bang. These days, you need to grab the reader's attention in the very first line before they can click to another story. You started out with a passive verb like was. Instead you may want to consider something like this: A faint noise, off in the distance, alerted Eli to the impending doom. Chills rippled down his back as he realized the enemy drew closer with each beat.
That's not perfect, but I hope it gives you a rough idea of what I meant.

After the first paragraph you really took off. I think you did an outstanding job of developing the characters. Oh what a wonderful job you did with Granny. I think she is the quintessential example of a faith-filled Christian and a great model for the world today. I could easily picture the scene unfold in my mind. Oh and what a powerful message you delivered. This is a fantastic read and one of my favorites thus far.
C D Swanson 05/31/13
This was absolutely brilliant in every aspect. The story was riveting, and apropos to what's going on today in churches, so much debating, not enough praying.

Excellent job, I loved the ending...fabulous. This SHOULD do very well with the judges. It's a winner for me!

God bless
Genia Gilbert06/03/13
This is a unique approach to the topic, and very interesting. There is much in it to think about. Great writing.