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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Unsung Hero (12/07/06)

TITLE: The City of Life
By Todd Tribble


A man awakens.

Hello, I am a resident of the city of Life and I have lived here since I was born. I would like to tell you a story of the day Life changed.

I had gone for a walk on a beautiful fall day and decided that my route should be south since I had not been down into that part of the city for a while. The air was crisp and I noticed that my fellow neighbors all seemed to be in good spirits as they made their way down the narrow streets.

I had always loved the south side of the city because of the architecture that was so prevalent. The buildings were an eclectic mix of old and new. The designers had intricately merged history with the present and the climax was centered on two towers that stood defiantly in the middle.

It was beautiful.

On this morning I decided to walk parallel with the towers so I could enjoy their brilliance and also appreciate the history that surrounded them. The sun was shining, fall colors were abounding…the world seemed perfect.

It was not the sound of the airplane that startled me…no…it was the dark shadow that darted across my path. I quickly looked up and saw…nothing. I thought that my mind must be playing tricks on me and continued walking down the street. I turned to look at the towers and noticed that their glimmering brilliance had been replaced with…


My ears began to pick up the sound of sirens and I noticed that the taxis that normally fly up and down the streets had stopped. My neighbors were all looking in same direction I was and the look of fear was dominant.

My cell phone rang and I noticed that it was my boss. I hesitantly answered…


“Get in here…now.” He said with a tone of dread in his voice.

I hung up the phone and noticed that my pager was blaring at me. I didn’t even look at the message; I knew what it would say.

I began to run towards the now fiery towers. I was to far away from my station but I knew that my brothers would already be there. I would just use the spare equipment on the truck and somehow get the rest of my stuff later.

I looked at the faces streaming by me and noticed the bewilderment that clouded their eyes. This was not a normal occurrence here in the city of Life…this was different…this was bad. Another dark shadow darted past my eyes and I looked up to see an airplane smash into the other tower.

My knees buckled.

How? Who? Why?

I forced myself to keep moving and rounded the corner into a sea of chaos. I stood and tried to pick out which of the many trucks were from my house…it was futile. I decided to pick the first group that I saw and maybe they would have some gear.


I whirled around and saw my brothers running towards me…

“There is some gear in that truck on the corner! Grab it and meet us in the lobby!”

I nodded and ran back to where they had pointed. I opened up the spare compartment and began to yank on the life preserving equipment with a feverish display of quickness. I heaved the oxygen tank onto my back and turned back to the blazing buildings. I picked my way through the vast array of equipment and then began to sprint towards the doors of the tower.

The sound started as a low rumble as if someone was bowling in the sky above me. I looked up and could only see an enormous cloud of dust descending quickly towards me.

I heard someone screaming and then realized it was me. I began to run faster…I had to get into that lobby…I had to save my brothers!

A woman ran by me going the other direction and I noticed that she wasn’t going fast enough. The rumble was now a screaming freight train and I turned and tackled her to the ground. I draped my body over hers and waited…

The blow was crushing and it violently forced the air from my lungs…I tried to breathe and found it was impossible. I forced my eyes open and found the woman staring back at me…

“You’re my hero.” She whispered.

I smiled.

A hero dies.

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This article has been read 772 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 12/15/06
Very sensory--we can see and hear and smell this unfolding.

The practical side of me wants to say, if he's dead, how did he write this? I feel that way whenever I read "narrated from the dead pieces," though, not just this one.

A vivid reminder of a horrible day.
Betty Castleberry12/19/06
Very descriptive account of "that day." I have to say I agree with some of the other comments, though. I wonder how he could have written this if he was dead. But then, we are writers, huh? We are allowed a little license here and there. Over all, very good job.
Catrina Bradley 12/19/06
I like your article, very descriptive and well written. I did have a small problem with the beginning -
"I am a resident of the city of Life and I have lived here since I was born"
If this is being told from the perspective of a dead person, then this opening doesn't make sense (to me anyway). And one "to" that should be "too" that jumped at me. But the writing is good! Keep it up.