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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the ROMANCE genre (04/19/07)

TITLE: Missing a Train
By James Wood
04/21/07


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They met every day at the BART station for the 9:15 train, though they never spoke a word. Every night, she would look for him coming up the escalator ramp. And, every night they caught each other’s eye just as he crested the top of the ramp. It was a love affair of silence; so simple, and so sweet. Though they waited at the same station, it was to go in opposite directions. Perhaps fate was denying them.

Still, they caught each other’s eye every night at 9:15. And, for a few seconds, time would stand still. Then, with but a few stolen glances traded, they would board their respective trains and speed off into the night.

As Amy stood on the platform at 9:07 this night, she felt that wonderful feeling of anticipation whetted by an afternoon of daydreams.

Jonathan slipped his ticket into the feeder, and saw it pop out on the other side of the turnstile. As he picked it up, he was deep in thought. Would he talk to her tonight? He recalled the advice his friend had given him, something to the effect of “Dude, just talk to her. Don’t be such a chicken.”- though he had not used the word “chicken.”

His nervousness escalated faster than he did towards the top of the BART station.

At 9:15, their eyes met. Jon walked to his usual spot and stood there for a moment, seeming undecided. He scanned the other passengers at the station. The few regulars were there. There was crushed hat guy, and newspaper lady. Family guy and the kids were there as well. There was also angry cell phone guy yelling into his earpiece about missing the margin call, and a scattered assortment of others.

Jon just stood there sweating. What was so terrifying about this? Family guy was yelling at his son to behave and hold his hand. Newspaper lady rustled her paper and snapped it straight. Every noise made him feel jumpy.

Don’t be a chicken.

Jon moved to cross the platform just as the call for the arrival of his train came over the speaker. He sighed. He gave Amy a look that said, “I’m sorry.”, and swore that the next opportunity presented itself he would act on. Jon stepped up to the yellow line next to family guy and his son, who was still throwing a fit. The train began to approach the platform just as the unthinkable occurred.

The son, in one last angry tug managed to rip his hand free from his father’s grasp. But, in doing so, he lost his balance, crossed the yellow line, and fell onto the tracks.

In the split second that it took for newspaper lady, crushed hat guy, angry cell caller and sundry to react in horror, John leapt into the path of the oncoming train. In the final second before the train arrived, its horn blaring and brakes screaming, he flung the boy from the pit of the track line and onto the platform.

Jon didn’t even feel the train hit him.

“It’s funny,” was his last thought. “The things we’re afraid of.”


* * * * *

Amy was unsure of herself as she approached Jon’s mother. Would she be offended at her showing up here, a total stranger?

“Mrs. Banks?” she asked tentatively. A woman, haggard from sleeplessness looked up at her. Amy introduced herself, and they talked for a while. The grief brought them together.

“I’m so sorry this happened, Mrs. Banks,” Amy finally said, putting her arm around the woman. “Is there anything I can do for you?”

“No, dear, I’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. It’s him I’m worried about.”

“Is he awake, can I go in and see him?”

“I believe so, dear. The doctor warned us not to tire him out though. Thank God it just clipped him.”

“What I have to say won’t take long,” Amy assured her.

Amy went in to the hospital room. There, hung like some sad puppet in traction wire and wrapped in casts, bandages, and gauze like a mummy, was Jon. He recognized her immediately.

“Look,” began Amy, “before anything else happens; before a meteor crashes into the earth or Russia launches missiles at us, or I don’t know what – I want you to know one thing: I love you.”

Jon smiled. When he could speak again, the first thing he’d do was tell her he loved her too. Nevertheless, he had a feeling she already knew.


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This article has been read 693 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Christine Dunn04/27/07
I feel like I've taken a rollercoaster ride - there were so many ups and downs in this story! I thought it was going to be a simple, typical case of boy meets girl romance at the beginning.

Then when the train came, I thought "Ah, this is his chance to prove how brave and wonderful he is. He'll have her in no time." I didn't expect him to get knocked down! Then I thought he had died, but was glad that the story had a happy ending. Phew! Thanks for the ride!

P.S. Think there was one titchy mistake - comma instead of full stop - I'm such a fuss pot!
Stevie McHugh04/27/07
You had me from the start, but I have a suggestion. I recommend you change the "I love you" at the end. It would be more satisfying, I think, for them to begin to get to know each other at that point. The mutual attraction is obvious. But maybe it's just the word limit that accelerated the inevitable. Great story.
LaNaye Perkins04/27/07
For a second there I thought the poor guy was a goner. I'm glad he made it and I really liked your story.
Rita Garcia04/28/07
WOW! You packed alot into this story! Held my attention, and topped it off with a great ending!
Marilyn Schnepp 04/28/07
Now THIS is what I call a Love Story extraordinaire'! Perfect romance, and so beautifully done. Great job and I loved it from title to last word! Kudos!
Sheri Gordon04/28/07
Wonderful romance genre story. You captured it all -- and in 750 words.

Personally, the "I love you" at the end felt a little unrealistic, but, then again, romance stories often end a little over-the-top.

Could they really like each other first maybe?

Great job.
Edy T Johnson 04/29/07
Titles get my attention. Yours was top of the heap as I skimmed the list. Your story reads like a romantic mystery. And, it doesn't get much better than that in my book! Thanks for a great read.
Julie Arduini04/29/07
Wow! This was so emotional and definitely romantic. Nice job!
Ed VanDeMark04/30/07
I like your story it is well written and satisfying. The word limit of 750 words is too short to set up a romance and have it come to a conclusion without making it seem a bit too rushed. Within the limits of the challenge however, you did an excellent job. Sandra Bullock stared in a movie "While you were Sleeping" or a title close to that. You might want to check it out because your story while different reminds me of that movie.
Loren T. Lowery04/30/07
Great vehicle for showing how our lives can change in an instant.

One small grammar remark is that seeming should probably be seemingly in this sentence:
"At 9:15, their eyes met. Jon walked to his usual spot and stood there for a moment, seeming undecided."

Regardless, I enjoyed reading of this budding romance that could have been missed completely.
Jacquelyn Horne05/01/07
Good romance. Would love to read more. Maybe after the challenge, you'll expand it. Good writing.
Valora Otis05/01/07
Wow! I'm a romantic--and fell in love with this one! Step on up to Masters and take your well earned place in the book. (At least that's what I'd give you if I could.) Hope the judges love this one as much as I did.
Joanne Sher 05/03/07
Great detail and description. I also think the "I love you" was a bit rushed, but you only have so much space - and it IS a romance, after all. Very suspenseful AND sweet.
Val Clark05/03/07
Neat romance without being overly sentimental. Great suspence, I too thought he'd died. yeggy
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/04/07
Congratulations on coming so close to placing. This is a very well told story. I could visualize it as I went along, which is the mark of a good writer.