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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: New Year (05/09/05)

TITLE: As a New Year Dawned
By Maxx .


A flash of light ripped through the citadels, immobilizing the frightened capital for a phosphorescent instant. The concussive blast shook all hope from the souls of the defenders.

The invasion had begun.

“Commissioner,” Rennock pushed into the Grand Hall. “All planetary defenses are down.”

The Commissioner stumbled backwards, his mouth slack and quivering. “No, that can’t be.” He tripped and fell against the table. “W—why?” He swallowed. “Why are they doing this?”

“It’s New Years Eve, Commissioner. They probably want their money.” He stepped across the room, eyes narrowing. The building trembled as the windows ignited with yellows and reds. “You remember the contract you committed this planet to? The extortion payments?” He stood close, his jaw set.

“N—not a fair agreement.” The Commissioner’s gaze darted from door to door as the blood drained from his face. “It isn’t valid.”

“I suspect they don’t see it that way.” Rennock grabbed the man’s collar and twisted while pressing him against the wall. “Did you transmit the payment?”

“The interplanetary courts won’t uphold…”

Rennock lifted, his arms like hydraulic jacks driving the trembling figure off the floor. “You can still stop this. Transmit the fifty billion.”

“We—” The commissioner struggled, his eyes bulging and wide. “We don’t have the fifty billion credits.”

Rennock threw him toward the observation windows and held him against the glass. The lights in the city below flickered and died, replaced by plumes, and flames, and mayhem. The pitch of the midnight sky roiled with shadows that were blacker still as wave after wave of landing craft spilled downward. They settled beyond the walls, belching forth countless legions of warriors.

Rennock turned toward the door. “Then you’ve sold us all into a dark bondage.”

The attack churned forward with hideous efficiency.

Rubble fell into the streets as the artillery bombardment intensified. Smoke, thick and pungent, choked the fleeing populous with the stench of burning flesh. Panic was heavy in the air. Rennock could feel it, like a dagger in the heart of the city.

A uniformed man staggered and cried out, his face twisted behind his petrified gape. Rennock caught him. “Why aren’t you at your post?”

The man blinked and stammered.

Rennock shook him. “Why have the wall defenses been abandoned?” He shoved the man back toward the attack and looked about. Figures were running through the darkness, falling, lost. “Get back to your positions, all of you! Take up your weapons and prepare for battle!”

Men hesitated, then turned.

A bolt streaked across the sky. An impact followed by explosion. The force of the blast threw Rennock to the ground. Debris rained through a rolling cloud of char and ash.

The wall had been decimated. A fissure had been carved. Nothing stood between the city and the advancing enemy.

Nothing but Rennock.

He shoved planks and boulders from atop him and stood. Grime caked his bloodied face. He sprinted to the rift.

Enemy fire was pouring in as the forces of evil moved forward. The remaining defenses were overwhelmed as bolts and artillery pounded them into silence. The cries of the wounded and dying sapped the will of the survivors. Defeat was at hand.

Rennock stepped into the breach.

He raised his fist in defiance, an oath that the struggle would not end with a whimper. He shouted, his voice like thunder raised above the deafening chaos about him. “Rally to me! Rally to me!”

A weak cry answered from the gloom. “I don’t want to die.”

“Never fear death! We’re dead already. I choose to die fighting for what is right. I’ll never let darkness quail my courage!”

Uncertain faces peeked out from their hiding places. They stared at the figure bold amongst the flames. Smoke curled about him like tentacles of doom, but he didn’t yield. Shells flashed around him, but he didn’t flinch. Men stepped toward the one whose eyes beamed with a resolute fury.

“Straighten your armor and come to me now. Raise your weapons and prepare to fight for our survival, for what we believe.”

Figures stumbled from the rubble and moved to the side of the man who would lead them. Hope had germinated and belief was raising. Their numbers multiplied, even as the legions drew near.

“Come with me.” He looked about at his followers. “Come with me. Let your faith sustain you. Fight with the truth. Leave the rest in the hands of God.”

He turned and led the charge as a new year dawned.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Kyle Chezum05/16/05
This was awesome! What a powerful, well written story! Good job!
Val Clark05/17/05
Great to have some speculative fiction in the challenge. What a hero! I suspect this is part of a greater work, keep at it.
Sally Hanan05/17/05
Fight with the truth and leave the rest in the hands of God. Amen! This should be in a movie.
Jamie Driggers05/19/05
Ah, inspiring sci-fi...I like it!
Kelly Klepfer05/20/05
I see Mel Gibson, William Wallace style as the lead. This could be the beginning of quite the page turner.
Joanne Malley05/20/05
A true testosterone tale! hehehehe Good writing! :)
dub W05/20/05
Okay, I liked it. nuf said.
Christe McKittrick05/23/05
Nice change of pace for Faithwriters. I, too, saw William Wallace in this tale. But I also saw the Savior standing against what seems defeat to a mortal man, yet courage and faith help them stand. Good show!
Deborah Porter 05/23/05
Hi Maxx. Just popping in (again) to let you know that you were in the semi-finals for the New Year challenge. As always, well done! With love, Deb
vicki mccollum05/24/05
Maxx, this is really great! It's a great mix of Christian fiction....almost a feel of star wars/Lord of the rings.....really good work. Are you turning this one into a novel?
Jessica Schmit05/17/06
I thought you wrote this one with more passion than any of the previous stories. It was like you "loved" this story and worked your fingertips to the bone to create a perfect masterpiece. Well crafted doesn't do this story justice. "A flash of light ripped through the citadels, immobilizing the frightened capital for a phosphorescent instant. The concussive blast shook all hope from the souls of the defenders." Goodness Maxx! Where do you find these words. Is your vocabulary that extensive? I think that's one of the most astounding features of a "Maxx" entry. It's your words, your phrases. Jim once commented on one of your stories a few weeks that "your writing stands out." It truly does. One of the first things I do when the new entries come out is run to Masters and find your. You always stick out. This story is a prime example of "sticking out." Every aspect of the story is magnificent and I really don't like war stories. I find them boring (my husband hates that about me, although he was happy when I bought him a sword and said he could watch his war movies with that! LOL) Anyway, I'm rambling now. This is one of the best "crafted" stories that I've read of yours. Congrats!