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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Accent (02/21/13)

TITLE: Faction
By Vince Martella
02/27/13


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Ahmed ran, like a rabbit chased by a pack of ravenous wolves. The gash in his side was painful, but not critical. The sun beat down on his skin and his throat felt like sandpaper, but he dare not stop. His pursuers were close behind. He could feel them on his heels.

Run, Ahmed, don’t slow down. They’re right behind you.

Ahmed ran until he felt his lungs would burst; over rooftops, through side streets and down alleys. He toppled stands and carts in the market place. He finally reached a patch of woods outside the city and stopped to turn around. He could neither see nor hear his attackers. He fell to his knees in exhaustion. A cool breeze eased the pain of his ravaged body.

Where are the others? He was alone, separated from his unit. His only hope was to make it over the border.

Back to his homeland.

Back to his people.

He slowed his pace as he made his way through the dense forest. He lifted his blood-soaked shirt to inspect his wound. It was jagged and nasty, but not deep. He would fix it later. He bandaged it with a clean piece of cloth and kept moving.

Better not leave a blood trail.

With imminent danger momentarily abated, he began to reflect on his situation, and question his God.

“Where did we go wrong?” he wondered aloud. “Why did we not attain victory?”

Ahmed cursed under his breath as he pushed on.

“Surely our cause was righteous. Surely You were on our side.” He lifted his eyes to the heavens, but they were silent. His conviction, once strong like his faith, was growing weaker by the minute. His group was shattered; their plans failed. Their only directive now was survival.

Through the forest and the craggy mountain base, Ahmed stealthily evaded several enemy bands. Finally, he came to a small stream, following it until it deposited into a river. He followed the river several miles until he saw it.

The bridge.

Ahmed smiled. His homeland lay on the other side. There he would find friends and family that would supply him with food, shelter and supplies. He could almost smell his wife’s lamb cooking over the fire, and hear the voices of his children playing in the green grass.
He would repair and replenish his body, and renew his mind. He would regroup with his surviving squad members and plan another attack. And this time they would be successful.

Ahmed slid around a stand of brush trees and crouched low. He lay motionless for several minutes and watched the bridge. The sun was low and orange in the sky. Perhaps he would wait until nightfall and cross under cover of darkness. Just a few minutes of rest before…

Suddenly he heard the snap of a branch and spun around to face a large, muscular man with a scar across his cheek. He was known as Liam, an exceptionally well trained assassin.

This one was a spotter; he was waiting for me.

Instinctively, Ahmed reached for his weapon.

Gone.

“Your weapon; evidently lost in your attempt to flee” Liam said. “How unfortunate.”

“I’m sorry, but there must be some mistake,” said Ahmed. “I’m just returning from a long trip. All I want is to cross the river and get home.”

“Where is home?” Liam asked.

“There, in the valley,” gestured Ahmed.

He eyed the blood soaked circle on Ahmed’s side. “That’s a nasty wound you have there. How did that happen?”

Ahmed’s mind was spinning as he tried to come up with an answer that might save his life.

“Do you believe in God?” Liam asked.

“Yes, I do”. A glimmer of hope sparked in Ahmed’s soul.

“As do I,” he said. I believe in our cause, and that God fights for us. I trust you believe the same.”

Ahmed looked deep into Liam’s eyes.

“I am sorry that it has to end this way,” Liam said. “We are really more brothers than enemies. You belonged with us, not against us. “

Liam drew closer and whispered to Ahmed.

Ahmed stared past Liam, past the river, into the valley beyond. He silently said a prayer for his wife and children.

“Speak.” Liam’s voice was low and deliberate.
Met with silence, Liam reached for his weapon.

Ahmed finally found words.

“Wrong answer,” said Liam, grabbing his weapon. “Godspeed, my brother.”

As Ahmed lay dying, a strong breeze blew his final words across the river:

“Sibboleth……SIBBOLETH!!!……………”









*Author’s Note – Based on Judges 12


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This article has been read 228 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Virgil Youngblood 03/01/13
I wanted to write on this scripture but I could never sort out how to do it. The 42,000 killed because they could not enunciate a word, trying to cross the Jordon River at one of the few fording spots, stymied me. You simplified it, and I like the way you handled it. Well done.
CD Swanson 03/02/13
Good job with this. The Bible fascinates me and whenever an entry highlights the Word, it is always an interesting read for me.

Thanks. God bless~
Cheryl Harrison 03/04/13
You and I had the same idea. We both used Judges 12 as our backdrop. Our perspectives are a little different, but your descriptive writing kept my attention all the way through. The lamb on the fire made me hungry. God bless and keep writing.
Judith Gayle Smith03/05/13
I feel his terrible pain, his fear and his longing - and the agony of saying the right word at the wrong time - as his dying breath. A wonderful take on a tragic event . . .
Judith Gayle Smith03/05/13
Shhhh - I mean the accent was on the wrong syllable . . .
Alicia Renkema03/05/13
I was simply engrossed all the way through. This was excellent, fast -paced; energy pounding reading. I so wanted Liam to care more about what Ahmed believed and less about what tribe he was a part of. But such is life. Even when Liam was looking deep into Ahmed's eyes, I thought maybe there was hope. This was very well written, I just wished it could've ended differently. Great for topic! I love stories where the Word of God is truly the MC itself.
lynn gipson 03/05/13
Very good take on this story that ended so tragically. You have a way of pulling the reader into your story and keeping them there. You had me at hello with this. Topic is spot on. Very nicely done. God Bless!
Myrna Noyes03/06/13
You did a great job with this story based on a Bible event! You had some excellent descriptions, and your dialogue was well-done, too. The level of suspense throughout kept me avidly reading to the bitter end!
Bea Edwards 03/06/13
It's hard to believe this exciting tale was contained within 750 words. I was spellbound from the beginning and didn't guess of your surprise ending until the last couple lines. Well done!
Loren T. Lowery03/06/13
I have to admit to being a bit envious of your writing style - I can never seem to get Biblical historical fiction to sound anything but stilted. But, you have no problem with it at all. This is flawless, tension filled, engaging and informative. Way to go. Great job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/07/13
You did a great job with this. This is the second story I've read this week on this exact scripture. Both stories were great and held my attention. You did a fine job of building the suspense and of course you nailed the topic.
Judith Gayle Smith03/07/13
Thank you for glorifying God with your true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy winning entry! God bless you.

Love and verbal hugs, Judi

KJV Revelation 14:12 "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/07/13
Congratulations on ranking 11th overall! (Oh so close, keep at it though:))
Cheryl Harrison 03/08/13
Congratulations on your well deserved 3rd place!
Claudia Thomason 03/08/13
This story pulled me in immediately. Great writing! Congratulations on your third place.
CD Swanson 03/08/13
Congratulations. God bless~