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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hope (05/04/06)

TITLE: Dangling Hope
By Corinne Smelker


Tim took another sip of his tepid beer and continued, “So there I was, in the middle of the jungle having just jumped from a downed plane, dangling 50 feet from the ground with a ripped parachute. Mosquitoes the size of bats decided I was a great mid-morning snack, but I couldn’t even smack them off because my arms were tangled in the rip cords.
“‘Great,’ I thought. ‘Just great. In the middle of the Amazon, up a creek without a paddle – actually I’d be lucky to have a paddle!”
“Whatja do?” asked the man on the adjoining stool, nursing his drink.
“I prayed.”
“No really?” asked the stranger.
“Really,” continued Tim. “I said, ‘God, if you’re real, help me.’”
“What happened?” asked his companion.
“Yep. The ’chute just rocked and moved in the wind. I dangled from that darn thing blowing at the mosquitoes. And wouldn’t you know it, it began to rain – big old drops, big as soup plates. Well, the weight of the rain on the parachute was too much and it ripped even more, sending me tumbling to the ground. Fortunately there were plenty of leaves, so my fall was broken.”
“Yeah, lucky.”
“Well, now I’m down, but no one’s around. So I pray again, dunno why, ’cos God didn’t answer the last one. ‘Hey God. Nice one,’ I say, ‘but I hope you got something better. I’m stuck here in the middle of nowhere. No plane, no food, no water – thanks a lot. Please God help me.’ Nothing happened. You know, God never answered.”
The stranger looked at Tim and said, “But you’re here right? How did you get here unless by hope and a prayer?”
Tim pushed his half empty glass away from the sticky ring on the counter, wiping the stain with his napkin, “Sheer good luck and human ingenuity! I had seen a village through the foliage as the plane was going down, and I kinda remembered the direction, so figured I would head on that way. But it was harder than I thought. I got all turned around in the crash and the sun on the bottom of the jungle is all used up by the time it gets to you – it’s like the upper branches absorb it and only give you what they don’t want, so I couldn’t even use the sun as an indicator.”
Tim’s companion chuckled, “That’s an interesting description –never heard of the sun been used up before. But, how did you get out?”
Tim glanced back at his new drinking buddy, “I looked around me, and even though it was hard to see, there was a narrow path; places where the leaves were trodden on, places where the branches had been snapped. Yes sirree bob, good thing I have such good eyes, I bet a hunnred other folks would have stood in that same spot and never seen it. I untangled myself from my parachute, and followed the path. Yep – don’t need God when I have my own two eyes and no injuries from that fall. And wouldn’t you know it, I was headed in the right direction because not even an hour later I came to a huge river. ‘Where there’s water, there’s people.’ I said to myself and sure enough, there was a woman standing in the river washing clothes.”
“Man – are you sure God wasn’t answering your prayers – sounds like an awful lot of coincidences,” said the man.
“Hmph – God, no way. I did this all myself! Anyway, the woman saw me come out of the tree line and she greeted me in English – can you believe that? Apparently she went to school in a big city somewhere and she learned some English. Well, she set me up – took me back to her village and introduced me to the chief. He was most helpful – lucky I had my wallet with me, normally I leave it behind when I fly – so I could pay them, and they drove me to the nearest town – 2 days by truck, can you believe. Anyway, here I am.”
Tim’s companion sat in silence for a few moments before throwing some dollars on the bar counter and standing up. Blearily Tim looked up, “Hey, where are you going?”
“To find me a priest. That story is just too weird for me! Hey, did that girl ever tell you her name?”

745 words

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This article has been read 1263 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Trina Courtenay05/11/06
Good story. I liked the title and how it ties the story together.

I was however taken back that someone in Masters has no white space in their piece. I'm a beginner and I see that comment left on alot of pieces. Just wondering.
Jessica Schmit05/12/06
WOW. I loved how this was so NOT predicatable. I read the first few lines and braced myself for the familar, but you delieved the unknown. Great job. Awesome writing. Superb dialogue. Awesome job!
Purity Snowe05/12/06
loved this story ... a lil bit of everything! wow
Maxx .05/12/06
I don't know if this was meant to be funny but it sure struck me that way! I kept saying "Duh! Open your eyes!" Well written over all. I personally thought that you didn't need the last line, but that's a minor thing from a picky guy. Nicely written!
Melanie Kerr 05/13/06
Excellent story! All those answered prayers and he didn't see them! It seems to me to be a common practice at FW to put clear lines between paragraphs to break up the mass of words - but you kept my attention all the way.
Lynda Lee Schab 05/13/06
The title is perfect for your story, which was well written with great dialogue. I'll repeat what others said about the double spacing - it's difficult for me to follow with the words smushed together - but the story itself was great and held my interest. Well done!
Lynda Schultz 05/13/06
I'm with Maxx - it is amazing that so many times we miss God in the middle of the "everyday" miracles. Good writing.
Rachel Rudd 05/18/06
Congratulations. This is an excellent story...it's amazing how some don't see the signs right in front of their faces (hehehe...like my brother who is agnostic...
the evidence is all around him!) Excellent Story!
Kaylee Blake 05/20/06
Oooh! This was great! I, too, kept wanting to say "Duh, you dork! Wake up and smell the coffee!"
Congratulations on your win!
Karen Treharne05/20/06
Hi Corinne. Good to see a familiar name. I've not been writing for the challenge for quite a few months until recently, and I've been so blessed to read so many wonderful stories like this one. Congratulations, but I'm not surprised. I love your work and your title was perfect for the piece. It was a joy to read.
Betsy Tacchella05/20/06
That was a very thought provoking story. I enjoyed it.
Beth Muehlhausen05/22/06
Involving dialogue and some pretty colorful characters! :-)