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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Prosperity (05/11/06)

TITLE: Shadow Dancer
By Maxx .
05/17/06


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Tina’s-shell stumbled, tired and sore, in the dried ruts of the hardpan parking lot. She wandered, aimless, with no destination. The August sun stung her cheeks as she stopped to watch a battered red and white tent rising in the vacant fairground. Entertainment in the dog days of summer. She was somehow intrigued.

Immortal Tina roused from an ancient slumber. A word, no, the wisp of a sound, the fragment of a noise, had touched her subconscious and sleep began to fall away like scales from blinded eyes. She stirred, groggy and lethargic, but ears searching for the source and location of the calling.

Tina’s-shell pulled a water bottle from her purse and raised it to moisten dry lips, a thirst that seemed never to be quenched. Men drove giant wooden stakes into the ground with mallets and sledge hammers. Strangers some, but others she recognized. Mr. Darcy at the tire store, Dr. Clancy, and Pastor Niven of the Baptist church on the east side. Men her father had known before he’d died. They were sweating, stripped to the waist, as they wrestled with the canvas, rope, and steel.

She moved in closer.

Immortal Tina stretched and pushed unused legs, like a dormant seed taking root in warmed soil. Head cocked, she listened. Again, the voice, the resonance, familiar and alluring, washed across her spirit, an invitation to come out. And she did, pressing herself through the walls of the shell that served as a chrysalis. It was an awakening.

“What is this?” she spoke aloud, despite being alone … so very much alone. The clock on the church tower chimed twice. Mother was expecting her home from the community college to help with supper and chores. But her feet cemented, resistant to her commands to move.

Dust spun among the fields swirling discarded wrappers and withered grass into the endless sky. The afternoon crackled about Tina's-shell. An elderly man, wrinkled and gray in a yellowed button down shirt, smiled as he squared off a knot. She waved, although the impulse came from beyond her.

The sun glinted in the man’s eye and he seemed to sparkle from within.

Tina’s-shell backed away, her fingers trembled as confusion blurred her vision. “I … I have to go.”

Immortal Tina jumped. An image, the flicker of a shadow long ago lost to the darkness flashed through her mind. A memory reborn. Warmth, radiance, promise. She’d never before, or since, experienced such a fullness of sensation. A yearning swelled within … life after having only known death.

It was a calling, her calling, and this time she intended to respond.


Tina’s-shell stopped, the memory of a stormy night rekindled. A timid girl away from home, alone in a hotel, with tornados predicted. She’d found a book in the drawer and read, looking for something to fill her mind. The words had made no sense … but there’d been a strangeness about them. She didn’t understand. Her heart thundered as the syllables scattered over her receptive mind. And for the first time she’d felt awake.

The old man stood and pulled a Bible from his pocket. He winked at her, and then walked into the tent, looking over his shoulder one last time. He held her gaze as if silently calling to her.

Immortal Tina spun about. Song! A song! So fresh and alive it seemed to be flowing right through her. She surged above the brown haired vessel, the mortal shell, which had cocooned her. Wisps and shadows darted about the risen tent. A presence, Divine reflections, angelic perfection. The essence of joy, and they invited her to join.

They sang to her, Immortal Tina, calling her name.

And she answered, moving among them, dancing with the shadows. Fellowship and renewal washed over her, redeeming nectar.

She was reborn. Alive and prosperous with an eternal future.


Tina’s-shell found she was humming through elevated lips. Something about this place was, she couldn’t put words to it, but perhaps it just seemed right. There was a substance here she didn’t understand. But she wanted to know more, felt she had to know more.

Over the entrance of the tent a sign raised. “Revival Tonight: 7:00.”


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This article has been read 1257 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jessica Schmit05/18/06
I hate you. (jk) Honestly, this writing is amazing. Astouding. It can only belong to one master FW. I loved the parrelism. What a beautiful picture of life, prosperity and growth. Incredible. Writing was the best I've seen in some time.
Sherry Wendling05/20/06
Awesome! My spirit is singing in harmony, devouring this amazing account of a soul awakening to eternal life. "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him..." (Jn. 6:44 NKJV). A sure winner, in heaven and on earth!
George Parler 05/22/06
Amazing, simply amazing. You have such a keen since of perspective from any angle from which you choose to gaze. Your writing ability is as inspiring as it is astounding. Thank you.
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/22/06
You wrote this in the middle of a meeting and didn't even proof read it. I agree with the first commenter. heh Wow. Pretty cool perspective.

One thing that caught my eye: "She wandered, aimless, with no destination." This sentence is redundant. ;-)
Anita Neuman05/22/06
This is a good story, but it's not your best. It's well-worded and has good flow, but I think the conflict lacks intensity (ie. the contrast between what both "sides" of Tina want isn't wide enough). But the idea of the two different sides is really great!
Jan Ackerson 05/22/06
Hmmmm, I wasn't too sure about the degree of separation here between body and spirit; I'm still deciding whether it "works" for me. Nevertheless--your usual excellence in writing--amazing that you can do this while miltitasking! Awesome, really.
Linda Watson Owen05/22/06
Love the poetic quality in this! Mesmerizing! What a unique and intriguing take on the subject of prosperity, Maxx! I read it the other night and went back and read it again. Beautiful!!
Val Clark05/23/06
Loved the idea of seeing inside the 'shell' of a person to watch them come to life!
Pat Guy 05/23/06
To be honest, not too bad considering ...! I love the storyline, the contrast, the seed planted years ago that was awakened.

It's beautiful.

Good to see a few bumpy spots for a change! ;)

Joanne Malley05/23/06
There's certainly nothing to nitpick about your awesome writing ability; your descriptions are always masterfully detaled, but I found the story hard to absorb and follow through the first reading. Re-reading clarified it for me the second time around. However, it's no doubt a very interesting and unique take on the topic. Your perspective always stands out in a crowd. Well done! And btw, I'm tellin' your boss! LOL Jo
Caitlynn Lowe05/24/06
That's odd, I thought your hint said that this was a "down week" for you....yet after reading that, I can't help but think, "If only my good weeks were as good as his bad!"

I loved the story and the imagery used. I also thought it was a creative way to write about Prosperity. Overall, in my opinion, it's a great story! ^_^
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/24/06
I love the imagery. You captured the true human spirit here. What a word painting. Excellent.
dub W05/24/06
Guess I am particular - I didn't understand or like the italic use. I have always been trained that italics were for thoughts.
Interesting piece overall.
Rita Garcia05/24/06
Really enjoyed this picture of prosperity. One of my favorites this time.
Beth Muehlhausen05/24/06
This one deserves more than one read...it's DEEP.

Oooooo, here's where I spooked out w/ a few prickles down my spine: "She waved, although the impulse came from beyond her.
The sun glinted in the man’s eye and he seemed to sparkle from within."

This is something to aspire to...thanks for raising the bar. :-)