/ / Articles

2016 Winter Writing Challenge Finalists

All that’s left is to select the winner. Choose from these entries and vote in the poll at the end of this post for one entry you think is best.

2016 Spec Faith Writing ChallengeWe had a record number of writing challenge entries and some really great story starters. A few contestants even indicated they planned to expand what they wrote and turn it into a full story.

Special thanks to all who entered and who gave their feedback in the preliminary round of the challenge.

As always, we’re selecting three finalists, based on the responses over these past two weeks. So here are your 2016 Winter Writing Challenge Finalists: Michalel Rogers, Janeen Ippolito, and Bethany A. Jennings.

All that’s left is to select the winner. Choose from these entries and vote in the poll at the end of this post for one entry you think is best.

The entry receiving the most votes will be the winner, and the author will receive a $25 e-gift card from either Amazon or B&N. (In case of a tie, I’ll draw for the winner).

Voting will last until midnight (Pacific time), Sunday, February 14.

And now the finalist entries (presented in the order in which they were submitted):

By Michael Rogers

The approaching cloud wasn’t natural—it was too dark, too dense, and too fast—but Daniel had no place to hide and no chance to out run it.

There was only one thing left to do. Daniel turned about face mid air and flew towards the cloud. He watched as the civilians in the city below ran for shelter as the darkness descended upon them. There were shrieks and flashes of light as those few who had listened to Daniel fought against the creatures hiding in the mists. The darkness targeted these individuals, shooting through alleyways until it could surround them. The flashes of light stopped.

Anger burned in Daniels chest as he flew into the heart of the darkness. Clawed hand raked across his body as he plunged deeper into its depths. He coughed as sulfur began burning his lungs, but still he charged forwards.

Then, the darkness gave way to fire. In the middle of the cloud sat the Prince of Fire. He walked along the street, as if he were bound to the earth. Buildings buckled as the heat from his body weakened their steel beams. The asphalt ran freely around him. Tree’s burst into flames as the incarnation of destruction made his way to the heart of the city where Guinevere lay.

Daniel dove at the Prince, knocking him to the ground. With a final prayer he opened the Guinevere’s locket. Light exploded around him, pushing the darkness away. He felt the pull as the locket began drawing him into it’s embrace and he held onto the Prince. Together they were drawn into the locket, locked away until another foolish mortal sought its treasure.

– – – – –

By Janeen Ippolito

The approaching cloud wasn’t natural—it was too dark, too dense, and too fast—but Daniel had no place to hide and no chance to out run it.

Fortunately, he had an elefunt

It smelled like overripe bananas and burnt socks underneath the scaly torso as tall as a one-storey house. But that was the safest place. Only a fool stayed near an elefunt’s trunk when it was steam-snorting a poison-cloud. A surefire way to get all your skin seared off and piled in ribbons on the ground.

Daniel crouched low, his threadbare scarf yanked tight against his mouth and round his head like a turban. Above him, the elefunt’s gut wobbled as it sucked in a breath. Ready to blast whatever kresh came out of that cloud.

On a post-nuke planet, nothing coming in a cloud meant good. Anyone with half a brain never broke Surface.

Just lumphead scavs like him, desperate for a bit of tech to barter Down Below. Thanks to being a gene-scramble, Daniel breathed Surface gasses as pure air. Didn’t make his skin or lungs immune to poison-clouds.

Thank God for elefunts. Not that He bothered with the scorched earth.

The cloud swallowed the sky in black. What the kresh was the elefunt waiting for? Green leaves? A tree?

Daniel rolled over and shoved his boots vertical, right into the wobbly, stinking gut. The elefunt exploded in steam with a snort like chem-thunder.

Boom. SNERK!

He curled up, cloth-wrapped hands blocking the backwash spray. Acrid mist coated his clothes. Elefunts ate messy, especially their favorite cloud-snack.

Sneeeerk.

One blink. Two. No cloud.

He tensed.

Now to move before the beast farted.

– – – – –

By Bethany A. Jennings

The approaching cloud wasn’t natural—it was too dark, too dense, and too fast—but Daniel had no place to hide and no chance to out run it.

I jumped upright in rage, the bleachers rattling under me. “This is cheating!”

The cloud of Emmy’s spell smacked my boyfriend onto the practice mat like an ocean wave. The magic permeated him. Dark, shimmering specks swirled around Dan’s athletic body and bled into him like water into a sponge. His back arched. The cloud lifted him into the air, bent backward, hands outstretched trembling toward the ceiling.

Talia tugged my hand urgently. I wasn’t about to sit down.

I had seen this spell enough in movies to know – soon Dan would speak. Soon half the school would know the darkest, deepest secret in his soul.

How’d Emmy cast that incantation?

All cheering from the spectators died into breathless, horrified silence, and Dan’s teeth-gritted groans echoed off the gym’s concrete walls. The specks seethed around him like insects eating him alive, more vicious as his resistance ebbed.

My stomach churned. To hear his deepest secret vomited out would be awful – but worse, what if it was something I didn’t know? Had I told him my darkest, worst secrets only to have him hide things from me in return? I wanted to shove my fingers in my ears and scream so loudly that no one would hear him.

Dan convulsed. His voice came out in a cracked, broken yell. “My girlfriend, Abby Storek – can’t – do – magic! She’s telepathic. She belongs to the enemy side! All her amazing performances are just mental tricks. And I’m deathly afraid she’s playing me too.”

– – – – –

Be sure to share this post with your friends and family, your Google+ circles and your Pinterest people, your Facebook friends and Twitter followers. The more voters, the better.

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of