Finalists – 2019 Spec Faith Winter Writing Challenge

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

What a great contest our 2019 Winter Writing Contest is. We’ve had wonderful entries—a considerable number which received double-digit thumbs up! Now it’s time to announce our finalists!

Just a reminder. This is NOT a popularity contest. We really do want to acknowledge writers who have honed their skills and demonstrated their ability in this little exercise. So, those who vote in the poll, please be sure you read all three of the finalist entries and give a fair assessment.

Special thanks to all who entered and all who gave their feedback in the preliminary round. We had some that came so close to making the finals—it was hard for me to follow the rules for the contest and include only three in this poll.

We’ve also had a number of excellent, helpful comments, so hopefully you all who entered gained some insight into your writing. I hope the challenge has encouraged and inspired all the writers.

So here, in alphabetical order by last name, are your 2019 Spec Faith Winter Writing Challenge finalists:

  • Sarah Daffy
  • Jay DiNitto
  • L. G. McCary.

All that’s left is to select the winner, and that’s also in the hands of our visitors. Choose from these finalists and vote in the poll at the end of this post for the 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 10.

And now the finalists’ entries:

By Sarah Duffy

The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

The airport inspector and guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning—and hiding.

Right now I was being screened such at customs, for metals or explosive devices. What the airport inspector didn’t know was that a Bible was stashed away in the false bottom of my carry-on bag.

In this country it was illegal to import Bibles. It was illegal to be a Christian. It was even illegal to own a Bible. That’s why I was helping my friend Edward smuggle Bibles.

I held my breath as the airport inspector looked me over, hoping and praying he wouldn’t find me out. Or my secret. He patted me down and used his metal detector. Nothing. No metal, no explosive devices, nothing. He grunted.

“Go ahead, ma’am,” he said. “You’ve got nothing illegal on you.”

I smiled and moved ahead. I was through all customs, all inspectors, now all I had to do was figure out a plan and get the Bible to Edward.

Suddenly someone rushed across the airport, someone I knew and recognized.


The worst enemy of the Christians. He was known for hunting Christians down, reporting them to the authorities, and worse. I knew someday God would bring him to justice, but right now I was terrified and thinking that day would never come.

“Don’t let her get away!” Amir shouted. “She’s carrying a Bible!”

Immediately the inspector officer rushed after me and caught hold of me. Amir stood by, smirking.

“Explain yourself,” the officer demanded.

“I have nothing to explain,” I said, “except I’m doing the will of my Father in Heaven.”

I looked up and our eyes met, mine boring into Amir’s. Right then and there I knew he was sorry he’d betrayed me.


– – – – –

By Jay DiNitto

The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

That’s precisely why I told him my intentions.

“Eye’m going t’sh-to steal,” I, in my drunken rake’s disguise, declared with exaggerated slur, “that thing, right there. Thank you v’ry much!”

It worked! Lisette heard my final words, our predetermined cue. A small section of the floor molding rose, on the far side of the display room, revealing the narrow passageway. A mechanic’s creeper then glided out on well-oiled casters.

I unsteadily pointed at my target: the telluric electronal harvester, humming quietly behind the guard. It burnished bright with newly manufactured metallic curves and subtle, decorative illuminations. Naturally, it levitated, needlessly; my brother was ostentatious with “his” inventions as they were display at our annual Von Barger Estate Fair.

Lisette—my blessed, willing, diminutive, long-suffering, task-runner—slid out from the darkness of the hidden room. Brother’s architectural cleverness was my opportunity.

“You d’serve a dance, my friend!” I announced to the guard, and ersatz step shook my limbs.

Lisette lithely slid onto the creeper and wheeled underneath the harvester, deactivated the correct section of casing to reveal the electronal hopper and its wiring, quickly sketched out my proprietary schematics, and slid back into the passageway in just under a minute.

“Thank ye v’ry much fer yer time, sir!”

I belched, produced a silver ducat from my pockets, and flipped it over to the guard. It fell lamely onto the carpet in front of him. I doffed my hat and left down the hall, among the other fair-goers.

By this time tomorrow, the other Von Barger son will receive a very obnoxious series of tele-scripts and sketches that revealed my successful little reconnaissance and recovery mission. Our little prank war continues!

– – – – –

By L. G. McCary

The guard would never let me enter if he knew what I was planning.

I glanced at the hallway behind me. The research wing of the Library of Congress wasn’t as pretty as the reading room.

I smiled and opened my backpack.

“Check-in is on the left,” he said, poking in my bag with a plastic baton. “Sign in and leave your ID. You’ll have to throw that out.” He pointed at the box of cheese crackers.

“I just bought it!” I whined.

He rolled his eyes. “Don’t open it and leave it in your bag.”

The receptionist at check-in was barely paying attention. I handed her the fake ID, deposited my backpack in the locker, and sat in the cubicle with the only blind spot in the room. The flattened cracker box concealed in my hoodie poked my ribs.

The book came protected in a white archival box. It was smaller than I expected. I caught my breath as I opened it with white-gloved hands. Despite its size, it felt heavy, as if history added weight to its pages. I could barely believe I held the diary of the daughter of the most famous psychologist in history. She had written her name on the inside cover in spidery ink: Anna Freud.

I turned the fragile pages to the day I was looking for. It was blank but for one phrase.

Gestern festgenommen. “Arrested yesterday.”

I couldn’t believe I was holding what the Gestapo were so desperate to find. The diary fit perfectly in the cracker box. The receptionist was clearly woozy from handling my ID card and handed me my backpack without a word. She would be snoring in moments.

The ancient bottle of reagent was waiting in my hotel room to reveal what was inscribed on the rest of that blank page. Now I had to make it out the door.

– – – – –

Be sure to share this post and poll with your friends and family, your Instagram or Pinterest, your Facebook and Twitter accounts. The more voters, the better. And now, your vote:

Best known for her aspirations as an epic fantasy author, Becky is the sole remaining founding member of Speculative Faith. Besides contributing weekly articles here, she blogs Monday through Friday at A Christian Worldview of Fiction. She works as a freelance writer and editor and posts writing tips as well as information about her editing services at Rewrite, Reword, Rework.
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  1. notleia says:

    It’s kinda bothering me that I can think of better ways to dodge airport security than that first one. Like, don’t act defiant. Act clueless instead.
    Mask its presence by carrying other materials in that language. You ARE trying to learn the language of the place you’re missionary-ing to, right? A bilingual dictionary, kids’ books, a Koran, the poetry of Bai Juyi, magazines, whatever. Chances are better that they do not give a crap about the personal books of a foreigner.
    If it keeps you out of prison, let them chuck it in the trash. The great thing about printing presses is that you can make more books.

    But really, there are cheaper ways to get that kind of thrill. Like carrying a regular sized shampoo in your bag in an American airport.

  2. L.G. McCary says:

    I’m doing a little happy dance over here! Thank you to everyone who liked my little story. Good luck, Sarah and Jay!

  3. Margaret Ann Adelaide Blair Violet Jo Lilli Willis says:

    Great job, EVERYONE! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 And good job to ALL the other writers out there. We are ALL a WINNER even if we do not win! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. Rosie Sideri Williams says:

    I read all three stories and Laura, I truly loved your story the best( you probably don’t remember me, I am a lifelong friend of you Daddy and long time friend of you Mum’s. I live in Maine now and haven’t seen you since you were about 5 or 6! I keep up with you through your parents posts about you! Even though I have a sweet connection with you, I truly liked you story the best!! Good Luck!

  5. SoJo says:


What do you think?