Thursday 360 Challenge

Welcome to Thursday 360!

Are you a Christian writer? Think you can write a mind-blowing short story in 360 words or less? Let’s see what you’ve got!

Here’s How it Works

New posts will publish here on Thursdays. Write a 360-word (or less) flash fiction story based on the photo prompt (featured near the bottom of this post) and enter it in the comments section below. The results will be posted the following Thursday along with the new prompt. Winner will get the opportunity to display the Champion’s Badge on their website.

Rules and What-not

The rules are pretty simple. All entries must be posted by midnight EST the following Monday. They must be original, unpublished stories inspired by the photo prompt and they must have no more than 360 words (title doesn’t count). Stories don’t have to be Christian in subject matter, but cannot contain foul language, erotic, anti-Christian content, etc… (Let’s try to keep it G-rated, folks.) By posting, you attest that your entry conforms to these rules; I am in no way liable if it doesn’t. I reserve the right to reject/delete anything that does not follow the rules.

All entries remain the property of their authors.

Results for Last Week’s Challenge

Firelight by Anna Johnson: The description in this story is so good. Some of the sentences are a bit long, but the prose flows with a heartfelt fluidity that moves the story along well. The narrative mingles nicely with the metaphorical contemplations of Josiah, paralleling the life of the flames to the intricacies and purposes of humanity and the men around him. Very good, Anna.

Love Can’t Let Go by Mary C. Findley: The tension starts right off in the beginning as Toby stands watching the brushfire, wishing for death while his little brother tries to save him. “Love can’t let go!” The phrase screams off the page with the intensity of a timeless truth and life-altering significance. I love that phrase; it’s alive with sincerity and soul. Thanks for sharing, Mary.

Childhood’s End by Jeremy Bullard: Great examples of sensory description infuse the narrative of the protagonist as he stands at the crossroads of Childhood’s End and the Door to the Future. The prose pulls in four different senses making the scene come alive. The rich description and subtle use of metaphor add good depth to the story. Good job, Jeremy.

You all did a good job last week and I look forward to seeing what you have to offer in upcoming challenges!

And now for the results…

Champion: Jeremy Bullard

Here’s your e-badge Jeremy!

updated thursday 360 e-badge

 

The Prompt

And here’s the prompt for this week’s challenge.

Photo Credit, David Niblack, Imagebase.net

 

Remember to become a follower so you can get email notifications of results and new posts.

 

Check out Christian Flash Weekly after you’re done for another great contest to help you hone your short fiction skills.

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17 thoughts on “Thursday 360 Challenge

  1. Letting Go

    A warm sea breeze rustled through the palm thatch umbrella shading the table. Matt inhaled the salty air and closed his eyes against the glaring sun. The surf roared in his ears as the tide washed in over the hot sand down on the beach. Children laughed, playing in the waves. Matt heard the clicking of a bicycle and opened his eyes just in time to see Claire ride up. She put out the kickstand and removed her helmet as she smiled his way and came to sit across from him.

    “Hey, what’s up?” She brushed back stray strands of golden hair. Sweat was just beginning to dampen the fabric of the coral tank top she wore. She was training for the Honolulu Century Ride. Matt was more into water sports than land, but he’d still be at the finish line cheering her on.

    He nodded toward the bike. “How’s training?”

    “Good.” She took several sips from her the water bottle she always carried around. “You didn’t answer my question.”

    Matt nodded slowly and took a deep breath, fidgeting with his glass.

    Claire glanced at the Mai Tai. “You’re drinking again.”

    It wasn’t a question.

    Matt sighed. “No. I’m not going to drink it.”

    “Then why’d you order it?”

    He shrugged. “I thought I needed it.”

    “You don’t.”

    “I know.”

    Claire studied her brother intently. “What’s wrong?”

    He was silent for a moment before answering. “I got a call.”

    “From?”

    “Lori.”

    Claire’s eyes flashed and her jaw set in a hard line as she leaned back in the chair and crossed her arms. “What did she want?”

    Matt met her gaze and tears stung at the back of his eyes. “Dad’s got cancer. He’s dying.”

    Claire stared down at a cranefly crawling up the table leg. “So?”

    Her voice sounded faraway.

    “I’m going to visit him.”

    She shook her head. “I’m not going with you.”

    “Claire…”

    “No!”

    He’s our father, Claire. It’s time to let the past go.”

    She didn’t answer.

    Matt sighed and stood up. “I’m leaving tomorrow at noon.”

    He grabbed the Mai Tai and tossed the liquid onto the sand as he walked away.

    Would she come?

    Word Count: 360

    (Host entry—not eligible to win.)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. “Retribution”

    To the undiscerning eye, I was just another vacationer to the wave dappled shores of Santa Domingo. Everything from my strapped sandals to my polarized Ray Bans gave the impression that this trip was purely for pleasure. That was a lie.
    My name is Mark Gatley and I am a white crime operative thrust into a blue crime world. In my ear is an invisible link to my CIA handlers adrift somewhere to the East. Above me, unseen, is a stealth satellite, tracking Feliz. Staring out at the azure expanse of ocean, I focus not on the beauty around me, but the chatter filling my head.
    “Position verified. Tracing target. Standby.”
    The long range signal rustles in my ear, “Target is proceeding west along the main thoroughfare towards your location. Initiation of agent in 3, 2, 1….”
    The countdown fades. I picture the preparation procedure- the nanobug full of the neurotoxin being released and remotely guided to the throat of its unsuspecting, but fully deserving victim. For a split second, I smell blood and see her dark hair hanging limply; by sheer force of will, I push the images aside. The development of the poison being used is what earned me my current place of honor, a front row seat to Feliz’s elimination.
    Suddenly, I see him- arms swinging, strolling jauntily down the sidewalk. My earbud vibrates and a single word, “Check”, breathes through. Feliz slaps a hand to his neck, walks two steps, then sinks to one knee with a look of bewilderment on his face. He puts a palm down to steady himself, but succeeds in only slowing his fall to the ground. HIs face is towards me and I see his grimace. Once the light is gone from his eyes, I get up and calmly walk south, away from the throng gathering around the dead man. Retribution is a poor substitute for her, but it will do.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Where are you God?

    Kane leaned back in the chair and felt the heat of the sun, but it was refreshingly softened by the cool breeze wafting through the palm trees. He brushed his hand through his wavy black hair and sighed. It had been a long day. The doctor’s news wasn’t good.
    “God, Mom has already been through so much–how can she endure anymore? Are you still there?
    Kane remembered seeing his mother helping the ladies in the church. She was struggling to reach decorations on a high shelf for a gift basket. “Mom, let me help you…”, he whispered, trying not to draw attention to her frustration with something that, until recently, was effortless. He had watched his mother’s body weaken with each treatment, yet she was still helping others in need.
    His mom often shared her faith and trust in God, even with strangers at the clinic–assuring them that God would meet their needs, no matter how big or small. “But God, where are you–Mom needs you now!”
    “Son, I am with you always”…”For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
    “But God, the doctor said she doesn’t have much longer–how can that be in your plan?” Kane felt helpless–he wanted to help his mother, yet there was nothing he could do. The doctors said the same words. “Nothing more we can do–it’s in Gods hands now..”
    He turned as he felt a gentle tap on his shoulder. “Cheri! How long have you been standing there?”
    “Only a moment–you seemed so deep in thought that I didn’t want to disturb you.” Cheri’s auburn hair touched his shoulder as she leaned over to give Kane a hug.
    A warmth came over Kane that was different than the warmth of the sun. Cheri brought feelings that he had not felt with any other person–not even his wonderful mother. A reassurance and comfort to his heart, that everything would turn out right. And Kane realized something. “Thank you God. Even when I don’t understand–You are there.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. No Worries…?

    A warm breeze stirred the fringes of the woven umbrella, the dry rustle crooning out a soft island lullaby. It could easily sing Bastian to sleep, if he were of a mind to allow it. But he wasn’t. He secretly wondered if he would ever sleep soundly again.

    The cruise ship was little more than a dot on the horizon now, but in his mind’s eye, he could see the festivities as plainly as if he were there. The teenage senoritas, barely of age to be on their own, scantily clad and basking in the glory of the Caribbean sun. The scoundrels, lust and mischief in their eyes, flexing and preening like peacocks for any girl unfortunate enough to be lonely in their presence.

    And in the middle of it all was Jess.

    He could see her there, eyes flicking back and forth, both looking and refusing to look at the same time. Eventually, she’d look away less and stare more. Then her eyes would meet the eyes of one of those… boys, and—

    “Are you still fretting?” Kirsten said incredulously, sliding into the plastic chair across the table from him. He said nothing. She handed him his drink, but the way she said “Nada Colada” spoke volumes. She wasn’t going to let him just not talk about it.

    “She’s gonna come home pregnant,” he complained. “One of those muscle bound gym monkeys is gonna sweet talk her, and she’s gonna fold like a bad hand of poker.”

    “You give them too much credit,” Kirsten replied, chuckling under her breath. “And her not enough. She’s smart. She’s driven. She love’s the Lord… and us.” She paused and put a hand on his. “And she loves herself. Trust her. She won’t do anything that she doesn’t fully intend to do.”

    Bas sighed deeply, determined to deny Kirsten’s reasoning. He utterly failed. He smiled at her, sheepishly at first, then defiantly, before turning his eyes back to the dot on the horizon, now well and truly invisible on the blue expanse. “I’m a Daddy,” he said, “and I’ll worry about my baby girl if I want to.”

    (Word Count: 359)

    Liked by 2 people

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