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 for the current challenge must be posted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday, February 9th. They must be original, unpublished stories inspired by the photo prompt and they must have no more than 360 words (title doesn’t count).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

Retribution by Anna Johnson: Good, concise description opens up the story. The protagonist is Mark Gatley, “a white crime operative thrust into a blue crime world”. Gatley brings us into his moment of retribution against a man known only as Feliz. The intrigue ramps up the interest factor and, in one enigmatic sentence, we get a glimpse into Gatley’s motive for vengeance. (By the way, that’s a pro move right there. Sometimes all you need to do to escalate the interest in your story, is refuse to drop all the back story and explanations on your reader at once. Give them tidbits to string them along and make them keep reading to satisfy their curiosity. Or in this case, use their imagination.) Good job at creating an intriguing story, Anna, although it does end on a rather dark note.

(Romans 12:19)

Where are you God? by Vicki Haase Marney: A tender story of a son’s struggle to deal with his mother’s illness and the doubts that threaten his faith. This story is so honest and especially relevant in today’s culture. Everyone needs a good dose of hope once in a while. Thanks for sharing this with us, Vicki.

No Worries…? by Jeremy Bullard: A father copes with anxiety as he’s faced with letting go of his daughter. Great phrasing in the line, “she’s gonna fold like a bad hand of poker.” A good tip for writers, whenever possible, don’t use clichés (or at least overused clichés). Come up with a new and different way of saying it. It can really breathe life into a story. Another well-written entry, Jeremy…even if it was posted late. 🙂

Good job everybody. I look forward to seeing what you have to offer in upcoming challenges!

Now for the results…

Champion: Anna Johnson

Here’s your e-badge Anna!

updated thursday 360 e-badge

 

The Prompt

Here’s the prompt for this week’s challenge. Remember the deadline is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday, February 9th.

Photo Credit, David Niblack, Imagebase.net

 

Also, 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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16 thoughts on “Thursday 360 Challenge

  1. Remembering
    by Whitney L. Schwartz

    “What’s going on?” Lindsay asked, sitting down at the end of the bench beside her sister.

    “That’s what I’d like to know,” Colin said coming up behind them and sitting down at the other end of the bench. “I was in the middle of a meeting.”

    Sheena nodded. “I know, I’m sorry, but we need to talk.”

    “About what?” Lindsay asked.

    Sheena gave her a look. “You know about what.”

    A warm, salty wind whipped at her hair. A seagull’s caw echoed overhead and children laughed on the beach. Sheena glanced out at the frothy white waves washing in on the beach even as gray clouds billowed above the horizon, promising rain.

    “I want to be happy for Dad,” Sheena said. “I used to hope that he’d find love again, but, now that he has…I just keep thinking about Mom.”

    Colin sighed and rested his arm on the back of the bench. “I know what you mean.”

    Lindsay shook her head. “But we shouldn’t feel that way. Angie’s a great woman and she makes Dad happy.”

    “I know that,” Sheena answered. “But it doesn’t change the way that I feel.”

    Lindsay nodded slowly and watched a plane leaving a contrail in the sky.

    “I miss Mom,” Sheena said.

    “What? And we don’t?” Colin asked.

    “I didn’t say that. We just never talk about her anymore.”

    “What good would it do?”

    I want to remember her!”

    Colin looked away.

    Lindsay placed a hand on her shoulder. “So do we. It just hurts.”

    Silence hung between them for a moment.

    “You remember the time Mom waxed the floors and Colin chased Lucky into the house?” Sheena asked.

    “Yeah,” Lindsay laughed. “They both went flying across the room, knocked Mama’s cake off the counter, and landed in a heap of paws, blue jeans, and frosting by the fridge.”

    Colin chuckled. “Mom always said if there was an accident to be had, I’d find it.”

    “Still do,” Sheena teased.

    Colin gave her a playful shove and they all laughed.

    Sheena took a deep breath. “See…memories can be good.”

    Colin nodded his agreement.

    “Yeah,” Lindsay said with a smile. “They can.”

    Approx. Word Count: 358

    (Host entry–not eligible to win.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ~Crosshairs~

    “…so the fireman asks her, ‘How do we get there’?” Val recited. “And the blonde says, ‘Duh! Big, red truck!'”

    Sasha and Jimmy laugh raucously, seemingly without restraint. Without breaking character, Jimmy muttered, “Target acquired. Cue Alpha.”

    Casually, Val cast a quick glance across the street to her left. There she was — Renee Richards, right on time.

    The curvy blonde walked with purpose, intent on the path before her. According to her dosier, she was an up and coming corporate exec. The young woman had a keen eye for detail and a keener intuition. She was almost impossible to sneak up on.

    Almost.

    “Cue Bravo,” Jimmy said.

    “Oscar Mike,” came the reply through his earpiece, and the blue minivan started to roll from its place down the street.

    As the van reached the target, the side doors swept open. The trio moved as one, crossing the street.

    “Cue Charlie,” Jimmy said, and music began to pour from the van. They rounded the tail end of the van just in time to catch Renee’s startled, slightly panicked look.

    Then they started dancing.

    They were joined by other supposed bystanders out enjoying a sunny day on the boardwalk, seemingly unaware of the curvy blonde who had joined their ranks. To them, she had been just one more female in a sea of females. Just another girl.

    But she was so much more.

    As the music picked up, the myriad “bystanders” joined in, falling into lockstep with them, their patterned footwork beating out a perfect harmony with the song. Renee stood there, stunned silent at first, then laughing and crying at the same time.

    As the song hit its climax, Corporal Eric Griggs, still dressed in his BDUs from the flight in, slid from the van’s backseat and joined Renee on the boardwalk, dropping to one knee. The crowd — both the flash mob and those who truly were bystanders — cheered the effort so thoroughly that Griggs’s words were utterly drowned by the commotion.

    But the words were irrelevant. Nobody had to hear Griggs to gleen his intent, or Renee’s exstatic reply. The crowd’s cheer became an uproar as the newly engaged couple embraced.

    (Word Count: 360)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The Backpack

    WC: 301

    If I were a normal girl, right now I would be sitting on this bench to talk to friends, having a great time.

    But I wasn’t a normal girl.

    I was a Christian, wanted for refusing to pray to the idol sitting lifelessly in the temple.

    So instead, I sat on this bench, praying—Lord, please protect me while I do this job for You because You know what could happen if I’m caught—under my breath, trying not to notice how sweaty my hands were.

    Finally, he came. The man with the backpack.

    “Dionna?” He asked, using the name he was told.

    I nodded and took the backpack from him. He glanced around before leaning close and whispering “God bless you and protect you.”

    “And you.” I answered in the same hushed voice.

    I turned and started for Pastor’s house, continuing to pray. I took shortcuts, ducking between houses and shops to see if anyone followed me. I backtracked. I watched the road behind me like an eagle.

    I saw no one and slipped into Pastor’s house. Him and his wife, Chante, were waiting. I opened the backpack and silently slipped out the books.

    Pastor peeled off the paper covering first book.

    A smile grew over his face.

    “It’s a Bible!!” He still whispered as if the walls could hear him, but that didn’t mask the excitement in his voice.

    He passed it to me and I stared in wonder. A real Bible!!

    He peeled the paper off the next book. “Songbook.” He flipped it open and started humming a song.

    Chante opened the next package and pulled out a pack of pencils, pens, erasers, notebooks, everything we would need to have a school.

    We looked at each other and laughed, tears dripping down our faces.

    Thank you, Lord.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “Let God”

    Amelia sat rigidly on the hard slats of the bench. Sand pushed up over the lip of her flip flops and spilled into gritty hills between her toes. Her bag was in her lap, all of her worldly possessions inside, the meager trophies of years spent in and out of one place or the next. Amelia was not even sure where she was going now. Her plan was to get on the bus and see how far it would take her.

    A nice-looking man in a dress shirt, with dark hair walked up to the bench and smiled before sitting down. Amelia peeked at him, then hugged her bag closer to her chest and looked down. She had learned that looks did not tell anything about a person. Ms. Shae had beautiful on the outside and ugly inside; Amelia still felt the rawness across the back of her legs when they brushed against her seat.

    The shuddering of the bench alerted her to the lady who now sat to her left. Amelia again looked up briefly, then dropped her head, willing her body smaller, like a turtle in a shell. The blonde and the dark haired man shared concerned looks over her bowed head. This suggestion might prove difficult.

    “Mike! I saw your wife in church last Sunday. She was positively glowing! God is good!” the blonde said. “He is,” Mark replied, “it is amazing the journeys He will take you on when you let go of your worries and allow Him to carry you!” Amelia sat silently and thought about what the man said. The words sounded perfect; let go and let God.

    The bus wheezed to a stop and Amelia stood up. Mike briefly touched her arm and the words echoed in her mind again; let go and let God. Shaking herself, she climbed the steps and walked the aisle. As she found a seat, the bus began to move again. Amelia glanced out the window. Mike and the blonde were smiling gently at her and Amelia was shocked to see them both cloaked in the white, downy wings of angels as the bus pulled away.

    Liked by 1 person

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