Thursday 360 Challenge

Thursday 365 pic 3Welcome 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 23rd. They must be original, unpublished stories inspired by the photo prompt and they must have no more than 360 words (title doesn’t count).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

Perfect by Anna Johnson: Fear and doubt, faith and love, confront a young couple as they sit by the lake with an unopened envelope containing an ultrasound picture. This story is a celebration of faith and life and leaves us with the timeless takeaway, “Love will conquer all.” Another good entry, Anna.

I Need To Return This by Daleen Cowgar: A bold and creative entry inspired by the “six word novel” often attributed to Ernest Hemingway. This is a story of the events leading up to the return of an engagement ring. Forty-six words chock full of subtext. They say brevity is the soul of wit…but not everyone can accomplish wit in brevity. Well, it seems that Daleen Cowgar can. 🙂

Love, Actually by Jeremy Bullard: A man sits in the park people-watching and making observations about the couples there. Jeremy manages to slip some neatly crafted philosophical tidbits into this well-written story while representing generational culture, both past and present. Well done, Jeremy.

Now for the results…

Champion: Daleen Cowgar. (Your piece was the most creative and the one that most captured my interest.)

Congratulations, Daleen! Here’s your e-badge.

updated thursday 360 e-badge

 

The Prompt

And now…(digital drumroll, please). Here’s the prompt for this week’s challenge.

Remember the deadline is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday, February 23rd.

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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13 thoughts on “Thursday 360 Challenge

  1. Dropped Egg

    WC:335

    He plopped his briefcase down beside the bench and sat down beside me. Then he glanced over at me and gave a little nod and a smile.

    I smiled back, ready to start a conversation and go on a date that evening with The. Cutest. Guy. Ever.

    And then?

    He stared.

    At the sky.

    Before one well-thought word was out of my mouth, he had looked up at the sky, and stared.

    I blinked in surprise.

    He stared.

    At the sky.

    What was interesting about the sky??

    Oh well. Let him stare at the sky. While he does that, I’ll plan out our future.

    Kids?

    Check.

    Two boys (James and Charles) and two girls (Leota and Kira)?

    Check.

    House with a white picket fence?

    Check.

    A minute passed.

    He was still staring.

    Um. Ok.

    German Shepherd dog that we raise from a puppy as a family?

    Check.

    Me, stay at home mom; he, business man with $100,000 pay check?

    Check.

    Definitely check that one.

    Five minutes passed.

    He didn’t move.

    He didn’t squint.

    Nothing.

    Ich. This is really weird. Maybe he’s just dreaming up some plan for the next multimillion dollar plan.

    I think I’ll upgrade the house with the white picket fence to a mansion.

    With a maid.

    Check. Oh, double check that one.

    Maybe he’s a FBI or CIA agent tracking a guy.

    Oh yikes. I don’t want to marry an agent. They travel too much.

    I scoot a little farther towards the other end of the bench.

    I don’t think he is, though. Anyone that cute should be a movie actor and he is The. Cutest. Guy. Ever.

    James, Charles, Leota, Kira, doggies and mansions, here we come. What a perfect family we’ll be. Boy, it will be nice to have a maid…and a chandelier over the door.

    Finally, he spoke. “Do you see that squirrel up there in the window? He hasn’t moved in ten minutes.” He paused. “I think he’s dead.”

    My dreams fell like a dropped egg.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ~Not Today~

    It would be so easy to jump.

    Paul stood in that spot — his spot, the same spot he’d occupied so many times before — and stared up at the apex of Bernard Towers. There was an observatory near the top, with a stone parapet that stood chest high. Only chest high. It was one of the few rooftops in the city that had not been proofed against jumpers.

    It would be so easy to jump.

    So much had happened in the past year. So much had been taken from him. His wife of nine years, Danielle, taken from him by a drunk driver. His kids, Cory and Caitlin, taken from him by the State. His sobriety. His job. His life would’ve just been the cherry on top.

    Tears brimmed in his eyes as he considered what it would be like. The rush of chill wind through his hair, and the roar of it in his ears. The churning in the pit of his stomach at his sudden weightlessness. The absolutely unfettered view of the street below, racing toward him.

    And then… nothing. No lost love. No bottle. No unemployment. No failed responsibilities.

    It would be so, so easy.

    Well… it would have. Once.

    “Daddy, are you okay?” came a small voice from far below him.

    “Yeah, I was just thinking,” Paul said, briefly glancing at Cory and Caitlin. Both had cherubic faces, each covered in a chocolate ice cream beard, their favorite facial coverings. Their dairy hair, Danielle used to joke.

    He turned his eyes back to the parapet, so far above. “See, back before the courts gave you back to me, I used to visit this place. A lot. I used to stand here and look at the top of that building and say, ‘Not today’.”

    “Why?” Caitlin asked.

    “Well, I wanted to climb up to the top and see if I could find Mommy up there,” he said, his breath catching in his throat. “But I couldn’t go see her without you guys, so I didn’t go.”

    “Is she up there?” asked Cory.

    Paul smiled at him, tears now flowing freely. “Not today, buddy. Not today.”

    Word Count: 357

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  3. Third Window from the Left

    There it was. Third window from the left, five floors up. The white lace curtains still hung down from the silver rod like a veil concealing the treasure behind it.

    He could still see Larisa standing there that day eight years ago. He’d turned back one last time and cast a glance up toward her window. She stood, curtains parted, looking down at him with a look that sent shards of longing and remorse through his heart. Yet he’d gotten in his car and driven away.

    That was the last time he saw her.

    Eight years later, here he stood. The prosthetic leg was a visible vestige of the war; the wounds inside were far from healed.

    He felt like half a man anymore, like damaged goods.

    Would Larisa take him back? Would she want anything to with him? Would she slam the door in his face? Look at him in pity—or revulsion? He didn’t know which would be worse.

    What’s more, did she even live here anymore? Eight years was a long time.

    What if she was seeing someone? What if she was married with kids?

    He shouldn’t have come. He couldn’t just swoop back into her life now and burden her with the mass of troubled baggage that he’d become.

    He couldn’t do it.

    And he didn’t have the guts to face her. Clinging to the memory of her would be better than being turned away or knowing she belonged to another man.

    He heaved a heavy sigh and turned to go.

    “Dan!”

    Larisa’s voice cut through the noise of the city and Dan spun around.

    There she was, across the street, beautiful as ever.

    She dashed in front of a cab and the driver’s angry horn blared after her.

    Dan started forward and met her at the curb.

    She stared up into his warm, green eyes, tears brimming in her own. A smile illuminated her face as laughter and tears mingled together with his. She threw her arms around his neck and he clung to her like a lifeline.

    Burying his face in her soft, brown hair, he inhaled deeply and let the world fall away.

    Word Count: 360

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  4. The Bringing of the Rain
    WC: 126

      The most beautiful thing where I come from is the blackness rolling in and the leaves turned up and flowing back and forth. As kids we used to sit on the hay wagon with our Father and laugh as wind whipped through our hair. Then at the last second run against the rain to the barn and dance under the tin roof. God’s handiwork was so awesome.

    But not today! Oh, Lord my heart feels as heavy as those clouds. My two year old son darted quick as lightning into the street after a cat.
     
     The ambulance is on it’s way, but the clouds are too. As I take off my jacket and lay it on his still body, I feel the calm before the storm.

    Liked by 2 people

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