Picture, Stories

What Writing ONE Story For A Contest Is Like


Prompt: Genesis 31:45 And Jacob took a stone and set it up for a pillar. 

Word Limit: 500 – 1,000 words

Contest: http://christianflashweekly.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/christian-flash-weekly-event-29/

Reba pulled some hay out of my hair, giggling. I snickered along, though my thoughts were taking an entirely different train than hers. I flopped back down on the bales in the hayloft, ignoring Reba’s look.

“Hey, I just got all that hay out of your hair and you lay back down?”

I laughed. “Yep.”

“I wonder what…

I lost my train of thought. Oh well. Start over.

Have you ever noticed? Gail is gorgeous. She’s not to tall, yet not to short. Her brown eyes catch mine sometimes. That’s when I think I’m the luckiest person in the world. When she looks at me and breaths her soft breath into my face, I wish I could stay there in the moment forever, somehow freeze time.

But I can’t.

Gail isn’t mine.

You see. Gail is a horse that belongs to Isadora Harris, the snottiest girl in all of seventh grade. And she insists that no one can call her Gail. They have to call her by her full registered name, Princess of Sunshine Valley. All Isadora cares about is winning. Gail should seriously buck her off sometime…right in front of the judge’s stand in the middle of her dressage. That would be the best thing that I will ever see in my life. Gail bunching up; Isadora giving her a smart smack with her crop since bunching up would make her go slower; Gail throwing her hind legs as far up as she can; Isadora screaming–right in front of the judges–as she flips over and over and finally smacks the ground. Then she’ll lay there whimpering and call for her daddy to come help her. Maybe she’ll never ride again!!!!!!

Wait…what does that have to do with the prompt????

Can’t think. Can’t think. Can’t think.

I. Can’t. Think. Of. ANYTHING!!!!!!

I think it’s time to take a break for today.

(Next morning) Think pillar.

I stood on shaky legs, staring across the country, tears falling down my face.

No, it can’t be. God! 

Someone from the military stopped by today. It was one of Dad’s friends. He was injured in action and nows works at the base doing office work instead of fighting. “I’m so sorry,” he had told us. “Really I am.” That was when I knew Dad was never coming home. “He…he was killed by a grenade. I guess he pulled the wire or something.” Dad’s friend stood up and slammed his fist against his hand. “Stupid terrorists.” Tears were slipping down his face.

“How does this work? Do they ship the body over here? Do they bury it there? What’s going on?” Mom asked, able to keep her head working. I don’t know how she did, mine was swirling.

“I’m sorry, Amanda. There’s not enough of the body left to bury.” Dad’s friend had turned around, tears streaming down his face.

She choked and slumped down on the couch. He slipped beside her and they both cried together. I didn’t stay around. I turned and ran.

I ran as far away as my legs could carry me. Finally, I simply collapsed. I was lost. But I didn’t care. Dad was dead. 

People had often told our family that we were so brave. That they would never be able to do life with their husband/father in the middle of a war zone. They told us that real heroes didn’t wear capes, they wore dog tags. I knew it was true too.

I had also been told by some people that my dad was stupid to go over there. Our ‘world problems’ are never going to stop until everyone ‘coexists’. I told them that he was fighting terrorists. They attacked first.

And besides, if they believed so much in coexisting, why didn’t they go over there and make everyone stop fighting?

No one ever answered that question. They just left huffing. I always smiled to myself.

But not today, Dad was dead now.

God…why? How? I HATE THEM!!! I hate everyone who killed him, God. I hate them all. But God!! We prayed for him everyday! What did we do wrong? Did we pray the wrong way? Did…did…did…did…Help, God, help. 

Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. The word pounded in my head. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. DEAD. 

The last letter he sent said that his enlistment was almost up and that he was going to be coming home soon. He said to keep praying and he couldn’t wait to see us. He said that he was so proud of Amy for getting accepted into college and that, God willing, (he always said God willing) he would be there on her graduation day. He told me not to give up, that school was almost over for me. I could almost here him chuckling in my head cuz then he told me after that, I had anywhere from two to eight years of school left.

Is this working??

Keep going!!

My cell started ringing. I glanced down at it. Shelly. My best friend. The one I always hung out with. I guess you could call her more like my sister.

I ignored it.

That’s mean. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Shelly’s your best friend, you know. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Have you tried praying yet? Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Really praying? Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead.

Someone touched my shoulder. I looked up to see my youth pastor, Emily. “Is there a polite way to say ‘leave me alone’?” I asked, staring at nothing again.

Emily didn’t leave. “Your mom called.”


“I am so sorry about your dad.”

“Yeah, I am too.”

“Your mom’s worried about you.”

“She should be worried about how to tell Amy without getting her so upset she flunks college.” I snapped, slumping further down and hoping that Emily will go away. Though I know she won’t.

“I think that she’s worried about that too.” Emily sat down beside me and I knew that I was stuck. “You didn’t answer Shelly. You ran off. She just got word that your dad is dead. C’mon, girl, she doesn’t need to go through worrying about you too!”

“She’ll worry anyways. She’ll worry if I’m acting perfectly fine and she’ll worry if I don’t act perfectly fine. What the point in trying not to make her worry?”

“Have you prayed?”

“Yeah.” I said in a monotone voice. “God. Why? Help.”

Emily placed her arm around me. “I lost my dad too. I was fourteen. He was hit by a drunk driver on the highway. Over and over, I screamed at God. I yelled at him. I asked him why? My dad was a Christian, just like yours. He’s in Heaven and no, he’s never coming back. But you will see him again. God took him for two reasons. His job on earth was done and God’s teaching the rest of us something from his death. I don’t know what He’s teaching you. Only you know. Only you can learn too. But don’t lose sight of God. He’s the only lifesaver, girl. Don’t lose sight of God.”

She rubbed my back. “Give me a call if you need to talk, ok?”

She got up and left. I grabbed a rock and hurled it at a tree. “I hate You too, God! I hate them and I hate You! How could You take him from me? From us? From this world? He was a good man! Everyone respected him! Yet You took him and let other people who are rotten to the core live!! It’s. Not. Fair.”

“I hate You, God. ”

I stood up, wiped the tears from my eyes, and started home.

I never needed Him anyways.

It’s over the word count and where’s the pillar?? Doesn’t fit. *Scowl* I can’t reduce the words without taking away some of the story that I want there!!

I sat there behind the arena, my head on my knees, looking. Looking out to the open field. Looking for something. The show had been over for over two hours. I had already taken care of my horse. All I needed to do was get in my truck and take off for home.

Until I came back next weekend, that is.

But no. I was sitting here staring at nothing. For no reason.

I’ve gotta be crazy.

I pushed myself up and turned for the truck.

There is a reason, you know.

My thoughts stopped me.

I turned back around and sat down. Staring again.

Remember? Remember what Reba said?

How could I forget?

I might never see you again, so I want to say this now. God loves you. He always will too. You were made for a purpose, girl. Go out there and shine. Here, take this Bible. I was going to give it to you at Christmas, but, oh well. Promise me you’ll read it, ok?”

And yes, I had promised.

And then I had gotten in the front of the U-Haul truck with my parents and we had moved down here to Oklahoma. Four months and one Bible reading later, I got a call from her sister, saying that she was killed in an drive by shooting in the neighborhood where she worked with some troubled kids.

Five years later and I’m still thinking about the last thing she said to me face to face.

I’ve gotta be crazy.

How is this…I should start on a different story!!

Contest ends tomorrow! Finish. This. Story!!!

I started to push myself up again.

It’s in your tack box.

I froze. Where did that thought come from?

The Bible she gave you. It’s in your tack box.

I stayed frozen, halfway up. My Bible? Why bother? I read it like I promised I would! Surely she didn’t mean for me to read it everyday or something!

Just today.

I unfroze and started for my tack box, as if I wasn’t in control.

John is one of the best names ever. Let’s just start there.

Halfway through the book?

I’ve gotta be crazy.

I flipped through the pages to John. And there I started reading. I read about the prophet–John–and the man–Jesus–and the miracles that He did. I was stuck in the book, somehow unable to stop reading. I read about the crucifixion and His resurrection. I smiled at the end of it.

That was an interesting story, to say the least. Hooking is more like it. No wonder Reba liked it!

I stashed it back in my tack box and slipped into my truck.

Did you read the story? Did you hear anything in it? Reba believed it.

I felt the truck roar to life underneath me.

It’s someone’s imagination. A fairy tale; Cinderella, Snow White, Frozen. 

I put it in gear.

It’s real. You know it. Reba knew it. This guy is as real as he can get.

I rolled down the driveway to the road.

But…how? Why? Why would the Son of God die for me?

I turned at the stoplight, left towards home.

Remember the verse? For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

I pulled into the local church. Spotting a huge cross, I slipped over and sat on the bench.



This time I knew why, however.

Did He really? Yes, He did. How do you know? I…I…I just do. That’s not very good. But it’s true, I know.


Is He gonna hear me?

“I’m totally lost over here.”

That’s an understatement.

“There’s something that I’m missing, but I don’t know what it is.”

Somehow, show me!!


You’re missing Me. Follow Me, My child. I will make you whole. A new voice filtered into my head.

I stared longer at the cross, suddenly understanding what it meant. I had passed by it so many times. How long how I ignored it? I wasn’t lost anymore. An old song that Reba used to sing came to mind. ‘I once was lost but now am found.’

I sat there on the bench, my head on my knees, looking. Looking at the cross. Looking at grace. Looking at my pillar of hope.

Word count: 712

Pillar? Check.

No unnecessary violence? Check.

Title? Pillar of Hope

Still in time for the contest? Check.

Anything else? Nope.

Let’s go have some fun!!


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