Flash Fiction Friday - The Thrill of the Kill

Prompt: "It was a horrible scene and yet his eyes were drawn to it like a magnet. "

Bobby sucked in his breath and slowly raised his rifle to his shoulder, being careful not to make a sound. Everything his father had ever told him about deer hunting ran through his mind.

Don’t make a sound, pay attention to the direction of the wind, make sure you have a clear shot, aim for the heart, squeeze the trigger gently, watch which direction it runs, you’ll have to follow the blood trail and haul it out of the woods.

He counted the points – 6, maybe 8. The buck pawed at the ground and moved a few steps behind the brush.

Bobby held his aim. His arms were beginning to ache from the tension in his muscles. He shivered, but not from the cold. His hands were sweaty.

The deer snapped his head up and looked in the exact direction of the deer stand. It was a stare-down and Bobby was not about to come out on the losing end of the contest.

Finally the buck relaxed, took a step forward and began eating again.

Bobby felt his finger curl tighter around the trigger. He squeezed, heard the blast and felt the recoil of the gun all at the same time.

It was a perfect shot. The deer dropped to the ground, twitched a bit and didn’t move again.

Bobby climbed down from the stand and made his way to his kill. Standing over the beautiful beast, he stared at the large pool of blood forming under the deer’s neck.

It was a horrible scene and yet his eyes were drawn to it like a magnet.  He hated seeing the magnificent animal lying dead, but he felt the thrill of the kill.  He had bagged his first deer and he was hooked on hunting!

(Copyright © 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)


“There you will be together with the Lord your God. There you and your families will eat, and you will enjoy all the good things for which you have worked, because the Lord your God has blessed you.” Deuteronomy 12:6-7
Photo courtesy  Ayla87, rgbstock.com

I can’t remember a year when we have been so tight on money. We made out the grocery list last night for Thanksgiving dinner, knowing full well that we didn’t even have enough in the bank for the turkey. It was a startling reality, but I have to say, I feel an overwhelming joy in my heart.

For the first time in many, many years I will have my cousin and my brother sitting at the table with us on Thursday.  Both have moved to Arizona from back East this year and we’ve spent the past couple of weeks reminiscing about the Thanksgiving holidays we spent together as kids. We talked about who brought what to the dinner and what kind of pie was our favorite and how stuffed we always were after the meal.

We’ll be spending the day at my daughter and son-in-law’s house. The kitchen will be full, the grandsons will be loud and we’ll be tripping over each other as we all work to put the feast together.  TV’s will be blaring as floats and balloons parade down the streets of New York City and Xboxes will be blasting aliens from the screen.

It will be chaos and food and family and fun. At some point I know that I will take a moment to pull back and survey the scene with a heart that is overflowing with happiness and thanksgiving to God. Breathing a prayer of gratitude for His provision over the previous year I will be confident that although we are going through a rough time right now, He is faithful and will provide for our needs in the year to come.

Oh, and by the way – my husband just called to tell me not to worry about the turkey. He is going to find a way to get us one today.  He wouldn’t tell me how, but I loved the “hunter/provider” tone in his voice. It reminded me of years gone by when my Dad would go out and shoot a couple of rabbits and a pheasant to be cooked on Thanksgiving.

Thank you, God, for providing one of my greatest needs…a wonderful husband!

(Copyright© 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Flash Fiction Friday - Darn Daniel

Today's Flash Fiction Prompt:  She had been in bed for an hour and a half, but she couldn’t fall asleep. All she could think about was how different her life was going to be after tomorrow.
Darn Daniel

Suzanne turned over and slammed her fist into the pillow.  She had been in bed for an hour and a half, but she couldn’t fall asleep. All she could think about was how different her life was going to be after tomorrow,

She had thought about it for months, weighed all the pros and cons and explored all her options. That’s what a business woman does, but when it’s a matter of the heart it’s more complicated.

Jack was a great guy and he’d always been good to her.  He loved her, she knew that and he was prepared to spend the rest of his life loving her.

Suzanne had always dreamed of being a wife and of what her wedding would be like and Jack had agreed to every aspect of her dream ceremony.  Nothing mattered to him but her happiness.  So, why was she laying awake at 2:15 am trying to figure out how to tell him she didn’t want to marry him?

It was all Daniel’s fault. Darn Daniel anyway – darn his wavy black hair and darn his crooked little boy grin. She wasn’t in love with him. In fact, they had never even spoken, but every day since he had hired on with the firm, Suzanne couldn’t get him out of her mind.

If one man – albeit a really handsome man could distract her this much, then she knew in her heart that she was not ready for marriage.

She punched the pillow again and wondered how in the world she was going to break the news to Jack.


(Copyright© 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Flash Fiction Friday - Without Reason

Today's Prompt: She liked to think that there was a reason for everything, but no matter how she twisted this around in her mind, she couldn’t come up with a reason why God would allow this.

Without Reason

Sylvia had been a normal 11 year old until her family had moved from their small hometown in Ohio to Phoenix. Within weeks she had become sullen and withdrawn.

Alma, Sylvia’s mother tried to find out what was going on, but Sylvia wasn’t talking.  She would just shrug her shoulders and closet herself in her room most of the time.

It was Sylvia’s brother who finally spilled the beans while his mother was making him an after school snack.

“Mom, the kids at school are picking on Sis,” he’d told her.  “They call her fat little red-neck and hillbilly hick.  Today, they poured milk all over her lunch. Everyone laughed.”

Alma immediately felt deep concern for her daughter and intense anger toward the kids that were bullying her.

"Why would they do that, Josh?" she asked her son, knowing full well that an 8 year old couldn't answer that question..

"No good reason," said Josh as he took a big bite of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich, "They're just mean."

Alma liked to think that there was a reason for everything, but no matter how she twisted this around in her mind, she couldn’t come up with a reason why God would allow her daughter to be bullied.

She tapped softly on Sylvia’s door before opening it.

“Honey, Josh told me what’s going on at school.  I’m so sorry,” she said, taking her daughter in her arms.  “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“It’s okay, Mom – it will pass and besides, if the kids hadn’t made fun of me, I wouldn’t have met Tammy,” said Sylvia.

Alma pulled back and looked Sylvia in the eyes.

“It’s never okay for someone to be a bully, Sylvia, but who’s Tammy?”

“She’s a real shy girl in my class.  The kids used to pick on her until I moved here, now they pick on me.  At least it gives her a break and together, we are learning to ignore them and just be friends with each other.  I’ve been telling her about how much God loves us both. 
Sylvia's eyes opened wide, "She never knew that, Mom."

Alma felt tears of pride sting her eyes.  Sylvia had found the reason.  She had taken a bad situation and allowed God to use her to help someone else who was going through the same difficulties.

She fully intended to speak with the principal the next day, but tonight she would let her daughter know just how proud her mother was of her over a triple hot fudge sundae.

(Copyright© 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Win a FREE copy of my new book!

Do you like to write short stories? Really short stories? That's what I call Flash Fiction.

If so, then you could win a free copy of my new book, Wake Up Your Muse - 1001 Story Starters for Fiction Writers.

Each week I post a prompt from the book. All you have to do is write a 150-400 word story based on the prompt and submit it. The winning entry will receive a PDF copy of the book and have their story posted with a link to your web site or blog.

Get the full details at http://www.wakeupyourmuse.com - and HAVE FUN!

(Copyright© 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)
I just finished reading Home Another Way by Christa Parrish and all I can say is...WOW-Christa, you can write, girl!

The characters in this story were fascinating - not at all predictable, but so well written, that they are alive in my mind. The story is compelling, but the characters are the main attraction, here. This is definitely not your typical inspirational romance and that's why I love it so much.

I could give you a detailed review, but the trailer for the book does it so much better than I can, so I'll just post it here for you with a hearty, two thumbs up and a strong recommendation that you get the book and read it ASAP.

(Copyright© 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Flash Fiction Friday - The Unexpected Miracle

Our prompt for today was:
He paced the hospital hallway praying for a miracle even though he didn’t believe in them.

Photo courtesy  RWLinder,
We set the timer and wrote for about 10 minutes.  Here's my story:

The Unexpected Miracle

He paced the hospital hallway praying for a miracle even though he didn’t believe in them.

She had said “no” every time he had proposed to her in the past and he had no reason to believe she would say yes this time.

It was always this question of faith that stood between them.  She had it and he didn’t.  He couldn’t understand her belief in God or her explanation of what it meant to have a “personal relationship” with him.

Jack believed there was a God, but that belief didn’t have any impact on his life, He really hadn’t thought about God at all, until now – until God started coming between he and Ann.

He was head over heels in love with the head nurse of County General and he was convinced that she felt the same way, but she refused to take their relationship any further because of her obsession with religion.

Well, he would try one more time and she had to say yes, because he couldn’t live without her.

At that minute, he found himself outside a room with a little sign that read “Chapel”.  He pushed the door open. It couldn’t hurt to go in and actually say a real prayer..

The room was quiet except for the soft music playing in the background.  The room was furnished with a few rows of small pews and a wooden cross on the front wall, framed by a fake stained glass window. Jack took a seat on the back row and bowed his head.

“God, if you’re there and if you’re listening,” he stopped.  Could you really ask God to do you a favor when you had ignored him for so long? 

He stood and walked to the front of the room where a large Bible lay open on a podium.  He glanced down the page and his eyes stopped on a familiar verse…

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever shall believe would not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Something stirred in Jack’s heart.  He did believe.  He didn’t know how to express that, but he knew he did believe.

He read the verse again and felt something welling up inside him. He’d never felt like this before.  Tears came to his eyes.  He knelt down like he had done as a little boy saying his bedtime prayers with his mother, and closed his eyes.

“God, I do believe.  I want to be a Christian, but I’m not even sure how to do that. Can you teach me how? And when I’m ready…when you think I’ll make a good husband, can you please let Ann say yes? Amen”

Something stirred behind him. He turned to see that Ann had slipped into the chapel while he had been praying.

With tears in both their eyes, they embraced, knowing that God was performing a miracle in both their lives.  They would wait until He let them know the time was right, and then they would become man and wife and serve God together for the rest of their lives.

(Copyright© 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

The Underbelly Project

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." Hebrews 4:13 (NIV)

I read a story in The New York Times this morning about a group of 103 well-known graffiti artists (or "street artists" as they prefer to be called), who covertly created a gallery of their work on the walls of an abandoned subway station far below the busy streets of New York City. (Read the story.)

The site was discovered by one of the artists when he was led by a friend to a hidden entrance and through a series of dark and dirty passageways into the abandoned section of the city's subway system. The artist was drawn back to the site many times after that initial visit and he eventually led another artist to the site. Together they hatched the idea of an a hidden gallery that would feature the works of the world's most famous street artists and dubbed it The Underbelly Project.

They didn't want to be arrested for defacing public property or worse - be mistaken for terrorists, so they made a careful study of the best times to slip from an active station into the hidden entrance undetected.

Over the next 18 months, they invited artists from all over the world to participate in the project, escorting them, one at a time to their underground studio. Each artist was allowed just one four-hour visit to complete their work. They packed in their supplies and worked in damp and dirty conditions by the light of camping lanterns, then packed everything back out again in the hours just before dawn.

At the completion of the project, the organizers selected a handful of people to view and photograph their work, including the reporter who wrote the story for the Times, but only under the condition that the real names of the artists not be revealed. They wanted their work to be seen, but they also wanted to avoid prosecution.

After their one night showing, they destroyed the entrance to their graffiti gallery, closing it off to the public forever or at least until some other underground explorer discovers another way in.

There is a certain something that drives a rebel to risk arrest, financial liability and physical danger for the thrill of doing something they know they should not be doing.

Isn't that the way it works with the spiritual rebel, too? We know the "rules" we are to live by – the boundaries God has outlined in His Word, but sometimes the temptation to live on the edge of danger seems just too hard to resist.

We act in secrecy, hoping we will not be found out, but God says that nothing is hidden from Him and that everything will be uncovered and laid bare before Him. He says that someday we must give an account for our actions.

So, the next time you feel the rebel in your itching to explore some forbidden place, remember that Jesus came to set us free from the power of temptation and that everything done in secret will eventually come to light. Pray for strength to overcome temptation and you will never have to look over your shoulder wondering when you will be caught.

Prayer: Father, help us to resist the seductive call of sinful behavior. Teach us to walk in the light as you are in the light. Show us how to live so that when the time comes to give an account to you for how we lived our lives, we can hold our heads high. And when we fail...and we know that we will occasionally fail, remind us that you are willing to forgive the sins of a repentant heart. Amen

(Copyright© 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)