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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: "Splash" 4-11-13 Deadline (04/04/13)

TITLE: The T Word
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom
04/09/13


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As the kids played, trouble brewed in the schoolyard. Foaming at the mouth, Jonah could feel the rage inside of him building. “Take that back, Tommy, or else!”

Tommy snorted as he stared Jonah down. “Or else what? Gonna be a killer like your old man?”

Tommy glanced about as the others encircled him. Whirling around, Jonah raced off in the opposite direction. He stopped abruptly, trembling violently as he shouted, “And my father is not a killer. It was an accident!” With one last glance, Jonah rushed off and disappeared beyond the horizon.

Slowing down, Jonah began to rein in his emotions. He loved Daddy. Every day he watched him, carefully noting every detail so that when he grew older, Jonah would be strong and tough just like Daddy. But now, Jonah wasn't sure that he wanted to be like him.

No one could stop talking about the devastation. Deep down, Jonah knew Daddy would never intentionally hurt anyone, but the words of the others echoed in his mind. “It doesn't matter if it was intentional or not; people were swallowed up by the ocean.”

Collapsing on the bed, Jonah tried to make sense out of this nonsense. He whispered, “Why God, why did this happen? I don’t understand it. I don’t want to be big and powerful if it means I might hurt people too.”

Daddy poked his head in. “Is it okay if I join you?”

Jonah nodded and moved over. Daddy swept Jonah up and cuddled him. “I heard that you had a pretty rough day. I figured some kids might not understand what happened.” Daddy held Jonah closer. “I guess you might be having a tough time yourself, eh? I didn't mean to hurt anyone.”

Jonah swallowed back his salty tears. “They’re still hurt, whether you meant it or not.”

Daddy dipped his head. “That’s true, son; very true indeed. There are many things in this world that we just can’t understand, but God has a plan and a purpose.”

Jutting out his chin, Jonah wiggled loose from Daddy’s grip. “Well, if that’s true, then I don’t think He’s a very nice God at all. I think he is mean and horrible. Daddy you killed babies! Little kids who never did anything wrong.”

Jonah felt the anger building up once more, so he grabbed a rock and smashed it against the floor. “I’ve decided I’m not going to be like you when I grow up. Instead I’m going to be gentle and quiet like Mommy.”

Looking up at Daddy, Jonah trembled all over. The anger building up in him seemed to be changing him somehow. Just for a second, he thought he saw a glimmer of pain shadow Daddy’s face. He turned his back and mumbled, “The worst part was when they called you the T word. I don’t ever want anyone to call me that.”

Daddy looked at his son. “Tsunami isn't a bad word. It’s just describes what happens when we waves get rattled by the earth’s movements. I was just trying to shift the sand so that the fish could find food, when suddenly I felt the rumbling of an earthquake. We waves are an important part of the ecological circle, but sometimes the timing is just right and we turn into a tidal wave. It’s awful when people get hurt. But Jonah, if we don’t do our jobs because we are afraid an earthquake might come along and push us over the edge, then we aren't being what God intended us to be.

“Maybe you’re right, though, I suppose you could be a tidepool. The world needs them too. Sea life would still be able to live in you. I suppose little people would enjoy jumping in the middle of your back and splashing you all about.”

Jonah looked up at Daddy. “Well, Mom’s the best tidepool in the world, but I've always felt God calling me out to the sea, and I dream about surfers catching a ride on me. Maybe I shouldn't let fear stop me, but I can't help it.”

Swooping underneath Jonah, Daddy lifted him on his back. “It’s okay to be afraid. Trust in God and he’ll help you. Besides, son, look at the beauty you've been missing out on while you were sulking.”

Jonah jumped off Daddy’s shoulders. “You’re right, this is an amazing world. I’m gonna be just what God made me to be. Betcha I can beat you back to the beach!”


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Dannie Hawley 04/11/13
How fun and creative! I really enjoyed reading your article. A powerful message, written to entertain, as well as to instruct. Nice job!
Alicia Renkema04/11/13
This was so amazingly creative and very enjoyable to read. You really carried your characters (even when we didn't know it) consistently from beginning to end in terms of realistic dialogue for who they really were! I loved this story about a dad and a little kid wave and the T word when things run a muck. Yet, God always is a God of order and has a reason behind things, even when we don't see it. It is important to not let fear get in the way and be willing to fully give ourselves to God for what He has in mind for our lives.Thanks for sharing this wonderfully creative piece!
Beth LaBuff 04/11/13
I enjoyed the turn-about that was in store for this Jonah, with foam at his mouth and rage building inside, in contrast to what that other Jonah caused the big fish. :) This is perfect for a second read to catch the tons of clues. :) I loved your creativity and your lesson!
Lillian Rhoades 04/11/13
Wow! Your imagination was on overdrive!! VERY creative. It took a while for me to process the plot, but suddenly when the light dawned I was...pardon me...swept away. :-)

A tad bit of red ink with the overuse of "Daddy." You might have mixed it a bit with "his father," or Dad.

Loved the brilliant use of words associated with the storyline. i.e. dipped, foaming, swallow, horizon, and "push us over the edge."

Wonderfully entertaining with a great title!
Linda Goergen04/13/13
A sea of creativity overflowed within this masterfully done story! I don’t recall ever reading another story where sea water’s different forms was personified! I think I might have liked Jonah’s name to be “Splash” but it being Jonah, certainly kept me guessing and in suspense for a long time! Not only is your story original and entertaining to the max, but the lesson and message powerful! Total thumbs up on this extraordinary offering!
lynn gipson 04/13/13
I took a while for my slow old brain to catch on, but when I did I smiled. This is refreshing, unique and creative. Your imagination is exceptional. Thanks for sharing this! Very well done!
Danielle King 04/14/13
WOW! What amazing creativity. I was slow to catch on, (as usual,) thinking why is this young kid foaming at the mouth; seizures? And how long are his legs to disappear over the horizon so fast? I didn't cotton on until the 'T word,' when all became clear. That's when I realised how deceptively cleverly you'd woven the clues into the story from the beginning, to fool me. (And others I hope.) To top it off there's a powerful message in there too. Methinks this is your best ever.

ps ... you promised bodily fluids and all we got was a foaming mouth. Cheat!
Sarah Elisabeth 04/14/13
Ah, very interesting and creative! I was lost at the beginning, but once I found out who they were, I enjoyed the ride like a surfer on a wave :-) Good message in here
Lori Dixon 04/14/13
I'm catching onto the purpose of these bricks! Wow, talk about a twist, my brain was flipping and flopping! (I was like, why is there a rock?) LOL
Great imagination and message. <3
Christina Banks 04/15/13
So cleaver! I didn't figure out what was going on till part way through, then I went back and read it again and saw how expertly you created the scene. Nicely done!

I wonder if the story could have been more powerful (and it is already really powerful) if you cut the first sentence completely. The second sentence really brings the story to life, and for me the first sentence seems like a little bit of dead wood. Of course, I could be wrong.

This really is an amazingly creative take on the topic. Well done!
A B04/15/13
I loved this! Fun and creative with a great twist. I had all sorts of scenarios playing around in my head, then you got me! Well done.
Bea Edwards 04/15/13
Fabulously creative! After realizing the MC was a young wave- I went back and re read making the story come even more alive and unique. Well done.
Myrna Noyes04/15/13
Wow! You really had me wondering at the beginning of this clever story! I was thinking that maybe Jonah's dad was captain of a ship that sank, but I never guessed he was a wave! :) Good message in this, too!
Leola Ogle 04/17/13
Oh so clever, and delightful! I wish my brain was as creative with the topics. Well done! God bless!
Judith Gayle Smith04/17/13
What an incredible turnaround! Terrific!
CD Swanson 04/17/13
Clever,and interesting from the first word to the last.

Nicely done. God bless~
Fiona Stevenson04/18/13
Quite a different perspective - very interesting and very well written. God bless you.
Alicia Renkema04/18/13
You are extremely talented my girlfriend... I just had to chime in again, even if the contest is over. FW missed out on a super piece in my estimation. This needs to be published somewhere. I think it is super enjoyable for adults, unique, challenging characters with an important lesson that some of us take a life time to learn (that God really does know best)) and also would make a fabulous kids book, with a few more clues at the beginning of course. I hope you go for it. You are a truly amazing writer. This piece is a winner in my book -- love ya!
Patsy Hallum04/22/13
I just got back and to find this story was the best treat! I love it! Waves talking! Great!
Rachel Malcolm 08/01/13
What a lovely story! It was so much fun to go through the second time. Very creative!