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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Anniversary (04/11/05)

TITLE: Good Friday
By Colin Woekel


Smoke fills the tiny studio apartment as Tony lights the nights first cigarette. The street light outside his window shines bright into the twelve foot square room he calls his home. Tony stands alone. Eyes closed. Head cocked backwards. Arms spread wide. He wants to cry out, and would but for the neighbors. He takes another drag of his cigarette and flicks ash onto his vintage brown carpet. He begins to feel sick. Smoke swirls around his head, seeping into his clothes, his hair, his walls. Like a vulture circling its prey it persists. He opens the window. Fresh air. Breathing deeply, he almost feels fine.

There is a wet spot on the carpet beneath his feet. He does not need to look down to know that his last beer is gone. Angered he kicks the not quite empty can against the wall and watches as the last few ounces disappear. He bites his lip. It is all he can do to keep from screaming. ‘How do I do it?’ The voice inside his head is back. It is despair. ‘Why do you always fail?’ A single tear falls from his eye as he tries desperately to push this voice from his mind. It persists. Growing stronger, louder.

‘When was the last time you did anything right?’ He is swimming in a sea of memories, but he is in over his head. Despair does not let go. It does not give up. ‘When was it!?!’ The voice is almost audible. Every syllable pours down like rain into his sea. The water is almost too high. He leans his head back once again, struggling to breath. He tries to think of a better place, of a better time. It’s working. The waters reseed just a bit. He remembers his family. He remembers his friends. He wonders where they are now, and the voice returns. ‘Who can you turn to?’ He ponders. ‘Who is there for you now?’. Names and faces pass before him. Molly, Andrew, Brad. No, no, no. Every name is stamped out by the voice in his head. ‘You are alone.’

Tony collapses onto the floor of his twelve by twelve home and weeps. Despair is gone, but the voice persists. It is much softer, calmer, warmer. ‘Remember today.’ Tony is confused. He knows he will not remember. He knows that the last few hours will be but a blur in his mind. He is mad again. “Why would I want to remember this night?!?” He shouts as quietly as possible. “Why?”. There is no answer. He thinks that it is all in his head. ‘Remember Today!’ This time the voice is louder. Still soft, still warm, but louder. The message hits Tony like a brick. ‘Today, I died for you.’

It is Good Friday. The anniversary of man’s salvation. Tony sniffles and wipes his eyes. Standing up he looks through his open window. He watches as insects swirl around the street lamp outside. As he thinks back on the day his eyes once again fill with tears. Despair again invades his thoughts, but this time it is muted. As the day runs before his eyes he comes face to face with his present state of intoxication. Despair begins to open it’s mouth. It begins to speak, but it is cut off. A single thought fills Tony’s spinning head. He sees Jesus on the cross. His arms spread wide. His head cocked back. His eyes closed. “Thank you, Jesus.” It is all he can say. “Thank you so much.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Madonna Hooper04/20/05
I LOVE this! Very heart-wrenching yet beautiful. Enjoyed your descriptive writing throughout and the great message. Enjoyed reading it immensely.
David Stewart04/21/05
Great story! You had me there watching. Excellent job.

(fyi in paragraph 3 the waters should recede not reseed - I think.)

Sally Hanan04/23/05
Very well done. You have talent, and once you clean up the few grammatical errors this would be great in print.
Cheryl Johnson04/23/05
Wow. Very powerful writing here. And yes, the word is "recede". Other than that, I didn't see much wrong with this. Great writing!
vicki mccollum04/24/05
"He watches as insects swirl around the street lamp outside" great line! You write very well. You did a great job staying in first person present tense.
vicki mccollum04/24/05
OOPS! That's 3rd person present tense!