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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Game of Life (09/11/08)

TITLE: The Black Tin Box
By Stacey LaMontagne
09/17/08


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“Hey, can I tell you something?” asked Julianna as she woke to her husband sitting on the side of the bed, removing his shoes.

“Is this a long story?” Sam replied, laying back on the bed next to her and closing his eyes.

“No.” She began to share. “I received a black envelope with no return address in the mail today. I opened the envelope and found a black tin box with a black-labeled cd inside.

You know my imagination; that is why I create computer role playing games. There is a need for alternatives to the violence offered in other games on the market, I always say. By the way, I gave my latest game to Genny and her kids to play test.”

Sam mumbled an “oh” and motioned her to continue.

“So, I felt a strong urge to put it in the computer. I did and the screen went black. Finally, a green blinking light appeared at the top left corner of the screen. As I saw words appearing one letter at a time, it felt like I was using an old TSR80, you know the ones way back in high school.”

Sam nodded.

“OK, so I was waiting and ‘HELLO JULIANNA’ appeared on my screen.

‘WHO IS THIS?’ I immediately typed back.

‘I AM.’ I waited for more.

‘WHAT? WHO? WHAT DO YOU WANT?’ It appeared this person was playing a game with me.

‘I AM.’ Again it was typed and I stared blankly for a moment.

‘YOU AM WHAT?’ I mocked. I was getting annoyed and wondering why we were typing in caps?

‘I AM THE ONE WHO WAS WITH YOU WHEN YOU CRIED FROM THE LOSS OF YOUR BABY. I AM THE ONE WHO INSPIRES YOU. I AM THE ONE THAT LOVES YOU DEEPLY AND KNOWS YOU BETTER THAN YOU KNOW YOURSELF.’

Why would anyone play a trick on me? Tears began to fill my eyes as I felt the familiar small voice in my heart saying, ‘Yes, I AM.’

I decided somehow I was on an uplink with God.”

Sam made a huffing, sarcastic sound and opened his eyes.

“I felt I was given a gift and I didn’t know what to do with it. It had been so long since I talked to Him. My mind raced for what to say and then, I knew.

‘WHY DID YOU TAKE HER?’ I wrote, expecting to be ignored. The reply came in a softer voice; the caps went to normal script.

‘Julianna, ever since your precious baby joined me, I miss you. I know your heart aches for her. You have cut off everyone and buried yourself in your work. I have inspired your latest game and have a special purpose for it. First, I needed to get your attention. Life is not a game. I want you to enjoy the life I have given you. Death is real and losing is inevitable. With me, death is the victory. Death is not the end of the game, it’s just the beginning. Pain and sorrow will pass away forever. This life you have is not the reality I want you to face. Reality is here with me and so is your child. You will see her again. I love you. Stop playing and start praying.’”

Sam sat up in bed and was looking at Julianna in a way that she had not seen in a long time.

Julianna looked in his eyes and kept talking, starting to tear up again.

“I felt conviction and comfort as I wept from deep within. I prayed and then finally managed to type.

‘Please, tell her I love her. Take care of her Lord. Thank you.’

Suddenly the screen went back to Windows. I sat weeping for some time. All I could do after that was lie down. I needed to rest.”

“Are you okay?” Sam asked with compassion in his voice. His face showed his pity for her pain and also a skepticism that perhaps his wife had finally gone over the deep end from her grief.

“Can I show you, honey?” she asked, hoping to prove to him that she was not crazy.

“Wait, what is this? There are words on it now,” Julianna said as she pulled out the cd from the computer. ‘I AM ALWAYS HERE.’ Let’s see if it will work again. Error? Oh, no. It served it’s purpose. Would you pray with me?”


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This article has been read 298 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joy Faire Stewart09/18/08
This is very creative and has a great message.
Joanne Sher 09/19/08
Oh, spooky! Very unique take on the topic, and approach to your idea. Nicely done.
Melanie Kerr 09/19/08
I liked the idea of the computer disc. It was a great idea. Retelling her story by telling it to Sam perhaps didn't work out so well. I think you could have actually written the story without him, or just brought him in right at the end.