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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Reader (04/15/10)

TITLE: No Wheelchair!
By susan woolen


The county fair grounds were dusty dark brown, intensely hot, and streaked with burning ribbons of sun. Searching for a cold drinks stand, two old friends, Henry and Max, struggled to walk, each supporting the other. Arguing, they were oblivious to the other fair-goers around them.

“Will you forget the wheelchair already! I don’t need it. I’ve survived eighty some years and don’t need help from anyone,” Henry, the older man, screeched. “Now let’s get on with seeing this fair!” Max grimaced with frustration and turned away. He loved his old friend but he was such stubborn man. Ok! They’d walk.

White-haired, thin, and stooped, Henry, his face lined and grey with deep fatigue, inched his feet forward. Max, younger and much more stout, stoically clutched Henry’s arm and they continued to trudge past the fair booth owners loudly pitching their wares. People crowded everywhere and deafening carnival music exploded the air.

A few yards ahead, set on a grassy lawn, stood a dark, green canvas tent the size of a small house. Under its cool, dark blue shadows sat multiple rows of sturdy wooden chairs, many already occupied by resting fair-goers, some of whom held white paper cups filled with free, iced-water. At the far end was a small stage where a gentle faced man stood smiling out over the crowd.

As they neared the big tent, Henry just stared fixedly ahead but Max slowed his steps.

“Let’s at least rest here,” he urged.

Grumbling, Henry stumbled just inside the tent’s shade and crumbled into the nearest chair. For a moment, Max relaxed until Henry suddenly began to scream.

“Stop! Stop! I don’t want to listen to this! I’ll cover my ears! I will! There’s no reason for this torture! I don’t need it!”

The man on the stage had begun quietly reading from a Bible about God’s love and forgiveness. Henry angrily shook his head at him. Max and Henry had been friends for decades. Though Max believed in God, Henry did not.

“Ok! I’ll take you home,” Max sighed exasperated. “Calm down!”
He wouldn’t admit it; but Henry had been very ill for several months and was worried that his time was near. Now, he lay trembling in a hospital bed, fearful of what lay ahead. Max sat at his side and offered all the kind support he could muster. Nothing soothed Henry until the day Max brought with him his own Bible. Tentatively, he began to read aloud of God’s love and salvation. This time Henry didn’t yell “Stop!” as he had at the fair. Max looked up at his friend. The lines in Henry’s grey face relaxed as he smiled for the first time in many months.

“Please keep reading, Max. It is so beautiful!”

Blessed is he that readeth. Rev.1:3

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This article has been read 424 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanna Stricker04/23/10
You did a good job portraying the opposition people have to the Bible (and the gospel)--at times it seems so illogical, but that is probably because we already know how sweet it actually is! Oh that none should perish!
Helen Dowd04/25/10
If you had been able to expand this story a bit more it would have been excellent. It was GOOD! You developed it well, with a calm and soothing ending. I'm not sure how the title fits the story, but it WAS intriguing, and made me want to read on. You don't belong in the "Beginners" category. (This, meant to be a compliment!)..Good for you...Helen
Caitlyn Meissner04/26/10
You did a good job portraying everything that happened in the story. I really could see what was going on. I'm glad it had a happy ending. ;)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/28/10
Wow this is a powerful story. I admire the fact that the one friend never gave up but persevered The knowledge that his friend came to know Jesus before his death had to be the greatest gift one could ever receive. May god bless you and give you strength as you travel the road of grief.
Phee Paradise 04/28/10
You told a good story with a strong message. I think I would have liked to have seen a transition from the fair to the hospital, instead of two completely different scenes.

Your dialogue was great and I could really picture the two old men.
Carol Penhorwood 04/28/10
I'm with Shann on this one. I really admire the friend who never gave up.

Isaiah 55:11:
"So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth; it shall not return to Me void--without producing any effect, useless--but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."

May God's words comfort you and His arms hold you in your grief.
Karen Macor04/28/10
Well thought out story and nicely written. May God bring you peace in the midst of your grief.
Gerald Shuler 04/28/10
You have a clear, crisp way of putting your thoughts into story form. You will do well in the challenges. Keep up the good work.
Ruth Stromquist04/29/10
Actually, I liked the title a lot, feeling like it symbolized the determination of your MC, Henry, to both be independent of devices and people; as well as his steadfast rejection of becoming dependent on God. I liked Henry from the start. You did a very good job with characterizations and description.