Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Download/Upload (11/17/11)
TITLE: The Game
By Llewelyn Stevenson
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I had just put all I had into the stocks when the price fell dramatically. Now I was facing financial ruin. We’d be homeless, destitute. Why had I listened to him? Why hadn’t I listened to my conscience, my wife, and my friends?
Wasn’t he the expert, though? He had proven himself over so many transactions, was such a success himself. How had he gone so wrong? My whole life was ruined. I’ll contact him; he’ll know what to do…
“C’mon, c’mon, answer that phone,” I muttered grimly into the receiver, “I’ll try again later.”
I tried all week. I couldn’t tell my family, my wife wouldn’t understand. I’d have to go to his office.
Arriving at the high rise building I took the elevator to the sixth floor and proceeded to room sixty six. Ringing the bell I waited. Growing impatient I rang again.
“I’m afraid that gentleman closed his offices about a week ago, sir,” the janitor informed me.
Overcome with rage, tears filled my eyes.
Thundering into the house I snatched up the phone and dialled the Department of Fair Trading.
“I’m terribly sorry, sir,” said the pleasant young lady who listened so patiently to my tirade, “We’re investigating all claims but I’m afraid you and many others have been taken by a confidence man who has already left the country. I’m afraid we’re not holding out much hope.”
I slammed the receiver down.
Earnestly I searched the computer for a solution. Thank goodness this was only a game. Failing all else I could just start over, but that was admitting the computer had bested me. No way. The display offered numerous routes. Not knowing what lay at the end of each I chose the one on the left.
The path was strewn with scraggy, sickly trees and boulders producing evil eyed blackbirds, wolves and other ravenous creatures. Fighting through to the gate of a cemetery whose title filled me with dread, “SUICIDE.”
No way! Fighting my way back I took the second path. This path led me through city streets. I was confused. Why was I fighting my family? I seemed to hurt everyone I loved. The computer screen blurred through teary eyes as I approached the door of a courthouse.
Shivering, I read, “DIVORCE.”
Never! Fearfully, I took the third, anticipating something far worse.
The third road was unique but strangely familiar. Actually it was merely a path trodden into the grass around it. To stay on the path you had to walk singly. You fought lions, wolves, demons, and merchants, finally facing yourself.
The battles were vicious and difficult. Many times I thought I was beaten. The Wind was offered to me as a battling companion. Initially ignoring this and continually having to restart the level, I final accepted and was able to continue my quest. Conquering self in a brutal battle I approached the door.
It was a church door labelled, SALVATION.
Now I knew why it appeared familiar. I had faced this door at other points of the game, deliberately refusing its offer each time.
Pounding the computer table and causing mouse and keyboard to jump, I yelled, “No way I’m becoming religious!”
Getting up my teenage son discreetly left the lounge. Embarrassed I turned and watched him leave.
Sighing I clicked on the door passing through. On the other side I was confronted by a roughly hewn, wooden cross. My chest appeared on the left and the inscription read, “Upload contents.”
I opened the chest and looked through it. Inside were sorrow, loneliness, despair, sickness; possessions I’d gladly be rid of. Many treasures I feared losing and cherished: my wife, my children and my home.
With tear-filled eyes I clicked, “UPLOAD.”
My empty chest moved right of the cross and the inscription read, “To download Salvation click on the phrase, ‘I believe Jesus is God’s Son’.”
Clicking the appropriate phrase opened the now glowing chest. Inexplicable, joyous relief overflowed me realising my loved ones were still there and gifts yet to be opened during the game’s progression. We were not penniless due to a disapproved transaction. Gifts of peace, joy, new ambition and more led me to the game’s conclusion as victor. I knew I wouldn’t have won without uploading my meagre possessions and downloading all God gave me.
Sitting, staring contentedly at the screen and realising real life was just the same I concluded, “I do believe Jesus is God’s Only Begotten Son.”
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