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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Weary (05/03/12)

TITLE: The Fire That Changed A Life
By Ken Ebright


Exhausted, Josh arrived home at midnight; he’d been working nonstop since six in the morning doing the accounting and five electrical jobs for his business.

Josh sat down and nodded off. A few minutes later the shrieking smoke alarm jolted him from his chair, and he ran to the kitchen and saw flames creeping up the wall. Grabbing the phone, he punched in the numbers. “This is 911, what’s your emergency?"

"My apartment is on fire. Get over here quickly."

"Okay sir, we’re on the way." Josh bolted out into the street.

As a result of the fire, Josh’s apartment suffered major damage.

A police officer walked over with a clipboard to ask questions.

"Sir, I'm Officer Kent, The first thing I need is your name."

"I'm Josh Middleton." He shook the officer’s hand.

The two sat on the curb. "The Fire Chief says that it was grease that caused the fire. Can you tell me what happened?"

Josh let out a long breath. "I put in long hours everyday. Today I started at six in the morning. I got home from work at midnight. I put the fish in the pan and went to sit down and fell asleep."

The officer took notes. "It appears that this fire happened because you were tired. Can I ask why you work long hours?"

"I'm a small business owner, in the electrical business. I have to help out in the field and do the bookkeeping all by myself. I got behind on the accounting. I put in 12 hour days every week."

The officer stopped writing and put his pen down. "Why don't you hire someone to do your billing?"

Josh looked down on the ground. "I am afraid that would make me go bankrupt."

The officer smiled. "It sounds like you have enough work. The reason I ask all these questions is because I am a Christian. I like to use my position to help people. Do you know Jesus?"

"Yes, I do."

"Well, maybe you need to trust him. This accident happened because you were overworked. You need to get your sleep."

Josh face lit up. "Officer, maybe you’re right."

"I'll keep you in my prayers." Both men stood up, shook hands and walked away.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Bucca05/10/12
Oh, the need for sleep and the fires that lead us to Jesus! I hope you didn't mean this story to be too serious; I thought that bit about him falling asleep then being woken up by the alarm was rather funny. Thanks for the witness at the end and the wonderful message overall!
Helen Curtis05/11/12
This is a great story. Your intro was to the point and set the feel for what was to follow.

May I offer some thoughts? The section where Josh calls 911 is very factual. It tells us what he did, and what was said. This is really robbing you of words that could be used to describe how Josh is feeling. What dialogue is going through his head? Blame? Guilt? Anger? Hopelessness? These are the things that help take us into the character's world and identify with them. For example, if we take the hopeless train of thought, we can then develop the "aha!" moment when he starts talking to Officer Kent, and is reminded of the hope we always have in Jesus, no matter what happens.

I really hope this helps, and doesn't come across as anything other than a heart to help you be the very best writer you can possibly be.

Well done on a great story that really hit the topic spot on. Blessings, Helen.
C D Swanson 05/12/12
Great job with this piece. I enjoyed the entire message that certainly nailed the topic perfectly.

The weariness clearly apparent. I loved how the fire chief helped to give him some "Godly counsel." The Lord does such a wonderful job placing people in our path that can provide vital messages for our benefit.

I loved it. I pray the MC gets some needed "rest" in the Lord. Thanks.

God bless,

Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/12/12
This is a nice job of polishing it and I know you put a lot of work in it. You still need to work on building the suspense and making the dialog feel more natural. The message at the end is lovely and it will touch many hearts.