Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Exhale (08/15/13)
TITLE: Before It's Too Late
By Melissa Lindsey
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Ryan Manning lay face down in darkness. In semi-consciousness he thought, "Where am I? What is happening?" His ears were ringing and pain radiated through his skull. Worse still was the blinding darkness, the inability to see even one ounce of light. Finally, after what seemed like decades, he heard a voice. "Coach!", thought Ryan. He distinctly heard Coach's voice.
Coach led a life so different than Ryan's. He was a good man. A family man. He went to church and lived a clean life. Once, after a long practice, Ryan had gone by his office thinking that he might ask Coach about his faith. Ryan had so many questions about God, but he didn't know where to turn. As he approached Coach's office door he overheard Coach praying aloud. It was an experience that Ryan would never forget. Holding his breath, heart pounding, he had stood undetected outside the door and listened to Coach pray for the team and for the influence that God expected him to be in each of the players lives. Ryan's hands felt clammy and perspiration broke out across his forehead. Recently, this had been the normal response of his body anytime that he thought about "God stuff". Ryan knew that he needed to make some changes in his life, but at twenty five years old he wasn't ready. He was living a life that most people only dreamed of. He had more money than he ever imagined possible and there were parties almost every night which he attended with a beautiful girl on each arm. Ryan was amazed at his recent success and popularity, but more amazing to him were the next words of Coach's prayer. Coach's voice broke as he prayed specifically for Ryan, telling God that he was burdened for Ryan's soul and praying that he would give his life over to God before it was too late. Ryan almost cried aloud. Silently, he exhaled and crept down the hall, back to the locker room, away from the conflicting thoughts in his head.
Now, lying on the ground, Ryan struggled to remain conscious. He needed desperately to talk to Coach, but he was fading. "Manning! Manning", Coach's voice called. Ryan felt himself slipping deeper into the darkness. "Help me!", Ryan wanted to scream. "Coach! Help me!"
Darkness overcame him.
Ryan awakened to beeping sounds. The room was dark, but it was not the murky, disturbing darkness from before. His eyes slowly adjusted to the light and his mind registered to the fact that he was in a hospital. He scanned the room and saw the man that he most wanted to see at that moment. Coach was sitting in a chair beside his bed with his head in his hands. He was quietly praying. This time, with no hesitation, Ryan would ask the questions.
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