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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Game of Life (09/11/08)

TITLE: A Dark and Stormy Night
By Annora Williams


Lightning streaks across the sky, A roll of thunder shakes the ground. The trees moan and groan as they bend in the howling wind. The security light flickers and goes out as another flash of lightning bathes the yard in bright light. A few moments later it buzzes back to life only to be snuffed out again as power is lost.

Inside the house there is scurrying as family members grab flashlights and head towards the kitchen. This is a common occurrence in the country and flashlights are kept handy and everyone knows where the candles can be found. As they congregate around the table, Mom has already pulled out several board games and a deck of cards. She knows there won’t be much sleeping with the storm outside. Dad is lighting the kerosene lamps and the girls are setting up their flashlights. Snacks sit in bowls and drinks have been set out.

Audra looks around the table and thinks about how she really does not like storms at all but loves these impromptu game nights when the family gathers around the table to wait one out. Unfortunately their lives tend to stay busy at other times and the dark stormy nights are the only time they slow down enough for this kind of activity.

And even better, tonight is Audra’s pick for the game and she already knows what she wants. Last time Bess chose so they ended up playing Go Fish and Hi Ho Cherrio. Tonight Audra wants to play one of the older games that they have in the closet.

As they all settle in, Mom asks, “So what are we playing tonight?”

Audra smiles as she answers, “Life.”

Bess starts to groan and roll her eyes. “Why couldn’t you pick Clue or Scattergories? That Life game is so B-O-R-I-N-G!!”

Audra replies, “Well, I coulda picked Rummy but I know we’d have to teach you the rules again and that would take forever.”

“Girls, that’s enough!” The stern voice of Daddy brings the argument to a halt. He is a man of few words, so when he speaks, everyone listens.

They apologize in unison, “Sorry, Daddy.”

Mom pulls out the requested game and they set up the board with all the buildings and choose their cars and small pegs to drive around the board. The light from the kerosene lamp tosses odd shadows over the board as they begin. Soon they are all enjoying the progress of the game. There is laughter over the events that they encounter as they land on various spaces and wondering who will end up at the poor house and who will end up at Millionaire Acres. The storm rages on outside but the group inside is otherwise occupied.

Later Audra snuggles under her covers, Bess in the other twin bed. The storm has passed on and she listens to the last of the rain and faint thunder. Power is still out so she is surrounded by nothing but blackness. As she lies in the dark, her mind wanders back to the game they were playing only a short time before.

How different things are on a board game. A decision about your future is determined by a spin and the block you happen to land on. Everyone gets married as they pass by the church. Good things and bad things await you as you circle the game board to the final destination. These things are determined by the space you land on rather than by a choice you made along the way. When the tragedies strike during the game, the attitude is so different from the real world. No worries exist because all know it is just a game. Not reality where people lose their jobs, accidents happen to cause injury, and unexpected expenses crop up along the way. Here people share laughs over the windfalls and atrocities alike. And the games moves on.

As Audra drifts into sleep, a thought passes through her mind much like a whisper. God wants her to worry less about the bumps along the way and trust that He is directing things. Simply wait for the next spin to see what He has in store. With a feeling of contentment, she is ferried off to dreamland with a smile on her face.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/18/08
You used the game of LIFE well to show the reality of life. Your stormy night added good atmosphere to the story.
Robyn Burke09/19/08
Good visuals. I could 'see' the whole family in the farmhouse, faces illuminated by the candles. I could smell the rain and hear the thunder. Nicely done.
Julie Arduini09/24/08
Great descriptions and actions. I remember those kind of nights as a kid, but I think we played Monopoly!