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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Day's End (01/01/14)

TITLE: Time
By Matt Guddat
01/04/14


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The room was of plain décor. It was designed that way for efficiency. No time was wasted in upkeep or cleaning. An air conditioning unit kept the room at an all too cool temperature and a self-timed air freshener shot waves of ocean breeze into the room. Zade caught himself wondering if they had changed the scent since yesterday.

A short man stood before him in the queue looking nervous. Zade stole a glance at his time pad. It was nearly empty. No wonder he was nervous.

A few years ago the government had issued a food scheme. It was designed to give each man a fair food ration. The more you accomplished that day, the more food you were rewarded at day’s end.

Since food was scarce, it worked out better this way. Every one got at they deserved.

Zade checked the time. 8.53pm and 20 seconds. The rations station was taking longer than usual.

“Over here sir we haven’t got all day”.

A large man stood behind the counter. Zade produced his pad and the man scanned it. “Not a bad day sir” said the man.

Zade gave a grin. It was a good day. Since he had cut out tea breaks he had more time to achieve. More achievements meant more food.

“All done sir, see you tomorrow.” The officer handed him a 3.8kg satchel.

“Thanks.”

The street was busy. Most people were racing to the ration station with seconds to spare. Doors were locked at 9pm sharp. Zade looked toward the overcast skies and decided to zip up his jacket before pushing his way through the crowds. A few drops of rain hit the pavement.

“Sir,” came a voice, ”can I offer you my umbrella?” Zade stopped. He turned to see the middle aged man who had been in front of him at the ration station. Such gestures were uncommon. Umbrellas were for the upper class, why this man would help put him on edge. Besides, he was wasting his time, helping others achieved little reward.

“No offence mister but I saw you at the station. Your pad was nearly empty. What’s the catch here?”

The man clearly took no offence. Leaning in he said, “Oh, there is no catch. I just want to bless you.” He extended his arm an announced “Eli.”

He shook the man’s hand. “Eli huh. The name’s Zade.” He seems kind enough.

Eli popped his umbrella open and raised it high. The rain was light but just enough to slow the trains down. The two men walked toward the bus terminal, Zade setting the pace.

“So Eli, you from a rich family?”

Eli’s rosy cheeks lit up as he let out a laugh, “Oh no. Far from it. I just have different priorities to most, if you’re referring to my time pad.”

Zade felt a little guilty for being so bold. It was uncommon – if not unheard of – for people to skimp on their time sheets. Everyone was in a rush to achieve. Time was food. Food was life. Eli’s care free attitude intrigued him.

“Food fills the stomach Zade. It helps,” Eli let out another laugh, “but at the day’s end I like to look back at my true investments”.

A young woman pushed between the two men in a bid to get past. They had only covered fifty meters or so. Zade checked his watch again. 8.59 and 28 seconds. This conversation is slowing me down.

“Which are?”

“People Zade.”

Zade spun on his heels as if shocked by Eli’s words. “Without food people would cease to exist!”

“Maybe so. But people are worth more are they not?”

Zade paused in thought until his watch sounded 9pm. “Thank you Eli. Food for thought.”

“My pleasure” Eli stood alone as Zade ran to the covering of the bus terminal.

Eli swept his surroundings and caught sight of a young mother with a baby strapped to her back. Reaching into his bag he pulled out a sandwich.

“Excuse me ma’am. How are you today?”


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This article has been read 281 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 01/10/14
I’d love to have your input into the free writing lessons available on the FaithWriters forums. This week’s lesson is on writing devotionals, and next week will cover writing on topic for the weekly challenge. Look for it at http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=67, or if you’re on Facebook, you can “like” Faithwriters Writing Lessons.
Jan Ackerson 01/10/14
I’d love to have your input into the free writing lessons available on the FaithWriters forums. This week’s lesson is on writing devotionals, and next week will cover writing on topic for the weekly challenge. Look for it at http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=67, or if you’re on Facebook, you can “like” Faithwriters Writing Lessons.
Camille (C D) Swanson 01/10/14
Touching, reflective and quite a powerful read.

I truly enjoyed your story and the message it conveyed.

Thank you.

God bless~
Amelia Brown 01/10/14
If this world had more Eli, things wouldn't be half s bad. Lovely story. I enjoyed the setting.
Beth LaBuff 01/12/14
You have a lot of good things going in this. I loved the sci-fi feel with its complete unpredictability. The insertion of "time" and checking the watch throughout made me conscious of it time for them, and anxious on your character's behalf. You set me completely in their story. Good work!
Judith Gayle Smith01/12/14
Engrossing! I thoroughly enjoyed this, while falling in love with Eli's heart . . .
Virginia Bliss 01/12/14
I felt as if I reading about life in a totalitarian society. You created a realistic atmosphere.

There are a few spots where you could trim some words. This would give you more words to use in showing instead of telling.

Overall though, very good.
lynn gipson 01/12/14
Good interesting story. Written very well. Keep up the good work. Blessings.
Jan Ackerson 01/13/14
I really enjoy reading speculative fiction, and this one has a premise that I've never read before--well done!

There are some comma errors and run-on sentences that could use some tweaking; that would improve the flow of your piece. And the switch in POV in the last few paragraphs was slightly disorienting.

This one made me think, to be sure, about whether the ways I spend my time would be considered worthy of reward. Love it.
Danielle King 01/13/14
A clever story for sure. You drew me right into the atmosphere and I loved the message you portrayed. A well written piece. Great job!
Jody Day 01/15/14
Really enjoyed this and the message brought forth. Good job!
Bea Edwards 01/15/14
I really enjoyed your unique take on this topic.

At the days end - what have we accomplished deserving of eternal reward?
Sheldon Bass 01/15/14
Very creative piece and an easy read. I think this one will do well. Keep on writing!
Larry Whittington01/15/14
In as much as you have done it to the least of these you have done it unto me.

We all are going to be judged on our life works if we are in Christ. Those outside of Christ will be judged differently.

Christians have to be careful where their priority is.

You have a very inviting story that related to this.

Very thought provoking. Where am I.
Graham Insley 01/16/14
Quite an interesting story with a good sci-fi feel.

I noticed a few messed words (at for what in para 4 for example). You may find a slow re-read after a day's break will help eradicate these; it always helps me.

The message is pure gold.

Well done and blessings, Graham.
Amelia Brown 01/16/14
Congrats!!!
Matt Guddat01/16/14
Hey thanks all, and thanks for the hints and tips. esp Graham... specific examples help me understand feedback :)
Bless ya all
Catherine Craig 01/19/14
Interesting blend of the familiar and the future. Realistic. Congratulations.