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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Game of Life (09/11/08)

TITLE: The Game Changer
By Irvine Saint-Vilus


He looked out the bus’s stained window and saw the world through a dark haze. The bus roared through 94th Street and its buildings and stores were nearly invisible at 5:00 a.m. He was one of three people on the bus. And Johnnie Love leaned back against the bus’s hard, bluish plastic seat, closing his eyes to block out the chatter of the two passengers before him.

He pictured his favorite scene, standing in front of the podium in church preaching the Lord’s Word with the sermon flowing from his lips like water from a stream. But his eyes shot open swallowing the bitter taste of reality. He was a slow man with a 6th grade education and a job mopping up vomit. And he had no business dreaming up fantasies.

Love, as he was called, shook his head roughly like a mangy dog and fixed his eyes on his circumstance. Others boarded the bus and he kept his eyes hidden, occasionally tugging at his janitorial uniform. Suddenly the bus squealed and jerked around violently. And the passengers started moaning and screaming.

Mumbling an unfinished prayer, Love grabbed the handle of the seat in front of him and held on tight as the bus careened out of control. It hit metal and leaped up slamming into concrete and landing on its side. And propelled by force the bus pushed forward until it hit a brick building and came to a sudden halt, looking like a giant crushed soda can.

Police and firefighters and EMTs and curious bystanders quickly crowded the horrible scene. Amidst the wrecked bus were a few battered cars that had been in its wake. The uniformed men and women went to work prying open the doors and windows of all the vehicles looking for signs of life. There were a few muffled voices. But the silent ones somehow screamed the loudest.

After hours of painstaking work, the police and firefighters made progress digging into the mashed up cars and bus carefully pulling out people. Johnnie Love was one of those people. He’d escaped the terrible crash with bruises on his head, arm, and leg. And he wanted to help pull others out but was taken away to get treatment for his wounds inside a cramped ambulance. His eyes remained fixed on the crash sight praying in his heart for those in the vehicles to make it out alive.

“You lucky, man,” the EMT who was working on him said, his deep voice echoing amazement. “That was some accident.”

“It ain’t luck,” Johnnie Love answered with his eyes still on the scene. “It’s God.”

The long morning got even longer when Love learned that a total of 20 people had died in the crash. Of those alive, the toll was 15, including him. All but he went to the hospital. Instead he staggered away from the ordeal despite the EMT’s objections.

“Lord,” he cried as he hobbled up 74th Street, ignoring the passersby who were staring at him. “What kind a’ game is this that 20 people had to die?” He winced at his swelling knee and elbow which were throbbing. “Too many games be playing in this life, Lord. Too many games…”

He plopped down on a bench near a bus stop they’d passed before the accident. He sucked in his teeth thinking of the game life played on unsuspecting souls. The 20 people who died got up that morning not knowing this day would be their last. Love put his head in his hands and tried hard not to picture their now soulless bodies.

“Are you okay?” Someone asked. He looked up and saw a pretty woman with soulful gray eyes looking at him with concern. “I’m fine,” he said looking away. “A bit of a headache is all.” He didn’t feel like talking to anyone.

She sat on the opposite side of the bench and turned toward him. “I’ve been traveling all day and can’t get to where I’m going. Ever felt like giving up?”

He barely nodded and sat up quietly moaning.

“There’s this Bible verse that says, ‘You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what [H]e has promised’ (Hebrews 10:36 NCV).”

Love studied her then glanced upward at the bluish sky. “That means the Lord don’t play no games.” His emotions threatened to overtake him. “I’m going to be a Pastor,” he said gruffly.

He glanced back down and she was gone.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Murray09/19/08
What Life God brings out of satan's ministry of death, just like trees grow best in rotting vegetation. What an amazing story.
Sunny Loomis 09/22/08
Very good storytelling. Good descriptions. He could have given up, but didn't. Nice job.