Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Game of Life (09/11/08)
TITLE: And the Last Shall be First
By Rachel Burkum
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Half of the writhing crowd emitted an ominous shadow over their side of the field. Shrieks and jeers gave their team energy to drive them forward. Their wings beat a stale air, stirring up the pride and envy.
Opposite came the shouts and whistles of the opposing team's fans. Their white garments shimmered under the lights. The calls came as encouragement born of words from the Coach who sat at the edge of the field, cheering on the players as His own.
The game began. The noise was deafening as the players started forward.
On the left, Miles came, leading his fellow teammates. The squares were lined up, each symbolizing the path of life he was taking. The start was good. As matter of luck, he was able to afford the luxury of a reputable college, earning him the career of a lawyer. Speeding ahead, he immediately found fortune, lining his pockets with cash.
On the right came Julie. Slower, but with a humble determination. With her Coach's guidance, she did her best, and though her monthly earning wasn't much, she forged ahead, eating the dust of her competition.
Cries of mockery came from the dark side of the stadium, making fun of Julie, while coaxing Miles to cheat. They whispered in his ear reminders that should he get to the end first with the most wealth, he would be the winner of all.
Miles raced through life, marrying a woman of political power. Moving on quickly, he snatched up gain wherever he could. His children were taught in his ways and took his path as their own.
Julie approached marriage with love in her eyes, taking a husband of her own team who followed the Coach's direction as did she. Together they traveled, giving to those in need, and raising their children to love and respect others no matter their position in life.
The battle intensified as the players reached the middle of the field. Miles led his team on a road of bets on unstable stock, coming out ahead with the cheating dark coach watching with his piercing eyes of hatred. With a spin of the wheel, Miles' financial gain grew, but revenge was on his mind. It was Julie he attacked full force, bringing her to her knees as he drained her of her resources. Again and again he attacked, leaving her poor and lagging behind.
The dark side hurled insults and threw trash onto the field, mocking Julie. Her humility had gotten her nowhere. She was leading the losing team.
The light side called softly to her, prompting her up. Her Coach went to her, keeping her eyes fixed ahead.
The last few miles of life came. It had been a long and weary journey. The players' hair had turned to gray, their bodies beginning to weaken.
Miles was now so far ahead he could no longer even see Julie. He cashed in on his property, his belongings and his family. He had made it to the end first. His arrogance was his crown. Sitting on treasures beyond one's imagination, he smugly waited for the game to end.
And through the fog, Julie came - barely able, but with her Coach by her side, supporting her weight. She had no wealth. But her family was close...her team still following bravely behind, even though they had come in last.
The dark coach swooped down in front of them. "You fools! You have lost! Had you been wise, you would have followed Miles' example! But you were soft. And because of it, you have lost everything."
"No!" The Coach of the light stood tall, demanding respect of even the jeering demons in the stands. "You have deceived your team with lies and ruined their lives with hate. For you knew as well as I, that whoever is first shall be last, and whoever is last shall be first. You have driven your team to the abyss with you. As for my children, they have gained the eternal reward of life because they did not walk with greed and pride, but with humility and love."
The stadium erupted. But a battle was futile. The light was too great, driving the darkness away.
...And the field was left bare...a bittersweet shadow of life.
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