Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: In and Out (04/30/09)
TITLE: The Doors We Open
By Joshua Janoski
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That was the thought his brain managed to squeeze out while under the pressure of a steel barrel pressed tightly against his temple. In a sleazy motel, Brian Moore stood ashamed and ready to end it all. His index finger slowly applied pressure to the trigger…
Brian turned around surprised. An elderly man, with long white hair and a matching white beard, stood at the room’s entrance. The man appeared to be a hobo who had just come off the dirty streets outside. Brian dropped his gun, and stood shaking before the unexpected visitor.
“Who are you? How did you get in here? That door was dead bolted shut!”
“What is important is why I am here not how I got in. Please follow me, Brian.”
“How did you know my name? Tell me old man!” Brian trembled in the presence of the elderly bum.
“Come…” the old man gestured for Brian to follow.
Brian hesitantly stepped out of the room and into the narrow hallway. Doors lined the walls and extended for what seemed to be miles. The old man stopped at a nearby door.
“Go ahead, Son. Open this door and step inside.”
“You’re crazy! That’s not my room! I don’t have a key to enter!”
“Trust me. It will open for you.”
Brian turned the doorknob. The door creaked open, and he slowly crept inside. A man and woman were arguing in the room.
“I hate you, Brian! I hate you, and I want a divorce! I am taking Rachel, and we are leaving!”
“Don’t think that I won’t fight this, Denise! When the judge finds out that you are drinking heavy again, he will award me full custody of Rachel! You can’t keep my child away from me!”
The woman threw down divorce papers and stormed out. The man dropped to his knees and began sobbing. Brian rushed out the door and slammed it shut.
“Why…why would you send me in there? Who was that?”
The old man looked gently at Brian.
“That could have been you, had you married your high school crush Denise. Let’s move on.”
The old man pointed at a door further down the hall. Brian feared entering another door like the last, but curiosity took hold of him. He stepped in and saw a frail man sitting in a trash filled alley, scars and bruises covering his arms. Needles lay scattered around him as the man leaned up against the wall, his mind plagued with how he was going to get his next fix. Brian stood shocked as he realized that the pitiful man was himself! He quickly backed his way out of the door and closed it tight.
“I am not going into anymore of these doors, old man! There is nothing but nightmares behind them!”
“Or what could have been nightmares. What you viewed was who you would have become had you decided to continue hanging out with those drug dealing friends you once had. Each of these doors represents an entrance you could have stepped into, but instead you stayed out of it and went a different direction. You are blessed to have the life that you have, Brian. Don’t throw it away.”
One particular door caught Brian’s attention. The door was cracked open slightly. Brian pushed it open and stepped inside. A man sat in front of the television alone, viewing pornographic movies. Brian turned around and looked at the old man standing in the hallway.
“This is me right now!”
“Yes, it is. Unfortunately, you didn’t always listen to me when I tried to lead you away from the wrong doors. You have a free will, and sometimes you chose to disobey and go into doors that I forbid you to enter.”
Brian realized who this old man was. He dropped to his knees.
“I’m so sorry! Forgive me! I delved into things I never should have! I want out so that I can start enjoying life!”
The man watching the pornographic movies faded, and the room turned the color of crimson red. The old man held his hand out to Brian.
“Come out of that room, my child. Stay in there no longer. I am giving you a new life.”
“I’m sorry to question you. I sure didn’t expect you to come looking like this!”
“My appearance doesn’t matter, for looks can deceive. It is the sound of my voice and whether or not you heed it that is important.”
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