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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: In and Out (04/30/09)

TITLE: The Doors We Open
By Joshua Janoski


Life stinks big time.

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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This article has been read 626 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Benjamin Graber05/07/09
Oh, I like this - creative and powerful...
Sonya Leigh05/11/09
Wow. So many are hopeless in this world. This is a good insight into one life, shared by so many. The answer is clear, however. Without Christ we don't have the divine ability to make right choices...despair and hoplessness takes over. But thanks be to God...and thank you for writing this, tackling such a difficult topic.
Betty Castleberry05/12/09
The premise of this reminds me a little of "It's a Wonderful Life."
This is creative and entertaining.
Loren T. Lowery05/12/09
Read like a segment from "Touched by an Angel" Always delivering relevant messages we all can relate to or say by the grace of God it is not me. For red ink, I think the story line could have been tightened by focusing on just one of the issues in the MC's life and the real cause of his crisis. But a good job overall.
Bryan Ridenour05/12/09
Great entry...I liked where the room turned crimson red. if not for the shedding of Christ's blood we would have no hope!
Lyn Churchyard05/12/09
Josh, you had me dizzy spinning in and out the doors. No, seriously, this was right on topic and creative. A good lesson in why we should do things God's ways and not ours. Well done.
Edmond Ng 05/12/09
A strong message with subtle truths carried through engaging scenes. Very nicely written. I like the way you put across the story by showing the possibilities and then redirecting the MC's attention to the current precarious situation he is in.
Lollie Hofer05/12/09
What a great, unique slant on this week's topic. I liked how you brought him full circle to his current circumstance. By the time the old man brought him to the present, he really had his attention. Well done!
mick dawson05/12/09
The best thing you've done mate. It looked like a bit of Dickens in there, but done better.
Gerald Shuler 05/13/09
Excellent storh line, Josh. The most powerful part was the title because the "we" brought the whole thing down to the fact that I am also opening my share of doors. PM me if you would like a simple suggestion that would give it more "Umph".
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/13/09
Your excellent writing painted strong pictures while leaving a wonderful message.
Mona Purvis05/13/09
I wonder if when we get to Heaven, God won't show us some of these doors. Great entry.
Rachel Rudd 05/13/09
I like this sort of reverse "It's a wonderful life." You really showed the truth of the choices we make and how God can lead us even when we don't always want to listen to Him. He is drawing us unto Him.
Karlene Jacobsen05/13/09
Excellent work in this story. I wish there were more room at the end to drag out that turn in Brian's heart a bit. I don't know, maybe it's me wanting more drama with his realization of who the "bum" is.
Dee Yoder 05/14/09
Love this premise, Josh. Very powerful way to show others the consequences of their actions--even the ones they hardly realized they were doing!

One tiny suggestion: skip the formal language in the dialogue and write the words as contractions--just the way we'd say them to each other while speaking. It'll flow smoothly and sound authentic--especially when people are speaking angrily to each other! This is a great concept and I like it as much as I like your funny ones.
Chely Roach05/14/09
Great title, Josh. You gave fresh life to a much beloved writing tool. Great job!
Diana Dart 06/11/09
Eerie and quite thought provoking. Excellent concept - would have loved a bit more meat about Brian and how he got where he was... but I know space is limited! Great piece.