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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Time-consuming (02/24/11)

TITLE: A Time to Game
By Amanda Brogan


Nathan could feel the cool metal in his hands. It calmed him, comforted him. As long as his finger was wrapped around that trigger, poised and ready, he was in control.

Take this, creeps! Lunging like a madman from behind the tower of stacked crates, Nathan charged forward, lighting up the black warehouse hallway with a peppering of bullets as he ran. His friendly welcome was matched with a return volley from the masked men slinking through the shadows.

Shots flew back and forth and echoed through the immense tin building like fireworks on Independence Day. A few blood-curdling screams rang through the chaos just before Nathan dove behind the fortress of crates on the opposite end of the hallway. He slammed his back against planked wood, his semi-automatic thrust near his knees.

How many did I hit? Are they down for good or just wounded? There was no way of knowing. Only the option to make sure they didn’t get to his end of the hallway and live to tell their other masked buddies about it.

Need more firepower. Time to whip out the good ol’ LMG. Nathan tossed his handgun, sending it skidding across the concrete, and drew a fully automatic light machine gun from his weapons bag.

Let’s go. He lunged again, firing, yelling from the adrenaline rush. I’ll do it. I’ll win!

And then ... it came from the side. The unexpected blast threw him to the ground. He could feel the life leaking from him, waning, disappearing until ...

“No. Noooooo!”

Nathan tossed the controller to the carpet like a gun with an empty chamber. “Idiots! That was my last life.” The plasma screen laughed at him, flashing the words “Mission Failed” like the taunting jab of a younger sibling as it replayed a five-second clip of his downfall. He dropped his head forward, massaging his fingers through greasy, black hair.

From its holster on his hip, Nathan’s cell phone kicked into a heavy rock song, the vocals grinding, “Don’t make me waste my tiiii –”

He whipped it open. “Hey, Mom.”

“Nathan, why haven’t you been answering your phone? I’ve called you three times.”

“Sorry, but I was in a tight spot. Can’t stop when I’m down to my last life.”

She muttered. “Yeah, some eighteen-year-olds actually have a life.”


“Nothing. I just called to remind you that it’s Wednesday and I’m heading over to Jacqueline’s for our women’s study group.”

Why do I need to know this? “Okay, so is supper pre-cooked?” The game controller was magnetic, pulling his fingers back to its powerful little buttons.

“Sorry honey, I didn’t get a chance to make anything.”

Nathan was already punching buttons again, stocking his character on new weapons. Larger weapons this time. “I thought you were making a casserole earlier. I could smell it.”

“That was for the homeless shelter. It was my turn to provide a dish.”

Nathan rolled his eyes and lamented the loss of a perfectly good dinner. “You sure do volunteer over there a lot.” His weaponed-up macho man was now getting a wardrobe makeover. Let’s see, camouflage or ninja suit?

“Well, I guess I do. Maybe sacrificing a few hours of my day for other people makes me feel closer to God. I suppose it’s one way that I –”

“So I’ll have to make my own supper?” I hate cooking. Takes forever. Maybe we have some TV dinners ...

“That’s one reason I called. Your easiest choice may be to head over to the youth group tonight. I’m pretty sure they serve sandwiches or snacks or something like that before the study.”

A groan crawled its way up Nathan’s throat.

“Just a suggestion, honey. You know, the interaction may do you some good. It’s not like you have any pressing matters at home.”

Actually, I was really close to the next level.

The call soon ended with Nathan scrolling through possible locations for his next battle. His stomach roared in protest. A heavy sigh chased after it and Nathan checked his watch. Half-hour till youth group starts.

Suddenly, a thought sprouted in Nathan’s mind. He grabbed his cell phone.

“Hi, is this Roy the youth pastor? Nathan Tanner here. Didn’t you tell me a few weeks ago that the guys sometimes play Madden NFL before class starts? Yeah? I was kinda busy, but I guess I could take some time out to hang with you guys tonight.”

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This article has been read 424 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Noel Mitaxa 03/04/11
A light touch here; and not just on the game controls; but on the growth in the thinking of the young Big (computer) Game Hunter! Well drawn characters.
Rachel Phelps03/04/11
Fun idea! I liked the ending - not too cut and dried, but playing to the MC's natural tendencies. Well done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/05/11
Very good job here of showing not telling for the topic with true-to-life characters. I liked the ending, too.
Helen Curtis03/09/11
This wasn't too confronting, but really underlines the need for moderation in all things. Excellent job! (And I am so pleased your character decided to go to the youth group!).
Loren T. Lowery03/09/11
Well presented and so appropriate for this day and age. Your message was very clear and it was easy to relate to your MC. Well done.
Caitlyn Meissner03/19/11
Congrats on getting Highly Commended! This was a really good story, and very suitable for the topic. I loved the beginning, how you put us into the action, and then revealed that it was a video game. It's amazing how addicting it can be to have your own little fantasy world. Great job!