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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Blowout (04/28/11)

TITLE: It's Not Your Time
By Michael Joshua


From door to door, all the way down the dormitory hallway, the words were whispered.

"It's gonna be a blowout!"

"Gotta be there."

"Bring your own alcohol."


Joel's calloused hands kneaded Krista's small fingers as they sat on the couch outside the ICU. Joel's eyes darted toward the doorway. The click of the latch seemed to echo in the quiet waiting room.

"I'm sorry, we did everything we could." The doctor's words faded into the suffocating air as Krista crumbled. If Joel had not held her tightly, she would have fallen to the floor in a heap.

Krista's chest rose and fell with sobs while Joel signed off the organ donor form. A life snuffed out at 19 years old. Alcohol poisoning had taken their daughter.

Decisions of youth. The young feel immortal and know everything. Drink with a group, drink until they fall asleep. Get up the next day – all is fine.

Not so much this time.


Joel stood at the lectern in the auditorium. A packed house of high school seniors – graduating this year from the School of St. Mary.

"Parents all over the country will hear these words, 'We did everything we could.'"

"You have received an education with a basis in Scripture. Don't think that this tragedy cannot happen to you. To your family. That's what our Holly thought too."

"Now she is in the arms of our loving Savior. It's not time for you to join her. It just isn't."

When he concluded his presentation, the faculty thanked him for speaking to the students and asked him to stand at the front to talk to any students that came forward.


It felt like an old-time tent revival meeting.

The line of young people to speak to Joel and Krista was half the length of the auditorium. Jeremy had been a neighbor for over ten years. When he reached Joel, he pumped his hand once, then wrapped his arms around him tightly. "Thank you so much for coming here. Losing Holly last year has left an empty space in my soul. Sharing your story is so hard, I know, but many of my friends need to hear it. You may never know that you are someone's hero today."

Jeremy swept the tears from his cheeks before he moved away, and nodded to the next young man in line.


"It's gonna be a blowout…"

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This article has been read 392 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Theresa Santy 05/05/11
Oh man, that was rough. I just came from reading a really funny entry, then this one knocked me to the floor.

Excellent writing. The piece sank into my heart quickly.

Sydney Avey05/09/11
A story that cannot be told too often. One thing confused me -- you used *** to delineate time, but at the end the lineup of of teens to talk to the parents immmediately followed the presentation, didn't it? So, no need for ***?

Another point of confusion -- by telling the teens it wasn't their time to join their friend, does that imply that she was meant to die that way? Opens a theological discussion you probably don't want to have here.

Nice pace in this story.
Leola Ogle 05/09/11
I worked for almost 20 years at Teen Challenge and know the tragedy of drug and alcohol use. I admire and appreciate that your MC used his loss as a means to reach out to other youth. It is so needed. Good job! God bless!
Noel Mitaxa 05/11/11
This is powerfully expressed in its clarity and its exposure of emotion - without becoming mawkish. Congratulations.
Linda Goergen05/13/11
Sadly the story of some young person dying from alcohol poisoning is repeated over and over and over every year. This story a good reminder to keep educating the youth of the danger!