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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Winter (11/14/05)

TITLE: A Skiing Trailer
By Daniel Owino Ogweno


There was a knock at the door. Proto who was almost dozing off on the sofa was alerted. He had been out clearing a two-day old snow in the drive way. Tired and cold, he prepared a cup of coffee to warm himself from the inside. The room was well-heated but he felt he equally needed the coffee to warm him from the inside.

As he felt drowsy, he wondered why coffee couldn’t keep him awake as it does to so many people. He had really wanted to be awake to read his Bible and prepare for the conference that was due that evening.

He went and opened the door. It was his friend Nico.

“Life can be as slippery as driving a long a winter road”, Nico introduced his frustrations, putting words to what was already perceivable from his dejected countenance.

“Tell me about it!” Proto responded with a cautious smile lest he exacerbate what might be a volatile situation.

The tone of Proto’s response was a mixture of, ‘I am familiar with the tragedies in life’, and ‘let me hear about what has happened’.

Nico looked emptily into the room wondering what lesson Proto would pull out of what he was about to tell him. Proto was always looking for spiritual lessons in everything happening around him. In this way, wherever he found himself, it was a classroom and everything a teacher.

Nico had an appointment with a doctor. He had a condition that was getting worse by the day. The specialist had been overbooked. He had been waiting for his turn for the past six months.

Finally, the day came. The doctor had promised that he would do his best to get the condition averted. Nico woke up in good time knowing that it was winter. Winter surprises could range from the car’s doors failing to open to the engine refusing to start. As he started driving he realised that the ground was extremely slippery.

Half way to town to meet the doctor, an on-coming trailer lost control. It was traumatising seeing the trailer “skiing”. He realised it when it was already too late. The trailer was coming down-hill. The attempts to brake only made the big thing ski even more. For the first time in his life, Nico realised how one can become a close neighbour with death without notice. It was a miracle that he survived. The car behind him was not as lucky. He knew it had been crushed but eager to reach town before the traffic chaos would close him in at the accident spot, he never stopped. Little did he know that it was the doctor he was going to see that was driving behind him.

The doctor had everything going for him until the winter conditions on the road brought his life to an abrupt end.

Proto and Nico sat there for a while, quiet. After their moment of silence, Proto drew a deep breath, posed like he wanted to say something but withdrew. He bowed his head, burying it in his hands and mumbled something. The doctor was an acquaintance.

“What we need in winter is salt—a lot of salt”, Proto finally managed to lament.

Nico looked lost. He couldn’t figure out the relevance of salt in the circumstance.

“What do you mean?” Nico inquired.

“I know they didn’t salt the road. If they did, the salt would have melted the ice and life would have been saved.

Proto had just grasped one of the most important aspects of Christians being the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13).

Christians can stop many tragedies that could otherwise result in people sliding into death along the slippery road of life. If they apply themselves on the road of life, they would melt the ice of ignorance and unbelief thereby making braking apply.

“May the spiritual winter not make somebody slide into eternal death because I didn’t apply my salt on their road”, Nico concluded.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sandra Petersen 11/23/05
I liked the quotation you have Nico say in paragraph 4...so true. I also liked the statement "For the first time in his life, Nico realized how one can become a close neighbour with death without notice." A very effective line.
In the first paragraph, which was fine otherwise, the phrase about warming him from the inside was repeated. Were you implying two kinds of inner chill: physical and spiritual?
The last sentence in paragraph 7 was a little confusing. To what did "it" refer in the stement "it was a classroom". How Proto responded, because "The doctor was an acquaintance" leads me to believe that Proto had serious regrets about his lack of boldness with the doctor about matters that really counted. Build on that; help us to feel the intensity of that emotion.What you want to say to us is wise and true, but show us the concept through what your characters say and do.
Shannon Redmon11/23/05
I liked this story. The "doctor was an acquaintance" phrase would have been stronger in dialogue between Pronto and Niko. I really liked the point of this story about Christians laying down salt so others can put on the eternal brakes!
B Brenton11/24/05
It's got potential bursting from the seams, but for a true winner - I'd take Christine's advice and rewrite it.
I love the characters and the development though. It has the feeling of a good, icey novel.
Ohhhh.... now I'd buy that!
Marilyn Schnepp 11/24/05
This is advanced? Well,there isn't enough room to be specific; but the very first paragraph repeats itself about "coffee inside"; then a conversation out of the blue-with nothing to do with paragraph before. Yes, a rewrite might make it readable. I'm sorry but I never finished it. Good Luck in your writing career.
Nina Phillips11/25/05
I agree that at the end, you should have stayed with the Proto and Nico conversations. Very good point though and written in a way that got it across through our daily lives. Liked that. God bless ya, littlelight