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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Dead End (02/06/14)

TITLE: The Narrow Road
By CD Swanson
02/07/14


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"Wow! Can you believe this invitation? I mean...look at the guest list!" Cindy's eyes sparkled as she smiled.

"Cindy, not a big deal. Geez, why are always so interested in the guest lists, what people are wearing, or where they live? They're just people...other than finances we're all the same."

"Michelle, you've got to be kidding! Seriously? Seriously? You can't tell me you're not excited by this invite; I really refuse to believe it. And, if you weren't so frigging opposed to cussing, I'd be cussing with joy right now."

Michelle rolled her eyes and shook her head. "You really don't get it, and that's so sad...."

"To you. Sad to you...not me."

Michelle was a woman of faith and nothing would deter her from God. She went to church three times a week, was the praise and worship teams lead singer, and truly was on fire for Jesus. Cindy, the polar opposite of her longtime friend. They met in kindergarten, and although their paths came to a fork in the road during their teen years, they still remained friends. Michelle would always try to plant seeds, but they never took root, but she’d never give up on her friend.

"Do you think an eligible millionaire will be at this party of the century?"

Michelle smiled and shrugged her shoulders.

"Well, don't you want to meet one too?"

"Cindy, let's drop it okay? We agree to disagree. The things of importance to you are severely lacking in the spiritual context in which I live. I’m not interested in things of the world. I really don't care who's there, I'm only going because it's my job as a photographer to take the pictures. I'm not a guest, I'm a hired hand. Get over yourself please." Michelle looked over at her friend, "Seriously, put this into proper perspective, please!"

"I am. I'm thinking about where I'd live if I become a millionaire's wife. Probably a penthouse in Manhattan, a beach house in the Hamptons, and a condo in Hawaii. Yeah, and a loft in Paris."

"What do you have in your hand?"

"A joint, I want to be totally relaxed when I get there..."

Michelle stopped the car abruptly and killed the engine. Cindy's head snapped back with force. "What the?"

"Throw that out the window right now, or I'll drop you off here and you can walk the rest of the way!" Michelle's teeth were clenched as she said, "Cindy, I mean it...I will not have you smoking that garbage around me let alone in my car."

"Okay. Geez, lighten up girlfriend."

Michelle opened the window and pointed and didn't start the engine until the offensive cigarette was crushed, and then tossed into the sewer grate. "Thank you very much."

"Why don't you like to party? I party twice a week and would do it even more if I could. I've been with so many guys, and haven't found a right guy yet. You turn down men, are so frigging picky, and yet you seem so happy...or is that a complete act?" Cindy smirked before adding, "You’re telling me the truth aren't you? Or are you in fact a nymph of some kind?"

"I'm not going any further with this. And, I have to tell you...I'm not ashamed of being a twenty-six year old virgin. I only hope you'll find Jesus before it's too late."

Suddenly, everything went black and silence confronted Michelle in a loud fashion. Warmth flowed through her body as a brilliant light appeared. She stared at the sparkling road. Voices were singing, "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord." A perfumed scent lingered as she looked at colors never seen before. The road was narrow and led to a beautiful meadow.

"Hello my faithful and obedient child, welcome home."

She fell to her knees and cried, "Jesus!" He took her hand and helped her up.

"Welcome."

"But, what happened?"

"It doesn't matter it was time to come home. Besides, I’ve a table prepared for us…"

While she walked with Jesus she didn't remember the head-on collision. Nor remember Cindy who was facing quite another scenario.

==================

"Where am I? What’s this darkness? What’s this? I can't move? What happened? Am I dead? Where's Michelle?"

A voice answered, "Michelle is in the other place."

"You mean— it's all true? There is a God?"

"Yes."

"So if Michelle is in Heaven, I'm in He—"

"We prefer to call it Dead-End Express... welcome home Cindy."


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This article has been read 149 times
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lynn gipson 02/13/14
OH, my goodness! What a story! What an ending. I did not see that one coming. I felt so bad for Cindy, though, not having a chance at redemption. This is powerful and sends a strong message.

This is truly a remarkable write, one that I won't soon forget. Thanks for sharing your great talent with this one. Really great!
Pam Ford Davis 02/13/14
I was not expecting that ending! They were headed in different directions and reached their destinations. I could feel the tension between the characters and the bond that kept them together. Sad, but motivates me to help in reaching the lost....

Wing His Words
Glynis Becker 02/13/14
So sad, but unfortunately true. Well-written even if the ending was a bit abrupt. That happens so often in the 750-word limit, doesn't it? Great job.
Dannie Hawley 02/13/14
Wow, have you been in my house today or what? I listened to the testimony of a man, twenty-eight, who was bummed because all of his Christian friends joined with his worldly friends to make fun of his lack of sexual experience. The very next program on the radio was a pastor talking about it not being enough to just believe that society's norms are wrong; we must stand up and not let them in our own lives by the company we keep. Your piece hits both of these issues "head on." I don't think that the word-limit took anything away from your story; a head-on collision IS abrupt, isn't it? I did not see this ending coming, but it is much more powerful than any of the possibilities i was concocting in my mind. One of its strongest points is just how fast everything can happen, with eternal results. This needs to be in secular magazines, too! It really can happen just as you have written. Brilliantly crafted piece.
Linda Goergen02/13/14
Oh wow, this is so powerful! Not quite the party Cindy was expecting to end up at huh? And the sad part is so many out there truly believe Hell will be partying with their friends. At first I thought the rapture had happened—but this goes to show, we never know when our last day will be, it could be an accident or an illness, etc. at any age! Great job on this vivid warning about the ultimate “dead end”—there is no more of a dead end than ending up in Hell (or lake of fire). This needs to be published beyond FW!
Beth LaBuff 02/20/14
Oh, wow! What a chilling and gripping scenario. I love your title and the truth it conveys. Excellent writing.
Toni Hammer 02/21/14
Dang. Loved the ending. I am so honored to be writing and posting stuff on the same site as your talent. Great stuff.
Robert Douglas Brown02/26/14
Hi CD!

I enjoyed your article very much. It has a good message and flows smoothly from beginning to end. Maybe one day the Lord will help me to be able write as well as you do!