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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Soul (07/13/06)

TITLE: Check Mate
By Shari Armstrong


“Are you prepared for battle, ol’ man?” I grinned, one eyebrow cocked.

“Bring it on, youngin’. I’ve been doing this long before you were a twinkle in your daddy’s eye.” He held out two gnarled hands, scarred from years of hard work, closed in fists. “Chose your weapon.”

I tapped his left hand. He opened and turned it in one smooth motion, which contradicted the arthritic look of his hands, reveling a black marble pawn. I took the piece, placing it on a square on the carved stone table. Retrieving the black velvet bag from the side, I began to place the rest of the army, joining the solitary pawn. Leaves rustled above, accompanied by the coo of nearby pigeons.

“So, how’ve you been, Grandad?” I waited for his opening gambit.

He slid a pawn forward two spaces, “Fair to middlin’.” He took a sip from his mug. “You’re mother tells me you’re headed back to school in the fall.”

"Yup.” I responded to his play. “I wasn’t sure at first, but a friend convinced me.”

"A friend, huh?” He looked at me, “So, is this the same friend we met at Christmas?”

"Not exactly.”

“Oh, really? You broke up?” He leaned back in his chair. “And I thought that young man was your ‘soul mate’, or so your mother seemed to think. She had the two of you married with two-point-five kids last we talked.”

I laughed, “She would. She’s not completely happy about my going back to school.” I hopped a knight out into the center of the board. “We haven’t broken up, but he’s not my soul mate.” I took a deep breath. “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about, Grandad.”

“I’m listening.” He studied the board.

“Well, I’ve actually met my soul mate, and…”

He frowned. "I thought you said you hadn’t broken up with that young man, Ryan, wasn’t it?”

“No,” I shook my head, “Ryan and I are still together. Things are fine with us, matter of fact, things are better than before.”

“Ok? You’ve lost me, Kiddo. How can you still be with Ryan and have met your soul mate?”

"Grandad, I met Jesus. I got saved about a month and a half ago."

He whistled, “Well, I’ll be. I wish your Grandma were here to share this with us. She prayed for all of you, since before we knew any of you were on the way.”

"I know, and I'm sorry I worried the two of you for so long. I had to come talk to you, because Mom and Dad just don’t get it.”

“Breaks my heart. So why aren’t they happy about your going back to school? They’ve always been proud of your achievements.”

"I wasn’t happy in school and was going to quit. Something was missing.” I took a drink from my bottle of water. “Well, I started going to a Bible study group with my roommate and Ryan. I actually met Ryan through my roommate. Anyway.” I made my next move. “I felt this uneasiness in my soul. Restless. The more I went to the Bible studies, the more I realized I needed Jesus. People kept saying Ryan was my soul mate, but Jesus is the one who completed my soul. He’s my soul mate.”

He smiled, “I like that. Check.”

I looked at the board, “I’m not even paying attention.” I maneuvered to get my king out of check.

“So, what else has changed?”

“I’ve decided to go back to school, but I’m transferring. We both are. Ryan and I are going to look into some Bible colleges and possibly get into missionary work. I figure my two years in business will be a benefit, but it’s not where I’m to be.”

"Not only are your parents not happy about your ‘getting religion’, but it might take you away from them.”

I nodded, “Check.”

“Well, we’ll continue to pray. If God is leading you and Ryan in this direction, then I’m sure He’ll pave the way for it all to work out. Check,” he took another sip, looked at the board, “and I do believe, mate.”

“Not so fast,” I captured his bishop, getting my king out of check.

“Hmm, good move, but, you sacrificed your queen.” He took the elegant piece from the board.

“Yes, but,” I made my next move, “now you’re in mate.”

Grandad looked at the board, grinning, laid his king on its side, “Well, so I am.”

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This article has been read 1129 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 07/20/06
Excellent dialogue. A couple of grammar things: "chose" instead of "choose" and a "you're" that should have been a your. But I loved the soul mate idea built around the chess game. Very good.
Jan Ackerson 07/21/06
I love this! Great dialog, the frame of the chess game adds entertainment value, and the two characters' personalities are fully developed in just a few words. Nice.
Angela Logsdon07/21/06
Wonderful story!!
david grant07/21/06
Nice telling.
Marilyn Schnepp 07/22/06
Since this is advanced, we are allowed to be more picky, right? Your "reveled" in a black marble pawn needs to be "revealed" - and some comma problems, but otherwise, as a Chess player I enjoyed the game play.
Brenda Craig07/24/06
Delightful, and real. A wounderful description of Jesus as our soul mate. As ususal, great dialog with just the right touch of humor. Great Job! I loved it.
Joanne Sher 07/25/06
Great dialogue - and you did a wonderful job of working the chess game into the conversation at just the right time. Enjoyed this!
Rita Garcia07/25/06
Wow, made me miss my grandfather! Great dialogue!
Trina Courtenay07/26/06
A joy to read. :)
Dr. Sharon Schuetz07/26/06
Excellent, logical progression and strong dialogue. Good job.
Jen Davis07/27/06
Cute story. I enjoyed how you wove the chess game along with your story. A real pleasure to read. Well done.
Debbie Sickler07/27/06
I liked the nice easy feel of their conversation. The back and forth of the game added to it well. :)