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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Appointment (02/09/12)

TITLE: Not My Time
By Glen Goddard


The young man’s twisted body lay on the hard ground in the aspen grove. He stared with unblinking eyes at the early morning sun light filtering through the canopy of golden yellow leaves. A crimson pool of blood had spread out staining the ground around his torso. A numbing cold was replaced the searing pain.

He had made a dumb mistake trying to climb through the barbed wire fence with a loaded shotgun. Climbing through the fence while intently watching the four-point buck running through the grove, he reached back to pull the gun to him. A loose piece of barbed wire caught on the trigger. An ear-splitting roar and a punch hurtled him through the air to crash into a dead tree. Now there were no responses from anywhere in his whole body to the commands from his brain. The cell phone was buzzing in his backpack. He tried to shout but only an ugly rattling sound came from his throat with each breath.

In his mind he could hear his Dad “preaching” to him last night that safety was a moment-by-moment conscious act…that a split second careless act could be fatal. Why had he been in such a hurry?

He had felt so grown up this morning leaving the house before dawn. His Mom had gotten up when she heard him showering and fixed breakfast for him. She had talked to him again about giving his heart to Jesus…that God had placed Eternity in his heart. “Mom, I have my whole life ahead of me…later…I’m going to be late.” He saw his mom’s eyes fill with tears and he felt a pang of remorse. He knew she loved him but his life was just starting and he wanted to be his own man. Looking away, he finished his breakfast, got up and gave her a hug. “I’m almost grown now, Mom. I can take care of myself.” He squeezed her hand, grabbed his coat and backpack and left.

Tears formed in his eyes as he realized she could not help him now. He sensed he would never see her again.

The rays of the sun seemed to be darkening. Was it getting cloudy?

His body jerked. Where was he? And what was that unnerving noise? It was unbearable screaming, wailing…voices of agony. It was so dark. He could see nothing even when he put his hand before his eyes. Had he gone blind? Was this some sort of cruel trick of God? Did He turn him blind while freeing up his body to move? He swings his arms in a wide circle, but still could not feel anything. He rubbed his eyes but could not feel them. What was wrong? He could tell he had a body but he could not feel it. The voices he heard of people sounded very close to him but there was nobody to touch.

“Mom!” he shouted instinctively. No answer. Only the incessant scream of pain surrounding him. Then he knew in a flash of recognition. He was in the dark side of Eternity. Instinctively he cried out “Lord, Oh God! I do not deserve this! I gave some money to the crippled man. I gave some money to the church when I had extra! I am not that bad. I’m just a kid!”

“Yes, you did. And yes, you are. My Son gave His all for you and you continually turned your back on Him” responded a Voice that was full of sorrow.

“But it is not my time yet…” The young man, who did not think that his time was yet, cried out for just a drop of water to moisten his tongue, forever.

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This article has been read 463 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 02/16/12
Loved this entry. It was packed with emotions and an extremely powerful message. WOW! Thank you for this crucial reflection...It will touch many I am sure. It touche me. God Bless~
Donna Wilcher02/16/12
I remember saying the same kinds of things when I was young.."That Jesus stuff is for old ladies!"...So very glad the Lord let me live through that rebellious time in my life.

I hope many have the opportunity to read your story..

Good work..
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/16/12
Wow! This is such a powerful, heart-wrenching piece. The descriptions were outstanding.

I noticed you switched tenses a few time past, present and past perfect.

I like the original take on the topic. We never know when our appointment with God will be. Great job!
Loren T. Lowery02/17/12
Very gripping tale with a good message. I noticed a change in the verb tenses which is easy to do when writing, but is just as easily fixed with a re-reading a few hours/days after putting your pencil down.
Theresa Santy 02/18/12
This story kept my heart pumping from beginning to end. However, I prefer to see even a glimmer of hope at the end of a story. I understand your point (and it's a very good one), however, I attached myself to the MC and when he died it was just sad. (What if he nearly died and he saw how close he came to losing everything....?)

I'm not suggesting you wrap the story up with a pretty little bow. It wouldn't be any better to end with the MC saved 'in the nick of time' making every thing good and well in a poof.

But, if all hope is gone, all I'm left with is the feeling of fear. For God brings good, even from suffering, so even if the MC dies, perhaps we can see the glimmer of hope, or God's glory coming from it somewhere else, like maybe somebody else learns from the MC's mistake.

(This is a personal preference, and others may feel differently.)

Overall, you're story-telling skills are fantastic (the fact that you got me attached to the MC proves this), and I enjoyed the details and the feeling of emotions.
Jenna Dawn02/20/12
Wow. Very powerful! You drew me in from the beginning and kept me engaged. The ending was not expected, which is good. It doesn't have to be a happy ending. This is a very important lesson that many need to hear. The glimmer of hope the previous reviewer is looking for is for those who read it and realize they "do" have the chance to choose Jesus before it's too late.

A few things to think about. Instead of "intently watching", you could use a word like "focusing". This changes a sentence with an adverb to a sentence with a strong verb. You could even add that he was "focused with intent" if you want to emphasize the intensity of his focus. Or "intense focus". Just be careful about using adverbs, which often weaken a sentence.

I believe this sentence is grammatically incorrect.: An ear-splitting roar and a punch hurtled him through the air to crash into a dead tree. The words "to crash" are out of place. It's as if the "roar" and "punch" (the subjects of the sentence) are crashing into the tree. Simply saying, "hurtled him through the air and into a dead tree" is one option. Or "causing him to crash into a dead tree", if you want the word crash.

The cell phone was buzzing. "Was" is a weak verb and makes the sentence unnecessarily wordy. Simply stating that the cell phone buzzed in his backpack is straightforward.

When you use an ellipse ( . . . ) make sure you include a space before, after and in between each dot. Always three dots only, which you did.

You are a good writer and I look forward to reading more. Great job. :)
Dorothea Ellis02/21/12
Your article gripped my heart. It was unclear where this young man was at the beginning, causing bated breath suspense. The end was heart-wrenching as he realized he was too late to make a decision to commit his life to Jesus. Gripping and very well-written!
Laura Manley02/23/12
Wow! What a story! It is a truth that many need to hear! My only criticism would be that in one particular spot, you changed tenses, if I'm reading it correctly. Other than that, it was a story that I read with anticipation of what was happening and what would happen at the end of it. Very, very good read!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/23/12
Congratulations for ranking 7th in level 1!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/23/12
I re read some of the comments and want to say that I like the ending because it was realistic. Also I disagree with the comment about the ellipses. It is acceptable to have three dots and no spaces. It is also okay to put spaces between them. You just need to be consistent. If it is at the end of a sentence it goes dot, dot, dot space period. Just wanted to clear that up. Writing can be tricky and the rules vary say between the US and the UK so it can be hard sometimes.
I did a google search and even the experts can't agree on the spacing. But it might be something you want to check out :)
Richard McCaw01/27/15
Good writing and good message.

Comments and suggestions are made in numbered paragraphs

was replaced ...had replaced

Fixed ...or “prepared”

“Mom, I have…”
Open new paragraph.

He saw … New paragraph after end of person speaking

"I’m almost ..."For every person speaking a new paragraph

turn him blind ...or “make him blind…”

He swings ...use past tense …“swung” in keeping with the rest of the paragraph that uses the past.

surrounding him… “surrounded” him...keep to one tense.

knew in a flash of recognition…This sounds a bit awkward... perhaps “Then he suddenly recognized…” or “Then in a flash he recognized...”

The young man...New paragraph here...separate the speech of your protagonist from your author comment.

who did not think that his time was yet...this comment must not sound like a repeat of the protagonist’s words. Besides “yet” at the end of the phrase sounds a bit awkward on the tongue. Therefore make some changes. Perhaps “The young man who was not quite ready to die... etc”

Well told! Keep reading and writing and watch your skill improve.