Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: End (02/13/06)
TITLE: The Fork in the Road
By Mary MacKinnon
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We knocked and were admitted. “Take a seat, please,” Pedro, the doorkeeper and receptionist, told us with a radiant, welcoming smile. His clothing was white, so dazzling it almost hurt your eyes. “I’m going to check my registrations and see if you’re in the right place. This is only a holding area while your credentials are checked.”
We stepped into a large, sunny room where a delicious fragrance filled every cranny. There we sat in silence for a few minutes before the kind-looking gentleman with snowy white hair commented.“I don’t know about you two, but from the outside I would have chosen the fork on the left, but with the warm reception we’re getting, the peace I feel here, and the delightful smell, I’m glad I chose this side.”
He introduced himself, “Gordon is my name. How about you two?”
The wiry, little man, bubbling with life and energy, said, “I’m David. This is a total surprise to me. I didn’t expect to be making this trip so soon. But one never knows.”
Pedro leaned over and commented, “Wrong--One does.”
“I didn’t expect to be here either,” the tall, slender man said. “I was only tending my business, trying to get a squatter off my property when he pulled a gun. Then the next thing I knew, I’m on this road outside.”
“What’s your name, sir?” Pedro asked.
“I’m Jose from Brazil.”
Pedro checked his list and nodded. “You’re all three on the list all right.”
Gordon asked, “What brought you here, David?”
David said, “I was just going along with my regular routine, driving the bus that connects two of our big cities, when all of a sudden another bus comes tearing head-on for me in the same lane. That’s when I conked out. Then, like Jose, the next thing I knew was when I found myself on this road.”
Pedro asked, “Do you three know who your guide was?”
All three nodded quickly.
Gordon said, “I’ve known him for many years. He is a faithful guide.”
David said, “I only met him recently in a small church near my home, but he’s the best friend I have ever had.”
“You can say that again!” Jose agreed. “I listen to the radio a lot since I live way out in the boondocks. One day I discovered a station that answered so many of the questions I have had in life that I began to listen every day. That’s when I met my guide. And he’s a great one.”
Just then came a knock at the door. Pedro went to answer it and we could hear both him and the newcomer.
“How did you get here?” Pedro asked the man at the door.
“It was a total surprise. I was out on the soccer field, watching some friends play, when a sharp pain hit my chest. I thought, ‘How sad to go when you’re not ready.’ That’s the last I remember.”
Pedro frowned and said, “What a shame, not to be prepared.”
The newcomer went on to explain, “When I came to and found myself on this road, I took this fork of the ‘Y’. Have I come to the right place?”
Pedro consulted the list in his hand. He scanned a second time, then shook his head. “No, I’ve afraid you haven’t.”
“What is this place, anyway?” the newcomer asked.
Pedro smiled, “The Living End.”
“And the other fork leads where?”
“That leads to the Dead End,” Pedro said.
“But a Dead End has no way out,” the newcomer protested.
“And what about this place, the Living End?”
“It’s somewhat of a misnomer,” Pedro said, “Actually it’s not an end at all, it’s only an entrance to Life.” He put his hand on the man’s shoulder and said, “I’m so sorry you chose the wrong road, sir. Choices are vital in this life.” He gently closed the door.
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