The Pursuit of Death
by George Parler
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The familiar becomes another world as they flee, running as gazelles from the pride. The hearts within this man and woman beat to the sounds of fear in their ears. Their breath fails to keep up with the pace of their flight. Her eyes mirror the horror she feels as she falls further behind his panicked gait.
“WAIT!” she gasps, as her body falls forward from her momentum. “DON’T LEAVE ME!” Her hand reaches out toward him as she stumbles and slides face down to the ground. She winces in pain.
He quickly returns to her and covering her mouth with his hand, whispering through his wheezing breath, “Shhhhh . . . quiet; you will get us both killed.”
Slowly releasing his hand from her mouth, he looks around, straining to listen for the sounds that were sure to follow them. Every twitch of the grass or tree branches catches his eye. His thoughts betray his last shred of hope – We’re doomed.
“I cannot go any further.” She shakes her head, breathing through her words.
He looks down to her, as her eyes search his face for a sign of hope, finding none. “We’re going to die; aren’t we?” Her tears surrender to bathe the stain of blood and dirt on her face from the fall.
“Come on, we’ll hide in the brush. Maybe we won’t be found.” Carefully scanning the path behind them one last time, he helps her up from the ground. With the caution of deer they ease toward the thickest brush to hide. But they cannot hide from their fears.
“What are we going to do?” She asks, as they crawl deeper into the obscurity of the brush. She finds no solace in his silence.
He stops in a small hollow in the ground surrounded by the thick brush, and motions for her to come to him. They lie embraced in the shallow hole in which surely would ultimately be their grave. The strain of their breathing lessens as the certainty of death consumes the remainder of their thoughts. The pain in their bodies awake from unconscious suspension as their over exerted muscles tighten. He reaches behind him and gathers a handful of dirt, spreading it across their bodies. Her body convulses as she tries to muffle her sobs.
A sound is heard. Their hearts stop in mid-beat. They can’t remember to breathe.
They hear the voice calling, “Adam, where are you?”
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What can I say? I was so caught up in the story, and then came the punch line, and it took my breath away! Great job!!!!!!
Wonderful, gripping. I read this on a Saturday, Sunday we sang a Charles Wesley's song "And Can It Be?" which brought me to today, Monday, to look at this subject in a different light and posted a Critique Circle article under poetry called "The Pursuit of Death, Part II". I'm not a poet and "Part I" is definitely better written than "Part II" but I hope you get the picture I tried to draw with words. God bless.
I read this on Saturday, Sunday we sang a Charles Wesley song "And Can It Be?". In the first verse he penned this line, "For me, who Him to death pursued". Today, Monday, I wrote a Critique Circle free verse poem (I'm not a poet) "The Pursuit of Death, Part II" looking at this from another angle. Not as well written, however, as George Parler's article here. This is a great article, drawing the reader into Adam and Eve's thoughts and feelings. Great job!
You have touched and displayed fear in such a way as to make it real, tangable.
When I got to the end, I had to read it a second time. Stunning. I have a whole new appreciation of Adam and Eve's flight of shame.
This story grabbed me and carried me along with the MC's. I didn't expect the punchline--but WOW--what a punch! Congrats on having this featured this week. Great writing.
I read this when you first posted it and am so pleased to see it's being showcased this week. I enjoyed reading it again. :) Your descriptions draw me right in.
George, I'm going to feature this article in the Front Page Showcase for the week of July 12. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page, and congratulations!
This held my attention all the way through. I like the surprise ending. I think you meant "gait" instead of gate, but it's such a small thing in this big work. This is written with passion and thoughtfulness. Well done.
Oh wow! I also had no idea. Your descriptions are so vivid, and I was completely engaged. Of course, thinking about it after I can see the foreshadowing. Excellent, my friend.
Along with knowledge came fear. Just think of the joy and innocence they gave up with one bite! This is written beautifully, carrying the reader along with terrified Adam and Eve.
At first I wondered why they felt they were going to be killed - especially by God. But then I remember He told them they would die if they ate from the tree so of course they didn't know how that was going to happen. I think I might have started out with a sound, or something, that gave the reader a more complete reason why they were running even if they didn't know who it was. Then it would connect with the sound heard at the end and complete the reason. Intense and realistic emotions George ... riveting. And certainly not a perspective I've read. One to ponder and muse over but definitely not offensive.
Wow, you certainly portrayed panic-stricken terror in this slice of life story. And, I never saw the punchline coming. That is just great writing. Now, for red ink: I caught a typo "hallow" I think you meant "hollow." And, the switching back and forth between present and past tense was a little distracting...unless you did that intentionally, to heighten the panic (^&^)
Well, I didn't see it coming either. You gave no clue. I am struggling a little with the title. Who is pursuing death? Adam and Eve? Or is the person of Death pursuing them? You write with such passion it's like you dare your reader to think of something else while they're reading. It was gripping, no question about it. I can't wait to read what other write about this piece. You're good! You know that?