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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Valley (08/10/06)

TITLE: Fallen
By Joe Flowers


Tumbling. Rocks hitting me on all sides. Me hitting the rocks. That's more like it.

I come to rest at the foot of the mountain, bent, battered, bleeding…I'm sure something's broken. I moan in pain, and push with the palm of my hands against the earth beneath me.

Searing pain through my shoulder. It quakes through my arm and takes over my hand, which launches off the ground, then clinches into a tight fist. My balance thrown off, I hit the ground on that same shoulder – the right one, and roll onto my back. The pain blinds me.

She told me I wasn't good enough for her or her son.

"You have no direction."

I do, too. And I'm gonna show you. As soon as I get up off the ground.

My eyes flutter open. I see the canopy of trees above me.

I've fallen all the way to the bottom, haven't I? I look behind me, still lying on my back. The mountain looms above me. I am at the bottom. The valley. I try to lift my head. I wince. Oh, no, a blow to the head…

Who was Texas A&M's quarterback in 1992?

Corey Pullig. He was a freshman then.

Okay. Still functional.

She sat me down at the table in the dining room. "I can't do this anymore. I woke up this morning and realized that this just has to be over."

"Why? You. I…There has got to be another way to make this work."

We had tried to make it work for two years. It hadn't. I knew that.

My back aches as I, again, push against the earth with my hands, and the pain is tolerable this time. I push with my legs and come to a squatting position, taking in my surroundings.

I hadn't been alone in two years. I got into my car, closed the door, turned on the ignition…

And sat. I just sat, and cried, and asked God over and over again to make me forget her.

Two nights later I called her. "Hi."

"Hey," she said, flatly.

"How are you?"

"I'm fine."

"Is it okay that I'm calling you?"

"How are we going to get over each other if you keep trying to have a relatiohship with me?"

I felt the tears in my eyes, watched my vision disappear in a blur of light. "I just wanted to hear your voice," I choked.

"I've got to go." The line went dead. Crying now, all I could hear was the deafening, eerie, lonely, cold silence.

I stand up and begin walking. Better to keep moving than to turn around and try to climb back to the top of that mountain. I look down at my legs, which are cut, bleeding, and bruised. And it'll hurt a lot less. I pray that the Lord has blessings for me ahead, though I can't imagine what they might be.

Trudging through the valley floor, I find confidence again after walking for a while. I am making it on my own. The rough terrain is easier to navigate, the undergrowth more sparse.

Suddenly, she walked right past the door. That streak of red. My God, who was that? She was beautiful

A clearing in the trees ahead where sunlight is shining brillinatly. I begin walking faster, my mind racing with what could be ahead.

I walked to the door to see who it was. Could it have been?...

Reaching the treeline, I slow down. The earth rises slightly just beyond. Cautiously I step out from the cover of the trees and climb the rise. Stretching before me is the most beautiful valley with a lazy river winding through it. I stand high above that valley, king of all that is before me, and give thanks to God.

I didn't even make it to the door before she came back, a look of excitement on her face. It was her. I had known her for five years, and had only wondered. We had lost contact. I went off and made my life with that other. But now…

Don't let her go.

We talked for a while, then exchanged phone numbers.

God toppled me from the mountain.

Two weeks later we went to coffee.

I would never have seen this beautiful place had I not come down.

Fifteen months later, God joined us together.

And I wouldn't have on my own. I was too comfortable.

The beautiful valley stretches before my wife and I.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/17/06
This shows tremendous promise! It's really compelling writing, and it gripped me from beginning to end--it just begs for a few edits to make it an incredible piece. Some switches in tense..."my wife and I" at the end should be "my wife and me" or just "us"...that sort of thing. Really, really good though...keep writing!
Marilyn Schnepp 08/19/06
Very, very good! My only suggestion would be to put the "flashback"s in italics perhaps, thus making it a bit clearer to the reader; however, I thought it very well done - I liked it! Kudos.
Amy Nicholson08/21/06
Nicely done. Held my attention the whole time. I agree with Marilyn on the italics. Great job!
Brenda Kern 08/21/06
The fall from the mountain scenario has a switch from present tense to past tense, which needs to be corrected.

Also, some clarification is needed between the fall, the remembered conversation with the soon-to-be-ex wife, and the continuing story. Maybe the remembered conversation(s) can be put into italics for clarity?

I was confused by the door imagery--if the main character is walking through a valley (i.e. outdoors), what door is this?

Otherwise, good imagery and descriptiveness, very good interior dialogue and thought processes.