Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Desire (01/17/05)
TITLE: Finish Line
By Karen Deikun
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His ankle had twisted and pain was shooting up his leg. As he carefully stood up and tested it, he knew the leg would never hold his full weight. Despair filled him. He wasn’t going to make it. He wasn’t going to finish. He wasn’t even sure, now that he was standing, which way to run. Had he turned as he fell? Was he even going in the right direction?
His heart almost stopped. He had wanted to win. It was his life’s desire. Every decision in his life had been made with this race in mind. He’d put in so much practice, trained so hard. Now he would be beaten, not by an opponent, but by circumstances: a bad fall and a loss of direction.
Suddenly he heard rustling and then – abruptly – someone shot past him on the path. At least he knew which direction he should go! Painfully, with a stumbling gait, he began a combination run and hop as he followed the runner ahead of him. The path wound upwards. It was hard going. He was beyond tired now. He was exhausted. Each breath hurt as he drew it in and his leg throbbed. So much sweat was pouring down his face that it ran into his eyes and dripped from his nose. His arms and his legs seemed to weigh hundreds of pounds. But he couldn’t quit. He had to take one more step. And then another.
As he reached the top of the long climb, the fog thinned. Ahead of him was the finish line and just that one runner was ahead of him. He couldn’t beat the other man, but he could come in second if he just kept going. The finish line was close. So close. He kept going. It was inches away. And then he was across.
But where was the other runner? Where was the man who was in first place? Where was the person who had passed him on the trail and by passing him had given him the direction he needed? He was nowhere to be seen. The crowd broke out in wild cheering. Someone yelled: “The winner!”
Someone was lifting his arm in victory!
Suddenly he recognized the man holding his arm above his head. The shape and size of his body was the one he’d seen just ahead as he was limping those last few steps. The man wasn’t another runner at all. He was the one who’d given him the desire to run this race a long time ago.
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