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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Desire (01/17/05)

TITLE: Finish Line
By Karen Deikun


Fog obscured the finish line. It was impossible to see it. In fact, it was equally impossible to see the path just inches ahead. He was so tired. How long had he been running? He had no watch. It had long ago been discarded, along with anything – no matter how small – that wasn’t absolutely necessary to keep him going. He’d kept the water bottle, and realizing his thirst, he took a long drink. Then it happened. He stumbled. He fell.

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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This article has been read 1007 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Cheri Hardaway 01/24/05
Very nice! Reminds me of Pilgrim's Progress. As I read, it made me feel like I was running with him. God bless you.
Joanne Malley01/24/05
Nice writing. Your story held my interest and revealed a sweet surprise.

I did happen to notice many short, abrupt sentences; some of which were unneeded. "The path wound upwards. It was hard going. He was beyond tired now. He was exhausted." These sentences can easily be combined for better flow, while completely elminating the last all together for its redundancy. Remember to vary your sentence length throughout for the reader's ease. Simply stated: "The path wound upwards and made it hard for him to continue. His efforts left him compleley exhausted.

Thanks for sharing your interest in writing and for the message you brought to your readers.

Warm wishes, Joanne
Diane Johnson01/24/05
Great story. I could feel the runner's emotions. I really liked the ending. Great job! :-)
Kathy Ellis01/24/05
Great story!
L.M. Lee01/25/05
great story!
Deborah Shipman01/25/05
I really enjoyed reading this. It kept my attention and interest. The ending really warmed my heart and is a reminder that he is always there to get us to where we need to go. He is faithful and will never fail us nor leave us. We may not even always know he is there as you so wonderfully showed helping us along the way but he is making sure we get to the finish line and win the race of life.
great and very inspirational. God Bless You
Phyllis Inniss01/27/05
I enjoyed this piece very much. It kept my interest throughout. I thought the short sentences gave the reader the feeling of breathlessness the runner was experiencing and added to the tension he was feeling. The end was great.
Marjorie Arrowood01/27/05
Excellent. I rather like the short sentences which seem to accentuate the labor and give a sense of panting. But that's just my take. Anyway, the piece is good!
Deborah Anderson01/28/05
This held my attention to the end. God bless you.
Kathy Cartee01/29/05
I love this entry if we could vote you would have my vote.

I thought the short sentences expressed his breathlessness toward the end of the race. I so loved the fact of the runner ahead being the one that gave him the desire to run in the race.
Great job.

Jasti Victor01/29/05
Great imagination. Simply superb
Debbie OConnor01/29/05
Very good. I really enjoyed reading this.