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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Lifeguard (11/09/06)

TITLE: Obedience or Sacrifice
By David Huckabay Jr


Waves crashed on the seashore as the great glowing orb in the sky slid beneath the horizon. Pink, purple, and orange hues were cast on a few clouds back dropped by blue which slowly slid into a gray sky. Soon, the rest of the colors gave way to gray as the last vestiges of the day were fading away. Tom and Teresa enjoyed the beauty as they leaned back on a blanket in the sand. Both were 17 years old, had been high school sweethearts for a year now, and were making plans for the future. Tom was planning on working as a lifeguard as he went through college and Teresa was just going to go to college to see where life would lead her. The future seemed bright, enthusiasm and impatience welled within there chests as they spoke of their plans. Marriage? Not sure. They talked of what sacrifices each would have to make in order to meet certain goals. Yet, marriage wasn’t ruled out either as they watch the end of the day approach.

Tom, a thin, slightly muscular frame, was on the high school swimming team and was considered one of the best swimmers in the school. Teresa was an attractive girl on the cheerleading squad and both were on the honor roll. Many of their friends felt they made a great couple and would get married as soon as they could. In the summer time, Tom volunteered as a lifeguard at a local swimming pool and had some training in lifesaving techniques. He was confident in this role, especially after he rescued a little girl from drowning at the pool the summer before; perhaps a little too confident.

Tom looked at the sign on the vacant lifeguard booth. It read, “NO SWIMMING WHEN WHILE NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY.” A removable sign below this read, “NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY.” But Tom thought, this doesn’t really mean me, after all, I’m a lifeguard, and so…, I’m on duty now.

“Teresa, let’s go for a dip,” Tom suggested.

“No!” Teresa replied indignantly, “there’s no lifeguard on duty now.”

“But, I am a lifeguard.”

“I don’t think that’s the same. You are only a lifeguard at a swimming pool, and I believe that’s makes a difference here at the ocean.”

Tom got up and ran up the ramp to the lifeguard booth. “See, I’m on duty!” He exclaimed as he stood on his toes, placing his right hand over his forehead as if he were shielding the glare of a sun that was not there. Teresa laughed and they both entered the darkening waters for a quick dip. After all, he’s a lifeguard, strong, and good looking, it’ll be alright, she reasoned.

Stars continued on their nightly path as the skies grew gray with the approach dawn. The bleeping of a metal detector could be heard as it was swayed from side to side, seeking buried treasures. Jim was out early, seeking a small treasure, maybe a big one. He saw a log of drift wood further down the beach, it was wrapped in seaweed and he knew he would be close to it soon and he would investigate the sand around it.
The detector found something. As he dug in the sand for his “treasure,” he glanced at the log ahead, it didn’t seem to be a log, and it seemed to be an animal or something.

Once he got up next to the log, he discovered that this was no log. It was not an animal. It was human! Jim jumped back after a start. Although Jim didn’t know it, he just found Tom. Jim called the authorities and before long, the serene beach was a buzz of activity. Investigations were helped by finding some clothing of Tom and Teresa’s hanging on the sign which warned them not to go swimming.

By the time the lifeguard came on duty, the buzz of activity had died down. He was informed of the tragedy. He thought, what a shame, if only they would have obeyed the rules, not venture out without the watchful eyes of a lifeguard, then this young couple would not have paid such a sacrifice. Yes, he thought as he laid his Bible down on the counter top inside the lifeguard shack, obedience is better than sacrifice.

Waves crashed on the shore, swimmers swam under the watchful eyes of the lifeguard, unaware of the sacrifice a young couple made in a moment of disobedience.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/16/06
What a poignant story!

I wonder about your use of the word "sacrifice", as it usually implies the giving up of something in order to gain something greater. There's usually a noble connotation, and Tom was not noble, but rash.

However, the story is well-written and suspenseful. Thanks for writing it.
Donna Powers 11/19/06
What a sad thing to happen but it's an excellent warning. Rules are made for a reason and your story is a good example of why. Good work