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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Breathe (08/19/10)

TITLE: Kismet
By Kara Dunham


Mark had needed some fresh air; a place to breathe. He smiled at the irony, atop the fourteener the air was so thin it wasn't ideal for breathing. His smile quickly faded. There was nothing to smile about in his current situation.

The air may have been thin, but it was cool and refreshing. The smells of rain, distant evergreens and wildlife wafted by. He inhaled deeply, letting the cool rich air fill his lungs, and exhale slowly. The emptiness in his chest remained.

The wrongs I have done, the people I have hurt. Images burned into his brain that he would give anything to be forgotten. The horrified look of his wife, and the nasty gashes and bruises that were given by his hands.

Tomorrow he would stand in front of a judge to receive a sentence that had already been determined. The tension in his chest weighed him down like an anchor, reaching for solid ground. He stared out across the mountain range and to the valleys beyond.

What do I matter in all of this? God, if you’re real, I think I'm gonna need your help with this one.

He stood alone, atop a mountain where no one could find him.

Not even God.

With resignation he made his way down the trail. At the base he could make out a few men peering through the windows of his truck. He became uneasy and quickened his step. As he got closer, he realized one of them was trying the handle to see if it would open. Great, just what I need now.

"It had better be locked!" he shouted. The men sheepishly backed up, and surprisingly, waited until he reached the parking lot.

The three men greeted him with smiles and quiet hello’s. He noticed they all looked tired and could use a shower. The tallest of the three stepped forward, offering his hand.

"Sorry you had to catch us like that. We weren't actually trying to break into your truck, well I guess we were, but we weren't planning on stealing anything." He offered Mark a grin cheesy enough to be sincere.

Mark eyed them skeptically.

"Our Blazer broke down, and we were hoping to jump-start it using your truck," the tall man explained. "We were actually surprised that there was even one other truck up here, seeing that its fifty miles from the highway. It really was our only chance at getting out of here."

Mark nodded, still unsure if he should believe them, it did seem pretty logical. "What are you guys doing way up here?"

This time the answer came from one of the other gentlemen. "We have been up all week, backpacking a trail. We weren't suppose to pack out until two days from now, but we decided to head home due to the rain. We thought for sure we would be stranded here, until you showed up. Thank God you showed up."

The tall one, as if suspecting Marks uneasiness added, "We are from a Christian camp about 100 miles south of here. I am the pastor of a small church there.”

At this confession Mark was overwhelmed, there was no way this could be a coincidence.

"I think you are here to tell me about God," he couldn't believe the words were coming from his lips, but he knew it to be truth. He explained to them his situation, and of his desperate need of fresh air, and how it had driven over miles of dirt roads to make sure he was alone.

At first the men looked as surprised as he felt. Then their surprise quickly turned to smiles, he could almost taste their enthusiasm.

As the men shared, Mark could no longer contain his emotions. Tears spilled freely down his face, but he felt no shame in front of these men. As he cried, as they prayed, the tension was released from his chest. The weight had been lifted. He breathed anew, feeling the breath of life fill not only his lungs but deep within his soul.

God had gone out of his way to show Mark that he was not alone, and that his life was precious. Though he had sinned, he was redeemed. His consequences would not go away, but he would face them with a new strength.

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This article has been read 302 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/26/10
This is an interesting and fresh take on the topic. The characters were believable. And God certainly does work in mysterious ways. I longed to know more about Mark and what was really troubling his soul.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/26/10
I knew Mark had somehow hurt his family, but I felt there was even more going on. The cool thing is God always knows what the more is.
AnneRene' Capp08/27/10
I always enjoy stories about when and how another receives God's gracious gift of salvation and this is a great one! I was so excited right along with those brothers in Christ and shared what they must have felt when God used them for Mark. Your writing also made it easy to identify with how Mark was feeling. You did a great job with this.
Cheryl Harrison08/30/10
Good job. Left me wanting more. Write another chapter... I'll read it :o).
Sarah Davis08/30/10
This was a good story, however I agree with wanting to know more about what Mark had done and was going through. The end brought glistening to my eyes knowing God had brought these men there just for him! Good Job!
Barbara Lynn Culler08/30/10
This was a different take on the topic.

I wonder if MC tried to jump or something like that would have added a little "salsa" to the tale?

Is this based on a true event?
Gregory Kane08/30/10
I think this is a lovely tale but your opening line threw me. I had no idea what a fourteener was - now I know it's a mountain over 14,000 ft - so I had a number of different ideas running through my mind as I tried to make sense of what was going on. Having looked it up on Wikipedia, I enjoyed the second read much more. I guess it's a reminder that not all of your readers will be American. But this said, it's a strongly written story of redemption
Melanie Kerr 08/30/10
Lots of things to keep the reader engaged. I didn't know, and still don't know, what a forteener is. Would a man be given the freedom to drive so far away if he is due to be sentenced in the morning?
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/02/10
Congratulations for placing in the top 12 of your level.:)