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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Blowout (04/28/11)

TITLE: Before the Earth Was Shaken
By Linda Potosky


It has been weeks since we heard the explosion over the waters. My mate had just come back with food for our young when the earth began to shake and rumble. As we looked out into the ocean in wonder, a blowout of dark liquid spewed into the sky and came plunging back down. Floating on the wave’s surface, it slowly covered our once beautiful brown and gray bodies as we dove for food each day. Soon our wings were weighted with the sludge and we could no longer fly. Unable to provide nourishment for our young, they cried out in hunger. I desperately tried to remove this thick liquid off my feathers by preening, but the taste was bitter and my long bill could not remove it. All I could do was sit and watch as the surf brought more of this nasty substance to the shoreline.

As time went on, our young could no longer be heard. They lay quiet in their nest. My mate’s body was motionless and his eyes were vacant of life. I continued to try to endure, although it became harder with each passing moment. I opened my bill to cry out for help, but nothing would come out. I felt I was being swallowed by the darkness from the waters.

Just when I thought I couldn't last another moment, I heard a gentle voice speaking to me from behind. I didn’t understand what it was saying, but somehow I knew it wanted to help me. Feeling too weak to fight, I surrendered myself to it. Tenderly, the voice cradled my body and lifted me from the ground. I was then laid onto something that felt unfamiliar before I lost consciousness.

Opening my eyes, I awoke in a strange place. There was light, but no sun. There was a hard surface, but no ground. I could no longer hear the waves breaking on the shore, or my kind calling in the distance. Still, the gentle voice was there, tending to my needs. I didn’t fuss. Instead, I patiently allowed myself to be stroked with another unknown substance. I trusted that the gentle voice would make me well again. Little by little the dark sludge was removed from my body and wings. Day by day, I felt my strength return.

Once I was strong enough to swim and fly, I was brought to a different shoreline. At first I stood confused, not knowing where I was. I looked back at the gentle voice that brought me there and it was gesturing for me to fly. I spread my wings and began to flap them. Gradually, I lifted myself off the ground. I felt the familiar sensation of the salty ocean breeze caressing my feathers and pumped my wings harder. I was free again.

As I let the wind carry me high above the sand, I looked down at the world below. Though the land seemed foreign to me, I could make out many of my kind dotting the shoreline, which gave me comfort. However, life would never be as it was before the earth was shaken. That part was taken away from me by the wrath of the dark sludge.

“For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” Romans 8:20,21 NIV

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This article has been read 295 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Bonnie Bowden 05/06/11
Well written story. It really used the theme for this week in a unique and powerful way. Its poignant message was creatively woven into the piece.
Joanne Sher 05/08/11
A very powerful piece. You did a wonderful job of showing us the damage, and the hope.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/10/11
I really enjoyed this piece although my heart ached for the MC You did a brilliant job with the POV and showing the reader descriptive pictures. It's also a fresh take on the topic. This is one of my favorites.
diana kay05/11/11
clever :) I think it might be a winner for the original POV
Tracy Nunes 05/11/11
I enjoyed how you told the story without naming the incident. You let the story fill in the details and it soon becomes clear what is being depicted. Great Job!