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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Predicament (03/01/12)

TITLE: Alone at Sea
By Michele Fleming


The argument they had was one of the worst yet and Dana could still feel the sting of the words that Kyle had flung at her. She was so distraught that she jumped on board their Hunter 22, fired up the engine and set out for open waters. Once she was far enough away from land, she cut the engine, raised the sails and let the wind take her where it wanted. Unfortunately, it seemed to want to take her straight into peril. She battled as hard as she could, but found herself drawn right into the heart of a raging storm, which forced her to take cover below.

Once the sea had calmed, Dana stood staring at the mangled mess that once were the sails and replayed the last hour in her mind. Aside from not leaving the dock to start with, she wondered if she could have done something differently. She finally concluded that she had done everything right. The freakish storm blew across the ocean and into her tiny vessel without much warning and disappeared just as quickly, leaving a mess in its wake. A mess that she was now going to have to deal with . . . alone.

Dana gathered the sails into the boat and headed for the motor. Hitting the quick-start button on the side, her stomach knotted up when it didn’t crank on the first try as it always had before. She tried again and the engine squealed in complaint. Four more tries, all with the same result.

She had never used the crank cord before, but readied for the task. One pull, two pulls, and three pulls – this was getting her nowhere! Suddenly, it dawned on her to check the gas levels. Empty! In the midst of checking for the spare gas, she had a sickening vision of the gas container sitting on the dock beside her cell phone.

“I left them both on the dock! No gas and no phone!”

Exasperated, Dana walked to the stern, sat down and let her feet dangle in the water below. Tears began to sting her eyes and she started to pray.

“Lord, I’ve gotten myself into a real predicament and I don’t know what to do. Please help me.”

Gathering her strength, she found the survival kit and readied the flare gun. At this point, she felt it was her only hope. She would listen for a passing plane or boat, fire off the flare and hope that someone would spot her.

Flare gun in hand, she made her way to the bow, sat down and began to wait. Straining her ears, Dana listened for any signs of life. Hearing nothing, not even birds, she realized she had drifted farther out to sea than she orignally thought. Pushing away a fresh surge of panic, she closed her eyes again in prayer.

“I trust in You, Lord. Whatever happens, I know You’re here with me.” Dana laid back and stared into the autumn sky, letting the Lord’s peace comfort her.

Dana awoke with a start sometime later, scrambled to her feet, and scanned the horizon in all directions.

“Nice, Dana, what did you miss while you were asleep?”

Satisfied there was nothing out there, she sat back down. Dana stared out across the calm blue waters of the Caribbean, marveling at the expanse of it. Nothing but the sea surrounded the sailboat as it drifted further away from civilization, pulled by the gentle ebbing of the tide. It was hard to believe that just a few short hours ago, she was standing on the dock with Kyle.

What had they been fighting about anyway? For the life of her, she couldn’t remember now. The only thing she knew was she loved him more than life itself. She began to cry, begging God to let her see him again.

Suddenly, the faint sounds of a boat engine came floating across the water. Dana jumped to her feet and began searching for the source. Finally, she saw the boat and waited until it got closer before firing the flare.

As the boat drew nearer, she could tell it was a neighbor’s Super Sport with Kyle in the bow waving his arms in the air.

“Dana! Oh, thank God you’re okay!” They pulled alongside and Kyle raced quickly to Dana’s awaiting arms.

With all remembrances of their disagreement forgotten, they held each other tightly, each vowing never to let go again.

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This article has been read 275 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 03/10/12
Awwww! My kind of story. Sweet, romantic and happy ending. Nice job.

God Bless
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/11/12
This is a good story. You start right off in the beginning grabbing the reader's attention.

I can tell you have been working on showing more and telling less. You are doing a good job. Another thing you can do to make your writing even better is to get rid of passive verbs like was, were etc. For example, in the beginning,instead of saying this was the worst argument switch it up They'd argued ferociously; it stood out in her memory as the worst one ever. It's a little thing but it will pack a bigger punch and free up the passive verbs for times when nothing else will work.

You did a wonderful you of representing the topic. There were several predicaments-the fight, being stranded, the storm, no phones. I think it was clever to makethe story a predicament in so many different ways. Each reader may relate to several different conflicts depending on what's happening in the reader's life. Nicely done!
Laura Manley03/11/12
How many times I have done something that later I was sorry for! Your story reminded me of more than one! I like your style of writing and you had my attention from the first word.
Geoffrey johnstone03/15/12
This is a well written story. It held my attention from start to finish. It shows a lot of promise for the future.

I hope you keep writing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/15/12
Congratulations for placing 7th in level 1!