Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Exhale (08/15/13)
TITLE: "I can hold my breath longer"
By P. J. Baker
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It was a blistering hot day. Ned and Charlie sat under the tree in Charlie’s front garden.
“I’m so hot I can’t breathe” said Charlie.
“Don’t be stupid, all living things breathe. That’s how you killed your spider – trapping it in a tank without air” said Ned.
“DID NOT!” Charlie shouted. “YOU’RE THE STUPID ONE!” He ran inside, slamming the door behind him. It was even hotter inside the house and the air was stifling.
Charlie ran upstairs to his room. “I didn’t kill my spider!” he said to himself. He picked up his Bible picture book and flicked over the cover. The picture showed God breathing upon Adam, and Adam coming alive with God’s spirit. All around them, watching, are the animals. He traced the flow of God’s breath with his finger.
Do plants breathe? How do fish breathe if they’re under water? he thought. He fetched a clean jar from the kitchen and asked Mom where a weed was. Then he put the jar upside down over the top of it. Nothing happened.
“Charlie, Saskia is here!” shouted Mom. Charlie took a deep breath. Saskia was a year older than him, but ten years wiser.
“Hi Charlie, I’ve so much to tell you! Did you know Ned’s cousin is my best friend’s neighbour? And do you’ll never guess what we saw yesterday…” Saskia chattered.
“Fancy a swim?” interrupted Charlie. They changed into their swimming costumes and jumped in. The water was cool, Charlie felt fully awake for the first time that day.
“And my teacher isn’t the one you had last year, it’s a new teacher from out of state who…” continued Saskia.
“I bet I can hold my breath longer than you” Charlie said.
“No way!” said Saskia.
They gulped air then dived under the surface. Saskia’s face became redder and redder, but Charlie’s head broke the surface first.
“I win!” said Saskia.
“Yeah! You’re like the best fish ever, holding your breath that long!” said Charlie.
“Fish don’t hold their breaths, stupid. They’ve got gills on the side of their faces” said Saskia.
“I’m not stupid! Make it best of three.” They again gulped air and dived under. This time Saskia broke first.
“OK, this is the decider. 1, 2, 3 go!” Again, they gulped and dived under. Charlie tried distracting her by pulling faces. When she turned away, Charlie jumped out of the pool and grabbed his towel. He ran to the front garden and sat under the tree.
“Charlie, come for snack!” shouted Mom. They all sat on the veranda eating homemade lemonade and grapes.
“I totally won. I can totally… (she popped a grape into her mouth) hold my breath for longer than…”
Saskia stopped mid-sentence. Her face became redder and redder.
“She’s choking!” shouted Charlie. He ran behind her and slapped her hard between the shoulder blades, once, twice, thrice, and…
… a whole grape flew out and splashed into Saskia’s mom’s glass of lemonade. Saskia coughed and spluttered and breathed in and out very quickly.
“Oh my darling!” cried Saskia’s mom holding her tight.
“Are you Ok? Here, drink some water” said Charlie’s mom. Soon Saskia was back to normal.
“That was so exciting! I’m going to tell Sharon and Rachel and Candice and Sarah and Bethany and Monica…” she chattered.
When Saskia and her mom left, Charlie felt so tired, he went to bed a whole hour early.
“How did you know what to do, when Saskia was choking?” asked his Mom as she tucked him up.
Charlie shrugged, “I didn’t think, I just did what felt right.”
Mom opened his Bible picture book. “You know, when God breathed into Adam, he gave him His spirit. That’s why we humans are more special than the animals. I think it was God’s spirit that helped you save Saskia today. His spirit is always in you to help you at all times.”
“Dear God” Charlie prayed. “Thank you for breathing your spirit into me. Thank you for helping me save Saskia today. Please help Saskia not talk when she’s eating grapes. Amen.”
“Amen” said Mom, smiling. “Goodnight Charlie.”
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