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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: River (08/31/06)

TITLE: Shelter on the Other Side
By Gini Branch


The granite boulder rolled to a stop. The deluge had propelled it down the river nearly a mile from its former resting place. I watched the liquid hand of the river shove it forward. I trembled from fear and the cold. Drenched, clothes clinging, I climbed higher up the hillside. Mud caked to my feet, but would not prevent me from sliding downward. Never could I have imagined such a thing happening to me here. I looked for the others, shouted into the torrential rains. No answer. Was I alone? I didn’t know.

I did know I wouldn’t feel save until I reached the crest of the hill. I continued on, so did the downpour. The drops of rain pounded against my skin. They stung. How can water hurt like that? I had to find shelter, but I knew of none nearby. The top of the hill offered none, but at least the water couldn’t get that high. Or so I hoped.

The crest of the hill. I had succeeded in scrambling up that far. I could see the valley still filling with water. I could not see any other person. I called out again. No answer. There were twelve of us at camp. Where are the others? Dread enveloped me. Its claws shredding what little strength I had left. Shelter. I must have shelter, the rain beat down more furiously as the wind swept across the hills and into the valley below.

Shelter. I needed shelter. Maybe on the other side of the hill. No river there. I tried to remember the map features I seen at the camp entrance. Yes. A cabin somewhere on this side. Think! Where?

I guessed how far downstream I walked. Walked? Ran, jumped, clambered. I had not walked until now. If I turn down now the cabin should be close. I’ll see it.

I slid down the hill. Rock outcroppings scraped my legs. A downed tree blocked my path and I had to climb up again to get around it. The rain lightened, but the wind drove it against me, the pummeling continued. I called out hoping someone might answer. I decided I was alone and would have to make it on my own. No help. I wished I had never come to this place. Why did I do this? Why did I let them talk me into it? I knew the rains were coming. Why? I continued berating myself as I looked desperately for the cabin that I now doubted existed. Maybe I was wrong.

The light faded. The storm continued. I sat down under a tree and wept. The tears mingled with the rain. Maybe the cabin was just a little further. I’d seen movies where the shelter was just a little further but the heroine gave up too soon. Not me. Despair became determination. For better or worse. I would not be that little sobbing heroine. They’d not find me just yards from my goal.

Who says they’ll find you at all. The others are gone. They’ll presume you gone as well.

The tears returned. I gave up. I looked toward the heavens and shouted at God. “I give up. If You don’t do something now, I am done. If that’s what it’s to be, make it quick please.”

I sank down under the tree again, pulled my feet up to my chest and waited for the end.

The sun burst through the clouds, a rainbow appeared above me. I know I heard a voice saying that He’d heard my cry in the wilderness. I know I heard it. No one will ever convince me otherwise. Some tried to tell me it was because I was nearly delirious from exposure and fatigue. That’s just not so. I know what I heard. I know the camp rangers found me because they were guided to me. I know that. I am alive today because God rescued me.

My experience is not yours, but He can rescue you too. I know He will. He did me. And who am I?

Cease striving and know that I am God… Psalms 46:10 (NASB77)

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This article has been read 484 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 09/09/06
I was riveted to this story from beginning to end. Exceptionally well done! Your last line is PERFECT. Wonderful job!
Kaylee Blake 09/10/06
Whoa...amazing! You gripped my attention with an iron ahand and didn't let go till the end! (And thanks so much for not giving us the old favorite "cabin-just-a-few-yards-away-and-after-despairing-of-hope-now-she-looks-up-and-sees-it" line.)

Marvelous job! Keep up with the awesome writing!
Esther Phillips09/13/06
Very descriptive and entertaining. It held my attention.