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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: South America (02/05/09)

TITLE: Alonzo's Task
By Marlene Austin


The high, thin air was cool as it wafted across the plateau’s flat expanse carrying with it the smell of damp wool. Leaning against the jagged rock of the cliff, the stone house stood as a lone sentry watching over the hand-tilled farmland. Sanchez felt satisfaction as he visually assessed the anticipated harvest of maize and potatoes that were the staples of his family’s diet. Life always presented a challenge here in the Andes, farming on the side of these impenetrable mountains, but Sanchez cherished his quiet, peaceful life. The llamas’ rhythmic chewing became agitated clicks as Alonzo made his way through the herd, his destination being to settle on the ground next to his grandfather.

“Alonzo, what is this countenance you present to me? Is it fear? Anxiety? Concern? What bothers you on this fine day?”

“I wish to ask your assistance, abuelo. As grandfather, you are the oldest and wisest of our ayllus. All in our clan respect your wisdom. I plead for your help.”

“I repeat, what bothers you so? You know I will grant my aid in whatever manner the Sun God allows, my grandson, but you must reveal to me your concern.”

“Last night I had a dream. Upon waking, it troubled me. The memory of it has not left me this entire day.”

“Tell me of this burdensome dream, grandson.”

“I found myself in a land lush with the riches bestowed by our gods. The day shone with an unnatural brightness. As I moved further into the land, I realized that I grew nearer the source of light. At last, I discovered myself in the very presence of Viracocha, creator god, ruler of our destiny. I flung myself, prostrate before him. He told me that he would bestow upon me three blessings of my choosing. I could not speak. I was at a loss as to why I should receive such favor. I shook with fear that I might disgrace our ayllus if my requests were not well chosen; and yet, I feared the wrath of Viracocha, should I linger too long in my choosing. I thought of my brother who had chosen to travel to far away lands, always longing for home. I thought of my uncle who had sought security in wealth, only to find it soon depleted. I,then, thought of you, abuelo, sitting cross-legged on your woven mat. You, who always held family as priority. You, respected and well loved. I spoke with confidence and voiced my selections. In my youth I would desire the blessing of faithful friendships that would hold true for a lifetime. As a young man I would be blessed to have health of the land with which to provide for all I loved. Lastly, in my old age, I would relish the blessing of mercy so that I might approach the creator god in peaceful pardon. It was then, I awoke.”

“And, why do you find this dream so troubling, Alonzo?”

“It ended before I could find out if Viracocha was pleased or displeased with my choices. I worry as to what might have been better selections. What do you think, abuelo?”

“I think you would do well to leave the dreams to sleep. Live this life according to the gods’ instructions, for then, how can your choices be wrong?”

“Ah-h-h, yes, thank you, grandfather. I am fortunate to have one such as you to come to for help. You make the complex appear so simple.” His doubt now satisfied, Alonzo leaped up and charged back to the task at hand.

Sanchez admired the agility of youthfulness. He, then, offered a prayer of thanksgiving to the Sun God for this opportunity to catch a glimpse of his grandson’s heart. Sanchez, once again, cherished his quiet, peaceful life here among the impenetrable Andes Mountains.

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This article has been read 592 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Norma-Anne Hough02/13/09
The story line here is good. Just felt the MC's needed more description. Good entry.
Jan Ackerson 02/14/09
Good wishes!

I wish I'd been more clear of the time frame of this story.
Dee Yoder 02/15/09
Nice story! Lots of good images in your writing.
Margaret Gass02/17/09
I like the subtle presentation of this young man's search for Hope...difficult to find when one's works must please a god or gods. How grateful I am for the assurance that the hands that created me are the hands of the One who carries me!
Catrina Bradley 02/17/09
I love the peaceful feel this story left me with. For ease of reading, you could have broken the dream paragraph into shorter paragraphs, but I found the dream and the wishes pleasing. I enjoyed this tale!
Joshua Janoski04/30/09
You transported me to the Andes and gave me a taste of the local flavor. I really liked the boy's three wishes. The dialogue in this piece was authentic. I enjoyed reading this, and I'm glad you got a highly commended on this one.