Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Retreat (as in quiet time away) (08/01/05)
TITLE: Mountain Top Experience
By Jan Warrick
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Heading off toward his mountain cabin his mind drifted over the last several months. Just thinking about work tired him. “How can they expect me to keep up that pace?”
The sixteen-hour days and working weekends had taken a toll on him physically and emotionally. Now quick to anger and more prone to illness his body slowly weakened under the incredible strain.
“At least I have this time to recuperate”, he thought. “Lord”, he prayed, “help me use this time to get closer to you. Let this vacation be a time I learn to lean on you completely.”
Slowly winding up the mountain road, he squinted into the darkness. “It’s amazing how dark it is without streetlights”, he remarked to himself. “But it’s so nice not to be around people right now.”
Startled at sudden lights in his rearview mirror he cringed at the speed of an approaching vehicle. Sheer mountain walls on his right and a steep drop off to his left didn’t give him much maneuvering room. “Hold on buddy. I will pull over in the next turnout and let you by.”
The vehicle didn’t even slow as it screeched passed and cut him off as it darted back in front.
“You idiot!” he shouted. “Where did you learn to drive?”
Flashing his headlights to bright he tailed the truck as they both wildly raced up the road.
Suddenly the truck slowed.
“What do you think you’re doing?!” he shouted again.
Romping on the accelerator he raced around the now slow moving truck and flipped the one finger salute to the driver as he passed.
“I swear I thought I left the nuts in the city!” he stormed.
Looking in his rearview mirror he saw no sign of his nemesis, the truck. He settled back to squinting into the darkness knowing he would be to his destination in a few hours.
“Boy, I haven’t used that kind of sign language in a long time”, he mused. “I probably shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t let people get to me. Isn’t that what I tell everyone else? Time to start taking my own advice.”
Without warning, his car lurched out of control. He struggled desperately to avoid going over the edge. Tires squealing on pavement he managed to get his car to the middle of the road. Again his car lurched forward, this time he caught movement. The truck, headlights off, was setting up to ram him again.
“Oh God, help me.”
To his right, an opening in the rock face revealed forested land. Slamming on his brakes, his car groaned under the sudden change of direction. Car still rolling he jumped out and landed hard on the ground. Surprised he wasn’t hurt he ran into the tree line.
“What do I do now Lord?”
On the road he heard the truck slide to a stop, its door open and slam shut. Quick footsteps headed his direction.
He set off in a blind run through the trees. Stumbling, falling, tripping he was barely eluding his pursuer. Sloshing through a creek he prayed. “God help me.”
Again he tripped and fell. A bullet slammed into the tree above his head.
“God I don’t want to die! Help me Lord!”
Running frantically, he found a boulder to hide behind. Crouching behind it, his chest heaving from the exertion and altitude, he searched for more shelter. He felt so exposed, so vulnerable.
“I don’t have the strength to keep running Lord. You have to help me!” he whispered.
A flash light beam played with the trees around him. Sweeping back and forth, its search coming ever closer to finding him.
“God I have no where else to go. If you don’t do something now, I’m a dead man!”
Panicked he played options though his head, all ending with the inevitable conclusion of a bullet plowing through his back.
The beam of light was nearly on him.
“God, help me to trust you no matter what you have in store for me.”
The beam suddenly went black. The sound of the flashlight being hit and shook reached his ears. “Blast!” shouted the hunter, then his footsteps unmistakably retreating toward the road again. Barely, in the distance, he heard the truck start and drive away.
“Thank you Lord” he wept quietly. But next time can my lesson be less dramatic?”
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