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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Life (06/15/06)

TITLE: Dead Wrong
By Cristy Zinn


She crouched on the crag staring intently at the pool below. It was a far way down. The wind harassed the feathers in her wings - the ever present wind that had blown relentlessly all night. She brought her knees up below her chin and hugged them to her. She could not turn back. Her people were dying and she was the last scout they had sent out. She glanced back at her broken wing, both were sagging behind her from her long flight but last night’s fall had damaged one beyond what she could repair.

The pool below glistened in the weak morning light, beckoning to her thirst. How would she get down? She could not fly with her wing like that and she was no good at climbing. Tears stung her eyes. She could not go back to her people empty handed but she could not face dying alone on that wretched crag either.

“Think!” she cried to herself and listened to her words echo through the mountains, a reprimand coming back to her again and again.
She leaned back against the rock face, her broken wing aching as she did. She was dying. They all would if she could not bring the water back.

When she had left, few could fly and more could not walk. The elders had sent her to find some hope where other scouts had failed. She was the strongest left among them and their final chance. But as she sat there she knew she would fail them. She had nothing left and no where to go.

“Why couldn’t I have fallen somewhere that I could have climbed out of?” she growled, smacking the ground with her fist and regretting it instantly as pain shot through her arm.

“Will nobody help me?” she screamed, the last of her hope failing her.

Suddenly the wind picked up and spun around her. With it came a quiet voice, so quiet that she doubted it at first.
“Life and death.” It whispered again and again until she began to listen to it intently.
“I set before you life and death, blessings and curses. So choose life so that you and your children may live!”

Her body began to tremble uncontrollably. Choose? Where was her choice? All she could see was death. She could not fly, she could not climb… but she could fall. She squeezed her eyes shut.
“Choose life! To die is gain… “

She shook her head – what she was considering was suicide! But she knew the voice now. It was The Maker. Her people had told stories of Him for generations, she just hadn’t believed He actually existed. His voice was unmistakable though, rolling through the mountains with the wind, coming to save her people. His people.

She had two choices: die up there on the crag or die in the water below. Maybe she was going crazy, listening to a voice on the wind but at least jumping off that crag meant she was doing something – making a choice.

“Choose Life! Choose Me!”

The voice pulsed through her, igniting a hidden fire until without a moments hesitation she drew herself up to her full height, spread out her ample wings and ran off the edge.
She plunged, eyes tightly closed against the rushing air and waited for the fatal impact that would decide her choice. She drew her wings in tightly against her and felt herself hurtle through the air until finally she broke through the water.

It was deeper than she had expected and she was able to dive deep and come up again easily. She had made it! She drank greedily of the water and then pulled herself up onto the rim of the pool, breathing heavily with exhilaration.

“There is more!” Came the voice again and she suddenly remembered her people. She looked around at the high walls around the pool and wondered how she would get the water to her people. Then it occurred to her that where she had been unable, The Maker had made a way.

The wind whistled through a small opening, where the pool opened into a stream and trickled away.
“Follow me, I will lead you home. Choose LIFE!”
She knew then that The Maker would lead her, that He would bring her people life.

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This article has been read 591 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Tanya Dennis06/22/06
I like this! Very well written. I was a little confused, though, about the character. Wings and fists and people ... It seems contradictory. It can't be a bird. I'm torn between believing she is a fantasy character (a fairy, perhaps?) and a tribal figure (native american or african?). Other than that, I really enjoyed your writing. Your descriptions are vivid and your point made personal. Well done!
Jan Ackerson 06/23/06
A very good piece of fantasy writing...thanks! It's something I admire greatly, never having mastered it. Good job.
Shari Armstrong 06/23/06
An interesting story, I'm not sure if it was actually a bird (birds don't have fists), but a well told story. Good descriptions.
dub W06/26/06
Very poetic in style. I thought first this was the personification of an eagle. A bit confusing at times. But, all in all, a good read.