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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Lifeguard (11/09/06)

TITLE: Can You Hear Me?
By dub W


The only sensation I had was the dried blood on my fingertips. I tried to clear the cobwebs out of my mind and at the same time try to see through my darkened surroundings. Funny isn’t it, how a luminous dial projects no light? If my watch was correct it was nine o’clock. I remembered the town clock striking eight, so I must have been out cold for a solid hour. My surroundings slowly began to take shape, I was wet, there were sticks or tree branches near me, and something cold and clammy, I hated to imagine what.

Bits and pieces of memory began to flash in my mind. My office, I had been in my office, reading a report, I had stayed late to catch up on old work. One of the janitors was emptying my trashcan then nothing until the moment I woke in this very damp place.

“Help me,” a weak voice broke the stillness.

“Who’s there?”

There was a moment’s pause then silence was pierced again. “Help me.”

“Who’s calling, where are you?” I had no sense of direction, and barely a sense of my own being.

“Help me.” The voice was fainter, but still I could pick it up.

“I don’t know who or where you are, or even what happened. Can you hear me?” I tried to raise myself up but it soon became evident I was lying atop something - because I teetered. “I don’t think I can move too far, where are you?”

“Help me.” The voice was weak.

“Someone will come for us, you gotta have faith, just hang on.”

There was no response and I honestly felt a twinge of loneliness and needed to hear the voice. “Are you still there?”

A cough, and then a whimper, the words were indistinguishable.

“Hey, can you hear me?”

“Jeeesusss, lovvvess me, thisss I knownnnn, for theaaaa.”

I continued for my new friend, “Bible tells me so.”

Another cough. “Cristo me ama, cristo me ama, cristo me ama, La Biblia dice asi.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t speak much Espanol.” It must be one of the cleaning people. My neighbor-in-peril, didn’t understand me, couldn’t hear me, or ignored me, because the week voice started again.

“Cristo me ama, pues morí."

I responded, “Jesus loves me he who died.”

“Y el cielo me abrirá.”

“Heaven’s gate to open wide.” I was struggling to remember my third grade Sunday School songs. But, my neighbor seemed to have the message well in hand. I waited for his response.

A cough and then, “él mis culpas quitará." The voice stopped abruptly and breathed loudly with a groan. At the same time I thought I heard a rumble.

There was a tremendous crashing of lumber and glass, I began to panic, but as I moved I felt my platform tip sideways.

“Hey, you okay?” I couldn’t think of anything to say except to quickly start the song again. “Jesus loves me, this I know, yes Jesus loves me,” I mixed the verse but hoped to raise some attention. The only response was more crashing; I knew at any minute my platform would be toppled into some abyss. “Hey partner, if you can hear me, I think Jesus has a plan for us and we may be headed there together.” I truly thought my English was beyond the grasp of my new friend but I was praying for that unseen voice as hard as I could.

Suddenly, boards over me moved, and a cold breeze blew over my body. Two giant arms embraced by upper body and I was lifted up into a bucket attached to a truck.

I waved my arm. “Hey, there’s someone else down there.”

The man holding my shoulders just patted my back. “Yeah, we know,” he said, “we just got him out a minute ago, he told us about you, he called you his guardia de vida, I think that means life guard.”

“Jesus Loves Me”
Words By: Anna B. Warner
Music By: Wm. B. Bradbury
Translation by: Spanish Christian Lyrics

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This article has been read 950 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Teresa Lee Rainey11/16/06
Great story. You certainly held my attention.
Joe Moreland11/16/06
I liked this story, and wasn't at all bothered by the lack of information on what happened and how. The story of two people from different cultures bonding through their personal relationship with Jesus was very uplifting. Thank you for sharing this.
Joanne Sher 11/18/06
Very compelling, engaging story. Oh, the hope from a song like that, and it's Subject. I was praying for them both all the way through! (Oh, and thanks for stretching my memory of high school Spanish as well!)
Jan Ackerson 11/20/06
Great, original approach to the topic. I loved the way you opened it after the "event" had already happened--gives it more of a sense of urgency. Very strong entry!
Sara Harricharan 11/20/06
Pretty good, very descriptive. I wish I'd known where/why/how he'd gotten trapped. It was a little confusing for me not to be able to identify with a possible life and death struggle.
Otherwise, pretty good reading :)
Donna Haug11/20/06
Although I was curious as to what had happened, I did not feel like it was missing. Your story had enough suspense and resolution that the actual event can be left open to everyone's imagination - in my opinion.
Shari Armstrong 11/20/06
A little mystery of how they ended up in their perdicimate? Flood? huricane? doesn't matter - I still enjoyed it :)
Donna Powers 11/20/06
A very captivating story and it held my attention. I enjoyed reading this very much. Well done. Thanks for sharing it
julie wood11/21/06
Beautiful story--it haunted me. I loved the vivid description, especially in the opening line about the dried blood on the narrator's fingertips...and the aura of mystery threading through the story. Also enjoyed the character singing "Jesus Loves Me" in Spanish--because I learned those verses from a little girl in Mexico on a church mission trip!
Enjoyed the story's ending, too--how the two victimized characters each thought of the other's rescue!
Allison Egley 11/21/06
Oh, wow. I loved this. While I do want to know what happened, I think it almost would have been revealing TOO much if you had told us what happened. I was excited that I could even understand a but of the Spanish! :)
Jen Davis11/21/06
Quite an attention grabber! This was very nicely written, and I loved the ending.
Marilee Alvey11/22/06
You had a good beginning hook and you carried the drama well throughout the piece. I knew enough about what happened - part or all of a building collapsed. It held my attention. You are VERY GIFTED with description, something I feel I lack. It's funny how, in moments of crisis, we ALL become believers. I would have liked to see this ending be a bit more complex, however, because with the incredible talent for description and hooking me into the drama, it was over too soon for my liking. Of course, it's very hard with the 750 word count.
Val Clark11/24/06
'The only sensation I had was the dried blood on my fingertips.' Great attention grabbing first sentence and compelling reading right to the end. yeggy
Debbie OConnor11/24/06
Dub, I loved this. The only thing that knocked it down a little for me was not knowing what had happened. As a reader, I kept trying to figure it out. Still, excellent work.