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

TITLE: One Saw; One Listened
By Stacey Kitchens
11/16/06


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One Saw; One Listened

At the far left, several children splashed in the tide pools, scraping up handfuls of sand and sifting it for evidence of sand crabs.

A row of forty something’s sat in front of them near the shoreline. One of them flipped nonchalantly through a magazine, while two others sat chattering over the crashing of the surf. The fourth seemed totally engrossed in a novel she was reading.

A game of volleyball to the right.

Three boys directly in front of him taking their turn with a skim board at the water’s edge.

Five teenagers on the sandbar fifty yards out.

Beyond the break of the waves, a lone swimmer moved steadily to toward the pier.

Near the reef was a group snorkeling, five of them.

A slight glare, Jason’s eyes squinted in spite of his sunglasses. He counted again… and again.

Memories of that nightmarish day 10-years ago did not allow him to take his job lightly. If only the guard on duty had watched more carefully. His minded played the scene over in his head, though even in his daydreams, he was aware of every action and every individual’s location on the beach before him.

That now-far-away day seemed as if it were only a moment ago in time. He could still see in his mind’s eye his brother, Jonathan’s, toothy smile and shaggy wet hair.

Their lips and fingernails were blue, but they had not really noticed out on the sand bar, splashing about in the increasingly goliath waves.

One minute, Jonathan was right there next to him, the next the current was dragging him beyond his reach.

Thrashing, gulping, reaching.

Should he swim out to him or try to find help? Jason yelled, waving his arms wildly, trying to attract the lifeguard or someone’s attention on the beach. No one saw. No one listened.

He looked back toward the last place he had seen Jonathan’s bobbing head and saw nothing. How he wished he had not turned his head. Maybe he could have…

His full attention turned back toward the present activity on the white sugary sand, lapped endlessly by its ocean’s emerald scrolls.

The tide pool children, the forty something’s, the volleyball game. Three boys and a skim board. Five teenagers on the sand bar. The lone swimmer. Snorkelers, five of them….

**********************************************************************************
The steely cold had left Jonathan’s body as he sat perched on the grassy bank, a feathery covering draped about his shoulders. Magnificent trees stood on either side of the river, their branches heavy with fruit.

His feet splashed against the cool water. Bright with amazement, his eyes drank in the crystal water teeming with colorful fish. He felt warm and safe.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. – Psalm 18:16 (NIV)


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This article has been read 652 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Peggy Bennitt11/17/06
I was too into Jason to jump into Jonathon like that, but the ideas are great! With more information and "story" seperating the two, it will be a terrific story. The Bible passage accompanying Jonathon's "rescue" was perfect.
julie wood11/20/06
I loved this story! The short, terse sentences fit the mood of anxiety and pain experienced by the main character, and the descriptions were beautifully vivid--I felt right there in the scene.

I also enjoyed the transition from the lifeguard's point of view to his brother's--the contrasting perspective which shows that for the brother, this story's ending is a joyful one!