Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Lifeguard (11/09/06)
TITLE: A Dangerous Break from Monotony
By Donna Haug
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I tried to ignore the niggling at the back of my mind. It was hot. The kids were at each other constantly. We needed a break.
I looked down toward the edge of the beach and watched Laura and Lynette, my twin sisters, playing in the sand. They had dug a hole half way to China, and were jumping in it as they watched the water seep up from below. Their giggles and squeals flew happily on the breeze to where I was watching. My eyes wandered lazily over to where my brothers were playing in the surf. At ages seven and nine, they were already quite adept at jumping into the waves before they broke over their heads. I watched for a few minutes, making sure they were not going in too deep.
Just down from where we lounged, a group of young men was engaged in an energetic game of beach soccer. It was amazing to watch them leap into the air with their scissor kicks and their fancy dance steps as they handled the ball as only Brazilian players can do. Celia and I were absorbed in watching them until the ball flew out of play into the ocean. We laughed and turned back to watching our protégées.
One, two, three … Frantically I began searching for the fourth head. Suddenly I saw Paul’s head bob up just beyond the last wave. The look on his face was one of absolute terror. The undertow had caught him, and he was in trouble.
“Celia, go get him! You’ve got to do something!”
She looked at me as if I was out of my mind, but then after what seemed like forever, she turned and ran down to the water. I was not a great swimmer, and I knew I would not be able to do much. I watched from the edge of the water as the waves slammed over Celia’s head before she could get to the calmer spots ahead of where the waves break. In seconds, I saw that she was now in as much danger as Paul. Neither of them were confident swimmers. Panic seized my young heart.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a sight that caused my spirits to leap in hope. The whole soccer team was jumping through the waves in the direction of the helpless swimmers. First one and then the other were plucked from the water and carried back to the beach. Celia was shaking as she coughed crawling over to Paul’s white body lying on the sand. He was just lying there, not moving. I was terrified. “Paul! Paul! Are you okay?” I knelt beside him with tears streaming down my face. A huge crowd now surrounded us, shielding us from the glare of the sun. Had I killed my brother?
Then suddenly Paul’s body seized and he started throwing up seawater all over. There never was a more welcome sight in all my short years. He was going to be all right. “Celia, we need to get home.” One of the soccer players ran off to the street to hail down a taxi for us. The taxi driver was instantly surrounded by a mob yelling at him that he had to take these six people in his little beetle because this kid had just about died. After some persuasion, he finally agreed. As we piled into the car, I glanced around at our rescuers. “Muito obrigada! Thank you so much! What would we have done without you?”
As we neared home, I saw Mom and Dad’s car in the driveway. Boy were we in trouble! But … it could have been worse, if it weren’t for our lifeguards!
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