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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the ADVENTURE genre (05/24/07)

TITLE: Critical Mission
By Myrna Noyes


Something was following him. He was certain of it. The strident chattering of monkeys in the dense, green canopy overhead had abruptly ceased, and an eerie quiet pervaded the jungle. A determined gleam came into Nick’s watchful eyes, and he tightened his grip on the gun in his hand.

He was on an urgent mission to deliver needed medicines to the mission compound deep in the inner jungle, and he was not going to let anything stop him. There was an epidemic of sickness raging in the village near the mission, and they were depending on his delivery of the antidote. He knew this area better than anyone else, and he wasn’t afraid of its lurking dangers.

A twig snapped softly behind him, and he stopped still on the path to listen again. “Who’s there? Come out where I can see you!”

No one answered, so he moved cautiously on, glancing from side to side every few moments. He wiped the sweat off his forehead with a ragged bit of cloth and licked his parched lips. Man! Even though it’s still early morning, the jungle is already steaming. Maybe I should stop for a drink. Nick took a long, satisfying gulp from the canteen slung over his shoulder.

At that moment, a slight movement in the shadowy underbrush a few yards from the path caught his eye. He was being stalked, and he was tired of waiting to see who or what it was. He lifted his rifle, cocked it, sighted, and fired to the side of where he saw the leaves rustling. There was a frightened snarl, and the glimpse of a large, striped cat’s lithe body, as it bounded away into the deeper forest.

Nick grinned with pride as he lowered his gun. “That sure scared him! I bet he won’t be back for a while!”

A spotted snake, tongue flicking in and out rapidly, wriggled across the path directly in front of him, but he paid little notice of it. Instead, he tuned his ear to the increasing roar of the nearby falls and the roiling river at its base. “I’ll find a way across. I’m going to get this medicine to the doctor before night,” he said aloud with confidence.

Approaching the river, Nick sized up the situation before him. The waters slapped forcefully against jagged, submerged rocks in their headlong rush down the rather steep incline. There was no bridge, and a raft could not be managed here. Nick glanced appraisingly around the riverbank and spied a long, sturdy vine hanging from an overhanging tree limb. He jerked on it to test its strength, and then backed up, stretching it taut, before launching himself over the edge. He landed firmly on the other side of the waters and then let the vine swing back. Nick felt for the precious package he carried and smiled to find it was still secure.

The burning sun-ball rose higher in the sky and golden rays filtered down through the leafy trees. Curious monkeys climbed and swung on branches overhead, staring at him and scolding rapidly in their native tongue. The sharp cries of multi-hued birds calling back and forth filled the air as Nick hurried on, intent upon his life-saving task.

Sometime later, he heard the welcome shout of a human voice. Ah-ha! Someone has spotted me coming down the path, and they are calling the villagers to gather at the mission house. The shout came again, and he was sure this time that he heard his own name. Through the bushes he saw a woman’s figure framed in the dark doorway of one of the larger huts, peering in his direction.

“Nicholas! I see you back there behind the lilac bush! You come in right now! Your lunch is ready, and it’ll be getting cold!”

When Mama spoke in that decided tone, Nick knew she meant business and he’d better hurry in and wash his hands. He took one more quick swing on the old tire hanging from a rope on their backyard maple tree as he ran toward the kitchen door. His playful striped kitten Tiger bounced at his heels.

“After lunch, I think I might explore the North Pole. Tiger, you can be my sled dog!” he promised.

Just before entering the house, Nick glanced back at the large shady backyard where he’d had so much fun all morning.

Is that a polar bear peeking out around the shed…uh, I mean around the IGLOO over there?

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This article has been read 1053 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Cathy Kane05/31/07
You had me in the palm of your hand through the entire story. First, your highly descriptive writing put me right in the middle of that jungle and on that dangerous mission. Then, you threw a curve right at the end. Terrific!

You have mastered the art of suspense! Great read. Thanks.
Jacquelyn Horne06/01/07
Children have a way of making adventure out of make believe. Good writing here. I was traveling throught the jungle with you.
Joy Faire Stewart06/01/07
I enjoyed Nick's adventure. Excellent storytelling & well written.
Loren T. Lowery06/01/07
What a fun read and adventure. Captured the imagination of the little boy so very well!
Lynda Schultz 06/01/07
This is great! I didn't suspect anything until the very end. Good insight into the imaginative mind of a child.
David Butler06/03/07
Very clever. Had me fooled right 'til his mother called. Good example of how a child's rich imagination never leaves a good writer. Satisfying.
Lisa Holloway06/04/07
Cool take on the adventure story. I really enjoyed the imagination and description.
Jan Ackerson 06/04/07
Well done--I didn't see it coming!
Joanne Sher 06/04/07
I definitely did NOT see that coming - a wonderful adventure with great description and action. Marvelous!
Sharlyn Guthrie06/04/07
This was fun to read and a great reminder that all adventures begin in your own back yard!
Pamela Kliewer06/05/07
You got me! :) Great job!!! I was so taken in and then... that twist! Wow! Fantastic writing.
Sara Harricharan 06/06/07
LOL! This is too fun! I love how it was an adventure within and adventure right in his own backyard. How fun. Good job. ^_^
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/06/07
This is one of my favorites. I love the boy and the story and the surprise!
Dee Yoder 06/06/07
Wonderful! I felt just as I did when I was a kid!
Pat Guy 06/06/07
You got me! Wow! You did a great job of leading the reader on! Wow! What an adventure - I wish I had the same kind of imagination.
Marilee Alvey06/10/07
I was a judge this week. I just wanted you to know that this scored highly with me! Very adorable!