Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)
TITLE: GATOR IN THE ĎHOOCH
By Catrina Bradley
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The posse was all there: Nick and Lindsay had been a hot item since Junior year; Melody couldn‚Äôt decide which of the twins, Josh or Jason, she liked best, so she hung out with both. Graduation was a week in the past; the last summer of freedom was trickling away.
‚ÄúMan, it‚Äôs so hot my sweat‚Äôs boiling. Y‚Äôall wanna shoot the ‚ÄėHooch?‚ÄĚ
Lindsay sat up so fast her head swam. ‚ÄúYah!‚ÄĚ The thought of lounging in an inner tube, floating in the cool Chattahoochee, was heaven. She rubbed sweaty blond bangs off her forehead and cheered.
Echoes of agreement bounced against thick, humid air. ‚ÄúShoot-The-‚ÄėHooch! Shoot-The-Hooch!‚ÄĚ
Melody broke it up by demanding, ‚ÄúOk ‚Äď let‚Äôs go if we‚Äôre going!‚ÄĚ
Lindsay rescued her hat from the wind whipping through the convertible as Nick sped north on I-285.
‚ÄúLindz, take it off or you're gonna lose it.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúNope, I‚Äôd rather hang on to it than burn my nose.‚ÄĚ She tightened the strap and jammed the cap firmly over her wind-mussed curls.
‚ÄúTurn up the tunes, dude,‚ÄĚ called Josh from the back seat.
When Nickelback faded to a news-teaser, Nick moved to change the station. Lindsay clutched his arm. ‚ÄúWhat‚Äôd she say?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI coulda sworn she said ‚ÄúGator in the ‚ÄėHooch. Leave it ‚Äď I want to see.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúGuys, you hear that? Lindz thinks there‚Äôs a gator in the ‚ÄôHooch!‚ÄĚ
Hoots erupted from the backseat and Nick snickered. Lindsay smacked his arm. ‚ÄúI didn‚Äôt say that, I said she said it. I think. Shhhh ‚Äď commercial‚Äôs over!‚ÄĚ
"‚Ä¶Department of Natural Resources was helping capture the alligator. Officials hoped the animal would provide clues as to where it came from.
The alligator was sighted around Powers Island, a popular launch area within the Chattahoochee River National..."
‚ÄúTold ya.‚ÄĚ Lindsay folded her arms and smirked.
‚ÄúHey, Lindsay, hate to burst your bubble ‚Ä¶,‚ÄĚ Josh shouted.
Nick lowered the volume, ‚ÄúWhat, dude?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúShe said ‚ÄėPowers Island.‚Äô You know, like, where we‚Äôre going?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúMan, what are the chances? It‚Äôs probably a hoax, anyway.‚ÄĚ
Melody shrieked when her toe touched the river water. ‚ÄúIts COLD!‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúC‚Äômon, quit being a baby.‚ÄĚ Josh grabbed one of her arms and raised his eyes at Jason, who promptly took the other. Her screams of protest were drowned when the twins plunged into the river, carrying Melody with them.
She came up sputtering and giggling. ‚ÄúWhen you least expect it‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúYah, whatever, not scared,‚ÄĚ Josh retorted
Nick grabbed the rented tubes one by one and chucked them toward his friends, then he and Lindsay waded in. The posse climbed onto their inner-tubes for the float through Atlanta.
‚ÄúAhhh, mucho better.‚ÄĚ Lindsay dribbled water over her steaming skin. ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt forget, we‚Äôre on gator watch.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúNot the gator again,‚ÄĚ Nick groaned.
‚ÄúHey, the outpost dude even said to watch out.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúLindz!‚ÄĚ Jason called. ‚ÄúGator at 12:00!‚ÄĚ
Lindsay whipped around, almost spilling out of her tube, and heard gales of laughter. ‚ÄúDude, that‚Äôs cold.‚ÄĚ She laughed nervously, peering around.
She had just relaxed when Jason cried, ‚ÄúLindsay, what‚Äôs that beside you!‚ÄĚ She popped up, glancing wildly to both sides. This had them all, even Nick, rolling.
‚ÄúFine, mock me. Just don‚Äôt ask me for help when the gator gets you.‚ÄĚ She slid down in a huff, adjusting her bikini straps to match her tan lines, and pulling her cap over her nose.
All grew peaceful, and she enjoyed the cool water, the heat of the sun, and the orchestra of nature and city.
Nick interrupted her solitude. ‚ÄúLindz,‚ÄĚ He hissed
‚ÄúRight. Not falling for it.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúMmm-hmmm.‚ÄĚ She didn‚Äôt budge, even when Melody screamed. Man, they‚Äôre trying hard. Not gonna work.
She was wrenched from reverie by Nick‚Äôs strong hands hauling her off her tube. ‚ÄúQuit!‚ÄĚ Her protest was muffled by Nick‚Äôs smothering embrace. She struggled loose and saw his horrified stare. When she looked back, she swooned.
The pointy teeth of a gator were shredding the tube as his muscular neck jerked his head back and forth. Then, taking his prize, the proud animal dove to the bottom.
Lindsay sat wrapped in a group hug. Comforting murmurs soothed her. Her shaking had reduced to a tremble.
Jason spoke up. ‚ÄúI get it now. ‚ÄôThe Boy Who Cried Wolf.‚Äô I can‚Äôt wait to tell mom.‚ÄĚ
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