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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (03/06/08)

TITLE: The Last Night
By Sue Dent


The Last Night

Fourteen-year old Martin sat slumped on the hay bale, his head rested heavily in his hands, his elbows propped on the dirt stained knees of his work pants. He heard footsteps but didn’t want to move.

Just a few more minutes. I just need a few minutes.

“Come on, son,” Dad encouraged. “We’ve got to keep working.”

Weary eyes found Dad’s tired face. “I—I know but I don’t think I can.”

“You have to. It’ll be dark soon—” Dad paused, bit his bottom lip at some thought. “—and they’ll be back. I can’t do it on my own, son. I need you.”

“How do you do it? How do you keep at it when you know you can’t move another muscle?”

Dad shrugged. “Because it has to be done and I’d rather do it while I’ve got my best chance at success.”

Martin shook his head. “But it don’t matter. We still have to keep at it even at night—when they come. We ought to just rest up so we’ll have more strength.”

Dad’s look was caustic. “Think about what you’re saying, son. You ain’t never gonna have more strength then they do at night. You know that. You might be working hard but it won’t amount to anything next to what they can do.” Fear tempered Dad’s words. “Now get up and help.”

Martin pushed himself up. His leg muscles screamed in agony, his mind numb. “You may be right but it don’t make it any easier.”

“Just grab that bail of hay and bring it outside.” Dad picked one up too.

The next few hours dragged on. The sun was sinking lower in the sky. “It’s getting dark Dad.” There was no disguising the apprehension in Martin’s voice. “They’ll be here soon.”

“I know but we’re almost done.”

“I’m scared, Dad.”

Dad’s expression mirrored his son’s worried one. “You can’t be any more scared than I am.” He then gazed at the maze they’d created with the hay bales, looked toward the main road. “They’re coming,” he bemoaned. “Be ready.”

“How many more nights do we have to do this?” Martin didn’t look like he could take much more.

“This is the last night, son. I promise.”

At that moment, a sea of overly excited four-year olds spilled out of the confines of the church buses they’d come in. Their high pitched chants of can-I-go-first, he-pushed-me and I-gotta-go-to-the-bathroom filled the night air. Tomorrow evening the Bailey’s were to host the fall festival.

A desperate word to encourage, “I promise, Son. This is the last night.”

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This article has been read 648 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marilyn Schnepp 03/13/08
An actual literal view of father and son making hay while the sun shines! Couldn't have made it any clearer than that! Wow!
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/13/08
This was a clever way to use the proverb. I could feel the boy's tiredness in my own muscles. Well done.
Jeffrey Snell03/14/08
Smooth misdirection...you're pretty sneaky, in a good way! Nice job creating palpable fear--you got a simultaneous groan and laugh out of me at the end!
Lyn Churchyard03/17/08
Man, what a sneaky uderhanded trick that was :)

I was holding my breath, wondering what was coming. What was causing so much terror.

FOUR YEAR OLDS!!! Well, yeah, I can understand their fear. Great story, well done. No extra points for the trickery though.

Jan Ackerson 03/17/08
Oh, I'm so glad to see you back! And you really "got me" with this one...I was thinking, zombies, ghouls, Killer Kittens...and it was 4-year-olds! Arrrrggggh! Great buildup of tension, superb payoff.
Catrina Bradley 03/17/08
Ha! Got me. You KNOW I was expecting vampires! :) Great story, and of course I love the twist. Welcome back.
jodie banner03/18/08
Great job building up the terror, you definately got me at the end.
Mandy White03/18/08
I love the build up - who's coming, why are they scared?
AHHH four year olds! Great job!
Sara Harricharan 03/18/08
Ooooh! Yikes! Run for your lives...it's...4 year olds! LOL! This was funny! I liked the suspense you built up and kept as it got to the end. I was waiting for something huge and terrifying. Right. ^_^ A fun read, my only note is the last line seemed a tad bit awkward? Could just be me though. Very funny! ^_^
Chely Roach03/18/08
This was hilarious! I was totally getting the "I Am Legend" vibe, then poof! Four years olds!
Great job...I loved it!
Shelley Ledfors 03/18/08
Oh, this is just perfect! I *loved* it. Yes, four year olds can indeed be scary...especially in "packs", LOL! Good illustration of the topic, too. Very well done!
K. J. Cash03/18/08
I had a prescription for shock therapy once because of four-year-olds--not really--but I should have.

Great twist--good ending--right on topic--AWESOME!!
Sue Dent03/18/08
Ding, ding, ding! Sarah wins the prize. The last line in fact, was supposed to be deleted. Didn't really hurt matters I guess but it was a bit redundant! :)

Yet--that's how scared I was. LOL