Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hide and Seek (08/07/08)
TITLE: Deliver Me From Darkness
By Joshua Janoski
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The countdown begins. I franticly look around trying to decide which direction to run. No path in this dark forest feels inviting, but I must make a decision quickly, because he is coming…
I take off in a sprint, hoping that I can keep up my momentum long enough to elude him and spoil his dark game. Branches and twigs bristling with thorns poke holes in the soft soles of my shoes as I bob and weave through dense sections of decaying timbers.
My speed causes me to nearly collide head on with a few of the gnarled oaks, but I can’t stop. One second of delay, one wrong step, or one wrong turn, and I could end up another number on his casualty list.
My breathing gets heavy as I gasp for air. The rancid atmosphere does nothing to quench my craving for life, as each breath steals away a little bit more of my being. My chest tightens, and my eyes film over, leaving me feeling like a blind mass careening out of control.
Sharp jabs pierce my side. I wince in pain and stumble onto the muddy ground. I try to pull myself back up, but the strength in my muscles has disintegrated, leaving me crawling in the dark.
I look up towards the night sky. Where has daylight gone? Why has darkness prevailed? Is there anyone out there who cares? How did I end up this way? So many questions but no time to answer them. The pain intensifies in my body as I force myself up…off the ground. I have to keep moving…
I hear the voices inside my head. This too shall pass. Joy comes in the morning. Be still and wait. How can I wait when danger pursues me? His arrow is pointed at me, and his bow cocked. Murder crackles and burns within his eyes as he seeks to devour me with razor sharp incisors. I must keep running.
My heart smashes into my chest, screaming to burst out with every intense beat. Hot and cold sweat drips off the tips of my hair. My time is running out. Soon I will surrender to the black.
Wait a moment! Are my failing eyes playing tricks on me? I stumble into a beautiful grove. Vibrant purple and yellow wildflowers encircle the forest floor beneath me. Light penetrates the treetops and shines its golden beam onto me, leaving my eyes blinded for a moment.
I take shelter inside a hole carved within a giant rock at the center of the grove, huddling my aching body against the cold stone. The smooth texture soothes my skin and relaxes my muscles as I lean into it.
“Ready or not, here I come!”
I hear the sound of loud footsteps stomping through the forest in search of me. The sound of a blade leaving its sheath attempts to rattle me, but I am at complete peace inside my newly found shelter. The icy chill of darkness’s footsteps can be heard entering the grove. I refuse to fear, because I have found a safe haven. His claws cannot penetrate my dwelling place.
I listen to screams of pain and agony coming from the one who first created suffering and placed it upon mankind. The beam of light penetrates the dark being and sends him running in fear, seeking his own place to hide.
I start to crawl out from the rock, but quickly fall back inside. I do not want to leave this place. I curl up and fall asleep. I am safe now within this solid rock…within this strong fortress.
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