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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Truth or Dare (08/28/08)

TITLE: A Vacation to Ponder
By Donna Carrico


Sherry wiped the sweat mixed with grime from her brow. Cracked and bleeding from the thicket they had conquered, her now ridged fingers stung from her own perspiration. She raked the leaves and cob webs from her tangled auburn hair and cringed when she thought about how her hands will hurt if she got back to her job as a hair stylist. She honestly wondered if they would ever see civilization again. She prayed silently for guidance and help as she faced the facts of their situation.

A heavy mist blanketed the air around them. They struggled with every breath. The pungent odor that smothered them was a mixture of nature consisting of bugs, animal dung, foliage, and included their own filthy bodies. It was strangely quiet, with a few bird chirps and rustling noises from the underbrush that proved how isolated from humans they really were.

Bruce had challenged Sherry to take this vacation. He insisted she never took a chance at life. He spent most of his days behind a desk, but he had an adventuresome spirit. He longed to go where others feared to ponder. His father took him on many excursions and constantly goaded him to be a man long before his boyhood was finished. His father's words rang in his mind. "A man taint a man until he can survive in the woods with a hunting knife, matches, a piece of twine, and a paper clip." Thank God he did prepare for the trip with those things and a few others necessary items.

The tiny silver streaks in his hair glistened in the patch of sun peeking through the canopy of trees. Blood was dripping from the briar scratches on his face and his torn shirt revealed more scratches and cuts on his arms. He planned this trip like a determined protagonist resolute in getting the most out of his fifty plus years of life. He never counted on the guide getting injured and having to be left by the side of the trail with only a few instructions to lead them back to the nearest village. He thought about Martin, his friend and co-worker. Bruce had trusted him with a lot of the details in planning this trip. A choice had been made to split up to find a way out when the guide got injured. It had been a couple of hours since they had heard his voice.

Resting for a few minutes, worn out by the long trek through the forest, they finally discovered a possible solution to their predicament. They sat on the precipice overlooking the river far, far below and considered their options. Sherry absorbed the scene before her. The old rope bridge did not look safe. There were several boards broken and some missing. The thick jungle rope was worn and frayed. Evidently, their guide had not shared the truth of what lay ahead of them.

Bruce grabbed the rope and tugged with all his strength daring it to break. He planned to be the first one to cross over. He shook the rope for the third time, gave it a strong jerk, and was about to take his first step when Martin plunged into the opening behind them.

He was gasping for air, but shouted, "Hey, wait a minute!"

They were shocked and elated to see their long time friend whom they thought they had lost forever. Bruce helped Martin to keep his balance and after a few minutes catching his breath, Martin rasped, "I've found another path. You won't believe it! About one hundred feet from here, around the bend, there are some stone steps that lead down to a land bridge. It will get us across to the other side. The river is shallow there so we can walk across. The village is just a few more miles down that path."

Sherry and Bruce gazed at each other in relief and thankfulness giving their exhausted friend a double bear hug. She said, "We better get going. It's getting dark."

She contemplated the day's events and decided that somewhere between truth and dare there was another way. Using the grey matter between one's ears, a person could choose not to succumb to bullies or their peers. One could choose not to make snap decisions under pressure, but still leave room in their life for a challenge. A person could choose to reach out to the creator of the universe putting their lives in His most capable hands.

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This article has been read 494 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 09/04/08
I'm not one of these "take a chance at life people," so I was curious as to what the paper-clip was for. :) You took me to this "jungle" with your writing. I could see and smell the heavy mist and pungent odors and then could almost feel the pain from their scratches from the briar. (You even got the "snap" in for next weeks challenge. :) )
Colin Swann09/10/08
Good enjoyable read. It would have had more comments if you had stacks of buddies in here - like some have.