Hire
Writers
Editors
Home Tour About Read What's New Help Forums Join
My Account Login
Shop
Save
Support
E
Book
Store
Learn
About
Jesus
  

Four Ways For A Christian Writer To Win A Publishing Package HERE



The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge

BACK TO
CHALLENGE
MAIN

INSTRUCTIONS

how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level

ENTRIES

submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners



Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.





TRUST JESUS TODAY

TRY THE TEST



Share
how it works   Submit

Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Canada (01/29/09)

TITLE: The Heroine of Barkley Sound
By Emily Gibson
02/02/09


 LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
 SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
 ADD TO MY FAVORITES

Minnie Paterson rocked, nursing her infant son. She sat near the south window of the lighthouse living quarters, and studied the rain streaming down in rivulets. Wind gusts rattled the window. A lighthouse keeper’s home was constantly buffeted by wind, but this early winter storm picked up urgency throughout the night. Now with first light, Minnie looked out at driving rain blowing sideways, barely able to make out the rugged rocks below. The Pacific Ocean was anything but; the mist hung gray, melding horizon into sea, with flashes of white foam in crashing waves against the rocky cliffs of Cape Beale.

Whenever storms came, it seemed the Paterson family lived at the edge of civilization. Yet these storms were the reason she and Tom and their five children lived on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, in isolation at the southern edge of Barkley Sound. Tom’s job was to keep the foghorn blaring and the light glowing above the treacherous rocks, to guide sea vessels away from certain peril. The storms sometimes were too powerful even with the lighthouse as a beacon of warning. In January 1906, the ship Valencia had wrecked off the coast and only a few survivors had managed to make their way to shore, staggering up the rocky trail to the lighthouse where she warmed them by the stove and fed them until rescuers could come.

Eleven months later, Minnie was setting about getting breakfast ready when her husband came down the stairs in a rush from the upper room where he tended the light.

“Mother, it’s a ship! I just now see it. It is battered by the waves, its sails in tatters! I can see a man waving a distress signal from the deck. It will surely run aground against the rocks—I must telegraph the village to send out rescuers.”

Minnie went to the window again but could see nothing in the mist. Surely this could not be another Valencia disaster! Tom went to the telegraph in the corner of the room and tapped out the urgent message to the fishing village of Bamfield, five miles away inside Barkley Sound. He sat impatiently waiting for a reply, drumming his fingers on the desk. After ten minutes, he sent the message again with no response.

“The lines are down. I’m certain of it. The fallen trees pull them down in this wind. We’ll be unable to summon the rescuers. This ship is doomed, just like the Valencia. There is no way we can reach them in this weather and they can’t come ashore here in lifeboats. They’ll crash on the rocks…”

Seeing the helplessness Tom felt, Minnie knew immediately what she must do. He could not leave his post—it was a condition of his job. She would have to run the five miles for help, through the forest. She kissed Tom and the children goodbye, donned a cap and sweater, and as her feet did not fit in her boots, she put on her husband’s slippers. She ran down the long stairway down the hill taking their dog as a precaution to help warn her of bears on the trails.

Minnie first had to cross through a tideland inlet with water waist deep. She quickly stripped from the waist down, held her pants and slippers over her head and crossed through the icy water, her dog swimming alongside. Shivering on the other side, she quickly dressed, and started down the narrow winding forest trail, scrambling over large fallen trees blocking the way. She waded through deep mud, and crossed rocky beaches where wild waves drenched her. At times the tide was so high she crawled on her hands and knees through underbrush so as not to be swept away by the storm.

After four hours, she reached a home along the trail and with a friend, launched a rowboat to go on to Bamfield. The two women notified the anchored ship Quadra, which set out immediately for Cape Beale. Within an hour, the Quadra had reached the Coloma which was taking on water fast, and drifting close to the rocks on shore.

Minnie walked the long way back home that night, clothing tattered, muscles cramping, exhausted and chilled. Her breasts overflowing, she gratefully fed her baby, unaware for days that her efforts rescued the crew of the Coloma. Tragically, her health compromised, she died in 1911 of tuberculosis, forever a heroine to remember.

Source material: Bruce Scott’s Barkley Sound


The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.


This article has been read 430 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 02/05/09
An interesting and well-written story. I felt like I was right there in the middle of the action.
Christine Dunn02/06/09
Minnie truly was a hero. A fascinating glimpse into this incident.
Lynda Schultz 02/06/09
A fascinating story, and well-told too. Very good.
Jan Ackerson 02/09/09
What a gal, and what a gripping story! Very good--I could feel that harrowing journey with her.
Karlene Jacobsen 02/09/09
Great story. I felt as though I were there.
Catrina Bradley 02/09/09
I love this historical short story. I saw and experienced everything through your great descriptions.
Sharon Kane02/12/09
You kept up a good pace in this gripping story, but I still felt I couldn't read fast enough. Well done!