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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: In and Out (04/30/09)

TITLE: My Unforeseen Hero
By Mary Lou Cook


On the large boulder I laid on my back using a baseball cap to cover my eyes from the glaring sun. My legs were tired from the strenuous hike up the steep mountain. Reaching the top I celebrated with a bottle of cold water and a zip-loc bag of trail mix. It also marked my year long recovery from an unexpected divorce. What I thought of as a happily married forever, my husband held different thoughts.

My divorce had the usual reason for a man leaving his wife. With our two daughters in college I looked forward to being a couple again. On the answering machine I found his message saying he wouldn’t be coming home from work. He had met someone and wanted a divorce. He gave up everything including his family. He walked out of our lives and into the life of another woman.

Soon after my divorce I sold our family home of twenty-eight years and moved to Nederland, Colorado. I bought a small log cabin that sat on the side of a mountain stream. I found a part time job as a receptionist for the local veterinarian clinic. That’s where I met Ben, an over-sized hair-bag mongrel. Someone had abandoned him on the clinic’s door step. When I looked into his sad brown eyes my heart melted.

I sat up to see Ben staring down the narrow valley. In the far horizon out across the rugged mountains I saw what held his attention....a dark storm cloud. I picked up my back pack and headed down the six mile trail. Ben led the way with me following close behind. With the sound of thunder he stopped and looked over his shoulder at me. He had a horrible fear of the thunder boomers that rumbled through the mountains. With each storm he tried to shove his king-size body under my queen-size bed.

Out of my back pack I dug out my rain poncho. As the storm drew closer the rain would soon begin. Before everything broke lose I hoped to be on the other side of the stream. If the creek flooded it would be difficult to get Ben and me across. Just then the drenching rain came down. It poured so hard that I couldn’t see the trail ahead of me. I followed Ben’s tail end down the mountain side. With each step I encouraged myself on with thoughts of a hot shower and a glass of wine waiting for me in the cabin.

When Ben stopped I glanced through the pouring rain at the flooded creek. The stepping stones I had crossed over earlier had disappeared under churning water. Down stream there were three large rocks that zigzagged across. It wouldn’t be easy getting to the other side but I had no other choice. Ben followed me over to the first rock. The storm seemed to be getting closer and the wind started to blow harder. The lightening struck a tree sending the sound of thunder roaring through the valley. He leaped past me landing on the next two rocks arriving on the other side. On the last rock I slipped, falling into the turbulent water. Hanging on to the rock’s edge, I tried to find a way out. My cold hands ached while beneath the surging water my legs were being battered. Something grabbed my arm. I looked up to see Ben. As he struggled to pull me out of the rising water I felt his teeth dig into my skin. I swung my other arm up and grabbed his collar. He managed to drag me out of the flooded stream and onto the solid rock. As I sat cold and exhausted he jumped to the creek bank. Surrounded by lightening and thunder he waited for me. Together he and I ran toward the cabin.

With Ben and me safe inside the cabin the storm raged outside. After getting out of my wet clothes I put on my favorite pajamas and poured myself a glass of wine. Through the living room sky light I watched the tall pine trees sway back and forth in the high wind. There came the sound of branches cracking and falling to the forest floor. Lightening lit up the dark sky followed by loud thunder boomers. My fearful hero hid his head underneath my bed.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 05/11/09
Oh what a hero Ben was. Your thunderstorm descriptions are good. I love aniamal stories like this. It sounds like this is true, right?
Mary Lou Cook05/12/09
Thanks Beth. This is a blend of truth and imagination. Ben is my true over-sized hair-bag hero.
Bryan Ridenour05/12/09
Nice story...well written. Good job.
Janice Fitzpatrick05/12/09
Aw, this is so capturing and very intriguing. Good 'ol Ben sure saved the day.Often we find that our heroes turn out to be the humble and dependable or in this case,
a four legged friend. First she saved him and he did the favor. What a wonderful story. God bless.:0)

Janice Fitzpatrick05/12/09
Oops. I am so sorry. I don't know what happened but the space all turned yellow after my comment.Doggone fingers and p.c. Drats.;0(