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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Writer's Challenge (NOT the FaithWriters Challenge) (06/10/10)

TITLE: Declaration
By Timothy Klingerman


Rap! Rap! Rap!

Rap! Rap! Rap!

The sound of the carpenter’s hammer rings forth from his shop near my temporary quarters, beating out a slow cadence not unlike the one that begins the drum call before an execution. The weight of the moment is heightened by this realization, though it was already heavy enough—the oppressive heat and humidity making my apartment feel like a suffocating, sealed tomb. It is becoming increasingly difficult to force my body to do what my mind knows will consign my neck to a noose.

Rap! Rap! Rap!

Rap! Rap! Rap!

The penetrating beat fails to quicken into the drum roll which normally completes the call for execution. The small comfort I gain from this strengthens my resolve as I push pen to paper and inscribe:

"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with one another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separate."

It is just a sentence—but for me, and anyone who assents to its attestations, it will bring a sentence of death.

Rap-rap! Rap-rap! Rap-rap!

Rap-rap! Rap-rap! Rap-rap!

Now I hear in this one hammer the echoes of a dozen others much more distant. They are busily employed in the construction of the gallows intended for me and my fellow-revolutionaries. Where will it stop? Will our homes, our lands, our possessions and even our families be taken or destroyed? The shadow of devastation grows larger with each additional word I write. My actions destine more than just myself to the coming destruction.

Rap-rap! Rap-rap! Rap-rap!

Rap-rap! Rap-rap! Rap-rap!

As the hammer’s song continues, the echoing beat becomes more familiar. It recalls the sound of a Galilean carpenter at work, the rhythm of his labors still resonating in the world after many hundreds of years. He was more than just a performer playing someone else’s music; he was the composer, the author, of life’s rhythms. I draw courage and inspiration from that thought to write the next line:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Life! Liberty! Happiness!

Life! Liberty! Happiness!

The beat of the hammer mocks my words and seems to drive them in succession from my grasp. I relinquish my control of them and place it in the hands of the Galilean. What madness is this? Those same hands were nailed to a cross. He sacrificed his life, liberty and happiness that others might have all three. Perhaps I am more his disciple now than I ever thought myself capable.

Minutes turn to hours as I toil on, and the carpenter across the way keeps pace. We are both drawing our work toward its conclusion.

Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.

Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.

Now the finish nails are being driven home, like nails driven carefully into the lid of a coffin for fear of disturbing the dead. Yet, I and my compatriots are men disturbed among the living—though not so disturbed as to lose all powers of reason—and for such men no coffin is afforded. Mine will be a summary execution and burial, though I am not quite resigned to that fate. Fully aware of what I am doing, I am resolved to finish my work with the same care as the craftsman in his shop. As my quill taps out the final strokes, I place everything in the care of the Galilean with these words:

"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

The challenge of the written word complete; the larger battle still we have to meet.

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This article has been read 358 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 06/17/10
A unique take on the topic, writing from Thomas Jefferson's point of view.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/18/10
You put such wonderful and terrible thoughts into the MC head's. I can imagine this is likely an accurate description of how many of the founders, or rebels of a country might feel. Great job in reminding me that the past is in the past here, but for many people they are still living with those fears here in the present and likely far into the future. May God give courage.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/25/10
Congratulations on placing in the top 15 of your level and the top 30 overall.