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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Think (09/02/10)

TITLE: A Jungle of Thoughts
By Serafia Cross
09/07/10


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This should not have happened. I checked the facts, analyzed all the possibilities, and came to the same conclusion: this could have been prevented. I evaluated the situation again, and here is what I found. Africa. A missionary's daughter. The assignment to protect the daughter. A trip through the wilderness to visit my kinsmen. My decision to turn my gaze from her for just a moment. Then it happened. I had no time to think—no time to comprehend the possibility of failure on this scale. I simply stared.

I backtracked the events in my mind to play them out again because I must have missed something. I am the best warrior in my tribe and well-respected among my own people and outsiders. I speak their language, and there is peace among us. How could this happen? How did this happen?

She insisted she visit my brothers who were not yet saved. I should have insisted harder that she stay in the village. We rode on the same four-wheel drive, and I made sure she sat in front of me while I reached around her on both sides and steered the vehicle. If a tribal member wanted to shoot her, he could only do so by being directly in front of our vehicle, but I was driving, and I knew this place. I knew the land and every inch and crack and roll of the hill. If someone was waiting for us, I would have seen him and jerked the vehicle another direction. If he wanted to shoot her from behind, he had to go through my muscular body. If I was shot, I could tolerate pain long enough to get her to the safety of a village. If I failed, I would dismount the vehicle, tell her to drive on and not stop, and then I would hunt down her would-be killer and die somewhere along the way; that was my last option in that scenario.

We got through the wilderness and had to leave behind the vehicle to trek through the thick forest full of natural and inhuman dangers. I had to lead the way since she didn't know her way, but I kept a firm grip on her shoulder. If I heard the discharge of a gun, I would shove her to the ground until I knew it was safe. If the ground beneath her became quicksand, I would yank her to safety. If a tiger launched out of the growth, I would toss her aside and tackle the cat and strangle it like Samson did in the Scriptures. If the cat overwhelmed me, she knew to run—run back to the vehicle and drive as fast as she could as far as she could.

When we reached the secluded settlement of my family's village, I hid her and told her to stay until I was certain all was safe. I nodded to the guards high in the trees concealed by leaves and vines with guns and bows in their painted hands. Freshly roasted hog hung on a stick across a large fire in the center of the village. Most of the men had gone hunting. Only the women and children remained, and they were safe and harmless for the missionary's daughter. When the men came back, they would hoot, shout and clamber long before they arrived at the village. I would have enough time to sneak her into a tent and hide her there until all was calm.

The children stared and gaped when I brought her to them. They pointed, covered their mouths and laughed and touched her ash white skin. She hugged them, opened the basket she insisted to bring along and handed out rolls and small dolls. She laughed and smiled and played with them. Peace at heart, I looked away to the woman across the village I hoped one day to marry in the Lord.

A gunshot. The men had returned. The children screamed.

I spun around and watched wide-eyed as the missionary's daughter crumbled to her knees, looked down at her bloodied chest then back up at me again before she collapsed.

I cradled her as she died and tried to think how this happened. She smiled and reached a bloodied hand to my dark cheek. “You're thinking too hard. Things happen.” I couldn't fathom how I couldn't save the daughter of the man who saved my soul.


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This article has been read 255 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Amanda Brogan09/10/10
Aw, this is so sad. But at least we know the girl went to live with her Savior.

The story is intense and kept my full attention. I couldn't help thinking at the end that maybe her death would lead to the salvation of many of the tribe members.

Awesomely written!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/10/10
This was so suspenseful I enjoyed every word even the ending. Outstanding job!
Anthony David09/12/10
The suspense is taut! Your story is a compelling read.I really felt sorry for the warrior who couldn't prevent the killing.
Rachel Phelps09/15/10
This is an awesome story with great plot and characters. Always look for words you can trim to make your writing even tighter. Tension can be shown in clipped sentences and short paragraphs. Well done.
Karen Pourbabaee 09/15/10
Loved the title...this was an excellently told suspenseful tale...I liked your depiction of the MC's character, loyalty & bravery and the faithfulness of the missionary's daughter, this was very engaging!
Sarah Heywood09/15/10
Oh, this was good! Even though I knew the outcome from the beginning, the suspense of how it would play out kept me eagerly reading on. This was masterful. And your title - what a good play on words!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/16/10
Congratulations for placing in the top 15 of your level!