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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Inner Person (09/09/10)

TITLE: If You Make A Vow, Keep It
By Virgil Youngblood


The thrumming of the gigantic container ship’s motors faded away long before its red stern lights vanished beneath a low hanging quarter-moon. Cynthia”s scream chased the ship and bounced unanswered in her mind: How could you run over us and leave? With each rolling wave lifting her upward from a trough, she shouted “Brian!” Pivoting with her life jacket, she searched the dark water for her fiancée. Only a glowing trail of phosphorescence roiled by the ships passage gave evidence of life.

Brian, how could you do this to me? You knew I’m not a good swimmer. I hate you Brian. A sob escaped from somewhere deep inside and tears flushed her eyes. Where are you Brian?

God, how could you let this happen? Before God answered something rasped past Cynthia’s bare thigh. “Shark! Shark!” Thrashing about, fear blanketing every fiber of her being, she pumped her legs like angry pistons. “No, God. Don’t let a shark eat me. Please let someone find all of me. Please, God. Don’t let me die.”

For some time Cynthia continued pleading, sometimes out loud, sometimes in her thoughts, until the sleep of exhaustion overcame her. Positioned face up by the life jacket, she bobbed to the rhythm of the waves. Hours later she awoke with a start, jarred awake by the cry of a frigate bird swooping past. The sun was just beginning to make the eastern horizon glow.

God, I’m thirsty. I want to go home. Can’t you send someone to find me? I promise I’ll start going to church. I know I haven’t been living like I should. I’ll read the Bible. Oh, God, just save me. Please.

Reaching up to reposition the life jacket where it was biting into her shoulder, her hand bumped something attached to the vest. What did Brian say this was? A PRB – a Personal Radio Beacon. Oh, yes, thank you God. They can find me with this. She extended the antenna and pushed the on button, remembering Brian’s instructions. That will send a signal. The Coast Guard can find me. Oh, thank you Brian. I love you.

The sun was high overhead, beating down and blistering Cynthia’s lips and face. She thought once she had seen a shark fin, but that was hours ago. She no longer cared. The angry sting of jelly fish tentacles blistered her legs and arms. I don’t guess you care either God. I saw those planes pass high overhead. And those ships that sailed by on the horizon. I just want a drink and I want to go home. I guess that’s asking too much?

Cynthia began to sing, mumble really, "I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore. Very deeply stained within, seeking to rise no more." God, just take me. I can’t stand anymore of this. Somehow, let my parents know I love them. And God, I don’t really hate Brian. It wasn’t his fault.

Cynthia lapsed into unconsciousness.

Sometime later, she guessed she was dreaming, she felt herself lifted into the air. She couldn’t open her salt encrusted eyelids even if she wanted to, and she didn’t want to. A stiff wind was blowing and it was noisy. She was drifting away to sleep when something jabbed her in the arm; she clenched her eyes tighter. Soon she was asleep.

When she awoke she could open her eyes and everything was white. It took her a few moments to realize she was in a hospital room. Looking out the window she could see the tops of palm trees swaying gracefully. In the other direction, in a nearby bed was a man with his hand stretched toward her. There was a bandage covering much of his face but, could it be? “Brian?”

He smiled and wiggled his fingers at her, and waited for her finger tips to touch his. “Babe, I don’t know if you promised God anything, but we’re going to keep it. Let’s start by getting married. How about it?”

Cynthia wasn’t sure if she spoke or only thought it. Definitely!

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This article has been read 411 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lillian Rhoades 09/16/10
Suspense packed. Not sure how this ties into the inner person in any direct way;and
to give the story more credibility, I would like some indication and more detail about how long it took for the rescue. However you did a good job of getting me to the finish line.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/17/10
It was full of suspense. I too often feel like I'm lost at sea with the sharks circling. Your metaphor was clear for me, almost too clear. Well done.
Genia Gilbert09/18/10
Good story, and reminder or how danger and helplessness bring out the innermost thoughts. Nice ending.
Christina Banks 09/21/10
It's easy to make promises to God in the midst of a difficult situation. It takes real dedication to keep those promises when the seas of life smooth out. I'm glad that your characters have decided to keep their vows.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/23/10
Congratulations for placing 14th in your level!