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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Minute(s) (as in time) (03/03/11)

TITLE: Follow The Leader
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom


Katie grabbed her sister’s arm, “Are you afraid at all? What if we are wrong and this is all there is?"

Patting her twin’s arm, Kara attempted a small smile. “We know that Jesus is real and loved us enough to die for our sins. Some people may think Heaven is a fairy tale, something parents tell kids to reassure them. But our parents aren’t like that. We may not have much time left here, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t something wonderful on the other side.”

Fear started tickling the bottom of Katie’s feet. She felt a tear drip from her eye. She wished she could be as brave as Kara. Her head pounded as she tried to remember how the two of them had gotten into this deadly predicament. Her brain was foggy, but one thing she knew for sure was that the end was just mere minutes away.

Kara was the cool, calm, collective one while Katie was the imaginative one. She closed her eyes and tried not to think of the tingling she felt in her legs. Just in case, Kara was wrong about Jesus, maybe Katie could come up with a story that would comfort them both in their last few minutes. “Kara do you think there’s a chance that we might get out of this mess? “

“Oh, my lovely sister, you always try to think of the positive but the cave is getting smaller and smaller. We have maybe five or ten minutes at the very most before there is a complete cave- in.“

“I should have paid closer attention; if I hadn’t slipped down that tunnel, you wouldn’t have followed and we wouldn’t be stuck in this watery cave of a grave. “

“Don’t blame yourself. I’m so glad we’ve had this time together. Besides, you must remember, this is not the end; I believe with all of my heart there’s more to life than just this. Have faith, hold onto our beliefs. Look there’s a white light. Do you see it, too, Katie? I think it must be Jesus. I don’t want to leave you but the light is beautiful and my lungs ache for air. There is more after this; I know it. Don’t be afraid.“

In a blink of an eye, Katie was all alone; she couldn’t believe Kara left her, but deep in her heart she knew she didn’t have a choice and she believed Kara was right. Her legs felt numb and when she squinted her eyes, off in the distance, there was a hint of light. She knew in a matter of minutes, she too would be gone. Dear Jesus please give me the faith that Kara had. I want to believe but I’m afraid. Amen. With that, she felt a tightening in her chest; the light was getting brighter and closer. Finally, she had no choice and with a whooshing feeling she was gone.

Once she crossed over to the other side, Katie opened her eyes. The light was so bright and the colors were spectacular. She felt herself being lifted up, and then she felt the sensation of going down. Fear gripped her; she started howling in a panic. She felt a wonderful tapping and heard a calming “Shush, shush.“ She turned her head to the side; she was surprised to see Kara waiting for her. She reached over and put two of her fingers over Katie’s mouth. Eagerly, Katie started sucking on her twin’s fingers. It comforted both girls immediately.

Suddenly there was a flash of light and Katie heard her mother’s voice, “Take another picture. Look Honey, they’re sucking on each other’s fingers. I bet they’ve been doing that for months now.”

Kara cooed softly to Katie, “I told you there was something more. It looks like a wonderful life.”

Mommy leaned over and kissed Daddy. “This is the happiest I’ve ever been.”

Laughing heartily, Daddy said “Just a few minutes ago you were calling me names.”

Mommy smiled, “Holding our two little angels makes me forget all of the pain. What a wonderful family we have. I love you.”

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Kara Dunham 03/11/11
First of all I love the names :) I also love how you worked in the surprise ending so well. You painted a perfect scene of 2 sister's final moments so convincingly. I was truly baffled at the finger sucking. But it is really a sweet story when it all comes together. Very nice indeed!
Yvonne Blake 03/12/11
SMILE - I should have guessed, but you got me at the end. Beautiful and well done!
AnneRene' Capp03/13/11
Talk about "out of the box", you hit a home-run on this one! Spectacularly creative in both story and ending. As for the fingers, I knew instantly at that moment the girls were inside their mother's womb. I have a twin and sucked my own fingers while sharing that cramped space with my brother. :)
Michael Throne03/15/11
Well done! Great story. I often wonder how my girls perceived the moments before their birth.
Lillian Rhoades 03/15/11
You really caught me off guard with this one! I went from trying to think of how I would respond when death comes to thinking how unrealistic the dialogue seemed for someone who was dying. Then, the sneak attack! Well done!
Rachel Phelps03/15/11
Awesome twist at the end! There were a few typos - the term is "collected" instead of "collective," for example, but overall, excellent.
Ann Grover03/16/11
Although I expected there'd be at least one childbirth story, I didn't see the end of this one coming! Loved it. Well done.
Edmond Ng 03/17/11
What a story! Who would have thought at the start of the story such an ending! The contrast of what seemed like death turned out to be just the beginning of new life. Excellent writing!
Kathleen Langridge03/17/11
Death and birth are amazingly connected and you did it with this one. Great imagination.