Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christian Baptism (10/18/07)
TITLE: THE ADDITION
By mick dawson
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The Missionary climbed into the trees to scout the area. He scanned around himself with the slowest rotation of his head. Simultaneously, he listened and sniffed the air.
“There’s enough things to eat you in the new world.” He mused.
A group of small creatures, resembling rabbits with elongated reptilian claws gathered at the bole of his tree. He looked down into their mouths with needle sharp teeth, ejecting forked tongues.
The Missionary threw his head back and gave a gurgling, long winded screech, not bothering to even watch as the skelps scattered out of sight.
Waiting a few moments he slid lithely down the tree and began to jog briskly through the bush northward.
he black and red costume he wore made him stand out against the trees and under growth but he remembered the training of his mutated friend, Teyata.
She had taught him that bright colors in the wild spoke of danger to the wild life and would therefore think twice about attacking him.
Something shuffled to his right causing him to peer through the foliage until he could see a weed move. He stiffened, noting that no wind stirred.
As he looked harder, he could see faint blue eyes and a sweep of blond hair to one side.
The Missionary clutched the top of his red mask and tore it free of his scalp, revealing a warm smile and a face displaying dark brown hair and jade green eyes.
He raised his hand to beckon her forward but she refused to leave the sanctuary of cover.
“I am the Missionary. From a settlement called Haven. Your parents are there. They sent me to find you.”
No response followed.
“Jasmine…please.” He entreated with extended hand.
The eleven year old girl made to move then froze at the sound of a long winded, gurgling screech.
The Missionary prayed under his breath, realizing that the very fanikal call he used to repel the skelps had attracted a far greater danger.
Standing in the middle of the clearing, he waited for the huge beast to flatten the under growth and glare at him. It quivered, maddened with hunger, allowing the drool to drip from its lower jaw.
The Missionary ran for a Yopapa tree across the clearing and leapt at it. Steel claws sprang from his knuckle guards and boots and in two bounds he had gained an overhanging branch, barely out of reach of the monster where he retracted them.
He loped swiftly to where the fruit of the tree dangled like coconuts of the old world and slashed into one. A milky sap dripped freely.
Dipping both of his claws in the dripping stream he leapt to the back of the monster, latching on with his talons and hanging one desperately as it thrashed at the annoyance.
The creature rolled to the ground where he sprang clear, rolling to his feet and watched as it attempted to gain its feet once then fall again.
“Come on, Jasmine!” he called. “That was enough Yopapa sap to kill anything else but that will put him out for an hour. If we walk back then he will still be able to pick up our scent, so we will have to run.”
At sunup the people of Haven (Or more precisely the church as they were nearly all Christians.) had gathered at the creek which ran past their settlement.
The Pastor (Everyone here was named after their professions.) stood by the waters edge beside Jasmine.
A warmth flowed through the Missionary as Jasmine had expressed that she wanted to confirm her faith openly before the rest of the community.
The two stood waist high in the flowing water, conversing for a moment when the Pastor called him over.
“It seems that Jasmine wants you to perform the baptism. I think its only fitting.”
With a nod the missionary waded into the water and lowered the girl under the flowing stream. A cheer erupted when she resurfaced and the Missionary nodded approvingly when he saw her given a towel by her father.
“Why did you do it?” queried her mother.
The Missionary looked at her blankly.
“We all know what its like outside the perimeter. Did you really risk being killed to retrieve our daughter? Just to see her baptized?”
“Yes…I did. If only one person is saved every time I go out. If only one person confirms her faith like Jasmine, then it is worth any risk.”
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