Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: FAMILY VACATION (07/30/15)
- TITLE: Den of Deception
By Loni Bowden-Horn
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It seemed like only yesterday that our family jetted over to Europe for an extended family vacation. My sons Bret and Randy were both going off to college. My wife and I felt that we needed some time to be together as a family before school started.
My wife and I decided to go on a sightseeing tour of the city; while, my boys opted to go explore the trails near the vicinity of our hotel. My wife was hesitant about our sons hiking through such difficult terrain, but I talked her into letting them go.
Why did I encourage my boys to go hiking through the thickets of a dense forest? It said in the travel brochures that the trails were rocky, steep, and rugged. Regret washed over me like a tidal wave crashing down upon the shore. I could not alter the shifting sands of time and go back. I had to live with the choices I had made.
The police would not get involved with my sons’ disappearance until they had been missing for more than thirty-six hours. Because of their age, we needed to wait for them to call.
As soon as I heard my ring tone on my phone go off, I answered it. I heard sobbing and screaming on the other end of the phone as my son Randy blurted out something.
“Randy, slow down and repeat yourself. I can’t quite understand you.”
I escaped from the camp…couldn't get Bret to come…brainwashed…no food…little water…no sleep.
“Dad, please come get me.”
After I jotted down the address my son gave me, I filled my wife in on the details.
My wife stayed at the hotel in case we heard from Bret.
After I grabbed my keys from the nightstand, I flew out the door to pick Randy up.
When I found my son, he sat wrapped up in a blanket, shivering. Randy’s eyes were staring straight ahead as in a daze. I went over and held Randy in my arms until my son was able to speak.
“Dad,” Randy said, “Bret and I got separated from the rest of the group. We stumbled upon a commune and the members asked us to spend the night.”
I was taken to Guru Jan’s abode. As his piercing eyes gazed into mine, he stated, “In order to guide you on a pathway to spiritual awakening, you need to rid yourself of family members of friends who do not follow my teachings. Any distractions will hinder your ability to reach the highest realm of enlightenment.”
The guru summoned Paverre to escort me to the healing ceremony. The guru’s converts were gathered in a circle, holding hands. The beating of the drums intensified as Guru Jan began to chant. The guru urged us to immerse our hearts with love and acceptance towards one another.
When I finally found some time to be alone with Bret, I pleaded with him to escape from the camp with me. Bret told me he wanted to stay. He felt like he belonged here.
“It was as if God blinded the guards’ eyes when I escaped from the cult.”
I waved goodbye to my wife and son Randy as they flew back home early. It was safer that way.
I hired a Christian cult deprogrammer and we snuck into the camp at night. Stealthily, we grabbed my son and took off running. We shoved him into an awaiting car, drugged him, and drove straight to the airport.
My son’s life hung in the balance. Only twenty minutes left…Please God, let him get through security before the effects of the drug have worn off…breathe…just breathe…I looked around the terminal at the passersby…Were we being followed?
As we taxied down the runway, the lines began to blur together in my mind between what was right and wrong in this situation. Even though it meant possible kidnapping charges could be lodged against me if I had failed my rescue mission, I took the risk.
A Father’s love awaited my son when he returned home.
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