Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the ADVENTURE genre (05/24/07)
TITLE: Repentance Bridge
By Rachel Burkum
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Eric saw Ross hesitate. The precious bag held what had led them here in the first place. A treasure. But Ross valued his life more at this point. Gold and jewels sailed into the ravine, never to be seen again. Ross groped for Eric’s hand, and held on as he was dragged up onto solid ground. Both young men were sweaty and breathing heavily, but had little time to recover.
The dense jungle foliage rustled with the running feet of the Tribe. “They’re still coming,” Eric warned in a whisper. “We have to get out of here.”
Ross reached for his machete, but it was gone. He’d lost it over the edge. “Which way?”
Sweat poured from Eric’s brow as he grabbed his Guidebook. It was their only hope of finding the way to Repentance Bridge. Eric found the map and ran his finger along the trail. “We have to follow Vanity Ravine. Once we get over this mountain, it’s just a few more miles until we reach the bridge.”
“Do you think we can make it?”
“We have to.” Concern laced Eric’s words. He and Ross both knew the severity of the situation. They had crossed into the Forbidden Territory, believing that wealth and adventure awaited them. The Maker had told them about the dangers and temptations. He had explained that once someone crossed over, it was difficult to return. But Eric and Ross had laughed off the warnings. They had been sure that the other side was better. They had been wrong.
Eric picked himself up and peered through the thick brush to see the Tribe’s painted faces. They wanted their treasure back. Unfortunately for all involved, it now lay at the bottom of Vanity Ravine. If Eric and Ross were captured without the jewels in hand, they most likely wouldn’t make it out alive. “Come on,” Eric whispered. “Stay low and follow me.”
The two men crept through the undergrowth, stopping every few minutes as the Tribe crossed their path. “They’re not going to give up, are they?” Ross asked quietly.
Eric wanted to laugh at the question. The closer they got to Repentance Bridge, the angrier the Evil One would become. He was the ruler on this side of the ravine, and would try everything to stop the men from leaving.
“There it is.”
Eric followed Ross’ pointing finger and spotted Repentance Bridge. A smile creased his lips. “We did it.”
Before they took another step, the ground started to shake. “What’s happening?” Ross whispered hoarsely.
Eric went for his Guidebook again, and desperately searched for instruction. “It’s the volcano.”
“Mount Hate? What do we do?”
“We have to make a run for it. The Evil One is furious. If we don’t get to the bridge quickly, the lava will cut us off.”
The path was steep, causing the men to trip and stumble. The air grew stale, and the stench of burning sulfur was suffocating. At last, Eric felt a wooden plank beneath his feet.
Eric whirled around to face the Evil One, fear surging through his veins.
“You think your Maker will want you back?” the Evil One bellowed. “After you walked away from Him?”
Eric clutched his Guidebook. “He loves us.”
Fire flashed in the Evil One’s eyes. “Cross that bridge, and you’ll be throwing away your dreams.”
“All I found here were lies and deceit,” Eric stated boldly. “You trap lost souls here to live in an eternity of suffering, not give them their dreams. My Maker offers me more than you ever could, and I’m just sorry it took me this long to realize it.”
Flames from the lava raged toward them. Eric and Ross hesitated only a moment before turning their backs on the one who offered worldly pleasure. Through the smoke, they could just make out their Maker – His arms stretched wide open. Repentance Bridge was long and narrow, swaying dangerously in the wind. But love, peace and eternal life were waiting.
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