Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Bridge (07/31/08)
- TITLE: The Great Escape
By M. R. Davenport
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I didn’t know where I was going. That’s why I was trying to think ahead of myself. The next step could be my… The ground fell away from me. A chasm so deep the bottom was shrouded in fog lay below me. My momentum carried me past the edge and I dropped like a brick. In a frantic grasp I reached back to find a small tree root with my right hand. It took my weight and the jolt of my descent. I found myself hanging in mid air. The root was my link to life and it began to slowly loosen from the soil that reared it.
I reached up to where the root grew from the dirt with my left hand and found the base of a small tree. The tree was much thicker than the root and I gripped it. I scraped and scratched to get a hand hold on the surface I had just been running across. I pulled my body up one leg at a time and slid onto the edge of the precipice. The ground I rested on creaked so I rolled over and found secure ground.
On my feet again I moved along the rim, searching for a place to cross the chasm. It seemed to continue as far in each direction as I could see and the shortest distance across that I could find was at least fifteen feet. Too far to jump. The cliff was a sheer drop, I couldn’t even climb down into the gorge below to escape. My hunters were near. I gave up looking for way across and started looking for material to bridge the span.
I spied one tree that appeared to be what I needed. I sized it up and realized it wasn’t long enough by itself. The tree’s branches were very twisted and winding. If I could find another like this, I could lock the branches together and between the two, they’ll reach, I thought. Then I remembered that I didn’t have so much as a pocket knife to work with.
Dejected, I moved out to the cliff edge and decided to continue in one direction. Then I heard someone call to me. Across the chasm stood a man. He called out to me. He stood alone and he didn’t have a gun. At least that I could see. He cupped his hands and hollered, “Do you need across?”
“Yes, is there a bridge somewhere?” I responded, hoping those that were chasing me wouldn’t hear.
“No, but I have a way. I’ll be right back.” He disappeared and I waited nervously. I suddenly realized that I was putting my trust into the hands of someone I have never met. In fact, I couldn’t even see his face too well.
I heard shouting and barking in the distance. The dogs they kept at the compound. They were using them to track me.
I was about to give up when the man reappeared. He cupped his hands again and yelled. I tried to stop him, knowing the others would hear, but it was too late. “I’m going to throw you a rope, you pull hard and I’ll push.” I had nothing to lose. He backed a wagon up to the precipice. A moment later a rope was flying through the air. I caught hold of it and pulled it tight. The man began raising something from the wagon, all the while yelling for me to pull. I did as I was told. A plank of wood finally peaked and flopped over, landing about seven or eight inches onto the cliff edge in front of me. I quickly and carefully stepped onto the wooden bridge. Halfway across fear overcame me. The man yelled encouragement, “Don’t look down.” I continued.
When I finished crossing the gap, I looked back at the shape of the wooden plank. “Hey, that’s a cross.”
“Yeah, there’s an old mission down the hill. It’s been abandoned for years.” He looked at me. “You get away from that drug pushers jail?”
He kicked the cross loose and it fell into the chasm. “Looks like you’re free.”
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