Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: GRATE (11/19/15)
- TITLE: Manhole #12
By Francie Snell
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He pushed his hands into the gloves and walked to the iron bars covering a drainpipe. Like a weight lifter, he placed his feet far apart, and then leaned over, bending at the knees, and firmly grasped the bars. With a grunt, he yanked up and dragged the grate to one side of the opening. Heavy metal scraping against cement resounded off the tall brick walls around him.
He stood up and checked both ways again, and then peered down into the hole where metal rungs of a ladder descended down into darkness.
He squatted, and then sat on the ground and dangled his feet into the hole. As he took hold of the first rung, he stepped onto another lower down. With his chest just above street level, he reached with both hands and tugged the grate back over the opening and over his head.
The coveralls he wore fit snug over the supplies strapped to his body. The extra bulk made for a tight fit as the fabric rubbed against the cement walls.
The sound of trickling water resonated through the tunnel as he stepped off the bottom rung. The wooden plank creaked under his weight. The air was dank and musty as he headed south in the light of his headlamp.
South. 5- Right.
He crouched along the narrow platform built over the small stream that ran along the bottom. Counting each tunnel leading to the right as he passed it, he arrived at the fifth one, then turned right and counted the tunnels to the left.
At the eighth one, he turned and followed it, passing three tunnels to the right and stopped at the fourth.
He peered down the tunnel seeing as far as the beam illuminated. He clicked off his light. 50 yards he thought, and waited for his eyes to adjust. Pitch black slowly turned into a faint glimmering in the distance.
His stride was more deliberate as he started into the darkness. No lights for the last 50 yards, he remembered. The passageway grew brighter with each step as the faint sound of music became louder.
Shawn arrived at the entrance, right on time, and marveled at how the place had changed. The enormous cavern was a dazzling sight with lush fruits, vegetables, and herbs covering the entire wall around the whole perimeter of the room. Numerous grow lights lit up the place like a Christmas tree, and an intricate water system of plastic tubing intertwined through out all the plants. It was the most spectacular design of horticultural technology Shawn had ever seen.
As he stood in awe, a man's voice called from across the room. "Shawn, you made it! It's so good to see you dude." The man walked excitedly to Shawn and threw his arms around him. Shawn patted him heartily on the back.
"It's great to see you too Joe. How ya been?"
They both stepped back and looked at each other with broad smiles.
"Good, good. I can't complain. It's been a lot of work, but God's been good to us."
Shawn nodded his head as he looked around the room. "WOW. I'll say. This is quite an accomplishment. Who's the creative farmer… you?"
Joe humbly chuckled. "Well, let's just say I've had lots of help." He smiled and pointed up.
"Amen to that. Hey, ya mind helping me with this load?" He lifted his tired arms slightly. "I used duct tape. Think I got everything on the list."
Forty pounds of supplies, strapped to Shawn's body, were delivered that night to the safe haven under the city. Other people would arrive in the following days, weeks, and months, escaping persecution. However, no one knew how many, or when they would come, except the One who would guide them. When they arrived, afraid, desperate, and broken, they would know they were not alone nor forgotten. And together, they would all proclaim, "Thank you Jesus".
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