Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Right and Left (07/31/14)
TITLE: Death on Either side
By Sheldon Bass
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Sucking in a breath, Walter blew out slowly, attempting to lower his pounding heart rate. Then, placed one foot directly in front of the other like a tight-rope walker, his arms outstretched on either side. The surface beneath his feet was three inches wide with jagged, inch-high shards of stone thrusting upwards. Further on, it narrowed even more.
To Walter’s left across two hundred meters of sky was another mountain. To his right, beyond a hundred meters of air, a small group of onlookers waved him on. To the dare-devil, three all-terrain vehicles looked like colorful toys parked on the adjacent plateau, with teen-aged bodies seated all over them, eager for a free show.
Youthful shouts echoed through the gorge.
“Twenty bucks says you’ll never make it!”
Don’t look down!”
“That’s one crazy dude.” Stated Eddie, a tall lanky boy, and elder of the group.
Walter took another step, rocking his left arm up high and the right one down low to balance himself, bringing a gasp from the group. Then silent, rapt attention.
As if on cue an ominous shadow covered the ridge, blackening out the sun. Dark clouds had silently swept in. The five mile-per-hour wind increased to ten. Adding to Walter’s jeopardy was now the possibility of an electric storm. He’d make a good lightening rod from where he stood.
The aerialist coached himself aloud. “Keep looking straight ahead. Use your arms for balance. Keep your knees bent, and don’t lean.”
Walter wasn’t certain why he craved so much attention. Maybe it was the rush of danger. His first taste of adrenaline, resulting in popularity, had come when he climbed the town’s water tower and painted a caricature of their high-school principal. Doing tricks on a Husqvarna dirt bike was next. Then leaping off the school’s three-story roof onto a first floor overhang, propelled the youngster to stardom among his peers.
But what he was attempting today…
Thoughts swirled in his head: Friends, family, his new job at Wendy’s. Would I feel anything or die instantly? For the first time, Walter was genuinely afraid.
I’ll look like a fool if I fail. I’m already committed. I can’t turn around—I’d fall for sure. Nowhere to go but straight ahead. Lord, please help me do this right.
He recalled the scriptures from last week’s sermon at church.
“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.” (Proverbs 4:25-26 NIV)
Suddenly the preacher’s words from the past Sunday made a lot more sense.
“The spiritual dangers of straying from God’s laws are just as real as the physical ones we face today.”
“So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left.” (Deuteronomy 5:32 NIV)
Walter couldn’t help but glance down to his right. Stepping in that direction would be a dangerous proposition. Then, looking to the left he knew that way too would mean certain death. It caused him to consider how crucial every decision we make in life can be. Jesus’ way is the only right way. And we can’t deviate even a little bit—right or left. The way to life is a narrow path.
“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:14 NIV)
The first raindrop landed heavily on Walter’s shoulder.
Now it’s going to be slippery too? What was I thinking? Oh Lord please don’t let me die!
“Walter. Walter!” His mother’s voice roused him from sleep.
“Wake up. Eddie’s here. He said to tell you your fans are waiting. You’re all going out to Devil’s Ridge?”
“Um… Tell him I’m not feeling too good. I think I’ll just stay home today.”
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