Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write for the ACTION and/or ADVENTURE Genre (11/13/14)
- TITLE: Second Chances
By Katherine (Kat) Kane
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There I was, minding my own business, when my boss summoned me to deliver an urgent letter personally to The House of Commons. “Just send an email.” I said, “Why bother going all that way?” My boss was having none of it; I was to go to London immediately.
Blow that! I’m due a holiday. The Orkney Isles would be ideal, but anywhere I can hitch-hike to, far away from London, would do nicely.
I stuffed the letter into my bag and left. By lunchtime, I had cadged a lift in a minibus full of tourists and was heading for Edinburgh. Perfect.
Then, on the motorway, everything unravelled. Stuck in a twenty-five-mile tailback, the driver decided to take a random exit and stop for the night in the middle of nowhere. Marvellous.
Lying in a field, gazing up at the stars, I wondered if my boss knew where I was. Probably, and he wouldn’t be surprised, either.
Fields are not conducive to a good night’s rest. Worse still are rude awakenings. Everyone was yelling at each other, pointing to where the now missing minibus had been parked. Mustering my most authoritative voice, I enquired, “Has anyone called the police?” No answer. I repeated, slower and louder. The arguing ceased; slowly they turned, their menacing eyes trained on me like infrared gun sights. My blood ran cold. Did they know I was on the run from my boss? A friendly farmer came to the rescue, taking all but me to the nearest town to arrange alternative transport.
Before reconfiguring plans to escape to Edinburgh, or wherever, I needed sleep. A decomposing mattress amongst a pallet-load of rubbish beckoned me. It stank, but was nonetheless an improvement on the field. I crashed onto the least slimy part and nodded off...
I woke with a start as I detached from my mattress, bounced against a metal wall and landed face-first in a disgusting, slimy substance; I dread to think what. Now I understood that bizarre dream of being thrown around by a fork-lift truck. With a shudder, the rubbish truck’s engine roared into life. Pitch black, claustrophobic, the putrid air barely breathable; no way was I risking touching anything in this hellhole. Although starving, I didn’t dare eat the few morsels squirreled deep in my bag, along with that message... where was the confounded thing?
Worse than the nausea-inducing stench and the inevitable dry-cleaning bill was the realisation of what an idiot I had been. I quietly prayed. Get me out of this mess I had created for myself, and I’d humbly accomplish the important task entrusted to me.
Some poor, unsuspecting soul got the shock of his life when, upon opening the door after arrival at the waste disposal facility in London, I shot out faster than a scolded cat. Clean air! Finally!
I was a sight for sore eyes – filthy, smelly and starving. An abandoned map guided me to the House of Commons. It was a long walk; no bus would allow me on. When I insisted on seeing the Prime Minister, the guard at the door took one look at me and threatened to call security – but then all of a sudden changed his mind. Bet that was my boss’s doing. He escorted me – at arm’s length – right to the Premier’s office.
The letter read; “This country will destroy itself if money continues to take priority over people.”
The Prime Minister’s face changed colour before the empty envelope fluttered to the floor; his remorse confirmed my worst fears.
Fed up with the finger-pointing and insults, I took refuge from the hullabaloo under a conveniently placed tree. A prophet’s job description stinks: all I have to show for my nightmare journey is excruciating blisters. How frustratingly typical of my boss, the God of second chances, to not make people pay for their actions! Just as I thought life couldn’t possibly get any worse, some jobsworth cut down my tree for ‘health and safety’ reasons. No rest, no dignity and now no tree.
As I was mentally drafting my resignation letter, I discovered a note addressed to me.
You’re upset about a tree, which yesterday you didn’t even know existed, but yet expect Me to allow My people to destroy themselves. Your priorities are a bit off, aren’t they?
I suppose I got a second chance, too.
Based on the whole of the Book of Jonah (GNB).
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