Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: GREED (avarice, particularly for wealth and things) (01/22/15)
- TITLE: Dangerous Mines
By Katherine (Kat) Kane
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Rumour has it that down this mine, there is still treasure beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, treasure to guarantee permanent financial security and the lifestyle of a king. Treasure that could be – would be – his; his alone.
Switching on his torch, he threads his way through the least slippery patches of the algae carpet, one step at a time.
He trudges onward past the monotony of coal faces and rivers of algae until ahead, something gleams in the light. The closer he comes, the more its colours seduce him. He sees the luxury sauna and jacuzzi of his dreams twinkling in the reflections on the gem. Mine... all mine...
He uses his coat to wipe the coal dust and slime off his hands. No way will he sully his precious gem with dirty hands. He buries his gem in the depths of his bag. What else will this mine yield?
The path slopes downward. He trudges on, battling against the rising humidity and the thickening air. Each breath requires more effort than the last. But the gems become more plentiful, more beautiful, more seductive...
The bag grows heavier. Its straps cut ever deeper into his shoulder. His knees and back groan under the increasing strain. Yet he refuses to risk putting the bag down, lest it vanish before him.
His feet slip all over the path. Its treacherous downhill bends lead him further, faster. The torch flickers. Where are those gems? I must find them before the batteries die! In his desperate quest for riches, he fails to see the sudden steep slope...
Plummeting, tumbling, falling... The bag and torch fly out of his hands, plunging deep into the unknown.
He crashes hard onto the wet, unforgiving ground. Silence.
For the first time in many years, he realises he is alone. The shattered remains of his phone lie beside him, its screen blank and lifeless, just like his contacts list. One by one, he thinks of his friends and family, who he rejected years ago for the jet-set lifestyle. What have I become?
He thinks, too, of the faith he grew up with, but abandoned at the altars of promotions and fortune. Where are these gods now?
For the first time in years, he has neither time nor energy to devote to worrying about his salary or job title, nor does he care what happened to his precious gems; they could neither buy him a way out of the mine, nor save his failing life.
Mine... my life’s mantra... and now, my grave...
He gazes into the pitch black, hoping – praying – for deliverance; deliverance from death, deliverance from the mine: deliverance from himself. Forgive me, Lord...
Although barely conscious, he becomes aware of a distant sound that seems to be getting louder, coming closer. Could it be? Dare I hope?
Light cuts through the darkness, voices break the silence. He blacks out, knowing his prayer is being answered.
Doctors, nurses and physiotherapists oversee the physical side of his recovery whilst the chaplain helps him through his spiritual reawakening. With all the time he has on his hands, he tries unsuccessfully to work out who might have known he needed rescuing. He gives up, turning his thoughts instead to his family. A warm, fuzzy glow buzzes through him, one that he has not experienced in years. He dreams of how he will make up for lost time, starting with his brother and nephew’s visit in a few hours.
While drugs calm the ravages of physical pain, gratitude balms his soul. Free at last. Thank you, Lord, for giving me a second chance.
He lies back against the pillows, closing his eyes in contentment. For the first time in years, not a single material thing enters his mind.
He knows he has found eternal treasure.
Scriptural inspiration: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt 6:21 KJV)
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