Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Rage (violent, uncontrolled hatred and anger) (02/05/15)
TITLE: Mount Wrath
By Diane M. Bowman
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When the inhabitants of Utter Chaos visited the mountains, quietude seeped into their souls and they carried a bit of the serenity home with them. Once a person had experienced their calming effect first-hand, just looking at them out of the window in the middle of a hectic day could settle the angst of a fretful heart.
The people loved these mountains and gave each peak a name. Mount Love stood furthest to the north. Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, and Temperance followed. But south of the range, off a little to itself, sat a mountain that was different. Its name was Wrath. A stranger may think it looked just like the rest but the populace of Utter Chaos knew it was nothing like the other mountains.
When a hiker climbed Mount Love, the trees on the mountain helped to propel him along his path and smoothed the way before him. Even though portions of the trail were extremely steep and difficult to ascend, when you reached the top the exquisite view caused you to forget entirely about the effort it took to arrive there.
Dense fog often encased Mount Faith, repelling all but the most avid outdoorsmen. At times, the mist would clear a bit along the way, giving you a glimpse of the next turn in the path but usually all a hiker could see was just enough to find their next foothold. From the top of the mountain, a person could view the entire valley. Even on the gloomiest of days, the fog never rested there. In fact, looking back down the mountain, you could clearly see the full length of the trail you just ascended.
No one ever climbed Mount Wrath. Local legend claimed a man had attempted to scale its height many years ago and never returned. When the children of Utter Chaos asked their parents for a scary story, it was nearly always about Mount Wrath and the man who disappeared on it. The tales told of rumblings, smoke, and fire. The occasional plume of smoke from the peak of the mountain gave credence to the stories.
One day a burly man stepped off the train into the city of Utter Chaos. Entering the local sporting goods store, he inquired politely regarding proper gear to ascend Mount Wrath. With a silent look of abject horror, the clerk fell backwards to the floor. Every customer in the store gathered around to revive the clerk and hear what had instigated such a reaction.
As the clerk returned to his senses, he struggled to speak. "S-S-Sir. Sir. There is no appropriate gear to climb Mount Wrath. You must not even consider it."
"I'll conquer that mountain with or without your help." He gruffly replied.
"I beg you. Do not go up that mountain. No one has ever returned from it alive."
The stranger turned and walked from the store, leaving ominous words ringing in the ears of all. "I will conquer it or die trying."
In the days that followed, the man remained in the city, preparing for his trek up Mount Wrath. His face appeared daily on the front page of the newspaper with updates of his progress and plans. The citizens of Utter Chaos, from the youngest to the oldest, from the poorest to the richest, spoke of nothing but the stranger who dared to climb Mount Wrath.
The day he was to begin his ascent, all businesses and schools closed. People lined the streets to witness his departure. The moment he stepped foot on the base of the mountain, it began to rumble. Smoke rolled out of the mountaintop and the volcano that was Mount Wrath screamed and began to erupt.
As lava started to flow down the mountainside toward the city, abject terror struck the people of Utter Chaos. They scattered. Some fled to their homes and hid under their beds or in their basements. The wise ones immediately packed a few belongings and escaped to the Range of Tranquility.
In only a few minutes, the sky turned black as night with ash.
Within an hour, red-hot lava entirely obliterated the city and the remaining inhabitants of Utter Chaos.
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