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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bridge (07/31/08)

TITLE: Catch a Tiger by the Tail.
By Lyn Churchyard


Andrew glared at the chief engineer. “You... you’ve got to be joking?”

The engineer looked at him steely-eyed. “The new cables have to be checked after that storm last night.”

Andrew knew it to be the truth, but these storms never hit just once. “You seriously want me to go out and inspect the lines with the storm about to hit again?”

“Well someone has to do it, and you’re the most expendable.”

Nice to be so highly valued, Andrew thought to himself sourly as he pulled on the safety boots and oilskin coat before heading out the door.

By the time he reached the bridge half an hour later, the storm had begun howling down from the peaks again. He paused at the edge of the bridge; it swayed and groaned as if in pain. Andrew stepped forward and grabbed a steel cable as a particularly strong gust of wind threatened to pick him up and send him crashing two hundred feet to the rocks below.

His radio crackled to life, “Andrew pick up.” He ignored it, and continued his way across the bridge checking each of the new guy wires. The bridge itself hadn’t been replaced, just the wires holding it in place. Another company cost cutting venture he had argued against, but being low man on the totem pole, his complaints had fallen on deaf ears.

The radio crackled again, “An..ew, Jack .aw a t.... ....ing ..r” the message was breaking up badly.

As he reached the far end of the bridge, a dozen or so local villagers rushed from the trees. All of them armed with spears and machete-type knives. Andrew stood stock-still. They’d never had anything but good relations with the local people; why should that change now. He considered turning and running, but doubted he could outrun a spear in the back.

The group charged towards him, throwing him roughly behind them and surged onto the bridge. Staggering to his feet, Andrew saw the object of their attack. Not him, but a huge tiger, now lying dead halfway along the bridge span.

The leader of the group turned to Andrew. “You not hurt?”

Andrew nodded, still a little shaken. “Yes; thanks. I mean, no, I’m not hurt.”

“I am Murugalah, come to our home and shelter from storm.” The spokesman for the villagers turned and led the way back towards the trees. Andrew followed gladly.

Sitting around a warm fire with Murugalah and his family it was hard to believe, that half an hour previously, he was almost on the menu for the tiger.

Murugalah looked at him keenly. “Have you come by the bridge?”

Andrew looked at him in surprise. “Yes, you saw me there; you met me at the bridge. You saved me from that tiger.”

Murugalah shook his head. “That bridge, yes, I saw you. Bridge that is more important you must cross. That bridge I need to know if you have crossed.” He turned to a small girl about six years old. “Suganthi, the book of the bridge.”

The child handed her father a hardbound book, then sat expectantly at his feet as he opened the book and showed a page to their guest. The picture showed a ravine with a group of happy people on one side and the figure of a man about to be attacked by a tiger on the other. The next picture showed a cross forming a bridge from one side of the ravine to the other. A third picture showed the man refusing to cross and being killed by the tiger while two others crossed the bridge, and were greeted joyously by those on the other side.

Murugalah pointed to the cross. “This the most important bridge.” He said grasping Andrew’s shoulder. “You have crossed it yet?”

Andrew realised what the pictures were about, and memories from his childhood came flooding back. Sunday school, his grandmother’s prayers, then as a teenager, committing his life to Christ. After a failed marriage, he had drifted away from Christ. He looked at Murugalah, “Yes, I have crossed that bridge, but I lost my way and find myself on the wrong side of the ravine again.”

“Once you have crossed, you have crossed. You must continue believing that in your heart and continue your journey. The bridge maker is waiting; seek His direction for the rest of your journey.”

Andrew prayed silently, thanking God for the storm that made it necessary for the bridge to be checked today.

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This article has been read 822 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marlene Austin08/07/08
What a wise character you have created, "Once you have crossed, you have crossed." Enjoyed your irony of the Native witnessing to the "civilized" man. Very unique. :)
Holly Westefeld08/07/08
I was first hooked by your title, reeled in with your excellent suspense, and landed with the most creative "bridge to God" scenario I have read thus far. I love how you wove the physical and spiritual stories together.
Ellen Dodson08/10/08
Your characters are very life-like and convincing. you kept my interest throughout. This is one of my favorite pieces.
Sunny Loomis 08/11/08
Excellent story. You never know where you'll find one who knows the truth. Good characters. Nicely done.
Mariane Holbrook 08/12/08
What a great title and what a great story! You're a master of detail and this is a wonderful entry. Kudos!
Amy Michelle Wiley 08/12/08
I loved this story on many angles. I especially liked the way the book used images and stories that would connect to the natives on a practical level. Good job.
Karen Wilber08/12/08
This manages to be inspiring and humorous at the same time. It's Grrrrrrreat!
Beckie Stewart08/13/08
OOOOOOOO, I really liked this. Well-written indeed.
Yvonne Blake 08/13/08
Interesting! I didn't expect it to be in a jungle setting when you started. I like the twist of the natives being the missionary to the white man. Well done!
Carole Robishaw 08/13/08
Good story, great writing. I liked the turn this took, totally unexpected.
Betty Castleberry08/13/08
Love the symbolism. This held my attention throughout. Well done.
Sara Harricharan 08/13/08
LOL! Love the twist here-especially the ending. I really liked that there was an actual tiger in here-such fun and suspense, with a really great message. You are definitely good at this! ^_^ Great job!
Shirley McClay 08/13/08
This is, indeed, super creative. I too loved that the native was sharing the gospel with the non native. And I loved that he was saved from a tiger on the bridge when that is exactly what their salvation story picture showed... awesome job!
Helen Dowd08/13/08
Excellent! A very unusual twist to this story. The true way regarding the bridge of salvation presented, not by US, as would be expected, but by those some people might label as "savages." Great story. It left me spell-bound throughout, wondering how it would turn out. I was more than satisfied....Helen
Pamela Kliewer08/13/08
Wow... I loved this! What an unexpected twist! Kudos.
william price08/13/08
Great flow to a story. I liked your voice. Very nice. God bless.
LauraLee Shaw08/13/08
“Once you have crossed, you have crossed. You must continue believing that in your heart and continue your journey. The bridge maker is waiting; seek His direction for the rest of your journey.”

What a beautiful statement and message. WEll done!
Joanne Sher 08/14/08
Oh, Lynne, this is wonderful. The tension was so very real, and the characterization and irony were excellent. Good stuff.
Elizabeth Hexberg08/15/08
I love your Challenge Entries!
They are always different, entertaining and good.Well done Lynne, and thanks for writing this wonderful message. Elizabeth.
Joshua Janoski08/15/08
I totally forgot to comment on this great entry! I read it, but forgot to say anything! Forgive me, Lynne! :)

Congratulations on taking 6th in your level and for making the top 40. Wonderful job!
Seema Bagai 12/13/08
Clever. Thanks for posting the link to this piece. I enjoyed reading it.
Gerald Shuler 12/14/08
Wow. Two bridges, one held by wires that need to be checked after each storm and another that is held together by the unchanging strength of the blood of Jesus. Wonderful picture of salvation, even for those who feel "expendable".
Leah Nichols 12/14/08
I like how much you were able to pack into this story! Way to be creative! Nicely done.
Tim Pickl12/14/08
I LOVE this line: “Once you have crossed, you have crossed. You must continue believing that in your heart and continue your journey. The bridge maker is waiting; seek His direction for the rest of your journey.” WOW!