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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)

TITLE: The Lost Age
By Amy Michelle Wiley


A voice came out of the darkness, intangible, reverberating within Dr. Forshom's heart. It whispered of secrets long untold, treasures long hidden, and mysteries long forgotten. The archeologist held his light higher, and the darkness reluctantly slunk to the side.

The whisper urged him on, pulling him forward even as the darkness tried to push him back. Then he stopped, holding a hand up to still the party behind him, straining to catch another hint of the voice.

The cave spoke.

The light caught on a deep pattern in the rock wall, a swirl that made Dr. Forshom’s breath catch in his throat. Then he dashed around the corner, following the lines that burst into song before his very eyes. The whole wall was filled with carvings, stretching back further than the light could illuminate.

A sob caught itself in the middle of a laugh, then Dr. Forshom fell to his knees, surrounded by cheering comrades, pounding him on the back and joining the cave’s chorus.

Already the scientist’s trained eyes were picking out patterns, details among the carvings that would later translate into concepts as he learned the cave’s language. This was it, the first solid proof of the lost world of Nayanu. More than a lost world, it was a lost age, a gap in history that only now had a chance to be completed.

Dr. Forshom ran his fingers over the rough-hewn stone and cried. He had waited all his life for this moment, and likely would spend the rest of his life studying it, and forever discovering more details.

He called his family that evening.

“I’m so proud of you, Devin.”

“Yay, Daddy! You found it!”

His wife’s whisper and his young son’s shouts were the perfect harmony for Nayanu’s song.

“Will you bring me a twesuh, Daddy? Will you bring me somethin’ from the king Nanu?”

Dr. Forshom laughed. “Sure Jonny, I’ll bring you something from the cave itself when I come home.”

“When will that be, Devin?” His wife sounded hopeful.

“This is just the beginning, Ann. We haven’t even found the ruins yet. Maybe once I decipher the text we found today, it’ll give us a clue where to look. I’ll be home for a visit in a few weeks, though, and oh the stories I’ll be able to tell!”

Each year Dr. Forshom’s excitement grew. Each year more pieces of the Nayanu puzzle were fit together. The back of the cave was taken away, one load of rubble at a time, and a city rose beneath it. Crumbled walls allowed glimpses of the people who once lived there, discarded utensils giving clues of their everyday lives.

It was the wall of writing that continued to speak the loudest, however, and Dr. Forshom’s name grew in fame as he deciphered the secrets of Nayanu.

Then, as the tenth year rolled near, a grand unveiling was planned. The cave would be opened permanently to the public, and all were welcome to view The Lost Age of Nayanu.

Dr. Devin Forsham sat in front row of the auditorium, his hands trembling with a mixture of nervousness and excitement. Two thousand people sat in the audience, and millions more would watch on TV.

His nervousness fled as he stood and began to share details of Nayanu. His own excitement caught in the hearts of the people, until he could hear Nayanu’s song resonating throughout the world.

As the doctor stood, basking in the applause, he took a deep breath. This, then, was what fulfillment felt like. This was what dreams felt like!

It wasn’t until Dr. Forsham arrived at home that he remembered the bit of carving he’d carefully packed away in his suitcase.

“Hey, Jonny! Look what I brought for you.” He didn’t wait for his son to come, but hurried to bring the long-awaited “twesuh” to him.

Jon glanced up from his computer game. “Wow, Dad, a chunk of rock. Thanks.”

Devin shifted, then sat awkwardly on the couch. “Hey, why don’t you come sit down. I can show you what the stone says. Then we can…hang out…or something.”

The computer chair scraped back and Jon untangled himself to his six foot height. “I’m sure you’ve got more important things to do, Dad. Isn’t there another age to find, or cave to dig up? I’ve got plans tonight. See ya.”

Devin sat, clutching the bit of carving, watching the door slam behind his teen.

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This article has been read 1120 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 01/31/08
Great story and valuable lesson as well as an excellent perspective on the theme.
Laury Hubrich 01/31/08
Oh, ouch! This was very creative. What a great story for all those workaholics in the world. So sad that the Dr. could discover lost worlds while his son grew up without him. Right on topic! Awesome story!
Sherry Castelluccio 02/02/08
Kind of reminded me of the movie "Click" with Adam Sandler. Great lesson inscribed in here.
Annie Wurth02/02/08
Wow, heartbreaking! Come back come back! Excellent writing! PTL 4 U!
Karen Wilber02/03/08
A fitting title for the story and a good message.
Joanne Sher 02/04/08
Love the title - absolutely perfect for this piece! Great descriptions and characterizations - and this didn't "twist" the way I thought it would. Enjoyed this very much.
Sheri Gordon02/04/08
Great illustration of the proverb, and the writing was very good. The dialogue was perfect. Excellent job.
Peter Stone02/04/08
So sad to see a father abandon his precious son to delve into secrets of a lost civilization that in fact, resulted in him losing his son. I would have liked to have seen what the secrets of the Nayanu were, though.
Jan Ackerson 02/05/08
I thoroughly enjoyed this whole story, and the first five paragraphs were simply outstanding.
Sara Harricharan 02/13/08
Oh I did like this. The title had me wondering what age the Dr. was going to discover, but when you reached the end, I figured he'd missed the 'age' of his little boy growing up. So sad and fun to read at the same time. I was with him all the way to the build up of what 'dreams feel like'. Nice job, Amy! ^_^
Carol Wiley02/25/08
Great job Amy! Loved how the title fit and the story of what is important in the end.
Joshua Janoski03/16/08
The first part of this story reminded me of an Indiana Jones adventure. Very exciting and suspenseful. The ending reminded me of the Harry Chapin song, "Cat in the Cradle."

We all need to set priorities in our lives. God and family should always come before our careers or anything else. This story drives home that message very clearly.

Wonderful writing.