Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Drip (04/25/13)
TITLE: A Night to Remember
By Claudia Thomason
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In her dazed state, she was aware that her roommate had given her a bottle of antibiotics. “Leslie, take one every eight hours. Do you understand?” Leslie behaved like a drug addict after that. Despite her feverish stupor, when she was conscious, she counted the minutes until she could take another pill, waiting for them to heal her. As she lay on the cot, she saw vague images of people standing over her, talking in whispers, and then leaving. Day turned into night, then into another day, then another night.
Considering herself a strong woman, she had ignored the cough which had developed four days earlier. She had ignored the fever, chills and the difficulty breathing. Leslie knew she had to ignore these symptoms because she was in a foreign country and couldn’t get separated from her traveling companions to recuperate. She had nowhere to go and no one to help.
When Leslie was lucid, she begged God to heal her. Unable to draw in enough air to speak, she prayed silently, her prayers punctuated by violent coughing spasms. Alone in the dark, Leslie had questioned God, “Am I going to die on a soggy cot, in a canvas tent, in Africa, far from my family?” She was afraid and angry. After several hours of dozing, waking and praying, she was drained of emotional strength. Ultimately, she had come to the realization that God was in control, whether she lived or died. She settled into a peaceful sleep for the first time in days.
Later that night, Leslie was awakened by a strange sound. Slowly turning her head toward the canvas wall inches from her pillow, she was shocked to hear the low growl of what must have been a large cat. Leslie remembered someone in her group mentioning one old, fearless lion that came into camp, terrorizing game park guests. For guests’ security, Masai warriors were hidden throughout the camp to chase away intruders. Sneaking past the warriors, the lion made his way into camp, attracted by the sick, vulnerable prey in Leslie’s tent.
Leslie tried to be still, but every noise seemed amplified, even the drip, drip, drip of water falling from the soggy mattress to the cement floor. She continued coughing, struggling to breathe, verifying for the lion that his prey was still there, still helpless.
Minutes passed slowly as she listened to tree frogs, monkeys and the lion’s low growl. “Should I call for help?” she had wondered. Realizing the lion would hear her clearly, she wasn’t sure the warriors would. She was fairly certain they couldn’t get to her as quickly as the lion could. Not knowing what to do, she waited and prayed.
A sudden, deafening “ROAR” pierced the silence. She expected to see claws rip through the canvas. Instead, she heard chants from Masai warriors. Having detected the presence of the lion, the agile warriors were behind him before he realized it. They were brave men armed only with lion clubs and their ability to shout fiercely. Their voices came close, then faded away toward the outskirts of camp. Relieved, she fell into a fever-induced sleep.
The following day, feeling slightly better, Leslie boarded the van for a final game drive as the group left camp. “We will find that lion for you, Leslie.” the driver promised. Out on the savannah, lounging in the shade of an acacia tree, was that old lion. The lion’s huge head turned toward the van, and he looked directly into Leslie’s eyes. For a brief, chilling moment, she had the distinct impression he was sorry to see her leave.
These days, Leslie’s faith is limitless. When facing problems, she recalls her trip to Africa and reminds herself that if God could save her from a raging fever and a hungry lion, He could save her from any of life’s challenges.
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