Spring, 2006
24-Hour Short Story Contest
1st Place Winner!

He turned the knob on the short-wave radio, trying desperately to hear any word from the outside. It had taken them three days to arrive at their mountain cabin on foot and they were relieved that no squatters had taken possession of their property in the mayhem.

While his wife and daughter made an inventory of the scant amount of food they'd left in the cabinets last summer, his son hovered near his elbow, also waiting in silence. He dialed slower and everyone froze when the room suddenly erupted with static and a child's voice...

Entries must touch on the topic in some way to qualify.

In Need of Rescue

By Katherine Perez, Indianapolis, IN

They're not all the same you know. Most of them you can't even reach by
car. "It's good old fashioned footwork," as my granddaddy says. He's too
old now to make the trek to our summer cabin in the Appalachian Hills
these days, but he still meets us at the head of the trail every year,
silver walker and all. He wishes us well on our journey, kissing us each
on the forehead.

Daddy, Mama, Jenny, and me are loaded down with all the supplies we need
for our fifteen mile hike and two week stay. This is the agreement: we
hike five miles a day, taking time to fish, veering off the trail now and
then for a swim in Bull Creek, and setting up camp for the two nights
until we reach Rosewood Cabin on the third day.

You could say our family is adventurous compared to my friends at
Lexington Private Academy. And I love being with them. Mama has marvelous
blue eyes that can sing you a lullaby without a word coming from her
mouth. And Jenny, well, she's my little sister so she has the job of
annoying me but we get along well, except when I pull her ponytail on
occasion. My Daddy is strong in both stature and character. He's told me
many times, "Jimmy, I'll never lose my roots. No matter how many houses I
sell, I'll bring my family to Rosewood every July until my legs can't
carry me here, just like my Daddy did."

Of course, Daddy didn't have the conveniences like we do today when
granddaddy plowed the trail with him back in the early days of Rosewood.
Now each of us gets a walkie-talkie that carries voices up to two miles,
our very own water filter that converts algae-filled creek water into
drinking water, and flashlights that don't even need batteries, just to
name a few.

On the third day, we arrived at beautiful Rosewood. She still looked as
glorious as every other time I've seen her. A three-room cabin built of
logs my granddaddy cut himself right here in the Appalachians. Ivy twirled
around her two front windows like soft lashes adorning her glittering

A peace came over us all as we stepped into her serenity and Mama and
Jenny were especially happy to see that those squatter squirrels and
raccoons hadn't finished off the few supplies of flour, rice, and canned
pork and beans we left behind last summer. Mama and Jenny got to work
unpacking the loads that weighed down our backs for fifteen miles, Daddy
made his way out to the back porch to check for leftover firewood, and I,
well, I couldn't contain myself any longer. I fetched my walkie-talkie, and
as I scurried out the door I yelled back, "Mama, I'm going down to the
swimming hole."

I was headed to my favorite place in the whole world. When I was five,
before Jenny was born, Daddy climbed halfway up the tallest oak tree on
the edge of Bull Creek, and tied a manila twisted rope to a crooked but
sturdy branch that stretched across the waterfront. From the bank of the
creek, we swung and flew, splashing down into the cool Kentucky water. And
now, almost eight years later, my heart yearned to feel its placid embrace
once again. My feet could hardly keep up with my body as I charged down
the trail.

I woke up not knowing where I was. All I knew was that my head felt as
though it could explode at any moment from the dull yet piercing pain.
"Daddy! Mama!" I cried, but there was no answer. Leaves and twigs were
strewn about my body, and I slowly began to remember my journey to the
swimming hole. I reached up my trembling hand to touch the back of my
aching head, and I felt a lump the size of a plum just behind my right
ear. I tried to stand but my feet would not steady me, and I became
nauseous with dizziness. I sat back down. And then I saw it. Only about
seven feet away, surrounded by tall blades of grass, was my bright yellow
walkie-talkie. In all my bodily pain, I was still overjoyed to see that
the walkie-talkie was intact after my distressing fall.

"Daddy, can you hear me?" my fatigued voice cracked over the radio

"Jimmy? Where are you?" Daddy questioned anxiously, his voice momentarily
spiked with fear as my weary tone floated through Rosewood.

"Daddy, I fell on the way to Bull Creek. I need you to come and get me,
Daddy. I can't stand up," I cried.

"Jimmy, I'm on the way down the trail. I love you, son. Keep talking to
me. I'm coming to rescue you, boy." Daddy said with urgency.

Daddy found me. I was bruised and battered, alone and bewildered,
frightened and trembling. Tears flowed down Daddy's cheeks as he gently
hauled me from the brush with his muscular arms. "Everything's going to be
fine, Jimmy. I'm here now," he said both with sorrow to see my condition
and happiness that I was alive.

"Jimmy, come on now and get cleaned up! That's the last time I'm gonna
tell ya!" mean-eyed Sharon shouted from the back porch of her rundown
trailer. I reluctantly laid down my action figures, and swiftly swiped
away the cabin I had constructed from brown, twisted twigs. The stray
leaves from the oak tree that were my Appalachians were also brushed
aside. "Goodbye," I whispered softly.

Today another family will visit me to see if I'm the right "fit." Maybe
they will rescue me from my fifth foster home and take me to Rosewood.

I ran toward the trailer to put on my best clothes.

What Katherine won:

$300 Cash Prize
Publication of winning story on the WritersWeekly.com website
1 - Freelance Income Kit Includes:
-- 1-year subscription to the Write Markets Report
-- How to Write, Publish and $ell Ebooks
-- How to Publish a Profitable Emag
-- How to Be a Syndicated Newspaper Columnist Special (includes the book; database of 6000+ newspapers; and database of 100+ syndicates)

Contest guidelines are HERE.


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