Saturday, April 23, 2011

'T' is for...?

Thanks to all the Crusaders and A-Z'ers who popped in yesterday!  The prompt word I worked from was 'Selfishness.'

Today I'm borrowing a little scene from a short story I wrote a couple years back, starring characters Michael and Kaitlyn.  This excerpt depicts the 'T' word Jessica Bell and I are using to prompt our entries today.  Can you guess what emotion/feeling/state of mind that begins with 'T' it showcases?

Looking forward to your guesses!  Here goes:

         Melted snow from higher elevations had swelled the river to twice its normal size. Above them, raging water rushed over a promontory and crashed in billows of roiling white foam fifteen feet below. The noise was deafening. Kaitlyn pulled her camera from her pack and began snapping pictures. The air was much cooler here, and after a few minutes they turned to go.

         "God! It's beautiful here," Kaitlyn sighed when they could hear each other again. Then, she sucked in her breath.

         Following her gaze, Michael saw the brightly colored butterfly she had spotted. She raised the camera to her eye as it settled on a trillium bush. No sooner had she focused the lens than the butterfly took flight again. Kaitlyn stepped off the path in pursuit of it.

         Closer and closer to the river, the insect flitted from one blossom to the next. Finally, it landed on a branch at the water's edge. Looking through the lens of the camera, Kaitlyn edged closer.

         Michael called out, "That's close enough, Kait," but his voice was lost to the river.

        As she snapped the picture, her foot slipped on the moist embankment. She let out a high-pitched yelp that barely made it to Michael's ears. All he saw was one of Kaitlyn's arms shoot out awkwardly before she disappeared below the bank.

         Michael sprang into action even before his mind had time to process what had happened. He sprinted toward the river, ploughing through branches that tore at his face, shouting Kaitlyn's name. She was nowhere to be seen. He searched the white water churning with the vengeance of a stampede of beasts, mirroring the panic coursing through his body. Suddenly, Kaitlyn's head broke the surface of the water several yards away. There was an outcropping of rock visible further downstream, and Michael bolted for it.

         "Swim for me!" he shouted as he ran, never taking his eyes off her. He threw himself onto the rock's edge, yelling, "Kaitlyn! Grab my hand!" He was flat on his stomach, reaching as far out over the water as he could manage, as the fast-paced current carried Kaitlyn toward him. 

         Fright etched furrows into her contorted face. She could see Michael's hand but she was powerless over the current dictating her trajectory. The river slammed her like a rag doll against a rock, pitching her violently under the water. When she resurfaced moments later, she was heading straight for Michael.

         Kaitlyn was floating impotently past Michael, but she managed to stretch her hand out. With astonishing timing, Michael heaved his weight forward and caught her firmly around the wrist. She dangled heavily there, her frightened eyes locked with his. Michael's nightmare from years ago was brutally triggered, and fear threatened to rob him of brawn and confidence. He forced the old memory out of his mind and his resolution stoked his strength. 

         "I've got you, baby! I've got you!" he gasped. Fighting the current and the water-logged weight of her pack, he struggled to pull her in. It wasn't until he got his hand around the back of her belt, that he realized he had denied the arrogating river of its quarry.

I'd love to read which emotion/feeling/state of mind that begins with 'T' you've guessed.  And be sure to pop over to Jessica's blog and read her entry today!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend, and a Happy Easter to all you who celebrate it!