Leap of Faith

Leap of Faith

A Story by T. D. Leonard
"

A man struggles to get back to his wife.

"
The wind was brisk on the day of my leap. It was freezing and sharp. It cut through my thin clothes and tore at  my bones with its icy chill. 

I was looking at my wife as the wind blew its cold breath. There was a gap between us. A wide and frightening sight to look at. Looking down from the edge on which I stood, the hole instantly turned black.

I looked up from the deep, dark nothingness. On the other side of the huge black pit stood her. The love of my life. The one I had called wife before I had gotten locked away. All that separated us now was this hole. She was only feet away.

I had taken the leap a number of times, each time coming closer to my goal but still falling out of reach. Falling back down into that deep dark abyss. 

This is the game the Prison Warden plays with us. He and many others call it the Challenge Rooms.

Every year a select number of prisoners who find themselves in for more minor crimes are taken and given a chance with the rooms. 

The rooms are full of dangers, puzzles, exhaustion, and the slightest shine of hope. All the prisoner must do is find his way through the maze.  A promise of freedom if they succeed. Its the hole that breaks most of them. 

The hole is where the real game begins. It's the last challenge on the road to redemption. On the other side of the hole usually stands the prisoner's family or friends (if he has any). Also on the other side of the hole, stands freedom. 

There is only one way to defeat the hole. It's what everyone who knows of this cruel game likes to call the "Leap of Faith". The nickname comes from the fact that no one has ever made it across the gap.  A prisoner's only hope comes from their faith. 

Those who find themselves taking the leap, fail. They fall down that deep dark hole and back into Hell. Back into the prison. Back to the beginning of the challenge rooms. The puzzles and dangers are reset. The game is began again. The Hell that stands before freedom is entirely different on the second go around.
 
Most prisoners don't even make it to the hole. Most give up after the first few challenges.Whether it be of exhaustion, hopelessness, or injury. They all give up on their chance of freedom.

Today marks my 7th time standing before the hole. Across that cursed gap, my wife is crying. I can feel the tears starting to roll down my face too as I look across the hole. We both know its impossible for me to make the leap. But we both know me. We both know that I won't give up on a chance to hold her again. 

My clothes are in rags from the challenge rooms. My body is bruised. I've broken bones and I can feel an exhaustion like no other beginning to take root into my body. Even with the pain setting in, I can't give up on her. So I begin to back up, I'm going to need a running start. 

I back up a few feet from the hole and look back at my love. The wind is raging so I can't hear her voice, but I see her mouth the words "I love you". My heart is on fire. I must make my leap now. 

I run. I run faster than I ever think I have and as I reach the edge of the hole, I jump. I take my leap.

It almost feels like time slows down as I glide across the darkness towards her. It's going to be close.

There is a loud solid thud as I slam into the other side of the hole. My body didn't make the jump and I've slammed into the concrete wall of the pit. My hands grip the edge though, and I hold on as tight as I can. 

I hear her now. I hear her crying, looking down at me. Shes pleading for me to climb up, pleading for me to be done with the nightmare. I can't. I don't have the strength. Hitting the wall took me by surprise and knocked the air out of me. I feel myself start to slip, but before I fall I look up to her and whisper "I love you too". Then the black abyss swallows me. 

From the bottom of the hole, I look up. I can see the last rays of sunlight gliding in from the sky. The sky that now seems so far away. I am at the beginning of the maze again and I am sitting with my head in my hands. Tears flooding my sight. 

I was so close to her. Just within her grasp. If only I was stronger. Just a little bit faster. I would need to do better. I look up again and feel my whole body shudder. I had failed for the seventh time in a row. Every ounce of hope was beginning to be drained from me. 

The sight of my wife pleading for me to be free came back to me. She hadn't given up on me yet. She wasn't about to either. I couldn't stop trying. While there was air in my lungs and my heart was beating in my chest, I could not stop trying for her. I would not stop. Not now. Not when I knew there was still a chance. All I needed to do was to run a little faster.
I stand from my spot at the bottom of Hell. It's time to begin again.  


© 2017 T. D. Leonard



Author's Note

T. D. Leonard
This is a story I wrote at least a year ago, and as I'm new to this site its more of a test run on here than anything. While I wrote it awhile ago this is the first time anyone other than me or my girlfriend will be reading it. I hope you enjoy.

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Featured Review

I like the theme. I like it well enough to have also written a story about a leap. It is posted here if you care to compare the two. Your protagonist is less self centered than mine. Yours leaps toward his family mine perhaps leaps away. But, the important thing is the leap itself; the reasons are not as important as the act.

I enjoyed your story. Good luck with your writing

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

T. D. Leonard

5 Months Ago

Thank you. I will definitely read your story about leaping too. Thanks friends.



Reviews

Returning the favor of a review. You review one of my 55 worders, and I saw this piece on your page. Be warned, I tend to delve pretty deep in my reviews in hope that a critical review may help the story. Often, it’s a pretty rough ride.

Good little story, and I think it has legs (potential for even more). Your story presents a slice of a dystopian society where petty criminals are offered chances for freedom from rather severe imprisonment. Prisoners must navigate a maze of challenges, each of which can injure prisoners or wear them down. The final challenge is a nearly unleapable chasm which no prisoner has yet jumped. After failing, prisoners return not their cells, but to the maze for another go.

Thematically, there is a big problem here. Even on the first read, I wondered why. In the Schwarzenegger film, The Running Man, prisoners faced perils to earn their freedom, and every moment captured on television for entertainment. In the movie, Cube, victims must figure out a maze much like a tortuous Rubic’s cube. Although the reason remains unstated, it feels like an science experiment in character. Prisoners as guinea pigs is a familiar theme. So, in Leap of Faith, why offer freedom, however unobtainable, to prisoners? Putting prisoners or simply strangers through a perilous maze is a common theme. We recognize it as just plain wrong. Reasons for these scenarios reveal their societies dysfunction. Without revelation of the greater dysfunction, the stories seem pointless. This story makes a big point of a leap of faith. Cool, but why? What amount of faith is needed? In this story, it seems faith, alone, is not enough. It’s an impossible task which should get harder as prisoners amass more and greater injuries.

Maze rules are also unclear. How many prisoners can be in the maze at the same time? Can they team up? In post war Italian cinema, underlying conflicts between communism and Catholicism permeate. What if two or three inmates hurl a fellow prisoner over the gap? Cooperation (communism) outperforms faith (religion). Your story has legs, that much is clear, but it needs somewhere to go, it needs direction.

Perhaps the most troublesome thing in the story was having a prisoners loved one on the opposing cliff. It helps jack up emotions, but if you think about it, it means that the prisoner’s loved one must be held captive as well. Depending on the number of concurrent maze runners, a whole slew of captive loved ones must wait for their prisoner to, what, die. Is their captivity brutal as well? Can they scream their condition across the chasm? What happens when their prisoner dies? Must they take their place?

You have a good story here. It needs some rework to be better and it clearly can/should be improved. I’ve spun it around a few times. In my favorite scenario, loved ones are brutalized. If their prisoner dies attempting to defeat the maze, they must take the prisoner’s place. If they tell them so, the prisoner is placed in an execution room and the loved one must execute their prisoner before taking their place, so loved ones plead with their prisoners to commit suicide so they, the loved ones, may be freed. Three prisoners team up to defeat the maze. They draw lots, the losers sling shot the winner across the gap. He embraces his wife cliffside. The other loved ones push them into the chasm. As I said, your story has a load of possibilities, now expose the societies dystopia to give it meaning.

Enough theme and meaning talk. What I really wanted to address was word usage. You mentioned your difficulty with nano fiction. Reading this story, I see you need to work on word economy. The Amazing 55 Word Story Contest used to run weekly on WDC. Competitors learn word economy as well as story writing basics (conflict introduction, plot, conflict resolution). I have a few suggestions to speed you on your way.

Looking at the first paragraph:
The wind was brisk on the day of my leap. It was freezing and sharp. It cut through my thin clothes and tore at my bones with its icy chill.(30)
Static sentences signal potential word count waste and style improvement opportunities. As a rule, static attributive predicates should be converted to adjectives and the text re-imagines.
Brisk, freezing, chilling and sharp winds cut through my thin clothes and tore at my bones as I prepared to leap.(21)
This leads to adjective overload, a frequent problem when rearranging sentence. Re-imagine and pick one or two most important attributes. Also, “thin clothes” doesn’t any real imagery. Re-imagine. Consider something like:
Sharp, freezing winds cut through my tattered orange jumpsuit and chilled my bones as I prepared to leap.(18)
A saving of 12 words (40%) and it adds a little content. I wrote my style criteria in a set of ordinated rules. It can be found at http://www.writerscafe.org/writing/chopstix/1883686/

Best of luck, and keep writing.


Posted 4 Months Ago


I like the theme. I like it well enough to have also written a story about a leap. It is posted here if you care to compare the two. Your protagonist is less self centered than mine. Yours leaps toward his family mine perhaps leaps away. But, the important thing is the leap itself; the reasons are not as important as the act.

I enjoyed your story. Good luck with your writing

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

T. D. Leonard

5 Months Ago

Thank you. I will definitely read your story about leaping too. Thanks friends.

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Added on July 18, 2017
Last Updated on July 18, 2017

Author

T. D. Leonard
T. D. Leonard

Jefferson, TX



About
I'm just a young writer who is happy to be able to post a few stories. more..