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Dan scouted up ahead and saw the steep uphill climb before him. He took in a deep breath, looked left and right, and vowed to reach his destination in one piece. Keeping low in the tall grass, his eyes barely cleared the blades. He needed to keep his focus. He needed to remain silent to avoid detection.

Slowly and skillfully, he maneuvered through the obstacles, making a point to not make a sound. The wind was picking up, but the whistling through the treetops would not cover many mistakes. He scanned the area and located two of his buddies, crawling slowly through the brush. They all had the top of the hill in their sights. The time was ticking away, but they could make it, if they all hung together.

Out of the corner of his eye Dan caught a blur of color. Was it an animal? Was it the enemy? He paused for one moment and took out his binoculars. He located a person near the river, dipping his hands in the dancing water for a drink. As he watched, he swallowed hard. Droplets of sweat ran down his forehead, blurring his vision for a moment. In the hot afternoon sun, the water would taste so nice. But he didn’t dare chance the risk. Was it safe? Should he proceed?

The Great Challenge reaching for the flag
One more step and the victory was theirs

He inched forward, then bounded behind the large boulder to his right. Like a snake slithering along a hot desert he laid his hands on the boulder and slid around to the other side. Now he had a clear view of his target.

He crouched down in a tiger attack stance and pounced up the hill. Taking the run as quickly as possible, he could feel his lungs hurting from the sharp intake of air. His heart was pounding. He felt as if it would jump out of his chest… but he ran on. The goal was too important, to him, to his buddies, to his alliance. He had to succeed.

One more step and the victory was theirs. Reaching out as far as his fingertips could go, Dan grabbed the flag and held it high. His buddies rang out a chime of “Yays” to go with his yelp of joy. His team had won in the camp’s game of Capture the Flag.

The Great Challenge Ryan Traynor
Ryan Traynor, 12
Emerald Hills, California

The Great Challenge Isabel Won
Isabel Won, 12
Belle Mead, New Jersey