Charles bit his lip in concentration. He hesitated, then tensed his muscles and launched himself towards the branch. Catching on with the tips of his fingers, he grasped hold of it and swiftly pulled himself up. Pleased, he looked far down to the base of the huge tree, where the wolves had been lurking. Almost instinctively, he checked the rope straps of his hastily made bag, allowed himself a sip of water, and then continued on his way, leaping from tree to tree.
Two weeks later, Charles was checking the straps of his harness as he prepared to scale the side of the mountain. His glove had a tear in one side, and he shuddered as he felt the icy fingers of the wind touch his skin. Moving faster to keep his blood flowing, while constantly being extremely cautious, he began rappelling down. A smile slid onto his face when his feet finally touched the ground, and he looked around and truly appreciated what he had achieved. Day by day, each new terrain at a time, he was conquering nature, getting closer to his goal, and creating history.
The deep blue of the ocean astonished Charles. He’d seen pictures and heard descriptions before, but nothing could have prepared him for how truly beautiful it all was. Armed with goggles, a camera, a torch and a small tank of air for emergencies, he swam deeper and deeper into the deep blue. He passed shoals of fish, their vivid colours delighting him, and he constantly encouraged himself to swim further into the deep. He knew the area was known for shark sightings, and he had vowed to himself that he would not leave there without having seen one.
Charles knew that he was taking a huge risk, and had been repeatedly cautioned against it, but his heart and mind were set. Swimming further and further, he was suddenly struck by the vastness of the ocean around him. His eyes picked up on every movement around him in the otherwise absolutely still surroundings, and suddenly, he stifled a gasp. A dark shadow was separating itself from the blue, and growing larger and more defined as he watched. He could not believe his luck. Silently but swiftly, he pulled his tiny camera from where it was clipped to his suit. He tugged it towards him impatiently, and to his horror the clip caught against his finger and tore the skin. Charles stared in horror as the red bead materialised, until his senses kicked in a moment later. Sucking at his finger, he prayed that it was a small enough cut to avoid catching its attention, and he began moving upwards and backwards, in a desperate attempt to escape the figure that was materialising in front of him.
The newspapers the following morning couldn’t get enough of it. Charles Johnson’s eight month long daring tour of the world had finally reached its end. He had climbed mountains, crossed waterfalls, scaled valleys, trekked through forests and crossed oceans, and now, narrowly avoided a shark attack. “MAN VERSUS NATURE!” the papers screamed. “He took on the wild, and survived.” Charles was quoted explaining his decision to quit, saying that hvaing achieved all of his top 15 goals, he felt that perhaps it was time to stop tempting fate. He was heading home, to settle down and start living a safe life, the following evening.
The rain began to fall as Charles exited the airport the next day. He got a cab, smiling as he heard the deep rumble of thunder. The downpour was deafening as the cab pulled up into his driveway, and he yearned for the safety of home. As he held a magazine over his head and ran towards the door, lightning struck. They say he was killed on the spot.