Sweat poured down the bride’s face and every muscle ached as she struggled to maintain her holds on the jagged rocks. With every grasp her hands were deeply cut by the serrated spires and with every step a new slit appeared in her simple gown. That dress, once so clean, plain, and elegant now was nothing more than shredded rags clinging to her weary form and carrying the stench of sand, sweat, and blood.
But she had almost reached her goal. There, towering above her in the direct sunlight she could see the dim outline of the chapel. The cool of its shade and the bright sparkles of the stained glass lifted her heart and gave her confidence. She continued her ascent with renewed vigor.
“Not much farther,” she said, “I can make it to the top.” But, growing confident in her abilities and relaxed in the knowledge that she nearing the chapel, the bride became careless. Her grasps became dangerously loose and her feet were no longer firmly planted.
“See!” she cried breathlessly, almost giddy in her exhaustion, “I said we would make it!”
“But we aren’t there yet,” warned the maid-of-honor, “We must keep our focus and remain faithful till we reach the church doors.”
“Oh but we’ve made it this far!” she answered carelessly. “Why be worried when the end is within sight?” In that moment the rock upon which the bride had foolishly placed her all her weight gave way. Her hands flailed around desperately trying to find a hold before she would be sliced to pieces by the angry knife-like stones below. But the wall of the cliff suddenly seemed slippery, preventing her from gaining a grip and causing her to slip farther and farther. A terrified shriek burst from her pale shredded lips as she realized her hopeless state. The wind whistled past her ears and questions raced into her mind during the split seconds of her fall. The entire journey, all the struggles she faced and battles she fought, were they all coming to their end here? Was her one act of carelessness going to destroy all she had hoped to save? Was all this… worthless?
Suddenly her body received an agonizing jerk and she was tossed onto her face. Dazed by the blow, she drifted out of consciousness for a few moments. When she came to, she thought at first that she was paralyzed, for she felt no pain and was unable to move. But as her head cleared, the pain returned. It was so intense the bride wondered whether every bone in her body was broken. Yet as she turned to see blood trickling from her hands and arms, she realized that in spite of the pain, she was at least able to move both legs and arms
Sitting up, the bride looked up to determine how far she had fallen and what had kept her from falling still further. A large shred of satin fabric hanging from a jagged stone above showed that her dress must have snagged its edge, swinging her onto the small ledge directly beneath. Looking up past the piece of cloth, the bride realized she had slid and fallen about thirty feet.
Her two remaining companions were nowhere to be seen.