The man in the business suit exits the revolving doors of the office building. The bright sunshine hits him square in the face, and his hand quickly rests on his forehead, shielding his eyes as he walks towards the parking lot for his car. He steps in a puddle, and the water splashes on his dress pants. Shaking his leg, he silently curses last night’s rain. His walk picks up speed.
Max watches the man walk past and then steps in behind him, matching him step for step. He hesitates just before the man steps into the puddle of rainwater. He can’t help but smile as he watches the man’s frustration. Max takes the timeout to straighten his hat, and then continues once the man picks up his walking.
At his car now, the man fumbles for his keys. After a moment he unlocks the car with the button on his key ring. He throws his briefcase into the passenger seat, and begins to climb in.
The man is halfway into his ‘nice car’ when he hears the voice. He straightens and, peering over the roof of the car, looks at the stranger across from him, who’s leaning against a concrete post that separates the parking lot from the towering buildings beyond. Whatever this guys selling, he’s so not in the mood. “What’s it to you?”
Max shrugs. “Nothing really, just an observation.”
“Well, observe somewhere else will you? I’ve got to get home.” He begins his climb into the car again.
“Kind of empty there these days, isn’t it, what with Timmy gone and all?”
The man stands, and then slowly leans on the roof of his car. He looks directly into Max’s eyes, as if that will give him some kind of clue as to what this is all about. “You know my Timmy?” He hesitates, and then, “You’ve seen him? Is he okay?”
“I know him, and right now he’s not okay. He needs your help.” Max gives the man a hard look. “Timmy and I have a made a…pact together, what I call a ‘New Covenant’.” Max can already see the man loosening up, his guard going down. “And I’d like it to include you.”
“I don’t know.” He can’t look at Max. “I haven’t seen my son in a long time.”
Max isn’t giving up that easy. “Why don’t you come with me? Today. Now.”
“How do I know I can trust you?”
“I suppose you don’t, Joe.”
Joe wonders how this man happens to know his name.
Max walks around the car to where Joe’s standing. “Joe, God’s giving you another chance. You and Timmy have been apart too long. It’s time to rectify. Fix. Mend.” Another hard stare. “It’s time to open up your heart again.”
“How?” The tears are beginning. “What do you want me to do?”
“I can take you to him.”
Max picks up on it. “You have to start trusting at some point.” His eyes look to the heavens as he says it. “You might as well start now.”
Joe climbs into the car, and the passenger side door opens. Max gets in.
Minutes later they pull up to an old abandoned apartment complex. “Turn left around the back, you’ll see some two story buildings. That’s where he’s at.”
Joe looks around in disbelief. “Here?”
Max nods. “Here.”
They get out of the car and make their way up a flight of stairs, the creaking sound of each step all but guaranteeing a collapse of structure. Joe stops halfway up the stairs. “Is it…safe?”
Max nods again. “Trust. Remember?”
Joe continues the climb. At the top is an outside hallway. Old. Dirty. Rotten.
“First door on the left.”
Joe makes it to the door. He starts to turn the knob. It won’t budge.
“Here. Let me give you the key.”
Joe looks skeptically at Max, but takes the key from him. The key fits perfectly, and the door opens.
At the center of the room, up against the back wall, is a bed. In it lays the decaying form of a person. A ghostly body, almost withered away to nothing. The boy slowly, painfully, raises up. “Daddy?”
Joe makes his way to the bed, and the tears begin to flow freely. He takes his son’s frail hand and holds it. “I’m here son. I’m here.”
Looking on at a scene that has been set before him from the beginning of this mission, Max lets his emotions down long enough to let out a tear of his own.
Max is featured in my ebook, Whispers, available at the FaithWriters ebook store: