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TRUST JESUS TODAY
Adolecent / Teenage audience
Darkness enveloped Liz as she padded quietly down the steps and into the dark cellar to wait, a chill came over her body; she pulled her jacket tighter and listened carefully for footsteps above her.
“Ouch!” she yelped after she collided with the low hung ceiling. “Man! I swear it must have been midgets who built this house!” she mumbled under her breath while rubbing her throbbing head. Her fingers found a bump beginning to grow already and Liz grimaced at the shot of pain.
The damp cellar under her house had invoked many different feelings in her over the short 5 years she had lived in this farmhouse. Memories flooded her mind as images of monsters in the dark corners crept up on her at 7 years old. Then by the tender age of 9 a sense of security took over as she crouched in that cold dark place and hid during her parent’s many fights, or when her Dad seemed especially irritable. Tonight it was different though; Liz hid quietly waiting for her mother to sneak out of the house as she did every Wednesday night while Liz’s father was over at his buddy Larry’s playing poker. Liz planned to follow her on her big brother’s motorbike; her mother all the while believing Liz was soundly in her bed sleeping. Thrilled at the adventure she was about to go on, she had climbed out of her bedroom window and shimmied down the eaves trough, only to realize later that in all the excitement she had forgotten to grab her sweater. Although it had been an unusually warm September this year it was beginning to get chilly at night. Liz shivered as she fought to keep warm in the light t-shirt she had decided to throw on. As she was contemplating heading back for a sweater though, she heard a knock at the front door and her mother’s voice rang out into the night air.
“Hello, Cecilia my dear! Come on in, Liz is in bed sleeping. I have to get going but you know my cell phone number if you need anything.”
Cecilia Collander; She was a fifteen year old girl who lived down the street. Her parents usually phoned CC (everyone called her CC) to baby-sit Liz when they went out. Liz scowled; she couldn’t stand the fact that she still had to have a babysitter. Many times she had reasoned with her parents; ‘I’ll be 12 years old in only 2 months and I’m the only one in my whole class who isn’t allowed to stay home by myself.’ Liz’s parents wouldn’t hear of it though, ‘We are not your friend’s parents’ they said, and sometimes Liz wished they weren’t hers either.
“Yes, thank you Mrs. Amato, don’t worry about me.” Cecilia called out as Liz’s Mom hurried down the steps to the Volvo parked out front.
“Here we go” Liz thought to herself as she snuck out of the cellar door and hopped onto the motorbike that had been conspicuously hiding in the bushes. She didn’t want the engine and headlights bringing any attention to her, so she waited until her mother’s car had pulled out of the driveway before she started it up. Keeping a safe distance, Liz followed the Volvo as it snaked it’s way through the maze of subdivisions in their neighborhood. After what seemed like forever with the chilly air racing down her back, they finally came to a part of town that was somewhat unfamiliar to Liz. She wondered who in the world her mother could possibly know in this area of town. Liz could see the dim taillights of her mother’s car begin to fade as a patch of fog rolled in; she leaned in closer to the handlebars as she tried to concentrate. All at once it seemed, her taillights disappeared completely as Liz was plunged into a thick blanket of fog. It seemed to swallow her up and she could barely see the road in front of her.
A loud blaring noise pierced through the cloud and bright lights raced by Liz as, startled, she fell back on her bike and came crashing to the ground. Liz looked up and caught a different pair of taillights of which seemed to belong to a large pickup truck swerving all over the road. To her horror she realized, she had been concentrating so hard on following her mother’s taillights, that she had not been watching for stop signs and had nearly ran right through the intersection.
Once Liz had recovered from the shock she gathered herself up off of the ground and climbed aboard the bike again. Her heart sank into her feet, her Mother was gone. Determined, Liz followed in the direction she had last seen the Volvo headed in hopes that she may catch up to her. Liz traveled for what seemed miles; she was beginning to lose hope and considered turning back for home.
“Where is home?” Liz suddenly realized in all her determination to find her mother’s car again, she had gotten lost. A wave of panic began to rise in her chest, constricting her lungs leaving her gasping for air. She envisioned her parent’s reaction when she finally made it home, if she made it home.
“My Dad is going to kill me!” Liz desperately hoped her father had been lucky with the cards tonight; he was always in a terrible mood whenever he lost money on his poker game and she knew that would only make things worse.
Thoughts raced through her mind, and her eyes frantically probed the streets for any clue as to where she was. She looked at the sign over the intersection and turned left on Talisbury Rd. All of a sudden, she was staring into two oncoming headlights, panicked and a bit jumpy; Liz veered of the road and into a nearby bush long before the car could have even reached her. She felt foolish, “Get a grip!” she muttered to herself. She had driven the motorbike straight into a cedar hedge and was now entangled in its branches. When she was able to turn herself around enough, she looked up. Liz saw the car she had so hastily snared herself for, turning into the driveway across the street, the large metal number 194 over the garage door shined in the headlights as the car pulled in. She realized it was her mother’s Volvo. Shocked and suddenly relieved for the shadowy enclosure she found herself in, she watched silently and held her breath until it was clear her mother had not seen her.
“Eloise! I’m so glad you could make it.” A low, husky voice rang out in the night air. Liz peered carefully through the bushes and saw an average sized man with straight dark hair that was speckled with a bit of grey at the sides. He walked up to her mother, embraced her in a warm hug and invited her in. Liz realized she was still holding her breath and let it all out at once.
“Who the heck is that?” Liz asked herself. She considered the hug between this stranger and her mother as she watched the two go into the house. The more Liz thought the more she wondered if maybe her Mother was up to something. She decided she’d better investigate further. “I’ll keep it quiet until I know what exactly is going on here though” secretly she hoped she was wrong.
Liz waited, wondering in her chilly hideout. She had no idea how to get home so she was going to have to wait until her mother came out so she could follow her home again. Hours later, which seemed like days, her mother finally finished doing, whatever it was she was doing, and walked out to her car to begin the journey home. Something seemed different about her to Liz, she was almost, happier… or… maybe it was contentment, like a cat purring softly by the warm fire. That made Liz even more curious about what went on inside that house. Liz followed the Volvo home again, being careful not to be seen.
Liz took the back way into the yard with the lights turned off so her mother wouldn’t see the motorbike pull in. She had been thinking all the way home and still couldn’t come up with a reasonable explanation for why her mother had gone to that man’s house. She put the motorbike away so her brother wouldn’t know she had taken it, and began the ascent up the eaves trough to her room.
“No Mrs. Amato, everything was perfectly fine. The kids didn’t wake up once, it was no trouble at all.”
“Well thank you CC…” her mother stopped abruptly mid-sentence.
“Did you hear that?”
“No… what?” Cecilia now listened intently to hear whatever it was Eloise had heard.
Click, click, click, click…
“There it is again!” Eloise exclaimed.
“Yea, I heard it that time too!” CC chimed in. “It’s coming from the top of your house, sounded like it was over there” she said pointing to where Liz was crouched on top of the roof about 15 feet from her bedroom window.
Liz’s heart stopped as she realized they had heard the pebbles dropping loose under her feet on the roof. The darkness shrouded her from their view so she froze, hoping they would lose interest in the sound. No luck.
“I think someone’s up there” Eloise said as her and CC rounded the front of the yard to check out what had made the noise.
Liz could hear her own breathing; each breath was as loud as a jet airplane taking off. Her heart was beating so loudly, she thought she may go deaf as the pace quickened to blinding speed.
Eloise gasped and froze making CC run into her, banging her head hard into the back of Eloise’s head.
“OH, NO!” Liz thought. A larger rock had come loose and had bounced into the eaves trough below; making a sound that could be heard for miles.
Eloise barely audible, whispered “CC you run in and call the police, then check on the kids to make sure they’re alright. I’m going to stay here in case whoever it is takes off.” Then, as CC turned to do as she had asked, she whispered a bit louder after her,
Liz couldn’t believe what was happening; she was going to get caught. She was so close to pulling it off, with only 15 feet to safety she imagined crawling the rest of the way and hoping her mother wouldn’t see her, but she knew as soon as she moved she would be out of the protection of the shadows. Desperate and at a loss for what to do, Liz was beginning to panic.
Just as she was about to make a run for it, the front of the house was lit up with bright white headlights. Her father was home. Eloise scurried around and in the back to shoo CC out the back door before he came in. Liz scooted in the window and was in bed with the covers up in 30 seconds, heart still pounding in her ears. Downstairs Liz heard her mother explaining she had heard noises on the roof to her father. He grabbed a gun from the closet in the back room and went to investigate as her mother hurried up the stairs to check on Liz and her brother. The bedroom door creaked slightly as her mother peeked in. Seemingly satisfied she reached in to douse the lamp by Liz’s bedside and gently shut the door.
Liz’s mind reeled with all that had happened that night. “What is going on?” she thought. She fought off drowsiness as she tried to stay awake and consider all the possibilities. Her eyelids however became suddenly very heavy and threatened to thwart her efforts. She wondered at her mother’s apparent nervousness upon her father’s arrival, had she been imagining it or was her mom actually scared that her dad would find out she had been gone? What could that mean? She hoped her mother wasn’t doing anything wrong, but deep inside she had a bad feeling that she was up to something. At long last the fatigue washed over her and she finally succumbed to the relief that slumber would bring.
Liz awoke with a start. BANG!... Rustle, Rustle… There it was again, there was a noise coming from somewhere in the house. She looked out the window into the dark night with the moon barely peeking through the clouds. Liz felt her heart beat quicken, could someone have broken in? Were they being robbed while they were sleeping? Would whoever it was come and ‘eliminate’ them before they woke up? As the scenarios ran through her head like an old movie reel Liz felt her way to the side of the bed and gently put her feet on the cold bare floor. She crept to the door, careful not to step on the two creaky boards along the way; she didn’t want whoever it was to be alerted that someone was awake in the house. She peaked through the door and listened. Again she heard rustling and this time she could tell it was coming from the direction of the attic. She snuck down the hall towards the stairway leading to the attic, sticking closely to the wall so as not to attract as much attention. A small sliver of light sliced the otherwise dark wall adjacent to the attic doorway. Someone was up there. Did she dare go up and peek in? With nowhere to hide in the stairway leading to the attic, if they came out she would be caught easily. Liz decided to take the risk; she couldn’t just sit in bed and wait for them to discover her and her family sleeping. As quietly as possible Liz ascended the stairs, when she reached the top she held her breath and peered carefully through the slit in the door way. For a moment she saw nothing, and heard nothing. Heart pounding, she wondered if they had heard her come up the stairs, or if she was wrong and they were somewhere else in the house.
All of a sudden someone came into view pulling a step ladder over with them. Liz recognized the back of her mother’s blue flower print nightgown and long flowing dark hair pulled up in a loose pony tail. She climbed the step ladder and struggled to reach something in the rafters. Whatever she was reaching for seemed to be stuck and it took a few good pulls before it came loose.
"What is Mom doing up in the attic at this time of night?" Liz wondered.
She watched as her mother climbed down the step ladder carrying something that seemed small and heavy. Never being one with good balance, she teetered on the last step before coming safely to the attic floor. She turned and placed the object on the wooden floor boards and knelt in front of it. Liz could now see what her mom had been after and was becoming more confused than ever. Her mother had woken up in the middle of the night, went up to the chilly attic to get a small box out of the rafters. Liz didn’t recognize the box but it was made of some type of metal and was only slightly larger than a shoebox. Her mom fiddled with the top of the box and then opened it. She seemed to put something into the box but Liz didn’t have a good enough view to see what it was. When her mother had finished she closed the box and carried it back up the step ladder. While she was fishing around the rafters to find the spot where the box had been hidden, Liz decided she had better get back to her bed before her mother came out of the attic and caught her.
Safely back in bed, Liz heard footsteps moving down the hall toward her parent’s bedroom and the door gently closing so she knew her mom had gone back to bed.
“This is bizarre” Liz thought as she mulled over the nights events, curiously she wondered what was hidden in that box and if it was connected somehow. Before she closed her eyes to drift off to sleep again, she made a decision to further investigate what her mother was up to and just what she had been doing at that man’s house tonight.
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