Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Bitter and Sweet (05/28/09)
TITLE: MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT
By Bryan Rudolph
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THE CLOCK ticked 11:57. Three minutes to midnight.
“ I flatly do not believe in God. Too much pain, you understand? Far too much pain for any type of loving God to exist. Besides, didn’t we evolve from monkeys or something? And what about miracles? Preachers say come and be healed, but as many are not, as those that think they are. Mind you, I think that Jesus guy was alright, as it goes. No way he was God, though, or, what do they say? Son of God? It’s all a joke . . . you get what I mean? “ spewed Larson, wrapping sweat-stuffed fingers around one of the thinner prison bars and rattling it.
“ Are you trying to convince me or yourself? “ demanded Sara, her bright blue eyes staring straight into his blurred brown ones, her hand sweeping down the newly pressed uniform, her fingers securing the barely serviceable starched collar.
“ I’m just telling you what I think. It feels good to be honest and tell it like it is. I’ve been in this pathetic prison for over thirty-five years. I grew up abused by those who should have loved me. Where is God in that? “
“ Have you ever loved, Larson? “
“ Well, . . . yes, yes, I did love . . . once . . . a very long time ago. “
“ What was her name? “
“ Tiny. “
“ Tiny? “
“ Yup, she was a pup, I got at the pound. “
THE CLOCK ticked 11:58. Two minutes to midnight.
“ Oh, yes, a pup, at the pound, very good. How did you select her? “
“ A kind of love, at first sight, I guess . . . I knew she was the one I wanted, alright. “
“ That’s beautiful, but where did that come from, Larson? “
“ What do you mean, where did that come from? “
“ Your love for Tiny, and wanting her, rather than one of the others. “
“ Oh, yah, . . . I see what you mean. “
“ Well, then? “
“ Don’t know, really, “ Larson pondered.
“ Exactly. “
“ Uh? No, I guess I don’t get it. “
“ Your love for Tiny. It’s real, isn’t it? Yet, you’re hard pressed to know how, or why, or even when, it got there. Right? “
“ Ok, I guess so . . . so, what’s your point? “ Larson asked.
THE CLOCK ticked 11:59. One minute to midnight.
“ Don’t you see, Larson? It’s the same with me. I love God and I believe God loves me, but I don’t actually know how, or why, or even when, it got there . . . don’t you see? It’s similar to you and Tiny, isn’t it? “
“ I suppose it’s similar, but that’s hardly convincing, “ Larson countered.
“ But for you, Larson, that could be a beginning . . . to finding God, you know? I didn’t start out knowing or loving God, but God, mercifully, started out knowing and loving me. “
“ Yah, yah, sounds sweet, God and love, . . . what about science and philosophy and truth? “
“ God embraces truth, Larson, wherever it is found; if it‘s true, it‘s from God. “
Sara glanced up at the clock.
“ Do yourself a favor, Larson. Go to where your questions are answered and your hurts are healed. I’m talking about the Bible. Hundreds of years ago, God put it together for you. “
“ Yah, I’m sure . . . for me, personally, “ scoffed Larson.
“ Exactly. “
THE CLOCK ticked 12:00. Midnight.
“ Sara Emily Barter? “
“ Yes. “
“ You are to be taken, this very hour, and hanged, by the neck, until you are fully dead of life and limb, “ so ordered the promptly arrived penitentiary warden, surrounded by three nondescript security guards.
With the warden’s nod, Larson made release of the lock to Sara’s prison cell, allowing the guards to enter and shackle her into custody.
Presently emptied of bitterness, his face holding fast to Sara’s, Larson whispered dryly, “ Sara . . . I . . . “
Soulfully surrendered, Sara freely sympathized, “ Hope to see you . . . again . . . Larson. “
Facing the warden and other guards, “ Hope . . . to see all of you, again. “
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