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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: 24 Hours (01/27/11)

TITLE: The Arm of God
By April Smith
02/02/11


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The metal was cold and jagged as Sammy grasped the bar in his hand. He let his head fall back until it met the solid wall of concrete. He took in a long deep breath of stale air and wondered why he was hearing this just now? Now that there was no way out. It made him feel like he could be sick.

Sammy stood up and walked the length of his cell. The space had become his home since that terrible day four years before. To call it home was, of course, absurd. It was frigid in the winter and smoldering in the summer. The smell of urine and smoke no longer bothered him. What did bother him was the way the face of a man named Roger haunted his dreams.

Roger had large, dark circles under his hollow eyes. He looked exhausted all the time. He shuffled around with his shoulders slumped; never in a hurry, as if he had no where to go. And why would he? Sammy had taken his future the night he drunkenly ran his truck through the stoplight that he swears he never saw. The rainy January night that he stole the lives of Rogers wife of 9 years, Claire and five year old daughter, Melanie.

The other thing that nearly drove Sammy crazy with regret was a mere twenty four hours prior, before he made the fatal choice to drink and drive, he had graduated fifth in his class from Glendale High School. His parents had been so proud. His mother planned and pulled off a celebration party in his honor. It had been at their home. In his neighborhood. Where he rode his bike on sultry summer days and where the sound of bouncing basketballs and children laughing defined his block.

There was no end to Sammy's sorrow. Nothing he would not do to have called for a ride that night after living it up with his buddies. Instead he had hopped into his truck as if he had nothing to lose.

How could I possibly be forgiven? I have done the unthinkable. I killed someone's wife and someone's daughter; Roger's wife and Roger 's daughter. I don't deserve forgiveness. I don't deserve to live.

He sucked in a labored breath and thought again of the chaplain who had stopped by last week. The one who spoke of a forgiving God. He had said, "for all have sinned and fall short of God's glory". Sammy knew he had done more than just fallen short. But the chaplain then spoke of how long the arm of God was and how he was able to pull even the worst sinner out of a pit. And how the blood of Jesus could take away the sin of a man.

Any man?

Sammy's heart leaped inside his chest as he remembered these words. It seemed so impossible but he desperately wanted it to be true. The chaplain said that he'd be back next Thursday. Today was Monday. So Sammy would wait. He slid down the length of the wall and he sat.

Maybe. Just maybe the chaplain was right. For now, alone in the damp cell, he could only hope. He closed his tear-filled eyes as he heard the guards' keys jingle in his pocket as he passed by on his hourly check.


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This article has been read 165 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Colin Swann02/07/11
Certainly a story of true regret - I think there are lots of such regrets in prisons. This is surely a piece that gets you thinking. Thanks!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/07/11
This is A great story. The MC teaches a valuable lesson. It's often easy to picture how a mistake can change Our lives, but we often forget the impact one choice can have on so many others. Decisions are like pebbles dropped in a pond. They ripple outward and impact the entire community. Great story with a powerful message.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/07/11
This is A great story. The MC teaches a valuable lesson. It's often easy to picture how a mistake can change Our lives, but we often forget the impact one choice can have on so many others. Decisions are like pebbles dropped in a pond. They ripple outward and impact the entire community. Great story with a powerful message.
diana kay02/08/11
wonderful! atmospheric and gradually unfolding with great description and emotion.I did not quite understand the title
Bonnie Bowden02/08/11
It was touching to see that the character in the story had some feelings of remorse. I've heard some people use drinking as an excuse for their bad behavior.

I am glad that God is always ready to forgive, when we confess our shortcomings to him.
Jennifer Hill02/09/11
I really like how you pointed out the arm of God can reach anyone. He can pull us out of any and all brokeness. There are so many who think their just too bad. That is the deciever's words, not God's. Thank you for writing this.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/10/11
Congratulations for placing 12th in level one!