Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: 24 Hours (01/27/11)
TITLE: The Arm of God
By April Smith
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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.
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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