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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Pastor (11/30/06)

TITLE: An amber-eyed adventure
By Sara Harricharan


“The Underhand is getting out of hand, Charlotte.”

“I am well aware of it, Judith.” Charlotte Ames said wearily. “First, Reverends Alan Carthur and Caleb Mutkin, but now our very own Jack Polister.”

“What are we going to do? It is hard enough with The Oppression.”

“Maybe there’s a contract.”

“A contract?”

“You know. Perhaps the church can come together and-”

“And what? That’s a lot of money, Charlotte.”

“And a lot of money is not worth one life to spread the word of God?”

Judith looked away. “I’ll see what I can do.”

Charlotte smiled faintly. “Thank you.”

2 Days later.

“Where are you taking me? I asked, stumbling blindly behind my captor. I, Reverend Alan Carthur had just been kidnapped. Or pastor-napped. Whichever you prefer, I wish it was neither.

I never even got a glimpse at the fellow who jumped me and now, no doubt, was leading me blind-folded to my death.

I winced at the thought, sending a prayer upwards. My footsteps echoed oddly as I was pushed forward and then down to indicate I was to sit. I did.

It felt like a wooden crate, I could feel rough wood and bent nails. The perfect ingredients for splinters and possible rips in my new trousers.

The blindfold was suddenly ripped off and I wished I’d had a warning or sunglasses. I was sitting right in front of a window, facing a building with a silver roof. The sunlight bounced off of it like a mirror, effectively blinding me for a few seconds.

My feet were quickly tied in the moment it took me to recover. A piece of tape was slapped over my mouth and I caught a glimpse of my captor for the first time.

A black suit, like the kind in my son’s ninja game, a fully loaded utility belt, masked face and a white handgun at the ready. All on a very womanly figure.

Amber eyes fastened on me as if analyzing my every breath before she spoke. “The Underhand hired me to get rid of you. You’re a very valuable man.” Her head tilted sideways. “The biggest one this month.”

Biggest?! I felt my face turn red with embarrassment, visualizing my skinny suited self. I wasn’t that big.

“Your friend, the dear Reverend Jack Polister was last week.” She toyed with the trigger. “Your congregation thinks a lot of you. They matched and exceeded The Underhand’s offers.”

Relief-flooded me like I had never imagined. I wasn’t going to die after all. The relief faded with her next words.

“Now I have to get rid of you.” She aimed and fired.

Images of my life swirled in tandem before my eyes. I didn’t even feel a thing as blackness claimed me.


Fuzzy figures fluttered about through my blurry vision. I forced my mouth open, grateful for the cool liquid poured down my throat.

I ached all over, in every fiber of my being. “Alive?” I choked out.

“Just barely.” The nurse standing over me, clipboard in hand, seemed amused. “Considering you were declared legally dead the day you were dropped off here and the antidote you came with nearly killed you, you’re very lucky to be alive.”

“Blessed.” I managed, drifting back into blissful sleep.


“You don’t know how glad we are to have you, Alan.” Charlotte Ames repeated for the third time that morning. “Have you met the Duke and his wife?”

“Not yet.” I managed, shaking hands with my new congregation as they filed past me. “I’m still trying to meet everyone as it is.”

“Never mind. Here he comes.” She whispered, straightening. “Your grace.”

“Mrs. Ames.” The duke greeted, offering his hand to me, cool gray eyes sizing me up in a glance. “Reverend Carthur. Quite a sermon today.”

“Thank you.” I said, uncertainly.

“Have you met my wife?” He asked, leaning backward to look for her in the sea of faces. “She’s become quite a fan of yours. Dasha? Dasha! Come up here for a moment, dear.”

A tall and stately woman glided over, her simple elegance carrying a strangely familiar air. She stared down at the floor until her husband introduced us.

“Pleased to meet you, Lady Dasha. I hope you enjoyed the sermon.”

Familiar amber eyes flitted up locking onto mine. Her lips curved into a polite smile. “Very much, Reverend.” She murmured. “Very much.”

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This article has been read 1549 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 12/07/06
Adventure is right! It's like several scene changes in a movie, almost breathless...

...and I'm afraid I didn't follow most of it. I cared about the main character, you wrote him well, but I was never clear on what was happening, or why, or by whom. Sorry, it's probably just me.

Deft touch with dialog, lots of good writing skills evident here.
Ryan Tribble12/08/06
You did a good job arousing my curiosity, and thus holding my interest. I was a little puzzled at the end, so I read this twice in search of your clues to unlock this mystery. In my opinion, the key sentence would be the following:

And a lot of money is not worth one life to spread the word of God?” Maybe a little rephrasing would make this sentence more powerful. Maybe that’s just me  Other than that, you did a good job with this!
Joanne Sher 12/10/06
Very intriguing! Great description - but I also had a bit of trouble figuring out exactly what was going on. I would love to see more of this!
dub W12/11/06
A little confusing and in need of a good edit, but the right idea. Thanks for sharing.
Betty Castleberry12/11/06
This reminded me of the action Bond-type movies my husband is fond of. I don't usually watch them, because I rarely "get" everything that is going on. Having said that, though, I liked the feel of this piece, and would like to read more.
Leigh MacKelvey12/11/06
Terrific writing; some editing needed. However, I was confused also. Who were the good guys and who were the bad guys and what were they doing? Obviously, the Pastor was a good guy, but I wasn't sure about the others.
Sara Harricharan 12/11/06
Author's Note:
The Underhand were the 'badguys'. They are out to stop the word of God from spreading. They influence wealthy people in the congregation and kidnap the pastors to get rid of them. Charlotte Ames is the leader of a group who meets with the hired mercenaries to save the captured pastors. She meets with the people of the different congregations to negotiate between the two. The Underhand pays a lot of money to whoever can do the job as quietly as possible. They hired AMBER to get rid of the last three pastors. Instead, AMBER manages to switch out all three pastors to different churches, insuring that they will live. She uses a special needle gun that causes the victim to appear dead. She then waits for the news to appear, or broadcasts it herself. Once the pastor is considered 'dead'. She 'returns' him to a hospital with the antidote. Charlotte takes over from there, in this story, they were rescuing the pastor Alan Carthur. AMBER is Lady Dasha, that's how she knows what is going on. I hope that explains some... :)
Donna Powers 12/11/06
I was confused until I read your explanation but I did enjoy your wonderful dialog and interesting premise. This story has lots of promise and I think I'd like to see more of this. Thanks for sharing it.
Catrina Bradley 12/11/06
Very edge-of-your-seat writing! So sorry about the deleted bit - would love to read the whole thing sometime!
Marilyn Schnepp 12/13/06
The whole first part was above my head; but then I began the "kidnap" part, or (pastor-nap) and things seemed to settle down; but then in the end - I still was confused as to who, what, why, where etc? But all is not lost - Great suspense writing, great mystery...and a very creative mind.
Shanti Singh12/13/06
This is beautifully written. My guess is that the confusion is a result of not enough words to really tell the story that was obviously fully developed in your mind. Thanks so much for sharing!