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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Black (10/15/09)

TITLE: Shadow Man
By Colin Nielsen


I wait in a run-down shack on the outskirts of Binh Phuoc, sitting on an uncomfortable wooden chair, touching the cold handle of my Smith and Wesson.
I close my eyes in prayer.
‘Lord, am I to kill this man?’

I don’t hear his confirming voice. I take my hand off the gun and breath a sigh of relief. Like my Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

An offensive stench of human excrement assaults my nose. I glance at a single bed, which is worn, unmade, and filthy, sitting in the corner of this windowless room, and I shake my head.

This is no place for a man of God.

At first I found it a little strange that the Lord would direct me to this work. They called me Nam Bong: A Shadow Man. My mission is to save children from unspeakable horror by whatever way the Lord commands. Most often I lie to the human traffickers, but every now and then I have to kill.

A fat little Vietnamese man enters the room with a toothy grin. Behind him stand two small girls wearing teddy bear nightshirts. They wipe the sleep from their tiny eyes. They look no older than seven.

“You buy. Good girls. Very Young.” He says in broken English.

The girls smile in an attempt to cover the pain, confusion, and fear.

I stand up and address them in a low commanding tone. I don't take my eyes off the fat man.

“ Chung ta phep, nay nay!”, I say, telling them in their own language it is time to leave.

“You no go. Pay now,” the man screams. The smile runs from his face. He pulls out an old nine and points it at my head.

“ You pay now or I kill you.”

The two terrified girls dive for the corner and hug each other as they sob. I smile and take the seat, safe in the knowledge that my God protects me. I reach down and put my black leather briefcase on the table, turn it around, and pop the locks. Fat man sets the gun on the table and opens the case and recoils in horror. I launch into my standard speech on behalf of these girls.

“I am a Shadow Man. I bring light into the blackest night. My boss has great need for these girls and has already paid a high price for both of them. You have stolen them from him. He has decided in his infinite wisdom and grace to let you live, only because you acted in ignorance, and you are useful. Your life is payment for these girls.”

He approaches the case and picks up a bunch of photos from the black briefcase and flicks through them.

“These are men who, how shall I say, lost their usefulness. Refuse to let the girls go or try to stop us in any way, and you too shall lose your usefulness.”

I know what his decision will be. Most of the time these kinds of men value their own lives above the loss of income should they choose to let the girls go.

His hand shakes. It edges towards the gun.

He smashes his fist on the table. I do not flinch.

“You go.” He says.

I rise, close my black briefcase, go over to the girls, smile as I pick them up like a loving father, and walk out of that black place.
I stop at the door momentarily to say one final thing to the man.

“Today you’ve made a wise decision. Make another. Get out of this business. My boss is taking over. If I ever see you again, then I’m sure you will lose your usefulness.”


A couple of hours later, I pull up outside the SHE rescue house and hand the sleeping girls off to the two den mothers. I know they work for my Lord. I know the girls are now safe.

“Hope you didn’t do anything illegal,” says one of the women, a look of concern creeping across her face.

“Nothing you need to worry about,” I say. “Give me a call when you have another vacancy.”

I start my car and disappear into the night.

Pro 31:8 (AMP) Open you mouth for the dumb [those unable to speak for themselves], for the rights of all who are left desolate and defenceless;

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This article has been read 492 times
Member Comments
Member Date
c clemons10/22/09
Now that's writing with content, keep up the good work!
diana kay10/23/09
very powerful!
Mildred Sheldon10/25/09
What a powerful story. It held me attention from beginning to end. Thank you for such a loving story. Keep up the good work
Jan Ackerson 10/27/09
Excellent writing, powerful story.

I'll have to think a bit about the fact that the Shadow Man sometimes kills. Would be interested in hearing his justification for situational ethics.

This would make a great novel, that's for sure!
Philippa Geaney 10/30/09
That was a powerful story Colin. I wish I had had time to write a comment prior to judging as I would have said THIS IS A WINNER.
Carol Penhorwood 11/12/09
Amazing story. Would make a great novel. A little concerned about the ethics of killing, however. Keep writing!