Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: rain (10/17/05)
TITLE: Where You Headed, Jinks?
By Lauren Bombardier
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"Hey, Jinks!" called Jinks' fellow hobo, Hal Hanley. He looked at the gathering clouds. "Looks like rain. You got a place tonight?"
Jinks shook his head, "Nah. S'ok, I'll find one."
"You sure?" When Jinks nodded, Hal shrugged. "Well, if you want, come on down to Mavis'. Just tell her I sent you."
"That's nice, Hal, but I'll be fine." Jinks looked ahead and saw and open spot where he could jump safely. He threw his pack and turned to Hal, flashing him a grin before following. "See ya!"
He landed with a thud and rolled several times before coming to a rest on his back. Dark clouds moved quickly across the sky. Jinks watched them as he caught his breath. He turned onto his stomach and lifted his head. Straight in front of him he saw an old barn about a hundred yards away. Picking up his pack, he headed for shelter.
As he approached the old building, he felt the first raindrop. He ran and didn't stop until he rushed inside, banging the doors shut. Water droplets flew as he shook his jacket and he turned towards the interior to get his bearings before he settled in for the night. Four stalls were situated on the right wall with the tack stored beyond them. Hay was strewn about the dirt floor, giving the barn a musty odor. Movement caught his eye. In the middle of the room was the darkest man Jinks had ever seen. He had a camp stove and he was drinking out of a tin cup. Jinks blinked a few times to make sure he wasn't seeing things. The man grinned and his white teeth glowed in contrast to his skin. "Name's Amos."
Jinks slowly set his pack down. "Jinks."
"Howdy, Jinks." Amos lifted his cup in salutation. "Coffee?"
"Well, come on over. I ain't gonna bite."
Jinks dug his own cup out and went to sit next to the Amos, who poured coffee out of a metal pot. Steam rose from the cup as he blew on the hot liquid. He eyed Amos carefully. "You hoboin'?"
"Sure am! Gotta find work."
"Yeah." Jinks took another drink. "Where're you from?"
Amos considered him a moment and Jinks lowered his head, wishing he hadn't asked. Many hoboes rode the rails to escape their past. Finally, Amos grinned. "Well, Jinks, it don't matter no more where I been. What matters is where I'm headed. Where you headed, Jinks?"
Jinks looked at him. "Nowhere, I guess. I don't know."
"Would ya like to?"
He shrugged. "Sure. Why not?"
"Hell, Jinks." The statement was so matter-of-fact Jinks choked on his coffee. Amos pounded him on the back until he nodded that he was alright. "I can tell you how to avoid it. Ya interested?"
Jinks looked into the other man's eyes. What he saw there would have made him weep if he had been a crying man. He found himself nodding in answer to Amos' question.
Amos smiled. "It all started in the Garden of Eden…" While the rain pounded on the roof of that old barn, he told Jinks the story that never grows old.
Jinks didn't know what to say when Amos finished; he had so many thoughts to sort out. Amos seemed to sense that, and he didn't say anything for awhile. Finally, Jinks spoke. "What do I gotta do to be saved?"
"Just believe on the Lord Jesus. Ask Him to come into your heart and be Lord of your life."
"Yep, that's it."
"Can I think on it?" He wasn't sure that something so good could be so easy.
"Sure ya can, but ya ain't got much time. Ya never know what'll happen to ya." Amos put the pot down. "Well, it's late. Gotta catch some sleep 'fore tomorrow comes. Hope this rain lets up."
Jinks unpacked his bedroll, and lay down, his thoughts swirling about in his head. Finally, he couldn't keep his eyes open any longer and the sound of the rain lulled him to sleep.
In the morning, Amos was gone. In his place was the steaming coffee pot and a note, which Jinks read, smiling.
P.S. See you when you get there!"
When he was ready, he opened the barn doors. The sun was shining. Grinning, he struck for town.
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