Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Vines (11/21/05)
TITLE: Witness Protection
By Lauren Bombardier
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When Tore was in high school, he got into the wrong crowd. You know the story – drinking, smoking, and skipping school. When he graduated, he was recruited by the local mob. For two years, they used him. Since he was so smart, they kept him behind the scenes, working out the logistics for each of their "jobs."
Then something happened.
One day, I got a call from my sister. "Lou, something's going' on with Tore tonight."
"What is it?"
"Eva Santini told me that Tore's been trying to get out."
"Well, she told me that they don't want to lose him to someone else, so they were going to fix it so that no one else could get to him."
"Oh." Realization hit me like a freight train. "Oh, God, no!"
Malina started to cry. I rushed around, grabbing my stuff. "Ok, Lina. I'll be right there." I hung up and left for the next bus.
I arrived just as Tore was getting in his car. "Let me come with you, little brother."
"No, Lou, you can't."
"You just can't, alright?"
I jumped into the passenger seat. "No, it's not alright." Snapping my seatbelt on, I turned to look at him. "Let's go."
"Fine." He started to back the car up. "Don't say I didn't warn you."
We went to a house in a vineyard. The vines were so dry, they rustled in the wind as we walked down a row. When we reached the end, Tore turned to me. "I just can't do this anymore, Lou." He was shaking just like the vines.
"You don't have to."
"When I go in there, I'm gonna need help."
"I'll be right behind you."
He smiled. "I appreciate it, but that's not what I'm looking for." I cocked my eyebrow at him. "Remember when we talked last, you told me how much Christ had changed your life?"
I nodded. "Yeah."
"Well, it got me to thinking. That night I asked Him to save me." He looked at me. "Do you think we could pray?"
"Sure, little brother." We bowed our heads right there. When we finished, Tore reached over and gave me a hug. After a moment of surprise, I hugged him back. "Ok?"
He nodded. He started forward, then stopped and turned to me. "I think it might be better if you stayed out here for now."
I hesitated. "Yeah, ok."
He walked to the house and knocked. The door opened and he went inside. I waited out there for an eternity, but was only fifteen minutes. Suddenly, I heard a shot. Tore screamed. I ran as fast as I could, and Tore burst through the door with a man behind him, shooting at him. He fell. I reached him just as he hit the ground and helped him back up. We went back the way we had come, stopping twice to as I lifted him back up when he fell again. The row seemed endless, and the vines grabbed at us as we ran to the car. I could hear the other men lumbering behind us. Another shot spliced a vine right by my head. I ran faster, almost dragging Tore.
Finally, we made it. I jerked open the door to the backseat, and shoved Tore inside. "The keys, Tore!" He was groggy, but he dug the keys out and handed them to me. I raced to the driver's side got in. The car started up and the tires spun and zoomed back onto the road. I looked at the rearview mirror and saw the man burst out onto the road. He waved his gun futilely, but I was already too far.
That's how I ended up driving on that road. Tore lost a lot of blood that night, but the bullet had missed all the major organs. Within a few weeks, he was back on his feet. He goes to church with Malina now, and soon he will testify at a hearing against the mob. The FBI wanted to put him in Witness Protection, but Tore refused. "I already have the best Witness Protector you'll find anywhere."
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