Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Escape (01/02/06)
TITLE: To Accept or Escape
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"Hardened, they called him. There's nothing that will soften that one."
The school social worker, Iris Hanson, walked to his seat and smilingly said, "Murph, why don't you come up front and join the rest of us?" The boy drew further into himself and pretended she wasn't there.
If anyone was going to melt his hardened covering it would be Iris Hanson. Her reputation with inner-city problem kids preceded her and that's why she was hired by Murph's school system to work with kids just like him. Her love for the Lord shone through her eyes and penetrated the hardest of hearts, melting their distrust into a mixture of belief and certainty. She always presented the Gospel with a gentle hand and an invitation of choice. In Murph's case she couldn't get through his solid stronghold.
When the bus pulled into the school yard and deposited a group of hungry, happy kids to the care of their waiting parents, Iris joined Murph as he reluctantly followed behind. She had previously made arrangements to drive him to his home. This only heightened his defensiveness. No one from school had ever been to his home and that's how he wanted it. He retreated further into his shell.
When they arrived at the tenement Murph rang the bell, and when there was no response he knew than that his mother was probably intoxicated and passed out on the couch. He found the door unlocked and opened it slightly, so that he could slip in and close it before Iris glanced inside. This much he knew, "Whatever goes on in here is nobody's business, but ours" his mother preached to him. Murph swept past the couch and threw himself on his bed, not bothering to take off his clothes.
The next day Iris planned her strategy. She had the phone number to Bill, the man with the black dog, who Murph had met at the lake. In talking to him, the day before, she discovered that they had much in common and especially a heart for young Murph. So, she had no reservation in calling him with her request.
As a result, Social Services agreed to convince the boy's mother to allow the youngster to spend his summer vacation with Bill at the lake. Murph acquiesced, not because of agreement, but because of the black dog.
Bill enjoyed his time with the young boy and found fulfillment in introducing him to the Bible even though there was little positive response.
It was after one of these sessions and the possibility of a slight breakthrough, that Murph leashed the black dog and led her away, and never once turned back, as one persistant word kept spinning in his head...."escape".
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