Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: BACK TO BASICS (02/16/17)
TITLE: The Day
By Robert McFaddin
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Jones’ tattered, black cape billowed in the breeze. He had removed his black helmet that up until now had covered his face and kept his identity hidden. Sweat, dirt, and blood streaked his face as he surveyed what was left of the town. It looked like a full-scale war had been fought here. Smoke rose from destroyed buildings. Craters of various sizes pockmarked the landscape. There was wreckage of alien aircraft seemingly everywhere. It was all that was left from most of the invading force. Those ships not torn to pieces by Jones had limped away before suffering the same fate. Thankfully there appeared to be few serious casualties among the townspeople. Tears of joy mingled with grief and fear as citizens who had become planetary defenders embraced one another. Others of them sat silently on the ground or on piles of rubble.
The invaders had caught the planet totally unawares. Planetary defense forces that had already been stretched thin, were unable to stop them. They barely slowed them down. At least half of the planet was now believed to be under enemy control. Only by the grace of God had Jones and a small force of men and women managed to keep the invading forces from taking their town and more of the surrounding area.
The battle had been fierce. These “powers” he had developed 7 months ago had been a nuisance at first. Back then, accidentally pulling a door off of its hinges was more embarrassing than anything else. That was before the invasion. Now, Jones could see the hand of God in giving him such incredible strength and abilities months before this battle for the planet. Even his skin seemed more durable now. Who knows what might have happened if he had not been able to fly up into the midst of the invading forces and fight them in midair?
Similar stories had reached them from various cities and towns scattered around the planet. Here and there small bands of citizens had managed to fend off the invaders. However, as far as anyone knew, nowhere else had reported anyone single-handedly destroying enemy ships!
Slowly, the townspeople gathered around Jones. Prior to the invasion some had heard of the exploits of this man. There were fantastic stories of a masked man dressed in all black rescuing children from a burning building. Stories of a man who seemed to swoop down from the sky to stop an armed robbery. Now, they had actually seen him in action! He had rallied them as they fought to defend their town and their planet. Together they had made their stand. Now, they needed someone to help them take back their planet.
Jones swallowed hard as he looked at those who had gathered around him. He knew they thought him to be more than he was. He was just a man. If he didn’t stop them, they would worship him as a god. It was Divine Providence that had given them such a great victory this day, not Jones. He knew that, but he had to make sure they also understood this.
Their faces were shadowed with fear. They needed a leader. They needed hope. Doubt seemed to swallow Jones at first, but he knew what he – what they – needed to do if they were to take back their planet from these alien invaders. They would need to return to the One that had been their hope in ages past. They needed the One their planet had turned their backs on a century ago. They needed the One truly responsible for today’s victory.
Jones tossed his battered helmet to the ground and motioned for those gathered to move closer. He stretched out his arms and took the hand of a teenage boy standing on his right and the hand of an older woman on his left. The two looked at him, and then at the rest of the group. Slowly, one by one, they began to join hands with one another. The bruised warrior looked at them all then knelt to the ground. Slowly, everyone joined him on their knees.
Tears welled in his eyes as he looked into their faces once more. Silence hung heavy over them as Jones felt the presence of the One who had given them this day’s victory. His resolve newly strengthened he bowed his head and spoke.
“Almighty God… thank you for giving us this great victory today. Please, forgive us. Have mercy on us…”
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