Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/03/08)
TITLE: The Ninth of December
By Deborah Bauers
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Alicia was just finishing a three day fast—her first. She awakened feeling parched and, cupping her hands, she drank deeply from the kitchen tap. As she raised her head, a surreal quiet seemed to envelope the room, like the unnatural stillness before a coming storm. If it is true that creation groans awaiting the redemption of this world, then it is not a big stretch to believe that nature can also sometimes unnaturally stand still—as if vigilant in the knowledge of wickedness on the prowl.
With a growing disquiet, Alicia performed her morning’s routines, seeking the reassurance of the normalcy they offered her. Yet keenly alert, she listened for the voice of God and waited… In this new space, the spirit world pressed in around her and she felt the presence of both good and evil—walked upon a battlefield where angels and demons were at war. She dressed and then sat down to read her morning devotions. Without conscious consideration, she turned her radio on and tuned the dial to a local light-praise station. The announcer was just interrupting the morning’s line-up of music to share breaking news.
“Less than an hour ago, a gunman opened fire at a local missionary training camp, killing two young students and wounding others. Complete details are not available at this time. Stay with us, where you will receive up-to-date information as this story unfolds.”
Alicia retraced her steps until she stood in front of her nightstand. As she strapped on her9 mm Glock, she prayed--
“Lord, I don’t know what you have in mind for me today, but please give me the strength and the single-mindedness to do your will. I am your servant."
The gunman’s volley of fire in the east parking lot was as senseless as it was random. His actions took the lives of two teenage sisters, and critically wounded their father.
Inside the building, those shots forewarned the church’s security team that a shooter was making his way toward the church doors. Highly trained men and women, including former police officers, comprised the group of members that assembled. They had been called to a state of alert due to reports of shootings which had occurred earlier that morning, less than 100 miles away at another faith-based facility. Alicia was a carefully chosen part of this team—handpicked by God.
Along with other team members, Alicia ran toward the exit which was closest to the gunfire and positioned herself strategically. When the gunman entered the building, she had the clearest line of sight and stepped out to face him. She ordered him to drop his weapon. When he refused, she opened fire and felled him to the ground. The shooter subsequently died of multiple wounds, including that of a bullet from his own gun.
Like many who were present in the building that morning, I’ve looked for the sense out of the senseless and wondered how it is that good was able to triumph over evil. Upon much reflection, this is my conclusion. On that tragic Sunday morning, two young women were martyred to save the lives of countless others. I know this because police officers on the scene have frankly disclosed that the shooter was heavily armed. Had he exercised the element of surprise, hundreds of lives would have been taken. The shots he fired in the parking lot took life, and saved life. Their sound gave the security team time to mobilize and strategically plant itself inside the church building. Alicia was able to fire the necessary shots that disarmed and took down the gunman. Because of her actions, the story had a very different ending than was intended. This is a saga that ends with one act of heroism, and begins with the hundreds of narratives that are waiting to be told in the stories of all of those who lived.
Note: My account is based upon a true story that received media attention, world-wide. I have taken poetic license in the telling, while attempting to impart a true rendering of certain traumatic events, together with their monumental implications. The heroine’s name has been changed in the process of poetic license and out of respect to her privacy.
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