Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Passport (07/25/05)
TITLE: A Second Chance
By Amy Michelle Wiley
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Ben stepped forward and offered a response. He hoped he remembered the movements correctly.
The stranger-friend thrust an object into Ben’s hands. “How much?” Ben asked.
The hiss of the man’s voice reached his ear and Ben pulled back. Surely he had not heard correctly! “The government sealed my funds.”
There was a long silence. Ben felt desperate. Lord, what now?
The man’s eyes fixed on him in the moonlight. “I’m going to trust you. We have funds donated for emergencies. This plasmagin has a scrambled signal. You can use it safely. I’ll arrange the papers for your family.” Then the night swallowed him up.
Thank you, Lord.
“Father. Mother.” Ben’s daughter, Marianne, sat on the car seat and studied the plasmagin screen, trying out the sign language displayed. She wrinkled her nose. “‘Even the trees have ears.’ I feel like we’re in Narnia.”
Ben nodded and sighed. The World Peace Corp had spies and listening devices everywhere. Since the deaf were forced to receive Cochlear implants or communicate orally, sign language was no longer used. So the underground Christian groups had adopted it as a safer means of communication.
“Do they use sign language in Antarctica, Dad?” Jared practiced the manual alphabet.
“I don’t know much about Antarctica,” Ben reminded him. He met the eyes of his wife, Jennifer. They only knew that there they would be able to openly teach their children the Bible.
“MESSAGE!” the plasmagin announced. Ben’s mouth went dry.
“Our IDs and passports are ready,” he whispered. “We meet tonight, ready to flee.” This was it. They were leaving the country of their birth. The country that was now their worst enemy.
Ben pulled them close. “Lord, protect our family. Honor our decision to trust in You. Give us peace and wisdom. Amen.”
“Stay here,” Ben signed. His family huddled among the undergrowth and Ben slipped further into the woods. Dusk was falling as a man met him, handing over a packet. No words were exchanged and they parted ways. Now the family would wait for their guide. Ben turned, tucking the fake passports and IDs under his shirt.
He almost yelled with surprise when a uniformed man stepped out of the woods. “Peace,” the man eyed him, the WPC insignia on his sleeve proclaiming him to be police.
“Peace,” Ben responded, wishing with all his heart for just that.
“What brings you to the middle of the woods?”
Ben had an eerie feeling that the officer knew the answer. And finding the entire family’s papers thrust up his shirt would leave no doubt.
“Show me your license!”
“I don’t have it with me. I’m camping and just came to, you know, use the tree.” Ben tried to cover his fear with pretended embarrassment.
“It is the law to carry it at all times.” The officer scowled. “Bring me to your camp.”
Lord, no! This can’t be the end. I don’t know if the children know You personally. Ben’s heart hurt deep within and he felt he would collapse with the weight of the pain. The officer’s eyes were cold. Give us another chance, Lord. Please, give us time to teach Jared and Marianne more of You.
“Strip!” yelled the officer. “You are an unidentified person on US soil. I have authorization to search you or-” The man pulled out a gun. “Your choice.”
Lord! Ben had no other words.
Suddenly the officer’s plasmagin chirped and he grabbed for it. To Ben’s shock the man stuffed his gun away. “You’re lucky this time, man,” and with that he spun on his heel and left.
Ben fell to his knees and wept. Luck had nothing to do with it.
With a stifled whoop, Jared tumbled into the clearing. “It worked!” he cried, waving their new plasmagin. “I broke into the police site and sent the agent an urgent message to report immediately to base. By the time he figures out he’s been tricked we’ll be on our way to Antarctica!”
Ben raised his wet face to the sky. A second chance, Lord. Help me to use it well.
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