Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Black (10/15/09)
TITLE: Better late than never!
By Cristy Zinn
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My normal week of work is pretty uneventful. Banking is not the most glamorous or interesting of jobs unless you’re in love with figures – I am unfortunately not. This week had been the last straw. I felt that if I had to sort out another employee grievance I might throw up. The problem was that I lacked courage. I lacked the courage to be unemployed or to make any kind of permanent change. And then, something drastic happened to make me realize that a change was exactly what I needed. It just wasn’t the kind of change I expected.
I crouched behind the desk trying to calm my frantic breathing. The armed man stood a meter away from the desk, his breathing heavy behind his black mask, his gun held expertly at his shoulder. I swallowed thankful that he hadn’t seen me.
I saw that Max was signaling to me. He wanted me to sound the alarm and pointed to the desk beside me. It was only a few feet but it felt like a yawning chasm with the gunman standing so near. I nodded to him and gathered my minuscule courage to dive through the gap. Diving was probably the wrong thing to do. I crashed headlong into the office chair which spun on its wheels and banged loudly against the wall. The gunman turned instantly and grabbed me by the hair, growling something unintelligible from under his mask.
“Nice Sarah,” Max rolled his eyes at me when I was hurled beside him.
“Sorry,” I said weakly.
“This will all be over in a few minutes as long as you co-operate,” said the gunman, suddenly sounding entirely coherent.
Another gunman appeared from the safe and the two men put their heads together, whispering fiercely. I felt fear well up in my stomach. Fear that if I died today I’d spent too long in a job I hated. Fear that my father, who I knew had good intentions, would have only felt my resentment and not my love. And I was scared to die. That surprised me because I had always believed that when you died, you died. You wouldn’t know you were dead and so it wouldn’t matter how you died. Suddenly in the face of possible death that didn’t seem particularly comforting. In fact it sounded… untrue.
I had only been to church a few times, dragged there by my best friend who was determined to get me “saved”. I’d listened to the preacher and resisted the urge to roll my eyes with every Christian cliché I heard. Now though, it was that man’s words that came back to me. I couldn’t remember them exactly but I knew he had said that Jesus had come to save us when we couldn’t save ourselves. Well, I was determined to at least try and save myself.
I gritted my teeth and while the gunmen were engrossed in their conversation I crawled over to the desk to try and reach the button. Too late I realized that the space between was far too long and I was dragged back again. Only this time the agitated gunmen were less patient.
I felt the barrel pressing against my forehead before I heard the click of the mechanism. “Do you have a death wish lady?” he whispered menacingly into my ear.
I shook my head, squeezing my eyes shut. As my heart pounded the pastor’s words came back to me again and again and suddenly I found myself face to face with the truth. Jesus was the only one who could save me now.
I’d never done it before but there on my knees, gun to my head, I prayed. I prayed that Jesus would save me.
And then suddenly, miraculously, I heard the faint wail of the sirens. The barrel moved immediately from my head.
“We have to go!” I heard one gunman whisper desperately.
They dragged each other empty-handed from the bank, stumbling over one another in their rush to get out. I didn’t care and I felt strangely exhilarated. I had a feeling it had less to do with the adrenaline rush as it did with the fact that I finally knew the truth. Jesus saves.
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