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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Shhh. (02/18/10)

TITLE: Heaven and Handcuffs
By Sharon Laughter
02/24/10


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I sensed the teller in front of me stiffen, so I halted mid-scrawl. Rocking a glance upward, I noted that her moss-colored eyes were bulging in terror. I clutched my baby tighter, craned my neck backward then gasped. Every other customer in the small bank was lying face down, spread-eagle on the floor. A hulking black man loomed over them, wildly brandishing a gleaming 38-special. He appeared totally oblivious to my presence at the counter.

“GET IT NOW!” An unearthly bellow to the side caused me to swivel in time to see another dark form leap upon the counter two windows down. He resembled a monster praying mantis as he crouched for a moment, then sprang across the counter.

Supervisor Adelaide Smythe immediately complied immediately by breaking from the group of tellers cowering against the back wall. With stoic calm, she unclipped the badge and key from around her neck and began releasing drawers of money.

Afraid of incurring the robbers’ wrath if discovered left standing, I clutched my baby tighter to my hip and crept toward the quivering forms on the floor. After positioning six-month old Barrett at my elbow, I slid into prone position as well, apparently still undetected.

Gunmen, no masks. They’d leave no eyewitnesses.

This dark cloud of evil filled the bank like a poisonous gas. It immediately felt familiar. Only two weeks earlier I had felt it materialize just outside my small condominium. Our community was peaceful and quiet, surrounded by on three sides of forest and lush foliage. Its residents were comprised of the young and professional on their upward climb. There was no explanation for the lurch of my heart into a terrifying beat.

Trembling, I dropped the spoonful of warm spaghettios and pried a surprised Barrett quickly from his high chair and lunch. Only one area was safe from window view, the small hall just outside the bathroom.

I placed him there and hunkered down, convinced that something very murderous was on the prowl outside. If our presence should be detected, our lives could be in great peril.

“Shhhh. Shhhh.” Be very, very, very still.” I whispered. Barrett was teething and cranky and now without food. The hope of him remaining quiet was nigh unto impossible. In addition, since none of the neighbors were home at this time, any cries for help would be futile.

”Lord Jesus help us!” I inwardly screamed. “Don’t let us be seen! Bind the demons! Send your mighty angels with handcuffs to haul the evil away!” Being a missionary for ten years had taught me well. What we don’t see is more real that what we do. And our “struggle” indeed was not against flesh and blood, but fought among powers in a realm unseen.

“Shhh. Shhh. Be very, very still.” I repeated. Strangely, as I continued to pray over the next hour and the feelings of danger began to subside, Barrett remained wide-eyed, but stationery. Intrigued, perhaps entertained, by his mothers odd behavior. Eventually, I emerged from the hall, creeping toward each window and peering over the sill. Nothing.

Now, I was feeling those same spiritual alarms, but the danger was real. The gunmen were behind the counter, spinning wildly like out-of-control dirt devils. By contrast, Barrett was inexplicably still, looking like a lifesize doll. I peered further and spied a third gunman hunkered in the building doorway, gun at the ready.

“JESUS! HELP US JESUS!” I blurted out, sucuumbing to panic. “HELP US! HELP US! BIND THE DEMONS! SEND YOUR ANGELS! MAKE THEM LEAVE!”

Instantaneously, the guard in the doorway jerked then lunged forward. His voice exploded, a combination between roar and growl, “OUTTA HERE - NOW! NOW! GO -GO!!” The devils swiftly melded together, joining the guard, and disappeared outside. Almost at their heels, Adelaide stomped toward the door and flipped the locks.

Within moments it seemed, sirens blared and radios squawked as FBI agents threaded their way through the maze of shell-shocked customers. But Adelaide and her tellers swarmed toward Barrett and I like bees.

“Did you see THAT? He didn’t move a muscle!”

“He’s so CUITE!”

What a GOOD BOY!”

A bulky jacketed agent with his gleaming mammoth badge ruffled Barrett’s honey wheat hair.

“Good job, son!”

Still a little embarrassed over my earlier outburst and prayer, I dipped my head and smiled. I gave thanks silently that somewhere and somehow, in a place that we could not see, angels had shown up and were hauling away demons in handcuffs.


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This article has been read 273 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/25/10
Wow what a suspenseful story. I was shaking while reading it. You made everything seem so real. How right about fearing the unseen.
Ruth Stromquist02/26/10
Excellent. This story had enough power to draw me in and keep me focused, that it even pulled me along while I was very distracted by something else on my mind. Well done!
c clemons03/02/10
A lot going on here, and not very cohesive. The digression of a previous occurence did not meld very well, you never gave an explanation of what caused that fear. Not sure if you were calling the armed robbers demons or the Devil. Instead of drawing me in, let me with a huh? momemt.