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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Discern (08/12/10)

TITLE: Protecting Our Children
By Delores McCarter


“We have to take action in protection our children. I believe we have a predator in our midst,” Detective Deborah Taylor mentioned to the group of parents.

“I disagree. Nothing like that happens around here,” Mrs. Clarke said.

“With all due respect, that does not mean it will never happen.”

“This is ludicrous! I’m sure one of us would have seen something by now,” a voice called out from the back of the room.

“If this gets out, poor Mrs. Lang will never leave the house!”

“That’s right!”

The mumbling from the audience grew louder. Mayor Franklin Pierce walked back up to the microphone and addressed the group.

“Settle down, everyone. Deborah was kind enough to come over here on her own time to tell us about problems they are having over in East Charleston,” he said.

“Chesnin is not East Charleston! Deborah didn’t accomplish anything but get us all riled up!” Mr. Peterson said. He was generally mild mannered, but today he was clearly agitated.

Twenty years on the force and she didn’t seem to have much credibility in her own home town. She could not believe her own ears. Deborah inhaled deeply and waited a minute before speaking to the parents.

“My purpose today was simply to address the dangers that I have faced in my role as a law enforcement officer. As a duty to my community, I felt it was necessary to brief my neighbors about a potential threat in our own backyard.”

“Oh, now it is a potential threat. A minute ago we were about to grab our guns and stake out our backyards!” Another person volunteered from the back of the room.

“If this is true, God will provide all the protection that we need. He gives us a place of refuge and that place is right here,” Mrs. Simpson said.

“I agree that God will provide protection, but we are also to stand vigilant and embrace wisdom and instruction, less we despise it,” Deborah countered.

“Wait a minute. Are you calling Mrs. Simpson a fool?” Pastor Jack said. He knew the book of Proverbs well.

Mayor Pierce nervously adjusted his tie as he raced back to the microphone.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we need to adjourn this session to attend to more pressing town business. Let’s thank Detective Taylor for taking time out of her schedule to brief us on this matter.”

A few people clapped but most of the audience sat with their arms crossed.

“Yeah, thanks for nothing, Deborah,” a voice from the third row called out.

Deborah looked up and recognized it was J.D. Lang, a former classmate. Deborah knew J.D. from the police academy. He dropped out when his mother got sick about ten years ago. She still suffered from agoraphobia, never leaving the house.

Deborah left the community center and returned to her car in time to catch her cell phone on the last ring. It was her husband Malachi.

“Deb, stop by the lake before heading back to East. I have something to show you,” he said.

Twenty minutes later, she stood over the body of a mutilated dog near the side of the road.

“Do you think it was a hit and run?” She asked him.

“No, I don’t. I think your predator is making his way down here. This is a disturbing calling card,” he said.

Malachi could have been a great detective but he chose the world of construction and real estate instead of chasing criminals like his wife.

“Did you report it to the police?”

“Yes, but the Chief thought I was making a mountain out of a molehill. He told me to toss the carcass in the trash and move on.”

“But this is evidence.”

“According to them, it isn’t. I took a few pictures from the digital camera. I don’t know what else to do,” he said.

That was the moment when they decided to pack up and move out of Chesnin.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/19/10
It's a suspenseful story. It kept me on the edge of my chair. It ended kind of abruptly. I was hoping to see if my guess was right. I thought JD might have been the predator. This reminded me of one of my favorite suspense authors, Patricia Cornwell, I hope you keep writing this story. It would make a great chapter in a novel.
AnneRene' Capp08/19/10
Whew...loved the pace and the story! As for your ending, all I could think of is...good message about warning others and when they repeatedly refuse to listen, it's time to walk away, brushing the dust from your feet. :)
Ruth Brown08/19/10
If people would only listen. Well done, Blessings, Ruth