Her heart thudded in her ears. She’d abandoned the car an hour ago. Run out of gas. Too afraid to stop and get more.
They might catch up.
She ran the length of the block, the dim light of Motel 6 catching her eye. There. Her tired muscles screamed. Indoors. Running water. Safety.
Her sweaty palm pounded the yellow counter top in frantic pulses. She caught a glimpse of the clock. 3:00AM.
“Yes… yes I’m coming.”
“I need a room,” she blurted, looking once again to the door.
“Yes,” the balding man said, poking at the keys of an old computer. “I’ll just need a name-”
“Hope.” Wait. Should I give my real name?
It was too late. He pecked at the keyboard setting a plastic key card on the counter. “Room 13. Now I’ll need a credit card-”
“Just keep the change,” Hope said, flinging three crumpled twenties on the counter, grabbing the key. She pushed open the glass door, the small man’s protests drowning in the sea of voices.
You’ve wasted time.
They’ve caught up.
She struggled to pull the humid night air into dry lungs, her blonde hair sticking to her clammy neck. Room 13. She saw it, the ugly orange door barely visible under the dark awning.
Car lights reflected in her room’s window. Her legs picked up speed. A car door. Open. Shut. Foot steps. Hope ran the rest of the way, fumbling with the key card in the lock. Come on! her mind cried, tears stinging her dry, sleep-deprived eyes. She pushed her weight on the door. The lock clicked. The door gave away. The thin carpet caught her and her legs scrambled to close the door with a slam.
Darkness. Her chest pounded.
Hope slowly pulled herself up on the bed. She rested her hand across her flat, empty stomach. Two years now. She’d been running for two years. But not like this. Not from someone. The last two years had consisted of failed jobs, three evictions and countless nights of going without dinner. She’d known leaving home the way she did would have its disadvantages. But she didn’t know it could turn out like this. Running. For her life. Now, for two nights.
Go back. Her quiet mind offered. But going back would mean she’d have to face it. Accept it. Admit the rebellion.
You can’t go back. Someone whispered. Not after two years. Hope’s eyes darted to the window. The curtain! It was pushed to one side. The rolling blind only half covered the window.
Hope slinked to the side of the window, her hands shaking as she reached, pulling the rolling blind down. She saw a shadow pass her window. Her heart dropped to her stomach. She flung the heavy, pleated curtain shut, but not before its screeching sound mixed with the whisper,
you can’t hide.
“Oh my God,” Hope whispered in horror. Yes… God, something whispered. He was there.
She squeezed her eyes shut, crouching in the corner, hugging her knees. She rocked back and forth. “God…” she sobbed. Something thudded against her door making Hope clench her teeth, stifling a cry. “Oh, God… Help me.” An unearthly scream pierced through Hope’s mind.
Thrashing. Struggling. “God… are you there?” she asked between sobs.
I am life, the words floated from her mind.
I am love.
I am hope. I AM, Hope. Hope’s foggy mind began to clear. "He is," she cried silently. She heard frantic scratching at the bottom of the door. She quickly moved away, but stopped when forceful words hit her mind shattering the terror. “You have been given the fullness of Christ, [He] is the head over every power and authority.”*
"I have been given the fullness?"
"No, you’re nothing," a voice cackled. Hope slowly stood, her back gaining strength.
“He is the head,” she whispered.
She heard a cry.
“He is the head!” she said forcefully, the thrashing gaining in volume. Hope’s eyes widened. “God….”
I AM, Hope. I AM.
Hope marched for the door. She grasped the knob. Turned it. Threw it open. “He is!” she screamed, shaking violently with fear and power.
She saw nothing, but heard the sounds of frantic scampering, like a rat running when the lights switch on. Dawn lit the tip of the trees. Morning.
“…Therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning.” Lamentations 3:21-23 NIV
*Colossians 2:10 NIV
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