Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: On the Telephone (11/18/10)
By Caitlyn Meissner
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But, as dangerous as the traffic is, it is more so today, for I know what I am carrying in the trunk of my car.
As I weave around a stalled truck, my cell phone rings. “Hello!” I yell into the mouthpiece.
“Kosoko?” A man’s voice asks.
“Here,” I say. “Is that you, Ajala?”
The man calling himself Ajala laughs. “Yes. Where are you?”
“Inside the city.”
“Is the bomb in place?”
“You know what to do?”
“Of course!” I cry. “This is not the first time I have done this.”
“I know. You will be rewarded.”
“Are these people so dangerous?”
“Yes! They are infidels! Traitors! A threat to Nigeria, our people, and our way of life! Destroying them is to fulfill jihad. Do you doubt this?”
“That is good … for your sake.”
The phone goes dead, and I take a firmer grip on the wheel.
Down two narrow streets, around a sharp corner, and I see the target. It is a brick building, surrounded by high walls and an iron gate.
There is space to park outside, along the curb. I do so, clutching the detonator as I shut the car off. Once I push the button, I will have two minutes to escape.
Sweat trickles down my neck. I want to leave, to push the button and run, but Ajala has instructed me to wait until the traitors start to exit the building.
So I wait, watching, until a group of boys burst through the gate, laughing and shoving each other. People are streaming from the brick building, milling around in the courtyard.
Taking one deep breath, I press the button, then drop the detonator as I would a hot coal.
Casually, I open the door and step outside. No one must suspect me. No one must know.
Suddenly my phone rings again, a blast of music louder than the traffic.
Cursing, I pull out my phone. Have I been noticed? Those infidel boys are eyeing me, nudging each other.
“Hello!” I snap.
“Dad?” It’s my son.
“Not now! I will call you back.”
“Where are you?”
“That’s not important. I’ll call soon.”
“If you say so,” he replies, sounding concerned.
I hang up, glancing at my watch. How long have I been? Not long, but I must get away, fast.
I jump, spinning around to see a young boy standing beside me.
“My dad’s got that same ringtone,” he says.
To my surprise, he starts to dance, singing the tune from my phone. “Hey now, you’re a rock star….”
Against the wall, the other boys snicker. I back away. “Great, but I must go.”
He stops singing and follows me. “Did you come for the service?”
“Good, ‘cause it’s over. Are you here to see my dad?”
“No!” I reply, hurrying across the street.
“My dad’s great,” the boy says, still following me. “If you talked to him, I know he could help you.”
On the opposite curb, I turn to face him. “I don’t need any help!”
He shrugs. “If you say so.”
His words catch me off guard, reminding me of my son. This boy seems so much like him, yet somehow different.
“Who IS your dad?” I ask, crouching down to his level.
As I do, a voice shouts, “David?”
The boy’s eyes light up. He points to a tall man standing beside my car. “That’s my dad calling me. He’s the pastor.”
Just then, my watch alarm beeps. Only ten seconds left!
I spring upright. “Quick! Get out of here!” I yell at the boy.
He steps back, eyes wide.
He doesn’t move.
I throw myself on top of him just as the bomb explodes.
The earth shakes. I am enshrouded in fire, smoke, and shards of glass.
Then it’s over, all over. The air is filled with screams.
The boy pulls himself from under me. “You knew,” he gasps, his eyes full of fear. “You knew!”
Leaping up, I turn and run, the boy’s words echoing in my ears.
No! How could I have known I would save an infidel boy? Now he knows I am the bomber. I have betrayed myself to him.
<i>Written in Memory of Martyrs around the World Who Gave Their Lives for the Sake of Jesus Christ.</i>
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