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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Once in a Blue Moon (01/06/11)

TITLE: Strange Encounter
By Marita Vandertogt


She couldn’t change her mind now. It was too late. Abigail grabbed the silver bracelet from the jewellery counter, careful that no one was watching. The price tag came off with a quick snap, the sting of plastic hitting her skin. She dropped the tag on the floor and pushed it under the counter with a wet boot, then slid the bracelet over her arm and started to walk out the door. It was worth it, she kept saying, over and over again in her mind. It was worth it. They owed this to her anyway. They fired her for no good reason, and no chance to explain.

She moved quickly toward the entrance and stopped long enough to button her coat. Just as she pulled the last button through the hole and took a step forward, she felt the hand on her shoulder. A big hand. It pulled her back. Her heart slammed against her rib cage making the buttoned coat a prison cell for a now panic stricken body.

“Excuse me,” she pulled her head up and turned to stare at the owner of the hand. It was a man, a few inches taller than her, with sandy blonde hair and the bluest eyes she had ever seen. He was a customer from what she could tell, not dressed in store clerk red and black.

“You really want to do that?” He whispered the words to her, letting go of her shoulder.

“What?” Her own blue eyes stared into his, softening at the smile lines around his.

“Hey,” he said. “I’m just trying to help. “ His eyes held hers in a gaze that kept her standing there, almost forgetting her mission. The blue of them melting some of the determination she felt for revenge against this place.

“You don’t understand,” she said, sensing some of the anger leave her body as she started to talk. “They owe me this, and more. I was treated very badly here.” Abigail felt the tears pushing at her throat again, her young body stiffening under the memory of the day they called her into the office. “Miss Smith,” the supervisor’s voice was stern, rehearsed. “We regret that .....” The words melted in her mind as his hand reached out and touched her shoulder once more. Why was she letting this man touch her, keep her there with his eyes. She felt a strange surge of warmth go through her thin frame. “Okay,” she said to him, her head down now, looking at the floor and not the compassion in his stare. She turned around and walked back toward the jewellery counter, slipped the bracelet off her wrist and placed it back on the counter top. Then walked again towards the door.

“Are you happy?” she started to say as she passed the place where the man still stood, waiting it seemed, just for her. “Well,” she said again. “Are you happy now? I put it back.” He didn’t answer, but patted her shoulder and looked at her with the warmth in his eyes again. “Thank you,” she whispered to him, as she started to leave, a strange sensation of peace sweeping back and forth across her heart at the thought of his eyes. All of a sudden there was no room for the anger, for the bitterness. Then a feeling of shock hit her at what she had almost done. The camera overhead would have captured every moment. She looked up into the monitor and saw she was standing alone, he was not beside her now. He was no where in sight. She wanted to thank him again, especially in light of the store cameras. This could have had a very bad ending.

Abigail pulled her coat around her and smiled as she left the store to go back out into the cold winter wind. What a strange encounter, she thought to herself as she stepped onto the bus and headed for home still basking in the warmth of his eyes. A warmth that melted away the events of the past few days, the injustice of a situation at work that should never have happened. That was probably a once in a lifetime encounter. Maybe she would see him again, but probably not.

“Thank you Lord,” she smiled a knowing smile and breathed a sigh of peace.

Hebrews 13:1 (NIV) “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

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This article has been read 536 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sarah Heywood01/14/11
Neat story - strange encounter, indeed! I enjoyed this very much.
Henry Clemmons01/14/11
Got it, and loved it. Very well told and enjoyed it from beginning to end. I remember stopping someone I saw shoplifting before and offered to buy it for them and she refused and still walked out. I told the cashier, she acted like she didn't care. So I paid and left. But this is your story:) great job!
Mariane Holbrook 01/17/11
Very, very nice job. You deserve big time kudos for this one!
Lisa Fowler01/18/11
Not the same circumstances, but I too have had a similar experience with a "disappearing stranger." We never know who...when...or where do we? But, it is an experience that forever alters your "thinking" and causes your thoughts to always "expect" these types of endings.
Enjoyed every moment of your story.
Steve Uppendahl01/19/11
Nicely written story. I like the touch of the security camera as the end. (Gotta love those guardian angels!) Good job with an entertaining and valuable story.