Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Purposefulness (Purpose in Life) (05/25/06)
TITLE: Fervent Warriors
By Amy Michelle Wiley
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This was the third time in as many days that Michael had patrolled this block. As before, all was quiet. Yet he was convinced that there was something significant here. The old warehouse fit the serial killer’s usual hiding place to a T.
Every minute that went by meant that much closer to another person being killed. The lack of clues was tearing at Michael. But for now this weak hunch was all he had.
He settled down to wait.
Addy winced as she shifted to reach for the TV remote. She flipped on the ten o’clock news and rubbed her arthritic knees. The news anchor spoke tersely about the only thing on the town’s mind--the killer. Still at large. Still no leads.
“Oh Lord, keep Michael safe; he’s so young. Lead him to this man before more innocents die.” The TV droned unnoticed in the background as Addy lifted her son and their town to God.
Still no movement. Michael moved in. It was easy to find an unlatched window, and he dropped to the floor. His light swept over the concrete ground, looking for marks.
There were none.
Frustration built, but he was determined to go over every inch. At least he was doing something other than pouring for the billionth time over the photographs of the crime scenes.
He would have no peace until this man was caught.
Addy felt too restless for bed just yet. She lingered over a cup of tea as she prayed for the families of those who had already been killed. She prayed too, that the fear that stifled the town would turn the people to the only One who could give them peace.
In the farthest corner Michael found a scrape mark on the floor. He bent over it with the light, illuminating the evidence that this portion of wall had been forced inward. Indeed, several boards were loose enough to push aside.
The dust was less here, and that in itself gave Michael hope. His light once again swept the room, and this time rested on a faint muddy footprint.
A sudden vibration at his side startled him. His pager. He glanced at the digital letters.
BODY FOUND AT NE 64 ST AND 124 AVE.
The feeling struck as Addy climbed into bed. Something was wrong. Michael was in danger.
“Lord, protect him. He doesn’t know You personally yet. He’s not ready.” Tears dripped down her cheeks. “Could I have done something differently so my son would be ready to face this night, Lord? I feel so helpless!”
Evil stalked the roads that night. There in her room, Addy continued to do the only thing she could to fight. Pray.
For a moment Michael froze, staring at the pager. If he was right, the killer would be here any minute. He flipped off the light.
Before he had time to react, the loose boards were thrust inward. Michael ducked further into the shadows. The man was small, young. This was the one who could kill innocents in cold blood. It took self control to keep from shooting him then and there.
Metallic clicks filled the quiet of the warehouse. He was cleaning a gun.
“Police! Drop the gun.”
The man moved with weasel quickness, knocking Michael’s feet from under him. They wrestled in the dark; a battle for life and death. Michael’s gun clattered to the floor.
A gunshot exploded the blackness.
Addy doubled over with the force of panic. She cried from the depths of her soul. “Lord, protect him!”
The fear left. The moment had passed.
For a few minutes Michael wasn’t sure what happened. Then he heard a familiar voice swear behind him. He fumbled for the flashlight.
A policeman lay half in the building, a smoking gun in his hand, and the boards of the wall tight against his back.
“Stop gawking and get me unstuck.”
Michael stepped over the motionless killer, balancing himself on the wall. “How’d you know I was here?”
“You been talkin’ about this place nonstop for a week. You’re just lucky I got here when I did.”
“Luck.” Michael pulled back the boards to release his friend. “Timing like that and you call it luck?”
The light fell on Michael's watch. It was morning. The night had gone. He reached for his cell phone. “Mom? You’ve been praying, haven’t you?”
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