Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Walk (07/20/06)
TITLE: The Short Walk
By Dan Blankenship
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Reggie had no other choice. He needed money. He needed more “meth” to keep him moving. Milton Park usually had only a few people walking its paved pathways and sported plenty of trees to hide an assault and robbery. Reggie didn’t want to hurt anyone, but he couldn’t think of any other way to get the money he needed.
Amy entered the park and stared up at the beautiful noon sky. A few puffy white clouds reminded her of when she was a child and she used to spend hours focusing on clouds that looked like her favorite animals. She laughed out loud when she currently spotted a duck-cloud directly above.
She almost started skipping as she realized what a great decision it was to come here. She could feel the stress melting away with each step down the paved trail.
Reggie swallowed hard. He had never before resorted to violence to support his habit. But he had to do what needed to be done. The woman coming his way looked like she could spare a few bills. She looked happy, too. Reggie hated her. She was not a slave to the drug. People like her couldn’t even understand the craving Reggie felt. They were cosmetic, not real.
Amy closed her eyes as she walked, letting the cool summer breeze glide across her cheeks as she slowed her stride. She felt relief, renewal, and a comforting return to normalcy. It had been a good choice to come here.
Reggie jumped into action, grabbing the woman from behind, pulling her away from the concrete path and into the woods. She was so light, so easy to control. He threw her to the ground like a rag doll.
Amy pushed and clawed at her attacker. He was strong and smelled as though he hadn’t bathed in days. He threw her about like a toy.
Reggie decided the purse wasn’t all he wanted. This woman would be more than a cash advance.
Amy quickly thought about what to say. There was just no way she could fight off this man. He was too big, too determined, and too evil. That was it, what was happening was evil. She remembered things, important things.
Reggie put his hand over the woman’s mouth. But she pulled his arm down and her mouth began to move.
“Jesus sees you! God sees you! You can do this and no one else might know! But Jesus and His Father, they’re watching you right now!” Amy yelled at the attacker while trying to keep his hand from covering her mouth once again.
Reggie froze. He knew about Jesus. He knew about God. And he knew the woman struggling beneath him was right; but she was not only right, she was innocent. It was not her addiction that caused this assault. He paused, he thought. And while he paused and thought, the woman managed to push him away. She was running away now. He heard her sobs and her fading footsteps.
Amy ran. She ran and pulled at her hair in anguish. Fear gave her such adrenaline that she could have run for miles.
Reggie pitched forward in the grass. He was not going to run. He was going to stop. He could not continue down the path he was on, a road to total destruction. He would wait for the police. He would let them take him; take him where he could start over. He needed newness, a fresh start that came from anywhere, but a fresh start that led him to where the woman found her strength. Reggie hoped the walk to redemption wouldn’t be too long. He wasn’t sure he had enough strength and courage for anything but a short walk.
And then Reggie thought the most wondrous thing; maybe a long walk with Jesus would seem like a short walk. He said that over and over to himself as the police led him to the squad car. The “meth” fix never once crossing his mind along the way.
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