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Not For Sale
Twelve-year-old Juni tossed the apple core on top of the stack sitting next to him. It felt good to be full after being hungry for so long—even if it meant stealing apples off the back of a delivery truck. He was an orphan living on the streets of the Manila in the Philippines. He hardly remembered his parents and his life before the flood took their lives so many years ago. Still, he often wondered why God had taken them from him. That is the exact thought that Juni was dwelling on as he drifted off into a deep sleep.
In his dream, he was walking down the road when he spotted a man with wings carrying a letter sack.
Juni tugged the angel’s white robe and said, “Excuse me. Where did you get those letters?”
The angel said, “These letters are replies to questions humans have asked God. Did you ask the Lord a question?”
The unkempt boy nodded excitedly. “I asked Him why He took my parents from me like a million times! Please check and see if there is a letter for me. My name is Juni.”
The angel flipped through his bag and lifted out a beautiful white leaf of paper with a golden seal. “Here you go!” He handed it to the young man with a smile.
Juni broke the seal and ripped open the letter. He read, “Why do you blame Me for taking your parents from you? I came to give life—not steal it.” The boy cringed as he read the word “steal.” He felt so guilty about stealing the apples now that he was standing before an angel reading Jesus’ words. He shook off the shame and continued reading, “There is one who comes to take life and that is the prince of this world—Satan.”
The boy looked up, “I blamed the wrong man! It wasn’t God who orphaned me. It was Lucifer. Can you tell Jesus….”
“Tell Him yourself with your prayers, young man. I only deliver messages from God. Peace be with you.” The angel’s wings flapped and lifted him from the ground into the sky.
In his dream, the delivery truck Juni had stolen apples from sped by. As it made a sharp turn, it flipped on its side. The Filipino boy ran to check on the driver, but he could not find a pulse. It was too late. He jumped up and down to flag down help, but no other cars passed.
There was only a pedestrian walking slowly toward him. As it neared, Juni saw its hideous shriveled skin and blank eyes. In its grasp was a giant scrapbook with gold trim.
The demon said, “I have been notified there has been a death. Tell me precisely how this man died.” He opened the book and took out a pen and propped it in his hand to write.
Juni said, “Why?”
“My master wants to know for his history book. Every death since Abel’s has been recorded in this book. He reads it every night and cherishes every detail.”
“Not anymore!” Juni snatched the book out of his hand and began to run.
The demon called after him, “I should have known better than to ask a thief like you. That’s all you will ever be!”
Juni turned and walked back to the demon. He handed him the book filled with every gory and murderous detail. “Not anymore! I quit!” He looked up to heaven and said, “I promise never to steal again, Lord. I’m sorry—so, so, so sorry. Forgive me.”
Two hands were shaking Juni as he awoke from the dream. As he opened his eyes, he saw the delivery driver standing over him. The boy was so glad to see him alive that he gave him a big hug.
The driver smiled. “I guess that nice hug makes up for that stack of apples you stole from me. All is forgiven. You must have been pretty hungry. I’m Taupo.” He looked around. “Where are your parents, boy? Don’t they have money to feed you?”
The dark-skinned boy said, “I have no parents, sir. I will pay you back for the apples somehow. I am pretty strong. Can I unload some apples for you?”
Taupo said, “I bet my wife would like to meet you. Come on home to dinner with me tonight. How old are you? Do you know?”
“I am twelve, sir.”
“Our son would have been twelve just like you— if he were still living. He died of Tuberculosis five years ago. We loved him so much. I just can’t understand why the Lord took him from us.”
Juni patted his arm. “Maybe the Lord didn’t take him from you. Maybe it was… someone else.”
Taupo furrowed his brow, then smiled again. “I like you, kid. Hop in the truck so I can give you a hot meal and a soft bed for the night. It might be more than just one night if my wife takes to you like I do.”
The boy felt loved for the first time in a long time. He climbed into the delivery truck and fastened his seat belt as the driver sat behind the wheel.
Juni fidgeted. “There is a sharp turn up here. Remember to take it slow.”
*This short story appears in a published Christian fiction anthology called "Spiritual Citizens."
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