Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hotel/Motel (09/12/05)
- TITLE: Bug-Eyed Witness
By Lynda Lee Schab
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The neon hotel sign blinked on and off, illuminating the room. The "O" and the "T" were missing, so the word actually said, "HEL," which was appropriate, considering.
It was dark when the man brought the girl. He shoved her inside and she landed hard in the corner. She drew her knees to her chest and Bug could hear her ragged breathing all the way across the room. The man spat at her, cursed a few times, then warned her against escape. "I'm watchin' the door, sweetheart. Don' even think about it. …" he kissed the air, spat again, then left.
The moment the door latched, the girl started crying - loud, heavy sobs that continued for several minutes. Bug sat still, trying to remain inconspicuous and give her some time to herself. The last thing she needed was for him to pester her at a time like this.
"God, I'm s-so alone! Why - did - you let this happen to me?" The girl broke down again, her face racked with pain as she spoke to the ceiling.
"OK, so I haven't made the best choices. But what was I supposed to do? My mom kicked me out! She believed her boyfriend over me - her own daughter!" She wailed again and struggled to her knees, burrying her face against the dirt-stained carpet. "I'm sorry! I'm soooo sorry…" The girl wept a while. It didn't surprise Bug that she wasn't aware of his presence or that she didn't seem to notice when he moved to the other side of the room.
The girl continued. "Are you there, God? Are you even listening?" she whimpered. "That lady on the street the other day...she said all I need to do is admit my sin and ask Jesus to come into my heart. Would Jesus really do that? Come into my heart, I mean." The girl paused to wipe her nose on her sleeve. "'Cause right now I need a miracle. Look at me! I'm filthy! I'm disgusting! Paulie said he'd take care of me. But he don't care about me. He just wants his stupid money.."
Suddenly, almost desperately, the girl reached over and yanked open the dresser drawer.
"Empty," she said. She sat down on the edge of the bed and put her face in her hands. After several seconds, she looked up again.
"I was hopin', you know, that the Bible would be there or somethin'. Some kinda sign that you were listenin'. But maybe you're not there at all, huh? Maybe you really don't care about me either." The girl shook her head violently. "No, that aint true. You do care about me, just like that lady said. I know it. I can feel it. Right here." She placed her hand over her chest.
"OK, Lord. Here goes nothin'. I don't wanna live like this anymore. I need you. I want Jesus to come into my heart. Please, Jesus. Come into my heart. And if there's any chance you could get rid of Paulie for me - I mean, not kill him or anything, but just distract him or somethin' so I can get away - I would really appreciate it. A miracle would be great right now, God. Amen."
At that very moment, the door burst open and two policemen appeared, with a well-dressed woman trailing behind. When the girl saw the woman and she broke into tears again.
"How did you find me?" the girl asked between sobs.
"Oh, honey. Let's just say after I talked with you the other day, the Lord placed you heavily on my heart. It's a long story but He led me here. You're safe now."
"Paulie?" the girl asked.
"He'll be going away for a while." The woman held the girl while she cried some more. But even though she cried, she didn't seem so sad anymore. She seemed like a different person somehow.
Bug could spend all day recounting the things he'd witnessed in his travels; things he would carry with him to his death. That was the story of his life. He'd heard a lot of people say they wished they were him. He'd often wished he were someone else. But this was one of those days he was happy with who he was: a fly on the wall.
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