Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: FOLD (10/08/15)
TITLE: A Happy Ending
By Lynn Smith
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For years, she had wanted her own bookstore. She had gone to business school and worked hard in order to save money. When she finally had enough, she opened a shop on a busy downtown street. Yet with the rise of Ebooks and online buying, many bookstores, including hers, were losing business and could no longer stay afloat.
As she contemplated the twelve years of book selling, author signings, and friendly chats with members of the community, she heard the bell over the front door jingle. Looking up, she saw a tiny man stumbling down one of the isles.
“I just have to find one, I just have to find one,” he mumbled to himself.
Leanne walked up to him, “Can I help you?”
He glanced in her direction but kept on walking. When he reached the back of the store, Leanne watched as he bent over the basket of used books, going up and down each row with his long twisted finger. He sighed, then started taking the books out one by one, piling them on top of one another.
“Excuse me,” she said curtly. “Is there something that I can help you with?”
“My name is Benny, and I just have to find one,” he said breathlessly, his face turning red. “I just have to.”
“Find what, Sir?”
For the first time he looked Leanne in the face. “The drop-in centre said I could find one here. Please, is there one here?” By the childish way the man spoke, it was obvious that he had some kind of mental disability.
Leanne took a deep breath and held it for five seconds. “I don't know what you are talking about.”
“The Bible.” Tears fell down his sallow cheeks as his entire body shook. “I need to find a bible.”
“Oh, that would be in the religion section.” But she was shocked to see that there wasn't any left.
By this time, there were quite a few people browsing the shelves. Benny looked at her expectantly, and her heart dropped knowing she would have to disappoint him. She shook her head, “I am sorry, but there aren't any left.”
Benny looked around frantically. “But they said...” he choked. “They said you would have one.”
She explained that they usually did, but that the sale had wiped out a lot of the stock.
“I NEED A BIBLE,” he cried.
People were starting to glance their way and Leanne started to shake, worried that Benny might turn violent. “Why do you need one so bad?”
“Because it is the Word of God... and I love God.”
Leanne was an atheist. She had never been interested in religious books so couldn't identify with Benny, but she was amazed at his pure and fervent love for his God.
A lady walked up to them and placed her hand on Benny's shoulder. “Did I hear you say that you need a bible?”
He nodded, “Yes, Mam.”
She reached into her purse and pulled out a black leather bible and handed it to him. “You can have mine.”
Benny's mouth dropped, and for a moment it seemed as if he was in shock. “Do you mean it?”
Nodding her head, the lady whispered, “Yes, it's for you.”
The biggest smile that Leanne had ever seen spread across Benny's face. He wrapped his arms around the lady's neck. “Thank you, thank you.”
Leanne was surprised at the generosity of the middle-aged woman. She had given the only bible she had to a complete stranger. In all her years at the store, she had never seen anything like it. Benny left with the bible clutched in his arms as if it were a treasure worth millions of dollars.
Hmm... she thought. If someone was that excited about a book, maybe she should check it out. She would stop by the bookstore near her home after work and pick up a copy.
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