Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Predicament (03/01/12)
TITLE: Beyond the Music
By Ruth Neilson
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Jeremiah hated his job on days like today. It felt like a high school had vomited the band into the airport with no instructions as to where and what they were supposed to be doing. His radio crackled as he tried to steer the large group in the general direction of airport terminal D4, so that the group could catch their flight to San Diego.
But, there was something about the young lady that kept on drawing his attention to her. She quickly looked up and glanced around before fearfully looking back at the ground. Her knuckles whitened briefly as her grip on the instrument case tightened. He could see her jaw set with noticeable determination.
He had seen looks like that before. She had made up her mind to do whatever she had set out to do. And that worried him. He quietly alerted the security that the mob of teenagers had to go through. This girl would be pull aside to have a more through screening.
Minutes seemed to tick by as Jeremiah waited for the girl to go through the check point screening. She nervously put her case on the x-ray belt and went through the metal detector machine. The case revealed its contents, a clarinet, but there had to be something else there. He nodded to the security and she was pulled aside. And perform a more in depth screening on both her and her carry-on luggage.
Stuffed inside of the instrument, were several sealed baggies filled with rolled papers. Jeremiah's suspicions were raised once again as he looked at the papers and then back at the girl who was sitting with a chaperone.
He entered the room where the two ladies were at and he held up the plastic bags. The girl blanched at the sight of them.
"What are these Ms. Abernathy." Jeremiah asked.
The girl quietly answered, "Bible tracks, sir."
"Why are they hidden in your clarinet?"
She took a deep breath and Jeremiah leaned forward, pressing his weight on the table between them as she looked at the chaperone for a moment before slowly answering, "My high school band...we've been invited to perform in Beijing, China."
Jeremiah raised an eyebrow as he dangled the baggies in front of her and she took another breath and looked down at her hands before pressing on.
"Those are tracks that I was taking to give to the underground church there."
Her quiet admission weighed heavily in the air as she continued, "My aunt and uncle are missionaries there and this is the only way that I could help. They are going to be at the first concert that we perform there and I was planning on giving them the tracks afterward."
Jeremiah realized that he was in a predicament. She was attempting to smuggle something into another country. But, the items in question weren't illegal. He let out a long sigh
"Well, Miss Abernathy, I have no reason to hold you any longer. Have a safe trip and be careful. And as a father... Please, be careful."
The girl nodded, as a renewed look of determination filled her face. She stood up, and with a practiced motion, rerolled the baggies so they would fit into her clarinet. Without another word, she left the room, her chaperone following after her.
He felt his heart go out to the girl. She was brave enough to face danger and possible a predicament of international proportions if something went wrong.
He stood there for a moment longer and breathed a quiet prayer for her.
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