Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: NEIGHBOR (06/01/17)
TITLE: The Deed
By Amy Gaudette
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I silently slipped behind the teetering wooden fence, careful not to even breathe on it. Hushed voices floated on the night air. I strained to hear.
“I'll get in their house tonight. No one will see me,” a young male boasted.
“What if the doors are locked?” a nervous tone questioned.
“Trust me. I'll be real quiet, and no one will suspect anything.”
I froze. While searching for my cat Burgess, I'd accidentally found myself overhearing the plot of a robbery . . . on my own house. And if I wasn't mistaken, those voices belonged to the Evans' boys, next door. My heart pumped a mix of rage and fear through my veins. On top of everything else – Dan losing his job, Emma being sick, Mom moving in, how tight things were financially – I had to deal with this?
Weariness crept in. Life can muddy your feet at times, and at the moment, my shoes were caked. I was close to capsizing. I turned and trudged into the house just as peals of laughter from the Evans' porch emanated across the yard. We'll just see about that. If I have to sit up all night with a baseball bat, I will.
There was no way I would alarm my family with this.
Following a hectic night's prayer, toothpaste cover down the drain, Emma needing new medicine, and Mom yelling at Dan for not working, the house was finally quiet. I moved my rocker to the center of the hallway where I could see both doors. I purposefully had left the front door unlocked, so as to control where they entered.
911 was dialed on my phone and the bat was in my hand. Boy, was I ready for a fight.
I sat rocking, forcing myself to stay awake as time ebbed. Tick-tick-tick sang the mantle clock, comforting me with its faithful service. Burgess climbed up beside me, spun twice and fell asleep. His purring slowed my breathing. A verse from the Bible trickled into my brain.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.
I took a deep breath. I was gonna love my neighbors all right, I mused, my grip tightening on the bat.
Creeaakk . . .
My heart hammered its way into my throat. Someone was coming in.
No, two people. A smaller one, and a larger one. The boys' father was in on this, too? My finger was cocked and ready on the phone. I no longer felt battle-ready. I felt rather faint.
“Dad . . .” A hushed voice.
“Quiet. And careful, we don't want to drop anything.”
What's going on here?
“All right, set it down. Right here.”
I tried to speak, but failed to even lift my bottom out of the chair.
“Good job, son. Let's put the box on top of the cooler and get out.”
The door complained, then complied, and all was quiet again. I jolted from my rocker. Poor Burgess and the bat went flying. I flipped the light switch as quickly as I could and spied a large cooler by the door. On top was a box loaded with bread, pasta, rice, beans, even ketchup! I moved the box and opened up the cooler. Two turkeys, a ham and pounds of hamburger, all frozen solid.
My head dropped in shame. I could not accept this. I would not.
My legs felt weak as I dropped myself to the floor. Once again, I heard it. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.
A heavy weight lifted from my shoulders. I bowed my heart before the Lord with thanksgiving. I accept.
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