General Fiction posted November 29, 2019 Chapters: 1 2 -3- 4... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
1,270 words. Lew ventures downtown.

A chapter in the book A Shadow On The Street

The Price Of Unbelief.

by papa55mike

Lewis Bradley is a man with a unique gift to see inside the minds of the people he passes. This power has forced him into hiding from the thoughts of others.

The night was dreary, but the rising sun is always a blessing through my window. I'm usually on my way to Tony's by now, but I have to be at the bank when it opens. The rent is due, and I'm never late.

I've been searching the internet for jobs in Memphis, which are down for this time of year. It seems the only places hiring are the big department stores for the Christmas rush. Great jobs, but they won't last long.

Caleb, Kathy, and Amy are sleeping in the bedroom down the hall. It was once the President's office; the sign is still above the large oak door. It has a bathroom and a fridge.

The door to the President's office opens, and Kathy sleepily ambles towards the coffee pot in her ankle-length purple robe. After pouring a cup, she takes a sip then intently turns to me. "I'm not getting close to you. Caleb told me you could read my thoughts if I did."

"I understand."

"Well, that's good." Kathy sits down across the kitchen table.

"I've been looking on the internet for jobs. The only thing I can find is Christmas work at the big stores. Most factories won't start hiring again until after the holidays."

"Thank you." Kathy brushes her long brown hair out of her eyes and tucks it behind her ear. She begins to study my face.

"I wish I could see your thoughts right now."

"My mind is full of questions." Kathy peers into her coffee.

"Ask away." I take a sip of mine.

"Caleb says that you were a Pastor. Why aren't you at your church?"

"I was a happy Pastor for twenty years at Main Street Church of Christ in Milan. That lasted until my wife decided she didn't want to be a preacher's wife anymore. I knew about all of her affairs, and so did most of the town. The Elders decided that it was in the best interest of the church that I resign. They didn't want a divorced Pastor. I guess they didn't care what Sandra did."

"Well, it wasn't your fault," Kathy's stare eases a little. "Is that when you came to Memphis?"

"Well, it took a couple of years of drifting before I made it here."

"Why did you stop Caleb from robbing that store?"

"Because I didn't want to see him throw his life away. I knew why he was doing it. It was his love for you and Amy. But all he needed was a place to stay and something to feed his family. I knew I could help him."

"What else did you see in Caleb's thoughts?"

"Blood, all over the floor." I sip my coffee again. "Whether it was mine, Tony's, or Caleb's, I don't know."

"So, you essentially saved someone's life," Kathy smiles.

"I would never say that, but I guess we'll never know. Caleb is lucky to have you in his life."

"Why do you say that?"

"Because you're a strong, beautiful woman who is not afraid to fight for what she has."

"Thank you. I have kicked my share of butt before. Including Caleb's, a couple of times. What's next for you, Mr. Bradley?"

"Call me Lew. It's whatever the Lord wants me to do. I do need to go to the bank this morning."

"I can get Caleb to drive you?"

"No, thank you. I need the exercise."


It's nine o'clock in the morning, and I'm standing in the alley at Third Street and Riverside Drive. The sidewalks are full of people shuffling off to stores downtown, or their office jobs while working their phones to death. I now see why China designed a particular lane in airports for people glued to their screens. They are oblivious to their surroundings.

The Regions Bank I use is down two blocks, and I'm waiting on a break in the traffic. I'm trying to prepare myself for the short distance I have to walk. There might be fifty people my mind touches along the way. "I need to focus on my footsteps and nothing else." I step in behind a small group and take my chances.

A few minutes later, I arrive at the bank. I have to pause beside the door to collect myself. "Why is everybody so focused on sex and themselves? I see why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah," I whisper to myself. "If I didn't need the cash, I would do all of my banking online." After a few deep breathes, I go into the bank.

The young teller is very friendly, but it's all superficial. She has her mind focused on the fight with her abusive husband last night. How can people smile while they're so broken inside? Before leaving her, I say, "I'll pray for you and your husband."

For a second, she let her pain show.

After waiting for a break in the crowd, I start back home, dreading this torturous journey.

I see a man in a quality blue suit with an unbuttoned brown overcoat coming towards me. He has a black briefcase in his right hand. The power of his murderous anger flows far ahead of his body.

My body cringes when he walks by. His fury assaults my mind.

He has a gun in the briefcase and plans on killing his wife. He knows about her girlfriend and the apartment they share. If it were another man, he'd understand, but not another woman. His foul language batters my mind.

When the link breaks, I turn to get a good description. The man is about five-ten, two-hundred pounds with gray and black hair. He turns down Riverside Avenue, and I've got to find a cop before he gets away.

In Memphis, they have a foot patrol downtown. You can usually find an officer every few blocks, but I don't see one right now.

When I look down Riverside, the angry man walks right by one. I run towards the policeman and stop him. "Officer, that man is going to kill his wife. He has a gun in his briefcase. Please stop him."

The policeman rolls his eyes at me. "How do you know this?"

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you, but it's true. That man will kill his wife over the affair she's having."

"You didn't answer my question, sir."

I drop my head then say, "I saw it in his mind." Looking up, I see the man in the blue suit enter one of the apartments on Riverside Avenue. These lavish suites rent for over ten-thousand a month, which includes a beautiful view of the Mississippi River from the back deck.

"Oh, you can read minds. What am I thinking now?"

"I don't have to see into your mind to answer that one. You think I'm crazy. But in a few minutes, that man will shoot his wife. Her death will be on your conscience. Explain that to Captain Adams when you fill out the report."

The officer's shocked eyes find mine. "How do you know my captain's name?"

"I saw it inside your mind," I try to focus harder. "Your wife, Isabella, is expecting your first baby in a few weeks." It's difficult to find his thoughts with so many others around me. "You were so thrilled when you found out it was a boy. Now, you're worried, I'm right."

Suddenly, a lady runs screaming down the stairs. "I heard gunshots next door!"

The officer runs down the street a few steps then turns back to me.

In agony, I shake my head and turn for home.


This is one of the main ideas I wanted to write about in this book. The frightening knowledge of a murder about to be committed, and how do you make someone believe you.
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