|General Fiction posted January 31, 2020||Chapters:||...5 6 -7- 8...|
2,300 words. All we have to do is take a step.
A chapter in the book A Shadow On The Street
God Moves In A Powerful Way
Lewis Bradley is a man with a gift. A unique power that forced him into hiding from the thoughts of the people he passes.
Officer Johnson drops me at the front door and waves. Walking in, I feel the evil presence slipping away. My body feels completely drained, and my head is throbbing.
Both families greet me when I walk into the kitchen.
"Where have you been, Lew?" Caleb asks.
Before I can answer, the world fades to black, and the cold floor greets me.
My eyes flutter open, and I'm on the long leather couch in the living room. A pillow caresses my head, and I'm covered with a blanket. The last thing I remember is walking in the door then blacking out. Slowly, I start to sit up. My head still pounds a little.
Amy and Earl are watching Nick Jr. when Amy hollers, "Mom, Uncle Lew woke up."
Amy crawls into my lap and lays her head on my shoulder. Her simple thoughts leap into my mind. What a blessing, no evil desires. "Were you worried about me, Amy?"
"Oh, yes. Mommy and daddy, too."
"I'm better now you're with me."
She raises her tiny face and kisses me on the cheek. "A kiss fixes a booboo."
"It certainly does. Thank you, Amy."
Kathy walks in, then sits down on the end of the couch. "Are you loving on Uncle Lew, Amy?"
"I kiss him, booboo." Amy slides out of my lap then back to Nick Jr.
"I called Tony. He told us the police were waiting for you this morning. It's been all over the news about how they suddenly found that missing girl. No mention of you, though."
"That's a good thing."
"What did you see, Lew?"
"Every evil thing he did to that girl is now etched in my mind. It will take a long time to heal from this battle."
"Did you say, battle?"
"Yes, the battle between good and evil. Satan versus us."
"Don't you mean Satan versus God?"
"No. Satan is nothing but a whiny voice to God. That's why he attacks and condemns us continually. It's all he can do. He knows he's a defeated foe and wants to take as many with him as he can." My stomach growls. "I guess I'm hungry. Where's Caleb and Terrel?"
"They had to be at work by four. Supper is almost ready." She gets up then heads back to the kitchen.
"Thank you for all you do here, Kathy."
"No," she turns and smiles. "We owe you more than we can ever repay, Lew."
"Do me a favor. Don't try."
I wipe my face while sitting down at my computer. It's almost midnight and time for my silent journey through the night. The joy of two families sharing my home is a true blessing from God. I see the love shared between the parents and the children. A Godly love that helps me battle the evil inside my mind.
I never told anybody about the incidents that changed Sledge's life. He was beaten and sexually abused by his uncle for many years, the same things he did to that young woman. Those events warped his mind into the evil sadistic man he became. It's how that curse spreads throughout time. I hope it stops here.
A weather alert appears on my screen, and I click on it. Severe cold temperatures are hitting the midsouth starting tomorrow night. The thought of Jimmy and Cindy with their tiny newborn baby fills my mind. What will they do when the temps drop to zero? How will my homeless friends find shelter from the bitter cold?
Deep in thought, I slide out of my chair, grab a bottle of water then start a journey around this massive building. Quietly, I close the door behind me.
I hear the wind begin to pick up from the south ushering in the storms that will bring those frigid temps behind them. "Show me what to do, Lord."
They built this factory in the 40s in an L-shape. The material would come into the warehouse on one end, shoes out the other end. I love walking the building at night to quiet my mind and hopefully hear a word from God.
The vastness of this factory makes me feel small in comparison. I think about the time the workers spent here making a living for their families. What happened to them when the factory closed? Hard times, I would imagine.
A whisper from the warehouse. "Shh, a man is coming."
I walk into the warehouse and see movement in a dark corner. "Whoever you are, it's okay. If I can help in any way, please ask."
Three figures stand in the darkness. A female voice says, "I'm sorry to trespass, mister. We were looking for a place to get out of the cold. We'll leave the same way we came in."
The Lord's voice explodes in my mind. "Here's your answer."
"Please don't." I smile at them. "It's warmer this way. Follow me."
At first, they don't move, and then I hear the woman catch a sob. They slowly walk into the light. An older woman leads two young women towards me. "We heard about you, mister. Everyone says you're the kindest man they ever met. I believe them."
"Ma'am, what I'm doing is sharing God's love for you. He longs for you to be happy and whole."
The lady looks to be in her sixties with dark brown hair and big brown eyes that have seen many hard years in her life. The young women seem to be in their teens. Their tattered clothes and thin jackets would make them victims of the frigid weather ahead. "This way, my friends."
We slowly make our way towards the office with me staying several feet ahead of them. I don't have to see inside their minds to find their pain. "What's your name, sweetie?"
"My name is Delores Compton. These are my granddaughters, Katlyn and Kayla."
After a few minutes of silence, we make it to the office. "Would you guys like to come in?"
"No, sir. We'll be fine, right here." They begin to settle in next to the office.
"Okay, I'll bring you some pillows and blankets." I've learned in helping people to let them take it in as they need it.
I come back with three blankets and pillows then begin to pass them out, keeping my distance. The girls are stunned when I hand them a blanket and pillow. I can tell they aren't used to kindness in their lives. "Be sure to stay for breakfast in the morning. Sleep well, my friends."
I close the door then pray. "Thank you, Lord. For my answer."
It's seven-thirty when Kathy and Amy come strolling out of the President's office. Amy runs towards me, climbs in my lap, and nestles her head against my chest. "Good morning, sweetie."
"Amy loves you, Lew. That doesn't happen very often. She guards her heart."
"The feeling is very mutual." I kiss Amy on the forehead.
"Will you watch Rainbow Warriors with me, Uncle Lew?"
"I will in a minute, but first, I need to talk to mommy."
"Okay." Amy crawls out of my lap and picks up the remote.
"What's up, Lew?"
"I got a weather alert last night. We have a brutal cold front heading this way. They're talking about temps near zero."
"Oh, my goodness!"
"I want to offer the Homeless Network a place to keep warm. We have plenty of room. All we have to do is turn on some heaters. That 140 people will fit in here again. Have you heard from Jimmy and Cindy?"
"Yes, the hospital got them into a shelter."
"That's great news! Praise, God. What organization feeds everybody, Kathy?"
"Most of us went to First Baptist Church, downtown. They have free breakfast and supper at their soup kitchen."
"I wonder if they will help us feed them for a day or two?"
"I think they will. I know Miss Sonia well. I went to college with her. You have that look in your eye, Lew."
"I think it's incredible how the Lord brings everything together. By the way, we have three guests outside the door."
"Delores and her two granddaughters. I can't remember her last name. I found them in the warehouse last night."
"Do you mean Delores Compton?"
"Yeah, that's them."
"Caleb and I haven't seen them for several months."
"I told them we would feed them breakfast."
"Of course. Let me see if they're awake." Kathy peeps out the door. "No, still sleeping, but it's great to see them."
"Old friends, Kathy?"
"Sort of, we liked to watch out for everybody on the streets. It's good to know they're okay."
"You're starting to sound like me."
"I guess you rub off on people, Lew." Kathy heads for the kitchen.
Kathy put out the text to the Homeless Network at noon. We had guests arriving before one o'clock. I went through this section of the factory, turning on heaters and checking windows. We need to make sure no wind gets in with the wind chills below zero tonight.
We then put out an urgent text for anybody having extra blankets to please bring them to us. I sent Caleb and Terrel to Wal-Mart to buy as many of those two-dollar fleece blankets as a hundred dollars could buy. I thought the kids could cover up with them.
Kathy walks out of the office, saying, "I can't thank you enough, Sonia. Yes, he is one of a kind. It will be good to see you. Bye." She turns to me. "Sonia is bringing the church's food truck here for supper. They're also bringing a bunch of blankets. You're something else, Lew."
"It's not me, Kathy. The Lord is bringing everything together. It starts with one person caring and trusting God."
Caleb and Terrel come walking in with huge smiles and several large Wal-Mart sacks. Caleb says, "You're not going to believe what happened."
Kathy asks, "What?"
Terrel speaks up. "We were loading a cart with the fleeces when the manager walks up and asks what we're doing. Caleb told him we were getting these blankets for the homeless. He pulls a twenty out of his pocket and gives it to us."
Caleb takes over the story. "By the time we loaded the cart, six more workers came by and donated what they had. We ended up enough money to buy seventy-five blankets!"
Kathy catches a sob then looks at me.
I just smile. "Well, we already have some guests. Let's start passing these out to the children."
It's four o'clock, and most of the guests have arrived. The thunderstorms roared through about an hour ago, and now the frigid north wind is starting to blow.
Caleb, Kathy, Terrel, and I are sitting around the kitchen table when I ask, "What's the story about Delores and her granddaughters?"
"Well," Caleb slowly answers. "Her daughter brought them over to spend the weekend so she could go party with her boyfriend. Delores hasn't seen her daughter since. That was six years ago, wasn't it, Kathy?"
"Yeah, the state wouldn't let her adopt them without the parent's consent. They couldn't live on just her check and lost their house a couple of years ago."
"I guess everyone living on the streets has a story like that."
Terrel smiles. "Yes, we all do."
Kathy gets up. "I'm going to check on the kids."
"How is work going, guys?" I ask Terrel and Caleb.
"Great," Terrel answers. "The boss came by last night and told both of us he wants to make us full-time. Mr. Travers loves the way we work."
Kathy hollers in the door. "Hey, Lew. You need to come here."
We all get up from the table and walk out the door. Standing by the outside door are three gang members from down the street. I've seen them a couple of times.
"I'll handle this. You two keep everybody back."
Slowly, I walk to the door. Big hoodies cover their faces. I stop in front of them. "Have you guys come by to get warm?"
The leader pulls out his gun and puts it in the center of my forehead.
Gasps fill the air.
"No, cracker! We're here to run you out of town. We own this street; you're on our turf."
His thoughts invade my mind. "I see nothing but fear in you. You live by it. You're actually afraid to pull that trigger."
"I'll blow your head off, old man!" He screams at me. His spittle splashes my face.
"I know a man that can help you with that fear." I smile at him. "His name is Jesus Christ."
"What does your God have to do with this?"
"Everything! He brought you here to save your soul."
"My soul ain't worth saving!"
"It was before your father killed your mother. You were looking out the window when he shot her three times in the chest. She died in your arms. You still remember her blood all over your hands like it was yesterday. I want you to know, Kebon, that your life is worth saving. You don't have to live in fear anymore."
Kebon's lower lip begins to quiver while he lowers the gun to his side. "Let's get out of here." The three of them turn to leave.
"When you're ready, Kebon, I'll be here for you."
Kebon turns to me before leaving. His eyes connect with mine. It's not fear I see, but extreme grief. When I turn around, wonder fills every face.
It's after one in the morning. I'm sitting outside the office with my Bible in my lap, thinking about the love God showed out here today. All of these people would be freezing outside if it wasn't for the Lord, prompting me to action. Once we took that first step, He moved in a powerful way.
"Thank you, Father."
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