The Word of God
It had been a boring day at work. The afternoon was hot as I drove along the highway. The air conditioner kept me cool. The tinted windows blocked out the sun's rays. I felt secure and protected within my sedan.
The mobile phone rang. I knew it was my wife just by looking at the phone's screen. I placed an earphone into my left ear and spoke.
"Honey, before you come home could you stop off at the supermarket and get some milk? Also remember to buy those Bibles from the church for Jessica and Tim's Bible study class."
"Okay, do you want anything else?"
"No, that's it. Come home quickly 'cos I'm cooking dinner right now. Can you smell it?" She started laughing.
"Uh, no, I can't smell it," I said. "I can't smell anything over the phone."
"I'm just joking, Keith!"
"Well, I've got to go now. Kids are fighting again."
My car slowed down and turned off the highway. I was on a residential road now. I looked at the park and noticed many people near the lake. They were walking or eating on the grass or riding their bikes on the pavement.
I parked at the car park at the back of our church. Including my car, there were just three other cars in this car park.
I tried to open the wooden doors at the entrance of the church but noticed they were locked. My knuckles prepared to knock on the wood, but my ears caught something that sparked my interest. I heard noise coming from within the church, so I pressed my left ear up against the door and listened more carefully. It was a man's voice. It sounded like Pastor Adams. It sounded like he was panting loudly probably because he was exhausted from doing something strenuous.
I thought a moment about what I heard before loudly hitting my knuckles against the wood.
As soon as I knocked, the noise from inside stopped. I heard shuffling and whispers. Someone was walking towards the door. A second later the door opened and Pastor Adams greeted me. He was five feet tall, a whole foot shorter than I was. His head was bald.
"Keith! How long have you been waiting?"
"I just came here," I said. "I've come to get the Bibles for my children for Bible study this Sunday. I was told they needed these Bibles quickly for homework."
"Ah, yes, we've just had them shipped in."
I walked inside the church and, to my surprise, saw a blonde little girl standing near me. She looked at me and stared. She wore a plain white dress and a light pink tank top. She was less than three feet tall and was probably about four or five years old. I smiled at the little girl.
"Hello," I said.
Pastor Adams laughed. "She's my daughter Abigail."
Pastor Adams and I left the little girl and walked to another room. On one table was a cash register near a pile of leather-bound black Bibles.
"Your wife Karen ordered four Bibles, didn't she?"
Pastor Adams pressed keys on the cash register. "That comes to eighty dollars, thank you."
I gave the man four twenty-dollar notes and he told me to help myself to the Bibles. I grabbed four of the books from the top.
The Pastor was finished for the day, so he opened the cash register and started counting the money. I said goodbye to him and left the room.
The church was air conditioned, so when I walked outside I really noticed the heat. There was a park near the church and quite a bit of the vegetation, including the tree branches, intruded into the church grounds. Because of this, I deliberated walked along a path underneath trees and plants to make sure I was in as much shade as possible.
I held all four Bibles with the palm on my left hand. Suddenly, I felt something grab my right hand. Shocked, I dropped all four Bibles on the grass and turned around.
It was Abigail, the little girl. She grabbed my right hand and pulled me towards her with so much force that I found myself leaning forward. I almost fell. She kept pulling, but I soon recognized what was happening and tried to pull back. Since I was stronger than she was, the little girl stopped pulling and started to relax.
As the shock subsided, I looked at the little girl's face and noticed now misty and moist her big green eyes seemed. It was a pleading look, like she wanted something from me.
"Abby?" I forgot about the Bibles and kneeled down. "What is it?"
She took a small step towards the park but kept her eyes on mine. "Follow me," she said.
I followed the little girl but one second later heard someone screaming. Pastor Adams was walking towards us.
"Abigail!" the Pastor screamed. "Did I say you could come out here by yourself?"
Pastor Adams approached the little girl and smacked her hard on the bottom. I heard a loud popping noise when the man's palm hit the little girl's bottom.
Abigail stood where she was and, after a slight delay, started crying. It was a loud cry that was uniform in sound, not broken up by any need to breathe. Her eyes were already misty but now they looked almost red.
Pastor Adams pointed to the Bibles on the grass. "I'm sorry about those Bibles. I'll get some new ones for you." The Pastor exposed his palm again, threatening to hit Abigail. The little girl flinched when she saw her father raise his hand.
"Hey!" I said, making the Pastor freeze. "It's okay. It was my fault. I wasn't holding the Bibles properly. Did you need to hit her like that?"
"Children need to be disciplined," said the Pastor.
I kneeled down to pick up the books. "Instead of hitting her, help me pick up these Bibles instead."
As Pastor Adams helped pick up two of the Bibles, the little girl took the opportunity to run off into the church.
"Let's go inside and I'll replace those Bibles with new ones," said the Pastor.
I inspected the Bibles. "There doesn't seem to be any damage. It's okay. I'll just take these."
Pastor Adams nodded. "I'll see you and your family on Sunday."
I walked away to the car park.