Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Christmas Carols/Carolling (10/02/08)
TITLE: The Creep and the Carolers
By Gerald Shuler
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“He's following us!”
Tanya said it loud enough to get the attention of Pastor Bill, the church's youth minister. As discreetly as possible, he kept an eye on the cyclist in his rear view mirror. The teen did, indeed, look like he could be trouble but, surely... Just to make sure, Bill turned the bus down Cherry Lane. Oh, Lord, the motorcycle turned with him.
“See, he is still after us!” It was Tanya again. She was near panic, as though the strange teen behind them were already on the bus.
“It's okay, Tanya. He probably just lives in the neighborhood.” Bill didn't even believe that one.
“What are you going to do, Pastor Bill?”
He wasn't sure who asked but it didn't really matter because he knew the entire group was feeling shaken by the strange follower. The teen had done nothing to indicate any kind of intentional threat and Bill even had an unexpected and unexplainable peace about the situation. Still, he knew he would have to do something to calm the group.
“You guys practice 'Silent Night'.” He slowed the van down and pulled to the side of the street. “I'm going to go meet our friend.” He looked out the back window, hoping the motorcycle had simply driven on by. It hadn't. The teen was parked directly behind the van.
As he got out of the van his only thought was what a foolish move he was making. He should get back in, call the police on his cell phone, and get the kids back to the church. Forget the rest of the caroling schedule. The kids would understand. The church would understand, too. The only thing not understood at the moment was, why was his feet still walking toward the teen on the motorcycle?
The teens carolers tried practicing 'Silent Night', but their attention quickly shifted to what was going on behind the bus. They each strained to hear what was being said but could only make out an occasional “you should” or “when I was your age”; not enough to know what was actually being said. After an excruciating five minutes (that seemed more like five hours to the carolers), Pastor Bill returned to his seat behind the steering wheel. Without saying a word, he started the van and headed toward their next destination to sing for Elva Lu Fairbody.
The creep on the motorcycle stayed right behind them all the way and stopped when they got to the Fairbody home. He stayed parked across the street as the group nervously sang two or three carols and then quickly filed back into the van. Each of the remaining four stops was an exact, nerve-wracking repeat.
After the last stop Pastor Bill shocked the entire bus load of teens. Before getting into the van he looked back at the creep on the bike and.... and.... waved at him. As though they were best of friends, he waved at him. Even more amazing, the creep smiled and waved back. As he was getting ready to step up into the bus, Pastor Bill paused and looked at the teen on the motorcycle as he slowly rode past the van.
“See you Sunday?” Bill hollered as the bike revved.
“Sure thing! Thanks for the invitation.”
One year later the church van headed out of the lot, going caroling once again. No motorcycle followed them, though. It couldn't. The 'creep' that rode the bike was joyously singing with the carolers. No jewels pierced his face. No hint of menace darkened his eyes. For the last year, he had become the best example to teens of what can happen when you take time to witness about Jesus.
Like Pastor Bill had done behind the church van
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