Monday, July 25, 2011

FICTION: Redemption by Jude C. Perera

Jim still didn’t feel any peace, nothing that remotely resembled it. He had never prayed with such fierce desperation before, but what he craved for eluded him with equal tenacity. He only felt the complex tangle that his fingers had morphed into. His hunched back had gone to sleep and his knees had struck a deal with the wooden rest. He had spent more than four hours here; he had put his heart in to a service. He had not glared back at those old hags who had surveyed his piety with unstinted admiration. He had felt like putting them out of their mortal miseries though for not minding their own business. He had even been audacious enough to mouth a few hymns, he didn’t know a single word. He had known them all by heart many, many years ago. He hadn’t even had to try praying those days, peace was a natural dividend; he was bitterly envious of his past.
He had ambled into this little church many times in recent years, but fear still found him with impunity. He bit his lips and tightened his interlocked fingers even harder, the pain was excruciating, but there was no choice.

Soon he heard the silence, the church looked deserted, he didn’t like it all that much. He struggled to recall his resentment for those old women now; and even missed them. The savage beat of his heart exploded in his ears, he didn’t have all day. The dying beams of the sun, which brought the famous stained glass stories on the windows to vibrant life was totally lost on him. Perhaps he chose to ignore it. He looked around, there was no one in sight, he felt naked, with a sigh he relapsed into more fervent supplication. Millions prayed for their jobs, he knew, why should he be any different. Surely that was not flawed logic, he wanted answers. Soon he was exhausted, that was a sure sign that he had prayed himself out. It was time to leave; he decided to ignore his talkative mind, it just wouldn’t shut up. It was a task to relieve his fingers; they still hurt. He shook them vigorously, desperately, to get the blood flow back. His eyes swiftly scanned his elegant Armani, but his spiritual sojourn had not left a mark. His hand groped his breast pocket with reverence; the sharp object hadn’t budged. He
breathed easy, he was even cocky, his sleek Browning Pro-9 pistol had never failed him. Now that was assurance. He stepped out of the church and sighed then resigned to his fear.

The metallic silver of Jim’s latest Mercedes – S 63 AMG; shimmered in the waning glow of the gasping sun. He just couldn’t coerce his eyes away from it. He sighed again, this time it was blessed with contentment.

He parked outside Layton Avenue, well a way from their mansion; dusk had finally sneaked up. It was a clear night and the street lamps blasted the dark. He tried to lose himself in a study of the street life about him. But there was no subject matter; multi-millionaires led boring lives. His adrenalin was still on the rampage when he saw the headlights approach. The sweat off his palm had drenched his pistol; the Sunday Herald, which covered both, shook violently. But it was not the Volvo; he could recognize it anywhere in any light. When it did appear his nerves had passed, it was a skill. He could clearly see the man’s bulk cramming the driver’s seat. He had to slow down to turn into his mansion.

He was really a sitting duck; Jim pulled out his gun and gently rolled down his shutter. Then he saw the little girl in the passenger seat clearly under the artificial lights, she looked so cute, and he could almost hear her laughter.

She suddenly looked at Jim and smiled sweetly, he couldn’t help but smile in return.

The shots devastated the silence; they stung Jim’s ears. He had difficulty breathing and he had a hazy impression of his car window, shattered. Something sticky was gathering into pools around his neck; it felt horribly uncomfortable.

His mouth too began filling up and he had to spit it out, it didn’t taste like anything he knew at all.

All he could feel with total clarity was an overmastering sense of peace.

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