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Saved By The Bible [Short Story, Fiction]

Bible with Bullethole

Joshua Wills was a travelling sales rep selling household goods, including small kitchen electric gadgets. He was eager to move on and didn’t want to offend the little old woman, but took her parting gift-a bible, and put it in his shirt pocket. It wasn’t a bad day so far he had sold nearly €100.00 worth of stock. He spent nearly one hour with this woman who bought some of his wears and he had welcomed a cup of tea with her as she told him stories of the past. This was Joshua’s first time to be in this neighbourhood and he didn’t know any of the secrets, if any, it may have held.

When he told his wife of 10 years, Alice, where he was (the old lady kindly let him use her phone), she suggested he get out as quickly as possible, but with Christmas fast approaching, and having to buy his two children gifts he couldn’t just give up. When he went in to the next block of houses he could feel the cold wind cut into him like a knife cutting into a piece of meat. It was now getting dark and the wind was cold and mean. Because of the pressure that was on him he decided to stay for another couple of hours.

Business was quite good and from time to time, he would have to either go to the car and retrieve more stock or move the car up along the hill he was walking up against. Sometimes when he was walking up someone’s driveway he could hear dogs barking, and sometimes he would find himself in a well-lit area, instead of the darkened one he was in; some of the houses had those automatic Halogen lights on their drive way. This was a welcome relief to Joshua at least the people in the house knew someone would be knocking on their door, and Joshua could be seen. It was now nearly 9pm, Joshua decided to call it a night, he had a good days pay and sold nearly €500.00 worth of stock, not bad for a days’ work. When he stumbled on this housing estate he had passed a small hotel on the main road, perhaps if he stayed there for the night he then could finish of the housing estate tomorrow and buy more stock tomorrow morning.

He walked back to his car, got in, started it and drove off towards the hotel. He got lost a couple of times but finally made it out and made his way to the Hotel. He went in and was told there were no rooms in the hotel but there were rooms on the hotel’s lodges also on the hotels grounds plus they were a bit cheaper. When checking in the male reception asked Joshua would he like to deposit any cash or jewellery in the hotels main safe for a small fee, Joshua replied no, as this seemed a waste of money, well to Joshua it was. Once inside lodge number 7 it wasn’t as bad as Joshua thought it might be. It had a small kitchen, a decent shower, and a decent bed which did squeek here and there. It had a small TV, ‘no’ thought Joshua, this ain’t bad at all.

He went out to his car having locked his lodge door, and drove out to the fast food outlet which he passed coming in to the hotel. While Joshua tucked in to his meal he decided once he got back in to his lodge, he would phone Alice and tell her where he was staying, he done this often to ease way any concerns she may be having. Once back in the lodge it felt different, he swore his stuff had been touched or possibly moved but he wasn’t too sure. He decided to shower the next morning after phoning Alice on the hotels phone. He felt un- easy after phoning Alice so he set about making sure all the locks on the windows and the two doors where locked and firmly shut. He snapped the lock shut on his front door and left the key in the lock. He didn’t bother taking his stuff out of the car, deciding to wait till next day. The cash he had on him he rolled the notes together and put it down his stockings a place he used a lot, especially in places he didn’t know, the lose coins he left them on the side locker beside his bed. He switched on the TV and flickered through the channels before deciding on a movie he saw a few times. He didn’t bother changing in to his PJ’s he just laid on the bed with his shirt and his pants, he dozed off and when he woke up he just took off his pants and his shirt knocked of the TV the lights and got under the covers and was out for the count.

It took a while to register it was his car alarm going off. Startled, he jumped up put the lights on, put on his pants and his shirt and flung his feet in to his shoes. He looked at the clock on his wrist, it was only 2.30 am. He went out to the car and knocked of the alarm, by this time the wind was really fierce. He opened the car, nothing looked touched and he toyed with the idea the breeze may have rocked the car causing it to set its alarm off. Once back inside he phoned the reception and had to wait a while before someone picked up. “Hi” said Joshua “This is Mr. Wills in lodge number 7, I am just phoning you guys to let you know it was my car’s alarm that went off. I fixed it off in case some of the residents where giving out, I think the wind may of caused it to go off. Well, anyway, its fixed now and I just wanted to let you guys know it was my car OK?”. “Thank you for letting me know” said the person on the other end of the phone before hanging up. “Where is your phone manners?” mumbled Joshua before putting the phone on to its dial.

Joshua couldn’t just fall asleep so he got up and made himself a cup of hot chocolate before trying for another sleep. It was now after 3.15 am before Joshua knocked of the bedside lamp for the second time. It felt he only put his head on to the pillow when there was another loud gust of wind that set the car alarm off again. He was up like a flash and was out the door after jumping in to his pants and slamming in to his shoes. After a quick glance in the car- which appeared to be fairly rooted on the spot, Joshua decided it would be best if he switched of his car’s alarm for the night. While he was locking his car door he noticed, in his rush to get to the car, he left the front door opened of the hotel room. “Oh Josh” he muttered to himself “Why don’t I just leave the keys in the car door, in case anyone wants to steal the car?”.

Once back inside, Joshua couldn’t fall back asleep, trying as he might, he just couldn’t. He just lay there waiting and willing the night to break and turn to light and to get out of the hotel. Joshua dosed off but woke up when he felt an object been pushed in to his neck, “What the….” said Joshua. “Shut up” said the person holding the object, “Now keep quiet and you will get to leave this hotel alive”. “Stand up and get dressed” said the voice, who appeared to be a male. Joshua sat up on the bed, the figure moved back and allowed Joshua enough room to manoeuvre his legs over the bed, while Joshua got dressed the figure held what looked like a gun aiming at Joshua, the whole time it took Joshua to get dressed. The figure also had some kind of mask that covered most of his face. “Get your car keys, we are leaving” said the figure. Joshua did as he was told, “Wait” said the figure, before Joshua opened the front door. The man moved up just behind Joshua, “Any funny business and I will take you out, are you listening to me?” “Yes” said Joshua feeling very frightened. “When we get to your car you drive and I will take the back seat, remember” said the man “Any funny business and I will leave you in the car dead, OK?”.

Stumbling and very frightened Joshua made his way to the car unlocked the front and back doors. Joshua got in to the front, the man got in directly behind Joshua. “Now before we leave this hotel” said the man, “I want you to pick up a box that I have left just below at the drive in, OK?” “Sure” said Joshua “You’re the boss”. Joshua tried to start the car but it wouldn’t start. “I told you”, said the man after several attempts, “Any funny business and I would leave you here in the car dead”. “Please sir” said Joshua “I am trying to start the car, it won’t start after another few attempts”. The man told Joshua to get out and he followed, they went back in to the hotel’s room. The man indicted for Joshua to sit on the bed, Joshua did as he was instructed. The glow of the bed side lamp wasn’t to great but Joshua could just about make the man’s outline, he was all in black including masks and gloves and he began to walk up and door the room, as if he was thinking what to do next. Joshua tried not to look at him and most of the time kept his stare on the ground.

“Ok we are going” said the man, “we are going to go down to the hotels check in, move” said the man. Joshua jumped up and was headed towards the door, “Remember” said the man, “No funny business”. “Sure” said Joshua “you’re the boss”. Both he and Joshua walked very slowly down a small path, Joshua walked in front he could at times feel what he presumed was the gun digging in to his back. When they reached the office Joshua felt very sick at the sight he seen, there was a man on the floor and he didn’t move. When Joshua and the man walked in to the office, papers where strewn across the floor and what appeared to be blood from one side of the room to another like someone had been dragged on the floor. “Sit here” ordered the man. Joshua sat down on the only chair that wasn’t broken. He could feel glass under his feet as he walked across to where the chair was. While he was seated Joshua could make out that something very nasty had happened in this room, and Joshua knew the man with the gun was involved.

The man shouted at Joshua to get on the floor, then he knocked off the office lights. He moved himself away from the window and stood by the side of the door. The darkened room was lit up when a set of head lights flashed in to the office, the driver didn’t get out but dipped the lights a few more times then drove off. Satisfied the car was gone the man knocked on the lights. Joshua could feel something wet and slippery below his left knee when he looked down he could see it was blood, he wasn’t even sure who owned the blood. “Right, get up” said the man. Joshua stood up, he couldn’t feel any pains in his left leg so he knew it wasn’t his blood. “Right” said the man, “The next car that comes in here, we are going to hijack it and get out of here”, Joshua just nodded. “Right” said the man, “clean up in here” he said to Joshua “And make it look like your working here”. Joshua done his best, the body was left on the ground but the man with the gun pushed it right up under the counter out of view. When all was looking like a working office the man ordered Joshua to drag the chair over to the window and pretend he was talking to someone on the phone.

Once seated Joshua picked up the phone, there was no dialling tone but Joshua just started to talk. “What’s your name” asked the man with the gun. “Joshua”. “That’s a nice name, are you married?”. “I am” said Joshua. “Its beyond me”, said the man with the gun “Why any man would want to ruin their lives and get married”. A set of head lights shone as they passed by, but no one seemed to be stopping. Joshua could see the clock, it was just past 5am, who would want to stop at a hotel this late thought Joshua, but he kept his thoughts to himself.

It happened so quickly, all a sudden there was dozens of head lights in the car park with flashing lights on top of the cars. Joshua was sitting on the chair when all hell broke loose. He stood up in fright then heard a loud bang and he felt if someone had just punched him and he fell backwards on to the ground. When he came around there was someone hitting him on his face. “Sir are you ok?” Joshua’s eyes woke up he was about to jump up when he heard the voice telling him not to. “No, relax sir” said the female voice, “We want to make sure you’re ok, are you” she said. Joshua went straight to the spot with his hands where he felt someone had just punched him, in the pocket of his shirt he felt something bulky and tried to pull it out. It was kind of stuck, “OK” said the female voice “You don’t appear to be punctured can you stand up?”.

Suddenly everything became crystal clear, there was police officers everywhere in the office, he was helped up to his feet by two officers. The office looked like a bomb had just went off in it, while he gathered himself he realised the man with the gun wasn’t or couldn’t be heard. He soon found out why. There on the ground lay two dead people, one was the guy he seen earlier, the other a person all in black. “Don’t worry about him” said one of the officers, “He will never hurt another person”. Somebody handed Joshua a sweet cup of tea, “Here buddy drink this”. Joshua was so in shock he couldn’t talk, he was taken to a nearby hospital in one of the ambulances with an officer in the back with him. While in the ambulance he touched the spot where he felt the bang in his chest, he pulled the bulky object from his shirt. Something fell from it, the officer reached after it. Joshua had in his hand the bible the old lady gave him, then it hit him the bible saved his life.

While Joshua was recovering in the hospital an officer came to see him and explained what happened. When the police stormed the office the gun man who was known as Fred Wallace shot Joshua when he suddenly stood up. The small bullet was stopped in its track by the bible which held the impact. Joshua was informed that Fred Wallace was already seen entering the hotels office and shooting dead an office worker who was in the office. Working as a cleaner and in another part of the room who was deaf and dumb man who worked as a night cleaner, he had witness all of it and he went about trying to warn everyone he possibly could, but because he couldn’t talk, the cleaner had to play cat and mouse with Fred and at the same time warn the other guest most of the guest managed to get out because most heard the shots been fired by Fred. The cleaner then hit the panic alarm then tried to warn you, you where to far away to hear the shots the only way the cleaner could get your attention was by messing about with your car, he tried to get in to your car so he could beep your car horn or flash the lights but then your alarm went off making a racquet and making the cars indictors go on and off, so he had to scatter as he saw Fred come down, when Fred saw you attend to the car, then go back in to your room the office phone began to ring so Fred had to go back in to the office and pick up, when he realised it was yourself on the phone once you finished talking he hung up and ripped out the main phone lines that connected to the panic alarms then he went back to cracking the safe, which he managed to open and took all the cash, and inside the case was a box full of Jewellery which belonged to another guest. When Fred was finished he took the box outside the office then went down to your car gave it a couple of bangs then the alarms went off he then hid waited for you while you attend the car he slipped inside your room and waited for you to come back in. Because you knocked of the alarm you short fused the battery that’s why the car wouldn’t start. So the real reason you’re not dead said the officer is because when Fred shot you the bullet didn’t pierce through the bible the rest can be explained, the bible saved your life.

A couple of days after that night the police phoned Joshua to go to their crime yard and pick up his car. After collecting his car he went back to the hotel and picked up his stuff while there he thanked the man that managed to save so many while risking his own life. This man’s name was Michael a name Joshua would never forget. Joshua also went back to the old lady who gave him the bible she was delighted to having heard the bible saved his life. While driving home Joshua stopped at a church, it was so long since he was in one, he went in and thanked the lord in prayer for all he had done for Joshua not only in the last few days but all that Joshua was blessed with. Joshua gave up the sales rep and is now working and training to be a male nurse. Today Joshua is known as nurse Wills a name he is so proud off.

IMAGE: A Bible with a Bullethole – Image credit: Alex In Leeds/Flickr

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