Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BRAND (01/12/17)
- TITLE: Unjustly Accused
By Francie Snell
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He could still hear the shrill cry ringing in his head. “Help me, PLEASE, somebody help me!”
Earnestly, he surveyed the street in the evening twilight. Other than the convenience mart where he had just come from, only dark storefront windows lined the street with no one else in sight.
“Help me! I need help!” a woman’s voice pleaded.
He dropped his groceries on the curb by his car and dashed down the sidewalk towards the voice. Running past some shops, he then came to an adjacent alley and stopped. He peered down the alley and spotted a woman slumped on the ground.
“Ma’am, are you okay?” He yelled, sprinting towards her.
Her arm hid her face as she lay on the cold hard cement. She was motionless as he approached her. He crouched beside her and gently touched her arm. “Are you okay… can you hear me?”
She jerked her arm away from her face revealing the contempt in her eyes. “Gotcha!”
He gasped. “Janet?”
“That’s right,” she said with a villainous smile, then broke out with an ear piercing shriek. “Police! Help! Police! Get away from me. Police!”
Brandon spent that night in jail.
So much for trying to be the good Samaritan he scoffed to himself as he sat in court the next day. What a trap. After listening to the erroneous testimony of an assault, given by his estranged ex-girlfriend, Brandon told his side of the story. It was her word against his. She lied to the police the night before, and now she lied to the judge and the jury, with all the fervor of an aspiring actress competing for the lead role in a play. Even so, there was no evidence to prove her case: no bruises, no scrapes, no indication of any kind of foul play whatsoever. So despite Janet’s vengeful efforts to sway her audience, Brandon was found innocent of all charges. He was set free…or was he?
Mrs. Smith, a kind elderly woman who lived down the street, had always welcomed him with a warm smile as he passed her house. “Well hello Brandon, how about some coffee before you head on to work? I made some tarts, hot and fresh, just out of the oven.” She was like the grandmother he always wished he had.
Yet after the incident, her caring attitude towards him seemed to change.
“Hello Mrs. Smith” he shouted with a wave, as he walked beside the picket fence. She continued sweeping her front porch without acknowledging he was even there. Without saying a word, she leaned the broom against the porch railing and stepped inside her house, shutting the door behind her. Disheartened, he walked on down the lane. He had started his walk to work early that day with hopes to stop and chat with the woman who no longer seemed open for his visit.
Later as he walked home, he spotted young Tommy in his front yard. He was a friendly boy who always seemed eager to talk to anyone who showed him attention. “Hey Tommy, how ya been?... haven’t seen you for a while.”
Like a frightened mouse, Tommy scurried up the porch steps. “Hey, what’s the matter?” Brandon asked as the boy darted into the house, slamming the door behind him. Now THAT’S the last straw, Brandon bitterly thought.Even the kids have turned against me.
Despite being innocent, the lies of the alleged assault were like a poison spreading through the community and influencing the minds of many. Many except for Pastor John.
When Brandon came in for counseling, Pastor John listened with a look of compassion. “Yes, I read about it in the paper. I'm so sorry Brandon.” He slowly shook his head. “False testimony can be so damaging.”
Brandon sighed with exasperation. “I was only trying to help the woman, you know, do the Christian thing. But now everyone acts like I’m an infectious disease.”
“You’ve been unjustly accused, and wrongfully branded by doing the right thing. But just remember, ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’”
Solemnly, Brandon nodded. “So, I guess that’s what it means to carry my cross.”
“Yes, I believe so.”
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