Written for a high school English class assignment in the 10th Grade, I believe. Very obviously inspired by Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness, which a friend had given me for Christmas.

Dusk painted the city a deep hue of gold. The Depression contrasted against it with a blackness that swallowed the streets.

A lone figure moved quickly down a deserted sidewalk, his silhouetted form barely noticeable among the monochrome walls of the town. His head moved from side to side, quickly, as if looking for someone. But he wasn’t. In his hand was a small, black book, and he gripped it fervently, reflexively.

Coming upon a dark alley, he turned down into it. He passed a small boy picking through a trash can for a scrap to eat. The haggardly child didn’t seem to notice him, and he didn’t notice the boy.

Moving farther down the alley, he came upon one lone individual. An old beggar that was no more than a skeleton, and smelled like even less. The beggar was sitting on the ground, and the stranger knelt next to him. The beggar asked for something with a deep longing in his eyes that betrayed his true desire. The stranger finally released his strong grip on the black book and opened it, reading to the man.

In another realm of existence, only a few feet away, one of the many shadows came to life. It reached down into the old beggar’s body and touched something much deeper than his flesh.

The old man began to resist the stranger, pushing him away with as many tired excuses as he could think of.

A magnificent creature of light descended upon the alley and began to grapple with the shadow. The two beings fought a ferocious battle, all the while touching the old beggar’s soul.

The stranger renewed his conversation with the old man, seeing easily through his excuses to his heart. The beggar became unsure.

The being of light took a resounding blow and fell to the ground. The shadow stood mightily over him, ready to complete his victory.

The beggar fell into despair, feelign that he was unworthy of the stranger’s efforts. The stranger pointed out that his own efforts were unimportant. The beggar looked hopeful.

A powerful strike reverberated throughout the alley as one of the beings was hit by a new player, a third being entering the spiritual realm. But it was not the being of light, it was the shadow that fell. His attacker reached down to help the being of light to stand up again. The shadow, still dazed, recognized this new foe as the young boy that had been sifting through trash just moments before.

The beggar made his decision.

Outnumbered, the shadow had no choice but to retreat.

And as the two humans in that alley lifted their hearts to Heaven, they were joined by two beings of light that now stood constant vigil over them.

Copyright 1991 ©Robin Parrish. All rights reserved.