Monday, October 31, 2011

Winner of the Story Ending

The winner is Chandler Hamby.  Here is how she ended T.T. Lacey's story.

“Those were innocent people.” I said angrily. “People who never hurt you; what reason did you have to do that?”

He stared at the wall, lost in thought. Finally he answered, “I had a reason, but it’s something you probably will say I’m totally crazy for saying. I did it, because I needed release.”

Release? Release from what? I thought.

“I don’t understand what you are trying to say,” I said in some frustration, “so please tell me what exactly you needed release from, then maybe I’ll stop feeling completely lost.”

He smiled a little at that, then stood up, and began pacing back and forth across the small space of the cell. His legs brushed my knees as he walked away, and then turned around.

“It’s a long story; something that will take time even for me to totally understand. Can I share a little secret with you, Mr. O’Reilly?”

I nodded rather warily. After all, this man was supposed to be insane, and from the looks of things, I’d say he was. But I needed to hear everything, so he began.

“It all started a few years ago. I was twenty-four, and I felt completely lost. I lived in a big city in Montana, had a job as a custom home builder, and was doing ok in this big world. But all the time I had this knowing feeling inside that there was something missing. Something I hadn’t thought of before, but that I could, if I could just know how.”

He paused for breath, and I nodded for him to continue.

“I began to wonder what the thing missing was. At first I thought maybe I was just depressed. But I soon realized that this was not a mental or physical state, it was simply there. And it was persisting. So I looked into all sorts of things to try to get my mind off of it. I tried everything; TV shows, books, movies, anything that could solve my problems. That didn’t work. So then I consulted a mental expert, similar to you, Mr. O’Reilly, and he told me I just needed a change of scenery. So I went to California to try to relax and think. One day I saw a woman on the beach who attracted my attention because of her beauty or style. I simply felt attracted. She was reading aloud to a group of people gathered around her out of a small, black leather book. I listened, and soon heard her saying, “For we know that all things work together for the good of those that love God.” I realized that she was reading out of the Bible, a book I had never really read or looked into. She saw me and smiled. I smiled back, and sat down to listen. Amazingly, I sat there for over an hour, entranced. When she finished she said that she would be there again next week.

For several days I wondered if I would go listen again. I felt touched; for those few hours I felt that queer longing vanish, and I felt satisfied. So I went again the next week, and the next, and for several months. I finally realized that I had fallen in love with this lady, so after reading as usual, I asked her out to lunch, and she accepted. While during lunch I told her everything. I don’t know why, I just felt like I could trust this person. She told me something I hadn’t thought about before:
“Sir,” she began, “could I be really honest with you?”

I told her, “Of course.”

She said, “Sir, you are lost, and I believe Christ is calling you.”

I’d listened to her reading long enough to know that Jesus was supposed to be the Son of God, and I almost believed it; That’s how stirred I felt.

“I don’t know anything about Jesus except what you’ve been reading, and I need a few questions answered. The first is this: how do I know Jesus is any more real than all the other gods and religions everyone’s saying are so real? I just don’t get it.”

She sat for a few moments thinking, and then answered, “Sir, I can tell you are truly curious. As to your question, I think I can answer it.”

She pulled out the Bible she had been reading from, and flipped through it. When she found it, she began to read:

“’Now faith is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not seen.”’ Hebrews 11:1.” Sir, this answers your question in part, but to make it clear here is another verse; “’for I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”’ John 14:6. this verse is basically saying that you cannot believe unless you have faith. It will take awhile, but I believe you are chosen.”

We discussed a little more each week, every time she read, afterwards we went out to lunch and talked. I gradually began to understand, and then finally I believed! This longing vanished, and I was for the first time truly happy. I went to church, professed faith and became a member. I was satisfied in Jesus! I proposed to the lady, whose name was Miss Janice Aberdeen, and we were married.”

I looked at his face. It had lit up with a beautiful light. I started to wonder if this man was insane or just still searching for answers. He continued.

“For a while I was happy finding answers in my wife, just getting my still many questions answered. This took several years, and for the time I was satisfied. But I began to hunger for more, and so we went to New York, where we heard a well known minister was preaching. We stayed for a week, and then, the night before we went to the service where the pastor would be preaching, the unthinkable happened: my wife went out to get some things we needed, and while walking by an alleyway, she was attacked, robbed and then murdered. I was staggered. My wife, after being married for four years, had been abruptly snatched away from me. I was angry and heartbroken. I left, without even seeing the minister. For several months I wandered around, over and over again asking the same question: why did this happen? She didn’t deserve that! She had done nothing against God, so why did He do this? I grew more bitter and angry every time I asked that question.

Then I began taking my wrath out on people. I was harsh, critical, and unkind towards everyone around me. I even began physically hurting people. One night, I put on my clothes, slipped a gun into my pocket, and went outside. I saw a house, and the blinds were open. I looked inside, and saw a family, a father and mother sitting together, and a little child playing, and they looked so happy, so contented I was angered, and, hardly knowing what I did, I aimed the gun at the father, and pulled the trigger. I heard screams, and saw the father fall to the ground with blood on his shirt. I had killed him pretty much instantly. The mother looked up and saw me, and screamed. I was terrified; I knew that I mustn’t be found out, so I aimed it at her, and she too fell. The child was screaming and weeping, clinging to her parent’s bodies. I shot them too and then heard a siren’s wail. Someone had called the police. Before I even really knew what happened I was grabbed and thrown down. When I fought, someone hit me and I blacked out. Then they brought me here. I’ve been here for about a week already; plenty of time to reflect.”

For about a minute we both sat in silence. Finally, I broke the silence.

“Is that all?”

“Not quite. Before I am judged and, as I know I will be, condemned, please know this. I now am, as I mentioned, in a totally different state of mind now. What I did was wrong, and could I go back, I would never have done that. You may think me crazy, and maybe I am, but I have repented. I have started finding answers.”

At this he pulled out a small black book.

“This was Janice’s.” He said, stroking it gently. “The police found it, the only thing still on her. Maybe the thieves just did not think it was worth taking it; I don’t know. I have asked Jesus to forgive me, and now I am at peace.”

As if at his words, a look of the most perfect peace and happiness spread over his face. His eyes were closed. At last he opened them and said, “Thank you, Mr. O’Reilly, that’s all.”

I left the cell more thoughtful than I had entered. I didn’t know why, but I knew I needed to start looking for this Jesus who freed Mr. Smith.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Short Story Ending Contest

The short story ending contest winners will be posted on November 1, 2011.

The deadline of Oct. 31 is fast approaching.  Please send in your endings as soon as possible.

A random word poetry contest will be announced on November 15.  Watch for further details.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Short Story Ending Contest

Here is a short story written by an imaginative high school freshman.  You are invited to write the ending of the story.  The best endings will be published at Students Publish Here along with T.T. Lacy's original ending.  The ending may be a surprise, funny, tragic, ironic, surreal or scary.

DEADLINE:  October 31, 2011

Just a Few Questions

by Thomas Toland Lacy  

It was around 1:00 am and I was so tired I didn't even want to look at my watch.  I'm a psychiatrist and my name is Tom O'Reilly. I assist in police investigations and it often means long hours. I got into this a few years ago when I helped the police interrogate a psychopath.  Now every time a looney is arrested, the detectives call me.

Tonight, when I entered the precint headquarters I was greeted by detective Jonas Stewart. 

"We got a real psycho this time," the detective told me.

I shook my head and responded, "Aren't they all? So what's up with this case?"

Stewart and I walked down the hall together as he explained, "Well, he isn't talking for one and we're pretty sure that he murdered three people."

"What name does he go by?"

"Smith.  He calls himself Mr. Smith."

"Oh great! Another cliche," I said, feeling annoyed by the prospect of spending a late night in a small interrogation room with a lack-luster criminal.

"That's all he'd tell us, Tom.  You have your hands full with this one!"

Detective Stewart started to humm.  His soft humming often continued during the interrogation, which was enough to drive me nuts.

We arrived at the door and I hesitated before entering. 

"Okay, let's see what I can find out."

Stewart shrugged his shoulders and opened the door.

The suspect was

He sat stiffly in the chair opposite me.

"Hello, Mr. Smith."

No response.

"Mind if I ask you a few questions?"

After a prolonged silence he said, "I guess so, but you're just some doctor trying to find out if I'm crazy."

No one had ever said that to me and before I could think of a reply, he said with some agitation, "Just start asking!"

"Okay.  Did you kill the Lovett family?"

"Yes I did. Why do you as?.  I'm in a different state of mind, you see. You may think that I'm insane, but I'm not... just in a different state of mind."

This was a first.  The man was admitting that he was insane, that is, assuming an insane state of mind.

I asked, "What state of mind are you in, Mr. Smith?"

"I'm perfectly sane, you see."

So that's how he wants to play, never giving me a straight answer.

"Okay.  Let's consider this: either you are sane or insane.  Which state of mind would you say describes you at the moment?"

"Well sir, I'm in between.  I know I did wrong to kill those people.  They never did anything to me, but I did it anyway."

I could feel my blood pressure rising.