Those Three Words Crept Over King's Mountain

Updated on January 27, 2017

It was easy breaking into the church on East Main Street over on the West Side. The back window was flimsy and just waiting for Mike King to put it out of its misery. He was in and the entrance from that window led him right into the kitchen. That small kitchen smelled like cleaning products, mostly bleach.

King breathed deeply as his bony shoulders sagged. He was hungry, tired and covered in cob webs, and he was also ready to commit robbery. His life to date had been a failure.

Sister Teresa Keller was just as startled as King when she walked into the kitchen and saw the teenager standing there holding a gun to her face. For King it was an involuntary reaction that made him draw the weapon.

The gun he was holding was used in a liquor store robbery a few weeks back, and that gunman abandoned it behind an outside air conditioning unit. It was then that Mike King reclaimed it.

“I'm here for the collection money,” King said nervously.

Sister Keller moved closer to King until the barrel of the gun touched her cheek. “Why do you want the collection money?”

King bit his bottom lip, but he did not reply.

“You've done nothing to earn the money, so don't ask for it again.” Her words were firm and her face gave no indication of fear.

“Don't make me pop you sister!” He shouted as he squinted his eyes and clenched his teeth. “I got no time for your bull shit!”

“The money is not mine to give,” she replied.

Mike King was not joking, he knew he had it in him to pop her. He stepped back a little as his knees almost buckled and his mouth went dry. “Get me the money!”

She reached out and took his free wrist and squeezed it. Very calmly she said, “I'll pray for you.”

“I don't need you to pray for me,” he said as he yanked his wrist away and stepped a few feet back. “And get me the damn money, I'm not playing sister.”

“No, you are wrong. You do need me to pray for you. Surrender your will to Christ, and follow him wherever he leads. And you will never feel lonely again.”

“It's too late for me sister,” he said. “God turned his back on me a long time ago.”

“God would never turn his back on you. Give Him a chance. Don't be weak and fragile,” she said. “Lets start a renewed relationship with Him. Lets do it now, confess your sins to God.”

“You're crazy sister,” he said.

“I am who God made me to be,” she replied gently.

“You don't understand,” he tried explaining as tears found there way down his cheek. “My mother was an alcoholic and she died cold stiff drunk when I was eight. I never knew my father, but they tell me he was like that old song, wherever he lays his hat was his home. I eat three meals a week. I bathe in the Rooster River in the summer and a half way house in the winter. That's my life, and you tell me God didn't turn his back on me?”

King almost dropped the weapon, but instead readjusted his grip to make it tighter.

“But after what you went through,” she continued. “You bathe and you eat. That is God providing for you.”

“Providing shit! I'm providing.”

She spoke softer and continued smiling. “No, He has shown you a way. He is looking out for you. He knows your thoughts, and your needs. God wants you to be perfectly at peace in the world.”

“Living like this?”

“You're just frightened by the real world. You just have to go to Him in prayer and in the spirit of forgiveness. Then and only then, your sins would be forgiven. The Lord will forgive all of your transgressions.”

“My constant hunger, the poverty, all my situation?”

“They won't go away, but He will give you the strength to deal with it.”

“This gun will make them go away,” he half shouted.

“No, it'll just make the hole your digging deeper.”

Mike King took a good, long look into the eyes of Sister Keller. He saw genuine compassion staring right back at him. It was an expression he couldn't explain, but somehow trusted. He walked up to her and placed the gun in the palms of her hands. She put the gun in a top drawer near the sink and hugged King tight.

Sister Keller held King's hand and they prayed together.

“I'm hungry sister,” he whispered in her ear.

The only food she had to offer was a quick roll with butter and some tomato juice from a can. It was good enough for him as he sat at the table with tears in his eyes and thanked God for the meal he was about to receive.

“Bless you,” she whispered in his ear.

“I may not change,” he said.

“I know.”

“I may go back to my old ways,” he continued. “I'm still weak.”

“Give Him a chance.”

He nodded slowly.

“God loves you.”

Those three words Crept over King's mountain.

© 2016 Frank Atanacio

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      Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton

      thanks savvydating for reading my King.. bless you and good seeing you

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 16 months ago

      Great story. I was really interested to know what would happen at the end. And to think, there are such brave people, like Sister Keller, in the world. Come to think of it, Mike King was no less brave. This story really gives one pause. Just how brave and compassionate are we, as individuals, when it really matters?

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      Frank Atanacio 17 months ago from Shelton

      thank you Deb Hirt for stopping by...:)

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      Deb Hirt 17 months ago

      That was quite a story, which I'm certain resounds true on more than one occasion. Fabulous work.

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      Frank Atanacio 17 months ago from Shelton

      Thank you Faith.. hope the fathers in your life enjoyed their day...:)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 17 months ago from Shelton

      thank you so much Cam, Flourish, and Genna East bless you guys

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 18 months ago from southern USA

      Happy Father's Day, Frank. I hope you had a special one.

      I thought I'd pop in to share this one for another round.

      Blessings

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 18 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Stunningly beautiful and inspirational, Mike. This was the perfect way to being my Sunday. Thank you! :-)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 18 months ago from USA

      Oh, Frank, this was amazing, and I can imagine my husband's elderly aunt, a nun, having such a conversation. She sees hope where there is none.

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      Chris Mills 18 months ago from Missoula, Montana

      Frank, you nailed the despair of the youth and the bravery of the woman. This felt very authentic, realistic. I liked the ending. It wasn't a complete transformation which would have seemed contrived, but a work in progress, the way it would really happen. Well done.

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      Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton

      Missy and Nell thank you for commenting on my King flash.. bless you guys

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 18 months ago from Florida

      So inspiring. Yes, he does provide even when you don't think he does. He provided the Sister to come into his life in order for him to see that. Everything he had gone through in life led him to a person that would help him see the truth. I loved it!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 18 months ago from England

      Wonderful! loved the way you kept us guessing which way it was going to go! great story!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton

      thank you Parrster for visiting :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton

      Thank you so much for stopping by Audrey :)

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      Audrey Howitt 18 months ago from California

      Beautifully done Frank! Love the pacing of this!

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 18 months ago from Oz

      Good writing, piercing the heart as it delves deep into the subject of humnaities greatest need.

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      Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton

      Dana Tate thanks for visiting my flash..:)

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      Dana Tate 18 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      I don't think I need to tell you this one spoke to me in a mighty way. I pray this will be a continued series with the sister showing God's loving mercy and grace.

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      Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton

      Thanks so much pstraubie and Billybuc..

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      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Frank, that was a pure pleasure to read. The flow was perfect; the scene set exquisite. Well done, buddy!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 18 months ago from sunny Florida

      No words to add, Frank. A message many long to hear and wish to take to heart.

      Angels are finding their way to you this morning ps

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      Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton

      hey thanks Jodah for stopping by :)

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      John Hansen 18 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This was great, Frank. Very different for you, and a happy ending..well at least for now.. Well done.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton

      thanks Clive

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      Clive Williams 18 months ago from Nibiru

      This is a very good piece. Blessings Bro

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton

      Thank you so much Always Exploring, Mckbirdbks, Manatita, Shyron Shenko, Always Faithful Faith Reaper, Junko, for reading King.. God Bless you guys :)

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      junko 18 months ago

      God loves you and the God in me love you too, you can see it in my eyes , the caring. Many who have never been loved don't know love of God or Man. Just to experience and feel somebody they can see really care about me. That can be a spiritual awakening and good time to be introduced to God. Write on my friend.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 18 months ago from Texas

      Frank, I am touched by this. I could feel Sister Keller's strength and I could feel King giving in.

      Beautiful.

      Blessings always

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 18 months ago from southern USA

      Oh, my goodness, dear Frank, you knocked this one out of the park! I knew just by reading the intriguing title this one was bound to be amazing.

      This one brought the tears for me too. God bless Sister Keller. She certainly knows when God is on our side, then we have no reason to fear what man can do to us ...as well as knowing no one is too far gone for the Lord God to save!

      This one is my new favorite flash of yours ... Well, maybe even of all time.

      God bless you too, dear Frank, for writing such a powerful piece here.

      Sharing everywhere, of course.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 18 months ago from london

      A real risk-taker, this Sister, but a great conversation and remarkable redemption. Different, but 'cool.'

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 18 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Frank. You certainly know how to direct a scene. I could feel the coolness of the dim kitchen and the calmness in the Sister and the despair in Mike King.

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 18 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This is so beautiful, I'm sitting here crying as I type my comment. There are so many Mike's out there with high mountains to climb. Sometimes it only takes a kind word to turn their world around. Another flash fiction with your touch throughout....