Becoming clearer now
Becoming clearer, now he could distinguish silhouettes. It seemed to be a man, leading a sheep, walking next to a woman riding a donkey. All the time, they remained beneath that mysterious star, which now appeared to be moving. Fixated, Ebenezer wracked his memory for his childhood bible stories. My God! Of course, the second coming! Guilt consumed him. He could hear the disembodied voice of his old retainer Jacob Mahoney; “This is it, McDonald. You must repent your cruel, penny-pinching past.”
Ebenezer thought of all the hours he’d made Jacob work. All the miles he’d made him travel, all the times he’d made him go to exhibitions and say the same thing over and over. He thought of all the times poor Judy had needed to ‘go in good time’ but hadn’t; of all the hours she’d spent queuing after work in the Post Office. He finally thought of old Mr Buttle, hunched over his PC, day after day, writing and rewriting training manuals and web pages, only to have them changed by Ebenezer at a whim.
The voice he could now hear was his own.
“I’m sorry, I’ll change, I’ll be a better person”, he sobbed hysterically, as the biblical figures came towards him.
The nearer they came, the more his head spun with thoughts of his poor, mistreated staff and how he must imminently explain his deeds to the ‘Reader of All Souls’. How would he atone for his life? What penance would he need to achieve in order to find his place in everlasting peace?
Suddenly they were before him; a deafening roar, a wind like the descent of the Valkyries and the star almost above his head. Then, coming from above, the voice; unearthly, almost spiritual, “STAND STILL YOU ARE SURROUNDED”
In that instant all was chaos. The rotor blades and searchlight spooked the horse, which bolted and threw the female rider. Landing expertly before Ebenezer, she pulled the bulging Crusader Marine cash box from beneath her jumper and thrust it into his hand, then swiftly made her escape. The man let slip the, now uncontrollable, Lurcher, which immediately sunk its teeth into Ebenezer’s rump. The handler charged off in hot pursuit of his accomplice, whilst the down draft from the helicopter completely covered Ebenezer’s face and hands with soot from the nearby bonfire.
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