2. Lock Down

   "Welcome to our parish on this third Sunday in ordinary time.  Let us pray," the priest said and bowed down over the alter.

   My family was at church as we were every weekend.  Our community gathered together to give thanks and sing praise.  Me and my dad looked at each other and smiled.  He put his arm around me and we bowed our heads with everyone else. 

   Mass seemed to be quicker today, and before I knew it, we were getting ready to line up to get Communion.   As I stepped into the walkway, there was a loud rumbling sound, and many people looked around but then returned to what they were doing.

   "What was that?" I whispered.

   "I don't know.  Go ahead," my mom said and gestured toward the isle. 

   I hesitated but finally obeyed.  We had only walked a few feet when it happened.  The whole church started shaking.  There were shouts from many parishioners as there was a loud bang, a crashing sound, a horrible scream, then silence.  Everyone was shocked and we all were frozen in our positions, quiet, afraid.  Then the priest stood up.

    "Lock down!" he yelled and the people started running.

   The silence had been broken.  For at that moment, men with flaming torches burst through the door and charged.  They pressed the flames against the walls as they ran, setting the beautiful building on fire.  Women shrieked and swept up their children as they scurried toward the exits, looks of fright upon their faces.  Everything happened so quickly.  The intruders grabbed the minister by the arms and dragged him away.  My legs felt like jelly.  It was like being in a dream, where you want to run but you are stuck.  The monster gets closer and closer, but all you can do is slowly glide like a slug.  And all of a sudden the horrible thing swallows you.  My perilous situation was very similar, with the flames licking my cheeks and consuming me.  Then, just when it couldn't get any worse, the ceiling collapsed.  A particularly big and hard piece of plaster hit me over the head, and I fell to my knees.  One of the soldiers ran at me, his weapon ready.  But there was no need to get rid of this defender of the church.  For at that moment, everything swirled and I drifted in and out of consciousness.  The ugly man reached me and aimed at my face.  His finger met the trigger of his gun as the tip of it touched my nose.  That was the last thing I saw before I blacked out.



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