15 Stranger

Lily reaches the opening in the trees where she usually jumps onto the running trail. The natural dirt is kind to her knees. It’s perfect—unless made muddy by rain or snow. The trail is dry tonight and there are no signs of park rangers with flashlights. She sets an easy pace for herself and heads towards the back of the park.

Ten minutes later, she is passing the halfway mark. Lily feels great. Some nights running can be a hard push. Other nights, her body is in peak performance and the running just flows. Tonight is an easy flow night.

As she takes in a deep breath and rounds a corner, she is jolted to a stop by a dark figure standing in the center of the trail. The figure is staring directly at her. Lily freezes. She quickly weighs her options. She can dart into the trees and hide, or she can turn back to the direction from which she came and bolt for the main road and the protection of the rangers. She is confident she can outrun whoever this is.

“Hello, Lily. Do not be afraid. I’m here to deliver a message to you.” The voice is female, and Lily is a bit relieved the tall figure is a woman, but is unnerved she knows her name. Creepy, but intriguing.

“How do you know my name?”

“I know a lot of things about you, Lily, and I know a lot about your parents, Bruce and Deborah. I want to speak with you for just a few minutes, and then you can get back to your running. Is this okay?”

“Why are you out here lurking in the dark to talk to me? Who sent this message you say you have?”

The dark figure steps towards her. Lily considers dashing out of there, but something in the woman’s voice is soothing and reassuring. She stays. “I came in the dark because I don’t want to invite prying eyes. The message I bring for you is directly from God. It’s about the purpose of your life.”

Lily is amazed. She just left a prayer session at home asking God to reveal the purpose of her life. She has no doubt this visitor brings her the answer for which she prayed. As the woman moves closer, Lily sees she is beautiful, feminine, and has translucent blue eyes. She smiles, and Lily drops her guard.

“A message from God—is this about my prayer earlier tonight?”

“Yes, Lily, it is. I am here to show you the plan for your life. You are so important to Him, He sent me here personally.”

“Wow, I don’t know what to say. I’m Lily Parker, nice to make your acquaintance.”

“Likewise. I’m Lucie. You are as beautiful as I’ve heard, and charming as well.”

“Aw, that’s so nice of you to say. It’s cold out here if you are sitting still. Are you sure this is the best place to talk?”

“Yes, this is perfect. It will only take a few minutes.”

Lucie points to a nearby park bench and begins to walk towards it. Lily follows. From behind, Lily sees Lucie is exceptionally tall with long blonde hair; she could easily be a fashion model, though she is not stick-thin and bony like most models. She has nicely-toned curves better fit for an athlete, but the angular features of her face could easily belong to a supermodel. She cannot guess Lucie’s age. She carries herself with confidence like her forty-something mom, but has skin like her twenty-something yoga instructor.

Lily sits on the end of the bench. She is still slightly uneasy about the situation. Lucie moves closer to her and places her long arm on the back of the bench, gathering Lily to her side. “I’ll be quick. God wants you to know He has chosen you for a special assignment. He wants you to give birth to a child He is creating for a critical purpose.”

“What? Jesus is His child and  has already been born. I’ve never heard of another child in the plans. Besides, I am not old enough to be married. I’ve never even been on a date. I promised God I would remain a virgin until I got married. This message can’t be for me.”

“Ah, Lily—you are so sweet and innocent. It is easy for me to see why He chose you. God is not asking you to give up your virginity—or to get married. You will not have to raise this child. And, as far as Jesus goes, His birth was for a different purpose.”

“Wait, I’m confused. I can keep my virginity, but have a baby? Are you saying this baby is coming by God, like the Christ-child did? I didn’t see another baby mentioned in the Bible.”

“Well, Lily, man does much sinning. God has been reaching out for centuries, asking man to repent from his sinful ways. To get his attention—as well as to save man from facing eternal damnation—He has been forced to change some rules from time to time. You know sin is running rampant on Earth, right?” Lily nods. “God is simply implementing another plan, just like He did with the Christ child. You can be part of a new, yet unwritten, chapter.”

“What does he want me to do?”

“For now, he doesn’t want you to do anything. Very soon, you will see an opportunity to fulfill God’s new plan. He will greatly bless you for your obedience. You will know what you need to do when the time comes. You just need to be brave.”

Lucie stands up. Lily rises with her. Lucie pulls her close and hugs her. “Lily, you are not alone. I am going to see you again very soon. I will be watching over this entire project.”

“Are you my guardian angel?”

“Not yours, my dear. I am going to be the baby’s guardian angel. I’m delighted I had the opportunity to meet her mother before my job begins.”

Her?”

“Yes, the baby will be a girl. She will be perfect. Her parents are amazing. They will make a great home for her. I’ll be back to check on you.” Lucie turns and walks towards the darkness.

“Lucie… is there anything else I need to know?”

“Yes. God would prefer it if you would keep this to yourself. It would be best if you did not discuss this or our meeting with anyone. Can you do that for Him?”

“Yes, I promise.”

“Good. I’ll see you again soon.”

Lily watches Lucie walk back onto the trail and towards the treeline on the other side. Then, in an instant, she is gone. Lily turns and heads for home. She no longer feels like running, and the long walk home will give her time to think.

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Triple Digit TOC by K.M. Sheridan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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