I woke up with a start, making the cat who licked my face pause a moment, then sit down on its haunches before it proceeded to begin licking itself. I ached. Losing consciousness in the park would do that to a guy.
I pushed myself up to get my bearings—my muscles lodged an informal protest, making me grunt. I was up close to a big tree that shielded me and the cat from the constant drizzle. I checked my watch. Ten minutes. A lot can happen in ten minutes. I need to get out of here. I pushed myself to my feet, leaning on the tree. The cat had enough and sauntered around to the other side of the tree. I need to. . . .
I had no idea what to do. I had no plan. I looked at my phone. I had no one left to call. I had used up all my favors and then some. Even if I hadn’t, there really was no time. It was down to me. Go home. It’s not your fight. They knew what they were getting into. But that didn’t feel right, either. Malcolm was a client. I couldn’t just turn away, no matter how much I wanted to, no matter how much he tried to get me to quit. I’ve got nothing. I’m only one guy against all of that. It would take an—
I went down on my knees. I removed my hat, dropping it on the wet dirt. I clasped my hands, closed my eyes, and prayed.
“God, you know I don’t like to ask for your help on things like this. You gave me free will, and I try to do the best I can. I go to church, read my Bible, and try to do the right thing. Well, I guess that brings me to now. I know I need to do the right thing. But I have no plan. No help. Unless it’s from You. I guess this is my time to let You carry me. I need help.
“I know you don’t work in big signs. It’s not going to be Moses or anything like that. I have faith. But I’ve never relied on it this much before. I hope You’re with me on this. I need You with me on this or people or going to die. Good people. I don’t want it to sound like ego, but I think, maybe, You want me to be the guy to help them. And I’m okay with that. I can do that. Or at least I can try.
“One last thing—I don’t have time for anything more—if I’m not going to make it out of this one, that’s okay, but please look after Cassie. Give her some comfort. She’s lost so much already. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
I opened my eyes, took a breath, and gained my feet. I hoped for a choir of angels to descend with fiery swords, ready to follow me into battle. All I got was the drizzle of the rain. I tapped my hat free of loose dirt, then put it on, walking towards the park exit. In the distance, the red clouds above Mt. Kelly swirled.