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The Visitor--an inspirational short story series

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"...Choose only entertainment and media that uplift you. Good entertainment will help you to have good thoughts and make righteous choices...Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable."
For The Strength of Youth

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    Ch. 44 The Wisdom of the Wise
Submitted by Steven ODell on 15 February 2010 - 4:49am. | | | | |

I Will Be Watching
Steven G. O'Dell © 2010

The works of God and man do not go unnoticed.

“You, sir! Hold there a moment, if you will.”

The voice startled William Bradshaw as he walked purposefully down the narrow street, causing him to turn about in his tracks before coming to a complete stop, nearly spilling his bundle and himself over in the process. The man who assailed him stood tall and was well dressed; indeed had a bearing of dignity and elegance about him that stood out from his peers. But there was something odd about him, as well, as William discovered upon the approach of the man. It was his eyes. They were black as coal and deep as the emptiness of space. William shivered involuntarily as he looked into them, but could not look away without seeming rude.

“May I help you?”

“I certainly hope so,” replied the tall gentleman. “I am in need of a strong pair of arms to carry out a task for me. It will take most of a day, but will pay quite well, I assure you. The need is immediate.”

William could stare into those eyes no longer without wanting to become nauseated and dizzy. He looked away as if to stare into the distance and consider whom he might recommend for the task. After gathering his wits again, he turned back and stated simply, “I am afraid I am on an errand of some importance at the moment and cannot help you. Please forgive me if I must take my leave.” And with that, William began to turn to go.

“Mr. Bradshaw!” There was a commanding tone in the voice now, a tinge of impatience mixed with an arrogance that denoted the man was ill equipped and unaccustomed to taking no for an answer. “I will pay you well, as I have said.”

William turned again to face the stranger and saw the pouch of gold coins that hung and jingled in the man's hand. The look in those eyes was, if anything, deeper and colder than before. Again William shivered. Every nerve and fiber in him warned to beware of this man.

“I don't know how you know my name or why you seem so insistent on employing me, of all people, to do your bidding, but I will tell you again, Sir, as politely as I know how, I am on an errand of some importance to the Lord and to myself and cannot at this time be persuaded to deviate from it. I bid you good day, Sir.” Again he turned to go. William had not stepped ten paces before he turned again to discover what the man might be doing and how he would react. To his surprise, there was no one there. William stopped dead in his tracks again for the third time. There was no place for the man have disappeared so quickly and easily from the street and yet he had vanished as effectively as if he had never been there from the start. And now William recalled another odd thing about the man. There had been an unusual odor about him, one that seemed entirely fitting to the discomfort caused by gazing into his eyes – those eyes that seemed empty as the vastness of the universe, as cold as deep ocean waters, as seeing as..... There was no word for it, but William felt as if he was being watched.

Turning at last into the store front of the Mercantile, William approached the proprietor with the bundle of books he held under his arm. The man smiled and immediately came to greet him.

“I have good news for you, Mr. Bradshaw. Every copy of the book sold and we have been asked for more. I assume that is what you have there, under your arm?”

“Indeed I do. That is wonderful news, Sir. You must be an outstanding salesman.”

“No, Sir. It isn't that at all,” he stated as he brought forth the money from the sale of the previous batch of books. “I think it's those men who have been preaching here in town all week. They have a powerful way about them that makes it hard to deny their words. Why, I even bought one copy myself.”

William was unaware of any men who might have been preaching the Book of Mormon in town, but he silently and reverently thanked God for His watchful eye and helping hand.

“That is the power of God and the witness of the Holy Ghost you felt, Sir. I know that feeling myself, as it is what so recently convinced me of the error of my own beliefs.”

“Yessir, a powerful witness for sure. So powerful that one man came in immediately and wanted to buy every copy we had. Was something strange about him, I must say. He left me ill at ease and I had the feeling that I shouldn't sell all of the books to one man, if you know what I mean.” He shook his head slightly, as if in puzzlement and uneasiness.

“Tall man? Well dressed? Dark eyes, like coal?”

“Why, yes! Do you know him?”

“No, but I've had a recent encounter with him myself. Brief, but all too lengthy.”

“That was my feeling, too. He told me he would be watching with interest the proceedings in this town. Made me shiver. I must say, don't like the man. Maybe I shouldn't say such a thing based on one meeting, but that's what I feel, nonetheless. If I never see him again, it will suit me just as well.”

“Well, thank you for your concern and I am sure you did the right thing. Here are ten more copies of the Book of Mormon. I will bring more next week and if this week's sales was any indication, perhaps I should double or even triple the amount.” William laughed softly.

“Perhaps you should. There is something about that book that I cannot explain, but it makes me feel...well, at peace, I guess. That's the only word that seems to fit. If others are feeling it, too, there will be a lot more books being sold here next week.”

William wrapped up his dealings, the proceeds of the sales and took receipt for the new shipment of books. With gratitude in his heart, he stopped under a tree and prepared to give thanks to the Lord for a rich return on his efforts.

“I will be watching you, William Bradshaw.”

The voice was the same as before, but cut through his mind without touching his ears. The same shiver, the same raising of hairs on his neck accompanied it. The same racing of the heart. William dropped to his knees and began to pray.

“Father in Heaven, I ask in the name of Thy Son, even Jesus Christ, to spare me of this torment from this demon of Hell. I pray that my path shall no more be crossed by his foul stench, his evil gaze or his diabolical purposes.”

William had not even finished praying before the spirit of contention and discomfort withdrew completely. And in its place came a sense of peace...the same peace spoken of by the store owner. The same peace promised by the Son through faith in Him and His Father. In addition, William became the recipient of a further assurance.

“William, my son, I will be watching.”

There was no mistaking that voice, the feeling it carried to the heart of man or the strength of the promise. God would indeed be watching and if God watched and was aware, all would be well.

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