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November 29, 2017

The Tuggles

Episode 13: The Darkness

November 29, 2017

April 1996

The sound of the rolling cart approached his cell for what seemed like hours, stopping at 30-second intervals for each inmate to make a haphazard selection. He hadn’t accepted a book yet in his few weeks at the penitentiary, but a sense of solace beckoned to him today from the squeaky wheels. The cart came into view in front of his entrance and Tim glanced up at the scruffy attendant, his hand on his hip, belly hanging out of his blue button-up uniform. With no words exchanged, Tim rose from his bed and slowly walked the few steps between them. The unorganized cart was picked over. Having never been much of a reader, he moved uncertainly from title to title. The bottom shelf held only five books: The Catcher in the Rye, and four copies of Holy Bible.

Staring at those titles, the world seemed so far away. Those last few weeks contained the most intense loneliness he had ever experienced in all of his 36 years of life. All his failures, his accomplishments, his desires—separated from him by concrete walls and barbed wire. The defeat within his spirit left a humbling resolve for whatever lay in front of him, and right now what lay in front of him was this tattered hardback, blue Bible. He grabbed the one out front and the cart rolled out of sight. Nestling back into his bunk, the book fell open and he began to read. Returning the book an hour later, Tim climbed into bed and ruminated on the words he had just ingested. A feeling of fresh life coursed through him and tears filled his eyes. He knew the resounding echo in his spirit could only come from God, the One he hadn’t spoken to in years, but was now speaking to him.

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