“Are we there yet?” Tara wiggled in her booster seat. “Not yet. We’ll be there in a few minutes.” Her adoptive mother, Mrs. James said patiently. Tara kicked her feet. “I’m so excited. I can’t believe I get to go to a wedding! And I’m going to be the flower girl!” She squealed. “I know. That’s all you could talk about for three days now.” Her adoptive brother Liam said. He was eight, and in six-year-old Tara’s eyes, very grown-up. Tara smiled her sweetest smile. “I’m sorry. It’s just that I’ve never been to a wedding before.” Finally, the car pulled into the mall parking lot. Tara quickly unbuckled her seatbelt and jumped out of the car. Liam and Theo slowly followed and Pastor James helped Leah and Mary out of the car. They were four and three, the babies of the family. “Which store do we go to first?” Tara asked eagerly. “That one.” Mrs. James said. “Wait… Tara. Please don’t run ahead of us. Stay with the group, or you could get lost.” From shop to shop they went, finding fancy clothes for the wedding. Eventually, the little girls got tired and the boys got bored. “Wait… can we go into that store? I promise it’s the last one.” Tara said. Already the rest of the family had found clothing, but Tara just couldn’t decide. There were so many beautiful clothes to see. “Alright. But after that, we go home.”Pastor James said. “Thank you!” Walking into the children’s aisle, Tara saw lots of sparkly dresses. But suddenly, she saw the one. It was the most beautiful dress she had ever seen, right in the back of the children’s section. She snatched it off the rack and ran to her mother. “Look what I found!” “Shhh..” her mother whispered. Tara froze in her tracks. Just ahead of the family, three masked robbers entered the store. “Get down! Everyone get down and put your hands up! Right now!” one shouted, pointing his gun at the people. Trembling, Tara just stared at the robbers, rifling through the cash register. Her father tugged her to the ground. “Pray children. Pray,” he whispered hoarsely. They nodded, eyes wide with fear. “Hey! Stop whispering.”One robber yelled. He trained his gun on the James family. PastorJames began to pray aloud. Tara noticed that her mother quietly pulled out her phone and dialled 911 while the robber was distracted. “Shut up, man! Shut up!” the robber was agitated. But Pastor James just prayed louder. “Jesus. Please keep us safe.” Tara whispered. “This is your last warning. Shut up or I will shoot.” the robber yelled, resting his finger on the trigger. But Tara’s father just said “I am not afraid of those who can kill the body. I must obey God before men.” And he continued praying. Time slowed down. Tara’s heart sped up. Three shots echoed in the silence of the store. Crack! Crack! Crack! Tara’s eyes widened and she let out the scream that she had been holding. Leah and Mary began to cry inconsolably.”Lord…forgive..
..them.” Pastor James gasped. Blood poured from the wound on his forehead and made a puddle around him. He took a ragged breath and then his eyes rolled over, and he went limp. Tara screamed again. “Shut up girl, or I will shoot you also.” The robber snarled. Then he looked around”That is what happens to anyone who doesn’t listen to me.” Tara sobbed hysterically. She turned and saw her mother’s forehead bleeding and her eyes were glazed. “Mother! Mother!” Tara whimpered. But there wasn’t any answer.
7 years later
“Are you sure that you want to take the twins?” Miss Brown, the social worker asked the Robinsons. “Absolutely.” Mr. Robinson said, “From what you’ve told us, these children need a lot of help, and we are confident that God wants us to have
them.” Mrs. Robinson said “Ok. I mean, Tara and Theo have had eleven foster homes. Their former foster parents called them ‘the Terrible Twins’. I just wanted to let you know what you’re getting into. Well, I’ll go get them from the car to introduce them to your family.” Miss Brown’s heels clicked down the driveway to her car. The Robinson children peered out the living room window to catch a glimpse of the new arrivals. Finally, Tara, a tall, thirteen-year-old girl stepped out of the car. She was wearing a cap turned backward over her waist-length gold-brown hair, an oversize sleeveless black jersey, and knee-length shorts. Her brother came out after. Theo very similar to his sister but looked slightly more cheerful. Maybe it was because he was wearing a bright red t-shirt. “Welcome, Tara and Theo!” Mr. Robinson said. “Please do come in.”