Kate Neilson peered through the slot on the collection box lid. Was that money she saw on the bottom? Or crumpled paper? Sometimes people put weird stuff in offering boxes.
She toyed with the padlock. All she needed was enough cash to get by until payday at her new job. If she left a note saying she’d pay it back right away, with interest, surely they’d understand. After all, she was down to her last ten dol—
The floor creaked.
Her fingers froze on the lock.
“That box is empty, sweetie.”
Stifling a gasp, she spun around. A white-haired woman stood in the open doorway at the far end of the rustic chapel.
“We haven’t used it …” The woman’s voice cracked. “Since two-thousand and three.”
Kate dropped the padlock and darted for the foyer, her pulse pounding at her temple. No way were they going to catch her this time. She reached the door. One twist of the handle, and—
“Please—please don’t leave.”
Kate turned, drawn by the plaintive plea.
The lady smiled. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”
Hand on the door, Kate hesitated, her heart drumming her ribs, her breath locked in her lungs.
© 2023 Rebecca Carey Lyles, All Rights Reserved