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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hacker or Virus (computer) (12/15/11)

TITLE: Inner healing
By Geoffrey johnstone


Dr Rex Osborne was not what I expected.

“Welcome, Brother Danny, welcome!” The psychologist greeted me with a moonfaced grin that appeared ready to burst with joy. His door opened into a room cluttered with books and files.

“Sit, sit, sit!” he exclaimed scooping up a pile of papers.

Fresh coffee sat brewing on a side table. My host poured two cups and set them down.

“Now, how can I help you, young man?” Dr Osborne leaned forward invading my sense of personal space.

“Um,” I struggled. “It has been put to me that I might benefit from your unique approach to therapy.” I spoke very slowly.

Dr Osborne’s eyes filled with tears before he threw back his head and roared with laughter.

“Well said!” he exclaimed.

Suddenly he was on his feet searching through a stack of papers. “Ah here it is,” he said skimming it’s content.

“Brother Danny, why are you doing the work of three men?”

The statement was an accusation not a question. Weren’t counselors suppose to listen, reflect and create a non threatening environment, I wondered?

Before I could answer he was on his feet again.

“This is your homework,” he said handing me a notebook. “Please open it.”

The same words were printed at the top of each page.


“What I want you to do is to sign this contract each day for a week,” he continued. “Then keep a record of what you learn.”

“Hmm,” I hesitated. This was not what I had expected. Sensing my discomfort Dr Osborne paced the floor as he gathered his thoughts.

“Do you see that computer?” he asked pointing at his desk.

“Yes,” I replied.

“People are like computers. The human brain, on its own, is nothing more than a glorified answering machine.”

I listened patiently. Perhaps he might appreciate my listening skills, I mused.

“A glorified answering machine,” I repeated.

“Yes, yes, yes!” Dr Osborne applauded . “You ask a question and it gives you an answer.”

The psychologist warmed to his subject.

“Somewhere in time our computers were hacked into and someone took control of the question.”

“Give me an example?” I asked innocently.

“Can anything separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ?”

“Did God really say?” I responded immediately.

“Excellent!” Dr Osborne applauded again. “Since then our minds have been open to a host of viruses.”

“You mean lies,” I offered.

“Lies. Viruses. Whatever. All I know is that when I find a Christian who is tormented, driven or oppressed the chances are a Devil has planted a virus deep down in the little grey cells.” He tapped the side of his head to emphasize the point.

“I will see you one week from today,” he said handing me the notebook. Our first meeting was obviously over.

There are times when my mind feels like a room full of television sets, each tuned to a different station. Slowly and deliberately I isolated each thought and mentally switched off the picture. For several months I had been living in slow motion exhausted by the constant struggle of ministry. Now I was on stress leave, burnt out at 32.

The notebook lay open on my lap.

“Why not?” I asked as I signed the first page. The strange counselor had struck a chord. What harm could it do?

The view from the café looked out over Sydney Harbour. Winter sunlight only added to the beauty of the vista.

“You are not wanted.”

I turned to see who had spoken before I realized the voice was inside me.

“You are not wanted,” it spoke again.

A series of images flashed across my imagination. My single mother behaved more like a child than me. Her boyfriend was openly hostile to my presence. My home life had been a constant battle for acceptance.

“But it’s lie,” I responded. “Can anything separate me from the love of God that is in Christ?”

Sydney boys do not cry. But as the revelation came I felt shaken to my core. What a waste of time, I thought, to fight a battle that has already been fought.

I closed my eyes and pictured the rejection.

“It’s your battle,” I prayed. Suddenly a hand appeared in my mind and I heard a click as the screen faded to a point of light.


The virus had been deleted.

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This article has been read 337 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mona Purvis12/29/11
On topic. I had some problem following the transitions of time and space. Need to work on comma use. It's is it is. Its is possessive.
I think the story would benefit with a little more backstory.
The idea you worked with is compelling.
Ruth Thoutenhoofd12/29/11
I really liked this!It kept my attention and has an excellent message.
C D Swanson 12/29/11
Wow - nice ending! This was an imaginative story, very clever, with a powerful message. I really liked it. Good job. God Bless~
Allison Egley 12/30/11
This is good!

The dialogue and transitions seemed a bit... stifled at times; it didn't always flow very well. It also felt a bit rushed.

There are some good reminders in here. Thanks!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/31/11
I like the fresh take on the topic. You did a nice job of telling a good message that many can relate to.

Some of the transitions were abrupt. Ithink this may have been because of the word limit. Try to focus on one message to help this. Your material about the single mother would make a great story in itself.

The beginning was really good too. It drew me in and made me curious.
Jenna Dawn12/31/11
This is a creative story. I agreed with the comment about commas. Also, don't forget to put a period after "Dr.".

You did a great job of showing what the characters are doing. You could save words by eliminating phrases like "he asked" after dialogue. Example: “Do you see that computer?” He pointed at his desk. (I omitted "he asked".)

It depends on the editor, but faithwriter judges prefer to omit phrases after dialogue like "he said" or "she asked". If you feel the need to put something to indicate who is speaking or want to show what they are doing, do it without those phrases (like the example above). Other members have mentioned this in feedback on my entries as well as other entries, and I was a bit baffled. And then it was confirmed in a Ratings Feedback Report I ordered. I used the phrase "he bellowed" thinking that was a great way to express how the character said the phrase, but was still called out on it and apparently marked down for it. Like I said, it depends on the editor. Obviously we read phrases like this all the time from best selling authors, but for the Challenge, leave those phrases out.

You're a great writer. Keep the stories coming!
Helen Curtis01/04/12
Ahh, yes, our brains certainly have been infected with so many viruses; if we could see them all listed out in front of us, we'd run away screaming I think!

As someone who has recently had the experience of seeing a psychologist, I can truly relate to this story. It is true, God can and does work in the hidden parts of our minds and spirits if we let him; it can be extremely painful and many times I wanted to pull the plug, so to speak. I praise God for giving me the strength to hang in there and now, nearly 12 months later, I am a much healthier person than I have been in a long time.

Not sure if this is a true life account; if it is, thank you for having the courage to share. Well done.
C D Swanson 01/05/12
Congratulations on your win. Nicely done.
God Bless you~