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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)

TITLE: The Last Dance
By Cherry Bieber


As one of the most highly respected doctors in the United States, Steven Belander had been asked to participate in a special meeting at the Center For New Life Horizons. He had heard rumored that this new “medical” center was based on a belief that healing power came from the human mind and that man is his own god. Steven believed there was only one God and that Christ crucified redeemed humanity to the Father, but after years of watching people becoming disabled and/or dying from disease and trauma, he began to look seriously at claims to other means of healing. He reasoned with himself and others that he was just keeping an open mind. He laughed when a friend told him there were people who went in, but never came out.

Entering the building, he noted that the vast windows seemed to cast cold shadows rather than allowing light. Curtis, a security guard, met him at the door. “Dr. Belander!” he greeted Steven enthusiastically and shook his hand. “We are so glad you have come!” Steven had an odd sensation to recoil at the touch of Curtis’s hand. “I have been assigned to give you a tour of our facility, which we will do now and then we will go to the meeting.” Curtis spoke as one proud and excited, but Steven felt something ominous in the man’s demeanor.

They walked through a door into a large, cold room that was empty except for a reception area and a stairway leading to an upper level. The trim was cobalt blue against white walls. Steven’s eyes followed the stairway to the upper level and he saw what appeared to be a rounded, glass-walled room. As he wondered at this, a young couple walked up to Curtis. He pulled them aside, spoke to them in low tones, and pointed them toward the reception desk. Watching them intently, Steven thought they looked like a happy young couple about to be married. The young woman was wearing a long, flowing, white cotton dress and she was barefoot. The young man was also barefoot and was wearing casual slacks and a cotton shirt. Steven turned to Curtis with questioning on his face, but Curtis put his hand up as if to say, “Just watch.”

The couple stood at the reception desk filling out forms. The woman at the desk pushed a button and another woman appeared through a door behind the desk. This woman spoke with the young couple briefly, knelt with them as if in prayer, and led them up the large stairway. Motioning toward the stairs Curtis said, “Shall we?”

As they ascended the stairs, Curtis explained that the man and woman were from very poor families. They desired to spend their lives together, but until having been referred to New Horizons, they didn’t see how they could ever rise from poverty and be happy. They had come for new life.

The glass room was very spacious and had a walkway all the way around it. One could not see through the glass until drawing quite close. The inside of the room was the most beautiful garden Steven had ever seen. There were exotic plants and a waterfall. The young couple suddenly appeared through the trees.

Gentle music began to play and the couple, holding hands, began to slowly twirl and dance. As Steven looked at their hands, he noticed that they were gripping tightly with obvious tension that didn’t match the seemingly joyful look on their faces. He began to feel ill at ease and then he noticed a translucent pink mist rising from the ground. Before he could question Curtis, the couple fell to the ground. Reading Steven’s thoughts, Curtis calmly explained that the couple had prayed to be born again into wealthy families, meet again in their new life, and marry.

Steven stood with his hands tightly gripping the rail in front of him. His mind was whirling. The sudden reality of the situation and the imminent danger he was now in cleared his mind. He turned on Curtis who smirked with satisfaction. “Murderers!” Steven yelled as he bolted toward the stairs. As he ran, he heard alarms and shouts, but he didn’t slow down until he knew he was safe in the thickly wooded area near the facility. He fell to the ground gasping for air and drawing his knees to his chest, he wept. He heard the Lord say, “Wide is the path that leads to death.”

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Member Comments
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Shari Armstrong 05/17/07
Wow - this was well done, loved the suspense, the build up and the MC's escape. Shades of Logan's Run....
Esther Gellert05/17/07
The scary thing about this is that I can see it happening in our future.
It really drew me in, and I was so relieved when he ran away.
Pam Carlson-Hetland05/18/07
Well, I have goosebumps! So very well written, draws the reader along and builds. Loved the escape at the end, sort of like grace from God. Excellent story and writing.
Benjamin Graber05/18/07
The building of suspense in this story was great. Very creative, I enjoyed this one!
Lisa Holloway05/18/07
Very interesting and well-written.
Patty Wysong05/24/07
Wow! You did great building the suspense and conveying the tension. What a sobering truth for us: we can be soooo easily lured from God's narrow path. Very well done. :-)