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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Clothes (11/02/12)

TITLE: Partial Protection Leads to Total Destruction
By Hugh Houchin


Davin is a Special Inspector for Archaeology Today; a company that studies ruins of fallen countries and tries to determine the cause of their demise. Working on this project for weeks, he and his partner have not found any consequential evidence, as to why this once great, proud, and powerful nation self-destructed, sometime in the twenty-first century.

However, not finding clues did not deter either of them; they continued to search, using shovels, spades and trowels, screens to sift the soil, tape measures, and other archaeological tools. No frivolous conversations betrayed their intensity.

One day, when they were on break, Davin said to his partner. “Steve, before we started this project I studied the history of this nation, and it’s one of honor and glory. Before it fell, in the eighteenth century, they were thirteen English colonies; declared their independence and won a hard-fought war to free themselves, from the oppression of their mother-country. After the war they became the United States of America, and, in the beginning, governed themselves under the auspices of Christianity. Over the next 250 years, or so, they grew into a country of 50 states and became a world leader. It’s a shame.”

A short time after their break Steve said, “I think I scored, Davin, come help me clean it up.”

“What’d you find, Steve? Hope it’s interesting; we need excitement around here.”

“Well, my shovel stuck something, and it kinda looks like a skeleton. It didn’t holler when the shovel hit, so, I assume it’s dead.”

“Hope so, don’t need some bony twenty-first century creature running rampant around here, stirring up the spirit world and getting us a disturbing the peace ticket.”

A few painstaking hours later, they made enough progress to see some of the skeleton. But, instead of answering questions, what they saw led to more questions.

“It seems to have a piece of body armor on it,” Steve said. “It’s wearing a breastplate; plus it has a shield in one hand and a sword in the other.”

“I know, but, in the twenty-first century who’d be wearing body armor, and why?” Davin said. “We’re on the east rather than the west coast of the former States, so it’s probably not from some movie set.”

“Another thing,” said Steve. “I see no pieces of material from clothes lying around. From this angle, I can get a pretty good look underneath the shield and I see no traces of clothing. With the shield covering and protecting, I wouldn’t think all its clothes decayed. There’d still be some shreds around.”

“Makes sense, let’s shut the site down for the day; go back to the motel and sleep on it.”

The next morning, as they drove back to the site, Davin said, “Got something to run by you. In my devotions last night, I felt led to read Ephesians. Are you familiar with chapter 6?”

“That’s the armor of God chapter?”

“Bingo. Now, after reading it last night, I’ve come to believe that the skeleton is both a warning and the answer to the demise of the United States,” Davin said.

“Go on.”

“Ok, in Ephesians Paul wrote that we should put on the full armor of God, in order to fight the devil. Paul lists helmet, breastplate, loin protection, shoes, the whole works. Well, the skeleton has only part of the armament, and, as you said, it’s dead. That’s the warning part,” Davin said.

“You’re losing me.”

“Just listen. In my study, I read the United States was on the road to moral decay. Many activities the Bible says are abominable to God were becoming acceptable and legal.

“So, I believe God placed that skeleton there as a warning we need the full armor of God to fight the devil; not just part of it. I mean, when we dress for an occasion we put on all the clothes for that occasion; not just part of them. But, in our pride, if we neglect to clothe ourselves with part of the armor we risk the same demise as the United States.”

Steve was silent.

When they reached the site, they went to the partial excavation of the skeleton and looked at it in silence.

After a period of time, Steve said, “You know, Davin, you may have a point.”

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This article has been read 327 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/10/12
I liked this piece. I found it quite intriguing. You did a nice job of bringing the scripture into the story.

The only red ink I might have were some sentences caused me to stumble and I had to reread it. For example: Before it fell, in the eighteenth century,
Though you have the commas around it, I still read it as the country fell in the 18th century. Perhaps just pushing around some of the phrasing might help. For example: Before it fell, the United States had overcome great hardships. In the eighteenth century,...
Or it could just be my tired brain had a hard time.

I think you tackled the topic in a fresh way. I could feel the intensity of the characters as they searched for clues of the past. Another thing I really liked was often in these future-set stories where the US falls people have no idea about the Bible. I like that you took a different approach and allowed the two characters to show the reader an important message. This was a powerful story.
Wilma Schlegel11/10/12
I was intrigued by your title and found it very fitting to your story and your valid and timely message.
Randy Foncree11/10/12
I enjoyed this story...Can see it in a novel...God bless and thanks for sharing...
Bea Edwards 11/15/12
Interesting and timely use of the topic. Well written fantasy that isn't....
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/15/12
Congratulations for for first place ribbon and for ranking 12 overall!