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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)

TITLE: It's So Easy
By Cassie Memmer
03/08/07


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Marian heard her baby cry. “Coming, Lanie.” She wrapped her sweater tighter around
her and hurried to the crib. Picking the toddler up, she murmured sweet words to
comfort the hungry girl. Lanie cried harder.

“I’m sorry, sweetie. I know you’re hungry. I haven’t been able to buy groceries for
weeks. Daddy’s out trying. Every place turns him away. Hopefully, today he will find
someone willing to help us.

“Here, let Mama rock you. That’ll make you feel better, won’t it?” Marian threw a heavy
comforter over herself and the baby on her bosom, and after a few moments Lanie’s
cries changed to only whimpers. But silent tears rolled down the cheeks of the grieving
mother.

It’s been days since we’ve eaten, or had any decent water. How long have we been
without heat and electricity?
"God, if you’re out there, what are we to do? We can’t go
on like this. We have money in the bank that we can’t use. Jobs to go to, if only..."

Marian heard a knock at the door. Fear wrenched her stomach, until she heard her
friend call her name. “Come on in, Joyce.”

“Hey, girlfriend, how’s things going?” Joyce strolled in and flopped down on the couch.

“About the same,” she said, waving an arm about the chilly room. “What have you
been up to?”

“Just got back from shopping. This new method is great! It’s so easy. Just walk into
any store, pick up what you want, scan each item as you put it in the cart, and out the
door you go. No checks, no cash, no cards. It’s so easy. Hey, I’ve sneaked you in a
can of soup, but don’t tell any one. They’re keeping a close eye on how much
everyone’s buying. They’re trying to track down all those like you and Paul, trying to
persuade everyone to join the program.” She pulled the can from her jacket pocket and
handed it to Marian.

“Thank you, Joyce! I’ll give some of this to Lanie right now.” They moved to the kitchen
and Marian opened the can with a manual can opener. “She’ll have to eat this cold,
we’ve not had electricity for a week now.” She fed Lanie herself so as not to lose one
drop of the precious soup. The toddler didn’t seem to care that the soup was cold. She
gobbled it down.

“Eat some yourself, Marian.”

“No, I’ll save the rest for Paul” she said, mouth watering. “He’ll be home soon. He’s
been out since morning looking for help.”

“Marian, how long are you going to go on like this? It could be so easy for you! You
could have access to your bank accounts, Paul could go back to his old job. All you
have to do is get the mark. What’s the big deal? It makes everything easier. They
would give you back your utilities, and you could shop for all you need, every day if you
wanted! I’m telling you, it’s painless.” Joyce laid her hand out on the table. “Look,
Marian. See? It’s not that big, not that noticeable. And you’d never have to listen to
Lanie cry again because of hunger. What’s keeping you from doing what the
government expects you to do? Everyone’s doing it. It’s the way of the future. Come
on, while Lanie’s content, I’ll drive you down to the station where they’re giving the
marks. Then I’ll take you straight to the grocery store. Okay?”

“Joyce, Paul seems to remember hearing his grandmother talk about such a time as
this. She told him to never take the mark. To do so would be to betray God.”

“Look at you, Marian. What has this God done for you? You sit here watching your
baby starve. You’re being an unfit mother. They’ll take Lanie away from you.”

Marian felt nauseated. Where have you been, God? Do you even exist? “Joyce,
perhaps getting the mark is what I need to do, whether Paul does or not. At least one
of us could access our funds and shop for food, gasoline, pay the utilities. And then he
wouldn’t have to go against his grandmother’s advice!

“I’ve made my decision. Joyce, I accept your offer. Let’s go to the marking station...
then let’s go shopping!”

*****
“Honey, I’m home! I found us some help! I’ve found some underground Christians.
They know what we need to do to survive this madness taking over the world. Honey?
Marian?”


Rev. 13:17 NIV ...no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark...


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This article has been read 1500 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 03/08/07
Oh my--I found myself thinking, don't do it! And it's heartbreaking, because truthfully, there are many who would sell their eternity to feed their children. Would I? Honestly, sometimes I think I might, just as Marian did. This is awesome writing, and a perfect little epilog really drives the irony home.
Loren T. Lowery03/09/07
Tense and haunting, great mood writing that is provocative as well.
Erin Brannan03/10/07
Ooooh, this was GOOD. It took me a while to figure out what was happening, but then it hit me. I could really feel the mother's torment, I can't even imagine what it will be like not to feed your babies unless you have the mark. Very gripping and the ending was excellent!
Jacquelyn Horne03/12/07
Good story on the end time. It was well written. I'm not quite sure if the husband got home before they left, but it seems to me he didn't. How sad.
Jen Davis03/13/07
A gripping read and chilling to think about. The ending was especially powerful. I could hear him calling her name.
Rita Garcia03/13/07
A gripping story, indeed. Well written and certainly makes me stop and think. What would I do? Creative take on shopping!
Bonnie Way03/13/07
Chilling, haunting, especially the ending. What a tough choice to make. Yet the saddest part was that Marian didn't understand the evil of the mark or why they were resisting it. Good work.
Sara Harricharan 03/14/07
Oooo, Marian! Don't! Ack...wow, you sure know how to pull someone into the story. You did an excellent job of drawing the reader in and holding thier attention all the way through. The dialouge was good and I liked the twist that it was end time days. I thought it was something during a famine or war. Great writing! ^_^
Joanne Sher 03/14/07
Oh - harrowing and scary and engaging. Makes us wonder what we'd do in the same situation, you know? Had me on the edge of my seat!
Brenda Welc03/14/07
Wasn't so sure in the beginning that I was going to like this story but you sure dragged me it! Loved it! Keep up the good work--think there's a book in this?
Leigh MacKelvey03/14/07
What a way to remind us that God does everythuing in His own time, if we keep the faith. I love end time stories and this one didn't disapoint.
Terry R A Eissfeldt 03/14/07
Excellant story! OOHH makes my blood boil though ..."They'll take Lani away..." every mom's worst nightmare. Gret job.
Catrina Bradley 03/15/07
Ooh, noo! I don't like your ending, sorry! :) But I do like your writing. One thing bothered me - she was scared at the knock, but her door was unlocked? Anyway, I'm just picky. VERY well done!
cindy yarger03/15/07
This was very good. The ending was so sad yet perfect for the story. Great job!
joe hodson03/15/07
Congratulations on your win!! It's a wonderful piece!
Erin Brannan03/15/07
I know I already commented, but I just had to say I'm so glad you won! This was such a good story I was telling my mom about it the other day. Great job!!
Christine Dunn03/15/07
A well deserved win. This was very original, and really hit home! It's true that some day (in end times perhaps), persecution of Christians will hit the Western world, and who will stand for God then? What a chilling thought... Very well done.
Myrna Noyes03/15/07
Such a chilling,desperate mood to this well-written, gripping story! I could feel the fear! CONGRATULATIONS on your level and EC wins! :)
Pat Guy 03/15/07
Oh WOW Cassie girl! This is Awesome! I can see why it placed so high - No.1 !!!!

This gave me chills ALL the way through. Wow! You go girlfren! ;) Come on up now, right?

Congratulations Cassie!
Marilyn Schnepp 03/15/07
Congratulations my Hoosier friend! A deserving win! Kudos!
Julie Arduini03/15/07
I'm one of those people that contemplate the what if's and this situation has crossed my mind as well. This is the work of a master, a very well deserved win!!! Congratulations!
william price03/15/07
Wowsers! Excellent piece, Cassie. Congrats on your win. Be waiting for you in Masters:)
God bless.
Sheri Gordon03/15/07
This is really good. What a great idea for this topic. I've often thought about this, too -- what would I do? Congratulations on a great win.
Amy Verlennich03/20/07
Oh... loved this! Congratulations! In Him, Amy Verlennich