Five…four…three…two. I watched the final number flash on the screen above my head. One. 2040. I stepped through the door where it ushered me into a long grey hallway – my room instantly forgotten. I headed towards freedom.
My only sister waited for me by the exit bringing little else except an armload of clothing. She motioned to another room where I quickly changed. Within minutes I was listening to her instructions. She pressed open the final door and we stepped onto a large glass enclosure equipped with a small control panel and two sets of large stirrups. I followed her example and leaned back into the pair closest to me.
“Pollution.” She punched in a few coordinates and soon we were jetting over the countryside.
I watched the shifting scenery below me. “So much has changed.”
“It’s been a long time.” She hunched slightly. The movement was almost indiscernible to the eye and surprised me but immediately she stood straighter. “You missed a lot.” Her sarcasm was more evident.
“For owning a Bible.” I spit out the words – amazed now at my own lingering emotions. “I just spent most of my adult life locked away for owning a book.” Anger began to peel from me like the clothing I just shed in the bathroom. My sister turned away and stared at the countryside below. She shrugged again.
“You were one of the lucky ones. After you – everything changed.”
I caught my breath – afraid to ask the next question – but knowing I had to.
“The others?” She turned her face towards me. Her only sign of emotion settled where her brows met.
“Do you want to live?” She pointed below.
The scenery quickly changed from lush green trees and soft hills to rows of ugly grey buildings. Flumes spitting smoke punctuated the dirty rooftops while spewing ashes into the blue horizon. I looked back up into her eyes – now shuttered with a fear I recognized from our youth.
“So much for pollution.” I mimicked her previous tone.
“I asked you a question – do you want to live?”
One more glance below convinced me. “Yes – I want to live.” Her stance relaxed and she turned back to the controls.
My gaze followed a string of smoke into the heavens. “Forever,” I whispered.
Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” NIV
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