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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)

TITLE: From Darkness to Light: Julru's Journey
By Joanne Sher


The white walls were almost blinding. Julru shaded his eyes with his right hand, looking down at the granite flooring until he grew accustomed to the brightness. After a few minutes, he slowly raised his head, a smile across his face.

He was free.

He looked back toward the spot where, just moments ago, he'd exited his barren, bleak dungeon and entered the freedom of light. The opening he'd walked through had disappeared. In fact, the walls appeared to go on forever in all directions, with no doors, windows, or any other openings to the outside world.

The only objects breaking the monotony of the endless whiteness were ten-centimeter by ten-centimeter boxlike protrusions, about chest-high, every 4 yards along the walls. There was one, in fact, just to the left of where he had entered this room, or whatever it was.

Julru approached a protrusion, inspecting it. It appeared to be a laser scanner of some sort. He put his right thumb up to it. To his surprise, a portion of the wall slid toward the left, revealing the dimly lit, dirty room he had just left. At least, it looked just like it.

"I could have sworn I came out down the hall a bit." He shrugged. "Maybe this place has a bunch of cells like this."

Julru sighed. He was just glad to be out. Shooting up a prayer of thanks, he reflected on the testing he'd been through in that cell.

He'd been tempted to denounce his faith countless times while in that prison. Almost every time the mealbot returned for Julru's tableware, a receiver in his personal communication chip activated, asking him who the Lord of his life was.

Julru instinctively knew that all he had to do was denounce Christ and he would be released. Yet he didn't, no matter how tempted he was. Something within him wouldn't allow the words to escape his mouth. And every meal after would be just a bit smaller than the one before. He suspected they were spaced out more and more each time as well.

Yet, it had not been as bad as he might have thought. Because the food was diminished gradually, his appetite had decreased to match. The past few meals, though, had left him a bit more wanting than usual.

The cell had been bare, other than a self-sanitizing privy and a thin, tattered blanket. The floor was dirt-covered, and the walls cement. He'd never been certain of their color because of how dim the lighting had been.

He'd spent most of his time sleeping, doodling in the dirt, or praying. Rehearsing over and over the few Bible verses he still remembered from childhood, Julru had been somewhat ashamed of how few he could still recall.

He'd started off making tick marks in the dirt with every meal. During one particularly restless nap, however, he'd rolled halfway across the room, effectively erasing his record. He'd never started it up again.

Then, when he was sure he would cave in the next time he was asked who his Lord was, he received a new message through his communication chip. In the same voice he had heard so many times before, Julru was given a most unusual command.

"Recite the sixth and seventh verses in the fourth chapter of the book of Philippians."

It was a passage Julru had memorized as a child, yet one that had slipped his mind while in captivity. He stumbled a bit, but once he got into the groove of it, he spoke with enthusiasm and conviction. And, the moment the words "Christ Jesus" had left his mouth, the wall before him had slid aside, and he was face to face with the room in which he was now standing.

Scratching behind his ear, he noticed that his personal transporter was functioning again. Tapping his PIN and destination on the side of his neck, he had soon exited the compound and arrived in his own apartment.

Julru walked straight to his bookdisk case and grabbed his Bibledisk, dusting it off.

"You and I, it seems, need to get better acquainted."

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

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This article has been read 1484 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sherrie Jackson05/17/07
Very nice! Speaking technically, I loved how well-crafted all the sentences were, and how everything made sense and flowed well. This is just a snippet of an intriguing story that should be expanded.

However, you leave me wondering why he was released. Was there a religious coup? Did the warden get saved? Inquiring minds want to know! :-)
Leigh MacKelvey05/18/07
Oh my! This was very well written and the names and terms so ... so, well ... Sci-Fi! Excellant job and an exciting read.
Julie Arduini05/18/07
I loved the descriptions and the last line was just superb. A wonderful message!
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/20/07
Well done! I too would have liked a little hint as to why he was released, but otherwise this was well done. You used the technology well.
Betty Castleberry05/21/07
Tightly written, and an entertaining. Good message, too. I have to echo the others sentiments as to why he was released. I'd love to know. This was really good!
Jan Ackerson 05/21/07
Wow--the truth literally set him free. Good job!
Patty Wysong05/21/07
I love how the truth set him free and his resolve to get better acquainted with Scripture. Good job! :-)
Jacquelyn Horne05/21/07
Well written. Good story.
Pam Carlson-Hetland05/21/07
One can read lots of things into this story. I loved how it done, leaving the reader to fill in some of the blanks. Great story.
Pat Guy 05/21/07
Ooooo! I need more! This is a great beginning of MORE! You've got MY interest going!Well done!
Henry Clemmons05/21/07
Some great visuals and super message. God's Word is just as powerful today and in the future as it was when He first spoke it and it was written.
Rita Garcia05/21/07
I enjoyed this on sooo many levels. Yes, indeed, the truth will set us free! Sci-fi with a fantastic message!
Myrna Noyes05/21/07
Very interesting story with great descriptions of Julru's cell and his life in it! I'm curious,though, as to why his captors would suddenly ask him to repeat a Bible verse and then let him out? Was it all a test of his character? The ending left some questions I wish could be answered! Maybe you could write a sequel! :D
T. F. Chezum05/21/07
Very well written and interesting. Great job.
william price05/21/07

Another very good entry. Well written, visual and interesting. And yes, the truth set him free.
God bless.
Teri Wilson05/22/07
Hi Joanne, I came to read this after I saw on the boards how much you despised writing it. I'm sorry to say that I love it. It is wonderful. I love the message, it is very well-written and I like that it wasn't overflowing with aliens and flying saucers. I think it is great! (sorry) Love, Teri
Marty Wellington 05/23/07
Yes, Joanne. I must say you've done us proud again. This is an enjoying read with a great message (even if it is sci-fi). He he.
dub W05/23/07
Wow, a very multi faceted story, a great read - thanks for sharing.
LaNaye Perkins05/23/07
Another great story my friend. I loved how you wove this one together!
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/23/07
You really did a wonderful job with this story! It was a gret read. So now you might become a full-time sci-fi writer? Hmmmmm?
Catrina Bradley 05/24/07
Wonderful job, yet again. :) I love the way you left us wondering just enough... Great writing!
Edy T Johnson 05/24/07
After all has been said, I can only add my "dittos!" to above comments, and, let you know that you blessed me with your story and the scripture passage, which was my mother's favorite. Thank you, too, for leaving a comment on my sci-fi story. I sure appreciate you!
Kate Grey05/25/07
Held my interest throughout. Good story, Joanne!
Valerie Routhieaux06/02/07
This was very exciting, it held my attention from first word to last.

Made me wonder if all he had to do the whole time was say aloud Christ Jesus and he would have been free.