Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Bold (emotionally) (08/30/07)
TITLE: Revelations in the Dark
By George Parler
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“Lord, I am weak. I don’t know how much more I can take.” He hears a scream in the distance; shouting and cursing follow. His arms and hands begin to ache remembering the broken bones. “Why didn’t I consider these things before now?”
“Lord, I don’t know if You hear me but I pray to You anyway. It’s my only comfort, my only hope. I am ashamed of having thoughts of taking my own life to escape my tormentors, but I am too afraid to do so. Constantly, fear whispers to me. Speak to me God; drown out those whispers. Speak to me, please.” Tears flood his bludgeoned face as he drops to his hands and knees.
A small sliding door opens and a tin plate with a spoon full of oatmeal is shoved into the cell floor behind him. A familiar voice is heard, “Eat up, it’s your last meal before you die today.” It was the same every morning; the same cold food and same message. But it was a lie. You never have the luxury of dying. Death had become more precious than all the world’s riches.
Footsteps approach, keys rattle in the door, his cell door! His heart races as he staggers to his feet backing into the corner. The door swings wide as two guards enter. “It’s your turn again, preacher. Let’s go.”
“No! God, no! Not again!” He struggles to keep them away but pain races through his body as he succumbs to their nightsticks. Shackled and handcuffed they drag him unconscious down the silent hall.
Water splashes in his face. “Wake up! No time to sleep!” He finds himself handcuffed and shackled to a familiar wooden chair with a bright light in his face. The chair shakes as his trembling hands grip the arms of the chair.
“Okay, now you know the drill, I’m going to give you choices. Do you remember what they are?” He nods his head up and down, sobbing. “We do not have to do this. You can return to society as a useful citizen. All you have to do is denounce this false God who you claim is the one all powerful God. If he is so loving and powerful, why does he let you suffer these things? You can stop this needless pain and suffering right here and now. Just say the words, ‘There is no God, no Jesus, and no Holy Spirit’ and you can leave here a free man. Then you simply sign this document to become a United World Order citizen and receive a small magnetic strip injected under the skin of your forehead or, if you choose, in the back of your hand. Then all of this will be over and it will be like a bad dream that you can put behind you as you move on with the rest of your life in the pursuit of happiness. So what is your answer; freedom?” He puts his face directly in front of the preacher and glares at him through eyes as black as coal. “Or will it be more pain? But I promise you, my patience has grown thin. What you have experienced so far will be child’s play compared to what will happen to you. So what is your answer?”
Meanwhile, in his empty cell the sun still shines through the window. Strangely the bars on the window display the shadow of the cross in the middle of the floor where the preacher stood. Suddenly, the distant echoes of his screams and agony break the silence, finding their way back to the empty cell.
Finally, silence follows the sound of the guillotine. The clouds gather as a storm approaches. The cross fades from the floor as the brightness of the sun withdraws from the room. In the corner of the cell where he would always retreat from his tormentors was a message engraved on the wall from Revelations 20:4; left for those who would come after him.
The rain washes the guillotine’s stain as death groans in disgust in the darkness of the empty cell.
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