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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bridge (07/31/08)

TITLE: Bound
By Chely Roach


The frigid shackles were pinching Tricia’s flesh. Her ankles were fettered several inches shy of a natural step, causing the metal to dig in with every miscalculated stride. The handcuffs were unmercifully tight, bruising deep circles around each wrist. A thick chain was around her waist which connected the ten people in front of her, and the seven behind her. As far as she could see, bands of eighteen naked, homesick souls marched in two rows down the center of the bridge. Every age, race, and nationality were unwilling participants in the perverse Christmas Day parade.

Many of the weary faces surrounding her were friends. They were arrested with her on that beautiful September morning when their church was raided and burnt to the ground. Tricia’s husband had stayed at home that Sunday with their son who had the flu. She had not heard from him since. That was the hardest thing…not knowing. Not knowing if they were alive or dead, free or captive. For better or worse, her parents did go to church with her that fateful morning. Their only earthly solace in captivity was each other’s presence; the opportunity to whisper prayers and sob in familiar arms was a gift. A gift in the midst of a nightmare.

From where Tricia stood, she could not see the beginning or the end of the abominable procession. When the line began to slow, she was midway across the bridge. Her skin was raw from the cold, as well as from the stinging mist of salt water. It whipped them ferociously from the legion of voyeuristic helicopters that hovered on both sides of the bridge, transmitting live via satellite to the only station that still existed. On every major bridge, in every major city around the world, the treasonists were assembled. Their venue of execution was another derisively symbolic gesture, emphasizing the last tyrant’s self acclaimed trademark—the bridge. It was on every Eternal Regime Ambassador’s uniform, every military plane or vehicle, every piece of currency.

When they finally came to a halt, the accompanying soldiers led each of the captives to the sides of the bridge. Attached to the railing every three feet were coiled, hundred foot nylon ropes. Tricia bit through her lip as the noose was placed over her head and tightened around her neck.

The feedback of several hundred loudspeakers engaging at once broke the somber silence. A monotone voice demanded, “All kneel for the Eternally Willful King.” With a resounding reverberation, thousands of knees met the pavement in obedience. Many of the bound bowed themselves, unwilling to face their execution.

A different but gravely familiar voice came on, “You that have finally submitted to my glorious authority will be spared today, but only if you graciously accept the mandatory protocol.” Weak, unbelieving hands raised their shackles and were released from their noose and tethers. They all wept tears of false joy. Tricia prayed for them. “You that remain, you claim allegiance to the one you call the Living Water, but I am above Him. I make Him obsolete. I am the everlasting bridge of all people…all nations. Bow to the true savior of the world!”

The crowds cheered in response, but Tricia felt nauseous from the blasphemous speech. The woman on her left whimpered, “I can’t do this, Tricia...this is all wrong! We weren’t supposed to be here for this. Why weren’t we raptured? Maybe this one is the real messiah...”

“Don’t say that!” Tricia scorned, “Everything that has happened was prophesied, it’s just not exactly how we assumed it would be. The Bible isn’t wrong…we were wrong. Jesus is still coming! This—right here today—could be the rapture…” But it was too late. The woman knelt. A soldier unbound her and both women sobbed; Tricia feared their separation was now permanent. “No, Mom! No…

“Your time has come, you blasphemers!” The false one bellowed through speakers heard around the world, “Ambassadors, commence the beheading of these apostates, and we will celebrate as their corpses wash out to sea.”

Tricia shuffled to the edge of the bridge at gunpoint. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she raised her cuffed hands to the overcast sky, “I beseech you, Adonai, to give your humbled martyrs comfort and peace in our final moments. Lord Jesus, use this day to draw in your Remnant…please come quickly. In your holy name I pray. Amen.”

With a collective shove, the last generation of saints traveled their last hundred feet—bound for Paradise.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Holly Westefeld08/08/08
You vividly paint a stark possibility of future events. Sadly, there is already much persecution of the church which the perpetrating nations try to keep hidden, such as China as they host the olympics and pretend to be in the mainstream of human rights.
Ellen Dodson08/10/08
Excellent, riveting writing! I appreciate your powerful imagery, such as "voyeuristic hellicopters." I'm currently reading Revelations and diverse interpretations of it. It's frustrating because I'm not sure which interpretations I believe. They all seems so different. But, what it all boils down to--despite how it all happens--is just what your MC says and does. We must trust in our Savior and stay faithful to Him despite horrible persecution.
Gerald Shuler 08/11/08
Wonderfully strong stand for an unpopular belief. Your powerful wording leaves no doubt about how we Christians SHOULD live our lives. We should be ready at all times to stand against the enemy, even when things aren't like we expected it to be.

This is one of my favorite entries this week.
william price08/11/08
Extremely brave and detailed entry. Ministered to me on several levels; the kind of story I like. I love the way your mind works and enjoy your writing voice. Overall, great job. God bless.
Shirley McClay 08/11/08
Haunting, frightening, and sobering. You wrote an amazing story.. one I hope never happens, but similar things do happen and yes... I hope I would be so brave.
Mariane Holbrook 08/11/08
This was a gripping and fearful story! And you told it with such skill! Kudos, dear one. I'm so glad I read it!
Sunny Loomis 08/12/08
Excellent story with great descriptions. Hopefully the rapture will happen before this type of scenario. But if not, may we all stand strong in the Lord. Very nicely done. Thanks.
Joshua Janoski08/12/08
I have goosebumps! I haven't read an end times story told this well in a long time. You painted a very dark and ominous picture, but your last line was beautiful.

You sucked me in to the tribulation and didn't let go until the Saints took their final plunge into Paradise.

I sense another possible winner here. Your writing skills amaze me every single time, and I DO mean every single time!
Lauryn Abbott08/13/08
Oh my goodness, Chely, I was on the edge of my seat! Gosh, you have talent! I was shocked that the woman beside her was her mom. Great twist, but I'm sad she chose to believe the lie out of her desperation. This was amazing!!!
LauraLee Shaw08/14/08
OH----My-----Gooooooooodness! Very prickly prickles, the prickliest. This is your genre. I am blown away. Your ending was, well, wow.
Lyn Churchyard08/14/08
Oh my! Chely, this was amazing! You held me spellbound till the end.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/14/08
Chely, I knew you were a good writer. I just hadn't realized your writing talent is tremendously good. Congratulations. This had to be a difficult story to write.
Arlene Showalter08/14/08
In a word...
In 2 words:
Aaron Morrow08/14/08
Absolutely brilliant work Michele! Very gripping and detailed account of a terrible end times scenario! Very, very deserving of recognition. Congratulations!!
Laura Anne Harrison08/14/08
Chely, this piece is powerful and outstanding! And a beautiful testimony for those who would be faithful to the one, living, true God. Thank you for this.
Great Job! - And CONGRATULATIONS on your first place win!
-Laura Anne
Patricia Turner08/14/08
I found myself praying for your character. You put us right there on the bridge with her where we could feel her emotions. Hope we all face that last moment praising God this way! Congratulations!
Yvette Roelofse08/15/08
Congratulations, Chely. This is a powerful and deeply moving piece. Very evocative, very though provoking. A worthy win :)