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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hot and Cold (04/09/09)

TITLE: Tormented
By Sheri Gordon


I thrash about, desperately trying to wake myself from that half-asleep-know-I’m-dreaming-but-can’t-wake-myself-up phase. Eventually, my husband rescues me by shaking me out of my sleep-induced stupor.

“The same dream again?” he asks, knowing the answer.

“Yeah.” I violently shake my head, trying to exorcise the all-too-familiar images.

Every night I lay my head on the pillow, cover myself with our down duvet, and fearfully wait for the images that inevitably invade my mind.

I’m standing in a void, staring dumbstruck at two doors. I have to choose. I don’t know how I know, but somehow I know that behind one door is the barren floor of Death Valley. Beyond the second door lies the frozen Antarctic ice sheet. Two doors, two living hells, one choice.

Every night, for eight nights straight, the same scene replays. And every night, I wake at the same point. Just once, I’d like to see what I choose. Just once, I want to know the rest of the story.

I glance at the bright red digital numbers of the alarm clock. 2:52. My husband, who was my savior mere moments earlier, is snoring soundly only inches from my ear. I silently slip out of bed and head downstairs.

Usually, I turn the television on, relying on reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show” to lull me back to sleep. Tonight, I flip open my laptop.

Maybe if I do a little research on Death Valley and the Antarctica, I can figure out why these places are tormenting me.

I jump to Wikipedia and learn that both regions are considered deserts. I knew that about Death Valley—even visited the godforsaken place as a young girl—but had no idea the Antarctica was a desert. Interesting, but not answering my dream question.

Finding no satisfactory solutions on Wikipedia, I scan the bookshelves behind me. There it is...”Dreams Revealed.” While I’m not convinced that the author’s interpretation of the Bible and my understanding of God’s Word are compatible, I remind myself that I discovered this book in a Christian bookstore, so it must be Biblically-based, right?

Sitting down with the dream book, and moving the Bible out of my way, I ask God for wisdom.

Lord, I know you spoke to many people in the Old Testament through dreams. Are you trying to speak to me now? What am I missing? Why am I haunted every night by this bizarre nightmare?


“Becca, why are you dressed like that? It’s ninety out, and you’re wearing a turtle neck and long skirt?”

The women in my Bible study look at me quizzically. I guess I should have expected this, but they’ll understand once I explain God’s revelation.

“God spoke to me last night. Through my dream.”

Nine sets of eyes wait for me to continue.

“You know that dream I told you about last week, with Death Valley and Antarctica? Well, I know what it means. When a young woman is alone in the desert, it means her indiscretions are jeopardizing her reputation. And when a young woman walks on ice, it means there is only a thin layer between her and shame.”

Nine sets of eyes stare blankly.

“Don’t you get it? I was apparently about to do something really bad, and God warned me in a dream. I have to dress like this so that I don’t accidentally attract some man who then seduces me and then we have an affair. It’s obvious—that would be the indiscretion and shame from my dream.”

“Becca, honey, I know we’re studying Daniel, and all those dreams, but this sounds a little whacky-doodle to me. Besides, thirty-eight hardly qualifies you as young.”

“I don’t care what you think…I’m not taking any chances until God gives me a clear sign that I’m out of danger.”


That night, I crawl into bed next to my soundly-sleeping husband and pull the duvet up to my chin. Immediately, sweat pours from my body. Throwing the duvet off, I’m instantly cold. Covers back on, and I’m hot again.

After a few minutes of this restless routine, it occurs to me that only the lower portion of my body is hot—my upper torso is quite comfortable under the duvet. I inch away from my husband and free my lower extremities from the confines of the covers, while the rest of my body remains toasty under the blanket.

That night, I sleep blissfully dream-free.

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This article has been read 711 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Betty Castleberry04/17/09
Very interesting interpretation of the topic. I'm not sure I could admit to my Bible study group what your MC admitted, but I liked this. It held my attention throughout.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/17/09
Forget the dream book--sounds like pre-menopause.:-)
I enjoyed your story very much.
Sonya Leigh04/20/09
Ah, the word count gremlin got ya.

My attention was arrested from the first sentence, to its end...such a good job moving it along...but I just would have loved to have read more, to have her come to a full understanding of the wisdom of God, etc.

Some stories just can't be given their true justice in a short word count.
Jan Ackerson 04/21/09
This cracked me up! I think it's an awesome satire of how we sometimes tend to over-spiritualize even the most trivial and mundane things. I loved it.
Sharon Laughter04/22/09
I find it very very very cute that the character goes "a little overboard" in trying so hard to be Godly. Sigh. I wouldn't mind meeting more like her! A real run read!
Laury Hubrich 04/22/09
This was very out-of-the-box. LOL. Good job:)