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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Yellow (11/12/09)

TITLE: The Yellow Butterfly
By Debbie Roome


I lie huddled on the floor, the stench of faeces and sweat engrained in the air. Six long months I’ve been locked up here. My crime was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know what they’re doing. The isolation, poor food and lack of exercise are designed to break me. Indeed The General visits every day.

“Are you ready to renounce God?” he says, his lips twisting like venomous snakes. “Are you ready to deny your Christ?”

To begin with, my voice was firm, my spirit strong, but recently I’ve struggled. It’s as though my soul has absorbed the blackness that surrounds me. I feel bleak, dull-witted and tired, and arguments circle like vultures in my mind, menacing. threatening. If I deny Christ I can get out of here. I can be a private Christian can’t I? God will forgive me, won’t He? I squeeze my eyes shut. I’m sorry for being so weak, Lord. I’m tired and ill ... and don’t know how much more I can take.

It’s like a whisper in my soul, the tiniest breath of movement. Open your eyes.

I linger for a moment, knowing nothing will have changed; then stretch them open, weary and drained. As I do so, a butterfly flits through the barred window and weaves gracefully towards me.

I’m shocked. How did it find its way in here? It should be outside, dancing across flowers, soaring and swooping in glorious freedom. Instead, it alights on my hand. I haven’t seen so much beauty since the day I was arrested. The butterfly has a velvet body and feelers that sweep in graceful arcs. It’s the wings that hold my attention, though. Feather-light expanses of shimmering powder, patterned with loops and whorls from palest yellow to richest gold.

The colours bring a flood of memories to mind. I see slices of lemon frosted with sugar, dabs of salty butter on hot toast, and heaped plates of scrambled egg. I remember the scent of a full blown rose and glorious daffodils nodding in the breeze. I imagine hunks of cheese, smooth and yellow, and succulent peaches in heavy syrup. I yearn to feel sand beneath my feet, golden ribbons that stretch to infinity, following sparkling seas and I think of sun streaming through windows, pouring over hills, spreading warmth and cascading light.

A scripture I once preached on comes to mind, And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. I gaze at the butterfly, imprinting the wash of colours on my heart. “You sent her didn’t You, Lord? You sent her to remind me that there’s so much more to life.”

The butterfly opens and closes her wings a few times and then she’s gone, flitting though the bars, back to the world she belongs in. I look down on my hand and in the dull light, I see a shimmer of colour, a mixture of yellow and gold, apricot and corn, ecru and citrus and something bursts in my soul.

“Guard!” I yell, my voice bouncing down stone corridors. “I’m ready to speak to The General.”

He arrives an hour later, a sneer plastered on poisonous lips. “You’ve something to tell me, I believe.”

I suck in a deep breath. “General,” I say. “Once and for all I want to tell you this.” I raise my voice and shout, a sound that reverberates down the halls of eternity; a light unfurling, darkness destroying, truth echoing, life releasing sound. “Jesus Christ is Lord of all!”

Scripture taken from Genesis 1:3 NIV

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This article has been read 681 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anita van der Elst11/19/09
Wow! What a contrast between prison cell and what the butterfly evoked in the prisoner's mind. You painted it beautifully.
Linda Wright11/21/09
This is a magnificent story! It is encouraging to be reminded that our God can cause us to persevere in the most terrible testings of our faith! Well done.
Allison Egley 11/21/09
Oh wow. Very good. I loved the ending.
Mona Purvis11/24/09
I'm so glad you named this powerfully moving piece a simple name, The Yellow Butterfly. It is exact.
Your marvelous writing ability draws the reader into the story and strengthens his faith as you deliver such a beautiful message from God.
Top Notch all the way to EC.

Yvonne Blake 11/24/09
Beautiful...God does work that way, doesn't He? Just when we feel weakest, He sends someone or something to lift our spirits.
Barbara Lynn Culler11/24/09
I have goosebumps!

I loved how the sight of the butterfly brought about those vivid images of yellow colored food.
I especially like the part where there are symbolic colors left on the hand, for we know now where the MC will soon be!
Bryan Ridenour11/24/09
Wow a wonderful look at how God ALWAYS steps in, just in time, to offer us exactly what we need. Very well written!
Maria Kana Santos11/24/09
What a beautiful story of another saint ushered into The Heavenly Throne of God!
I love reading about missionary-of-the-faith stories on how they "earnestly contend for the faith which once once delivered unto the saints." Willing to die for our Lord Jesus!

Very well written. Thank you.
Patricia Turner11/24/09
Very stirring. I could visualize the butterfly as a shaft of yellow light penetrating the cell and soul of the prisoner, bringing forth the truth. Well done!
Jean Beier11/25/09