The rumbling started it followed by the sound of slow cracking. The noise of the cracking grew gradually to a terrifying crescendo.
Terry awoke to a sense that the whole world was coming to a crashing end.
The building was shifting and the bed slid over and a corner of it banged against a wall.
He scrambled out of bed pulling on his pants before his feet even hit the floor; “I've got to get out of here!” his first frantic thoughts.
Even before the thought was completed the dresser moved to block the door; the only means of escape from the room.
Terry's eye's darted to the one window. Too small. Suddenly he understood how a caged bird must feel. The rumbling had ceased but the building continued to creak and groan.
Adding to the horror of the situation was the acrid smell of smoke. His body temperature was rising along with the thoughts of burning alive in a coffin composed of his bedroom.
Oddly at this moment came thoughts of his mother, long deceased.
“The monsters in your room are only in your imagination”, she'd say as she smoothed his hair back from his forehead, her soft fingers cool against the heat of an August night.
“Mother, this monster seems pretty real”, his present day self said. “How do I get out of this pickle, or is this the end?”
“Terry, you said your prayers didn't you?”
There it was again, her voice.
“Mother, I haven't said prayers in a long, long time. They never seemed to work anyway.”
After all, Anne left him a year ago taking along their three year-old son. “We just don't know each other any more”, she'd said. “You're gone all the time Terry, and you never even hold me these days.”
“Mother, was it because you weren't there any more to pray for us?”
“What am I saying, there's no God to answer those prayers. I know there's not. How could this happen if there was?”
Coinciding with those thoughts, the building started shifting even more precipitously. Terry was thrown off his feet and his head hit the side of the dresser.
“Well, thanks a lot, God. Even thoughts of you are bad for me it seems.”
“Terry, do you remember when you broke your arm?”
“What a strange thought to have just right now!” He said it out loud, rubbing he side of his head, even as the shifting of the room and its contents continued.
“Do I remember when I broke my arm? My whole body looks to get broken. Why am I remembering that?”
Two images came to mind. One was of his mother sitting by his bedside. “The doctor says your arm will heal even stronger than before.” She was smiling and he was eating ice cream with his good arm.
The other was of a girl named Shelly. Shelly'd been his first crush. Wait, she was the one who'd brought the ice cream.
Also, she'd had only one arm and was in a wheelchair.
Strangely it was Shelly he suddenly thought of as his world was rocking and crashing.
It was the sweetness of her face and the words of her faith that came back to him now.
“Terry, I won't ever walk again and I only have one good arm. But you know what? My name is written in the most special book of all, and that makes me happy every day.”
“You're happy that your name is written in some stupid book?” he'd said.
She'd reached out with her one hand to him. “Terry, that book is God's book. It's the book containing the names of all of us who belong to God.”
“Well, don't we all belong to God?” he'd asked. His mother had told him that he did.
“We belong to God if we believe in his Son, Jesus.” said Shelly.
The next thing Terry knew, he was in the ward of a hospital. He was waking up slowly.
The face next to his was Anne's, smiling through tears. “You're awake Terry. You're alive.”
The only thing Terry felt was the coolness of her fingers on his forehead.
“God, I believe. I want my name to be written in your book”, he thought.
Looking at Anne, he told himself he'd hold her and hold her when God finished healing him.
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