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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Communication Breakdown (12/16/10)

TITLE: Famine
By Cheryl Harrison


Today the sun stayed in the sky just long enough for Josef to complete part of his work. It rose and set before the clock struck noon. Frustrated by the lack of daylight, Josef tossed his tools into a rusty toolbox near the door. He removed a knife from his pocket and carved a new mark on the door post.

"Another day gone," he muttered. Josef tucked the knife back in his pocket and peered into the darkness. "How is a man supposed to finish his work without light?"

As best as Josef could recall, it had been at least three years since the last twelve hour workday. Scientists from all over the world gathered together. They attempted to explain the shift in time, but after much debate, even they couldn't provide a definite answer.

Josef turned toward the outer gate. "Best lock up now. Trouble hides in the darkness."

The steel gate shut easily, but the weathered lock seemed unstable. Josef decided to secure it with a heavy chain and padlock. Satisfied, he kicked off his work boots and entered the house. He found a box of matches and lit a candle. The warm glow of the candle failed to light the entire room, but without electricity it would have to do.

Josef removed a slice of crusty bread from the pantry and spread a thin layer of jam on it. After a long day of work the stale bread tasted like a gourmet meal. He washed it down with a cup of tepid water and then took a seat at the table. Pulling the candle close, he picked up a worn leather book and began to read ...

"It will come about in that day," declares the Lord GOD, "That I will make the sun go down at noon and make the earth dark in broad daylight. "Then I will turn your festivals into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring sackcloth on everyone's loins and baldness on every head and I will make it like a time of mourning for an only son, and the end of it will be like a bitter day. "Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord GOD, "When I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the LORD. "People will stagger from sea to sea and from the north even to the east; they will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, but they will not find it (Amos 8:9-12 NASB).

Josef tapped the text with his finger. The words amazed him.

"How is it that this book knows the answers to my questions? Who is the LORD? Why is he so angry with the people? Why would he stop talking to them?

These and other questions clouded his mind. Something about the book seemed familiar, but it he couldn't figure it out. Suddenly, a vague memory popped into his mind. As a child, he remembered hearing stories about a group of people who burned books -- books like the one he held in his hand. He didn't understand why, but for some reason the people felt threatened by the book. They said it was full of lies. Matter of fact, it surprised him when he found the book tucked away in his mother's old trunk.

Josef leafed through the pages. "I don't think this book is full of lies, but we'll see soon enough."

He rubbed his eyes and set the book aside. Tomorrow he would read from the book again. Maybe he would find more answers. But for now, he needed rest. Unaware that someone was watching him, Josef stretched out on the bed and drifted off to sleep.

Yes, Josef -- rest. Seek me with your whole heart and you will find me (Jer. 29:13). Soon I will tell you great and wonderful things which you do not know (Jer. 33:3). But for now -- rest.

Peace filled the room and Josef began to dream. The Lord began to speak again.

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This article has been read 809 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Sullivan 12/24/10
A very wise MC to seek the truth for himself. You tied your story in so well with the Biblical account. Great job.
Edmond Ng 12/26/10
Excellent work! You've captured the essence of Amos 8:9-12 and made it come to life with this story. How true many a time people tend to wait till they come to the state of desperation before they recognize what's important and what's written in the word of God. A very well written and crafted piece.
Sarah Elisabeth 12/26/10
Seek and you will find...I liked the way you ended this piece.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/27/10
Excellent interpretation of the Bible in story form.
Gregory Kane12/28/10
A most unusual plot development. Well done
Colin Swann12/29/10
I really like this one. Meaty and interesting. Great writing!
Sara Harricharan 12/29/10
Oooh. Good mystery and suspense in this piece. I'm glad the MC was looking for answers in the right places.
Michael Throne12/30/10
Wow, great story! I love the way you put us there without trying to give us too much information, just enough. The ending is perfect.
Henry Clemmons12/30/10
Much talent on display here. Great skill and annointing. The title was perfect in a number of ways. Congrats on placement!!!
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/30/10
Congratulations on placing with your excellent story!
Loren T. Lowery12/30/10
"The steel gate shut easily, but the weathered lock seemed unstable. Josef decided to secure it with a heavy chain and padlock." I liked the way this played into your ending - one is not able to lock out the Lord. The promise that truth is written in our hearts is an especially endearing one to me. Thoroughly enjoyed this and congratulations - well deserved!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/31/10
This piece gives me goosebumps on so many different levels. Excellent job! Congratulations on your well deserved placing!
Bonnie Bowden 01/07/11
I thought that your story was quite thought provoking and well written.