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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Year(s) (01/20/11)

TITLE: What Harm?
By Laury Hubrich


“Rise in reverence to our Supreme Commander.”

All but one coffee shop patron rose and faced the television. Hands over hearts, they repeated the pledge to the Supreme Commander of the States.

Next, a little girl filled the screen.

“That’s our Jael!”

“How-can-a-young-person-say-on-he-pah-of-puriy?” Big breath. “By-living-according- o-your word. I-seek-you-wih-all-my-hear”(1)

“This proves our children follow the Supreme Orders. The ‘T’ ban is officially lifted. Thanks to Jael Clymer, the experiment is successful.”

Caleb snorted. “They don’t even recognize what she quoted.”

“I could have kept on but they stopped me.” Jael smiled.

The announcement droned, but rebellious Caleb silently prayed to the Lord for the country once known for democracy and freedom.

“Papa. Listen.”

“What rubbish are they forcing on us today? Another social experiment?”

The old-timers laughed. “Can they beat rumors of tainted meat to get us to eat government issued garbage?”

“Shhh,” someone warned.

The Commander spoke to his constituents. “As of a year from today, January 26.2022, all books will be banned. We will continue, of course, to publish ‘acceptable’ electronic reading material. In an effort of goodwill, I’ll allow you ONE year to enjoy any books you may want to remember. Have a good day.”

“Papa?” Jael broke the awkward silence then everyone began to verbalize their thoughts.

“It’s just another experiment.”

“But what if it isn’t? What will we do?”

A professor sighed, “No Tale of Two Cities, Of Mice and Men or Shakespeare? Life will never be the same.”

Caleb declared, “We must memorize.”

“What would we memorize? There’s too many good books.”

A ratty-jeaned, nose-ring clad teen chimed in, “I’ll tat my body with, It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.(2)

Caleb said, “What good are any of those books? Will they give you peace during the storm? Will they remind you of our Lord and Savior? We must memorize the Bible.”

“The whole thing? You’re crazy!”

“I’ll leave you to your discussion. For now, Jael and I have plans to make.” With that, he took his daughter’s hand and walked through the bewildered crowd.

“Papa? We have to memorize the whole Bible?”

“Papa’s brain doesn’t work like it used to. No, child, you’ll memorize the Bible and I’ll help.”

“A year isn’t long enough. I can’t do it. I’m only eight-years-old, remember? ”

He stooped down and pulled her close. “A year is a very long time for a little girl.”

Through the days, weeks, and months, Jael lived, breathed, and ate scripture. When she jumped rope, she quoted Acts. She brushed her teeth thinking the Ten Commandments and fell asleep with Psalms running through her head; and all of the conversations between Papa and Daughter were littered with scripture.

“Papa, the year’s almost done. I can’t do it alone.”

You can do all this through Him who gives you strength.”(3)

Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.(4) I desire a friend, Papa. Even Jesus had his twelve.”

Caleb’s heart broke for the girl but he continued to encourage. Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…”(5)

The girl hugged her Papa tight.

“I’m sorry, Jael. Maybe it is too big for you.”

She picked up her Bible and held it high. “I’m like David. You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty.”(6)

Caleb wiped joyful tears from his eyes.

“Papa, I’ve been talking to my friends.” Jael told Caleb the plan God put on her heart and Caleb prayed it would work.

A couple of days later, little girls lined up at their door. “We want to be part of the club. Jael said if we could memorize a chapter from the Bible, we could be in it.”

Caleb thanked God for answering his little girl’s prayer.

“Your Excellency, all books have been incinerated but we need to talk about Jael.”

“The clever Bible-quoter?”

“She memorized the book and has followers learning, also.”

“Pffft. What harm can come from a girl and her friends?”

The band of Bible memorizers soaked up all God’s Words that came from Jael’s mouth and Caleb wrote down those words so the girls could practice each evening. They quickly discovered that, not only were the girls memorizing, but their parents were, also. Hardened hearts turned towards God once again.

Indeed, what harm can come from a girl and her friends?

Author’s Note:
1. Psalm 119:9
2. Tale of Two Cities
3. Philippians 4:13
4. Psalm 37:4
5. Hebrews 12:2
6. 1 Samuel 17:45

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This article has been read 606 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marita Thelander 01/27/11
2022 isn't very far away, but the way things seem to be changing, this fictional piece could be closer to the truth than we think.

Very clever way to incorporate the topic and protect His Word. What would we really do if we only had one year? Good thoughts to ponder.
Beth LaBuff 01/28/11
Jael is the perfect name for your little girl. The supreme commander didn't fear her, neither did Sisera fear Jael in the OT story. A sharp two-edged sword… a tent peg. Your creativity tops the charts. I love your story!
Dee Yoder 01/31/11
I will never look at my Nook in the same way again! *shiver*. It's funny, but I still remember KJV Bible verses I memorized as a child in PUBLIC school! My--how things have changed. This is a great sci-fi piece and shows your ability to write well in an unfamiliar (to you) genre! Love it.
Shelley Ledfors 02/01/11
I like this "out of the box" speculative treatment of the topic. I certainly hope this isn't the future by that date, but only God knows! Thanks for sharing this.
Cheryl Harrison02/01/11
Creative take on the topic. I enjoyed reading this. I grinned at the part where you wrote about the "banned t's". Made me grin. Keep writing!
Eliza Evans 02/02/11
So very creative!! Well done. I like “Pffft. What harm can come from a girl and her friends?” :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/02/11
Oh, I don't even know what to say. This made me sick to my stomach. You made it feel so real. I think I may have nightmares tonight, This is a call to every citizen to make sure this never, ever happens. Excellent writing. This is bound to be a winner.
Ann Grover02/02/11
Clever . . . Scary . . . Much to ponder.
Gregory Kane02/03/11
Reminiscent of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, albeit with a Christian slant. Could happen all too easily.
You can turn your footnotes into proper superscripts by tagging them with sup and then /sup between <> in the same way as you would do for bold
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/03/11
Congratulations for placing in the top 30 overall!