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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Search Engine (10/06/11)

TITLE: Prelude to Holocaust
By Robert Johnson


This morning at 3:00 AM, I was awakened to the sound of a heavy thumping at my front door followed by the muffled directive to open up. Alarmed by the sudden intrusion, I staggered from bed and cautiously approached the door. Through the peep hole, I was relieved to see it was just the police and immediately opened the door, only to find myself hammered to the floor, cuffed and thrown into the back of a police van with a number of other surprised individuals.

“What is going on?” I yelled out through the barred back doors of the van as they were slammed shut. The others, apparently too frightened to talk looked at me in horror and shook their heads. My fellow passengers did not possess the looks of hardened criminals, but rather a band of pajama clad church goers.

The ride to the police station was filled with sobbing and uncertainty as well as a number of questions to find the common denominator to our abrupt incarceration. “What did we do?” cried one woman. “Where are they taking us?” came a question from the only other man in the van. Each was answered with, “I don’t know.”

“Anyone here mind if I pray?” I said. “No, no please do, I’m a Christian.” Came one reply. “Yes, me too.” “Yeah, so am I.” Until all seven of us had landed on the tie which bound us all.

“So that’s it, it’s started.” I replied.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake, how did they find us so quickly?” The bed headed blonde replied.

“I don’t know, but they just passed the law last month.” I said.

“What law, I don’t follow politics?” responded a woman in her late teens or early twenties.

“You haven’t heard about the new law requiring all Christians to register with a state approved church?” answered the other man in the van.

“No.., that’s crazy! This is America, we don’t do that here.” The young girl exclaimed.

“Apparently, we do now.” I replied, “I just didn’t think it would come to this so quick. “How did they know?”

“Know what? We’re not criminals.” Said the frightened young woman.

That was 15 hours ago, and now I’m sitting in a chair in the middle of an empty room. The small mirrored rectangular window to my front and the heavy steal door to my left are the only noteworthy things to this otherwise sterile room until the silence is interrupted by the entrance of three unhappy looking men.

Mr. Stevens, do you know why you’re here? The tall grim figure said, breaking the silence.

“No, I can’t say that I do.” I coolly reply.

“You have not registered with a church?” He wasted no time in his answer.

“I don’t recall that being one of my Constitutional obligations.” I replied, and immediately my response is met with a thud of a heavy fist against my brow. And no sooner do I hit the floor then I am yanked up by my collar and planted firmly back into the chair.

“You obviously don’t understand that our actions come with the full support of Congress, the President and the Supreme Court. So there will be no lawyer coming to your rescue.”

And it was at this moment that it settled in, my country was not the same country I had known as a boy. We had crossed the line and the weight of his words draped over my shoulders like a dense midnight fog.

“So…, Your options are limited. You can either register with the state sponsored Christian church of your choice, or you can be sent to the penitentiary.”

“Huh, huh.” A sarcastic laugh escaped my gut. “No trial?”

“Okay, Mr. Stevens, I will humor you with a trial. Your name is Alexander Thadeus Stevens, Age 38. You are a deacon at the Lake Street Christian Church. You lead a small group of other born-again believers in your home. You regularly shop online for many of your Christian materials, you back up all of your computers online and your emails tell us you are heavily engaged in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as you can. Did you think search engines were only an information gathering tool for citizens?”

I wasn’t aware that these activities were criminal behavior.” I said.

“Mr. Stevens…,” he replied. “You are an intelligent man. If you wish to be released, all you have to do is sign a registry affidavit. Your choice.”

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This article has been read 428 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Noel Mitaxa 10/20/11
1984, twenty seven years later. A very descriptive and credible entry, and with the reality of codified laws constantly encroaching on common law, entirely possible.
C D Swanson 10/21/11
This was nothing short of brilliant! Fabulous job, beautifull written and beyond clever. I loved it! God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/21/11
I really liked this. I thought it was quite clever and I say with a shiver quite plausible. It reminded me a bit of a new show called Person of Interest. You did a nice job with this.
Leola Ogle 10/21/11
Captivating and chilling! You did a great job with the topic and an excellent job writing it. God bless!
Cheryl von Drehle10/22/11
Practicing critiquing here ļ
Topic: very good rendering and true to the intent of the topic. Creativity: fresh use of the topic of search engine to address persecution of Christians, although the story itself of our country going in this direction has been done quite a bit. Crafting: the dialog and action are realistically rendered and you do a very good job of capturing emotions. The beginning definitely hooked me, and I believe is your strongest category. I would like to see you re-work the ending a bit to make it really pop ¡V it just sort of ended. The message is clearly conveyed and the flow keeps up the reader¡¦s interest. Overall I think this is a strong entry.
Patricia Protzman10/22/11
A believable story and perhaps a preview of what is to come. A strong, emotionally stirring, and well-written entry.
Linda Goergen10/22/11
Frighteningly plausible story line, extremely and powerfully well written. Not only did you touch on the topic, you brought out the truth that most people try to hide from and that is how easily tracked we are, by our computers and how easily our values are assessed by the searches and posts we make. I hope this gets published beyond Faith Writers! Great job on this entry!
Ruth Neilson10/22/11
I have a (not so) private confession here, when I first read this, I thought you had stolen a look into my nano planning!


I enjoyed this entry. Though, I am sad to say that I can see this happening soon where our fiction becomes reality.
Theresa Santy 10/22/11
Interesting speculation of the future. Very well-written piece with lots of high stakes conflict. A couple of minor tweaks could increase the tension even more (assuming you want to). In the first paragraph for example, You could begin "At 3:00AM..." since we already know it's morning. And instead of "I was awakened" you could say, "I woke". 'Was' is a passive verb and slows down the pace, if even only slightly.

Anyway, these are only minor adjustments, and I loved this entry.
Edmond Ng 10/25/11
The dangers of search engines—how our lives are tagged all over the web in our writing fame! Reminds me of the verse, "For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light" (Luke 8:17 NAS). Positively looking at it, it bears us a testimony of our faith and accomplishments. This is a well written piece, painting the possible dark days that may come to us in living the faith even under persecution; a somewhat not so pleasant thought.