Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Appointment (02/09/12)
TITLE: The Music
By Jody Day
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I always imagine it with music. An anxious pizzicato runs over a pounding timpani, mimicking the beating of my heart. I stand inside my cell waiting, prepared and resolute.
The music is so loud that I can’t hear them ask me the question. I can only see the guard’s mouth moving as he reads from his scroll. The orchestra swells to a sudden stop as I take a breath to answer.
I am bound and roughly pushed down the row of cells. The other prisoners reach out for me, eyes aglow with pride and sympathy. The old woman at the end of the row grabs my hand and kisses it. Voices of a huge choir sing passionate phrases as I see myself in slow motion.
A flowing white gown ripples in a breeze as I am ushered outside. My hair is gently blowing about my face.
A guard throws me to my knees. A lone soprano sings a haunting melody. My head is placed in the curve of the guillotine. I smile at the crowd. The scene moves up toward the sky as the blade comes down. A violin plays Amazing Grace.
A guard kicks me now, rousing me from sleep, or possibly unconsciousness. I’ve eaten practically nothing for weeks. It must be time for real now. My heart is pounding. Where is my music?
The guard yanks me to my feet. My clothes are filthy and my hair is matted. I am afraid. Nevertheless, my appointment with the Destiny Coalition has arrived.
“Will you abandon your faith in the fictional Jesus Christ and agree to retraining in Destiny Enlightenment for the good of the Unified Countries of the World?” The Coalition official clicks his pen and prepares to check my answer. He never even looks at me.
Inhale, think, beg again. My weeks of prayers are unanswered. I’ve begged to live, to raise my children. But it is not to be. Exhale, a death sentence.
Not slow motion, but a yanking, jerking push toward the end. My only consolation is that my children are hidden away on an island with sympathetic friends. My husband John disappeared months ago, no doubt his computer skills being put to some evil use against his will.
The other prisoners crouch in the corners of their cells, not looking at me. The old woman in the last cell on the end reaches for my hand and kisses it.
“Just keep saying His Name.” Her eyes glow. She is singing again, always singing.
I seem to be racing, the last moments of my life speeding by, but yes, I must say His Name.
“Jesus, help me.” I whispered, but the guard heard me and hit me across he face, drawing blood.
I’m thrown to my knees now. The guard grabs me by the hair and yanks my face toward the jeering crowd. My three children stand there before me.
“Oh, God no. They’ve found them.” I try to speak to the guard. “Please don’t let them watch this, please.” I cry.
“Look what your stupid faith has done to your children.” He forced me to look at them.
My 14 year old Peter is wearing the Coalition uniform.
No, God, please.
Ten year old Katy is crying and holding the baby, who is screaming his little head off. I can’t bear it.
“Just keep saying His Name.” The old woman’s words are my only music.
“Yes, Jesus, help me Jesus!”
I look down at the receptacle, holding the head of the one who went before me. I see the wash of blood. It has a sound. A roaring sound.
Yes, the roar of a lion. The Lion. The roar fills my ears and a peace wells up within me. I resolve to take one last breath.
“Jesus, I praise you!”
My heart stops beating.
Caught in His arms.
He sets my feet on pure light. The next breath I take fills me with knowledge. I know everything now. His eyes tell me that Peter and the children are His, that John will soon join us, and that the old woman is an angel.
Ah, the music. I recognize the indescribable melody that was in my heart all along.
Somehow the Son embraces all of us here. We sing to Him.
“I am my Beloved’s, and
He is mine.”
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