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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Rest (01/17/13)

TITLE: Hiding From the Light
By Joe Moreland
01/23/13


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It was late when David finally got home – close to midnight. He fumbled to find the right key, then fumbled some more getting it into the lock and opening the door. Once inside the house, instead of turning on the lights, he made his way across the living room and plopped into his favorite chair.

This was his ritual for the past several months. He would get home as late as he could, sit in the dark until he could no longer keep his eyes open and then make his way to bed, stopping somewhere along the way to change into shorts and a t-shirt. In the morning he would get showered, dressed and out the door before he had any time to think. Thinking came later, during his dark time alone in the chair.

Tonight, as he sat in the dark, he felt less tired than usual. The plan was to get home so late and exhausted that he wouldn't have time to think or feel much before he went off to bed. Now, though, his mind was racing and thoughts he'd held at bay were flinging themselves at him, demanding he give them his attention.

It was the church. He'd known it was a bad idea to go back there. He had avoided it like the plague, since that day. Apparently everyone else had too.

David's eyes roamed his dark empty house. Inexorably he took in the total absence. Absence of little girl laughter. Absence of Gayle pleading with the children to settle down. Absence of her eyes rolling in his direction as he wound them back up again.

Emptiness washed over him and he felt the pain anew. The loss cut deeply, but not as deeply as the shame. For them he could be happy. They were home. For him, there seemed to be no home left. Not in this empty house, and not in the death he so longed for but couldn't have; because he knew it wouldn't take him to his family. If it would, David would be with them now.

This evening as he'd wandered back into the church for the first time since that day, others wandered in too. They brushed away cobwebs, and opened up windows to let some air in. Nobody tried to turn on any lights, or wonder how they all ended up back there at the same time. They all simply felt pulled to the building this night. A pull none of them could understand.

They talked. Sam's wife and kids had been at the zoo. Veronica's parents on a flight to Dallas. Larry and Jennifer's kids were at a concert. Nobody realized, or understood at first how all-encompassing the disappearances were.

As information trickled in it was obvious they had been raptured. None wanted to believe it. How could it be true when so many were left behind? All of them had refused to go back to the church. They were confused. Embarrassed. Ashamed.

As he spoke with the others, David noticed similarities in their stories. How each of them, in their own way, had played at church - never truly giving themselves to God. Some of them had known all along that their faith was fake. Others, like David, played the part so well that they had even fooled themselves.

There was no fooling God, though. As they huddled together in a dark, cold and empty church, they looked at one another for answers that weren't there.

Back in his house, David sat in his comfortable chair, and finally broke down in tears. Tears for what he'd lost - for what he'd fooled himself into thinking he had.

“God!” He cried out as he fell out of the chair and onto his knees. “What do the rest of us do now? We have no one left to lead us or guide us.” It was his first genuine prayer in his life.

After a while - he had no idea how long - David peeled his face from his carpeted floor, wiped tears from his eyes, and noticed a light coming through his living room window.

A streetlight, he thought.

His eyes followed the light as it stabbed, arrow straight, across the room to the end table, and fell on his dust covered Bible. Chastened, David suddenly realized that was his problem. Possibly had been his problem all along.

He was always looking for direction, always trying to follow someone else. Everyone other than God.


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This article has been read 239 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/24/13
This is an awesome piece. I could feel my heart pounding as I read along. I also always enjoy a new word, Inexorably--unyielding, unalterable. What a perfect word for this part of the story. Though the ending was a tiny bit predictable, I still found myself leaning in, eager to read each word.
CD Swanson 01/25/13
Riveting and gripping from first to last word.

God bless~
Bonnie Bowden01/26/13
Powerful piece of writing. At first I wasn't sure what tragedy had taken place, but then the light slowly dawned on me.
Allison Egley 01/26/13
Oh, this is good. I hope you are planning on extending this, because it feels like there should be a lot more to this story.
Christina Banks 01/26/13
I wonder how many will find themselves in this exact situation. I think you captured this well, and I really like your ending sentence.
Virgil Youngblood 01/27/13
Great job, with a haunting message. Is there anyone in my family that might be left behind? Years ago a man came to get his family after the evening service and found the sanctuary empty. He remembered hearing about the rapture and thought it had happened, and panicked. When he finally found everyone in the fellowship hall on the other end of the building,he quickly got right with the Lord. True story, and your writing brought it fresh to mind to savor again.
Noel Mitaxa 01/27/13
This is truly sobering material, with no contrived answers. Very challenging.
Alicia Renkema01/30/13
This was so well written as if it were any other every day (tragic though it may be) loss of a single loved one. Only to find out that not only did it involve more than one loved one but only one of the most significant events yet to occur in human history. I love how in the paragraph right before you mention the word "disappearances" you talk about everyone congregating at the church together and being "inexplicably draw." I found myself thinking, "That's odd." but still never in a million years until I got right to that spot thought of the rapture. That is the best kind of writing, where you think it is one thing, like in the movie "A Beautiful Mind" with Russell Crowe, and then you find it is something altogether different. What great potential for a witnessing tool, and I loved the part about the light, as if from the street, shining directly on the Bible, begging to be opened. Thank you so much for this unexpected Rapture story!
Danielle King 01/30/13
I was riveted to this excellent, but sobering story. It made me sad because members of my family could be identified with your MC. Your writing really hits home so that's got to be the recipe for brilliant work.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/31/13
Congratulations for ranking 28th overall