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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Expand (07/18/13)

TITLE: Beyond These Walls
By Lillian Rhoades
07/24/13


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Beyond These Walls


Alone in the cool, dank cell, Palo has little to do except wait for the day when he will be put to death. Nothing moves except his eyes under half closed eyelids. They dart from side to side, until finally settling on the little hole between the far left wall and the concrete floor. Eventually, his expectation is rewarded with the appearance of his sole cell mate.

He sees him through the limited, dull glow of the ceiling light and a ray of sunshine that barely makes it through the one barred window. Experience has taught him not to move. Even the slightest clink of his chains would send his furry friend scampering back into the hole and away from danger.

Palo moves his lips, careful not to let his words break the silence.

"Good morning, friend.”

“What’s going on beyond these walls today?”

He pauses, as if to wait for an answer. Then, once again, his lips move.

“Are flowers blooming and corn fields dancing?”

He pauses once more, and his mind wanders, until imagination becomes reality. Since fantasy has no limits. it can soar beyond reason. And at her command, the tiny mouse hole expands and Palo’s chains fall off. Slipping through the hole, he escapes from captivity into a paradise ablaze with multi-colored pansies, rosebushes, white lilies afloat in their water bed, and a polka dotted butterfly that rests on the edge of a rose bud.

He picks a petal from the rose bush, and bends his head to take in its fragrance. His fingers caress the softness. Freshly cut grass drives away the smells of his prison cell. The sun beams down upon his thin, pale face, and he welcomes its warmth.

In a moment, he is startled by his mother’s voice that mingles with the murmur of summer’s breeze, Surprised, Palo shifts his head to listen.

“Come home, my son. I’m waiting for you. You’ve been gone too long.”

“I hear you, Mom, and I’m coming as fast as I can.”

Palo leans his weakened body against the concrete wall. Short, panting sounds escape through parted lips.

“I… have… one… more… hill… to… climb.”

“You can do it, Palo, my son. The last hill is always the hardest.”

“Hey, You,” calls out a passing guard.. “No dozin’ at this hour of the day. Wake up!”

Palo slowly opens his eyes. The guard’s bellicose voice extinguishes the gentle tones of his mother’s voice.

“You know the rules ‘round here,” the guard continues. “You sleep when you’re told, and not before. Understand?”

“Yes, Sir.”

The sun has shifted, and its rays no longer lend light, but Palo can still see the hole; and he remembers. Warned against closing his eyes, he forces his gaze towards it, and with a voice weakened by torture and food deprivation, he begins to speak slowly, hesitantly.

You’re right, Mom. The last hill is the hardest… Someday I’ll reach the top… You’ll be there… Can’t wait to see you…. When I left for the mission field… no idea… that would be the last we would see each other on earth. Look for me…I’ll be home soon.

The guard interrupts Palo again, as he thrusts his supper of lukewarm porridge through the bars.

That night, surrounded by darkness, Palo silently prays.

Thank You God that my mind has no chains. I would also like to thank you for letting me see beyond these walls to the time when I will be free.

Just before sleep comes, he quotes from memory, the words of Paul, the Apostle:

“Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains. (2 Tim 2:8, 9 NKJV).

As he sleeps, he’s transported once more from concrete and mortar, and iron bars to blue horizons, jasper walls and streets of gold.

This time, there are no more hills to climb.


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This article has been read 326 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Goergen07/30/13
Amazing visuals and powerful message in this extremely well written story! God’s love can take us past chains and prison walls and give us strength to climb life’s hills and endure until we reach Glory! God's love expands beyond and is not bound by any of earth's boundaries! I really enjoyed this read!
Theresa Santy 07/30/13
Lovely application of theme, and fantastic attention to detail. I felt like I was there, my imagination wandering with Palo's, toward God.

Beautiful.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/31/13
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/31/13
Wow, you took me on an unexpected journey, painting vivid pictures along the way. Your message of doing all things through Christ is given on a fresh and enduring way. This is definitely a sweet bittersweet story.
Virgil Youngblood 07/31/13
I enjoyed the word pictures in this well written story. The only thing missing for me, was the reason for the death sentence. Were the charges trumped up or deserving? The title and the ending were fitting bookmarks for this interesting story.
lynn gipson 08/01/13
Congratulations on your fine, well deserved placing! I am thrilled for you.
Virgil Youngblood 08/01/13
Bravo! Fitting recognition for a well written story.
Linda Goergen08/01/13
CONGRATULATIONS Lillian! Such a well deserved win for such a well done story!
CD Swanson 08/01/13
Congrats! God bless~
Colin Swann08/01/13
Congrats on your 2nd place Lillian!
lynn gipson 08/01/13
And congrats again on your EC! Happy, happy day!
Leola Ogle 08/01/13
Wonderful! Love this entry. Congratulations on placing 2nd, Lillian! God bless!
Danielle King 08/01/13
Lillian this is exquisite. I hung on to every word. Great writing. Loved it. Congratulations.
Bea Edwards 08/01/13
Congratulations on your EC placing with this haunting and poignant story.
Noel Mitaxa 08/01/13
Loved your descriptiveness - externally and internally. Brilliant work with its mix of challenge and encouragement, and a well-deserved placing.
Genia Gilbert08/01/13
Wonderful piece! Your Number 2 spot both in Level 4 and overall is well deserved! Congratulations.
Francy Judge08/01/13
Congratulations! This is beautiful...loved your creative descriptions and message. You pulled me into the scene from the beginning.