Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Extra (08/29/13)
TITLE: Extree... Extree... Read All About It!
By Gerald Shuler
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The dream was a strange mix of the familiar and the... well, the horrifying. Walking down a sidewalk in a large city, she noticed a newspaper stand across the street. The young newsboy at the stand didn't fit his colorful surroundings. He, and the newspapers he held, were totally void of any color at all... as black and white as an old 1930's movie. The bundle of newspapers in his left arm was held closely to his chest while a single copy waved wildly in his right hand. Jillian noticed one other thing that was different about the boy. Protruding from his shoulders and glowing with an indescribable brilliance was a beautiful pair of angel wings.
“Extree... extree... read all about it!” the angelic newsboy called out. “Peace Negotiations Fail. World War Imminent.”
Jillian, in her dream, instantly found herself across the street and reading the newspaper. She had expected it to be dated from the pre-WWII era, but the paper was clearly dated with today's date. The article talked about Middle East problems, the rising tensions over world economy, and the doubt that any political leader would be able to offer a global solution. What she read was totally void of any hope. She really wasn't surprised, though. In fact, she had almost been expecting this headline for some time now.
“Extree... extree... read all about it!” The newsboy caught her attention. “Mystery Man Develops Plan. Peace Possible Thanks to New World Leader!”
Once again, Jillian found herself instantly reading the newspaper in her hands. It was dated a year from today's date. She was reading headlines from the future! For the first time, she noticed the other people on the street. Their jubilation was unrestrained at this wonderful news.
“Extree... extree... read all about it!” The angelic newsboy looked right at Jillian. “More Christian Terrorists Arrested. Lord President Calls for Executions.”
Christians? Arrested? Terrorists? In her dream it seemed perfectly logical and proper. The paper was dated three years from the last headlines and the people in the street were furious. She heard people near her muttering angry curses about friends and family that were secretly Christians. The patriotic thing would be to turn them in to the authorities. A chill swept over Jillian's entire being. She had always called herself a Christian.
“Extree... extree... read all about it!” The angel called out to Jillian. “Millions Vanish. Lord President Orders Marshal Law.”
The people on the street were in panic. The good life they had been promised was over and the cruelty of the World Leader was now in full force. Uniformed agents were gathering random people at gunpoint, forcing them to kneel and worship the image of the Lord President. Jillian cried as she saw person after person give their allegiance to this false savior. Some brave individuals refused and were immediately and mercilessly beheaded in full view of everyone.
Then it happened. One of the armed agents looked directly into Jillian's eyes, recognizing her panic and fear. He raised his gun toward her, motioning for her to come to him. She did... she had no choice. He told her to worship the Lord President or die. A bloody saber was pulled from its sheath as he waited for her response. Jillian's life depended on her next words. She didn't want to die. She looked at the saber raised above her head and knew what she would do. She...
She woke up.
Without knowing how she responded, without knowing if she had stayed faithful to Jesus, without knowing if her own fears had betrayed her... she woke up. She was glad to be awake. The dream she had just endured left her physically shaken but at least it had been only a dream. There were no future headlines in real life; no pre-warnings of things to come. In her dream she had seen, thanks to a newspaper boy with angel wings, how easily the world could be seduced. She was left her with an unshakable burden to let her friends and family know what was coming... but how?
“Extree... extree...” It was the angel boy. In his hand he held, not a newspaper, but the Holy Bible.
“Read all about it!”
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