Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Lock and Key (08/21/14)
By Terry Atchison
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The beheadings commenced at nine each morning and finished at sunset. Each Christian was given a chance to either affirm their belief or to choose Islam as their only religion. Five minutes was an average time spent on each person. It was now almost two in the afternoon and forty-eight bodies lay in the center of the stadium, heads on the chests of each ‘infidel’.
Philip was on his knees, praying in the corner of one of the ‘holding cells’, located deep within the bowels of the stadium. He had been separated from his wife, Sue, when ISIS soldiers had invaded their church. There were thousands like him there, and in hundreds of other stadiums, across what was left of the United States.
“Father please give me the strength to escape and to forgive them.” For four days, Philip had been trying, without success, to unlock the door of his enclosure. The guards were everywhere, at all hours of the day and night. His plan was to open the door, then disable a guard and change into his clothes to escape.
“Lord, please help me find Sue. Watch over her.” As he finished those words, he noticed something in the back of the cell, reflecting light. Barely sticking out from under the baseboard was the tip of a nail file. He struggled, but finally his finger nails gathered up what he hoped would be his key to escape.
He waited until the adhan (call to prayer) was called out by the muezzin (responsible for each call to prayer), then he would insert the nail file into the lock and juggle, push, turn, and try and try to unlock the door. The call to prayer and the prayers were given five times a day, over the PA system of the stadium. They were loud enough to cover the noise of working on the lock.
Evening call to prayer finally sounded. ‘God guide my hands’, Philip prayed in his head, as he inserted the deformed nail file into the lock. He played with the lock for what seemed forever, and ‘click’, he heard the lock open. He opened his door, took a step to his right, then another, then another. A door opened behind him and he felt the barrel of a firearm against the back of his head.
“So, you believe that ISIS soldiers are as stupid as you, infidel?” Laughing, the soldier placed a slip tie over Philip’s hands, behind his back.
“Now you will die.” He struck Philip in the back of his head with the stock of his pistol, almost knocking him out.
The sun was setting as Philip was pushed towards the center of the football field. Before him were the bodies of at least a hundred people, lying side by side, with their heads on their chests!
‘Please God no!’ flashed through his mind.
“Do you accept Islam as your religion? The only religion?” The ISIS soldier was grinning.
“Never! I am a son of God! The only God! Bless you a thousand times over! I forgive you!” Philip screamed these words as loudly as he possibly could.
The soldier forced him to his knees, then grabbed a fistful of Philip’s hair, pulling his head back, exposing his throat to the fullest.
“Allahu Akbar!” yelled the soldier.
He placed the blade of his janbiya hard against Philip’s neck and begin slicing back and forth. Philip wanted to scream, but he couldn’t scream because of the blood flooding his…..
“….after President Obama’s announcement about the journalist’s beheading, he returned to playing golf on Martha’s Vineyard.” The TV woke Philip from his nightmare. Sue was standing over his recliner, smiling down at him.
“Kiss me, woman! I love you!” Philip kissed her, then picked up his phone to call his Senator.
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