Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: COMMUTE (07/07/16)
- TITLE: Travelers
By Cynthia G. Peoples
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He stumbled through the darkness inhaling putrid smells of urine, feces, mold, and mildew. He made his way over to the small cot sprawled haphazardly atop a steel ledge braced to the wall that would now serve as his bed for the next ten years.
He climbed up onto the bare dirty mattress and hunkered underneath the one thin blanket issued to him upon arrival right before lock down. “Here I am,” he muttered. “Locked up like an animal with no way out.”
The voice in his head laughed.
“Yes, here you are. You're mine now and I've got you right where I want you. I've been traveling with you for years through all of your strongholds, lots of burdens, and many many trials and temptations. Don't you see Ricardo - I'm the ruler of this world. You belong to me now forever and I'll follow you into the very depths of hell!”
“No! Leave me alone,” Ricardo screamed. “Get out of here and leave me alone!”
A guard rushed over to the cell. “Hey, you moron,” he said while shaking a billy stick at Ricardo through the metal bars. “Don't you know it's lights out. Now shut up and go to sleep or I'll give you something to scream about. You rookies are all alike. You have to learn the hard way don't you?”
Ricardo silently turned on his side and faced the plastered gray wall. “That's more like it,” the guard grunted. “Now keep it quite in here. I need my sleep.”
After the guard left, Ricardo rolled over on his back and stared at the dull gray paint, peeling from the ceiling. One single, bare light bulb hung in the middle of the room and the walls started closing in. Helplessness and hopelessness began suffocating out the last shred of hope embedded in the depths of his very soul as the voice continued.
“Look at yourself,” Satan said. “You're worthless. You're no good to yourself or that little passel of kids that you left behind either. I know you Ricardo, from the inside out. I know your weaknesses and I have followed you back and forth wherever you went. Even when you were just a child being shuffled back and forth between your parents like a volleyball, after they divorced - I was there. At school, at work, and even in your own home. But after you married that “religious” woman, you started going to church and reading the Bible. You even started praying and I couldn't let that happen. So I stole your wife away from you didn't I?”
Something inside Ricardo snapped. His whole life flashed before his eyes and he remembered his grandma telling him long ago that Satan was always roaming around seeking people to devour and destroy. But if we'd just resist the devil, he would flee from us.
Tears filled Ricardo's eyes and rolled down both cheeks as he traveled down memory lane. After a while, a soft gentle spirit began moving back and forth throughout his body from the top of his head to the bottom of his toes. He heard a small, still voice whisper.
“Ricardo, I'm here with you my son. I've never left you. I've been with you all along too. And it's time now. It's time now Ricardo, to just trust in me and I will direct your paths from this day forward. Your journey isn't over yet and I know the plans I have for you. So just come to me and I will give you rest.”
Ricardo sobbing loudly now, crawled out of bed and fell to his knees. He bowed down, placed his head in his hands and cried out in response. “I'm so sorry, Lord, please have mercy on me and forgive me!”
He looked up and a shining light now encompassed the dark space. He saw Jesus suspended in midair with His arms stretched open wide. Ricardo stepped within the Master's embrace and heard Him say, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. I am with you always now, Ricardo, and I will never leave you are forsake you.”
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