Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)
TITLE: From Darkness to Light: Julru's Journey
By Joanne Sher
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He was free.
He looked back toward the spot where, just moments ago, he'd exited his barren, bleak dungeon and entered the freedom of light. The opening he'd walked through had disappeared. In fact, the walls appeared to go on forever in all directions, with no doors, windows, or any other openings to the outside world.
The only objects breaking the monotony of the endless whiteness were ten-centimeter by ten-centimeter boxlike protrusions, about chest-high, every 4 yards along the walls. There was one, in fact, just to the left of where he had entered this room, or whatever it was.
Julru approached a protrusion, inspecting it. It appeared to be a laser scanner of some sort. He put his right thumb up to it. To his surprise, a portion of the wall slid toward the left, revealing the dimly lit, dirty room he had just left. At least, it looked just like it.
"I could have sworn I came out down the hall a bit." He shrugged. "Maybe this place has a bunch of cells like this."
Julru sighed. He was just glad to be out. Shooting up a prayer of thanks, he reflected on the testing he'd been through in that cell.
He'd been tempted to denounce his faith countless times while in that prison. Almost every time the mealbot returned for Julru's tableware, a receiver in his personal communication chip activated, asking him who the Lord of his life was.
Julru instinctively knew that all he had to do was denounce Christ and he would be released. Yet he didn't, no matter how tempted he was. Something within him wouldn't allow the words to escape his mouth. And every meal after would be just a bit smaller than the one before. He suspected they were spaced out more and more each time as well.
Yet, it had not been as bad as he might have thought. Because the food was diminished gradually, his appetite had decreased to match. The past few meals, though, had left him a bit more wanting than usual.
The cell had been bare, other than a self-sanitizing privy and a thin, tattered blanket. The floor was dirt-covered, and the walls cement. He'd never been certain of their color because of how dim the lighting had been.
He'd spent most of his time sleeping, doodling in the dirt, or praying. Rehearsing over and over the few Bible verses he still remembered from childhood, Julru had been somewhat ashamed of how few he could still recall.
He'd started off making tick marks in the dirt with every meal. During one particularly restless nap, however, he'd rolled halfway across the room, effectively erasing his record. He'd never started it up again.
Then, when he was sure he would cave in the next time he was asked who his Lord was, he received a new message through his communication chip. In the same voice he had heard so many times before, Julru was given a most unusual command.
"Recite the sixth and seventh verses in the fourth chapter of the book of Philippians."
It was a passage Julru had memorized as a child, yet one that had slipped his mind while in captivity. He stumbled a bit, but once he got into the groove of it, he spoke with enthusiasm and conviction. And, the moment the words "Christ Jesus" had left his mouth, the wall before him had slid aside, and he was face to face with the room in which he was now standing.
Scratching behind his ear, he noticed that his personal transporter was functioning again. Tapping his PIN and destination on the side of his neck, he had soon exited the compound and arrived in his own apartment.
Julru walked straight to his bookdisk case and grabbed his Bibledisk, dusting it off.
"You and I, it seems, need to get better acquainted."
<I>Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.</I> Philippians 4:6-7
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