Living the Dream – Part 2

Over the past month and a half we have begun to explore the importance of stories for communicating the truth of the gospel.  And we have seen each Sunday night how Jesus was the master story-teller.  Two weeks ago we posted the first part of a short-story entitled “Living the Dream” composed by Mercy Hill member Carter Mundy.  In today’s Free For All Friday segment we are posting part two – we hope you are challenged and encouraged…enjoy.

        Everich was yanked up through the dirt out into open air.  It was cold and dark.  He was tossed into a crowd of moving shapes, and as he began to come to his senses he could see that the shapes were other people drudgingly advancing toward an obscure place.  He got up and joined the silent parade.  The place was familiar to him, and as the crowd of them drew closer to their destination Everich began to make out dimly lit torches ahead.
      “Why are we doing this?” he turned to another and asked.  “Where are we going?”  But before Everich could say anything else a large, ghoulish figure heard him speak and with the torch he was carrying hit Everich over the head by the butt end.  The blow took Everich to the ground.
      Sitting up in the therapist’s chair, Everich gave a yelp as he described this, and was brought back to his world.  “This is when I woke up,” Everich explained to his therapist.  “Just recounting it here brought back the memory of the pain.  My head was throbbing when I awoke and it really hurts at this moment!”
      “Very troubling indeed, sir,” his therapist stated coolly.  “This could be a reaction to something that occurred in your childhood.  Or perhaps your success has overwhelmed…”  But as Everich lay listening to the doctor he found his mind wander back to the vivid reality of the dream.  Everich could hear the faint sound of the doctor’s voice continue on but it faded.  He felt like he was caught between two worlds; which one was real?  Which one was a dream?
       He lay facedown in the dirt for a moment, sniffing the dust and grime into his nostrils once more—it was so fresh and real.  Then the strong hands of the ghoul picked him up and thrust him forward.  Everich continued on in silence, quietly crying to himself.  He felt the wet warmth of his blood streaming down the back of his neck.  His head throbbed.  Where was he?  Why did it seem so familiar to him?  What was happening?  This dream—the darkness and pain—was it really a dream?
       Up ahead of the mass of wayfarers Everich could see a field beginning to take form.  He perceived he was walking through a tunnel—a forest path, perhaps, as no moon or stars could be seen overhead.  He could hear the faint rustle of branches and leaves around him as the wind brought them to life.  It was an unsettling sound; the trees seemed to disapprove of this treacherous parade.  The oncoming field was surrounded by torches and a hazy, dim, glow would be the slaves’ work-light.  He felt as though he had worked this field in another life.  He saw the other, what looked like, zombies begin to take up tools and start to dig and scrape the land.  Some of these silent slaves broke their staid positions as they began to work, crying out, whimpering, or shouting angrily.  Others droned on in silence, mechanically doing their duty.  The ghouls, who were as taskmasters, paid them no mind as long as the job was getting done, punishing those who slacked in their endeavor.  But what was the job at hand?  Everich began to ask around until he finally found someone of sound mind (sound enough) who could understand and respond to Everich’s prodding.  She was on her knees digging at the root of a plant when he came to her.
      “Oh woe is me!  Woe is me!  My body’s in pain and I hate this werld!  I wanna go back to my own werld!  I’s a princess thar.  I had everthin’ I ever wanned.  I…”
       “Excuse me,” Everich interjected.  “Where are we?  What are we doing?”
       “Ha!  What’re we doin’?  What’re we doin’?  I been wonderin’ the same thang fer years nah!  I’s a princess in my own werld.  I had everthin’ I ever wanned.  I…”
       “Yes, yes,” Everich interjected again.  “You’ve said that already.  I want to know what we’re doing here.  Quick!  Tell me before they see us talking!”
      “Why, we’re diggin’ up the plants!  S’the derndest thing I ever saw.  Ever night we werk werk werk in this endless country.  It goes on ferever, it does.  We’re only werkin’ at nat, too.  I’ve not seen the lat a day sin I woke up her senteen years ago.  Why, in my own werld—it was wonnerful, by the way—I’s a princess.  I had everthin’ I ever wanned.  I…”
       Everich decided he had gotten all the information he could handle out of this woman for one night.  She continued chattering to herself as he went off to dig at some plants, too.  Why where they digging up perfectly good plants?  Looking around him, Everich saw that there were slaves not only digging, but sowing seed as well.  Although it looked like they were simply tossing handfuls of seed everywhere, not taking any care in where the seed fell.  A seeder happened by Everich while he was digging, and Everich asked what the seeder was sowing?  The seeder only snubbed his nose at Everich and said in a high-pitched whine, “My job is much more important than yours.  I’m sowing our master’s crop: weeds; I have a better job than you; I’m much more important.”  Everich was surprised.  Weeds?  Why would anyone sow bad seed as a crop?
       Everich took to his work, digging up every plant he could see.  The work was hard, having to dig with no tools (you had to earn the use of tools, you see), but doing anything took his mind off of this dire situation in which he found himself.  Was he going to wake up in his own bed in his own world?  Or the psychiatrist’s office, perhaps?  But Everich could not deny the reality of this despicable place—this unfeigned hell.  It was more real than his life in his own world had ever been.  He felt so much good in his own world, and yet it was such a feeble pleasure compared to the acute pain he felt in this dark world.  The pain was much more honest and true than the goodness had ever been.  Looking back on his former life Everich saw only fantasy.  Yet Everich held on to his precious thoughts.  They gave comfort, and he could not let go—his world had to be real!  As he labored on through the night, Everich began to dig into his memories as well as the earth under his feet.  This was familiar; it was familiar because he’d been here before.  His mind was swirling with all kinds of theories… this must be more than a dream: a vision; a religious experience; anything but the reality he so feverishly feared it was!
       Suddenly a bright light appeared at the corner of the field.  What was it that shone like a sun, radiating its glory over the whole expanse of this territory?  Its brightness filled the night sky and made it like the day.  This, too, was familiar, he realized.  Memories were beginning to sluggishly come back to him.  He remembered seeing this light not long ago.  Every memory he could arouse shown this light in his mind’s eye.  Everich thought about running to see if he could make out the source of that light.  But he peered over his shoulder and feared the devilish dominators that kept close watch over his work.  Even so, just gazing upon this radiant Beauty gave Everich the feeling that he was just waking up for the first time.
       So Everich worked on until faint grey painted the sky.  It brought a sense of dread to the slaves and devils alike.  Everich could make out the edges of the field, the tree-line as it met the sky.  All around him people were shuffling into lines to go back deep into the forest to their resting places; back to their graves they were to go.  Looking down at his knees and hands he could see that he was bleeding, and could feel the pain of the night’s work.  The group of workers filed into line, and as he went along with the crowd, Everich peered over his shoulder at the eastern horizon to see a thin line of sunlight forming.  The Light he had seen in the field moved toward the horizon—toward the sunrise.  As Everich beheld this great, fiery light-line being drawn across the sky it began to cause him great pain.  He could no longer view such intensity and was relieved to creep deeper into the forest with his fellow captives.  Still, something compelled him to desire to know that light and to understand it more fully.  Oh, there was such dread on Everich’s part as he glanced about the thick wooded grave yard.  Others crawled down out of sight.  Some screamed, but were quickly silenced by the ghouls.  Some were thrust down into the earth by the guards; such was Everich’s fate.  Dirt, mud, dust, wet, slime; he hoped he would wake up somewhere else again, but that thought became distant to him.  He pondered to himself; what could this Light from the field be, what were the purposes of his own personal labors, and why could he not gaze upon the daylight without some sense of dread and fear and physical pain?


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