This is a piece I submitted in a writing contest. I would truly appreciate some critical feedback so I can improve my writing. Promise, I won’t get mad. In this setting, I did expand some description in the story, but not much. Thanks.
Isaiah 35:8-10New International Version (NIV)
8 And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness;
it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
wicked fools will not go about on it.
9 No lion will be there,
nor any ravenous beast;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
10 and those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
The air was thick with fear, the trees and fallen logs made for slow going and he needed to move fast. He needed to get away. He vaulted over some fallen logs and ran, ran as hard as he could; his breath coming out in ragged gasps. The crashes behind him suggested whatever it was in pursuit was huge and fast.
“Bad, Bad, LeRoy Brown, Was the baddest man…..”
Matt sat up with a start reaching blindly for the cell phone. His heart was pounding; he was covered in a cold sweat, felt it dripping down his back. He sort of remembered the dream, he remembered the terror that had crept up his spine.
Finally his fingers closed over the phone. Hullo?”
“Matt. It’s Frank, from church. Listen man, we need to talk…”
“Hey Frank. Listen, I just woke up, I’m late. I gotta go. I’ll give you a call later.” Matt cut Frank off with a promise he did not intend to keep. Church. No time for it. A small bit of guilt pricked at the back of his mind, but he had been explaining it away, the guilt was less and stayed around for a shorter period of time.
“Sure, Matt, but don’t forget.” Frank’s voice belied the frustration he felt at Matt’s avoidance.
“No problem. Call you later.” Matt replied without thought and hung up. He looked at the time, 10:46 AM. He could sleep for another hour; and let himself fall back onto the sheets that used to be white but were now grey. He caught the sour smell of sweat, body odor and knew he needed to put fresh ones on the bed. Maybe tomorrow, if he thought of it. He was back asleep in moments.
The dream began again; this time, Pastor Frank was running alongside of him.
“Hey, what’re you doing here? Shouldn’t you be doing ‘church stuff?’” Matt asked.
“Ain’t no more church, Matt,” Frank panted. “Some monster out of hell devoured it. It’s gone, I called you, remember?”
“I remember, I was tired, haven’t been sleeping, keep having this dream … watch that log” and they both leapt over it.
“Beast from hell? Sounds like what ‘s behind us,” Matt panted as the roar of an ungodly being rang through the woods. It was hungry, hungry for souls. “I can’t run much longer, we need a tree, a big one. “
They saw one in the distance and made for it with all the strength they had. As they sat on the branch the creature burst into the clearing; it presented the most terrifying sight either man had ever seen. It was a dull greenish-gray, like sick Spanish moss. Tendrils that ended in sharp pincers dangled from it as did long octopi arms with suckers on the inside and eyes on the outside. It’s mouth was a circle with rows and rows of sharp dagger-like teeth. It was six feet tall and almost twice as long. It was the ugliest most fearsome thing they had ever seen. “R-R-OU-WGH-R!
The sound was furious, so loud it hurt their ears and the evil behind it spit right into their souls.
“What is that thing?” Matt whispered.
“Do you remember what I talked about when we last met?” Frank asked.
“About the highway? Yeah, you called it something … the, holiness, that when we got to it we would be safe. You were talking about salvation.”
“Yeah, that’s right, the Highway of Holiness, from Isaiah.” I explained that as you drew closer to God, Satan would attack to keep you from that Highway of Holiness. He had promised it to the Israelites and He promises it to us. You don’t get it. You’re so close and Satan is after you. You must be something special because he has set his beast after you. You’ve been called, in a very big way.
“Your mother had a hard time. She dreamed she was in hell; saw the people, heard their screams, felt their despair and hopelessness. Now it’s your turn. This is your wakeup call. WAKE UP!!!!”
Matt sat up with a start. He looked at the time, 10:53.
He sensed the malevolence; there was a smell, brimstone? “It’s time to see Frank.” He decided and began toward the shower; caught the flash of movement, a tail? Then the growl, so familiar….from his dream! Something told him to get down on his knees yet he continued toward the bathroom.
“DOWN ON YOUR KNEES!” The force knocked him backward. He fell to his knees just as the demonic beast jumped toward and over him, tendrils and octopi arms reaching, eyes staring, mouth agape, teeth grinding. He prayed to God, rededicated himself.
“Dear God, Jesus! What is this thing! Okay! I have messed up, first it was the job, then when I did have a Sunday off I got lazy, wanted to sleep in. God, you got my attention years ago and had to let me put myself in a bad spot. Now Satan is after me. God, I’m your man. I promise, no more messing around, no more being lazy. Please, Jesus, you were then and are still my Savior. My sins can only be forgiven through your blood sacrifice, I know that, there is nothing I can do to earn heaven, so I accept your gift of salvation and will honor it and you. With all my heart, Christ, I swear! Amen and…”
The beast had been facing him sizing him up, preparing it’s final assault . As it leapt toward Matt, Matt finished his prayer with “Amen!” The hell-bent creature had started with a great roar but ended in a scream of pain as it seemed to try to protect itself from blows or something causing it pain. It just disappeared and with it the stink of brimstone and sulfur.
“Oh, Wow! Talk about spiritual warfare! Thank you angels!”
Matt stumbled back into the bedroom, picked up the cell phone and dialed.
“Frank? Yeah, man, I’ll be right there. We need to talk.”