"Are my eyes open?" Blinking trying to see in the dark, Am I still asleep? It's so black in here. Lifting myself from the warm spot my aching body created, the cold, damp air settles in around me. Where am I? Searching on hands and knees, I think I'm going in a straight line until my hands bump something. Fingers wind around a circular flat surface, slimy something in the shallow middle, seemingly out of habit I pick up the bowl and place it to my parched lips and drink. The liquid slides down my throat, the taste bland. I could be drinking poison and not know it. Something of memory tells me this slop is healthy for me. Finishing off the bowl I toss it aside, clattering in the dark silence.
Now, where to relieve myself? Still on hands and knees, the putrid smell assaults my nostrils. A tiny shaft of light shines through a hole in the floor. Is that daylight? Inhaling to yell for help causes me to gag from the taste of the smell of waste all over the floor. Trying to push the waste out, just uncovers more gagging. Instinctively, I wipe my hands off on my thighs after doing my business.
Standing up carefully my hands above my head to test the height of the ceiling, there's nothing there. Where am I? I wonder. How long have I been here? Muck and slime squish between my toes, stepping carefully forward my hands and arms out in front of me searching for something. Finally, a wall, following to the right there's a corner and another wall. As I'm searching there are lines on the walls, some curve and sweep down, others seem to be borders of bricks. A second corner and a third wall, the lines continue to flow beneath my fingers. What is this? The question remains unanswered.
Finally, my hand reaches air; the wall ends. Pushing in the darkness, I'm caught by a bar at my waist. Reaching down to the bar I follow it feeling the crossbars that hold it in place. there's a thickness to the bars that leads me to believe this could be the door. Pushing hard it won't budge as I hear the clattering echo of the bars and locks. Following the sound, a cold, thick lock lays across the opening; shaking the bars again, I hear more locks on the door. Why are there so many locks? My mind wanders and plays games with me. You'll never get out of here. No one is coming for you. No one knows you're here. No one cares. Stepping backward, Why are there so many locks? My hands reach my head as the cold and darkness seep into my soul. "I'm a good person. I don't deserve this!" This bleak black hole that I'm sitting in.
Treading back to the bars, reaching as far as I can I yell "Hey somebody! I'm here! Help me!" Silence answers. "Someone, anyone!" Trapped I step back my feet suddenly slip from beneath, I land hard on my backside, as tears stream from my eyes in hopelessness and despair. My stomach churns from the muck around me more questions plague my mind. What about my family? Why is it so dark? What if I never get out of here? My heart thumps in my chest. Why am I here?
Nudging the cold wall behind me, arms cross-holding my shoulders as I slump to the floor. A lump forms in my throat, my breathing shallows, and tears still burn my eyes and warm my cheeks sliding down. "Please help me." I plead quietly. Darkness surrounds me. "I want out of this place." Leaning my head against the wall, "God, help me, please." I desperately whisper in the silence of the cell. Closing my eyes, suddenly tired, sleep may be what I need. Time seems to creep by. Through my eyelids, a bright light shines. Opening my eyes and seeing a shaft of light outside the bars it's coming down the path becoming larger and brighter. Crawling closer to the bars the muck becomes sticky around my hands and feet, trying to hold me down. "Hey! Help me!" As I yell the light warms the cell and shows the lines and curves written on the wall. Looking around my mouth drops seeing the large words on each wall surrounded by smaller words.
One wall reads LUST OF THE EYES. The second wall reads PRIDE OF LIFE. Still, the third wall reads LUST OF THE FLESH. It finally dawns on me as I sink to the floor from the weight of what I've done in my life. "No." I groan. "I deserve to be here. These are my sins." At this point, I realize I'm stuck.
"You might as well turn your light out. I'm not going anywhere!" Tears of heartbreak roll down my cheeks. The light doesn't disappear though it seems to get brighter instead. Shielding my eyes, the warmth soaks into my body and energizes me even though I'm tired and achy. The source of the light stops as there is no secret in my dirty dingy cell I can hide from.
"What do you want?" I ask trying to see who is behind the light.
"To free you from your cell." Tenderly, the voice echoed in my ears.
"Free me!?" The idea seems impossible and incredible. "You can't free me. Why would you want to free me?"
"I paid for your sins and shame. I came to free you because I love you." pausing. "Are you ready to go?" He asked. Looking around there's a comfort in this cell that I don't want to get away from. "I cannot stay." The voice warns. "You asked for my help and I came to free you from your prison of sin."
"Who are you?"
"I am Jesus." The weight of who he is causing you to slink back to the corner. "Don't be afraid. Trust me, please." The door disappeared as he reached out for me. Can he truly free me from this prison?
"I don't have anything to give." Hope faded as I said the words.
He smiled. "Child, I just want you."
"Just me, but why?" I couldn't understand. There had to be a catch to this freedom.
"Because I created you to be free from this place. I created you to be more than you are now."
Is he serious? He can get me out of here? What about these sins?
"You can walk out of here free. Completely forgiven."
"What if I do these again? What I come back?" Hope begins to bloom within my chest.
"It's your choice what you want to do and how you will live. I can only show you the door. You have to walk through it."
Pushing up from the wall, standing, then placing one foot in front of the other. Slowly at first yet as I continue to move forward the bars shadowed on the walls. The muck and grime slide from my body as I walk toward the door. Moving forward becomes easier, looking down my body is so thin. I didn't realize how much weight I had lost sitting in this place.
Reaching the door, I stop to hold myself up and take a deep refreshing breath of the pure air he emanates. Am I doing this? How do you free me? Picking my foot up it's pulled back to the floor, my ankles disappear as the sludge climbed my leg. "No, no, no. I don't want to stay." Holding his hand out, "Take my hand, I'll get you out of here." The urgency in his voice made me think there wasn't much time to decide. Taking his hand, the muck slides back as he pulls me from the cell and catching me in his arms. Helping me to stand on my own; his arm stays around my shoulders. Relief washes over me, a smile spreads across my face. Taking a step in the direction he wants to go, my knees buckle from exhaustion. "I've got you, child." He says lifting me from the floor all the tension ebbing away from my body as he walked away from the cell that held me down.
NOTE: The next few stories in this folder are spin-offs and continuations of this original.