Keep the Faith

I've written this story based on a game that I played with my sorority in which we had to answer questions based on the bible but if we didn't get them right we would get sent back out of the house.

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4. Why Do We Suffer?

Laura’s POV-

I can’t believe that this is actually finally happening. We’ve been talking about it for months, years even. It’s been about two years since our world got turned on its head and now we are finally going to make it right for ourselves even if we don’t change the people’s hearts we will at least make our faith stronger by walking down this unknown path. I get back to my house and get my backpack. I wanted to take my girly backpack but that would probably be really noticeable walking around at night. I pull out an old black backpack. Isaiah and I had decided that he would pack the crosses and bibles that we would need along with his changes of clothes and then I would pack enough food for about four days along with my own clothes. I run down to the kitchen and start grabbing little bars out of the pantry and water bottles out of the refrigerator. I start to hear movement in my parent’s bedroom so I run back up the stairs and into my room. I hang the bag full of food on the back of my door so that my parents won’t see and then I start laying out clothes but I make it look like I’m just setting them out to go to a worship ritual or something. They’re all black so it would fly with my parents. My mother slams my door open and I jump and place my hand over my heart.

“You could have knocked.” I tell her. I turn around and see her glaring at me.

“Why are you up so early?” She asks me. She keeps looking me up and down as if she’ll find something incriminating on me.

“Is it bad to be up early just because I want to be?” I ask sarcastically. Her eye twitches in anger at the way I’m talking to her.

“Get down stairs and start on breakfast.” She commands me. I push past her and run down the stairs to get started cooking breakfast. I pull out a pan and some eggs and bacon and I put some bread in the toaster. After about fifteen minutes I have breakfast ready and my father walks into the kitchen in his usual black attire. He doesn’t wear a cloak because he isn’t a big deal in the new religion, he just practices it. I put a plate in front of him and then set out a plate for my mother before walking back up the stairs to my room. I pull out my backpack and stuff my clothes into it before putting it back on the back of my door. I lay down on my bed and look around my room. It’s purple with pink fleur de lis on the walls. I’m going to miss this room but I know I won’t miss my parents at least not as they are right now. I roll over and reach to my nightstand. I reach into the one drawer and pull out a journal and open it to the first blank page this is something that our group decided that we would do as we go on our own journey to save our religion. I write the date and then start writing all of my doubts and fears and basically a prayer that we remain safe on this journey.

 

8/22/2022

I’m so excited about heading out on this new journey in my life but I’m also quite scared although I would never say that out loud. I will stay strong in my faith as I go out on my way and I will fight for what I believe even if it does kill me. I trust that Isaiah will protect me just like I hope he knows that I will protect him. I pray that we will answer all of the questions correctly and maybe start with changing the guard’s hearts or at least stop them from killing us with the wisdom the God gives us. I will trust that the Lord will hold us no matter what and if we don’t end up victorious then may we end up by his side in a better place knowing that we tried our best.

 

I hear my mother’s footsteps coming up the stairs so I quickly put away the notebook and pencil. I just lay there on my bed playing with my phone. My door get s pushed open without a knock, again. I drop my arms to my side and glare over at her. She returns the look before speaking.

“Your father needs us to make him a cloak.” She says in a monotone voice. I roll my eyes.

“Can’t he go to the store and buy one?” I ask. Suddenly there’s a sharp pain in my cheek. My mother had slapped me and she now has a look of rage on her face.

“You will get up off of your ass and help me make this cloak!” She yells at me. I feel like crying now, my mother never would have raised her hand against me two years ago but now that my father has forced her to take up this new religion she has become a completely new person that I don’t even recognize anymore. I stand up and walk down the stairs behind her and follow her to the basement where the sewing machines are. I sit down in front of one and my mother picks up the black fabric and a pair of scissors. She cuts out two pieces shaped like a cloak and hands them to me.

“Sew them together and then come and get me when you’re done with that. Then, you can start on the hood and then you might get dinner if you don’t anger me anymore.” I just nod in response and she huffs and walks out of the basement leaving me to sew together the two giant pieces of the cloak. About halfway through the first side I accidentally get my finger stuck under the needle and it hurts like a son of a biscuit eater but I just put my finger in my mouth for a bit waiting for the bleeding to stop and I don’t cry because I’ve experienced this pain far too many times. We always make my father’s clothes for him, I guess he just doesn’t want to walk the whole thirty minutes to a shop to buy the black clothes but he has no problem making my mother and I slave over his clothes for him. After about five minutes I start sewing again and finish the first side in about ten minutes. I flip it over and start sewing up the second side but I get my finger stuck again so I have to stop and take even longer while I suck on my finger until the bleeding stops. It takes me another ten minutes to finish the other side. I turn off the machine and run upstairs with the half made cloak.

“Mother, I’ve finished it.” She steps around the wall of the kitchen and just looks at the work I did. She scoffs and walks up to me and starts pulling at the cloak and tugging at the seams. I feel my mouth fall open as she basically rips apart the work I had done.

“You call this finished? You were trying to go to fast and the seams ended up being loose. That’s why I was able to rip it apart so easily. Go try again. I shouldn’t see you again for about two hours.” I look behind her at the clock. It’s 1 o’clock now. I’ll be done by three so that’ll give me plenty of time to fully prepare myself for my journey. I walk back down the stairs and sit in front of the sewing machine and start all over after taking out the left over thread from my mother ripping apart my first attempt. I put the edge of the fabric in the machine and turn it on. I slowly pull it through careful not to miss a single inch of the seam and this time the first side takes me about an hour with how meticulous I had to be and I quickly flip it to the other side and meticulously sew that together also. When I’m finally finished for the second time I run it up the stairs and run it up to my mother with a big smile on my face. She looks at me and then down at the cloak. While she’s inspecting I look up at the clock and see that it’s actually four. I only have two hours before sun down. I look down as my mother starts pulling at the seams trying to get it to come apart but it won’t budge.

“Good. Now, go sew a hood on it and then present it to your father and then you can go and sleep until dinner is ready.” I smile gratefully and run back down the stairs to cut out a piece of fabric that looks like a hood. I sit down at the machine and slowly pull the fabric through so that I don’t accidentally sew the neck together because I can’t afford any mistakes at this point. After about ten minutes of carefully sewing the hood on and making sure that the neck is not sewn together anywhere I run it up the stairs and show my mother first. She tries to pull the hood off but it doesn’t budge so she nods and tells me to run it up to my father’s study.

“Father?” I call him as I knock on his study door.

“Come in.” He calls in a gruff voice. I open the door and carry the cloak up to him. He inspects it for a bit before nodding in approval. “Did you sew this?” He asks. I nod and look down at my feet afraid that he might insult my sewing ability or something like that. He surprises me by actually smiling and standing up and giving me a hug. “Good job sweetheart.” He then releases me and sits back at his desk like nothing happened. I walk out of his office smiling to myself, there is still a little bit of his old self somewhere in there. I walk into my room and lock the door. I lay on my bed and look at my phone. I see a text message from Isaiah.

‘There’s an old abandoned farm house at the start of our trail. Let’s meet there and make a plan. I hope to not run into too many guards out on our side but when we do we will be prepared and it will be fine.’ He says. I just smile at the phone screen and nod.

‘Did you write in your journal? I will meet you there at sundown.’ I ask. He reads the message instantly.

‘I wrote my journal and I’m bringing my notebook with me so you don’t have to. I’ll see you then.’ He replies back. I lock my phone after that and lay my head back on my pillow. I feel tears start to prick my eyes with the realization of what exactly we are about to go and do. I’m scared but I’m also really happy that I have friends that are brave that can also walk with me on this journey. I wipe my eyes and sit up. I check the time and its 5:30, time to head out. I grab my backpack and my phone before going over to my window and climbing down the vines that grow out from under it. I start running in the direction of town hoping that I’ll make it in time for us to start moving.

 

 

Half an hour later I run up to see the old abandoned farm house standing tall in the setting sun. I look toward the door and barely see Isaiah’s form standing there waving for me. I start running again and hug him once I reach the door. He laughs and pats me back.

“Alright. We need a plan if we are going to make it through this but I don’t know how we are going to plan if we don’t know what it’s like. I think we will probably wait here until we get the message from one of the other teams of what it’s like to stand up against a guard.” He tells me. I nod and smile at him. We both turn and walk into the farmhouse. It’s really big but it’s also starting to break because of how old it is. I walk over and sit against the wall with my knees hugged up against my chest as we await a message. About an hour later both of our phones go off. I look at my phone and see that instead of a message from either of the groups it was my father calling me so I turn it off and look up to see what Isaiah’s was. His face is a mask of concern as he reads whatever it says on his phone.

“It’s from David. He says that the guard had a gun and threatened to kill Ashley if he didn’t answer a question correctly. Which we obviously already knew. He says that it took him a while to agree but he did and he answered the question and that there was no time limit just as long as he thought carefully and answered correctly it was okay.” He says. I gulp silently and start wringing my wrists.

“Okay. So basically there’s no way that we can plan because they aren’t going to ask the same question twice so we can’t exactly ask him what the answer is.” I say. He frowns.

“You have a point but we can at least have a list of questions that they have already gone through. And he just sent another message,” he says as he looks down at his phone, “what is love? That was his question. Well they definitely know how to get the easy ones out of the way first.” He says as he runs his fingers through his hair. “I guess we just have to wing it. Are you ready?” He asks me. I feel my eyes widen a bit but then I turn my face into a look of determination. I nod at him and he grabs my hand and helps me stand up. “Alright, let’s pray before we head off.” We bow our heads.

“Dear Lord, please hold tight to us as we walk through this valley of death and let us not doubt that you are there to always protect us. Guide us in your ways so that we may grow stronger in our faith and maybe turn some hearts along the way. We trust that you have a good plan for us being here and we will not question anything that happens tonight or any other night as we head toward the capital. In Your Name we pray, Amen.”

We both look into each other’s eyes for a second before walking out of the farmhouse and heading down the trail toward our almost certain doom.

 

 

We walked for a bit without a flashlight but eventually we couldn’t see any more so Isaiah had to pull the flashlight out of his pocket. He turns it on and we continue to walk until we hear the sound of rustling behind us. He quickly turns around with the flashlight but there’s nothing there. We keep moving until suddenly Isaiah gets grabbed from behind. I scream and jump back before looking behind me to see a giant man holding Isaiah up by his hair and holding a knife up to his neck. I can feel tears pricking my eyes but Isaiah is staying calm. So I straighten up and rub my eyes and glare at the giant man.

“You kids don’t belong here. What do you want?” He growls at us. I look at Isaiah and he nods almost imperceptibly. I look back into the man’s eyes and stand straighter.

“We are defending our faith.” I answer him confidently even though I’m freaking out on the inside. He sneers at us before pressing the knife harder against Isaiah’s neck. I feel my eyes widen but Isaiah’s facial expression still doesn’t change.

“Answer me a question then. We will test what you know about this God of yours. Why does God make us suffer even when he says he doesn’t like to?” He asks me. My mind goes blank for a second before I start to think about the question he just asked me.

“He does not want to see us suffer but sometimes we do things that we need to suffer for or because of to teach us a lesson and hopefully we won’t do it again. We suffer to learn a lesson and if we don’t learn we continue to suffer until we do learn.” I answer him. His eyes widen a bit before he drops Isaiah. His face turns back into a glare and he shoos us away.

“Get out of here!” He yells. We run away from him and don’t stop for probably a good five minutes. By the time we stop we are both so tired that we decide to stop in the old silo that is standing on the side of our path.

“We will stay here for the rest of the night. We can get up and go into town in the morning if you want.” Isaiah says as he slumps against the wall. I slide down the wall and watch as he slowly falls asleep before I burst into silent tears and eventually cry myself to sleep.

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