Once again, I’m participating in Christian Fiction Friday, hosted by Hallee Bridgeman and Alana Terry. This is a chance for Christian authors to post short snippets from their works in progress! Easy and fun!
I’ve been working on polishing three different manuscripts this summer–Humbled Goddesses, a series of short stories to introduce my romantic suspense series, Pandora’s Deed, the first book in my series, and Cavernous, my YA dystopian.
For this snippet, I’ve chosen a snippet of Cavernous that is a good example of the overall theme. The book was inspired by Hosea 4:6, and my fear that since so many people no longer read their Bibles, they have no understanding of God’s ways and truth. What are the repercussions of that?
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.
This snippet is a chapel scene following the tragic death of one of Callie’s fellow students. Enjoy!
I can’t pretend I was a perfect Christian before this, but at least I knew what it meant to be one. Other students have no idea. The Alliance has reduced our faith to impossible-to-reach virtues—thou shalt not smile, thou shalt not frown, thou shalt not ever have any fun.
At the end of Art’s sermon, we stand and raise our Alliance Bibles. Though they include all the books, some have fewer chapters and verses, eliminating all mention of God and Jesus. The sad part? Most of the student’s don’t even know anything’s missing.
“And now,” Art flips pages, “the Book of James.”
I keep my face trained on his. In my head, I recite what I can remember of the first chapter before chanting with the group. The Alliance version starts with verse two and leaves out the part where James calls himself a servant of Christ.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds…
Yeah, right. This place brings nothing like joy. I think of Ben’s stiff body, motionless on the sun-scorched grass. Not joy. Fear and death.
A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways…
I mouth the part about patience from Christ through clenched teeth.
Art holds a colorful comedy/tragedy mask in front of his face. “In our time before the Alliance, we faltered. A divided country with two missions, destined to fail.
“In six short months, we’ve reduced teen pregnancy, eradicated heart disease, and made great strides in helping our citizens overcome their vices and addictions.”
Overcoming vices. Yeah, by poisoning people. Wonder how they cut pregnancy. Did they kill the babies?
A large graph lights up on the screen behind him. “We’ve enforced portion control in our restaurants. As you can see, even in this short time, our nation has lost a staggering ten percent of our body weight. We will be forgiven for gluttony and shine anew in our disease-free world.”
I grit my teeth. Forgiven by whom?
He advances the slide. “Further, we’ve lost twenty percent body weight at our school. Look around at your thinner selves, conquering your obesity one healthy meal at a time.”
Where were these numbers coming from? As far as I know, I’ve never been weighed. Looking up at the cameras, I shudder. Talk about Big Brother.
Art resumes the recitation, skipping down even farther to verse twelve. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial,” I call out in chorus. For when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord promises to them that love Him. “Every man is tempted. Do not err, my beloved brethren.”
Ben’s stiff face appears on the screen, framed by a bed of grass. The students gasp, myself included.
“Consider your brother, a son who erred. Look at what happened to him.”
At the end of my aisle, Reva clenches the back of a pew.
“Don’t make the same mistake!” Art flips through several slides of drugs, beer, and people having sex. I glance at Maggie, who has narrowed her gaze at him. Her nostrils flare from the force of her breath.
Art bows his head. “Lord and Master, we mourn Ben Wilhelm’s tragic death, a seventeen-year-old child who followed the path of sin. We grieve his life, his very existence, and not helping him escape the wiles of alcohol.”
And then, he holds his right arm sharp and diagonal across his left shoulder and waves a rigid hand over the crowd. “You’re dismissed.”
About the book:
In a divided America, several secessions lead to the formation of a new nation, the Alliance of American States. Fueled by extremists who solicit members via social media, the Alliance has one weak point: Callie Noland, daughter of extremist leader Adrian Lamb. Can she maintain her faith in God and stand up to the man who calls himself Lord and Master?
The mission of the Cavernous trilogy is to incite a revolution for teen girls to delve into Scripture. Many of today’s society grasp at a meme-driven belief system and draw doctrine from Facebook and Twitter statuses. They need strong characters that write the words of God on their heart and take stands against slight untruths and injustices, especially the youth.