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Category: Short Story

DOOR NUMBER ONE – A Short Story from Seventh Dimension The Howling,” by Lorilyn Roberts

 

 

Door Number 1

 

I stood in the foyer and stared at Door Number 1. The only choice I was given was the order of the doors. So I could know the future to warn others—wasn’t that what the voice said?

I turned the handle. The door opened to a room of mirrors. However, these weren’t regular mirrors; they were mirrored doorways. “Which one should I enter, Lord?”

I heard nothing. I waited a little longer, but God’s voice was silent. He left the choice to me. I wanted to choose wisely. I stepped around several and came to a tall mirror. I stuck my hand in and pulled it out. I passed up that one and several others until I came to a mirror with moving images. I entered that one.

I was in a world of moving sidewalks. They went to the north, south, east, and west, crisscrossing each other, intersecting, and moving at very high speeds.

I looked down at my feet, and I was standing on the word “Go” in a multi-dimensional space. As I studied the moving tele-transports, I noticed travelers. Some of the people were anxious. Others seemed to enjoy the journey. Some disappeared and reappeared farther down the road. Others popped up and stayed.

I watched, mesmerized. I tried to see people’s faces. Who was happy and who was sad? That wasn’t made clear to me.

There were more than a dozen sidewalks. The longer I mulled over which one to choose, the more uncertain I became. After a while, I grew weary. I threw up my hands. Choices carry eternal consequences, and I wanted to make the right one.

“You choose,” I heard a voice say. “Free will is a wonderful thing in the hands of an awesome God.”

The sidewalk whisked me alongside dozens of other travelers. As the moving sidewalk carried me, I saw foods that whet my appetite. Cinnamon rolls, chocolate croissants, and other pastries called my name. I passed a brewery with a sign advertising free samples of beer. Farther along I caught a whiff of delightful scents—perfumes, essential oils, and soaps—so many choices, so much opportunity.

The exchange of money increased. Soon I saw people buying things they couldn’t afford. They pulled out credits cards, signed bank loans, borrowed from friends, and more.

“I’ve maxed out my credit cards,” someone said.

“No problem,” a merchant replied. “Just sign here.”

I left that conversation, and I continued along the widening sidewalk of debt.

“This car will be the best car you’ve ever owned,” a car salesman exhorted. “It’s the number one rated sports car in the world.”

I looked at the price tag—a hundred thousand dollars.

Soon I came to a crosswalk. Until now, I didn’t know the sidewalks were named. To my surprise, I was traveling on the Sidewalk of Necessities. I came to a store where a merchant was selling animals. The buyer offered the seller money, which was no small amount. 

The merchant shook his head. “That’s not enough. These animals are extinct. You can breed them and create a new Garden of Eden. Imagine the people who will flock to your attraction—people who love Mother Earth, conservationists, animal lovers, and bird enthusiasts. You’ll be the richest man in the world. Who wouldn’t want to visit the rebirth of the Garden of Eden?”

The bartering continued. What would be a fair price to buy extinct animals and create another Garden of Eden?

As I walked, I came to a merchant who was selling futures. “Hear ye,” he shouted as he waved his hand. “Step right up. We’ll release your heart-felt dream. It’s reasonably priced, and you deserve it. Come and see a demonstration of the only dream reaper in the world.”

A woman walked up. “What’s the price?”

The wiry man whipped out his hand and pointed with a dramatic flair. “Have a seat. If you qualify after this demonstration, you’ll be given a special seat in the real dream reaper.” I looked behind the salesman at a most unusual contraption.

The woman was in her late twenties or early thirties and appeared to be in good health. Youth was leaving her, as it does for all of us, but she was too immature to have attained wisdom.

The woman poured out her heart to the stranger in extraordinary detail, expounding on all the unfair and unjust things that had happened to her, leading to a life in the gutter of despair. Always the victim, she wallowed in self-pity and rejection.

The merchant smiled. “You’re just the right person for the dream reaper. You deserve better. Don’t worry about the cost. You can pay it off in the next thirty years before your date with death.”

“What do you mean, my date with death?”

The merchant replied, “Well, I can’t tell you any more than that. You’ll need to talk to the dream reaper. He can answer that question.”

She looked around. “Where is he?”

The merchant pointed. “Step right up to the dream reaper building.”

The woman hesitated.

“You want to release your dream, right?”

The woman nodded, but her enthusiasm dissipated when she realized she couldn’t have it—another unjust and unfair thing to add to her trophy list of unhappiness.

I continued walking. A merchant stood out front waving a strange-looking banner—Soul Extractor. No one was at his stand, so I left the Sidewalk of Necessities and strolled up to the merchant.

“Tell me about your soul extractor business.”

His eyes lit up, and he greeted me with such exuberance I felt indebted to make a purchase.

“Would you like your soul extracted?” the man asked me.

“What do you do with the soul once you extract it?”

“Oh,” the merchant said, “I give it to the devil.”

“What do you mean?”

“Have you ever met a person without a soul?”

“Wait a minute,” I interrupted. “If I sell my soul to you, then I no longer have a soul.”

“That’s right,” the merchant said. “But for some people, other things are more important than their soul.”

I stared at the merchant.

The man leaned over and looked into my eyes. “Think about it,” he whispered.

“You mean people would sell their soul?”

He laughed. “Absolutely.”

“What do you give them for their soul?”

The man cocked his head as if surprised by my question. “The devil sets the price.”

So what do you do with the soul you extract?”

The man laughed. “As I said, I give it to the devil.”

“You can’t do that,” I protested.

The smile left his face. “Look, I’m not discussing the moral issue of it. All I care about is selling the soul, and all the devil cares about is receiving the soul. So we have the soul extractor. Everyone is happy. The person has what he wanted, I’ve made the transaction, and the devil has the soul.”

I shook my head. “How can you do that?”

He leaned over and whispered, “Because I sold my soul to the devil and now I do his bidding. I have no choice. He owns me.”

 

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Isaiah 45:7 (KJV): I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. 

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HAVE PINK SUITCASE – WILL TRAVEL: Short Story by Lorilyn Roberts

 

 

Hailey Becker was all of 79 years old. She lived with her doting, younger husband for the better part of her life, and they had two wonderful grown daughters who lived nearby. They were one of those families you couldn’t help but like. Hailey was the best cook this side of paradise, and Charlie could be anybody’s uncle—even the mothers-in-law who gossip too much. Charlie knew how to be polite and caring, and a pot of coffee was always brewing whenever I stopped by.

So when we heard about an upcoming surprise trip, everybody wanted to know the details. However, Charlie could keep a secret like no one, and Hailey—well, I’m not sure she knew all the details. 

A few weeks later, Hailey called me. “You must come by and see my new suitcase,” she said. “When we went to Cuba, our suitcases were too small for all the stuff we bought. We had to ship the vases back, and I worried for weeks when they didn’t arrive.”

I stopped in to see her bright pink new suitcase. What did her hubby think about the pink luggage? Knowing Charlie, he would say it was perfect.

“I wanted to be able to find my suitcase amongst the hundreds of others. You know, they all look the same when they pull them off the boat.”

I remembered when I went on a cruise and came home with somebody else’s luggage. And I didn’t even notice it wasn’t my bag until I opened it and found high heels stashed inside.

I laughed. “Sounds like a good strategy,” although I couldn’t imagine Hailey being like me and coming home with anybody else’s luggage. 

Several months went by, and Hailey talked about the upcoming trip on several occasions. I heard through the grapevine that her suitcase was packed. One day she said to me, “You know, I keep telling Charlie he needs to pack his bag. Mine is ready, but he hasn’t even started packing his. We sure don’t want to miss the boat. What can I do to get him to pack his clothes?”

“You know how men are,” I said. “They can pack in three minutes.” 

Hailey’s eyes twinkled. “Not me. I like to be ready at a moment’s notice. Unexpected things can come up, and it would be dreadful to miss the boat because I packed too late.” 


I smiled. “Charlie won’t let you down. He’ll be at your side when you are ready to board that ship. I promise you.”

Soon signs revealed the trip was imminent. I heard that the suitcase was right beside Hailey’s bed, where she now spent most of her days. She was ready whenever the moment arrived.

Then I received word that they were on the way to the departure gate. Charlie reassured me he had her ticket in hand and her belongings were in the pink suitcase. He would make sure she was comfortable as she stood at the gate. I couldn’t wait to say goodbye to my friend.

When I arrived, Hailey’s bubbly personality enveloped me. She pointed to her bags, “I’m ready,” she exclaimed, “but I still don’t understand why Charlie hasn’t packed very much.” After a few minutes, she added, “I’m not going to worry about him. If he wants to wear the same clothes every day, that’s his choice.”

“He’ll be fine,” I assured my friend.

“When are we leaving?” Hailey asked Charlie several times as I sat beside her. “I don’t want to miss the trip.”

Charlie took her hand in his and locked onto her pleading eyes. “I promise, you won’t miss it.” 

I stopped by the departure gate several times until she made the trip to Glory. I heard her leaving was peaceful. And I also heard that she didn’t need the suitcase she had meticulously packed. 

I thought about all the things I’ve packed away, not only in my house but in my heart. Then I remind myself, it’s an all-expense paid, one-way trip, and we don’t need anything except our passport.

“She wasn’t one minute late,” Charlie reassured me, “and the smile on her face lifted my sorrowful heart.”

Who greeted her when she arrived? I’m sure it was a glorious reunion of friends, family, and Bible heroes. When it’s my turn, I know Hailey will be there to meet me.

Hailey Becker is not just my friend. She’s everybody’s friend. She is all those we’ve loved and said goodbye to too soon. And even though I know I won’t need a suitcase, like Hailey, I want to be ready at a moment’s notice. I find comfort knowing that my bag is packed—a bag filled by my Savior with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. I must remember to refill it from God’s Holy Book each day, so I’m always ready should my name be called. 

I imagine Hailey received so many gifts upon arrival that she was glad she didn’t bring that earthly pink suitcase. While we try to fill our lives with worldly wealth, the wealth in Glory will far surpass anything we could conjure up here. Indeed, I suppose all the pink suitcases in the world could not contain the treasures awaiting when we arrive.


I’ve also heard that I won’t need a winter coat or even any clothes. By all accounts, the weather is perfect, the land exquisite, the joy unspeakable, the citizens glorious, and the price exceptional—by that, I mean, it’s free to pass holders—bought and paid for a long time ago by Jesus Christ. Every day I make sure I’ve packed my pass. The truth is, it’s so big, so heavy, and so heavenly, no pink suitcase could ever contain it. And only Jesus Christ could carry it.

 

                              Second Place Flash Fiction/Short Story                                        

 Florida Christian Writers Conference 2021



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RANSOM SMITH: A Short Story by Lorilyn Roberts

 

 
The successful businessman reveled in the applause. He had worked hard for this prestigious award. Everyone admired him—his strong work ethic, his determination, and the fact he had saved the failing tech giant from a humiliating fall. The major news outlets had featured his accomplishments, and Time magazine named him a finalist in the “Businessman of the Year” award. That was the award that had eluded him for too long.
 
A pang of jealousy ripped through his heart. Mr. Ransom Smith personally knew the last two winners, and he was much more of a business genius than they were. He spit on the sidewalk of the busy New York City street as he pushed his way through the crowds remembering the night before. This was his year for glory.
 
Why couldn’t his wife appreciate how wonderful he was? When he arrived home after a ten-hour day, the tired, haggard woman wasn’t interested in his exploits. Even the cat ignored him. Only the dog appreciated the sacrifices he had made, wagging his tail and extending affectionate licks and kisses.
 
Mr. Smith approached a busy intersection that he frequented several times during the week. One business establishment always caught his attention—The Utopia Connection. Business people frequented this hole in the wall, and today wasn’t any different.
 
Two men entered as they were greeted by a stunning young woman with long blonde hair draped over her shoulders in ringlets. Mr. Smith glanced at his iPhone. He had a few minutes to linger. Unexpectedly, as the blonde was shutting the door behind her customers, her eyes caught his. For a fleeting moment, Ransom, surprised by the chance encounter, fixated on her face.
 
The young woman smiled. Her enticing eyes called out to him, speaking to his soul, “Ransom, stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant…come and celebrate with me….”
 
The woman disappeared inside, and Mr. Smith shook his head, mumbling under his breath, That was odd. It was as if she knew me. Maybe the young lady did know me. Maybe she had seen the news coverage. Maybe I should introduce myself.”
 
The man stood and watched a couple more businessmen enter. He imagined it must be a restaurant and drew nearer out of curiosity. How had he not noticed the extravagant entrance before—the mosaic-lined floor and the golden flower pots. Still, the strange photographs caught Ransom’s attention the most.
 
Snapshots lined the walls with an assortment of captions, “Bill was here,” “John’s favorite hangout,” “Sam’s place,” and dozens more. Ransom did not know any of the men. Strangely, Ransom noted that all the visitors were dead. Beneath their photographs were the dates of their untimely demises.
 
The scent of burning candles and air misters permeated the softly lit marquee. Etched glass lined the other wall. Mr. Smith tried to see through the exquisite façade, but to no avail. He waited for someone to exit, to ask what was inside this beautiful, captivating establishment. After all, Ransom didn’t want to be seen entering a place that might be unseemly. He was too prideful to fall for that temptation. But despite his waiting longer than he meant to, no one exited.
 
 
 
 
It must be an extraordinary place, Mr. Smith reasoned, because so many enter and no one leaves. A few more minutes passed as Mr. Smith’s curiosity clashed with his better judgment. He glanced at his watch. If he didn’t go now, he would be late for his next meeting. But he longed to admire that beautiful face once more. He wanted to see those eyes, those eyes that latched onto his.
 
She no doubt knew him from the news reports, and if by some unlikely chance she didn’t, he could impress her with his accomplishments. Surely she would be impressed. I wonder if she is married.…
 
Abruptly the door opened, and Mr. Smith was surprised to see only the beautiful young woman reappear. Where were the men? But he quickly dismissed the question as he peered into those eyes—deep and mysterious.
 
She held out her hand to him, and once more, Ransom heard the same words spoken in his mind earlier:

Click to Tweet: “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
 
“Yes,” the man replied, “I’d love to share your stolen water and secret bread. And I’ll pay.”
 
He followed the young woman through the door and disappeared inside. The door shut behind him.
 
Mr. Ransom did not know the dead were there, and her former guests were in the depths of hell.
 
 
Proverbs 9:13-18
 
A foolish woman is clamorous;
She is simple, and knows nothing.
For she sits at the door of her house,
On a seat by the highest places of the city,
To call to those who pass by,
Who go straight on their way.
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here”;
And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
“Stolen water is sweet,
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
But he does not know that the dead are there,
That her guests are in the depths of hell.
 
 
 

 

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THE EMPTY PAPER TRAY: An Unusual Christmas Short Story by Lorilyn Roberts

One night in a dream I stood before the Great Judge as He sat at the bench draped in His official black robe. The courtroom was immense and dark. I was all alone and stood quietly pondering my fate. As I waited to be sentenced for my unspecified crimes, my stenograph machine, set up before me as if I was to record the proceedings, began spitting out the record of my life—everything that I had ever done from the time I was born until that point.

Just as a court reporter writes it all down, my notes unraveled and overflowed from the paper tray faster and faster until the courtroom was covered in thousands of interconnected loops of stenograph paper strewn everywhere.

I knew I was condemned as I stood before the Great Judge. I wanted to fix all my mistakes, but I couldn’t. It was too late and I had no defense. He was about to sentence me, but from the back of the darkened courtroom, a lone figure came forward and stood beside me. He was a towering individual, and I was covered by His shadow and enveloped by His omnipresence. Dare I look into His eyes? The room was empty, except for the three of us, and I suddenly recognized it was Jesus who now stood next to me at my darkest hour.

He approached the bench and there was a conference out of my hearing between the Audience of One. I wondered what the Masters of my future would decide; I knew I deserved death. The ugliness of my life was no secret to them. They knew every sin I had committed, every secret thought, every wasted action, every omission and commission of things of which I knew better.

Suddenly, as in a flash of lightning, the ream of stenograph paper rolled backward on itself and disappeared. The paper tray was empty. The scroll of my life was “remembered no more.” There was no record that could be made, no court reporter’s notes, no transcript. It was whisked away in an instant.

Jesus stepped down from the bench and returned to stand beside me. Again, without warning, the reams of paper now quickly reappeared, like a tornado, unraveling and covering the Holy One’s body. The Master stood condemned, my dirty, stained stenograph paper wrapped around Him as garments of cloth. He was bound as if he were to be laid in a borrowed tomb—or a manger. He would take the punishment I deserved. No longer guilty, God redeemed me by His love.

I now stood before more than a righteous judge. I stood before the Audience of One. Love compelled Jesus and my Heavenly Father to remember no more my past vulgarities. For the joy set before Him, Jesus was escorted away in shame. It was Love that took my place, Love that covered my sin all recorded on stenograph paper that spoke of condemnation.

As we share the joy of the Christmas holidays, let’s remember Jesus is the reason for the season. Let’s keep Him in our traditions and celebrations as we adorn Christmas trees with colorful ornaments and exchange lavish gifts. The greatest treasures we give, however, may not be wrapped in Christmas tissue but rather in what we do—our forgiveness, joy, and love, filled to the brim, poured out, and shared unselfishly. Let the light of Jesus burn brightly through the window of our hearts.

May it begin with me—more patience, more time, more of everything I lack. If Jesus gave His all, maybe, just maybe, I can venture out of my own comfort zone. If I try to be more like Him, if I allow His Word to mold me, perhaps I can be the difference-maker in my own world filled with the most precious lives I touch—my children, my family, my friends, my coworkers, and my neighbors.

Most of all, I want to remember what I have to be thankful for—and it begins with the empty paper tray. Because of Jesus, I can write the greatest story ever told, of how a baby came from Heaven to earth, born in a manger, wrapped in rags, and who redeemed me….Merry Christmas.

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