At the last writers conference that my friend, Kim (from 26 Letters--A Million Stories), and I attended, we were encouraged to purchase The Christian Writer’s Market Guide, a huge book that is published every year with listings of publishers, niche-markets, groups, conferences, and workshops. I have cracked open the book once or twice and will hopefully be studying it more seriously this fall, but apparently Kim has been looking at it a bit more carefully. Here is the comment I found on my Facebook wall today… "Okay - one more publication I'm sure you'll want to look into. The Midnight Diner is looking for horror, crime and UFO/Alien fiction - from a Christian perspective of course. They accept any Bible translation."
So, Kim, I thought I might give the whole Christian horror writing thing a whirl. This is for you:
It was a dark and stormy Sunday night and James, being distracted and despondent about his failed relationship with Alicia (an up-and-coming gospel singer), had decided not to attend evening services at his church, but instead stay home and watch the movie Courageous. He wasn’t feeling very courageous though, and in fact, he couldn’t shake the incessant feeling that someone had been watching him all night—kind of like how God watches you all the time. So, after pausing the movie, re-checking the locks on his doors, and reading the 23rd Psalm, he wrapped himself up in his Precious Moments fleece blanket, and continued his movie. But just as he began again, he noticed a reflection in the glass of the last supper picture which was positioned just above the set. The reflected “thing” then jumped and disappeared as James turned his head to see it. Paralyzed by fear and seemingly unable to move, James quoted Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength” and jumped to his feet because he knew that his struggle was not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Then he saw it. It had lots of eyes and lots of wings and lots of wheels that intersected each other, kind of like those creatures you read about in Old Testament prophecies. He figured that either this was the Rapture or that he was dealing with a foe from another planet. Deciding that the latter was probably the case, since he was still here, he willed his legs to run (because God gave us free will you know). He ran to the window, removed the Fruits of the Spirit vinyl cling which his mother had sent to him on Easter, and peered into the darkness. He saw a glow in the distance and he put his hand to his eyes as the brightness increased and blinded him temporarily. When his eyes finally adjusted, they fell upon a hovering vehicle in his backyard—the creature must have come from that. It was a spherical shape floating above the ground, and on it was written “WWJD”.
James dared not go outside to witness this “spaceship” more closely because as he looked at his own wrist, and his own WWJD bracelet, he didn’t think that Jesus would fall for a trap like this, so neither would James. But he wasn’t a coward either, and inspired by the movie, and his childhood memories of playing with the ever-bold Bible Man action figure, he decided to be courageous and face his fears. Sitting down at the computer, he closed Biblegateway.com, opened a new browser, and typed in the letters WWJD. Scrolling down the page, he saw the predictable “What would Jesus Do?” sights and books and games, but what caught his eye as he got to the last entry filled him with terror; there on the screen was a picture of the hovering craft he had seen with his own eyes and an explanation of the acronym he had seen: WE WANT JAMES DEAD.
Even after recalling Paul’s words in Philippians, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”, James was still terrified and he called out for deliverance. Just then, his doorbell rang. James, thinking maybe it was his guardian angel, and forgetting that he had ordered a pizza, opened it quickly. There stood a grungy college student, listening to Skillet, “Hey mister, there were some weird guys with lots of eyes on your patio when I pulled up, but they flew off when I drove up. I found this in your driveway.” YOUR NAME MEANS SUPPLANTER—OFFENDER, WRONGDOER, USURPER---WE WILL DESTROY YOU.
Then James fainted. (This was, of course, after he paid the pizza guy and tipped him well, because not having the gift of service himself, he appreciated those who did service jobs). And when he came to, he realized that it had all been a dream, that he had fallen asleep after wrapping himself in a blanket, and that he was really on his couch in his living room, all by himself—without Alicia (which means “of the noble sort”) and without any aliens. The movie had ended, but K-LOVE was still playing in the background, and The Message will still laying on the end table, right on top of Guideposts,—opened to Ezekiel 10.
Then James got up, took off his bracelet (he had decided not to wear it anymore), and fell into a fitful sleep in his bed, pizza uneaten, the Testa-mints he had picked up at Family Christian, unsavored.
And he decided never again to skip evening services on Sunday night and to always close his blinds while watching television.