Voice
in the
Wilderness

A Very
Short Story
. . . with Long Lasting Implications

STATE PROSECUTOR, MELVIN CARRILLO, glanced down at his notes one final time amid the large room buzzing with excitement. The gavel's sound brought him to attention.
   'I hope everyone came to their senses during the recess,' Judge Wicker said. 'Mr. Carrillo, call your next witness.'
   'Yes, Your Honor! I call to the stand Miss Francis Folwer.'
   The bailiff held the Bible, upon which Miss Folwer was nervously sworn in.
   'Miss Folwer,' Carrillo began, 'tell the court what it is you do at the Garner residence.'
   'I'm the maid and cook. I also do some of the gardening from time to time.'
   'How long have you worked there?'
   'Five years now.'
   'Could you please tell the court what you saw the night of the two murders.'
   Francis pointed to the twelve-year-old boy sitting next to his lawyer, P.J. Doogen. 'Charley and his mother were having dinner--'
   'Let the record show the witness pointed to Charles Garner. Continue Miss Folwer.'
   'They were having dinner, when someone knocked on the door. When I answered it, it was Mr. Garner--he was drunk, and couldn't find his keys.'
   'What did Mr. Garner do once inside the house?' Carrillo asked.
   'He came into the dining room and began to yell at Charley.'
   'About what?' Carrillo asked. 'Was he angry, and if so, why?'
   Miss Folwer paused. 'Well, Sir . . . It had something to do with Charley's Bible.'
   'Go on,' Carrillo said, making his way back to the table to get his notes.
   'Mr. Garner was tired of Charley's obsession with his Bible.'
   'What did the boy do? How did he react?'
   'Confused, of course; being deaf-mute.'
   'Would you say, judging by the boy's expression, that he might have been angry? Perhaps mad enough to kill his parents?'
   Charley's lawyer, Doogen, shot out of his chair. 'OBJECTION, Your Honor!'
   'Sustained,' Judge Wicker frowned. 'Mr. Carrillo, such statements on your part have already forced one recess. Please choose your words carefully. Proceed.'
   Carrillo merely shrugged. 'Very well, Your Honor. Miss Folwer, when did you first encounter Mr. Garner's body?'
   'Later that night after everyone else had gone to bed,' she said.
   'Everyone, including Charley?'
   'OBJECTION! Mr. Carrillo is leading the witness.'
   Carrillo glared at Doogen, then smiled at the judge. 'Your Honor, I am merely trying to establish a pattern of unstable behavior on the boy's part.'
   'Proceed,' the judge said. 'But try establishing this pattern without accusations.'
   'But Your Honor--'
   'I said proceed, Mr. Carrillo!'
   'Yes, Sir.' Carrillo brought a hand to his chin, thinking almost out loud. The whole room followed him as he walked to his table and pulled several pages from his briefcase.
   'Miss Folwer,' Carrillo began, bringing the notes to the witness stand. 'Tell us about the boy and his obsession with the Bible.'
   'Well . . . He spends quite a bit of time reading it. He can't do much else, you know.'
   'Would you say he's religious?'
   'I suppose if I were in his condition, I'd become religious, too.'
   'Just answer, 'yes' or 'no', please. Were his parents religious?'
   'Well . . . not as religious as Charley--'

   'Yes or no, please.'
   'No.'
   Carrillo peered at his notes. 'Has the boy ever tried to tell you about his God?'
   Miss Folwer's eyebrows flared. A slight buzz echoed throughout the room.
   Carrillo smiled at the reaction. 'Your Honor, this is not a cruel joke. The boy is perfectly capable of communicating through sign language. In fact, I have here in my hand testimonies confirming that the boy did indeed share his beliefs with others. Furthermore, some of these beliefs took on a bizarre--'
   'OBJECTION, Your Honor.' Doogen stood up. 'The boy's beliefs have no bearing here.'
   The judge used his gavel. 'Overruled. Go on, Mr. Carrillo.'
   'Thank you, Your Honor.' Carrillo smiled at Doogen, then re- engaged the witness. 'Miss Folwer, did Charley's mother ever tell you about her boy's conversations with God?'
   Miss Folwer blushed.
   'I take it by the color of your cheeks the answer is yes,' Carrillo said. 'Now more specifically, did she ever relate to you her boy's claim that God spoke to him on a regular basis?'
   'Yes, but--'
   'The answer is yes, then. And is it true that, according to the boy, God told him how you should cook the meals and wash the clothes?'
   Miss Folwer bowed her head, then looked up at the judge.
   'Please answer the question,' the judge said.
   'Yes. . . It's true.'
   'Very well, Miss Folwer. Could you please tell the court, specifically, what the boy told you to do.'
   She looked at Charley. 'Well . . . Charley told me to clean the utensils with fire--'
   'And it was God who told him to use fire?' Carrillo said.
   'Yes. And of course, anything that would burn or melt was to be cleansed with water.'
   'God had specifically told Charley, water?'
   'Yes.'
   Carrillo could barely contain himself as he paced from side to side in front of the witness. 'What else did God say? And please, speak up, so those in the back of the room can hear you.'
   'God told him not to eat from anything that made contact with uncooked meat.'
   There were a few chuckles toward the back.
   'What about personal hygiene?' Carrillo looked at his notes. 'Did God have anything to say about that?'
   'Yes. There were instructions on washing clothes, and the taking of baths--both to be done in running water. Charley was very insistent that God wanted it done with running water.'
   Laughter broke out in the back. The judge used his gavel. Carrillo, satisfied with what her testimony had accomplished, turned to Doogen and smiled. 'Your witness.'
   Doogen quickly approached the witness. 'Miss Folwer, did any of the boy's advice sound bad to you?'
   She shook her head. 'Not really. . . They're all good practices, actually.'
   'And could Charley have easily read these practices in an encyclopedia, or any other such book?'
   'No.'
   Doogen froze. 'Ah . . . what do you mean by no?'
   'He had no other books,' she said, 'aside from his Bible. That's all he reads.'
   'But surely, Miss Folwer, he could have gotten the information from somewhere outside the house.'
   'Not likely,' she said. 'The Garners kept him sheltered.' She hid her lips from Charley. 'They were ashamed of the boy.'
   Doogen glanced at Carrillo, who was eagerly taking it all down. 'No more questions, Your Honor.'
   Carrillo stood up. 'Your Honor, I'd like to reexamine the witness.'
   'I object, Your Honor,' Doogen said. 'Mr. Carrillo had his chance. He just wants to confirm the low opinion we've already drawn about him!'
   The room started buzzing again. The judge rapped his gavel and called the two lawyers to the bench.

   'Your Honor,' Doogen began, 'I apologize, but I simply don't see what Carrillo's questions have to do--'
   Carrillo broke in. 'I'm merely establishing a pattern of strange behavior.'
   The judge peered over the lawyers' heads toward the back of the room. The crowd's buzz was turning into a roar. He shook his head knowing he would have to call another recess.
   'Your Honor,' Doogen continued, 'the state should be pursuing the real killer. There were signs of someone breaking in that night--'
   Carrillo shook his head. 'The boy could have planned it to look that way. He's psychotic. He disliked his parents' reaction to his beliefs. He has a motive.'
   'Your Honor,' Doogen said, 'give me a chance to consult with my client. I don't believe he's psychotic at all. I'm sure there's a sane explanation to his claims.'
   Carrillo chuckled. The judge looked at the two of them. 'Very well, Mr. Doogen. I'm calling a recess. But you have only one hour . . .'

   The court reconvened with the sound of the gavel. 'Mr. Doogen, call your next witness.'
   'Your Honor, I call God to the stand!'
   The room went crazy.
   'ORDER!' The judge said, the gavel's head almost flying off its handle. 'One more outburst, and I'll make this a closed session . . . Mr. Doogen, are you now pleading personal insanity along with your client?'
   'No, Your Honor. Some fascinating information came up during recess that I believe should eliminate any doubts as to my client's sanity. For you see, it all hinges on whether or not God did indeed talk to Charles Garner and told him the things in question. Therefore, I intend on questioning God Himself.'
   Carrillo stood up. 'Your Honor, this is obviously a desperate attempt on Mr. Doogen's part--'
   'Mr. Doogen,' the judge said, 'how do you intend on questioning God? You can't even swear Him in!'
   'Oh, but I can, Your Honor. In fact, it's done all the time. I call to the stand, God's Word, the Holy Bible.'
   A slight buzz began, then quickly died with a stern look from the judge. The bailiff shrugged, and laid a Bible on the witness stand. He didn't formally swear it in for obvious reasons.
   Doogen walked up to Bible, opened it to a specific verse, and began to read: 'Leviticus 11:34 says: "Of all meat which may be eaten [in other words, yet to be cooked], that on which such water cometh [makes contact with] shall be unclean [i.e. considered contaminated]: and all drink that may be drunk in every such [contaminated] vessel shall be unclean." Moving along. Leviticus 15:13 says: "And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean." Nothing wrong with that advice. Fact, we should all bathe daily, so as not to stink.' Doogen eyed Carrillo and continued reading.
   'Numbers 31:23 says: "Every thing that may abide the fire [i.e. can withstand the heat], ye shall make it go through the fire, and it shall be clean: nevertheless it shall be purified with the water of separation: and all that abideth not the fire [i.e. cannot withstand the heat, such as Tupperware] ye shall make go through the water." Of course in this modern day and age, hot water will suffice, being as it produces the same sterilizing effect. I'm sure even Mr. Carrillo uses hot water when his wife makes him do the dishes.'
   'The godly advice I just read was given to the Jews, years before modern science stumbled upon it. I am told that just as God gave His Word to the Jews, He gives it to us, in the form of the Bible. I'm also told this is the only way God speaks to us now--through His Word. In essence, therefore, when Charles Garner was reading God's Word, he was hearing, if you will, God speak to him.'
   Doogen closed the Bible, and walked toward a seated Carrillo. 'I seriously doubt if any reasonable person would consider my client psychotic merely because he repeated good advice from the Bible.'
   Carrillo's half-smile disappeared as Doogen extended the Bible to him. "Your witness . . . !"

IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven?
  The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).

BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated between you and your God," (Isaiah 59:2).
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23).

SECONDLY, you must realize that there is NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."   Eph. 2:8-9   Baptism, good deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are all examples of good works that cannot save you, because: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he [Christ] saved us," Titus 3:5.

THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through Jesus Christ.   He said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."   (John 14:6)   THAT'S WHY: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."   (Rom. 5:8-9)

THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your mind); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner and can't save yourself.   And call upon Christ, and Him alone, to save you.   "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [REPENT], and shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."   Romans 10:9

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