The Exhibit

This short story won first prize in the fiction category at the 2009 Writing unto the Glory conference at Bethel Church, Redding California.

The tour guide stopped beside a door. Rough, and uninviting, the door itself appeared to be in pain.

“Through this door is a special part of our exhibit,” He paused turning to the students. “I must tell you, many choose to avoid this room of the Kingdom exhibit. Though, assuredly it has some interesting insight into this unique civilization.”

The class, young and impresionable gazed at the odd entrance. School field trips were often filled with boring lectures and unfortunate worksheets, but today was different. Mr. Watts had given his seventh graders what seemed like a simple challenge: to uncover the identity of the “Kingdom” which the exhibit headlined. But finding themselves now forty-five minutes into the guided tour, they still wrestled to conclude if the Kingdom was of ancient origins or a fantasy of things to come. Its location was dubious. Its mechanics were mysterious. Its culture seemed marvellous. The more facinating facts trickled out of the guide’s mouth, the more perplexed and amazed the class became.

“Unfortunately, we are running short on time and must move on. This room must be experienced alone. We will have time for one interested student to go in. Do I have any takers?”

The tour guide looked over the sea of faces teaming with wonder. But no one raised a hand. He rarely had takers. Nodding his head knowingly, he turned to lead on.

“I will go.” spoke a little voice from the back of the class. A small asian girl stepped forward. The class looked on, apprehensive, knowing little Hannah to be timid and rather quiet. Mr. Watts and the tour guide exchanged a look of agreement. Hannah was a perfect choice for discovering what was behind the door.

“Proceed, young lady,” the guide directed, “Close the door behind you, we’ll be waiting.”

Hannah saw nothing upon entering the room. Closing the door, it seemed to be simply a dark closet. Hannah shruged her shoulders. Letting out a sigh, she wondered what this room was to tell her about this “Kingdom”.

Suddenly, something above Hannah caught her eye. The wall seemed to be breathing with dull light. As her eyes began to adjust, she could see the walls around the large room illuminate with waves of light.

She walked towards the middle of the room. Seeing a plaque below, she crouched down to the floor to read what it said: “the fellowship of His suffering”.

Immediately Hannah stood up wrapping her arms around herself. “Suffering?” she thought. Her head turned from side to side watching for anything harmful that would approach her. Just then, she felt something gentle tumble onto her head, onto her shoulder, and down to the ground. It was followed by another something tumbling down upon her and onto the ground. Soon these somethings were raining down, filling the room. As they rained, the walls lit up until a sweet, comfortable glow filled the room. It had rained beautiful white roses, and a beautiful fragrance now billowed through the air. Hannah stood silently, amazed. Her favorite flower now carpeted the floor.

She could see, now, the room was roundish and very tall. All along the wall were book shelves. In front of her was a book on a wooden podium. Approaching the book, she blinked to see if she was reading the title right. It simply read, “For Hannah.”

Puzzled by how personalized this particular exhibit was, she opened the book, and gasped. Every inch of the book was covered with magnificent penmenship. The pages were filled with poetry, songs, sketches, letters, all for Hannah…all about Hannah….all about someone’s love for Hannah. She marveled at the pages discovering the presence of a great lover within her precious hidden memories. “He was there.” she thought.

She quickly turned to the back of the book to find a simple singnature, “yours forever, the King.”

Feeling the draw of her class outside, she smiled, and floated back towards the door.

The class stood watching her with bated breath wanting to know what was inside. Mr. Watts approached her, “My precious Hannah, what was that room all about?”

Looking up at him she replied, “It was called ‘the fellowship of His sufferings’”
The boys flooded her with questions believing the room to be filled with tales of epic battles,

“Actually,” Hannah slowly offered, “it seemed to be a room more about His love.”

Mr. Watts winked at Hannah, “Seems to hide things in the strangest places, doesn’t He?”

Smiling, Hannah nodded.

Copyright 2009-2010. Sara Rust. All Rights Reserved.

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