Times of Trial Chapter one excerpt copyright 2012

Chapter 1

Greg Tyler’s digital clock’s timer went off at 6:30 a.m., causing the radio attached to the alarm to start playing in the middle of a song by Timothy Phillips, one of the winners of the television show America’s Superstar Search. Greg was in the middle of a dream when it was interrupted by the music, which was set to go off when the time came to wake up to go to school. He turned off the radio, wearily got out of bed, and went to the bathroom attached to his room. The image in the mirror told him he was somewhat scruffy looking this morning; his brown hair was pointing in all sorts of directions, his green eyes looked sleepy, and he really did need a shave. Greg hated shaving, but nobody wanted to see a seventeen-year-old with a beard, especially not his parents. After shaving, he climbed into the shower, taking about ten minutes to get clean.

Once he had on his t-shirt, socks, and blue jeans, he went to the kitchen for breakfast. He found his mom, Allison, and little sister, Alicia, at the table, eating their breakfast, while Dad was already at work, preparing for next Sunday’s sermon.

“Good morning, Mom and Alicia,”

“Good morning, my oldest son. Sleep well?”

“Yeah, but I keep having these dreams about a girl.…”

“Are they naughty?” asked Alicia, who was near sixteen, a brunette, green eyes, five foot five inches, and annoyed her brother a lot.

“Alicia!” exclaimed Allison, who looked like a forty-year-old version of Alicia.

“Sorry, Mom. Alicia sheepishly went back to eating her cereal, while listening to Mom and Greg talk.

“Is it the same one that you keep dreaming about? How often do you dream about her?” asked Mom.

“I think it’s the same one, but her face is always clouded, difficult to see, like she’s out of focus, but that’s really all I can remember. I guess I dream about her every few months since I turned sixteen. And no, Alicia, they’re not naughty,”

“Maybe you should start keeping a dream journal. You should record your dreams the minute you wake up. Maybe you’ll get a lucid dream and you’ll be able to control what happens,” she suggested.

“A lucid dream? What’s that?”

“Well, from what I understand, your consciousness wakes up during the dream, so you know it’s a dream, and then you can start manipulating what happens. I’ve heard it takes a lot of practice.”

Greg retrieved his bowl, a spoon, and his cereal as he thought about it. As he was getting the milk, he asked, “You don’t think Satan’s messing with me, do you?”

“Why would he do that?”

Greg shrugged, “I don’t know. Maybe because he can?”

“I suggest praying about it if you’re unsure about what to do. God will give you an answer if you take care to listen to Him.”

“Okay.” Greg sat down at the kitchen table, bowed his head to pray, and silently began, “Heavenly Father, thank you for this meal. Thank you for my parents, my sister, and the house we live in. Lord, I’m bothered by dreams I’ve having and I don’t know if it’s very Christian in nature. If these dreams are meant to lead me to some girl out there, then please help me to gain control of those dreams to find out who she is. Thank you and your will be done. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Greg and Alicia finished their breakfast and began getting ready for school. Greg was a senior, had his own car, which was used and needed a lot of work. He also worked at the local grocery store at night on the weekends as a grocery clerk. Alicia was in tenth grade, so she went to the same school now as her brother, for the first time since elementary school. Greg didn’t particularly enjoy the closeness.

As they were on their way to school in Greg’s beat-up old 2011 Dodge Challenger, Alicia asked, “Do you think you know the girl in your dreams?”

“Naw, I don’t think so. Maybe she’s not real, but the dreams I have of her seem real enough to me. Only God knows if she is though,”

“Maybe you should do a dream journal like Mom suggested?”

“Yeah, maybe.” he answered with a shrug. 

The two arrived at school a few minutes later. Greg parked his car in the usual spot, and the two made their way into Tucson High. At lunchtime, Greg went to his locker, but before he got there, five guys approached him, and their leader blocked Greg’s way. The leader of these boys was the school’s biggest bully and the adults were too afraid to stop him, even though they claimed to care about bullying. He sneered in Greg’s face, and said, “Hey, look, it’s the Jesus freak preacher’s kid. Don’tcha know you born again freaks are the minority? Why don’t all of you just disappear already? Oh, that’s right, your imaginary God doesn’t set a date. How convenient,”

“Leave me alone, Tony,”

“Or what?”

Greg really didn’t want to get into a fight with these guys, especially since he was outnumbered. So, he tried ignoring Tony and his goons by trying to open his locker.

“Come on, freak, you didn’t answer my question. Whatcha gonna do if I don’t leave you alone?” Tony pushed Greg.

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