Mallory Hears the Voice

Fellow Science Lovers,

Gaming update: I fixed a bug where Mallory gets stuck in her falling animation after getting hurt. And she now spawns in the correct part of the Research Deck when she jumps back up to it from the Entrance. 

Turn-by-Turn Directions

In chapter thirty-six of Scribes’ Descent, Mallory hears explicit, step-by-step directions from the Voice when facing a scary situation. (I’m being vague to avoid spoilers.)

A few readers took issue with this, saying that divine help stripped tension from the scene, robbing Mallory of agency to make her own choices and deal with her own challenges. If you had the same thought, I will explain my reasoning here. This will be a Christian-based discussion, not the usual science article, by the way.

Mallory is a Spiritual Newborn in Book One

Because Mallory is only just starting to believe in the High Protector in Scribes’ Descent, she needs more divine guidance. She’s not ready to figure out the hard stuff on her own quite yet. But in Scribes Aflame and onward, the Voice gives much less help, letting Mallory solve more problems on her own. He doesn’t abandon her, though. Instead, He gives her powerful tools and subtle hints that she learns to use without step-by-step instructions.

Sometimes God Really Does Give Us Detailed Guidance

While some claim that God never speaks in such an explicit way, I know from Scripture and my own experience that He sometimes does. He did it for me on two occasions. I’ll share one of them now.

When I was a senior in high school, I bagged groceries at Foodlion back in St. Marys, GA. It was about a fifteen-minute bike ride from my house, and I always locked my bike outside, behind the store. One day it rained just before I got off work, and I called my dad to come pick me up. As he drove me to the back of the store, he said it wasn’t wise to lock my bike out of public view, because someone could easily steal it. I told him I’d been doing this for over six months and I’d never had a problem.

Well, we found a snipped chain on the pavement and an empty place where my bike used to be. My dad was kind enough not to say “I told you so,” and the words were already rattling in my head anyway. He let me start riding his bike to work, but I had to lock it up inside the store.

The feeling that someone had stolen from me munched on my insides like a mob of maggots. I was riding home from work around midnight when God told me to turn into a scary subdivision. (Probably best that I leave it unnamed.) Let’s just say this wasn’t a safe place to ride into alone at night.

And yet God told me to do just that, and that I’d find my stolen bike in there. I still remember how excited and afraid I felt pedaling past the wooden sign and into the shadows of those dark pines. After all, I was wearing my Foodlion apron and nametag. If whoever took my bike saw me, he might know I was the one he’d stolen it from.

The subdivision is a bit of a maze. God told me to “Turn right onto this street. Go straight. Pass this intersection. Now turn left.” And so forth. I looked to the right and saw a burly Hispanic dude straddling my stunt bike next to a tall shrub, near a streetlight. Three other guys stood around him, and together they glared as I coasted past. Their heads turned as I went straight, trying to look casual, looking over my shoulder to see if they were about to race after me. Or pull out guns. And then, as misfortune would have it, that street was a dead-end. I had to turn around and pass them again to leave. Their heads turned again, but they said nothing. All the while, I’m tamping down fear and reminding myself that God led me into that place.

He didn’t tell me to confront those guys, so I went straight home and called the police. It took half an hour for them to arrive at my house. Out walked this petite female officer, and I swallowed hard. Why couldn’t it be a towering hulk of a man? I described the bike in great detail, even down to the frayed sea green rubber handlebars and the stunt pegs mounted to the back tire. Within another half-hour, she returned with my bike in her trunk!

She said I was lucky because the guy who stole it was only visiting a friend in that subdivision.  He was about to ride it back to Point Peter, which was several miles away. She happened to catch him on his way out. If she’d arrived a minute later, she would’ve missed him.

This experience removed any doubt that God heard my prayers and that I could hear His voice. I’m not a psychic, nor am I a clever detective. I didn’t get lucky and see this guy in passing, because he was deep inside that subdivision where buildings and trees blocked my view.

That was God. I was just crazy enough to do what He said.

He gave me turn-by-turn instructions again when I was in my early thirties, but I’ll save that for another newsletter.

So what happened to Mallory in the Garden of Bones was inspired by my own experiences. God wasn’t concerned about my agency. He just wanted me to get my bike back. He knew I was powerless to take it in my own strength. There are some things He must do for us.

Has God ever spoken to you in such a specific and detailed way? Reply to this email and let me know!

Writing update: So far, I’ve rewritten the first 30 chapters of Scribes Emerge, Scribes Series book 3. If you thought the action was intense in Scribes Aflame, wait till you read this one!

See you next month,
Dylan West

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