Alexandros felt his pulse race as he sat there, waiting for the games to begin. Every year in Jerusalem, the Romans would host a huge event—ending with the chariot race. But in recent years, they began having competitions such as foot racing and games of ball. Last year, he had won a foot race.
“Get yourself in the arena, young man.” A man in his middle forties told him. “You look fit enough.”
“I am.” Alexandros said proudly. “Last year I won the foot race. But now, I want to enjoy this gladiator fight.”
“A nice view from here, eh?” the man leaned up and stared into the round dirt field with a partial smile. “A good fight always gets me in the best of moods—so long as my champion wins.”
“You don’t like losing good money? I don’t either.”
“Ah, listen to those daggers! Such music.”
Alexandros listened. The gladiators’ daggers made a repetitious twanging noise, grating against his senses. Truth be told, their swordplay was giving him a terrible headache—but he suffered it silently. He would not be branded as a weak man and complain. Besides, there were other things to think about than the noise. The blood, a little voice nagged him inside, which spills from the loser of the game, perhaps? He gulped. That, he admitted, was another thing he did not care for.
Joanna swept with large strokes, causing little puffs of dust to rise. Her master’s son had gone to the games again. Last year he had strut about for weeks afterwards because he had won some foot race. Of course, he reminded her that she could never win such a prize for she was a slave.
“I wonder what it would be like to be free,” she muttered, her broom slowly stopping to a halt.
“What?” The master’s wife, a Greek woman, arched her left eyebrow. Slaves were not supposed to speak until spoken to.
“Nothing, mistress.” Joanna ducked her head and continued sweeping the courtyard.
“Do not forget to wipe the broom when you are through, girl.”
Joanna felt her mistress’ eyes bore into her back. She nodded, “Yes, I shall not forget.”
Then she looked up briefly into the cloud-filled skies of Galilee. Please send us the sun—and may the son of my master become kind. A wonderful breeze from the sea blew against her face, and she smiled. Living in a villa overlooking the Sea of Galilee was pleasant indeed.
Alexandros felt a trickle of sweat run down his neck before he realized he was burning hot. Then his vision became blurry…and he felt his tongue thicken.
“Ah, young man, there goes the one with the black shield.” The man was now commenting, adding a half amused chuckle. “Look at him—hitting weaker than a woman.”
Alexandros could only nod, feeling worse by the second. “Sir—” he gasped out.
Then, the next thing he knew he was stretched flat onto the back of a cart, bumping along in haste. He was still burning hot—perhaps worse, and he thirsted crazily. If only he could taste a drop of cool water! But the lingering taste of dry dust rolled up his nostrils. Two questions rollicked in his mind as he bumped along the rough Judean road. Where was he going? And why did the sky roll back and forth so?
Joanna was helping serve supper when she heard a cart roll into the courtyard. Had Alexandros come home early? Surely not. He never came home early. Last year he had come home several days late, and the master had been upset.
“Girl, pass that bread.” The master spoke to her gruffly.
Mealtimes the master was always gruff—until he had filled his belly with food and drink. Only then, he was nice. She gave him his bread, and then she stepped back to her place beside the window—where she could see who and what came and went. Suddenly, a cart was rushing inside the courtyard. Now the courtyard would need sweeping again. She frowned.
Then Joanna stared into the back of the cart as it stopped abruptly. There was a man in the back of the cart, covered with a cloth. It cannot be! She felt her mouth drop in shock.
“Why do you gape so?” The mistress called over to her. “You will drool. Close your mouth.”
“But, mistress—” Joanna began.
“Do as I say, for once.” The words were said in a clipped tone.
Joanna closed her mouth and looked at her mistress. Then the mistress stood up to look at that stranger’s cart in their courtyard. She gave a cry, and Joanna knew who was in that cart. She bit on her lip, not knowing what to say.
Alexandros heard a loud wailing coming from somewhere. He felt nothing. He saw nothing. He only heard noises, sinking slowly into his numb-feeling head. Where was he now? Why was he lying flat? Did not the servants know that cushions existed?
The wailing he heard grew louder. Then his ears hurt him. His eyes stayed closed. He felt so weak…so lifeless. Why did his tongue taste so dry?
“Alexandros, my son!” the wail sounded so familiar. But whose voice was it?
“Alexandros.” A stern tone spoke.
He tried turning his face in the direction of the voices. He only found himself making a strange noise in his throat. Perhaps I am dying, he thought. Then he heard himself screaming in his head. No! I am not ready to die. I am young—my whole life is waiting for me. Please, let me live. God! He felt his pulse weaken, and his fears made him...
(The story continues in my free PDF eBook "FREE INDEED" that you can find at www.lulu.com/spotlight/amberflo. The entire story is only 34 pages so you can read it within minutes!! Thanks for reading & God bless! -Amber Florenza)
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