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TITLE: The Boy That Could Not Die, Chapter 1
By Nancy Bucca

This is a fictional story based on the Bible story, with some humor, intended for the tween age range (hoping that it will inspire Bible reading to learn the actual facts behind the inspiration). Please give me insight into strengths as well as weaknesses of this to-be-continued piece.
Once there was a young man named Isaac Abeson, a rich kid from the right side of the tracks whose family left many footprints wherever they went. Isaac's dad, Abe Many-Nation-Father, was a tent preacher who traveled from town to town, feeding the sheep and holding tent revivals. Whenever he traveled to a new town, so did his ministry (which was huge). Due to the extent of Abe's fame, Isaac couldn't help but be in the "lime light" from time to time, the envy of every obscure nobody for miles around. He was popular,
he was rich, and he was Abe's favorite child, a boy to make his father proud. And then some.

Even so, being a preacher's kid had its drawbacks. For even though Isaac had all the fame and fortune that money could buy, he couldn't avoid being the butt of his father's jokes. It was his destiny. For God was the one who told Abe, "Call him Isaac," meaning "laughter." It wasn't Abe's fault that Isaac was a supernatural-born comedian. It was his calling. And what a wondrous calling it was! The only problem was that the joke was always on him.

Isaac was a miracle baby, born of Sarah Many-
Nation-Father when she was ninety years old. That fact alone sent people into hysterics.

"You're joking!" they would say upon learning that Sarah Many-Nation-Father was Isaac's mother. They thought she looked far too old to have such a young-looking son and were always mistaking her for his grandmother. Whenever she showed off her pride and joy, they would say, "What a fine grandson God has blessed you with." Then she would tell them, "But I don't have a grandson."

"What a kidder you are, Sarah," they would protest. "Tell the truth: Who's his real mother?"

"But I am his real mother," Sarah would tell them. "Isaac is my son. I don't have any grandchildren."

"How is that possible?" they would ask.

"All things are possible with God," she would reply. Then they would roll on the ground, laughing like hyenas.

It's easy for them to laugh, thought Isaac. They don't have a problem with Blackmail.

"Blackmail" was the name Isaac called his older half-brother, the son of his mother's maid Haggard. Abe and Sarah had hired Haggard as a surrogate mother after the doctor told Sarah she could never have children. But as is often the case in such situations, the birth mother became more strongly attached to her baby than expected. This caused quite a bit of tension between Abe and Sarah, most of which was caused by Haggard's unwillingness to acknowledge Sarah as Blackmail's legal guardian.

Almost thirteen years after Blackmail's birth, Sarah became pregnant. Nine months later Isaac was born, to the envy of Blackmail, who was always trying to get him into trouble. Blackmail was always making fun of Isaac, torturing him with mean tricks and cruel jokes.

Isaac couldn't have been much older than four or five when for some inexplicable reason Haggard and Blackmail moved far away into the desert. Isaac didn't really care why they left. In fact, he was relieved. But unfortunately he still bore the scars of Blackmail's cruelty. Such scars can often take a lifetime to heal.

Over the years the memory of Blackmail's mocking along with the high expectations that others placed on him as Abe's "son of promise" combined to make Isaac feel like a complete and total failure. For example, whenever someone called him "a chip off the old block," (referring to Abe's wisdom and savvy business sense) he remembered the time that Blackmail called him a "blockhead" and convinced himself that of all the chips on the block, he was the potato chip - the one to be crunched, munched and eaten for lunch like so much snack food. Not much justice in those desserts.

One day Isaac's Sunday school teacher, hoping to "spur him to greatness," remarked, "There's a boy destined to follow in his father's footsteps." As soon she said this, Isaac immediately remembered the time Blackmail had tripped him, making him fall flat on his face. Isaac couldn't have been more than one year old at the time, but the memory was etched as firmly into his brain as if it had happened the day before. "Yeah, right," he thought. "My teacher's probably just being sarcastic. She probably means the exact opposite of what she says. When she tells me I'm destined to follow in my father's footsteps, what she really means is that I'm clumsy as an elephant."

It seemed as if Isaac could never get out from under the shadow of Blackmail.

Adding to Isaac's frustration were all the cruel comments from outsiders who were always throwing Blackmail up in his face. "Lucky dog," they would tease him. "Bet you can't wait to get your grubby little hands on your daddy's fortune. With the firstborn son out of the picture, you get it all to yourself."

Of course his parents expected Isaac to "turn the other cheek" and "laugh off" such comments as if they were perfectly understandable. And he tried to. But there were times when such remarks got the better of him, causing him to act more than a little "cheeky." And then of course Isaac would get a little whack on his "cheek" as punishment.

Sad to say, being a preacher's kid was no laughing matter. It had its serious side, as Isaac was about to discover - the hard way.

Keys to unlocking the mysteries upon with this story is based can be found in the Old Testament book of Genesis, chapters 12-13, 15-18, and 21.
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