Running madly down the court, the white shirts stayed within inches of the blue shirts. Dribbling furiously, Blue Shirt abruptly passed the ball to a teammate, who in turn executed a perfect shot. Scowling, Scott managed to grab the ball and charge down the court toward their goal, only to have Blue Shirt steal it as soon as he crossed the center line. “No, not again!” Scott didn’t have to see the results of Blue Shirt’s raid to know that the blue team had made the winning basket; he felt it.
Putting his hand above his eyes, Scott managed a quick survey of the sea and its horizon. There was nothing in sight. Two days out at sea and no one had come for them. Scott looked at Julio’s unconscious body and was glad that he was unaware of his surroundings. Two seconds later, heat from the intense sun caused Scott to duck his head beneath his arms.
“He’s a gonner,” the third sailor said confidently.
“Shut up! He’ll live,” Scott whispered slowly but defiantly.
“Look at him! He’s lost so much blood that he’ll be dead soon.”
“You said that yesterday. He’s still here.” Scott found it difficult to talk with a tongue swollen from thirst.
“Yes sir, it won’t be long now. By the way, where’s your God? Haven’t you been praying to Him, asking Him to save us? Oh, and what kind of witness is this to Julio here? I know that ever since you came on board you’ve been trying to get him to turn his life over to God. I don’t see that happening now!”
“Shut up!” Scott whispered as loudly to him as he could.
“Does this mean that when he’s dead, you’ll start trying to convert me? It won‘t happen,” the sailor sneered loudly.
Blue shirts and white shirts furiously flashed up and down the court as Scott continually guarded the boy in front of him. Side stepping to the left, now to the right, now exploding with a burst of energy, Blue Shirt drove the ball toward the basket. Despite this tactic, Scott never let the back of the boy’s blue shirt get away from him. Now, pivoting, Scott put up his arms and jumped to keep the ball from leaving Blue Shirt’s hands. The jump was too early, and Scott could hear the swoosh of the ball as it lolled around inside the net. “Not again,” he thought.
“No!” Scott’s voice woke him. Remembering where he was, he forced himself to lift his sunburned head and glance at his friend. Thinking the worst, his eyes locked onto the man’s chest and watched for signs of life. Satisfied that he was still with him, Scott forced himself to turn his head to look at his friend’s upper thigh where he had placed a tourniquet. The belt was still doing its job. His attention was suddenly averted by the third man.
“Water. Water,” the taunter said while putting his hands to his throat.
Scott said nothing as he watched him through half open eyes.
The sailor suddenly began to laugh softly, satisfied with his mimic of a dying man.
“We’re not finished. We’re not going to let them win,” he whispered.
“Who?” the man mocked. “Who is them?”
“Demons. Satan,” Scott whispered as he closed his eyes.
“Oh, you’re talking about perseverance, fighting the good fight and all that,” the man joked as he leaned on Julio’s shoulder. “Tell me, Julio, do you feel like fighting?”
“Get off him,” Scott sternly whispered with great effort. “In the name of Jesus Christ, I rebuke you, Satan!”
The Blue Shirts had the ball and were making their way down the court to their goal. Again Scott closely shadowed the boy in front of him. Again Blue Shirt darted left then right, then took two steps before launching the ball. “Not this time!” Scott thought. Scott waited a split second before jumping for the block. “Take that!” Scott’s spirit yelled to Blue Shirt. “You’re not gonna make it! You’re not gonna win!”
And he didn’t. But, Scott did, and so did Julio.
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