Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Write something suitable for CHILDREN (05/31/07)
TITLE: HIS OUTSTRETCHED ARM
By mick dawson
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A twelve year old, Quelandi boy by the name of ‘Norbran’ sat on the edge of the stream which ran through his village. He often ventured alone further up the raging torrent where it widened. In his solitude, he would feign to be a hero of renown, like ‘Tonunda the Savage’ or the famed ‘Barrand.’
With stick in hand he swished away at his many imaginary foes as he had done countless times before. Norbran had come to know every rock, tree or fallen log but for the first time he noticed a metal object lying on the ground across the slowly passing waters.
Removing his shirt and simple home stitched peasant’s boots he dived into the flowing river. Norbran clawed the water furiously, angling across the current to his goal. If anyone else had swam the river, they would have arrived panting, but the sheer anticipation at what he might find spurred him on agog.
He clambered onto the bank and ran the few steps needed to fall at his knees before a metal gauntlet with mail flowing from the wrist.
The boy reverently placed it on his hand and held it aloft, gaping in wonder as it glinted in the sun.
A shiver coursed through his body. His head shuddered and lights flickered on and off in his mind. Images permeated his thoughts. What were they? It came to him. They were memories, but none of them his own…They were the memories of the gauntlet.
He saw a battle of mighty men all in white, high in the skies fighting hideously deformed beings.
He saw the gauntlet, one of two on the hands of its owner holding a fiery sword, attacking a dragon. The wielder’s name fought to surface in his mind. ‘Mark, Merkel…Michael!’ reverberated at last. In the melee, it slipped from his hand and fell to earth, centuries ago…here.
All at once, the memories leapt from his mind at the sound of a gruff voice.
“Hold there, boy. You had best give that to us!” their leader said authoritively.
Norbran faced a half dozen hardened men with swords. Their eyes burned maliciously. Their scars were many.
The Quelandi youth knew their kind. Mercenaries; men that were distrusted and feared, who roamed the land during these uncertain times.
“Who are you?!” demanded Norbran.
“Do you not recognize us?” grinned their leader.
Instantly, they transformed into the monstrous beings that he saw in the gauntlet’s memories.
“Now hand it to me, manling.” He demanded.
“No!” shrieked Norbran hammering his now armored fist onto the ground.
It flew from his puny fist like a lightning bolt into the nearest of the demons. He exploded as the fisted gauntlet made impact, erupting in a shower of sparks. The gauntlet changed direction, zig zagging into his cohorts, obliterating them all in the same manner. Then to his horror, it returned to his hand.
Panic overwhelmed him as he tore at the gauntlet, trying to remove it, but it refused to peel away from his hand.
“Do not fear it, Norbran.” Came a gentle voice.
The boy spun to see a man taller than any other he had seen in the past, deeper of chest and broader of shoulder. Although he spoke gently, his voice carried authority. Sheer power emanated from his every action no matter how slight.
Norbran knew him to be Michael.
“What you wear is not a curse, but a gift from my master.”
“Who is he?” blurted the boy.
“He is God. As yet, you do not know Him. At first, I had come here to retrieve my property, but my Lord Jesus bade that I found a man to wear the gauntlet.”
“I am an angel…a spirit. Therefore my battles are fought in a spiritual realm. God has chosen you, Norbran to fight some of His earthly battles.”
Without announcement, Michael began to walk toward a nearby grove of trees.
“Use it wisely to help others. Keep your motives pure. Never use it to sin.”
A few paces further and the angel had entered the trees and although Norbran did not see him fade from view, he did not notice him disappear.
“How will I know if what I do is sin or not?!” the boy shouted after him.
Michael’s voice came to him from an indefinable source.
“All sin stems from a single human trait, selfishness. This is by what you should judge your deeds.”
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