Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Bitter and Sweet (05/28/09)
TITLE: Exodus: Through the eyes of a dumb boy.
By remi oyeyemi
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They had been trapped. The sea before them, the charging army closing in from behind. The ground shook with the intensity of the strength of the King’s chariots. Women lifted up their voices and wailed, clutching their children to their bosom. Men ground their teeth, helpless at the sight of the approaching army. They weren’t outnumbered but the situation just wasn’t right. An attack will be useless.
Jahdiel’s mother had held on to him, dry eyed. She never cried anymore. Ever since his father had been killed by a soldier, she had changed.
He’d looked at her with a smile, placed a little chubby hand on her chest and than on his. She hugged him. He laughed and struggled to get out of her tight embrace.
He wondered why he didn’t feel sad.
The sound of the approaching army drew closer. The leader stood stretching forth his long crooked rod. His eyes were closed as he drew in a ragged breath.
All was quiet and still for a few seconds, even the rumble of horse feet had been drowned by the prevailing silence.
Then, the wind blew. It blew so strongly, they had to cover their faces from the sand and dust it unsettled. Horses and camels ducked their heads; little children quit playing around and ran to their mothers. Everyone waited, unsure.
Nothing had prepared them for such an awesome experience. Jahdiel had looked on, astonished. His eyes saying what his tongue could not. The sea had been parted by a strong east wind. Dry land stretched out before them. He climbed on his mothers back to see. The water had formed walls on either side. He could not believe it. He squeezed his mothers arm, hoping she felt the same thing he did. Pride. Yes, in an amazing God that could not be seen. The I AM. This was even better than the miracle of the pillar of cloud.
All night they walked on dry land, the enemy far behind.
The walk was long and slow for the sea was a long stretch, and they were such a multitude. Children slept on horse and camel backs, in carriages and on their parents’ arms but not Jahdiel. All of his six years he had waited for this. His father had told him stories, told by his own father, of the patriarch Abraham and the promise of a land. Only this was better than he could have imagined.
It got better still, for that day the enemy was defeated. He heard his father’s voice in the screams of astonished soldiers, in the neighing of frightened horses, even in the clanging of chariots of heavy metal as the sea covered that which had strayed in without permission. It was the sound of victory, of exodus from the past into a glorious future, the land of Promise.
Now, after the praise and dancing, the excitement had worn off for most and the pressing need was succour. Succour form the heat and dryness of the desert.
Jahdiel hugged his mother’s long gown trying to catch her attention. He was thirsty. Everyone was thirsty.
Three days in the wilderness did strange things to Gratitude and devotion. Everyone started to complain. The leader was hurt. Jahdiel seemed to know whenever he was. He was glad, though, that the leader always knew what to do.
He got excited, wondering what amazing wonder will happen this time. But every one kept complaining. It hurt him to think that they could be like that after such wonders displayed just days ago.
Mara had water. Many rushed to the clear streams. Skin flasks were filled and hurriedly drunk, but they were spewed out just as fast. Mara had water, but the water could not be taken for it was bitter.
Jahdiel looked on, wondering what the leader would do. He wasn’t disappointed. Never had been. The leader took of a tree that grew in the land and threw it in the water and all that was bitter was made sweet.
He took some water to his mother and sat beside her. His little mind racing.
The I AM. He’s promised a lot.
We will win if we heed.
He felt his father’s nod of approval.
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