Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Life (06/15/06)
TITLE: Standing Fast
By Steve Uppendahl
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The whispers ceased as the stretcher, flanked by six medics and firemen, quickly rolled down the aggregate driveway to the open doors of the waiting ambulance. There was no clear view of the stretcher or the person laying on it unless you happened to have a bird’s eye view, as I did. The seemingly lack of urgency of the medical personnel was a distressing and ominous sign to those who watched.
As the ambulance pulled away with its lights flashing and siren silent, the crowd simultaneously lowered their heads and returned to their homes. Prayers by the dozen were sent heavenward. I sucked in an all-consuming breath as the force behind their words whooshed past me with a gale force. They possessed such power, yet rarely had the realization of it.
Watching my charge leave without me for the first time weakened me to the core and I felt my soul cry out. Standing aside and watching the tragedy happen was hard enough, this was unbearable. I was assigned to protect him from his birth. Through the years I had protected him from various levels of danger, but when he needed me the most, I was told to stand fast. I had to obey.
I felt the call. Pausing for a moment, I closed my eyes and allowed my senses to be bombarded one last time by this home, this final wayward station of my duty. The smell of the freshly cut lawn and the fully bloomed lilac bush in the corner of the yard wafted through me…the subtle sound of water cascading over the small river rock fountain he was so proud of…the vivid colors of the roses and African daisies that Elizabeth so doted over. I wondered if she would still follow through with the task that brought her such peace. I shook my head at myself knowing full well the answer.
As I returned home from my post my attention was diverted by His presence. I could not see Him yet, but I felt Him nearby. I didn’t hear His voice as much as I felt it reverberate through me.
“You are troubled, warrior?”
“Yes, Father. My charge was called home today. I had a much harder time with it than I thought I would.”
“What you mean, Scyon, is that you were not expecting his call to be made at this point in time. Correct?”
Bowing my head I answered, “Correct, Father. My assigned was a good person, with a full and active life, a God-fearing, productive life. Many good Christians relied on the guidance created by that life. I fear what will happen to those who were left behind.”
As I awaited an answer, a great fear coursed through my wings and down my spine as I realized I had questioned His judgment. Though not intentional, I had done so regardless. I again bowed my head as I unsheathed my sword and knelt down, awaiting whatever would occur next.
An odd feeling, “butterflies” as humans call it, rose up from my stomach. I soon realized I was no longer home. Opening my eyes, I felt the mist of sea spray cascade over me. The strong smell of salt water surrounded me as I inhaled. The distant, familiar voice of my assigned caused me to fly immediately to his location, where I stopped short.
He stunned me by smiling and waving to me as he stopped speaking for a moment. He had never seen me before, but I felt his acknowledgment. He nodded a thank you and went on with his lesson. He was teaching. Dozens of soon to be born children from all areas were sitting and listening with rapt attention to his lesson, laughing at his jokes, asking and answering questions.
Feeling the warmth of understanding rush over me, I bowed my head one more time with a prayer of forgiveness and gratitude. Feeling the call again, I rushed home instantly, anxious to begin my next assignment.
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