Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Banquet - deadline 8-16-12 10 am NY time (08/09/12)
TITLE: A Well Lit Banquet
By Gary Morris
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My cohorts and I were standing idly by when the rush began. Servants were scrambling through the banquet hall – sweeping, scrubbing and polishing as never before. I think I may have burns from where they rubbed me so hard. Nevertheless, I was free of dust and dinge.
I overheard one the servers whisper as they rushed through, “We must hasten. There will be more than one-thousand guests arriving soon for the banquet and we must have the tables prepared.”
Soon the smell of smoked meats filled the air. Fresh fruit and desserts lined the tables. The wine tables were stocked and waiting. I could hardly wait for the guest to arrive. I stood tall and proud, demanding there be no darkness along my wall.
A faint noise began to swell. The shuffling of feet, lively chatter and irreverent laughter invaded the halls. The trumpeter blew loudly demanding silence, as the king prodded in with all his glory.
“Let the celebration begin!” He cried loudly.
Soon the roar overtook the silence. Ravenous beast they seemed to be.
I’m almost sure I felt the floor tremble beneath me. I have never seen such an occasion. Just to think, they call this a banquet?
Cheers echoed, and bells rang loudly as the fragrance of the aged fruit of the vine filled the air. I began to fear for my safety. Yet my friends and I kept the darkness at bay. God forbid we allow darkness to cover this crowd.
“Bring in the ‘Holy vessels’ that we may drink from their brim.” I heard the King demand.
I could not believe what was happening!
Soon strong men marched in with beautifully crafted golden goblets. I knew those pieces were as out of place as I was. They belonged to a king of a mightier kingdom and should have never been dragged into this heathen nation.
It was so sad to see grown men and women behave in such a manner.
I was so enthralled by the commotion that I was a bit spooked by the breeze that swept past me. My light flickered in the draft, but I managed to keep it aflame. It was almost ghostly.
Then out of nowhere, a hand appeared! There was nothing but a hand!
It began to write on the wall just behind me.
After the horrific screams, an eerie silence filled the banquet hall as each eye followed each twist of the hand. No one present could read the foreign language. With the last dot in place, the breeze moved quickly past me again as the hand vanished.
I somehow had a strong suspicion that someone wasn’t pleased with the events of the evening.
Interpreters were called, but they were as baffled as the king. Finally, the king called for a young foreigner to come and read the script. With a stern look and a strong voice, he made the message known. It wasn’t good.
One could have heard a feather hit the floor. The king appeared to have seen a ghost.
In only moments, the crowd erupted in chaos as they attempted to squeeze through the doors in their drunken state. The king fled through a back door with his guards and soon the hall was silent.
The commotion filtering in through the opened doors became quite disturbing. It sounded as though an earthquake was shaking the ground. I’ll admit I even trembled a bit.
The most awful wail began to rise from the distance and spread around the courtyard like a wildfire.
Then I heard someone shout, “The city has been invaded, and King Belshazzar is dead!”
I knew then that breeze that had swept past me earlier wasn’t an average Babylonian breeze. One mightier than the host had invaded this banquet.
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