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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Craft (as in handcraft) (02/08/07)

TITLE: Morbid Craft
By Sue Dent


Morbid Craft

Not many considered what he did a craft yet he made a living doing it. And if it weren’t a craft then why did they always come to him to make one? Why didn’t they just build one for themselves or ask someone else?

He thought about this as he abandoned the road for the sanctity of the forest, the only place where he could find a tree worthy of his craft.

The donkey with its cart followed along as it was led until the man stopped.

He was a carpenter by trade yet he wasn’t much at cutting down trees. However, he needed trees for the work he did so he did the best he could with his ax.

It took him nearly all morning.

The long cart loaded down, he headed out of the forest and back to his shop. Along the way he passed more then a few travelers. He was aware they knew him and his craft by the way they responded to seeing him on the road and the trees on his cart.

The men shook their heads. Some looked away in disgust, others in pity. The women came close to vomiting. One of the younger ones actually did.

It didn’t bother him though. Not anymore.

Once back home, he began to work right away. They needed three by tomorrow afternoon. He knocked two out rather quickly.

As he worked on the third and final one though, he found himself caught up.

And it stunned him.

This one had to be different. He would take more time with it. He would put more effort into making it. It would be his best work ever.

It would be perfect.

He didn’t know where the feeling came from, didn’t understand. Yet he worked harder on it than he’d ever worked on anything in his life. He worked until his hands and knuckles bled. He worked through the night.

At dawn, he took it out front and leaned it next to the other two. Then backed up to morbidly admire his handiwork, these instruments of death.

When the Romans came by later to pick up what he’d made, he took their money.

“That’s a fine piece of work,” one said noting the third cross. “That’s some craftsmanship! I’d say it was fit for a King.”

They all had a good laugh at that.

He watched them load what he'd made and stared as they headed off, admired how those who they passed on their way up the road studied his craft with disdain.

He could not hide his smile.

He’d done well.

Jesus said 'Should anyone come after me let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.' Matthew 16:24

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This article has been read 961 times
Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood02/15/07
An intriguing story. Have never thought what it would have been like to be the actual carver of the cross--this story made me think and the character seemed real. Great character portrayal! He might come still more alive with some dialogue included.

Great title--it sparked my curiosity!
Marilee Alvey02/15/07
This was a very creative piece. I, too, never thought much about the person who fashioned that wood into Jesus's cross. I liked how you mentioned how in distain he was with all of the passersby. Those are exactly the type of people that Jesus reached out to.
Sherrie Jackson02/16/07
Superb. Love it. This is a winner in my book.
Marilyn Schnepp 02/16/07
Title says alot. I didn't know, of course, what the carpenter was making; at first I thought perhaps it was caskets - but then...yes, very touching. A unique piece of work here.
Jacquelyn Horne02/18/07
This story makes you think. That's what good writing is supposed to do. Good job.
dub W02/21/07
Title pulled me in, the story held me. Written by the hand of an expert. Very well done, vivid and intriguing. Thanx.
Jan Ackerson 02/21/07
Wow--your last five paragraphs, rich in irony--very powerful.
Beth Muehlhausen02/21/07
I felt like little hammers kept tapping ME as I read this...maybe the way you structured your sentences? Anyway, it was effective! Something not many of us really thing about - who made the cross.

Nicely done.
Sara Harricharan 02/21/07
I wasn't sure where this was going, but the end packs quite a punch! Very well written.
Betty Castleberry02/21/07
I hadn't thought of the makers of the crosses as craftsmen, but I guess they were. Interesting and unique perspective as well.
Very nicely done.
Joanne Sher 02/21/07
What an exceptional take on the topic. This was haunting in its own way. Excellent, Sue!
Myrna Noyes02/21/07
Very interesting and creative story! A nice look at a usually overlooked person who had a hand in the most momentous event ever!
Amy Michelle Wiley 02/21/07
I'd never thought of this angle before, either. Very creative and well done. The first part of the story I thought he made coffins, but things made more sense as I realized his real craft.
Patty Wysong02/21/07
I could see the people turning from the cross before it was even made. Very good!!!!
Joanne Malley02/21/07
Definitely lends an eerie/morbid edge but I loved it! Terrific writing; I thoroughly enjoyed. Blessings, Jo
william price02/21/07
Unique, creative, well crafted, all the things you hate to read in your comments, but its so true. Interesting title, great lead. It was hovering above great all the way through. I hate to do this to you, but outstanding job. God bless.
Shari Armstrong 02/21/07
I had a sneaking suscpicion what his craft was from the title -and I was right. Nicely done.