Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the HISTORICAL genre (05/03/07)
TITLE: The Day of Promise
By Jeffrey Snell
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As clear as the stream where I cool my calloused feet, I remember, but it does not comfort so. Seeing my wife's beautiful body growing with our second child, joy lightens my burden, but never fully. The loss we suffered nearly returned me to dust. <I>Lord, may my children not know this agony. May one of them be the One.</I>
I ask Him more often as the time of our baby's birth nears. And when my son helps me plow. He has much frustration for such a young boy; perhaps he perceives his parents' regrets? <I>You have indeed blessed me, my God, and yet... will this grief never abate?</I>
Standing near our dwelling, I watched the autumn sun descend toward the olive groves, recalling with familiar sadness being driven from our home years ago. Cherubim glowing, woods towering, even at that distance. Ah, to lay along the River, grass and clover cradling my skin. Gazing at clouds with my wife, watching the Artist paint new colors and shapes. He always made her laugh. Oh, her laugh was like golden splashes of sweet water to me!
I had not heard that laugh in so long. My doubt returned. Would this child inherit death or life? Many sleepless nights I pleaded with the Merciful One to remove this poisonous curse from my veins; at least keep it from my children that they perhaps might return to the wonderful land. With our firstborn, I dared to hope, and our tent filled with celebration!
Now sagging and weathered, it seems not the same dwelling. Oh yes, I <I>do</I> remember. <I>My God, why must she say this?</I>
Quickly, the snake darted in. Lately that slithering glorified worm had begun more aggressively disrupting my prayers. What a surprise.
I wrenched my mind from the numbness of his bite and concentrated on the Giver again, waiting for Him to vindicate me and chastise my sullen wife.
<center><I>As you, she grieves. Comfort her.</I></center>
Like shattered stone, I felt my heart break and begin bleeding for my wife. She was half of me, my companion and supporter and nurturer, a gift for my aloneness!
Though the tent was nearer, I thought she'd been at the well, so I hurried there first. She was not. Then without warning, that sniggering reptile whispered (how I loath that whisper), a faint scent of fear. More like a putrid odor. I rejected it and quickly asked The Warrior to crush the lie. I called out for her. No reply.
"'Adam! 'Adam!" My son shouting from the tent. <I>Provider, protect them.</I> I raced back, covering the distance in half the time, flung myself through the entrance--
--and saw my wife on her back, face contorted in agony of death, limbs shaking violently with pain.
"Chawah! What is it?" I asked frantically. "Are you dying?" She only strained harder if that were possible, crying out. I noticed her mat wet with the signs. "The baby comes?" She roared. I took it as a yes. I heard my son hiding behind the tent flap, crying.
"Qayin! Outside," I grabbed his arm, then softened. "All is well, my son. We must trust the Life Who Made Us from Dust. Go, retrieve water, and hurry!"
He fleetingly hugged my thigh, then was gone. Chawah writhed and gripped my hand as I dropped to her side. I cringed, knuckles bruised from the day's work, but found I did not care.
"I have been angry, my wife. Your words of late have pained my heart," I murmured. Her eyes met mine, and I sensed the Healer with us in the tent. Her breathing slowed, and I wiped her tears. A single new one replaced them.
"Forgive me, 'Adam. I miss the Garden... I miss the River... It's my fau--"
Her tears flowed, and I touched fingers to her lips, my own eyes welling. "I forgive. And I remember, my love. The days loving and enjoying. And though you may not believe it, I bear blame as you. But He has covered us. Look forward to His promised Day when the head of the deceiver will be crushed forever by our Son!"
Her pain resumed as I heard Qayin arrive with water. I wet a cloth, and when it touched her forehead, she gasped.
"No," she answered, eyes wide. "THE LORD has given me a vision of the Day of Promise! It is glorious!"
And she laughed.
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