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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Family Reunion (06/05/08)

TITLE: Mending Hearts
By Ruth Neilson


A lone man stood on the top of a cliff, gazing down at the sea with tears glazing his ancient eyes. It was the first time he had returned to this spot for over twenty years. Wearily, Josiah ran a twisted hand over his now bald head. Angry and bitter words had been spoken here—and it was the last time he had seen his family alive.

Only a few precious weeks ago, Josiah received an anonymous email. Meet me where the feud began. It’s time to end this.

The silence, the isolation from his family, had all but killed Josiah’s soul. He hadn’t darkened the doors of a church since then. And when the times got tough, he hid and using the skills that he had learned to survive and taught others to survive. After all, that’s what Josiah did—he was a survivor.

He blinked, gazing down at the blue-gray waters, feeling the cold salt water baptize his face. Idly, his hand brushed over the holster on his hip; the persecutions might have been officially over for five years, but hard learned lessons die hard. His aim was not as true as it once had been but it was true enough to buy precious time.

Josiah had learned one thing since that fateful argument; he could depend on no one but God. He hadn’t lost his faith, just made the conscious choice not to return to the man-made church. That had been his saving grace though out those dark years.

His left leg began to ache and Josiah closed his gray eyes with a sigh. He had hoped that this little reunion would be quick—that whoever emailed him would be early. It didn’t look like it. He leaned down, and gently began to massage the ache, knowing that the only thing to really relieve the pain was to sit down. He glanced around and grunted. There was no good place to sit at.

Josiah eased his frame to the weed covered ground and grunted as a slim figure strolled up the hill. Josiah snorted once and shook his head. “Please, God, not Jacob.” Josiah prayed, struggling to his feet once again. He could never have a real conversation with his older brother. They often turned into all out shouting matches.

“Bro...you don’t have to rise because of me,” Jacob called, before spiriting the rest of the way up the hill. Josiah snorted and allowed his body to settle back onto the ground.

“Then, what do you want?” Josiah asked, tilting his head to the side studying the older man.

The years hadn’t been very kind to him. Deep creases lined Jacob’s face and for a brief moment, Josiah caught a glimpse of a brand on his brother’s left shoulder. Josiah glanced up and bit back a grin, Jacob was doing the same.

“Bro, you look like death came knocking on your door.” Jacob stated and Josiah shrugged once, holding up his twisted hand.

“I survived, Jacob.”

Jacob nodded and chewed on his lip for a long moment before continuing. “Josiah, if God has taught me anything through these years it’s that you are my brother and we need all the family that we can get.”

Josiah nodded, simply listening. Maybe this was what God had in mind when the email arrived in Josiah’s mail box.

“Okay, Jake, you win. We can’t have our family split. But we need to play this time according to God’s rules,” Josiah stated, grasping his walking stick with one hand and extending the other.

Wordless, Jacob grabbed his hand by the wrist and hauled Josiah to his feet; arm in arm, they worked their way down the hill—two damaged hearts slowly being mended once again.

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This article has been read 636 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 06/13/08
Full of emotion and depth - and that last line is wonderful. Vivid descriptions really make this piece.
Karen Wilber06/14/08
I have the feeling there was more to this story (the persecutions, why he was injured). I found myself wanting to know more about these two men. You really peaked my curiosity with this story.
Betty Castleberry06/15/08
I love the opening sentence. This was well written, and had a good message, too.
Colin Swann06/21/08
Thanks you masters for your expertise and encouragement that we writers experience from you, right from starting out as beginners.