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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Phew! (02/11/10)

TITLE: Burned with Magic
By Julie Arduini


The Baal carved walking stick turned to ashes in the white fire. Inanna fell to her knees and screamed as if a loved one died.

“What have you done, brother? The gods hate you now.”

“Then they will really turn vengeful when I destroy my other magical props. You weren’t there.”

Inanna’s nearly black eyes focused on Zarek. Her older brother was different, even his eyes glowed.

“People are talking about the king and those boys. What happened?”

“I saw the one true God.”

Zarek turned to the fire, almost looking for something, someone.

“I don’t understand. Where did you see the God of the Hebrews?”

“In the fire.”

Inanna followed Zarek back to the cramped chamber where King Nebuchadnezzar insisted Zarek reside and be available for the king’s summons. Zarek moved aside the so called sacred prayer rug and sat on the cold floor, taking his sister’s hands.

“You know the king’s command, to bow down. We saw them refuse. I thought them so foolish to deny the king what I believed was so rightly his. I relished the honor of being the sorcerer chosen to tell the king as much, and respected the king’s wish I be in attendance to their deaths. Inanna, you could feel retribution through the air.”

Inanna held in her breath, riveted by the excitement her brother faced.

“Oh how I would have loved to have been there to see such a thing.”

“The young men, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego, there were no fear. I searched their eyes, and it wasn’t fear, or a trance, but…a peace. They had a peace about being thrown into the furnace. They didn’t even blink when the king ordered the fire seven times hotter. I saw the men die. I saw the fire consume them.”

Inanna noticed her brother in a trance like state as he squeezed her hands tighter.

“Who, brother? The three ordered to the fire?”

“No. The men in charge of the fire.”
Inanna released her hands from Zarek. They were great men who loved the king. How could the gods allow such a death?

“Tell me more.”

Zarek took a slow breath before returning to the story.

“The boys, I mean really, they are boys, all tied up, and went in the fire, robes, caps, and all. Inanna, the most incredible thing happened.”

Inanna leaned in, anxious to hear.

“Did the smell of burning flesh make you ill?”

Inanna asked, eyes wide.

“There was no smell, sister. In fact, the king’s booming voice startled the rest of us because we were seeing what he was, but we were mute.”

“What did the king say?”

“He commanded that we speak and answer him. He wanted confirmation we tied the three up, and we had. He pointed, his whole body shaking, wondering how it was there were four, and no one, not one thing on any of them, was burning.”

Inanna raised her hand to her mouth. Four?

“I know what you’re thinking, he lost his mind. I was there. There were four, and as the king said, one was like a God. They didn’t even have smoke coming from their caps. Nothing.”

“What did king do?”

“He ordered them out, and they obeyed. They were smiling, still at peace, and I think I even heard Meshach utter a new word I’d never heard.”

“Which was?”

“He said ‘phew’, followed by praise Yahweh, praise the One God, Yahweh is His name.”

Inanna felt weak, wanting to fall back from the shock. Her throat suddenly felt dry. She reached for the pitcher of water Zarek left on the table behind her.

“What did the king do? Surely that made him all the more upset.”

“He praised God right with them. He made it clear that we were to spread the news all over the land to every single person that the God of Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego is the only God to be worshiped and praised. The boys kept praising, leaving the king’s staff paralyzed. We didn’t know what to say or do, not for awhile at least. But Inanna, now I know what I must do. I want nothing to do with any god but the God these boys called on. He truly saves. I saw it with my own eyes.”

“But…what about your gift? It’s your duty to serve the king with your magic.”

Zarek shook his head no.

“I got burned with magic.”

Loosely based on Daniel 3

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This article has been read 559 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 02/19/10
I liked the retelling of this piece of Biblical history but the phew seemed a little out of place. Maybe if you didn't mention he uttered a new word? I really like the way you chose to write the POV.
Jackie Wilson02/22/10
Very innovative presentation of a great Old Testament story! Thanks
Rachel Phelps02/23/10
I loved the creativity in this piece. Truly unique and well-told. I felt the dialogue was a little stilted at times, jolting me out of the world you created. The phew was appropriate, but felt a little underdeveloped.

I love the way you chose to tell this story - so creative!