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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Shhh. (02/18/10)

TITLE: the old man and his mountain
By Jim McWhinnie


His holy work in the capital city appeared to nearing its death. The ruthless power of the corrupt monarchy was now absolute. Or so it seemed to the old man. True, the remembered past had been troubled, but the imagined future now looked hopeless. The old ways, the holy ways, had become but dust and ashes; the glorious dream of David, now but rubble.

“Where had they gone, the faithful ones?” For the old man, this question now tormented even his sleepless nights. “Where had they all gone? Where had they all gone?”

He had no other choice. He must abandon the city and flee to the distant hills. There, he could escape this horror. There, he could search for that God who had first called him, empowered him, guided him – but, as of late, had feared had also abandoned him.

His flight through the wilderness was one filled with the desperation fo the fugitive. Thirst, hunger, fear, but the worst of it was the shame. The days of running and the miles those days accomplished, left behind the threats of a savage and godless enemy. But the feelings of utter failure, they followed him like wolves stalk their wounded prey.

Finally the old man reached the mountains and then he reached that one mountain, the mountain where he had met his God. There, he waited. There, he prayed. There, his soul struggled to endure.

The winds rose in rages of thundering storm. The old man stared into the storm, but his God was not there.

The earth quaked in waves of anxious uncertainty. The old man cried into the quake, but his God was not there.

Into the lightning, into the thunder, into the wind and into the mighty roar, the old man screamed for his God to make himself known. But his God was not there.

Then as the storm passed and as the earth quieted and as the silence returned to the mountain, the old man’s soul settled into the softness of life. And in that hush, the old man could hear the whisper, “Shhh!” The old man listened and then he listened even more. “Shhh, Elijah. Listen to me and listen to no other voice. Shhh, Elijah. Now, why are you here?”

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This article has been read 470 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/25/10
What a wonderful rendition. I had trouble following the first paragraph, but after that it was beautiful and I enjoyed it immensely.
June Adams03/01/10
I agree with first comment. First paragraph a bit obscure, but on the whole I loved it. Colorful and full of feeling.
June Adams
Ruth Stromquist03/01/10
I had problems with the first paragraph also. I think it's because I don't know who the first "His" refers to -- there's no way to identify that, so I feel immediately lost. But the piece flows well overall, and I love some of your word usage, like "But the feelings of utter failure, they followed him like wolves stalk their wounded prey." Very nice!
Catrina Bradley 03/01/10
The language is almost poetic in places as you describe the storms inside and around Elijah. I enjoyed this very much!
Gregory Kane03/02/10
There is a level of poetic expression here that's poised to lift your prose to a higher level. But it feels to me as if the story was submitted without a proper revision. There is a lot of repetition of words and phrases, which virtually beg for you to scatter a few synonymns.
Mona Purvis03/02/10
I think I wanted more characterization earlier so I could take the "trip" with the old man. Does that make sense? When I learned who he was, I understood the piece better.
Jim McWhinnie 03/02/10
I am beginning to sense that the beginning was obscure?

Patricia Turner03/02/10
I enjoyed this more and more as I read toward the end. I think you had a great message here about God's "still voice" and how we have to be quiet to hear it.
Rachel Phelps03/02/10
I actually liked the off-kilter feel of the first paragraph. The sweeping imagery was wonderfully done. I agree that a revision to exchange a few repeated words would polish this further, but the style is simply breathtaking. Well done.
Genia Gilbert03/03/10
I like it all, including the first paragraph :) It is very well based on scripture, and brings out all the inner and outer hindrances to hearing the still small voice of God. Thanks for writing.