Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hear (07/08/10)
TITLE: The Messenger
By Patricia Protzman
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Scores around him joined in with a chorus of, “Watah, Watah.”
One poor soul ten feet away shrieked, “Help me, Lord. Please have mercy.”
Another one's piteous plea, “I’m in misery, someone please help me.” Others so weak they could only moan.
Marvin raised his head in an attempt to stand but his arms and legs would not obey. He remembered the gunshot, the red-hot pain in his back, and the inky hole of unconsciousness.
“Oh Lord, I’m paralyzed. I’m going to die.” He wailed.
“Hey Yank, ya got eny watah?” A soldier lying at his feet asked in a southern drawl.
Marvin raised his head, sniffled, and replied, “No, Reb. I could use a drink myself.”
“I’ve bin waitin’ a long time fer ya ta wake up. I fell not long afore ya was hurt. What’s yer name? Mine’s Leonard Main but call me Lenny. I’m from ‘lanta, Jorja.”
“I’m Marvin Hays, from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. How bad are you hurt, Lenny?”
Lenny coughed, wiped blood from his mouth, and wheezed as he spoke. “A local boy, huh, I’m shot in my lungs. Bin bleedin’ a lot. Don’t think I’m long fer this world.”
Another cough brought more blood. “Bin driftin’ in and out, sho’ do feel mighty poor. Where did ya git hit, Marvin?”
“In the back, my head is all I can move, I’m paralyzed.”
“Reckin both of us is in bad shape. Are ya ready ta meet your Maker, Marvin?”
“What do you mean?”
Lenny struggled to repeat the question. “Are ya... ready... ta die and meet God?”
“I’m not ready to die. I’m an eighteen year old boy.”
“I’m seventeen, ready ta die, and meet God. I know I’m goin’ ta die. I’m cold, cain’t feel my feet, and cain’t breathe good.”
Lenny coughed and gasped for air but continued to speak.
“No one’s cummin’ fer us t’night, and might not cum t’morrow o’ the next day. You need Jesus, Marvin. Yer a sinner.”
“I don’t want to die. How do you get ready to meet God, Lenny?”
Lenny drifted into unconsciousness. A loud clap of thunder rolled over the battlefield as a gentle rain sprinkled Marvin, Lenny, and the other soldiers.
Marvin thought of Lenny’s words.
I’m seventeen, ready ta die and meet God. You need Jesus, yer a sinner.
He prayed aloud.
“God, please help us get out of this miserable place. I don’t want to die.”
The rhythmic lapping of the creek and the soft calls of hoot owls mingled in with the cries for water and help. Marvin, weak from loss of blood, fell into a deep sleep.
He awakened an hour later to a heavy rain, which pelted his face. The creek, swollen out of its banks, moved toward Lenny. Soon the rushing waters would immerse him. He wondered if he would he be next.
Marvin raised his head and shouted. “Lenny, wake up! Lenny.”
“Whaat Marvin?” He responded in a weak voice.
“Can you move? The creek water is around your waist.”
Lenny’s breathing came in ragged gasps.
“No...I wanna ask ya...ta trust in Jesus fer...fergiveness...of yer sins. Please...trust...Jesus...as yer... Savior, Marvin.”
“Lenny? I’m scared, the water’s on your chest. Move this way!”
Marvin continued to yell for Lenny to move toward him until twenty minutes later when he watched the swirling water cover him and wash him away from his sight. Soldiers screamed for help as the water engulfed them also.
Marvin prayed. “Lord Jesus, please forgive my sins. I trust you as my Savior.”
The downpour continued with the water at the top of Marvin’s shoulders thirty minutes later. Once he thought he saw a person on the other side of the creek who motioned for him to come but he dismissed them as a dream.
As the water reached Marvin’s neck, the angel came and stood above him with an extended hand. Marvin raised his head to hear the angel say, “Marvin, it’s time to come home.” He took the angel’s hand, stood, and walked into glory.
A farmer found Marvin’s body and eight other soldiers three days later downstream.
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