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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)

TITLE: DESCENT INTO DARKNESS
By Karen Elengikal
10/28/10


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DECENT INTO DARKNESS



The bright morning sunlight pierced through the royal bed chamber’s columned terrace flooding light and warmth into the room. Usually David enjoyed basking in the morning sunshine to reflect the day’s activities. But today the disheveled, brooding king’s demeanor reflected a trapped madman, rather than a man of noble stature.

Lifting himself from the magnificently crafted timber chair, he roughly removes the embroidered turquoise robe, flinging it across the marbled floor and begins pacing the chamber’s courtyard.

David turns his head to investigate the sound of hurried footsteps.

“Sire, once again your servant has remained in the palace overnight without returning to his home.”

Sensing the tense atmosphere, the messenger bows deeply before making a hasty retreat.

Agitation furrowed the king’s brow as he stopped abruptly at the desk cluttered with an assortment of keys, maps and scrolls. Taking an ornate golden chalice, David presses it against his lips in deliberation as a sudden change of emotion engulfs his disturbed soul. Groaning loudly, he violently throws the cup across the floor, the red wine spilling and spreading out like a pool of blood.

Torn between lies and deception and the honor of a close companion, David pounds his fists on the table in anger. Darkness shrouds his heart and emotions. Lifting his head, David’s gaze fastens on the sword of Goliath, mounted on a stand and held a place of honor on this desk - his greatest war trophy. David’s memory briefly re-visits that victory over the giant in his first military battle.

WAR! A sudden inspiration captures David’s mind. The good and evil both die in battle! … finally, a solution! David visibly relaxes as Uriah’s fate is decided.

“Summon the scribe!” David shouted as he sweeps the maps and scrolls from the desk with his arm.

“Put the parchment and quill there and get out!” David ordered the scribe, pointing to the space cleared on the table.

Spreading out the parchment and taking the quill, David dips the sharpened end into the ink and addresses the letter to Joab, Commander of the Armies of Israel.


Joab,

Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die. Send me immediate word of the battle.

King David



While the ink dried on the parchment, David heated the red sealing wax.

Sighing deeply, the strain of the last week’s strategizing for a suitable escape from his dilemma, drains from David’s face.

Taking the scroll and rolling it tightly, David pours the wax across the parchment’s edge then firmly presses the centre with his royal signet ring.

“Bring Uriah into my presence!” David commands the soliders guarding the entrance.

David stands rigidly, musing over his choice of words to Uriah.

Arriving a few minutes later, Uriah enters the king’s chamber accompanied by the Captain of the Guard. Smiling at the opportunity to see his friend once more before returning to the battle field at Rabbah, Uriah honors his sovereign with a salute.

Stepping towards Uriah, David greets him with a warm embrace, placing the sealed letter into Uriah’s hand.

“Give this letter to Joab. Go in peace, my friend.” David whispers deceptively into Uriah’s ear.

“Go, in peace.” David repeats as Uriah turns and strides from the room without a backwards glance.




______________________________________
553 words

An adaptation of 2 Samuel 11:1-14


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This article has been read 362 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Colin Nielsen 10/30/10
Nice choice of subject matter. Fits the challenge perfectly. Can't really critique the story as I'm of lower skill than you. But I can give you what I thought was distracting.
You mentioned David quite a few times. I didn't think it was needed and found it distracting from the story.
The strengths of the piece are definitely your descriptions.
Thanks for writing this.

Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/31/10
This is a nice retelling of the familiar story. I liked how you really drew the reader inti David's emotions. Nicely done.
Rachel Phelps11/01/10
David's emotions were eloquently portrayed here. We switched from past to present tense after the first paragraph, but you stuck with the present tense the rest of the way, which is difficult. There were a few descriptions that perhaps would have worked better in past tense, and I, personally, am a fan of leaner narrative voice. But in spite of my bent against it, I was drawn into your story and was fully engaged - the mark of a great writer, in my opinion. Good work!
Sarah Heywood11/01/10
Interesting! I enjoyed this fictionalization of the well-known Biblical account. David is one of my favorite Bible characters (so much so that I named one of my sons after him!) and I appreciate any chance I have to read about him.

"Descent" is spelled with an "s" in the middle - just for future reference.

Great job!
Nancy Sullivan 11/01/10
You showed the deceptive spirit of a desperate man. The final scenes of David's embrace and final words to his "friend" Uriah were pretty disturbing. Well done!
Beth LaBuff 11/02/10
This is excellent for the topic. You've fleshed this story out. I love how this, "the red wine spilling and spreading out like a pool of blood." is a bit of foreshadowing of Uriah's fate.

Catrina Bradley 11/02/10
I like your choice for this topic! You shifted tenses several times, making me stumble, but you brought life and personality to King David, and I could picture the scene and the action like I was a fly on the wall. I really enjoyed this - especially the ending.
Barbara Lynn Culler11/03/10
Great title, especially when we know what is going happen to David!

You made David very real and I could visualize his pacing and restlessness.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/04/10
Congratulations for placing 13th in level 4 and 20th overall!