Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Communication Breakdown (12/16/10)
By Colin Nielsen
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I ran through the icy wind, mud, and slush and over an old grey wooden bridge. Candlelight flickered on each side. Shadows danced in the middle. I would never go back. I turned around for a second with tightly closed eyes and paused. I wanted the tears to stop.
Someone heard me.
"Come ere, boy," said a voice from the darkness.
No reply. Maybe it was the wind? Maybe my imagination?
It wasn't my imagination. The voice was raspy and old. I could not see who it belonged to. I figured it came from underneath the bridge.
I slid down the slippery embankment and grabbed hold of a support beam which stopped me going into the cold, still water.
There was a man laying down. An enormous man. He had lit a fire to stave off the freezing night.
"Who are you?" I enquired, "and what are you doing here?"
The man said nothing. I also kept my silence for a minute.
"I don't know who I am," he said ,"either that or I don't want to know."
I inched towards the flame, longing to be warmed, but something stopped me.
Don't get too close to strangers, boy. You never know what is in their minds. My father's warning resonated through me, but I decided to defy him.
"Dad says never to talk to strange men. Especially big men hiding under old bridges."
The man looked at me. His eyes glinted red. a scruffy beard covered the bottom half of his face. He took a swig from a small bottle. "Who says I'm hiding?"
"Then why are you here?" I asked.
"Because my father and I do not understand each other. Come. Warm yourself by my fire. I promise not to let anyone or anything harm you."
I took up his offer. He extended the bottle but I refused. "What happened between you and your father?" I asked.
He closed his red eyes and sighed. "Many years ago. My father saw a beautiful woman so he took her. She became his wife. She had no choice. I was born. And she died. When the time came he wanted me to take a wife. A beautiful wife. One of my choosing. One who would have no choice. I refused. And we have not spoken since."
"Why not? Why not obey him. Isn't that what God wants?"
"God. What do you know of God! He saves some and not others. You have no idea who my father is or you would not have asked such a foolish question."
The man turned away and hid his face from view. "I'm sorry I snapped. God is a sensitive subject. Lets talk of something else."
"Who is you father?"
He stood. His head scraped the bottom of the bridge. He picked up a tree branch and snapped it effortlessly over his knee. "My Father is not here. He's in prison now and we haven't spoken to each other for a very long time."
I sensed a great sorrow in this giant so I didn't press the matter.
"Are you a troll?"
He laughed. It was a deep laugh that made the still water vibrate. "No. I am not a troll. What about you? Why are you out here all alone in the night?"
I didn't want to answer: Didn't know how. "My father told me he didn't want me anymore. Told me to go away. So I did."
"Why would he say that?"
I closed my eyes. The pain was almost unbearable. Even though I desperately wanted it to be something else. A habit. A behaviour pattern. I knew it was my fault.
I turned away from him and replied a little more than a whisper. "He said that because there is something wrong with me."
I cried, under the bridge right in front of this enormous man. He placed a massive arm around me and I bawled into his stomach. After I had finished, I let him go.
"Are you alright now, lad?"
"I'm sorry. Didn't mean to break down like that."
The giant went back to the fire and warmed himself. "You should go back to your father. He's a good man. And there you are a good lad."
"How do you know?"
"Because you are not me."
Gen 6v4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
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