Trevan grabbed Omar’s shoulder restraining his younger brother from descending the narrow footpath down the cliff. “Look, Omar. From this vantage point two small boats could be seen traversing the cerulean Sea of Galilee. “Those fishermen spent the night fishing. When they reach the harbor rich people will buy their catch.”
Down below, gentle waves danced sunlight sparkles onto the rocky cliff where Trevan’s fish trap was anchored. Tonight, God willing, his mother would steam tilapia or musht in olive oil with onions, garlic, and olives. There would be fresh baked bread to dip in the sauce.
Before descending the narrow winding footpath Trevan looked behind him. Some distance away on the slope of the mountain a large swine herd was rooting nosily in a threshed barley field. Farther down the bluff toward the white-washed tombs, some men were standing. One had his hand raised in the air above that naked crazy man that lived there.
Omar shuddered. That wild man had once jumped out of a cave screaming ugly, unintelligible words at him. That was the day he learned his sandaled feet could outrun lightening. He would never go near those tombs again.
“Let me go first, Omar. Stay close to the cliff’s face. The path is steep but this is much closer than walking up the beach.”
“Don’t worry, Trevan. If a goat can make it, I can make it.”
“But a little burro cannot. This is your first time and father would be angry if you fell into the sea. I may need your help carrying our fish so step carefully. Okay, here we go.”
Both boys made it safely down and were soon standing on a small, white-sand beach near an overhanging rock outcropping. Trevan handed Omar the empty knapsack and removed his cloak. He had taken only one step into the refreshingly cold water when a distant rumbling sound made them look up.
“What’s that noise, Trevan?” The thundering sound was increasing but the morning sky was crystal clear. Then it wasn’t. Squealing pigs plunged over the cliff, thrashing and tumbling through the sun bright sky.
Trevan grabbed Omar and dove beneath the overhang. Holding Omar tightly in his arms, they watched stunned as swine by the hundreds crashed into the sea. Plumes of water splashed high into the air saturating them with spray. Some pigs landed with a sickening smack on others, their squeals instantly extinguished. The water turned crimson.
As quickly as it started it ended. The silence was broken only by Omar’s sniffling and the gentle lapping of waves. Dead swine bobbed darkly in the water, some washing onto the beach.
“What happened, Trevan? I’m scared.”
“Me too, but we’re okay. We must hurry home. Stay away from the edge and don’t look down.”
Trevan led the way holding Omar’s hand. When they reached the top they paused to catch their breath and then started jogging home. Far ahead the swine herders were running toward the village. From the direction of the tombs a man in a tan cloak was hurrying on a trail that intersected their path. Trevan was slow in recognizing him.
“Omar, stop! It’s that lunatic. If he turns this way, run.”
“Young men,” the man shouted. “Wait. I will not harm you. I have been made whole.”
Squeezing Omar’s hand, Trevan whispered. “It looks like him but he sounds different. Be ready to run.”
When the man came closer Trevan cried out, “Sir, what has happened?”
“Praise, God! Jesus touched me. I am free of my demons.”
“But those swine, what made them do that? And who is this Jesus?”
“Let us go to the village and I will tell you. You know, of course, there are good angels and bad angels. The bad spirits cannot abide near Jesus. They possessed me until He sent them into the swine. You saw what happened.”
“If he did that the swine’s owners will hate him. They have lost their livelihood.”
“Then their loss will be much more than their herd. Jesus set me free. He sent me back to tell them. You too, young man, must decide. Will you follow the herd of man-kind to destruction, or follow Him?”
“There is only one thing I know for sure right now,” Trevan said. “We won’t be eating fish tonight.”
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