TITLE: The Exiled. Chapter 4 intro. 6th May 2017
By Elaine Hemingway
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Chaya (a guardian angel)
Yes, Margaret is right. She is feeling the demonic presence of an army of fallen angels, trying to bring down as many more souls as they can. One is Beetleput, an expert at firing thoughts into minds and causing complete changes in direction. I will not allow him to capture my charge, but she has a walk to walk that I expect to be long and fraught with confusion. Unfortunately for Beetleput, the allowance of his mis-direction will only be for a season. Elyon holds her, and I, as His representative walk with her.
Satan cannot possess, but he has a small opening to oppress. He tried with Shaina and though times change, his methods and tools do not. Age and experience are irrelevant.in the furtherance of his strategies. Always a liar and deceiver he merely adapts to the circumstances. One of my concerns is the way he can appear as good and trustworthy to the uninitiated so he is double trouble. Who is he going to enlist, or become, in this unremitting chronicle?
Walking with Marla is as challenging as watching my teenager back in old Jerusalem when her mother had to contend with more heartache and worry. It was as difficult then as it is now, to keep watch on an energetic, ebullient youngster. They are invincible, and can find trouble without making any effort, for it is waiting for them to step into it. Shaina was no exception, and if her father or I had known what lay ahead we would perhaps have considered a change of plans. Instead, I went with her on her early morning jaunt.
What a mistake to have thought the soldiers would be sleeping off the effects of revelry from the previous evening and perhaps preparing to start another day of feasting. There were still tiny pockets of moisture available where water seeped through the barricades the soldiers had erected to prevent the citizens of Jerusalem having more than the least possible for their daily use. The tunnel made by King Hezekiah still had a steady stream of water which was barely sufficient for everyone’s use but first comers in the mornings could usually manage to acquire enough for a family’s daily use. The risks were calculated, and Shaina had previously been successful in joining other women in their search for the water so on this day, unable to sleep, she had risen before dawn well aware of her father’s instruction, and made her way to the well, Few others were around, mostly older women, who scattered in panic when a group of soldiers arrived whose shouts brought others in their wake. One caught Shaina around the waist as she was running with her water jar on her head.
“Look what I’ve got,” he shouted as he gripped her firmly, but not firmly enough. She slid the water jar onto her shoulder and caught him sharply on the neck with the rim of it.
Releasing her he shouted angrily, but she was already running frantically back towards her home.
Surrounded by shrieking and shouting the fleeing girl breathed in the smells of fear. For the almost three months of siege now the fighting had flourished, floundered, then picked up again as first one side, then the other tasted victory. Falling stones, shouts of triumph intermingled with cries of terror and grief bringing the present chaos to the dying city.. False prophets and their arguments had served to confuse the starving and suffering society. When the wells dried up the sounds of revelry from the enemy camps beyond the city walls told of no food or water shortage there. Shaina’s attempts to understand that Yahweh was allowing his people to suffer like this was too hard for her to accept. And now it was her turn to share in the misery.
The lowing of cattle and bleating of sheep punctured the early morning while the smell of seared meat floated in the air making a mockery of her stress. Horses and their clattering hooves competed with the cries of the raiders as they pillaged their way through the ravished town, looking for sport as well as proving their supremacy. The soldiers were gaining on her, and like a wounded animal, Shaina was looking for a safe haven amongst the chaos. She was caught in a narrow alley, the sound of her pursuers drawing closer, while in front of her was a barricade built to protect the people behind it from the soldiers rampaging through the city. Rocks were too high to climb over; wooden stakes sharpened to lethal points would be an invitation to fire for the soldiers but proved a deterrent for the fleeing girl.
Sobbing she turned, looking for an opening, a chance to escape. Houses were closed and shuttered, their occupants no doubt shivering in fear that they would be included in any violence coming their way. An entrance into a shed for animals, long since unused, caught her eye, and stumbling she reached it moments before the detail of soldiers in pursuit turned into the alley.
She heard the shouts of their frustration while she madly scrabbled in the dark to find a hiding place.
“She couldn’t have climbed that barricade, “shouted one man, “And no-one will dare give her shelter. Come she must have gone on to the next lane. There are plenty more wenches for our pleasure.”
Footsteps drew nearer, and then she heard laughter as someone drew flint, and looked for tinder between the stones. Desert grass had poked its way through the piles of debris used to build the barricade, and some had dried sufficiently in the drought to be used to start the fire. It would not penetrate the rocks but would cause distress to the few inhabitants of the houses as the smoke crept through the crevasses.
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