Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write for the ACTION and/or ADVENTURE Genre (11/13/14)
- TITLE: Captive
By Gary Ritter
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Chains clanked at his feet as he shuffled along. His ankles chafed from the harsh metal. Looking down he saw a trail of his blood in the dirt. The sores had opened again. He knew from times in the past he’d hurt himself playing that if open wounds weren’t treated they swelled up red with pus and greater pain.
One of the slavemasters yelled and it echoed up and down the line among the other men with whips and machetes. Abu breathed a sigh of relief. These ruthless men practiced a form of religion that caused them to stop five times a day, kneel facing the east, and chant prayers. This was the only reason the march would stop until night fell when Abu would eat a meager meal and collapse in complete exhaustion.
Abu’s people worshipped many gods, each of which had its peculiarities and demands. These gods were often cruel, requiring the sacrifice of babies and virgins to appease their bloodlust. But that was the price the tribe paid for peace with the world around them. This god of the traders was unique. From what Abu gleaned, his captors considered him to be the only god. He was distant and had strict rules. To Abu’s young mind this god was no better than the ones his people worshipped, maybe worse.
A woman several paces ahead of him didn’t rise when commanded after the prayers. She slumped over her load, her naked breasts heaving as she gasped for air. A whip cracked and snaked across her shoulders. She barely cried out. The man demanding she move cursed in his strange language and snapped the whip again. One of the others came up to him laughing and they exchanged words. The first one slapped the second on the back, and drew his machete. With no hesitation he swung and the woman’s head rolled into the brush. He kicked at the body to make way on the path and gestured to the man behind Abu to pick up her load in addition to his own. The man groaned and did as told. In moments the caravan was again underway.
The slavers raided another village and added more prisoners that day. In the waning light before Abu fell asleep one of the new captives sat next to him. A white man! But he spoke Abu’s language. Never before had Abu known such a thing. Once before he’d seen one like this whose white skin reddened at the slightest hint of sun, but that one couldn’t speak intelligibly.
This man asked Abu his name and how many days since the slavers had captured him. He couldn’t stop staring at the man’s skin, so different yet alike his own, but he grew comfortable in the man’s presence. Then the man asked an odd question.
“What do you think of the god of these men?”
Abu told him and soon they were talking about this Allah of the slave traders and the gods of Abu’s tribe. The conclusion Abu came to was that all gods hated the people of the world and lived only for themselves.
“What would you say, Abu,” the white man asked, “if I told you there’s a God who loves?”
“I would find it hard to believe.”
“Would you find it even harder to believe in a God who walked the earth and died for you?”
“Such a thing is not possible,” Abu said.
“I know such a God and He loves you.” The white man rose to his feet. “I must sleep.”
“Wait,” Abu cried. “Tell me about this God.”
“Seek him, Abu. Perhaps He will be found by you.”
Abu saw the man no more. He yearned to speak with him to learn of his God. When he thought all was lost over the next several days, he began to dream.
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