Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: ENTERTAIN (04/27/17)
- TITLE: To Please the Crowd
By Tonya Stevenson
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The bestiariusâ€™ scornful scowl takes-in every inch of my petite five-foot frame. If I hoped for compassion there is none in those cold eyes. The roaring crowd only further shakes my resolve. For support, I lean hard upon the cold stone wall.
â€œLord, my Lord! I know not how. Grace me with peace and strength for your glory. Help â€¦â€
â€œHalf-time, my dear. Your turn to entertain. Will you walk alone, or would you prefer to be carried?â€ The bestiarius swings wide the heavy plank door, spilling sunlight into the dark chambers with an exaggerated bowing motion to the two husky men behind me.
â€œOnly God will carry me.â€ My voice cracks barely audible. I thrust off the wall forcing unwilling legs forward. Ironic â€¦ how beautiful the day.
A playful breeze causes my hair and skirt to dance as if mocking my slow heavy legs. Thousands sit in the audience, their eyes fixed on me.
â€œLet me present our half-time spectacle: A Christian slave girl who will not worship our Gods.â€ The orator booms hesitating for the crowds booing.
â€œAudacious, certainly, but this one also attempted to brain-wash a young child of a Senator with such folly.â€ Thunderous boos.
I scan the podium platform where the senators are seated directly above the marble plated wall. â€œWas Lexi here? Yes! Oh Lord, what will happen to little Lexi? She is only ten. She must be terrified - how will she not deny thee? Dear God, please finish your work in Lexi.â€
â€œâ€¦ Her sentence, for your pleasure is â€¦ damnatio ad bestias.â€ The crowd erupts.
I am swallowed in my nothingness to them.
â€œBecause iniquity will abound the love of many will wax cold. Will you still love?â€
â€œLord how? How do I love these who seek pleasure through my pain and death? â€¦ You only know - you did. Grace me, Lord.â€
Metal clangs, the bull explodes into the arena head held high searching for his prey. He stops to paw the dust. His eyes settle on me, with a bellow, he charges. His floor rumbles under the impact as he barrels down on me. My sodden legs wonâ€™t budge. â€œFather!â€
I jump aside; only snot splatters me as he blows by. I run, â€œto where?â€
I hear his hooves bearing down on me, I turn hard. A horn tosses me. I land sitting; instantly, the bullâ€™s face smashes into mine, bones crack. I roll into a disoriented ball. I am blasted with hot breath, pushed and pummeled. Searing pain shatters the blessed daze as a horn penetrates my back and lifts me in the air. Blood gushes from my front. The Crowd roarsâ€¦
â€œI too bled for you.â€
The bull shoves me into and down the wall. I am pierced again. The pain - like my blood - is flowing â€“ fading away. I can hear my own jagged breath but little else. The fear is gone. â€œYou are sufficient, El Shaddia.â€
There is jeering. â€œThey are so blind. Do they not see they are the ones condemned eternally, because they do not believe in thee? Lord, open their eyes.â€
â€œI want to proclaim and praise you - Lord.â€
I struggle to lean up against the wall. The bull is off a ways, pawing up a storm.
I try to shout, â€œJesus,â€ but only blood gurgles from my lips.
â€œJesus Christ is Lord!â€
I look up to see Lexi tumble off the wall.
Screams fill the air. Lexi thuds the ground before me with a groan.
â€œLexi, my daughter in the Lord.â€ I reach for her - the bull drives her to my arms.
Arising easily I set Lexi on her feet; we walk joyously into the light. Faith becomes sight; truly, the suffering cannot compare to the glory â€¦ Christ stands before his throne.
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