Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: RELEASE (08/02/18)
TITLE: The Fugitive's Sign
By Nancy Bucca
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“Hand the man over to me – NOW!”
I shiver. “What man?”
I don’t have to ask. I know who it is. From the moment he set foot inside my happy little home, I knew the scraggly guy did not belong. He walked in like he owned the place, but I saw fear in his eyes.
My own eyes cloud over. In my mind I see men in a boat mending nets. A man calls from the shore. “Throw them over the right side.” First they hesitate. Then they obey. Fish fill the nets, which break under the weight.
I feel sort of like a fish, caught in the wanted man’s net. The strangely quiet man lured me in by tricking me into thinking he was harmless. He just needed a place to hunker down, to lay low for a while, he said. How could this old softie turn him down?
“Hand over the fugitive! – NOW!”
“Yes, the fugitive. This man is on the run. Hand him over!”
Yes, I know. I should turn him in, but first I must get over my denial. I still can’t believe I got duped by his lazy lion’s yawn. Or was it the silent howl of a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Let’s just say that from the moment he placed the coins in my hand, I knew the guy was trouble. Yet I allowed myself to be deceived into assuming everything would turn out A okay.
Why did I trust him? WHY?
Another vision interrupts my quandary. I see fishermen in a boat rocked by fierce waves. One man, however, lies in a corner sleeping – just like that trickster whom I doubt is nearly as tired as he led me to believe. Anyhow, after his friends fall all over themselves trying to wake him, the man stands up, lifts his hands, and commands the storm to cease. Instant calm results.
Boy, wouldn’t I love a little calm – because as the storm rages outside, the voice inside my head keeps growing louder.
“You know where he’s hiding. Release the fugitive into my custody!”
Never in my life have I ever felt so trapped. If I surrender the man, he’ll die. If I don’t, the rest of us will. Either way, guilt presses into me, like a shackle on my neck. Invisible chains leave me and my staff with zero wiggle room. There must be a way to get free.
As they drag the fugitive up from down below, I grasp at every straw I can to save him. But it’s no use. Divine justice won’t allow it. Besides, he admits to his fault. The trickster’s ready to surrender.
If I release this guy, I know that I’ll be free. But it makes me so uncomfortable. Can I bear to pay the price?
Through the mist that swirls around my eyes, I have another vision.
Twelve men sit in a boat at night, rowing hard to cross a lake. They’re getting nowhere. Suddenly they see a man walking on the water. Then one of the men in the boat steps out. He too walks on water. When he starts to sink, the first man lifts him up.
I don't understand. What does this have to do with me and my shipmates?
I’m pretty sure that if we throw this Jonah guy into the sea, he’ll sink. But if we don’t, then our entire ship will go down. Who knows? Maybe he will walk on water. Anyhow, it is with great reluctance that I and my fellow sailors release him into God’s hands.
I guess he sank. But as for us, we're doing well. The storm has stopped. The clouds are gone, the sun is shining, and I’m on my knees giving thanks to the One who rescued us. I was feeling so bound up inside. Now I finally feel free.
Somehow I feel there’s a deeper meaning behind what just happened here. Perhaps it is a sign of things to come…
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