#44.6, Thurs., May 11, 2023

Historical setting: 602 C.E. A Woods in Gaul

         The guards argue for a moment over who should use the polearm, and they assure one another the spear tip is firmly in place. Now I feel the pain of it, and breath is…

         At this waking I am gasping for breath under a heap of last week’s barn straw. I was expecting forest loam as I knit together a memory of what happened last.

         Oh, this is a terrible pain. I seem to be on the floor of a wagon under this filthy straw and just now we are moving. I mean to speak or howl or cry out. I don’t think I can make a sound, but now the wagon stops.

         “What are you stopping for, Gabe? It’s still my turn to ride the horse you know. Let’s just keep going now!”

         “I thought I heard something in the wagon.”

         “You didn’t. Let’s get on our way – tonight we’ll be home before dark.”

         “It sounded like Papa howling just as I started forward.”

         “We aren’t wee little babies anymore who believe the stories we ourselves make.”

         “I heard something, I’m sure.  I wasn’t even thinking of that Lazarus story.  Really we should look.”

         “Maybe it’s just Papa’s ghost, leaving him… Okay we will take a peek at it but I still get to ride the horse for the last part.”

         I probably look as gory as they fear.  It requires this long silence from them to muster the courage to move this straw from my face. I stay still, Dear God may I not frighten my children just now. In this terrified silence they touch me.

         “He is warm, and … What should we do, Gabe? It was already the worst thing to tell Momma.  I thought we would just bring her a chance to grieve and bury him in the flower place, but now, our dead papa will be hanging around us forever, howling and growling, needy and bleeding and making us always sorry we didn’t fight for him when we could.”

         “He told us to do like Peter, you know. We were supposed to deny him until the rooster crowed. We did as we were told.”

         “We’re so near where Charlie lives, I’ll just take the horse and ride over there and ask Charlie what we should do.”

         “You can’t leave me alone here with him.  Let’s unhitch the wagon and take both horses.”

         Now I’m alone.

(Continues Tuesday, May 16)

Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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