#44.8, Weds., May 17, 2023

Historical setting: 602 C.E. Following the creek bed home

         Gabe and Greg return to this wagonload of dirty straw along with their older, and maybe wiser hunter friend, Charlie.

         Charlie asks them why they put their father’s body under all this filth.

         Gabe explains, “We needed a wagon and the stable master traded it for papa’s horse but he made us clean the stalls before we could have the horse collar and the reins.”

         His brother explains the logic, “And it helped us keep the secret. With the wagonload of stable straw we had a reason to go into the woods at night to dump the straw. Then the straw was there to hide the body.”

         “No one gave a thought to what we were doing.”

         “Well let’s clean it out now.” Charlie demands.

         So they do, and now here I am flat-out in the wagon bed shivering in the morning air.

         “You’re right, Greg.  He isn’t stinking of death or even stiffening yet.”

         “It’s Gabe.”

         “Gabe, whatever. He’s got a terrible wound there.”

         Now I feel a cold blade at my neck.  “I can just finish it; put him out of his pain.”

         “No! No, He’s our papa, he’s not just some hunted buck.”

         “Well, then just take him home as he is, Gabe.”

         “It’s Greg.”

         “Greg, whatever.  Your momma will use her blade. She has one. I’ve seen it.”

         “We can’t take him to Momma like this. She loves him.”

         “And besides, he’s our papa.”

         There is a silence. I hope it is for prayer or thought. Or maybe they know something.  The silence is broken with Charlie’s ah-ha, “Take him up to the church!  The gods will know what to do with him.”

          “Yes, that’s a good plan.”

         Somehow, in the hitching of the wagon, and the farewells to Charlie, someone has the kind thought to lay a cloak over me. Thank you.

         The boys steer the wagon along the rocky edge of the creek and with every jostle and bump a new pain.  It terrifies them if I make a sound; all my howls and whimpers only make them stop and worry. All their beautiful empathy now only gives them pain, and doesn’t give me any endurance for this at all.  Through the valley we go on, through so many shadows. When we stop on the hillside the sun is already dipping behind the hills, nearly dusk.

(Continues tomorrow)

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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