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Friday, July 8, 2011

Fiction Friday: One More Time, Chapter 16


For previous chapters, see previous Friday posts...

CHAPTER 16 - MAY, 30 CE – CONSCIOUS

Mehida watched Paulos daily for signs of recovery. He still lived, but didn’t seem aware of his surroundings until a full month passed. That day, he croaked something unintelligible, rising up on one elbow. Mehida ran to his side.

“Yes, my son?” She squinted her eyes to peer at his face and wished he didn’t look so blurry. “What is it you wish, Abner?”

Paul’s throat rasped from disuse. “Where am I?”

“You are in the home of your mother, Mehida.”

Paul frowned. “Mother?”

Mehida nodded her head enthusiastically.

“Hungry,” he croaked and attempted to clear his throat. “Thirsty, too.”

“I have some bread and cheese and milk. We’re out of meat. I used the last for broth yesterday. You don’t need wine yet.” She brought all of the items over to him, and started to feed him, but he took the bread and fed himself.

Mehida cackled with pleasure. “You are going to live after all, my son. You surely fooled those physicians.”

Paul lay back down. “Sleep,” he whispered and closed his eyes.

~~~~~

Joel and Abidon visited again the next day, impressed with Paul’s improvement. His recovery seemed rapid from that point on. Mehida wouldn’t allow him out of bed, but told him to move his legs. His muscles had stiffened from disuse, but he was young.

Gradually he bent his legs further, sometimes dangling them over the edge of the bed. The first time he hung his legs down, he screamed with the pain. It wasn’t long before that also subsided. The swelling in his leg had nearly gone, as well.

His mind was coming back. Mehida kept telling Paul his name was Abner and he was her son, which up until now had just made his brow wrinkle with a confused look.

“Mehida, you’re not my mother,” he informed her one morning. “I’m grateful for your help and will pay you back if I can, but I can’t be your son. My mother died many years ago. And my name is not Abner. It’s Paulos.”

Mehida pouted. “I need a son,” she said. “And if your mother is dead, you could use a new mother.” It sounded logical to her. She just needed to make him see the sense of the thing. “If you insist, I’ll allow you to call yourself Paulos, although Abner is a much nicer name.”

Paulos smiled at her. “Why is it that you need a son?”

“I have no living son, and only one living daughter who ran off with a fisherman named Ebenezer to Tyre or Sidon or maybe even Ptolemais. I haven’t seen her since.”

“She ran off? Why did she run off?”

“Well, maybe not exactly run off. But Emma married someone who took her too far away to take care of me in my old age. My only child, my beloved daughter, and she is gone from me. For all I know, she’s dead. Now I’m getting old and feeble. Soon I’ll need someone to take care of me. I’ve taken good care of you, haven’t I?”

“Yes, Mehida, you have, but I’m only a servant in Tyre, I have no place to take care of you. But perhaps together we might find your daughter.” He looked down at the floor and scooted to the edge of the bed.

“No, no! You cannot stand yet.” Mehida rushed to the bed and pushed Paul back. “You must wait. One more full moon must pass before you can walk on your leg. If you walk on it now, it will break again.”