Friday, October 28, 2011
FICTION FRIDAY: One More Time, Chapter 25A - A Ticklish Explanation
Dorcas, Sarah, and Tamara followed Martha, curious, and Dorcas’s children came with them. Martha’s excitement was contagious. She led them out the door, and pointed down the street. Several people were all heading toward the city gate. Jonas was at the next corner, beckoning them on.
“Come! Hurry!” he shouted above the noise of the crowd.
They followed an excited Martha and Jonas, Tamara the most excited of all. As they drew nearer to the source of the excitement, they could see a man trying to make his way through the crowd, although it was obvious people were trying to stop him, to talk to him. “It’s my Papa!” Tamara pulled her hand loose from Sarah’s. “It’s my Papa!!!” She started running toward the man, unmindful of the crowd of people who could easily trample her. Sarah ran after her, fearful of the danger.
It was indeed her Papa. Sarah couldn’t believe her eyes. It looked like Paul—but he didn’t walk with crutches. He was walking, smiling big—in fact he was running, straight toward them! He knelt in front of Tamara, eyes wide. He grabbed her and swung her up over his head, then held her to him like he’d never let her go, then turned to Sarah and gathered her tightly to him with his other arm.
Sarah’s eyes flowed freely, her smile spreading endlessly across her face. Paul’s eyes sparkled with unshed tears, his mouth working as though he wanted to speak, but couldn’t.
People gathered around them, asking Paul repeatedly how his leg had been straightened and how he had gotten through the closed gate. Paul, however, stood speechless as he held his wife and daughter, eyes squeezed shut and tears rolling down his face. His Adam’s apple bobbed, and he shook his head and cleared his throat over and over.
When Dorcas reached them, she scowled at Paul. “Paulos, where is Hamath?”
There was a long pause. Paul’s eyebrows raised as he turned his eyes on Dorcas. “Uhhh--Hamath?”
“Yes. I sent Hamath to find you. He didn’t come back with you?”
“I’m sorry, Ma’am. I haven’t seen, um, Hamath. I came here alone. Sort of alone.” He cast a quick glance skyward.
Dorcas stared at Paulos. After a long pause, she asked', “You haven’t seen him at all?”
“No, Ma’am, I’m sorry. I’ve never, uh, haven’t seen him ... since I, uh, left here.”
At this point, Tamara spoke up. “Papa, is your leg all better?”
Paul’s brow furrowed. “Of course, Tammy, why wouldn’t be ‘all better?’” Then, his eyes widened at some inner thought. “Oh—yes, it has healed up.”
Sarah beamed, understanding his bafflement. In English, she whispered in his ear, so that only Tamara and he could hear, “Did you come through the windy net?”
He cocked an eyebrow at Sarah, then grinned and nodded. Tamara’s eyes widened and she started to say something, but Sarah held her finger to her smiling lips. Tamara seemed to understand.
Martha’s eyes brimmed with a hundred. However, when Martha looked at Dorcas’s scowl and tapping foot, caution must have taken precedence over curiosity, because she remained quiet. Dorcas glared at them like they were withholding something vital from her, and Sarah could see the storm clouds gathering in her eyes.
“Please, Madam, may we go back home? Perhaps we can explain all this when we get there, away from this crowd.” Dorcas nodded, her lips a tight, thin line, the storm held in abeyance.
Sarah turned to Jonas, “Thank you so much, my friend, for letting Martha know what was happening. If you have time now, would you like to come with us?”
Jonas shook his head. “I can’t come with you this morning. Perhaps you and Paul could come back here later, or I could come to your house after I close my shop this afternoon.”
Sarah thought for a moment. “Perhaps I’ll be back later this morning or after the mid-day meal to the marketplace, and if Dorcas agrees, maybe Paul could come with me. We could try then to explain to you what has happened.”
The crowd pressed around Paul now began shouting their questions. This man who had been so pale and thin and crippled just two months ago was now healthy and walking without so much as a limp. Paul shook his head and promised an explanation later.
Sarah wondered how they would explain this to all the people so they wouldn’t be stoned to death as witches. It would take some thinking to come up with a logical explanation, and at the moment she couldn’t think of anything, other than that Paul was here and whole.
With some effort, they pushed their way through the circle of curious citizens and made their way to Dorcas’ house. When they arrived, they shut the door and Dorcas sat down. Silently, she motioned for Paul, Sarah, and even Martha to sit as well. Paul still clung to Tamara, and it was obvious Tamara wasn’t going to let go of him either.
“Now, Paulos—or Sarah,” she said firmly, “I want to know what is happening. How was your leg healed? How did you get back here? And what did you do with my husband?”
Sarah took a deep breath. Where should she begin? And how could they make Dorcas understand? “Madam, you will find this tale hard to believe. We will tell you what we know, but believe me, it’s as hard for us to understand as it will be for you.
“Paulos, Tamara, and I come from a different time, hundreds years in the future.”
Dorcas’s mouth turned down and her eyes narrowed.
“I know, this sounds as impossible to us as it does to you. Please bear with us,” Sarah continued.
“In our own time, Tamara died of an unknown recurring fever—very like the fevers she has been having lately here.”
Paul’s eyes widened, but he remained silent while Sarah went on with her explanation. He just hugged Tamara all the tighter.
“Apparently, when Tamara died in that future time, she arrived here, except somehow she had already been here. This is where the explanation becomes thorny. I don’t have any idea how this happened.” Sarah cleared her throat.
“Six months later, I also arrived here. If you will remember back about two months ago, I might have been acting a little strange. That’s because when I arrived, I had no memory of this time, only the time I had come from. However, as situations arrived, a ‘memory’ would pop up in my head, but only after a delayed reaction.”
“Yes, I remember.” Dorcas said, “I wondered why you acted differently about then. In addition, you seemed to, to be more ‘educated’—for lack of a better term. Your use of the language was better than before.”
Sarah nodded. “In this future time, Paulos had broken his leg in a fall from the roof of our house—but in this future time, physicians have more education than now and his leg was set properly, so he wasn’t crippled. When I arrived, Paul had no knowledge of the future time, but when he arrived here today, it sounded like he was going through the same delayed information reactions that I did. That’s what I asked him when I whispered in his ear out by the gate. Now, Paul, it’s your turn—you need to provide the details of what happened to you before you came here.”