Friday, March 23, 2012
Fiction Friday, ONE MORE TIME, Chapter 42
Hamath’s sandals wore out about half way to Tyre, but he continued barefoot, making poor progress until the blisters on his feet became calluses.
Now it had been two days since he last ate, and Hamath sat down on a short section of rotting log at the side of the road in discouragement. He felt incredibly weak. Maybe a nap would be all right, just for a while. He curled up and slept as the sun sank low on the horizon. When he woke in the morning, he saw something moving at the base of the log. He pushed it, rolling it half-way over.
Grubs. Dozens of grubs. Hamath stared at them, at first in revulsion. On further thought, this could be better than starvation. He picked up one squirming grub, brushed off the dirt, and placed it in his mouth, crunching and swallowing quickly. Hmm, not as bad as I thought it would be. He ate several of the grubs, as many as his stomach could stand, drank some water, and rolled the log back over to where it had been. He stood to his feet and began walking again.
He knew he wasn’t far from home. He had passed through Araba and he could see the buildings of Ptolemais and the sea. He could be home in just a two or three more days.
What if Dorcas won’t let me stay? The house had been hers before they married. He felt so unworthy of a home now. Jesus had no home, either. Not that He was unworthy, it just appeared to be the way He chose to live. If Dorcas won’t accept me back—well, then perhaps I’ll try to find Jesus and follow Him. But I want so much to see Dorcas and try to explain to her. But how can I explain to her when I can’t justify to myself the actions I took? It’s too much to ask of her, but I’m going to ask it anyway.
“Dear God,” he said, “If I could just see Dorcas and my children again, I’ll try with all my might to make it up to them. And to Sarah .”
No food for two days again. Some travelers passed him, but they passed as far away from him as they could get on the narrow road. If he approached to ask for food, they turned their backs and held their cloaks over their noses.
Hamath hung his head. One more step. And another. And... He fell and crawled to the side of the road. He pushed a log over, but found no more grubs. He took the last swallow of water from the skin he carried.
Hamath struggled to his feet and walked on, feeling weaker by the moment. He staggered to the top of a hill on the road. The world spun. He fell, tumbling over and over, coming to rest against a large rock, lying motionless in a dirty heap.
A traveler stood beside his donkey looking down at Hamath. He turned his gaze heavenward as though in prayer, then tenderly looked down again at the unconscious Hamath. He crouched down and lifted Hamath to his shoulder, placed him over the back of his donkey, then continued on his way.
The next morning, Hamath’s eyes opened. He lay beside a stream, a cloak over him. His left arm hurt, and he couldn’t raise it. It hung useless as he sat up, pushing himself up with his right hand and arm. He raised his head, blinked several times, and rubbed his eyes. That’s odd. Where did this cloak come from, and when did I pass Ptolemais? That’s Tyre. Or am I dreaming? The morning sun lit the walls of the city. Almost as though in welcome.