A New Battle, An Ancient Battlefield

The citizenry had never known peace.

The soldiers didn’t remember who they were fighting for.

The commanders lived for the battle.

The enemy demanded the king step down, and daily more of his own people agreed. He knew abdicating would condemn them all to slavery. But he would never deny his throne. He was the king and could be nothing else.

—–

Joshua arrived at the front, hidden amid the day’s reinforcements. He received a half our demonstration of how to use a sword, an hour of lecture on the importance of obeying your superior officers, without question. Then the drill sergeant asked if anyone had any questions.

Joshua raised his hand. He asked why the training had never mentioned the king. The veteran soldier bellowed out that it had been a rhetorical question. Good soldiers didn’t ask questions, they just obeyed.

His commanders assigned him to defend a stronghold. He refused, even though they repeatedly reminded him of obedience. Joshua explained, the tower had not been built at the king’s command, it required massive resources, and had no strategic value in the battle.

The angry commanders ordered him to the front, to the location of the fiercest fighting. The commanders hoped he would die there. He didn’t.

When Joshua’s group returned from that assignment, he had been given a field promotion to squad leader. He was followed by many men, including several who had deserted and fought with the enemy. The commanders were livid, asserting those soldiers were traitors worthy of death.

Joshua defended those men, declaring the king rejoiced at their return. This caused the commanders to assert they were the only ones capable of passing on the king’s wishes. Joshua answered these men they rejected were more pleasing to the king than the commanders.

Joshua was charged with treason. The trial was an unholy spectacle, and both sides quit fighting to watch. Joshua was condemned to death, and at the execution the enemy lines celebrated. The commanders couldn’t understand why.

—–

After a few days two weary armies prepared to resume an endless war. Troops on each side of the battlefield waited for the command to charge. They were interrupted by a solitary soldier riding between them.

It was Joshua. He called together all who were loyal to the king, no matter which side they were from. He had paid the price for their treason, those who loved the king could return to serving him.

In the hours that followed, the lines were redrawn. Commanders who had served the battle

instead of the king, were now with the enemy. Joshua, the king’s son, took command of the king’s armies.

The battle was still eternal, but now they knew who they fought for.

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Soul Harvest

The restaurant was a front for a Chinese gang. It was full of bodyguards, yet the tough guys ran out when he strolled in.

“I’m surprised to see you here.” The boss’s voice had a slight tremble.

“Think of me as a gentlemen farmer, coming to collect my harvest.”

“You put me in charge, I have it under control.”

“I am the landowner; you are merely a sharecropper. I planted the soil starting with the night your father visited that prostitute you called mom. I fertilized the fields with drugs and gambling. I weeded the land by driving out churches and bribing the police.”

“Don’t you mean I did those things for you?”

“No, I mean I used you to do them, giving you every idea and opportunity. I did it. Not you.”

The boss put his hand on a gun hidden under the table.

“Go ahead, shoot me. It will help me with the harvest.” It was one last command given the hireling.

The bullet passed harmlessly through the farmer, out the glass, and lodged in the wall beside of a thug. The man returned fire, and the harvest began.

Inside the restaurant, the boss had a neat hole through his head. The police never found a bullet.

This story was written for a flash fiction competition I entered this morning.  Probably one of my favorite stories of this sort. It is an example of being able to imply things with fiction that would be complicated to discuss in a teaching setting. Do you see anything in this story, stated or implied, that you would like to discuss? I would love to hear from you.

Christian Flash Weekly Event #1

The very first Christian Flash Weekly begins today. The entry below is my host entry. The Prompt for this week is Job 42:5, which I chose to list below as a part of my post. If you are interested in writing or reading flash fiction/micro fiction then jump over to www.christianflashweekly.wordpress.com and check it out.  This challenge closes on Monday and all participants will get a special e-badge for being in the inaugural event.

 

The Taker

I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;

But now my eye sees You;

Job 42:5 (NASB)

 

In my case, my father was the first family member taken. He had been working in the field. His ox and plow were waiting for him to return to the task. Only he never would.

Having loved ones taken was a part of life in our village. We all knew it would happen again. We all knew it would eventually happen to us.

It’s amazing that we ever accepted it as normal. We got used to the absence of those who had been taken. We got used to the idea we would be taken one day, too.

Every week we gathered in a meeting hall in the center of town and discussed it. We talked about being taken, and we talked about the taker. It only made sense. If people were being taken, someone was taking them. Sometimes we feared the taker, sometimes we revered the taker, but understanding the taker was beyond us.

I grew up and got married. About then my mom was taken. We had four kids. Next my brother was taken. The hardest day of my life was when my daughter was taken.

Then one day I was working on the house, I slipped on the ladder and plunged headlong towards the cobblestone walk.

I felt strong hands take hold of me. I found myself standing and facing the taker. He introduced me to my dad, mom, brother, and finally my sweet daughter. It was a wonderful day.

Over there, he isn’t thought of as a taker. He is called the Savior.

 

Theology for Christian Writers

Today I want to point to the blog for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.  I have a guest post up today on their blog called Theology for Christian writers.  I hope you go, read it, enjoy it and share it with all your friends.  I have only been to a few Christian Writers Conferences but these individuals impressed me so much that I enjoy looking for other opportunities to work with them.