Sunday, April 10, 2005

 

the child, forty-nine


After breakfast the next morning, he brought more cloth to change the bandage on her leg. He poured water first over the old bandage, to soak it loose without ripping the scab open. And as he worked, patiently, gently, she glanced about to see if anyone would overhear. When she was sure no one would, she leaned forward and whispered intensely, 'Maccabees!'

'Yes, little one?'

'I saw something last night. Something horrible. I don't want to frighten the others, but...' She leaned even closer. 'Maccabees, there was an army of demons surrounding our camp!'

'Yes,' said he. 'They have ever been with this company, since this journey began.'

'From,' she faltered, 'from the very beginning?' For she had thought this was something new, that the horrendous army had only just arrived. 'But... why haven't they attacked us yet then?'

'They are not the only army attending on this company. Look and see.'

Lifting her eyes, she glanced all around. There were the others from the group, pulling down the tents, drowning the campfire, packing up to continue on. And there, beyond them...

Again there came a small, subtle shift in her vision. And this time she saw: angels. Large and beautiful. Fierce and shining. Armed - their swords at the ready, flashing and awesome. They flanked the little company, with some ready to precede them on the way, and others prepared to act as their rearguard.

'These too, Child, have been attending on this company all the way of this journey. Unseen, as the others are unseen.'

'Protecting us,' she breathed.

'From this assault, yes. But know and understand this, little one. This grand army from the enemy, poised to attack, is not his only plot against this group. His primary attack has been in effect and going forward from the very first day. As you know.'

What? Oh! 'The arguing?'

'The disunity, yes. One of the enemy's most powerful weapons. What is there to counteract it?'

He was asking her? And then she recognized why he was asking. Not because he did not know. He knew; he wanted her to realize that she also knew. But did she?

Arguing and disunity - these are counteracted with... 'Unity?'

A smile and a nod. 'And what will bring about unity, Starr?'

Her answer was silence. What indeed? she wondered.

He finished the rebandaging of her leg and stood. The others were all ready to go now. As were the many mighty angels who, even as she looked once more around at them, disappeared again from her limited sight.

Maccabees held a hand out to her to help her to her feet. 'It is when you can answer that question, Starr - that is when you will begin to see the transformation of this small army. And that transformation must take place. For only then will you all become prepared to go forth to the dungeons, to set the captives free.'

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