Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: WILD (11/16/17)
- TITLE: Remember Mercy
By Amy Gaudette
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Today, again, they marched around our walls, seven times! So many of them, so frightful looking. I stole quickly up the ladder to the wall's edge to see for myself if it were true. Oh, a sight not for the faint of heart. Thousands upon thousands, marching madly around our city's walls. Dust kicking up as high as the clouds, obscuring the view. It was for the best as I did not want to see anymore. I quickly made my way back to the safety of my home.
I am safe here. My family and I. The men told us I would be kept safe because I hid them. I could not do otherwise when I saw them. They were like fierce, untamed animals come in from the four corners of the earth, searching out their enemies. I knew the minute I saw them. Their faces rough and darkened. Their stature tall and broad. It was as though the gods walked with them. No, not gods. One God, theirs. And I was on the wrong side. So, I took them in and hid them.
I did as they said. I did exactly what they told me to do. Bring my family in and keep them inside. Then they told me to hang a red cord in my window. We hide now in safety, but also in terror. Will they keep their word? They know what I am, what I have done. If they break their word, my entire family will be destroyed. Dare I pray to the God of these unrestrained men?
Even now the air is thick with dust. So much dust. But we stay in and we stay quiet. Waiting . . . waiting . . .
The night slips away nonsolicitously, as though it keeps a secret. Dawn breaks, not with hope but oppressive heat and a deceptive calm. I grab the hand of the child next to me. It brings me comfort. We will be spared. This God I cannot name will set His guard around us. He must.
Something primitive pierces the air. Trumpets. Growing louder and undisciplined. From every corner, I hear them. A cacophony of noise, it leaps over the walls filling our city, causing knees to tremble and even the bravest of hearts to shrink. More, stronger now, another sound. What is this? It is worse than the first. Voices, feral, unbridled, creating a weapon I could never have imagined. Stronger than any sword or bow or arm. We shake in our home, as our impenetrable fortress sags and falls as though it were made of nothing but sticks.
Screams come from everywhere. Young and old, running frantically. All of us in here gather close and embrace. We bow our heads. We pray to this God, remember mercy.
Finally, after a time, a long time, it is quiet. We stay where we are. Not daring to move. Then, a knock. Two knocks and the door is opened. The men whom I hid come in. The look at us and we at them. We dare not breathe.
“You are safe. It is over.”
I take a deep wonderful breath. It is over. And this amazing God has remembered mercy.
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