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The Tishbite

(Revised 9/15/03)

By Kurt W. Schuller


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"Wake up", the voice whispered.

Elijah stirred slightly but did not wake. Lying on his side, he turned over onto his back and then onto his other side.

"Elijah", again the voice whispered. "They are coming for you."

Still half asleep, Elijah turned onto his back, his eyes gyrating furiously under his closed eyelids.

This time the voice did not whisper. "Elijah," the voice said sternly.

Elijah’s eyes snapped open.

Now the voice screamed inside of his head.


He sat up with a start, his heart pounding in his chest so loudly, that it almost drowned out the sound of angry voices in the courtyard outside.

They had found him.

He groped wildly in the darkness, trying to find his clothes. He cursed his laziness. That day at Mount Carmel had been so taxing that he just dropped his clothes onto the floor as he removed them, leaving a trail that led to the bed. Crawling on the floor he picked up what clothing he could find, scraping his knees against the rough-hewn wooden floor. Elijah winced in pain with each new sliver that cut into his skin. Reaching the window he stopped and opened the shutter just enough to look outside.

Jezebel’s men had Ishmael on his knees, hands tied behind his back. His wife stood facing him with their young son clinging to her knees and screaming in fear and panic.

The captain of the soldiers put the tip of his dagger against Ishmael’s throat. A small trickle of blood began to flow down the mirrored blade.

He starred at the woman and demanded.

"Tell me where the prophet is or I will kill him."

Ishmael shook his head wildly. " No Sarah. Tell him nothing."

The soldier looked up at Sarah with mocked sympathy.

" Such gallantry! A man so noble deserves more than a dagger to the throat, don’t you think. Just tell me where the prophet is and I will spare him."

Elijah clenched his teeth and thought of calling down Gods wrath, but he knew that it would also take the family that had sheltered him and he could not risk causing their death.

Ishmael looked up pleadingly. The fear had disappeared from his expression, replaced by one of serene calm.

"Sarah, I do not matter. The Prophet must live."

"Jezebel thinks otherwise." said the soldier as he removed the knife from Ishmaels throat. "Take the boy!"

The soldiers ripped the screaming boy from his mother’s knees and brought him to the captain. Looking up at Sarah, he placed the dagger against her son’s throat and smiled.

"Does he matter?"

"You cowards!" screamed Ishmael. "How did we you ever let you come to power? Sarah! I implore you! Say nothing. Better that our son die than be under Baal’s yoke."

The captain ignored Ishmael and looked at Sarah. "I won’t ask you again."

Sarah looked defeated. She lowered her head and starred down at the ground, so that she could not see the look of disappointment on her husbands face. Slowly, she began to raise her arm and pointed toward the upper room.

"Release the boy." the captain barked.

The boy ran to his mother’s arms and she sobbed with relief as she hugged him.

"Kill the father."

Before Sarah could get a scream out of her mouth, one of the soldiers brought the full force of his blade against the back of Ishmael’s neck, neatly severing his head from his body.

Elijah bit down reflexively on his fist to keep from screaming in anger. He had been hypnotized by the event as it unfolded before him, but the sight of Ishmael’s head rolling across the dirt courtyard brought him out of his paralysis, and the instinct for survival took him over. He sprang up naked from the window and ran toward the door carrying what clothes he had found in the darkness. He was disoriented in these unfamiliar surroundings, having only arrived after sunset a few hours earlier. Ishmael had led him up to the room with a lantern that, unfortunately, had little fuel left in it, and that had been consumed while Elijah slept. He heard heavy footsteps coming toward him so he turned and felt his way against the cold stonewall in the opposite direction. The brief flicker of light behind him told him they were close, so he picked up his pace and stopped feeling his way. His fear was such that every breath was difficult; as if no matter how hard he tried he could not satisfy his breathe-starved lungs. It was then that he ran headfirst into an open door, knocking him flat on his back on the floor. He fought to regain his senses, his eyes stung from the salt of his own fresh blood as it flowed into them. As he blinked furiously he saw it; a brief break in the heavy cloud cover revealed the light of a full moon through an open window before him, showing him the way out. He got up and climbed through it, standing on the outer ledge. Looking back in he saw the lanterns and the soldiers enter the room he just left.

" No more time." he whispered to himself as he jumped naked into the darkness.

Chapter two

4 years earlier

"Solomon must be weeping," said Obadiah sadly, watching the royal procession pass below his window as a gray mist fell.

" His successors, one after another after another, and each have been worse than the previous one. Rehoboam’s heavy handed taxation split the nation in two and Jeroboam opened the door to the idolaters."

Obadiah voice grew angry and his face turned red as he continued. He turned from the window and looked to his wife, Ruth.

"Asa, Nadab, Baasha. Elah…oh and let us not forget" . . . Obadiah’s eyes rolled up into his head…"Omri, the peoples choice."

He turned back to watch the last of the procession as it headed toward the palace.

" What ever made us think that we could select a king?"

Ruth came behind him as he looked out the window. Reaching in she gently took his hand and squeezed it softly.

"And through it all who has served the kings of Israel and tried to steer them back to God? You, my love."

She put her other hand on his waist and turned him to face her. Looking up into his face, she leaned in and kissed his cheek.

"You my love," she whispered in his ear.

Obadiah could not help but smile. "A fat lot of good I have done. Just look at who is king now. Did I tell you that we are building new barracks on the palace grounds?"

Ruth’s expression told him he had not.

" A thousand beds! Has any god in history ever had more priests than this Baal?"

Ruth looked concerned. "Careful my husband, lest your feelings should show themselves to Ahab. You can do nothing if you are dead."

Obadiah laughed. "You of all people should know how well I can hide my feelings."

Ruth smiled slyly. " You’re right, you know for a while there when we first met, I was convinced you had no feelings."

Obadiah groaned as he wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly.

"I will be careful," he whispered.

Ruth pushed herself gently away and walked back to the kitchen area. When she was gone, the smile left Obadiah. He was thinking of what he had not told her, because it was too unspeakable to even think about. Ahab was ordering all young boys and girls between the ages of 16 and 18 to come to the palace. What they did not know was for what purpose. They were to be prostitutes as part of some sacred ritual for Baal. He would do what he could to dissuade Ahab, such as warn him about revolt or appeal to his fatherly instincts (if he even had any) but he was not holding out much hope of success. Jezebel was his lover and Baal’s chief priestess. If she wanted something, it was unlikely that any thing could intervene with Ahab and stop it.


He thanked God that his children had become adults and would not have to bear this abomination.

A tinge of guilt ran through him as he asked God to forgive his selfishness.

"Solomon must be weeping." he muttered to himself as he again turned and watched the rain fall.

Elijah was weeping. He lay face down on the dirt floor of his small shop, hands clenched tightly together above his head. Heavy sobs caused his compressed chest to rise and fall in a jerky, random motion. The dirt on the floor not wet from his tears raised clouds of dust around his head and was beginning to collect on his coarse black hair.

"Seven years Lord." He sobbed quietly. "I am tired of struggling, tired of the monotony. I beg you Lord, either let me succeed or let me fail."

He pounded his clenched hands against the floor.

"Why do you withhold your blessing? " he said through clenched teeth. " What have I done or not done that you do not hear my prayers? The other Merchants prance around in fine silks and are fat from too much food, while I still wear the cloak my father gave me the day I started this business."

He pulled himself up from the ground and got two his feet. Looking down at his thinning frame he pulled the cloak together, gathering up the extra fabric that was now too large for his slimming waistline. Elijah epitomized the word average. He was neither handsome nor ugly, short or tall. When he had finished he threw out his hands in disgust and looked up at the ceiling.

" I know why I am shunned, why so few shop here and so do you Lord. Because I will not display the image of Baal outside my shop. I struggle and scrimp because I will not dishonor you."

He sat down on the wooden chair and propped his head against his hand, starring at the pile of bills before him. He had been through this scene over and over again. Always just enough to pay the ones that had to be paid, rarely any left over for him. He swept his free hand across the table, scattering the pile of parchments.

"But I am at an end; I am drained, dried out and brittle like the hay in autumn. I need to know Lord what it is that you want me to do. You give me just enough to keep going and not fail, like a carrot out in front of a donkey. Just when I think I am going to finally succeed my shop goes empty for days on end. I can never relax or take even the smallest of pleasure. I want to stop, to walk away. I would rather clean stables for an honest days pay than continue with this . . . this"

Elijah body began to tremble with rage. He ground his fist against the table trying to hold back his anger. But he could not stop himself. Seven years of frustration erupted inside him and he jumped to his feet and overturned the table in front of him.

"What do you want of me" he screamed at the top of his lungs

The screamed echoed through the empty shop, replaced by an odd silence. Elijah stood there, eyes closed, feeling suddenly peaceful, as if for the first moment in his life he had no worries. The silence was very strange indeed. He could not even hear himself breathing. Opening his eyes he found himself surrounded by a comforting light.

A disembodied voice spoke.

" Travel to Judah and go to Ahab. Tell him that you are My prophet and that this is what The Lord your God demands."

Elijah heard nothing more with his ears, but his encounter far from over. A wave of euphoria overcame him. He felt powerful and energized. His brain was being filled with thoughts; so much so that he felt his head would not contain them all. And then, in an instant, he was once again alone in his shop; bills strewn across the floor, table overturned, and the impression of his prostrate body still marking where he laid down to pray. He became aware that he had stopped breathing and reflexively drew a deep and extended breath, filling his lungs as his brain had been filled only moments ago.

He looked at his hands, as if he expected that there had been some sort of physical change.

"No, as dirty as ever." He laughed to himself. A broad smile came to his face as he realized that his days of struggle in his shop had come to an end.

It was at that moment that the full realization of what he was going to do and the consequences that would follow became known to him.

The smile left his face.

Chapter three

Elijah tried to leave with everything in order but was not having any success. He was met with disdain and ridicule wherever he went as he sought to sell his remaining inventory. Every merchant he approached gave him the cold shoulder, or worse, was outright gleeful at his closing. He had counted on the money he would get from selling the inventory to fund his journey to Judah. At days end, as the other shops began to prepare for closing he marched into the center of the square, and at the top of his lungs yelled, " My entire inventory for one tenth of its value."

Nothing happened. No one even looked up from what they were doing. It was not that they could not hear him, for Elijah saw several of them stifling a laugh as they continued on with what they were doing.

Elijah looked down at his worn sandals. They would not last two miles, let alone the forty miles that lay ahead of him.

Again he yelled. "My inventory for a new pair of sandals."

Now everyone stopped what they were doing and began to laugh out loud.

"I am so very happy that I amuse you so." He said, looking unashamed. " What will you do for entertainment after I am gone, eh? Nonetheless, I am not joking. The first person to bring me a sturdy pair of sandals shall have everything in my store."

Elijah felt someone tap him on the shoulder.

"Will these do?"

He turned to see an elderly man holding a pair of sandals up for his inspection. Elijah took them and tugged at the straps and checked the soles for wear. Finally he put them on and tested them a bit by walking around in circles.

"What is your name sir?"

"I am called Benjamin of Gilead."

Elijah smiled broadly. "Benjamin of Gilead, the inventory is yours."

Benjamin smiled back and bowed slightly. "It was a pleasure doing business with you sir."

Benjamin’s forehead wrinkled into a frown. " Now, might I enquire why you sold me a store full of goods for a pair of sandals?"

Elijah grinned. " Because you were the only one here willing to do anything for me I am going to tell you something very important. Sell your shop and everything you have and go to Egypt."

Benjamin about doubled over with laughter. " And I am supposed to take this advise from

someone who traded everything they had for a pair of walking shoes? You may be crazy, but I am certainly not."

With that Benjamin turned to leave.

Elijah called after him. " Please wait and hear me out before you leave."

Benjamin stopped and sighed heavily. He turned slowly, cocked his head to one side and folded his arms against his chest. He stood like that for a few moments and the shrugged his shoulders and raised his eyebrows. " All right, I am listening."

Elijah grew very serious. He locked his eyes on the old man, put his hands on his shoulders and whispered somberly.

"This land will soon be under a terrible curse. Many will die, young and old. Many more will suffer in terrible agony and pray for death. These fat merchants will soon find themselves bankrupt and fighting for their very lives. No one will be able to escape unharmed, not even the Kings themselves."

Something in Elijah’s tone sent shivers down Benjamin’s spine. He tried to look away from him but could not.

"And who will be responsible for this calamity." He asked, voice quivering with fear?

Elijah’s stone face began to soften. His lips trembled and tears began to trickle down his face. "I will."

Chapter four

Obadiah waited patiently next to the empty throne. He took advantage of the Kings absence to go over the details of his report in his head, figuring out how best to make the good news sound great and the bad news sound like good news. Fortunately the bad news was at a minimum. Work was to begin that day on the barracks for the priests of Baal and they had to date recruited only 36 builders for the project, when the plan that he had devised had called for 50. For some reason, the number thirty-six stuck in his mind and he paused in his thinking, determined to figure out what was its relevance.

"Of course" he said out loud to himself.

This was the anniversary of the end of the war between Abijah and Jeroboam. It was exactly 36 years ago, as a young man of twenty that he had come to serve in the court of Jeroboam. Those had been vicious and frightening times. Shortly after he started as the manager of the palace kitchen, Jeroboam succumbed to a disease of the lungs. His son Nadab then came to power. After only two years as King a man known as Baasha, one of Nadab’s own generals, assassinated him. Baasha then assumed the throne and killed every single member of Jeroboams family. Obadiah winced as he thought back to that terrible time. Jeroboam had filled the palace with members of his family. The screams of that day sometimes still were heard in his nightmares. When the purge was over Obadiah was one of the few palace workers left to clean up the blood. Baasha appointed him as chief palace manager. Obadiah was now serving his sixth king in that capacity.

"Obadiah" screamed Ahab. "Are you daydreaming?"

Obadiah had been so caught up in his reminiscing that he had not seen the king come into the room and sit down at the throne. He fell prostrate to the floor burying his nose against the cold marble slab.

"Please forgive an old man my king. It was a moment of brief senility, probably brought about by a lack of sleep. I was up very late last night working on the plans for your coronation celebration." He lied.

"How could you not see me enter? Ahab sneered. "Just how old are you anyway?"

Obadiah kept his face to the floor. "I am fifty six my Lord"

Ahab’s eyes grew wide and he laughed, " How is it that you have managed to stay in your position, much less live for so long?"

"Had your father never spoke of me?" Obadiah asked humbly

"My father never spoke to me about anything" said Ahab with much bitterness.

"I am sorry my King. I am sure that his neglect for you was only because he was so concerned with Israel and her welfare. He always spoke to me of you very highly."

Ahab roared with laughter. "Get up old fool. Now I know how you have managed to survive for so long."

Obadiah rose to his feet, as Ahab looked around the room at his various advisors.

"Have any of you ever heard such a bald face lie told with such deep sincerity?"

Ahab ceased laughing and walked over to where Obadiah stood. Leaning in very close he locked his eyes on Obadiah’s and whispered.

"Truth is old fool, that I hated my father and he hated me. It was the only area we were ever in agreement."

Ahab’s breath was putrid and Obadiah winced as he fought against an urge to gag. He thanked God when Ahab turned from him to speak to Rabah, Baal’s chief priest.

"How are things proceeding with our call for young men and women? Have the people been cooperating?"

Rabah shook his head no. "We are well short of what we need for the ritual, Lord."

Ahab turned his attention back to Obadiah. "What should I do with these disobedient people, eh?"

"I do not think it is out of disrespect for you sire. It is the harvest time and these young ones are needed to bring in the crops. I am sure they will be arriving as the harvest permits."

"But the cycle of the moon approaches and the ritual must be performed that day!" interrupted Rabah.

"And so it shall, Priest!" Ahab turned to Memnon, commandeer of his armies. "Send out patrols to all corners of the Kingdom and bring as many as the ritual requires, by force if necessary. These stubborn people will learn that I am not as weak as my father."

Ahab turned, walked back to his throne and sat down, his eyes returning to Obadiah.

"After all. What is more important? Their Kings commands or a silly harvest, eh."

Ahab eyes narrowed and he glared at Obadiah. "As for you old man, you have amused me- today. However, if they’re any other moments of senility in the future, I will sacrifice you to Baal. Now, what is the palace report for today?"

Obadiah cleared his throat and began. "My king, I have good news on the construction of the priests barracks. I have managed to cut 14 builders from the project, at a savings of thousands of Shekels". . .

Chapter 5

Elijah was walking across a dry and dusty plain. The air was so choked with haze that it was hard to breath, much less see clearly. His steps felt labored, as if his sandals were walking in deep mud, yet the ground appeared solid to him, albeit deeply cracked from years of drought. He knew not where he was headed, he knew only that he had to keep going and could not stop for any reason. Each and every step grew more difficult until; finally, he became so exhausted that his will could no longer force his body to cooperate. He stopped for only a moment. It was then that he heard them behind him. He turned.

Out of the dusty haze he saw thousand of walking corpses; men, women, children, the very old. All had outstretched fingers pointing at him.

He turned and tried to run but his legs would not move. Looking down he saw that they had sunk into the scarred ground up to his knees. Out of the earth two skeletal hands reached up and grabbed his thighs. He screamed in terror.

The scream woke him from his sleep and he sat up with a start.

Elijah sat there for a moment and tried to regain his composure. As the adrenaline and its effect cleared from his system he began to feel a headache pushing through. He reached for the sheepskin bag of water and drank deeply trying to quench his dry mouth. He then poured a little onto his open hand and splashed his face several times.

As the fog in his head cleared, he saw that his campfire was barely smoldering. He got up slowly, feeling lightheaded and weak. As he searched for some kindling to throw on the fire he tripped over an empty wine skin and fell toward the fire, missing it by mere inches. He picked up the skin and threw it down in a fit of anger, kicking it with a loud grunt.

A searing stab of pain shot through his head and he fell to his knees. His headache was much worse now. He knew of only one cure.

Walking over to the wineskin, he picked it up, held it over his mouth and twisted it over and over again till it could be twisted no more. A small trickle of wine was all that he got for his efforts.

Elijah had not eaten for three days now and the emptiness in his stomach began to tighten like a knot. He had three more days to go and knew that, without food, he would never make it to Ahab’s Palace. He fell to his knees again. "Lord," he prayed. "Forgive my drunkenness. I have not forgotten what I must do, but if I do not find food soon I will. . .

From behind him he heard a young male voice interrupt his prayer.

"See, I told you I saw smoke."

Elijah turned and looked up at the top of the hill behind him. There was a young man, probably not even eighteen, waving at someone on the backside of the hill. He watched as a beautiful young girl with a stout donkey in tow joined the youth on the crest of the hill.

"God be with you, sir" the young man called to Elijah.

"And which God would that be boy?" Elijah sniffed sarcastically.

The boy looked confused. "Were you not just praying to him? I speak of the only true God, apart from him there are no others. Have I made a mistake?"

Elijah smiled through his pain and waved the boy to come down. "I am sorry lad, it’s just that it seems to me that the Promised Land has become the promiscuous land. Lately I have had trouble finding anyone who still believes as you and I."

As Elijah watched the two come down the hill he felt his jaw starting to slowly drop. The young girl had such elegant features that she literally took his breath away.

"Such beauty I have rarely seen in one so young" Elijah said bowing his head respectfully. The young girl smiled demurely.

"I am called Elijah and who has God sent me this day?"

"I am Elisha and this is Miriam, my younger sister. We saw your smoke and thought that you could help us."

"Of course, how can I help you."

Elisha’s face began to turn an embarrassed pink. " We have food, but I have not been able to build a fire."

Miriam jumped to her brother’s defense. "It was I who forgot to bring the flint rock. If I had not been so careless. . ."

Even though his head was still splitting Elijah could not help but laugh.

"Enough" he chuckled. "You have no fire, and I have no food." Elijah put a gentle hand on Elisha’s shoulder and looked into his eyes. He was struck by the maturity that lay behind them. " I see God’s hand in this, don’t you?"

Elisha smiled and nodded and they went about stoking the fire and began to prepare their morning meal. Refreshed from the meal Elijah suggested that they travel together.

At the end of the day they made camp and ate dinner. Then Miriam made tea for them before going to sleep.

Elijah found the tea comforting and the company even more so. There was something about Elisha that made it easy for him to talk to. He usually had trouble making conversation with strangers. He had no idea why; he could not pinpoint a reason. Like the earth or the sky it just was.

"Pardon me for asking" Elijah said, sipping from his tea. "Why are you and your sister traveling alone? Please don’t be offended, but you seem a little to young to be on this road without some adult guidance."

"Our father is old and feeble and needs our mother constantly" Elisha sighed. "Believe me we did not want to leave them. But the new king has ordered all our age to come and serve a short while in the palace."

Elijah poked a stick into the fire and stirred the coals. "Does the King know everyone in his kingdom? It seems unreasonable that he should expect a family in your situation to send you both. Couldn’t one of you stayed with your parents?"

Elisha bit his lip and choked back a tear. "I wanted to go alone but our parents would not hear of it. They insisted that it would be a sin against God to disobey His King."

Elijah thought about telling them the truth about Ahab, and of what God had sent him to do, but thought better of it. Three days travel lay ahead of them and he thought it best not to burden them with the truth. They would find out for themselves soon enough.

"Do you know what service you have been called for?"

Elisha shook his head. "No, but it is only for a week and to be honest, I could use a vacation from the plow shears. Our fields are full of stones and whatever it is it has to be easier than that. So tell me, why do you go to the Palace?"

Elijah raised his eyebrows. "I don’t recall saying that I was."

Elisha looked a bit sheepish, "It was your prayer- I overheard you say that if you were going to make it to Ahab’s Palace that you would need some food."

Elijah scratched the back of his head." I said nothing of the sort."

Elisha looked confused "but I heard it. In between the part about ‘forgiving your drunkenness’ and needing some food, I heard it plainly."

Elijah’s face turned red. He was not proud of penchant for drink. Yet still he was sure that he had not said anything about going to the palace. But he had however thought it.

Elisha looked apologetic. "I am sorry, I must have been mistaken. It is late and I am tired. I am going to go to bed."

"Wait", Elijah exclaimed.

Elisha stopped and turned. He looked at Elijah’s face in the flickering fire and an odd feeling went through him. "Do you want to tell me something?"

He wanted to tell him everything, but knew that he should not. At least not yet.

"Sleep well, Elisha. God keep you safe."

"And you as well." Elisha smiled, nodded and went over to where his sister slept. He knelt, kissed her forehead and then lay down next to her.

Chapter 6

Things were very quiet next morning. Food was prepared and eaten with almost no conversation. Elisha was "different" somehow. It almost seemed that he was trying not to even look at Elijah. And when Elijah did catch a glimpse of the boy’s expression it was one of apprehension, bordering on fearful.

Elijah looked up at the dull gray morning sky that hung wet and heavy over them; perhaps it was the cause of Elisha’s mood. It certainly wasn’t helping his.

Elijah found Miriam amazing. She had awoken refreshed and unruffled and got right to work preparing the meal, washing the utensils and packing the donkey. You never would have thought that she spent the night sleeping on the ground, for not one hair on her head appeared out of place. Her beautiful skin was unmarred by even one speck of dust or dirt, almost as if it could not stick to here. She had a face that was always welcoming and warm, even when she frowned, which by his estimation was not very often. Yet even her attempts at conversation with her brother had failed.

As they traveled, Elijah took the lead. He spent the entire morning feeling Elisha’s cold stare on his back and was just about fed up with it.

They stooped around noon at a small brook. Miriam wanted to wash their finest clothes, so that they would look their best for the king. As she headed for the stream, Elijah took advantage of her absence and confronted her brother.

"All right. She’s gone so you can tell me whatever the hell it is that is stuck in your craw."

Elisha looked both surprised and embarrassed. "Is it that obvious?"

Elijah eyes grew wide in exasperation and he folded his arms tightly against his chest.

"If by it you mean that you think that I am the epitome of evil and that I should disappear from the face of the earth then- Yes. It is that obvious! So why don’t you enlighten me about this sudden change in feelings."

Elijah reached up and felt the top of his head. "Did I sprout horns overnight?"

Elisha closed his eyes and sighed. "There is something you need to know about me. I am, for lack of a better word, sensitive."

Elijah’s anger had been unleashed and was not so quickly quelled. "And I can be pretty sensitive myself, you know."

Now he was yelling. " In fact I am feeling pretty damn sensitive at this very moment."

Something about Elijah’s wild eyes and words struck Elisha as being quite funny. He tried to stop the laughter and made a face as he attempted to keep it inside.

When Elijah saw his face contort he began to stifle a laugh as well. Neither of them was able to hold it back.

Miriam heard the two of them laughing uproariously and smiled to herself as she continued with her washing.

When they had stopped laughing the teen extended his hand. "I am sorry, Elijah."

Elijah took his hand. "Don’t apologize, just tell me what is going on. What do you mean by saying you are sensitive?"

Elisha looked away and then up at the sky before looking back at Elijah. " I sense things about people."

Elijah starred at him blankly. "What sort of things are we talking about?"

"Feelings, emotions, those type of things. It takes time to filter through to me, I guess because most people bury them so deep. At first I felt a type of strength from you. . ."

Elisha struggled to put his thoughts into words.

"Arrgh-bless me it is so hard to try and explain. In my mind I saw a rock by the seashore, tall and strong, but worn smooth by the constant crashing of the ocean. It’s like that. Sometimes I even feel like I can hear people’s thoughts"

Elijah recalled their conversation last night. He knew that he had not said that he was going to the palace. "And something else that you are sensing from me makes you uneasy?"

A wave of relief came over Elisha face and he blurted out, "You have no idea. I have never felt anything like it. I sense frustration and anger, terrible guilt and regret, and an appalling fear thrown in for good measure. What I don’t know is why you carry all this around with you and it was causing me to worry for my sister and myself. Honestly Elijah-"

Elisha’s brow wrinkled in concern.

-I don’t know how you manage to get through the day."

The color drained from Elijah’s face and he began to loose his balance. Elisha grabbed his arm and helped guide him down to sit on a rock. He looked up with tears in his eyes like a lost child and then buried his face in his hands, sobbing heavily.

Elisha was stunned; he had not expected anything like this. All he could do was look around uncomfortably and pat his back. He had no idea what to say to him.

Miriam arrived from her washing and saw Elijah on his knees crying. She rushed over him and knelt down in front of him. She then looked up at her brother accusingly, as if he was responsible. Elisha lifted up both hands and shook his head no as if to say, "it wasn’t me.

Taking his face in her hands she gently kissed his forehead. She then began to stroke his hair with her right hand.

"Tell us what is wrong. We will do all we can to help you."

Her warm and gentle kiss calmed him. He fought through the sobs to take several deep breaths. Eventually he was again able to speak. He took Miriam’s hand and kissed it gently. " Thank you. I am alright now."

He got up and walked around, wiping the tears that remained on his face with his sleeve.

"I will tell you everything."