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Literature Discussion -


The Tishbite
The Untold Story of Elijah

By Kurt W. Schuller (USA)


Chapter 24

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This manuscript (currently titled "the Tishbite" but I am considering "A Man of God") is unfinished This Is a fictional account of the life of Elijah. It is raw and powerful reflecting the actual state of life at the time.It has a strong sexual theme which is necessary because of the story it tells. It is both inspirational as well as entertaining. It was written to entertain the reader first.` Your feedback is welcome I hope you enjoy.

Part one: A Man Of God

Chapter Twenty-four

Chapter 24
Elijah was downright proud of his hand-dug shelter. He had furnished it rather comfortably by wilderness standards, with hand built tables and chairs. He had even fashioned himself a type of mattress, made from the dug out soil and covered with soft and fragrant branches of Juniper. 
That morning, the ravens brought him his food right on schedule. He brought it into his shelter and put it on the table. Going down to the brook he filled his skin with the cold clean water and walked back up the steep trail. He sat down for his morning meal and was about to take his first bite when something caught his eye. There was a brief sparkle that had flashed on the back wall of his dugout shelter. At first he thought it might be a reflection from something outside, and he carefully crept out of the cave and looked out over the valley below. There was no one there. Going back into his shelter he examined the wall it had come from when he saw it again. A small crystal seemed to be imbedded in the wall. Elijah got a little excited. Perhaps there were precious stones in this mountain. He carefully dug at the crystal. What he revealed took his breath away. The crystal was part of a stone sculpture, carved out of the mountains own rock. The more he dug, the more was revealed. This carving decorated the frame of a door- it was a tomb door.
Elijah worked frantically to uncover it. When he had finished he sat back down and returned to his meal. As he ate he seemingly could not take his eyes off the door. It was almost as if he feared it would open up and swallow him if he looked away.
Elijah surmised that at some time long ago a landslide must have covered over the tomb’s entrance. He finished his meal and washed it down with the cold brook water. He continued to stare at the door.
He did not want to give up his “home”, yet the uncertainty of what lay behind the door made him frightened. He decided that he would confront his fears and attempt to open the door. The door itself consisted of rough-hewn cedar logs, which had resisted the degrading forces of nature and remained strong and solid. Elijah got his small spade and wedged the blade between the door’s edge and the stone frame and tried to move the door a bit. It moved just enough for him to reach his fingers in and get a grasp on the door. Elijah took a deep breath and pulled with all his might. He was able to open it just enough for him to slip his body through it. He peered through the narrow opening and was surprised to see the flicker of firelight. He had been prepared for the stench of death, but there was no such assault. Instead, he was greeted by the slight scent of fragrant burial oils, like those that he had used to prepare Miriam’s body. His breathing shallow and quick from excitement and fear, he entered the tomb.
Inside was a body, wrapped in burial cloth, lying on a stone slab. There was a pair of lit torches on each side of it. Elijah approached it carefully and examined the tombs occupant. It seemed to be a young man, probably about his age at the time he had died. He could have been laid there that morning, the body showing no sign of decay. There were deep bloodless scratches across the cadavers face. Whatever had killed him, he had been scrupulously and lovingly cleansed for burial. Elijah stared into his face, jumping when he heard a noise off to the side. He turned toward it and saw the silhouette of an old and feeble, yet seemingly alive, man in the dim firelight.
The two men starred at each other silently and did not move.
The old man broke the silence. “Are you a man of God?”
“What?” was all the confused Elijah was able to say.
“Are you- a man- of God? It’s a simple question. Yes or no will do for now. Essay questions will come later.”
“Yes” Elijah said confidently. He was slowly regaining his composure.
“Good.” the man smiled. “Very good.”
He walked over to the slab and looked down at the body. Looking up at Elijah he smiled. “Only men of God allowed here you know.”
Elijah could not keep the question inside. “Are you -alive?”
The old man snapped his head and starred at Elijah as if in anger, but then his face softened. “Don’t think so. But it seems that I am not dead either.”
Elijah struggled to get his mind around was happening.
“So. Man of God. What year is it?”
Year- is- it” interrupted the old man in frustration. “ Yes, yes, yes, that is the question on the floor at the moment. Now answer, please!”
Elijah spit out the year angrily. He decided that he did not like this man.
The man looked as if he had been punched in the stomach. He stumbled and steadied himself against the slab, sitting down next to the body.
“60 years” he whispered, shaking his head from side to side. “60 years”
Elijah forgot his anger and began to feel some sympathy for him.
“You have been here for 60 years? How is that possible?”
The old man just starred at the floor and seemed to be talking to himself. “ I thought a year, maybe two, but not sixty!”
The old man continued to talk to himself for a while and then stopped and looked up at Elijah.
“You still here?  Possible- yes. How is this possible? I don’t know. I haven’t eaten or taken a drink all the while I’ve been here. I think that I must be some kind of ghost.”
Once again the old man looked down at the floor and mumbled to himself.
“You’d think I’d be able to float around or something but no-o-o-.”
“What do you do?” asked Elijah
“What? You still here? Oh- you mean what do I do- while I’m in here?”
. The man looked at the body. “I tend to him”
Elijah looked at the man, speechless.
“Each day I clean his body and wrap him in burial robes. I have done it every day for more than 60 years-“ the man looked back down at the floor “-apparently.”
Elijah’s mind raced. “Why? How? You must be -“
The Old man raised his hand to quiet Elijah. He looked different somehow.
“I remember now.”  The voice was calm yet somber. He had a look of resignation.
“Because I killed him!”
“I don’t understand”-
The old man put his finger to Elijah’s lips to quiet him. It was as cold as stone.
“Neither do I.” His voice grew weak and sad. “Neither do I”
The man got up from the slab and began to pace slowly.
“This young man was a great and powerful prophet, sent by God to rebuke Jeroboam at the altar in Bethel.” The old man tilted his head to the side and looked at Elijah. “Do you know who that is?”
“Yes, my mother educated me at home. I was made to memorize all the kings.”
“Good woman! Too many people fail to grasp the importance of history, you know” The man took on a sarcastic expression. “Especially we children of Israel. Which is why we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over. O well, back to my story. The king was not very accepting of this rebuke and reached out his hand to grab him. It was then that the king’s hand became withered and disfigured. The king found himself frozen to the altar and unable to bring his hand back to himself. He begged the prophet to restore him, which he did. In gratitude the king asked him to eat with him in the palace. The man of God said no. He said that God had commanded him to leave this place and not eat or drink there. And so he left.”
The old man sighed. “And then I heard about what he had done. I had been a prophet in my youth and longed to speak to another chosen one. My days as a prophet had been both terrifying and exhilarating. Once you cease to be one, well”-
The man fell silent for a few moments.
“- nothing is ever the same, is it? Anyway, I wanted to sit down with this man and talk to him. That’s all. Just talk to him. I sought him out and invited him to my home. He declined my invitation, saying that the Lord had forbidden him from eating or drinking with anybody in this land. And that’s when I cursed us both.”
The old man looked at his hands. Slowly he curled his fingers together to make them into fists. When the fists were formed he continued to squeeze harder and harder until both of his arms were shaking. And then he stopped and opened his fists and buried his face in his hands.
“I lied to him.” He sobbed through his hands pressed against his face.
“I told him an angel had come to me and said it would be alright for him to eat with me.”
He sat up. “Since I had said that I was once a prophet he believed me.”
The old man looked at the body and seemed to speak to it. “You were too trusting my brother.”
He got up and began to pace again. “So we ate and we talked. It was thrilling. I told him of my adventures and visions and he shared his with me. We had so much in common, I felt closer to him than I did to my own sons. And then I felt it, the way I had so many years ago.”
Elijah understood what he meant. “The presence of God.” He said to himself.
“Yes” shouted the man. “Truly you are a man of God. Yes, I felt what had so long been gone from me, that special intimacy with the God of all creation. The complete and utter absence of any human need save one; to touch the face of God.”
And then the look of exhilaration fell from his face, tumbling into a sea of sadness.
“God used me, His prophet, to condemn the man that I had tricked. With my mouth I pronounced God’s judgment on him for failing to obey His command.”
The old man looked at the body once more. “I can still see the look of betrayal on his face. I had deceived him and caused him to sin. With the same lips I cast judgment on him. Ironic eh.”
He bent down over the body and flicked some dust off of its shoulder.
“So he left me, head hung in shame. A short while from my house, a lion came on him, killing him. We found his body, still being guarded by the lion, lying on the side of road. My family and I took the place of his family. We mourned for him; we took care of the body and buried him here in my tomb. I told my sons that when I died they were to bury us here together because we were, in a sense, true brothers.”
The old man sat down on the slab and sighed. “So one day finally, I closed my eyes in death, and when next I opened them I was here- with him.”
The old man put his cold hand on Elijah’s shoulder. “We are separate from other men, Elijah, being chosen by God carries a high price here in this world. We pay it in guilt, we pay it in loneliness, and we pay it in rejection and derision-”
He turned toward the slab. “- and sometimes we pay for it with our lives. Yet, no matter what the cost, I would do it all over again-.”
The man looked around at tomb that had held his being for so long.
“-even this.” He said arms outstretched, palms facing out.
He got up and walked to the door and motioned to Elijah to leave. “Remember what you saw here today.” He said gently.
Elijah paused in front of him and bowed his head. The old man put his cold hand on his head and then gently patted the side of his face. Elijah squeezed through the door and left and the door closed behind him. He fell to his feet and leaned back against the door, exhausted by what he had been through. And then he realized something.
“I never told you my name.” he exclaimed.
Jumping to his feet, he took the spade and pried the door open once again. Only this time it flung wide open with great ease.
Shocked, Elijah looked into the tomb, now bathed in light from the wide open door. The torches were out and upon the stone slab were two skeletons lying next to each other.
“Go with God, my brothers.” He whispered.

Continued Next Week

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