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Literature Discussion -


The Tishbite
The Untold Story of Elijah

By Kurt W. Schuller (USA)


Chapter 5

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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 five

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 bony 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 two 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.
 “Lord,” he prayed. “Forgive my drunkenness-”
He paused for a moment as his closed eyes winced in guilt.
 “ - Again.”
Elijah did like his wine. Rarely an evening went by that he did not use it to dull his incessant dissatisfaction. Yet he was always sure that all was in order and his responsibilities were met fully before he drank. It was his vice to be sure, but at least in his mind, he was its master.
“It’s not as if I bought wine instead of food.” He murmured to himself.
It was then that his conscience began to argue with him.
“No, but you could have traded it for some, couldn’t you?” It said in that whiny singsong voice-in-your-head tone that consciences are so very fond of. And it was not finished.
“You might want to reconsider that whole master- servant thing- before you die of starvation!
“Enough!” Elijah yelled in frustration. Sharp pain in his head told him that he would be better off speaking quietly.
“Enough” he whispered and continued his prayer. “I have been and will always be your servant Lord. Any food you can send- a lizard, a snake, a hare, anything, just enough food to carry me through my journey.”
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 said with a slight bow.
“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 lately the Promised Land has become so thick with god’s that I expect to be stepping on one at any moment now. It’s been a long time since I have met 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.
 His eyes were drawn to a charm that hung from a leather strap around her neck. It appeared to be some type of silver bird with jeweled eyes.
Noticing his interest, the girl held the charm up for him to see.
“It’s a raven.” The young girl smiled demurely.
Elijah smiled back at her a bit puzzled. “But ravens are black.”
 The girl’s eyes grew wide. “On that point you are wrong sir. Black is flat and dull. Ravens are ebony which shines and reflects light-”
She looked down at her charm and continued.” - just like this silver.” 
Something about this young girl was soothing to him. As they spoke he realized that his headache had left him.
He bowed his head slightly. “Ebony; in the future I will remember that. I am Elijah and who has God sent me this day?”
 The young man pushed ahead of his sister and reached out his hand. “I am Elisha and this is Miriam, my younger sister. We saw your smoke and thought that you could help us.”
“Of course, any way I can?”
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-”
Now that his head was no longer splitting Elijah found the two of them arguing over blame amusing.
“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.  Miriam made a plate for the two men first, and then went to prepare her own.
Elijah found the food indescribably delicious and devoured his entire plate before Miriam could even finish preparing hers. Seeing this, she stopped, went over to Elijah and asked if he wanted her to prepare more.
“No, please, you need to eat as well.”
She finished and joined them around the fire. Elijah had grown more curious, now that hunger was not on his mind.
“That was the best meal I have had since I left my parents home 7 years ago.”
Miriam blushed a little and looked away.
“She gets it from our mother.” Elisha interjected. “It’s a good thing our farm keeps me so busy or I would weigh 3 stone by now.”
Elisha burped loudly while Miriam rolled her eyes.
 Elijah also burped but he covered it with his hand. “So Miriam, why are you so fascinated with ravens? I had always thought that they were dirty scavengers.”
Miriam looked slightly offended. “Scavengers yes, dirty; no. They are likely the most intelligent creatures that God created. Did you know that have been known to slide and play on the high snow slopes like children. They show understanding, wit and even sympathy. We had some that lived near our farm that I would feed from the excess grain. The day my Grandmother died I went to feed them but was so sad I just sat there and cried. They approached me, even though I had given them no food and rubbed their heads against my hands. Then they let me pet their backs and soon they were perching on my shoulder and arms. For a while I forgot my grief. Next day when I returned with the food and no longer crying they were back to normal, accepting the food but keeping their distance. After that when I saw this charm at a traveling market I just had to buy it.”
“The bird woman of Bethel.” Teased Elisha.
Miriam narrowed her eyes and slapped emphatically at the air in front of her brother to show her dislike of his comment.
“Did you know that they mate for life.” She said with pride.
“No I did not.” Elijah said as he rose to his feet. “But I am a simple shopkeeper and only recently have learned how much I don’t know. But I know this; two as young as you should not be traveling alone. This road has been the target of thieves lately. If you will allow me, I would be glad to travel with you.”
The siblings turned and looked at each other without saying a word. After a few facial gestures passed between them Elisha looked back at Elijah.
“My sister and I would welcome your company, but I can’t pay you anything.”
“Not to worry.” Laughed Elijah. He leaned in close to Elisha and pointed to his stomach. “I work for food.”
 Brother and sister began to giggle. Elijah to began to laugh as well and then it occurred to him how long it had been since he had made a joke, even one as lame as that. He had almost forgotten how sweet the sound of laughter could be.
  As they traveled that day Elijah found out more about both farming and ravens than he ever thought possible, and he had loved every minute of it.
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 both Miriam and Elisha that made it easy for him to talk to, and it wasn’t just their youth. He usually had trouble making conversation with strangers. Life in the hills of Tishbe had left him with little practice at social skills, but it wasn’t just that. He had always been distant. He had no idea why; he could not pinpoint a reason. Like the earth or the sky it just was.  He sometimes thought that he was missing something in his make up, some ability that he had been denied that prevented him from connecting with people. But this was new and exhilaratingly strange territory. With these two young people he had done more than just connected. He felt as though they were family; the brother and sister he had never known. And he liked the way it felt.
“Pardon me for asking” Elijah said, sipping from his tea. “Why were you and your sister traveling alone?
“Our father is sick, requiring constant attention.” Elisha’s face darkened. “Believe me we did not want to leave them, but when the magistrate came to our home and said that the king wanted those our age to go and serve for a few days at the palace, my father left us with no choice, even in his condition”
 Elisha mimicked his father’s voice in a mocking tone. ‘The king must be obeyed!’
The young man grew thoughtful and he seemed to fight back tears. “ I don’t mean that. I love my father. Even though he is frail in body, inside he is still strong and proud. He has given all he had for us, so that we could have an easier life than him. How do you repay that?”
Elijah poked a stick into the fire and stirred the coals. “Does the King know everyone personally? It seems unreasonable that he, or your father, should expect a family in your situation to send you both. One of you could easily have stayed behind while the other did their duty to the king’s commands.”
Elisha looked resigned as he stared into the fire.  “ My father didn’t see it that way,” he sighed. “He 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 could not. He had barely come to grips with it himself. Given Elisha’s loyalty to his father he doubted anything that he said would have stopped them from going.
 No. He thought.  This secret was too terrible to share.
“Do you know what service you have been called for?”
Elisha shook his head and said casually. “No, but it is only for a week and to be honest, I could use a vacation from the plow shears. Our fields grow more stones than grain these days. So tell me, why do you go to the Palace?”
Elijah raised his eyebrows. “I don’t recall saying that I was.”
“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.  Just before the part about ‘forgiving your drunkenness’ and needing some food, I heard it plainly.”
By the dim firelight the boy could not see Elijah’s embarrassment.
“Oh, you heard that part, did you? I guess I do remember saying something along the lines.”
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.
“I was just wondering. You didn’t happen to bring any- ah- wine with. . . “
Elijah saw the confused look on the young mans face.
“You know. For medicinal purposes.”
Elisha’s expression gave him his answer.
“My father says that wine is a slow poison, consuming men’s strength of will till there is nothing left.”
Elijah, feeling the sting of this rebuke, couldn’t have disagreed more, but the hour was late and he had no wish to argue with the people who had befriended him.
Elisha saw the look of embarrassment on his face, even in the dim firelight.
“Anyway, that’s what he always told me, but he’s an old man and – times are different these days.”
 “Your father is a wise man. I really should give it up.  Sorry to have bothered you. Sleep well. 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 beside her.
Elijah lay down and pulled his bedding up around his neck. As he tried to sleep he thought of what Elisha had said. He had never seen his drinking as anything close to poisonous. It was the incentive to get to the end of the day. If anything had been sapping his will it was not the wine, but something else.
“Nothing consumes a man faster than failure.” He sighed.

Continued Next Week

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