Storytime: “The Siege”
Once upon a time, I was a storyteller. All of our religious traditions use the power of fiction and metaphor to illustrate truth. Here is a short story I wrote last year called “The Siege”. I hope it gives you something to think about. Enjoy.
“Lord, we know that through you all things are possible.” She tilted her age-creased face back and lifted her hands above her head. “Cleanse my grandson of this unclean spirit.”
His father, with a 12 gauge over his left shoulder, looked back at his family from the side of the dark bay window. The days-old stench of sweat and diarrhea soaked the air and curdled in his stomach as the illness siphoned life and fluid from his son. He coughed with his hand over his mouth and nose and said, “How’s the fever, Grace?”
His mother took the thermometer from the boy’s mouth and shook the mercury. She squinted at the reading in a living room starved of light. A smile unzipped across her face as her son groaned below her. “Down to 102!”
“Praise Jesus,” he said with a nod and turned away. He stuck his index finger into the scales of closed mini-blinds and scanned for more FBI agents. A blade of sunlight cut through the darkness and painted a dusty yellow ribbon on the carpet just below the boy. The mother and grandmother clapped and danced around him, singing hymns to a god they believed didn’t want the help of doctors. Dry sweat and mucus crusted on the boy’s face. His voice trembled and cracked beneath the thunder of song and praise as a request for water withered upon his last breath.