Endurance Excerpt

Chapter One
FEAR

The year was sometime before Christ.  The place was some land outside of Eden.  In this time man often roamed from place to place going wherever there was water and game to hunt. While his father was off hunting for meat, Michael, the son of Seth, sat by the ocean, to the west of the camp, fishing for rocks. 

The ocean was rough that day.  The waves were crashing down right before Michael.  But Michael, looking for large smooth stones that he could use to make spears, wasn’t concerned about the crashing waves.

Michael was only eighteen years old and had yet to know fear.  In fact, nobody from his camp knew what fear was.  Michael’s people were taught to be strong.  They grew up knowing that they were mighty and that there was nothing impossible to them that followed the almighty God.  

Michael knew God from a young age.  Every time he worked; he said a prayer.  Every time he needed victory over something; he said a prayer.  He depended on God for food, clothing, good weather and victory over the enemies of God.  And God had never failed Him.

Thus, when Michael saw a tall stranger approaching, he took notice but was not alarmed.  To run would be to show weakness.  So, Michael stood his ground and pulled a small knife from a sheath around his wrist. 

When the man came to within twenty feet, Michael stood up.

“Who is it that approaches?”

The man stopped.  He stood approximately seven feet tall and wore armor made of stone.  His skin was like the color of sand.  His eyes changed colors, from red to green, to black.  Sweat glistened on the visible part of his arms.  His lips were dry, cracked and bleeding, and his fingernails were black.

“Why are you not afraid of me?” the tall man exclaimed.

“What is it to be afraid?”

“I can take your life…”

 “And to take it from me you would have to…  For, I would not freely give it.  But if it were taken, I would be at peace.  I am the light of God’s eyes.”

The tall man stood there peering at Michael with his dark eyes.  “I roam from place to place.  Some people I kill.  Some people I spare.  Everywhere I go, where people don’t know fear, they know it soon after I leave.”

“What is this fear?”

“Same thing as being afraid.  It means you become weak before me.”

“Everything is always going to be alright.  Depart from me.”  Michael raised his head to the sky.  “Oh God, forgive me for opening my ears and mouth to this demon.  I pray for peace.  I pray for your strength and power to defeat this enemy of your name.”

“Where is this God you pray to? I’m still here.”

Michael was approximately six-three.  His frame was skinny.  He was not the strongest eighteen-year-old man of his clan, but he was known as the most agile.  He was an excellent leaper.

Michael ran forth leaping in the air swinging his knife at the eye of his foe.  His foe plucked him from the sky and held him to the ground.

He stared into Michael’s eyes.  “Look into my eyes.”

Michael sat motionless with his eyes closed.

“Look into my eyes.”

Michael opened his eyes and saw visions of his father, mother, and sisters dying.  He saw their skeletons.  He saw the pain that he would be left with.  Then he saw that the stranger was now gone.

Michael returned to camp lifeless.  His mother approached him and questioned the look of sadness in his eyes.

“What is wrong, my son?”

Michael just sat there.

“I said, what is wrong?”

“I’ve seen my family’s death and the pain that it will cause me.  It has brought sorrow to my heart.”

“Where have you been? To whom have you been talking to?”

The elders of the clan sat huddled together around the fire.  Michael’s father Seth stood in the middle of them speaking. 

“The enemy of God has come to destroy us.  We must root this evil from our camp.  We must go to the place of our Lord in the mount and pray.”

“What about your son?”

“What about him?”

“We must keep him separate from everyone else.  He is cursed.”

“My son is not cursed.  There is nothing that is too hard for our God.  We shall bring him with us to pray, and he shall be delivered.”

“I will not go with him!” one of the elders of the clan exclaimed.

“You all can stay.  I will go alone with my son.  It is a three days journey.  After we depart, we shall not eat until we have reached the mount to pray.”

Seth stood over the fire and crumpled ashes over the flames creating a mist of ash over the camp.  “Everyone here shall pray while we are gone.  Stand, watch over the camp.  Do not let this stranger come in.  The strongest men should take turns covering the camp.”

“You are the strongest of everyone,” his wife, Ruth said.  “You should stay.  Let me take Michael.”

“You are a woman,” Seth said as he looked into her loving brown eyes.  Her skin was dark like coal, beautiful and mesmerizing, and without blemish.  Seth couldn’t stand the thought of her coming back scarred. 

“So what?  I am a woman of your flesh.  I come from you.”

“I know how you were formed.  I know that God watches over you.  But I do not want anyone to trouble you.”

“I will not be troubled.  This strange demon may have bothered Michael, but Michael is still a skilled warrior.  And I have my bow.  Just trust me.  We are at war.  Everyone will have to stand up and fight, whether they be women or children.  For if this stranger comes in and raids our camp, both women and children will be slaves to the enemies that surround us.”

Seth’s dark skin was covered with sweat as he stood close to the flames of the fire.  His wife looked him up and down; she knew he had to stay and protect.  He was the strongest man.  She reached for his face and tugged on his thick black beard. She kissed his lips softly.

“So be it,” he said. 

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