(Please read chapters 1-5 for context.)
reading time: 8 minutes
You’ve had a rough day. At the office, you witnessed your boss breaking the law. If you do the honorable thing and report him, you may never earn another paycheck in your line of work again.
You arrive in front of home and search for a song on your phone that will end your day on a positive note.
The heavy sigh and slumping sound on your torn car seat surprises you. Is there someone else in the car?
There must be more to this life than what you live each day.
Will someone one day see through the fake you and, in your nakedness, announce your secret sins to everyone you know and love?
Hiding the truth is exhausting, but admitting the truth will kill you.
No song exists today to help. You pull up to the curb, your back sore from the long drive. As you step out of the car, you slip on the icy street and grab the car door to remain upright. Home is just moments away.
A man walks up, raising his hands to stop you.
Who is this guy?
He looks all around, then hands you a gift-wrapped package. “Our lives hang in the balance, and you are running out of time.” He smiles. “You took a step into this Story, and if you continue, you will never be the same. Go and tell others about him.”
He walks away. You look at the package in your hands.
Is this a bomb?
The box is easily held in one hand. But the weight somehow touches into tomorrow and beyond. It reeks of importance. Value. It may even be priceless.
It is dangerous, but strangely enough, it is safe.
On this cold winter evening, your big coat can hide the gift for the walk to the front door. You turn your head in all directions, careful of every step, and walk to the safety of home.
After the door clicks shut behind you, your hands tremble as you tear open the box. And there it is. Is that a camera? It looks like a clip-on GoPro type of camera, but the thick layer of crusted dirt makes it appear to be hundreds of years old.
Your nostrils flare as something unfamiliar radiates near you.
The dirt does not come off with a simple swipe. Firm rubbing with the front of your good work shirt cleans off some of the dirt. The layer underneath has what looks like old bloodstains. You try to scrape them off with your fingernail, but there’s too much, and it’s too thick. The blood under your fingernails radiate a tingling warmth up your arms.
Your hands stop shaking, and the grip is now strong and sure. The cable attaches perfectly from the camera to your laptop.
A crescendo of crying and pleading voices begins. Adjusting the volume does not stop them. You cover your ears, but the cries are inside your head.
You press a button, and the voices move to the background. Grainy images appear on your screen.
It is evening. There is a desert. A young woman looks down toward your perspective as her eyes reflect the rising moonlight. The stars are bright that night. She smiles when she looks down at you, but the smile disappears when she quickly looks from side to side. The camera must be attached to her clothing near her stomach area. Her hand covers over you as if she is rubbing the camera. You move up and down with the rhythm of hoofs on the ground with grunting noises.
The rocking stops. A few minutes later, it starts and then stops again. This happens several times. The young woman wipes her eyes as she turns her head in all possible directions. A drop from her eyes overhead drops below onto the lens of the camera as movement increases in pace.
You are fleeing for your life.
The scene cuts, and now the night sky is above. Or, is it night or something bright is above? Your position changes with a young child’s movements and laughter echoing in the background. People with shepherd staffs and sheep come and marvel at you. They study you like you are living gold. Three men in regal colored clothing compared to the others, place what appears to be items of value near you. The same young woman riding on the animal before, wipes her eyes as if they are receiving a sad treasure.
The young woman closes her eyes as all the people bow down toward you.
You are then running inside a house made of mortar and stone toward a room up ahead. The camera must be attached to the upper body of a child as it is low to the ground. You are carrying what looks like an old hammer and hand it to a carpenter working on a beam of wood. The carpenter stops to hug you as you laugh and run away.
With another cut, the camera is farther above the ground, apparently on the chest of an adult. You walk into the same room made of stone cut into a side of a hill and begin working with several tools and pieces of wood. The carpenter is no longer there. Your hands master a heavy hammer and nails as if you created them.
The wood almost cries out as you pound the nails into the beam.
Suddenly, you see sand and small pebbles glimmering through glassy water. A splash causes bubbles all around. When they clear, a blue sky pierces through the water. You rise above the surface and water drips from the camera lens.
Someone at your side points to you. A crowd watches you from the shoreline. A gentle booming voice from somewhere above speaks. People in the crowd bend down as if trying to avoid a low-flying object. They point to a beautiful bird flying overhead.
You are now in the desert. Alone. Moving slowly. Staggering. The camera moves side to side, and no water or food is nearby.
A shadow blocks the sun. There is what you can only describe as a dark light in front of you. Someone must be standing in front of you, but there is no sign of a physical body. Drops of blood stain the sand.
Pleading voices cry out as if radiating from the stains on the desert floor. You cover your ears as they get louder.
Who will stop the cries for help?
A voice in front taunts you and is almost drowned out by the rising pleading voices. You slump down as if something heavy has been thrust onto your shoulders. You stagger again, then fully rise.
The dark light staggers backward away from you.
Another cut. Dozens of people surround you as the camera pans the area. It looks like a busy street. A man stands before you. Sores ooze out fluid on his outstretched arms.
You place your hand on the man’s head. He falls to his knees, bowing before you. He heaves in sobs. Hands lift him up, and the sores are gone.
Next scene.A little girl lies on a bed in a pool of sweat. Her chest is not moving. Clumped, tangled hair covers one eye, and the other eye is closed.
People are sobbing nearby. A man and a woman heaving in unity hold each other
You bend down and place a hand on the girl.
Gasps fill the room and transform into crying, and then into laughing. All gather and hold each other.
The parents hug the little girl. They lift her off the bed. Her eyes lock with yours as if she knows a secret that only the two of you know.
The light in her eyes is unlike any you have ever seen.
Her eyes illuminate the daylight engulfing the room. Her gentle and little hand turns into a fist and then opens.
She nods once and smiles like she picked a fight she was never supposed to win.
People, stone buildings, and desert hills are spinning, and men are laughing. The camera is attached to clothing. You spin in the air and then fall to the ground. The screen goes dark.
Someone turns you over and the darkening sky fills your view. A large wooden beam sticks out of the ground and pierces the coming night. At the top of your field of vision, you see two feet attached to the beam with metal spikes. The cries from above and others nearby burn your ears and seeps into an ache reaching your chest.
Blood drips onto the camera.
You are witnessing a murder.
The images stop.
You shake your head. You have never seen someone killed before.
Why would anyone kill this man?
Who was that man?
How is His story your Story?
Searching for answers, you grab the box the camera came in and find a note at the bottom of it.
“I am with you.”
Raise up the other Story,
Charles Anthony Solorio
One life can change everything.
top photo credit Richard Lee, Unsplash
middle photo credit Evan Bollag, Unsplash
Meet me at charlesanthonysolorio.com for more challenging and provocative ideas and thoughts and to download a free chapter from my novella, New Seed and Hard Ground. Contact me and let me know what your thoughts are regarding my blog posts. I will respond as I am able. See you then!