Bitter

winner

My latest over at Christian Flash Weekly won Grand Champion again. The prompt is the bible passage: Miriam sang to them, ‘Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.’ Here’s what I wrote:

“Water! Water!” someone screamed.

And they wept. At least some of them—those in whom enough moisture to do so remained in their bodies. They fell to their knees, and wept.

Three days had passed. Three, long hard days. Hot days, thirsty days and now, at last they saw water.

They’d gone from the heights of elation to the depths of despair in three short days. Hot days, thirsty days.

Then someone saw water and another screamed it.

Had they been able to express it, surely they would announce their exaltations, but they were hot and tired and thirsty. Dry, and cracking like the ground below their feet.

And there it sat, under the bright blue sky, the pool of water.

Some tried to echo the first, but the revelation only limped past leathered lips.

Hanging to the group’s rear, he smiled at his brother and thanked the LORD.

They would be eagles again, they would soar along the wind, held aloft in the spirit again; they could breathe again.

Slow but sure they trudged forward; their sandals kicking up dirt and sand.

They would sing again, not of the sea, but of the little water and again, they would be free, free from thirst, from heat, and despair. They would sing as Miriam sang, of the glorious LORD, the exalted LORD who would again lift them and they would lift their arms and their voices to the sky.

In their long approach, many turned to look at him and his brother. They smiled at him and mouthed things like “blessed be the Lord,” “thank you,” and “we’re saved.”

The first to arrive fell to both knees and dipped his hands into the water. He washed his face and wiped his arms, then he drank, drank deep and long and heavy.

At once he spat it out, screamed “it’s bitter!” and the whole of them, turning again to him, their leader, grumbled and their spirits and hope fell like the horse and its rider into the sea.


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