Friday, August 3, 2012

Heretic Husband And The Temple Of The Holy Spirit

I find that fiction is sometimes a good method of self exploration.  I’ve read personal stories from many people who feel they are wandering in a spiritual wilderness.  I can relate.  

I hope you enjoy this.  Maybe we’ll meet in the wilderness some day.  

-HH



“HH, I think it’s about time to call it a day.”

I rubbed the sweat off my forehead before it got the chance to drip into my eyes and took a swig from my canteen.  I sighed and turned to my faithful companion, Hitch.

“I’m not going back empty handed.” I explained patiently, for what I’m positive was the hundredth time.

Hitch took the canteen from me without asking and drained half of it.

“We’ve been walking through this God forsaken desert all day, and haven’t seen anything!  Are you sure this temple isn’t just a myth?”
“No.” I said through gritted teeth.
Hitch shook his head.  “I’m too old to be chasing legends.”
I smiled.  “What else is worth chasing?”

We walked in silence for a while.  I didn’t take my companion’s words personally.  Hitch just needed to rant every now and then.  Sometimes I’m even tempted to listen.  There were certainly no signs that a temple had ever been here.  And supplies were running low.

“Let’s walk to the top of that dune, we’ll get a better view.” I said.
“Great.  Another dune.”
I handed him the binoculars.  “Look.”
Hitch looked through.  “An oasis!”

**********

Hitch scrambled up the dune with renewed energy.  He collapsed to his hands and knees and started slurping the water from the spring that was it’s main point of interest.

“PAH!”  He spit it out.
“What?” I said, concerned.
“The water’s bitter.  The spring is contaminated.”  Hitch got up, disheartened.
I grabbed his arm.  “Listen.  Someone’s coming.”

A group of nomads approached on camels.  My hand dropped to my pistol, but the nomads seemed quite friendly.

“Hail, fellow travelers!  We welcome you to our oasis!  Please, drink from our spring.” the leader said.
“Your spring is contaminated.” Hitch said bluntly.
The leader’s smile became distinctly forced.  “You must be mistaken.”
Hitch bent down, filled the canteen and handed it to the leader.  “See for yourself.”

The leader took a swig.  His followers looked on, concerned.  They relaxed when he laughed.  

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.  This is the same water we always drink.”  

I was dumbfounded and about to argue, but Hitch put his hand on my arm.
“Let it go.” he whispered.  “They’ve been drinking it for so long, they can’t even tell it’s bitter.”
“We’re almost out of water.” I said.  “This is better than nothing.  If we don’t find anything soon, we’ll---” I stopped and knelt down.
“What?  Do you see something?” Hitch said excitedly.
I started brushing at the sand.  
“There’s nothing there!” Hitch said.  But he knelt with me.

I kept brushing.  There was a stone floor underneath the sand.  Slowly, an image took form.  An image of God dressed in flowing white robes was painted on the stone.

“There’s more!” Hitch said.  He started wiping too.  It was a mural depicting God driving off hordes of demons and casting them into a fiery pit.

“This must be where the temple was.” I said, the thrill of discovery upon me.
“Some members of our tribe built a temple here.”  the nomad leader said. “They left a long time ago.  They said the water was bitter too.”
He looked like he was gearing up for a speech, but one of the other nomads interrupted with a shout.

“Look out!” She pointed at the sky.  I looked up.  Winged creatures were flying overhead.  They didn’t look like anything I had ever seen.  Then I realized what they were.

They were the demons from the mural.

The nomads pulled guns, as did Hitch and I.  But it was too late.  The creatures dropped from the sky and landed catlike in our midst.

We never had a chance.

Our bullets had no effect.  One by one we watched the nomads fall, slashed to ribbons by the demon’s sharp claws.  

Their blood covered the mural.

**********

I woke groggily.  I was back at base camp, and I had a throbbing headache. Hitch was sitting next to my bed, reading.  When he saw I was awake, he shut the book.
“What happened?” I said.
“You got knocked out.  I got us the hell out of there.”
“Did anyone else make it out alive?”
“I don’t think so.”

I got up.  My head was throbbing.  Hitch offered me a stiff drink, which I accepted gladly.

“You’re going back, aren’t you?” he said disapprovingly.
“Yep.  And you’re coming with me, aren’t you?”
He sighed.  “Of course.  You’d get yourself killed without me.”

I just smiled and reloaded my pistol.




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