Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Paul in Arabia: A Novel" by Tucker Cordani, Part Four

Judas combed his fingers through his beard. “Well. I don’t understand. Something’s happened to him. I wonder whether what I’ve heard from my sources is true. No matter. No sense standing in the doorway. My wife’s off at the market otherwise I’d offer you something. Meantime, why not just bring him in?”

“What do we do with him?”

“Follow me. I’ve got the perfect place for him.”

They dumped Saul in the room behind the kitchen, shut and barred the door.
When they came to the house on Straight Street, they gave Saul wine to drink with water but he refused. Then they sat him down and kept watch over him. They carried him into the house, the companions, one on his left, the other on his right. Saul remained in darkness for three days. He rolled himself into a ball, shriveled in the corner, his knees tucked up into his chest. He slept all afternoon, and awoke after dark. He attempted to stand up, but settled for kneeling, and he groped around the walls, searching for the door. Cold and alone, he realized there was a reason why he was there, locked into this room, in the house of a stranger. Who was this Judas? What happened to have brought him to this lowly state?

He picked himself up from the dust and rose to his knees. Light shone through the cracks in the shades and the dust from the ceiling filtered and sparkled as it floated through the air and rested upon the floor. The light. He remembered it now. Light. Silence. Then pain. He gripped the soil and the voice of the man—whoever he was—was calling (“Saul! Saul!”) in Hebrew.

It was a crisis for Saul, this sudden blindness for three days. He neither ate nor drank anything, for his appetite was gone as often happened following a crisis of the soul. These were days of terrible stress and strain.

He waited, kneeling in the dark, waiting for somebody to come and tell him what to do. So he did the only thing he could do: He prayed.

The End of the Excerpt

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