What Are You Trying to Tell Me?

I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write.

jewish paul

Image credit: Drake Dunaway – the Jewish Paul

He closed his Bible at the end of 2 Thessalonians 3:17 and pondered. Did Paul know that his letters, those that survived to be canonized anyway, would become binding instructions for all Christianity nearly two-thousand years into the future? Could his letters really be compared to the writing of the Prophets in the Old Testament, and especially the words of Jesus in the Gospels?

“It’s in the Bible and Pastor says that’s good enough, but is it really? It’s not like Jesus was dictating the letters to Paul. There are some parts of the epistles he said were his own judgment and not of the Spirit.”

He knew both the Jews and the Church believed Paul invented a new religion called Christianity that totally broke from everything that had been written in the first two-thirds of the Bible. If God wanted to write a “love letter” to humanity, why was it a letter that’s so hard to understand, and with so many contradictions?

If God wrote a “love letter” like so many mushy, feely people at his church keep telling him, why were there so many different interpretations?

“I know. Pastor said it was because of sin, but all of the questions I ask him, he has pat, one word or one sentence answers to. Isn’t God more complicated than that?”

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Mindgasm

sexual assault

Image found at nocutnews.co.kr

Disclaimer: Given the writing prompt for today, I created a story that is PG-13, and bordering on R. The tale includes themes of sexual assault and violence, so please be advised.

“No, please no. Not now.”

Tiffany wasn’t sure he could hear her thoughts yet, but Ingmar was definitely in her head again.

It was her parents’ twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and she and her two brothers were taking them out to dinner at Quince’s. She hadn’t even thought about him lately. It had been weeks since he had last assaulted her, and she had been desperately hoping he’d moved on to some other woman or man. From what he had leaked into her brain, that was his pattern. He bored easily.

“Why here? Why now?”

“Because I can. Because it will be humiliating.”

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Sacrifice

spider-man

The cover art for Spider-Man issue 33 (1963)

“You’re going to be fine. Just hang in there. We’ve got heavy equipment coming. We’ll have the two of you out of there in an hour.”

“What?”

Ben Howard was on his knees. How did he get here? Wait. The earthquake. The little girl was going to be killed. Somehow he managed to push her in a hollow space as tons of concrete and steel rained down around them. What was that about heavy equipment?

“Can you hear me?”

Ben opened his eyes, not realizing they’d been closed. There was an opening in the rubble just in front of him. A firefighter. That’s who was talking to him.

The girl! He looked down. She was unconscious but breathing, thank God. Oh no.

“She’s not going to make it. Damn it! I didn’t push her all the way clear. An artery got nicked. She’ll bleed out. You’ve got to do something.”

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The Too Close Encounter

alien ship

Found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie blog – No photo credit given

Captain Isaiah Morrison, for such had he once been called, late of the Confederate States Army, having found himself without a home or family, thanks to that damned Yankee Major General William Sherman and his “Scorched Earth policy,” had spent these past ten years in the Territories of the untamed West prospecting for gold (among other activities). His living was meager but sufficient, and now approaching middle-age, a time when men add distinction to the beginnings of waning vigor, he was riding his paint toward town in the hour before dawn to resupply and spend some few short hours in the bed of a hired woman.

The stars were brilliant above him and he stopped momentarily to appreciate the grandeur of God’s great masterpiece, spread before him in all its splendor, ancient, spinning fires contrast against the utter blackness of the infinite void.

Sentient indigenous experiment number 47 commencing. Approaching two mammalian life forms, sentient biped atop non-sentient, non-intelligent quadriped [query: could this be a mating practice].

Morrison was captivated by one star which did not match the pattern of the others. For one thing, it was moving against the flow of the constellations, for the second, it was growing larger, and finally, it was approaching his position.

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The Last Rose of Babylon

last rose of babylon

Babylon Eyes Rose

The great Bavel had been destroyed long ago and it was time to leave its ruins. She had been hiding among the worshipers of the Church of the East because it was the only place left to go. Like her mother and her mother’s mother before her, Warda concealed the truth of her identity and her faith. Now that the Muslims had conquered this land, only a few Christians chose to remain.

She took her place in one of the wagons in the caravan with the other women. They would go north. India was supposed to be safe and the Church had established itself there.

The women and girls prattled on, some gossiping, others fretting about the future, would their daughters be able to find husbands where they were going and such.

She felt a little like Esther, wearing a mask to shroud the name Hadassah. Her mask was Warda, an Arabic name, because these Christians would never understand why a Jew would be a follower of the Christ and still see herself as a Jew.

It had been over 700 years ago that Rav Yeshua died his bloody, symbolic, sacrificial death, and then to fulfill the promise of the resurrection, rose again with the promise of the ultimate restoration of Israel. One day he would return as the King ,and the few Jewish disciples would no longer have to hide in the galut. Until then, Shoshana, the last rose of Babylon, her daughters, and her daughters’ daughters would remain in obscurity. Someday, like Hadassah, she would take off the mask and ask for the King’s favor in saving her people from the Muslims and the Christians alike.

I wrote this for the Sunday Writing Prompt “It’s All in the Title” challenge hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The idea is to select one or more titles from the ten listed and then write a poem, short story, or other creative work based on it. Obviously I chose The Last Rose of Babylon.

I looked up Babylon of course, with the idea of telling a tale of its destruction and someone leaving the great Bavel (the Hebrew name of the city) for the last time.

The Muslim’s conquered Mesopotamia in the mid-7th century CE and dissolved the Church of the East, marginalizing or destroying Christianity in that part of the world. Babylon had long since been destroyed at that time, but records mention a small village called Babel which may have been built on its ruins.

What we call Christianity today started out as a wholly Jewish religious movement, a strong variant of Pharisaism, with a group of thousands of Jews devoted to Rav Yeshua (Jesus Christ) as the promised Messiah. Even centuries after the Biblical period, it is thought that there were still some Jews who remained his disciples, living and practicing as Jews rather than “converting” to Christianity, which by that time, was made up largely of non-Jews who had completely re-interpreted the scriptures to eliminate Jewish faith and praxis.

In this case, my Shoshana (which means “rose” in Hebrew) is disguised as Warda in order to practice her faith, and yet she remains devoted to her Rav as a Jew, much like Hadassah hid the truth of her being Jewish behind the name of Esther.

I thought this a fitting story given that today is the Christian Easter in the Western world as well as the second day of Passover.

The Agency

colin salmon

Actor Colin Salmon as Charles Robinson in the 1999 film “The World is Not Enough.”

“Who are you, where am I, and where the hell is my solicitor?”

“Right now Ms. Parker, my name and your location aren’t important and frankly neither are your so-called rights. Our records indicate you are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for, so you might want to be a bit more civil.”

The African-British gentleman, for that’s the image he had so carefully crafted, was sitting across a metal table from his prisoner, a young woman in her late teens. The most obvious aspects of her appearance were dominated by black attire, tattoos and body piercings.

“I want my solicitor.”

“This isn’t Scotland Yard, Danae.”

“I don’t care if it’s fucking MI6, I want my solicitor and I’m not saying a damn thing until I see one.”

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The Wraith and the Child

beliefs

Image found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie blog

It must have been his surgery that caused the nightmares. He always found himself in the dark alone. No, not quite alone. There was another presence, something hiding in the shadows. The Wraith.

“What do you want? Where are you?”

He could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He was sweating. “Don’t come near me. Leave me alone.”

The Wraith said nothing. It made no sound at all, but he knew it was out there stalking him.

He turned and ran, stumbled over something and fell. Then he got up and ran again.

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Transience

joy

Image of euphoria

Kimbra was singing in her heart as she executed a series of flawless pirouettes. “We’re going to get married!”

She never thought Sebastian would ask her given the circumstances, and knowing he was a traditionalist, she was determined not to ask him.

But he did, he did, he did and she was walking on air and sunshine and then doing cartwheels. Kimbra had to stop because the crowds at the Village were getting too thick. She skipped and danced between the people, giggling and smiling at each of them, as if they were all the most wonderful human beings to grace the planet.

Sebastian was a total movie geek so the perfect place to have the wedding would be the Cinema. They didn’t have a large hall, just smaller party rooms, but they wouldn’t invite many guests. She still had to decide which of his three favorite movies they’d watch. None of them were romantic comedies which would make it tough, but she didn’t care if he wanted to watch Jaws as long as they watched it together on their wedding day.

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That Which Burns

collage

Collage from Sunday Writing Prompt #240 “Collage Prompt 39” at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

“She was beautiful, but she was beautiful in the way a forest fire was beautiful: something to be admired from a distance, not up close.” -Terry Pratchett

Tyler Melody Ross sat masked in her padded cell in the sanatorium in upstate New York. In the common room, the first game of the 1954 World Series pitting the New York Giants against the Cleveland Indians was playing on the radio, but Tyler never was taken to the common room. She was kept continually sedated, not unconscious, but groggy enough so she could be handled. In that way, she could be fed, her toilet needs taken care of (and menstrual needs for five days every month), and walked around her cell for twenty minutes to get a bit of exercise. Other than that, she was alone and isolated, and the staff felt all the safer because of it.

The mask was heavily laced with asbestos as were the walls of her cell. There was no window, but a barred panel in her door where the glass could be slid open provided air. Her hands were encased in mittens, not that she really needed them, but if she were to have a lucid moment or two, she would be unable to remove the mask. At all costs the mask must remain on her face for the rest of her life.

No treatment had worked, not drug treatments, not electroshock, not repeated dunkings in ice water, they all failed to cure or even marginally improve Tyler’s condition. So she remained drugged, provided brief company only out of legal and medical necessity, and otherwise was left to ponder whatever dreams she entertained inside her difficult and diseased mind.

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