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Sunday, 1 December 2013

Excerpt from the book: Around Smoldering Coals



This is an excerpt from the book I am writing about early day Christians. In this scene they are living in the catacombs beneath the city of Rome. 


Lydda wrung her hands and peered out of the low doorway of the dark, underground home and into the endlessly long tunnel, then once again dropped to her knees beside the pile of furs shoved off to one side.

“Please, God,” she entreated, “Please keep our children safe. Oh Father they have been gone all night. Stephanos is so little, and Tayletha a defenseless female. The shadows are lengthening once more, and they are still lost! Oh loving Heavenly Father, where are my children? Please, God, I need you to watch over them! Blind the eyes of our enemies so they will not recognize them as children of the catacombs. Oh, Father if they have somehow lost their way, send someone with a kind heart to give them direction. Oh, Lord, how will they ever find their way back home if they are lost? There are so many hidden entrances to this underground city!”

                                                     
                    Lydda lifted her head when she heard the low murmur of voices in the corridor nearby. Cedric stooped to enter and hurried to put his arms around her.
“Have you found out anything?”
                 “Nay, but some of the men will start searching. They will carefully comb the routes they could have taken, and if they are not found, more parties will be sent out.”
       Lydda buried her head in Cedric’s brawny shoulder, and drew a deep, shuddering breath. “Will you be posting people at every entrance? What if they are lost and find another exit?”
                        “Aye, every portal in a radius of five miles will have a lookout.”
        “I want to watch to.”
Ce                      Cedric gazed at her thoughtfully. “Have you eaten since they failed to return?”
   “Nay, but I am strong. I want to stand watch. Everything possible must be done to see that they come home safely.”
                           Lydda could see that he was hesitant. “See, I will take this handful of dried grapes. It will tide me over.”
C                       Cedric drew a rough map of the route leading her to the entrance she was supposed to oversee, and brought her there. She nodded to a man that was repairing the corridor, but mostly ignored him.
                    Lydda felt lonely after the form of her husband disappeared from view. She went over to the heavy door and opened it a crack and saw a small tumble-down shed so cautiously went into it.  An abandoned yard, overgrown with shrubs and wild grass was revealed. She let herself out but did not latch the door behind her. Lydda cautiously looked around, but saw no one so, while ducking low, crept over to some sort of straggly berry bush. Now she could see the narrow street. All was quiet for a while then a couple of boys, shouting and tossing a ball back and forth ran by. They didn’t even glance her way. It was a long time before anyone else moved along that empty street, but then a weary looking woman, carrying a shopping basket, plodded by. She was scarcely a dozen yards past where Lydda was hiding when a skinny mongrel yipped excitedly and dashed over to Lydda. The children’s mother froze, petrified, sure that the woman would glance back to see what the commotion was all about. The dog happily slobbered all over her, and Lydda pushed at his muzzle.
   “Go,” she said in a low, commanding voice, “Go! Now!” 
Th       The dog had no intention of going and after dancing around and putting his grubby paws on her several times, settled down beside her and put his head on her lap. It did not ease her.
Af         After a long while, she heard the boys as well as a few extra companions, coming down the street, and the black mutt darted off to greet them. He will lead them to me! Frantically Lydda scurried back to the safety of the underground tunnel and called to the workman. He pulled her in and bolted the door. Cedric’s thin, weary wife leaned against the timbered barricade, heart pounding, while the yapping dog seemed fearfully near.

D       Did anyone hear me? Did anyone see me dart into the shed?

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