This story was written from a challenge given by a Holy Worlds member. The challenge was to write a 1,000+ word short story based off the picture below. With no further ado, my short story:
by Faith Blum
This story starts in the middle of a true story that can be found in the book of Exodus. For more background information, please read Exodus 3-13. This story is a re-telling of the parting of the Red Seas as found in Exodus 14. The only differences being that this story is fictionalized and is written from the perspective of an imaginative young boy.
Ehud stared at the cloud ahead of him. The cloud had led the group of former slaves everyday since they had left Egypt. Moses most assuredly knew what he was doing. Yahweh was leading them away from slavery at last! Ehud skipped with a gaiety he had rarely felt before.
“Abba?” he looked up at his father.
“Yes, my son?” Jonas smiled down at the eager young lad.
“When do we reach the promised land?”
“Not for many months, Ehud. You must be patient. These things take time.”
Ehud nodded in agreement even as he sighed his disappointment. He ran along the outer edge of the group of travelers. There were so many! People, cattle, sheep, oxen, camels, donkeys. It was overwhelming to his senses. Especially his sense of smell. He wrinkled up his nose as he passed a pile of animal waste.
Where would he ever find his friend, Uriah? His head swiveled back and forth, searching, searching. Where was he? Ehud heard a shout. He whipped his head around, trying to see where it had come from.
“Ehud!” the shout came again. This time the shout was closer. Ehud’s face lit up in a grin.
“Uriah! I thought I’d never be able to find you.”
“You have to come see this, Ehud,” the taller boy said as he grabbed his friend’s hand. “There is a sea. A big one up there. Moses said the cloud leading us is headed straight for the sea.”
“But if we go to the sea, how are we supposed to cross it?”
Uriah shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. It Does not really matter, anyway.”
Ehud’s worried look changed into a smile. He tilted his head to the left. “True. El-Shaddai brought us this far and He is leading us all the way to the sea. I am sure He will figure out a way to get across the sea.”
Ehud looked at Uriah and realized that his words had fallen on deaf ears. Uriah was studying something in the distance and not paying attention to his friend. “Is that a cloud of smoke or dust?”
Ehud turned around and looked. “I do not know. I doubt it is smoke, though. There is nothing out there that would burn.”
“That is right.” Uriah stared at the distant cloud before turning around and tugging on Ehud’s arm. “Come on, let’s go see the big sea of water!”
Ehud laughed as he and Uriah raced along the outside of the crowd. When they reached the top of a hill, they stopped and stared at the massive body of water.
“It is magnificent!” Ehud exclaimed.
“I told you it was,” Uriah taunted with a grin.
“Hearing about it and seeing it are two very different things, Uri.”
Uriah laughed. “I know.”
The two boys stared at the sea in mutual silence until their parents started going past them. Uriah’s mother called for him to come back to her and Ehud waved at him. Ehud stayed a few more minutes. He prayed that the Creator would somehow show them how to get to the other side of the sea. He did not know much, but one thing he knew was that the Promised Land was on the other side of the sea.
“Of course, we could always walk around it,” he muttered to himself. He glanced behind him at the straggling line of people, possessions, and animals. The dust cloud caught at the corner of his eye. It was getting closer. Was it a dust storm? Or was it something…?
The sunlight glinted off something in the dust cloud.
“Yahweh?” Ehud prayed, fear lacing his words. “This isn’t Pharaoh and his army, is it?” Ehud watched the dust cloud creep closer. Another flash. Then another and another. He watched until he saw a chariot pulled by two horses. He could almost make out the soldier carrying a spear. They were too far away to see clearly.
Ehud stood stock still for a few minutes before he raced down the hill to the front of the column. “Moses! Sirs!” he yelled.
One of the men around Moses put a hand on Ehud’s shoulder to stop him, but Ehud shrugged it off. “Pharaoh and his army approach. I saw them.”
Moses looked at Ehud and gave him a curt nod. “Thank you, Lad. Now, go back to your parents and stay with them.”
Ehud kept his eyes on Moses for a few more seconds before his shoulders slumped forward. He had thought that Moses would at least acknowledge his news. He slunk away in utter dejection.
“What is your name, Lad?” Moses’ voice called after him before he could take even three steps.
Ehud turned his head around. “Ehud bar Jonas.”
“Levi.” Ehud kept his answers as short as possible. What was the use of answering them anyway?
Moses nodded. “Thank you for the warning, Ehud bar Jonas.”
Ehud’s lips twitched into a reluctant smile as he turned and ran back to his family.
* * * * *
The crowds of people gathered at the edge of the sea in their individual families. Ehud kept an eye on the spot where Moses was talking to the elders and leaders. What would they do if they got stuck here when Pharaoh came? If he came before the leaders figured out how to get across or around the sea, they would all surely be slaughtered. Yahweh, save us!
“Ehud, bring this to your father,” his mother commanded. Her voice was gentle and had an understanding tone in it. Does she know? Ehud looked around at the others. Does everybody know?
No, not everybody could know. There were too many people how panicked when anything went even slightly wrong. Ehud took the basket from his mother and headed over to where his father stood on the edge of the crowd around Moses.
His thoughts wandered back to the time just after they had left Egypt. A lone Egyptian couple came after them. Some nosy person spotted the two people and ran to Moses shouting that there were people coming after the Israelites.
Most of the people shrugged it off, but some people panicked. “We’re all going to die! Why did we leave Egypt? Would it not have been better to die a slave in Egypt than to be slaughtered here in the wilderness?”
When it was found that “the people coming after us” were just an elderly couple who wished to take refuge with the Israelites, their fears proved unfounded. Ehud rolled his eyes as he recalled the memory. How slow people were to trust God and how quick to assume the worst. Where was their faith in God? He created the universe, couldn’t He also take care of it?
“Your Highness!” General Ak-meset said. “We approach the Great Red Sea. The slaves will be trapped with us on one side and the sea on the other. We can defeat them easily.”
Pharaoh stared at a lone bush standing behind his general. There are women and children. Most of the men will be unarmed. His head went up and he looked the general in the eye. “We will capture as many as we can and keep them alive. Do not kill the women and children.”
“Yes, Your Greatness!” the general said. Pharaoh could see the confusion in his eyes, but refused to explain himself.
He was probably being a fool, but he did need slaves and these Hebrews were good at what they did. Even if they acted more important than they truly were and did not always listen well.
He squinted his eyes making an attempt to see further into the distance. Was that fire ahead? He shook his head. No, that would be impossible. There was nothing in this desert to burn.
“We camp here for the night!” Pharaoh ordered.
The men got a camp set up in an orderly and swift fashion while Pharaoh stood by, arms crossed over his chest watching their progress. He was pleased with their efficiency. When his tent was prepared, he ducked into it and prepared to receive his meal.
Ehud slept fitfully all through the night. His eyes kept straying to the pillar of fire from Yahweh. It was His way of showing them His protection. Ehud loved staring at the motionless pillar. It was oddly comforting. Back in Egypt, he had always found great comfort and pleasure staring into the cook fire. This pillar of fire from El-Shaddai was different. It held a very different, more comforting presence. Probably because El-Shaddai was in the midst of it.
Ehud rolled onto his back and sat up, bending his knees and hugging them to his chest. Since sleep seemed to be eluding him, he might as well take this time to watch El-Shaddai’s presence. Ehud stared at the pillar. His thoughts scattered in many directions. He could barely keep on one thread of thought for more than a few minutes. For some reason…
He cocked his head. What was that? He listened for a few minutes before giving his head a determined shake. He must have been hearing things. He went back to his thoughts, but could not remember where he had left off. He gave his shoulders a quick shrug and gave up on his thoughts. He would simply stare at the fire without thinking of anything.
He was still staring at the fire when he noticed the fire was getting dimmer and the light on the horizon was becoming lighter. The pillar of fire slowly, almost imperceptibly turned into a cloud. Ehud stared past the lowering gloom, past the cloud, past the sand.
His back stiffened at the sight the rising sun was beginning to reveal. Chariots, horses, Egyptians! Ehud stared for a few minutes before he turned around and raced toward the front of the camp.
Ehud was stopped in mid-stride by an outstretched arm. “Where are you off to in such a hurry, Boy?”
Ehud looked up into the threatening face of a strange man. He struggled to catch his breath. “I need to warn Moses.”
“Warn him of what?”
“Let me go!” Ehud elbowed the man in the stomach and scurried away. Once free, he ran as fast as he could to get to where Moses stood.
“Moses!” he shouted.
Moses looked up from his light meal. A frown creased his forehead. “What is it now, Lad?”
“The Egyptians are camped not far from where we are.”
Moses nodded. “I know this, but thank you for telling me anyway. You are a credit to your family.”
Ehud flushed. “Thank you, Sir.”
“Get back to your family, Lad.”
“Yes, Sir.” Ehud followed Moses’ directions and left.
All that day, Ehud heard grumblings and complaints from the people. Why don’t they trust that El-Shaddai must know what He is doing? Yahweh, can’t You make them believe? He heard nothing, but he did not expect to. He sighed as the day dragged on and on until his eyes began to droop and his head nod.
His head jerked up at the sound of a disturbing noise nearby. It took his eyes a few minutes to adjust to come into focus. Once they had focused, he saw that the sound had come from the people around him. They were grumbling even louder now. As Ehud tried to figure out what was going on, he decided that the Egyptians must be getting closer.
Moses finally got control of the crowd and Aaron spoke to them, “Yahweh will make a way for us! We shall cross the Red Sea.”
Murmurs of confusion rippled through the crowd. Ehud simply grinned. Yes, this was perfect! He had known El-Shaddai would not desert them. He jumped up and down in his joy. “Thank you, Yahweh!” he shouted.
The people around him gave him ill-favored looks, but he ignored them, grinning all the wider. He raced to the top of a small sand dune overseeing the Red Sea. He wanted to see this miracle with his own eyes.
Moses stretched out his staff and spoke to the Sea. Ehud watched in amazement as the water in front of Moses began to gather to each side, creating a path wide enough for six men to walk abreast of each other. His jaw dropped and his eyes widened until they hurt. The water continued to move to either side of Moses until there was a path of dry sand across the entire Red Sea. Ehud shouted for joy, raising a fist in the air and jumping up and down in triumph. Yahweh truly did wish to save them!
Ehud turned glittering eyes to his parents. Their mouths were wide open as they stared at the divided Red Sea. “Come on, Mother, Abba! Let’s go walk across the Sea!” Ehud ran as fast as he could toward the water, ignoring his mother’s cries for him to stop.
He had almost reached the edge of the sea when an arm snaked around his waist. “Wait for your parents, Boy.”
Ehud wrinkled his forehead and looked up into the face of the man who had stopped him earlier that morning. Ehud glared at the man after the man had let go of him. He crossed his arms and asked, “Who are you and why do you keep grabbing me like that?”
The man laughed. “I, my boy, am Caleb. I keep grabbing you to stop you from running into other people. Do you realize that you very nearly ran into an elderly woman just now?”
Ehud gulped. “No, I thought my way was clear through here. I…”
Caleb shook his head, a bemused smile still on his face. “Of course not, you were too busy trying to be the first one to cross the Red Sea, weren’t you?”
Ehud nodded his head slowly. “Yes, I was.”
“Well, Moses has already decided that we will go across the sea the way we travel on the desert: by tribe.”
“Yes, Sir,” Ehud said, his eyes and head downcast. “I’ll go back to join my parents.”
Caleb nodded. “I look forward to seeing you again, Ehud. Your enthusiasm is commendable, it is just your execution that causes some problems at times.” Caleb patted Ehud on the back and Ehud ran back to his parents to wait his turn to cross between the two walls of the Red Sea.
When it finally came time for Ehud and his family to cross the edge of the sea, Ehud could barely contain his excitement. He was going to walk on the bottom of a sea! And there would be two walls of water above him on either side. He skipped and walked trying to not get too far ahead of his parents.
They finally got onto the dry sea floor. Ehud gazed in wonder at the great walls of water. They stood taller than his father. He looked up at his father and past him to the wall of water. Make that twice as tall as his father. Ehud stared at the water as he held his father’s hand to keep from walking out of the line.
They reached the mid-point of the sea bed. Ehud stopped in his tracks. The sea bed was higher here and the walls of water were shorter. Ehud stared in amazement as some of the water seemed to shoot up into the air.
Yahweh? What is this? Is this You? Ehud thought and prayed. The water began to take form. The arms were as thick his father’s body. The head was small and unlike any human form Ehud had ever seen. The ears stood on top of its head and were pointed. The nose was where a human’s chin was and the eyes were narrow slits. Its neck seemed to be clothed in a wreath of white foam from the sea.
Ehud could not take his eyes off the wondrous creature. What is this, El-Shaddai? He looked around him to judge if anyone else had seen the creature. When he looked back, the creature was gone. Did anyone else see it? What is the meaning of it, Yahweh?
Ehud jumped when a hand patted his shoulder. “A wondrous sight, wasn’t it, Boy?”
Ehud grinned when he saw Caleb standing at his other side. “Yes. But what did it mean? Was there some special meaning to its appearance?”
“Perhaps that only those with faith in the One, True God and those who have eyes open to see awe-inspiring, splendid displays and miracles can see these types of things.”
“Was it real, Caleb? Or was it just a display that the Creator put on for us two?”
Caleb looked up at the wall of water to his right. “There may be no way of knowing that, Boy.” He looked back down at Ehud, his smile reaching to his eyes. “But, what matters it? Let us just bask in the glory of Yahweh’s display and give Him the glory, great things He has done!”
Ehud nodded and grinned up at Caleb. “Yes. Praise be to the Creator!”
Caleb took hold of Ehud’s shoulder and began walking along the sea bed. “Praise be to the Author and Finisher of our Faith!”
“Praise Him above the heavens!”
“Praise Him in the depths below!”
“Praise Him in the highest of heights!”
“Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord!”
Ehud laughed. “Yahweh truly does save His people, doesn’t He, Caleb? We may not always agree with his plan of how to save us, but He always will save us.”
Caleb’s face grew grave. “Yes, too many times, we question the Creator instead of trusting that He knows best.”
“Praise to Yahweh, the Savior of His people!” Ehud shouted as he reached the edge of the Red Sea and stepped past one last obstacle to reaching the Promised Land.