Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction
I, PatrickNothing was going right.
At first light he awoke to the same hill, the same desolation, the same sheep and the same ache in his heart for home. His was a life of enslavement and ruin.
Life had not always been so cruel.
Before the fateful day of his kidnapping he had been care-free, to much so he now thought. Why had he not been more kind to his sweet mother? Why had he stopped listening to his father's instruction? He knew the answers. He knew his heart better now. He had chosen the life of rebellion. This was his deserved punishment.
Walking the perimeter of the flock he counted and recounted. The sheep were all here. None stolen in the night. Conval had watched well. . This dog was his only friend.
Rain. It had started to rain. Not a surprise he thought. It always rains on this cursed island. Yes, it left it looking constantly green but did damp have to be a permanent condition? He returned to the outcrop under which he had spent the night.
Grandfather. How many times as a child had he sat in the chapel listening to his grandfather teach? As the water dripping beyond him played a discordant tune he felt as though he could here his grandfather's words afresh.
Repent. One of the favorite terms of his grandfather preaching. Repent. Turn around. What was it that these Celts said "béasa a athrú." He laughed bitterly. This miserable language, once so utterly foreign, was almost like breathing to him now. What use was it to fight anymore.
Conval trotted over to his feet and laid down. He leaned down and patted the ragged head.
Old paths. That was one of the last sermons he heard his grandfather preach before his death. The verse came flooding into his hungry heart.
Thus says the Lord:
“Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
It hit him like a stone. "We will not walk in it." That had been his reply his whole life to this call of God. At this conclusion there burst a flood of other once familiar verses from his childhood.
He began to sob. Convel looked up and moved closer. God was breaking his heart. Yet another verse came back to his mind, "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."
Young Patrick bowed his head and did serious business with his God.
Ireland was never going to be the same.
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