To Die to Gain
Future Homeschool Authors has different writing challenges each month and they want more people to enter, there is still a few more days before entries have to be in for the October contest Have a look at it. This is my entry.... I almost didn't enter because I could think of nothing to write about siblings, but then this happened. So here it is.
Erin watched as the flaming brand dipped down and touched the dry wood around the woman. The woman still spoke calmly and with eyes raised to heaven. Then she reached down and pulled a book from her tatted dress, the pages rustled and as the fire caught the woman said “I just want you to know” and began to read aloud.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Flames ate away at the wood, and curled around the woman and the post that held her. Smoke drifted up into her face. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The heat began to make the air ripple. She then flipped over some more pages and read one more sentence, shouting it over the now roaring flames.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Flames danced around her and she threw the book out, straight towards where I crouched in the dense crowd. I picked it up and looked in wonder at it, the woman had read from it in my language, and not in some incomprehensible Latin like the preacher did every Sunday. I looked up as the woman cried out then hid my face and moved away from the terrible spectacle. I could smell the burning flesh. How could that be gain?
“Never ........ again. I well know how much trouble we got for that last time, show me here, now.”
“I did that once too often.”
Erin looked up at her big brother. “Please.”
Erin led Raymond down their alleyway and out to the dump a few blocks away. The scrambled over piles of unnamed rubbish and Raymond held his nose.
“I don’t know why I am doing this, it better be good. This smells worse than our alley, and that’s saying something.”
They reached the old tumbledown building; Erin moved some bricks to uncover a secret place and showed her brother the find. She explained how she had come by it.
“Do you think you could read it?”
“I dono.” muttered Raymond glancing around “This could get us into even bigger trouble. You didn’t steal it, it could be worth a lot, it looks like an entire book!”
“The words the woman with the shining face spoke from it were amazing, it is in English.” Erin insisted. “You could teach me, so I could read it. Please.”
“Do you realise that the woman was killt because she read from this. I heard father talking about the burning of heretics .”
“But that’s terrible! It's a disaster, why? The words she spoke were of so hope. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. That was something she said, she was happy to die for Christ, and that was gain. Her face shone.”
“Fire would make it do that.”
“Oh Raymond you don’t understand, just read a bit of it, read some.”
Reluctantly Raymond took the book from Erin and opened it to where a cotton thread bookmarked it; a surprised look crossed his face. “Gosh I can read some of it.”
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
The siblings huddled together on the floor and leafed through the pages of the English bible. Talking in excited whispers, Raymond read out more and more passages sometimes struggling over words, but he found he could read most of it. He pointed out letters and told Erin the sounds each made.
“You do know girls aren’t meant to read, I’m not even meant to know how.”
“Course, no one need think we can.”
“You can’t. I not we.”
“I will. I will read this book. No one would die for something that they didn’t have reason to believe in, and the woman died in such peace, yet it was so horrible.”
“Ok I will teach you and we will read it together, but not a word to anyone.”
So they did.