The Watcher

“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence.”

Isaiah 62:6

August 15, 2007

Iraq

There were blossoms on the wind. He knew that omens were a lie, but it brought him comfort nonetheless.

He was in danger here. The desert roads were natural hunting grounds for the insurgents who had replaced the robbers and Army deserters of earlier days. The hill itself had once carried the omnipresent threat from the old regime’s security garrison. None of them had molested him once.

He set his staff and lowered himself at the foot of the hill, having walked two hours. His muscles burned, and a dry tongue clung to the roof his mouth. Hunger drained his strength more than fatigue, but he had brought neither bread nor water with him. The Brethren always joined him in fasting before the journey. He felt their sustenance even now. Nevertheless, each had their calling within the Body, and this one fell to him alone.

A vulture circled overhead. He had spotted bird when he began the journey, and it seemed to have followed him. He watched it in silence, brow furrowed against the sun. His fingers tightened around the staff.

He paid no heed to soothsayers and would do no more to unto the fowls of the air. But the Devil too had his agents upon the earth.

The rest ended. He rose and climbed. The hill was barely worthy of the name, but the slope burned at his calves. 

He reached the top and spread the blanket beneath a cluster of trees. Only one other item had made the journey with him. He knelt and opened the book upon the blanket, a Testament far older than the Prophet his countrymen revered.

Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name…

Continued

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