A Wild Encounter

Image by Aaron Burden courtesy of Unsplash

Night is fast approaching. Eerie sounds seem to be stalking the group for miles on end all around them, as if the perpetrators are initiating a battle dance before they pounce. The cold bites into their numb limbs. They trudge along, weary, beaten down and weak. There seems to be no end in sight, no hope, not even temporary relief. They’ve had no food for days, and have been surviving on berry juices and anything else seemingly edible they could find. They’ve been lost for a long time. They had started out on a journey to self-fulfillment, but they had somehow lost track of their direction. They had ventured further and further into dry land; desolate and devoid of life. Luckily, on their way, when they were about to give up, they ran into a man and his son. Unlike the group, they didn’t seem like they had gone off-course. They had offered help on where they could get water, what fruits to eat and suggestions on which directions to take. At the very least, they were an answered prayer. They had journeyed on with them thus far.

Suddenly, the ones leading the pack grind to a halt. There are murmurs all round, the ones that sound like further free-falling into the deep unending pit of depression they already are in. the ones at the front make way, and they can all now see a deep trench separating their current cliff top from another. Even in the dark, they can make out vegetation, trees and the distant sound of a flowing stream on the other side. Aah, hope. Fleeting, but present. A good sign. There is only one problem.

How to get past that trench.

They huddle together and brainstorm on the way forward. One thing is unanimously for sure, there is no going back. After a while of unfruitful deliberations, they are at their wits end. They hang their heads in defeat, sure their end has come, and in such an ugly way. All, except their leader. The man they had run into. He is not like them. He is different; wise with age, other-worldly some would even say. They didn’t pick him to lead, but somehow he had always been the obvious choice, always done right; firm, but lovingly so. He fit the bill perfectly. The group is even more confused about where they are, but since they met, this man and his son seem to have had an inkling as to where they were headed. Leading and guiding. They were a mystery.

He stands up and voices his thoughts. He tells them that from his deductions, the trench is approximately 7.2 feet long. Should someone jump across and hold onto the other end and then swing his legs and place them on their current end, the group would be able to walk across, using that individual as a bridge.

Shocked stares are all he is met with. Disbelief. A feat like that would require an uncanny amount of strength and precision!

He goes on in spite of this.

“But I reckon there is only one person tall enough and strong enough to accomplish this. My son.”

They all turn their heads and look at the man’s son seated at the back.

After a brief moment, the father’s voice captures their attention again.

“He is 7.7 feet tall and of heavy build, clearly the tallest and strongest among us by far. And we certainly don’t have the necessary tools to build a bridge, so that is our only option, or stay here and die. But this is if and only if he is willing to do it.”

The incomprehensible possibility of the situation is quickly forgotten after taking a good look at the man’s son. Some could even swear he looks supernatural. The stares burning into his skull shift to pleading gazes, each more soulful than the next. He lifts his head and looks at his father. They exchange knowing looks and then…

“I’ll do it.”

Silence reigns in the few seconds it takes for the words to register and for the group to comprehend. Then…shouts! Screams! Joy consumes the once dead group! Ululations rent the air, and then some giddy laughter. No one expected him to agree to that outrageous idea. Amidst the frenzy, majority can’t help but wonder why an almost stranger would do this for them; would sacrifice so immensely for their sake while it was their own fault they were in this situation. And why both father and son seemed to have reached this consensus a while back without the group’s knowledge. How would they even know where they were headed, and that they’d end up here? A myriad of questions gnaw at their minds, but the thoughts are pushed into the recesses of their minds, the task at hand taking precedence again.

The plan is solid. They will divide themselves into smaller groups to ease the crossing over. Also, any baggage is to be left behind. As they implement this, father and son step aside to have a private moment. To the onlookers, it seems like the gravity of the task has begun to weigh heavily on him. His father puts his hand on his shoulder and whatever he says appears to strengthen him, and they return. They are now ready and the son prepares to make the leap.

Suddenly, urgent heavy footsteps are heard from a far way off. They all question each other with their surprised looks. The father says to the son, “Hurry. You know he must not catch on to what is happening.”

Puzzled expressions are thrown at him.

“I will explain as the exercise is going on”, he says, urgency in his voice. “And remember, leave all baggage behind.”

The son makes the leap and grips the edge of the other ledge firmly. With superhuman-like strength, he then stretches his legs and places them on the ledge the group is on.

The Calvary surely had arrived. The crossing over commenced quickly. It was an arduous and frightening task, but adrenaline pushed people to keep moving, leaving little time to think.

The father, as He helped people across, began, “That is the enemy, the one you hear approaching; he is the prince of this world, the current turf we are on. As long as you agree to get across, you are safe. As for me and my son, we are well able to handle him. Now, hurry!”

The people now understand where all the eerie noises had been coming from and are convinced this man and his son are not who they thought they were.

Halfway through the son is clearly breaking under the pressure. He looks bruised and battered. He even looks like he is sweating blood. The group cannot understand how anyone can pull off something like this. It is unimaginable. Yet, it is happening right before their eyes.

He hangs on, determined to see the last person across. But it is a slow fade into loss of consciousness. The group is mostly across, and only two remain. The father shouts encouraging words at his son, all the while urging him to hold on, to be strong for it wouldn’t be long now. It has been three hours, but despite the sheer pain and strain, the son holds on. By now, the enemy is within sight, but everyone is safely across: saved.

The son then calls out in a loud voice, “It is finished!”

He lets go and seems to fall for forever, his apparent end gruesomely tragic. The group, in utter shock, look up at the father. He seems….pleased. As He turns to face the enemy, a small smile plays at his lips, all the while the enemy looking utterly destroyed.

It is a confounding situation.

Written by
Wambui Mwania

I like stories.
I've always loved stories, especially in written form.
And I'm going to express that love in a written form of my own stories;

Stories heavily laced and inextricably intertwined with the Gospel...

The Gospel Stories.

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Written by Wambui Mwania