Saturday, April 17, 2010

A farewell to remember

Salman racked his brain to think of a solution. A fast solution.

“Alright, that’s a problem. A big problem. Let me think about it for a minute. Our soldiers wont recognize know you. They might accidentally kill you in the heat of battle. You need a sign, or a secret password, or something.”

“That’s stupid,” Phinehas interrupted, “and impractical, especially if we’re under orders to kill everyone. And what if someone finds out about it?”

“You’re right. Secrecy is everything,” Salman continued. “Tell no one about us and we can save you.”

“Should we hide somewhere?” asked Rahab, “in the granary or...”

“No no - that’s too risky,” Salman interrupted as he paced the floor thinking out aloud. “If someone finds you they’ll ask questions. It’s too risky. But... if you stay here in your home, no one will suspect anything. Yes, you must be here when we attack.”

“Or you’ll die,” Phinehas added, “you and all your family. You can be certain of it.”

“Alright, I get it,” said Rahab, “ but what’s stopping your men crashing in here and killing us by mistake?”

Salman thought for a moment then rushed back to the window and grabbed the rope. “It’s too obvious.”

“What is?” asked Rahab.

“That rope, it’ll look like you’re trying to escape.”

He scanned the room and noticed some red cord wrapped around the bed posts. “I’m not even going to ask what this is doing here,” Salman chuckled as he hurriedly unravelled it.

“You don’t want to know.”

“I thought so. But if you hang this out your window on our soldiers will know where you live. Problem solved.”

Rahab embraced him hurriedly. “Thank you.”

“Salman, we've got to go. Now!” whispered Phinehas, as he climbed out the window and slid down the rope.

Salman reluctantly straddled the window's ledge. He wished he had more time to make sense of everything. Would Rahab be executed for helping the enemy? What about after the battle - would she flee the country? Would he even see her again? There was no time to think. No time to doubt.

Salman lingered for one last look, then began his descent down the wall.

“Come back quickly,” Rahab whispered, rushing to the window. “The Jordan will flood soon.”
Salman looked up at her. “I’ll never forget you.”

Rahab leaned further out the window and smiled. A million thoughts raced through Salman's head. She likes me? I could just reach up and impulsively steal a kiss. No one would ever know. It would be unexpected, uncalled for, and unbelievable! It would be the kiss of a lifetime.

But he was too far down the rope! Their lips missed by a few inches.

Rahab supressed her laughter. “Hide in the mountains. They'll come back in a day or two. Then you can cross the river safely.”

“Thank you,” he replied.

“God be with you.”

He slid down the rope with ease, silently joining Phinehas on the ground below. Escaping into the night, they rain straight through the barley fields towards the palm trees beyond the reach of archers on the wall. Far in the distance, lightning and thunder awoke the black northern skies.

Rahab sat by her window looking out over the horizon, her tears of joy illuminated by flashes of lightning. For the first time in her life she prayed to the God of the Hebrews.

“God help them. Please.”

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