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Young Writers Society

A Christmas tale

by Cailey

“Crucify him!” the cries ran out from the crowd. There was a hint of desperation in the screaming voices, as if they feared that prolonging the death would end by harming them. “Crucify him!”

“Please, what has he ever done to you?” One man fought against the crowd. His back was hunched and a line of tears decorated his cheek. “Has this man ever done you harm?” One bony hand reached for a screaming youth. The young boy turned in distaste.

“He’s a blasphemer, have no not heard him call himself the Son of God? He is a lawbreaker, healing and working on the Sabbath. He… he…” the boy shrugged and turned back to the crowd, “Crucify him!”

Angrily the older man pushed through the crowd again, until suddenly he was stopped by a young girl. Her eyes were wide and afraid as she tried to make out the chant and sing along. She had run into the man on her way to search for a better view. Upon the impact she stopped and glanced up into the dark eyes of her obstacle.

“I’m sorry,” she murmured, turning again to push past the throng of bodies. Suddenly she stopped and faced the man again. Indecision over whether or not to speak battled in her eyes before finally her mouth opened. “What are they saying?”

“Foolishness,” was the reply. The girl bit her lip and tilted her head as a request for more detail. The man continued in a sad voice, “They want to kill the only man who has done nothing wrong.”

“Why? I heard he was a bad man.” The girl’s small words were so sure and precise.

“No, no. He was not bad, not at all.”

“Why not?” The girl had now made her way right in front of the old man, and he realized he now had her full attention. “My momma said he was a liar.”

“A liar? He told nothing but the truth. Would you like to hear a story?” Slowly the man and the girl created a path away from the mob of people. Wearily the elder sat on a boulder with his cane leaned against his legs. The child stood curiously before him. “I was there when this man was born. I was much younger then, of course. A shepherd; in fact I was watching my sheep when he entered the world.”

“I like sheep,” the child interrupted, giggling.

“Me too,” the man laughed softly before continuing, “and every night I would sit on the hills and sing to my sheep. Except, this night was different. When I close my eyes I can still see the way the sky lit up. One second it was all a sheet of black save a few glistening stars, one brighter than the rest. Then the sky was a canvas of light and beauty.”

“Was it the sun?” the girl inquired.

“No, it was something much more magnificent and terrifying.”

“Um, I don’t know.”

“An angel.” At those words the girl gasped and covered her mouth with her tiny hands.

“A real angel?”

“Yes, a real angel. He told us not to be afraid, and then said a Savior had been born. The angel instructed the other shepherds and me to go to a certain stable in Bethlehem.” The story was interrupted by a chorus of cheers. For a few minutes the man was silent, listening as Pilate announced the freedom of Barabbas.

“Well, did you go?” With a sigh the shepherd turned his eyes back to the girl.

“Of course we did. As soon as the angels had gone we got up and traveled to the stable. Just as we had been told we found a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger. His mother was young and tired, but her eyes lit up when we arrived. She held her child closely as we explained the angel’s visit, and her husband also listening with interest. No doubt they both wondered if it could really be true that their son was the Messiah.”

“The man they want to kill, he’s the baby you saw?”

“Yes, we saw him and knew he was special. To be able to touch his sleeping face, witness the fulfillment of so many prophecies…” his voice faded and his eyes were glossed over with the memory.

“But why do they want to kill him?” Finally the girl dropped to her knees. The man thought for a few minutes.

“Oh, for many reasons. One day when you’re older you will understand. For now, you must remember what I have told you. I saw the angels, and I heard them announce the birth of the Savior. Since then I have seen miracles done by this man. I have seen him heal lepers and give sight to the blind. I have heard stories of how he cast out demons and made the crippled walk. Today, he has been condemned to die, but when he was born all those years ago I know somewhere inside he was born for this moment. You cannot understand, my child, but this man was born to die.”

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10 Reviews

Points: 1234
Reviews: 10

Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:30 pm
Snow says...

This is beautiful... such an amazing idea for a piece, so moving.

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71 Reviews

Points: 2936
Reviews: 71

Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:49 pm
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rubberduck wrote a review...

Hey there, here's a quick review. :)
It's a lovely piece, to be honest.

I have a suggestion though, perhaps you'd like to edit this bit?

“Well, did you go?” With a sigh the shepherd turned his eyes back to the girl.

It isn't quite clear, so maybe you could seperate this particular bit of dialogue by a paragraph?
So it'd become;

“Well, did you go?”
With a sigh the shepherd turned his eyes back to the girl.

Apart from this, there is nothing else to point out.
Splendid job and Merry Christmas in advance! :)

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Points: 300
Reviews: 0

Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:00 am
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EllaWylie says...

I love it. It is suspensful, detailed, and keeps the reader on their feet :)

i exist in a constant state of confusion so its ok
— veeren