In His Image

In His Image

A Story by R J Fuller
"

What is the look of absolute approval?

"
                                                                                            
The day was hot, the sun seering brightly like an emblazoned fireball of fury. The day was so sweltering, a young lad who was outside playing become thristy. He asked a nearby woman working in her yard if he could have some water to drink. She instructed the boy not to disturb her work and there was a cup on the edge of the step he couuld use if he wanted to get water from the faucet around the side of the house. 

The boy picked up the cup, ventured around the corner of the house and after a while he came back out and raced into the street once more, feeling wonderfully refreshed. The woman watched him rather coldly. 

"Did he steal my cup?" she mumbled to herself. "I bet he did." 

The woman stood to her feet and walked over to look around the side of her house. 

"The cup is not back where he picked it up," she thought as she passed the step. She looked around the corner of the house to see the plastic cup on the ground, and the water still running. Very annoyed now, she turned the water off, picked up the cup and ventured back to the front, setting the cup on the step.

"Should have known," she grumbled. "Left the water running. Next time I'll take the water bill to his father. See how he likes that." 

She returned to complete her gardening. 

That afternoon, a young man made his way through the streets. His dark eyes were wide with anger. He continued on his journey. 

"Saad, where are you going?" someone called to him. He didn't answer, nor did he look around. 

"Hey, Saad," the other person called again, racing after him. "Where are you going?" 

"I am going to the house of Yonatan," Saad answered, still facing forward. 

"Why do you do this, Saad?" the other fellow asked. 

"His sister poisoned my nephew this afternoon when he asked her for water, as she worked in her garden. He has been sick ever since he came home. She gave him a cup that probably had weed killer in it." 

"Saad, why would she do such a thing?" 

"Why else, Kunays? They are Jewish. Now they will pay." 

"Wohayb! Badawi!" Kunays called to other youths in the area. "Saad's little brother was poisoned by a Jew. Hurry." 

Several of the young men raced up to follow after Saad. 

"we'll help you, Saad," Kunays said. "To attack one of us is to attack all of us." 

In the Jewish neighborhood, word was reaching Yonatan and his family.

"Yonatan! Yonatan!" the young boy called out to the closed door as he furiously knocked. Eventually, the door opened. 

"What is it, Amir?" Yonatan asked him. 

"They are coming this way, Yonatan," Amir said, pointing up the street. 

Yonatan looked up to see the group of youths, all marching in unison toward his residence. 

"Hurry home, Amir," Yonatan instructed him, but the child simply walked what he percieved to be far enough away to still hear what was said. 

Saad stopped in front of Yonatan's house. All the others stopped behind Saad. All the while, there was others gathering around who also lived in the neighborhood. Some women tried to bring small children inside as quickly as possible, to avoid any potential violence. 

"Why are you here?" Yonatan asked. From behind him, a female emerged. 

"Your sister, Yonatan," Saad began, then spied her. "You, Alitza. My brother said you gave him poison when he asked you for water earlier today."

"I did no such thing," Alitza defended herself, "if he is sick, it is because he ran and played in the hot sun too much."

"Quiet, Alitza," Yonatan said to her, then turned back to the crowd. "My sister does not answer to you, Saad." 

"She will answer for hurting my brother." 

"She will not answer to you, Saad." 

How the events unfolded from there occurred much too quickly. Amir may have picked up a rock and thrown it, or someone else threw a rock and hit Yonatan. Some may even think Amir threw the rock so badly, it riquocheted and struck Yonatan. 

"Yonatan!" his sister called out. Yonatan pulled the door to behind himself very quickly, leaving Alitza inside, then lunged at Saad. The acquaintances of Saad piled onto Yonatan, but in no time, the others from the area leapt to help Yonatan against Saad. 

"Amir!" the woman's voice called out, trying to run to retrieve the boy as he collapsed on the sidewalk, the slow, dark trickling river making its way from his upper torso. But no one had heard a gunshot. No one was listening. 

The two factions of youth fought with absolute ferocity in the street. Eventually others detected actual gunfire. With each act, retaliation was justified. 

Saad and Yonatan were entwined in the middle of the road, rolling about on the hot pavement. Yonatan grabbed Saad's head and slammed it to the street beneath them. This caused Saad to growl out a yell and push back with perspiring frustration. He brought a fist to Yonatan's side. 

"Why do they fight? What did the Jews do this time?" was the questions asked by the slowly mulling crowd, growing larger with the prescence of Jew and Muslim. Some young men turned up and simply started fighting with someone else who also may have shown up with no idea of what was going on. 

Shirts ripped on both bodies, joints slammed and pushed against the solid road beneath them, skin on shoulders and knees and elbows pushed and dragged with bloody results, Saad and Yonatan continued to fight, gasping as they did sno, sweating into their gashes and wounds. 

"Yonatan!" Alitza yelled from the slightly open door before she slammed it once more as a brick was hurled in her direction and slapped the wooden structure. 

A woman sat and cradled young Amir, who no longer moved as she wept over him. 

Saad stared into the dark brown eyes of Yonatan, clawing his jaw with a suddenly free hand. Yonatan gritted his teeth and huffed with Saad's new attack. He wrestled and snorted with anger and rage until Saad began to fade from his vision. It wasn't just his vision that was affected, he could no longer hear the commotion of yells and fights. Thinking if Saad had departed, he'd see the blue sky, even that did not occur. 

Saad in turn could no longer find Yonatan. He had him pinned to the ground and as took place with Yonatan, Saad's vision and hearing seemed to cease to be. He tried to inhale to catch his breath during whatever this reprieve might be, and even that wasn't allowed to be. There was no sensation of oxygen. There was no darkness. There was no light. 

Then all of the neighborhood erupted in a thunderous explosion of wind, swirling about everything and everyone present. The houses shook as tho to be uprooted from their foundations, but fortunately the wild tempest slowly dissipated and silence befell the group. Nothing could be heard any longer. No cars, no phones, no radio. 

From where the torrent had tossed him, Saad sat up, covered in dust. He brushed at the soot and looked at those around him, likewise in the same condition. Then he spied Yonatan, powdered in much the same manner. The cuts and wounds from the earlier fight were now caked with dirt. Saad was about to rise to his feet, when the sun suddenly shined bright in the overhead sky. Saad shielded his eyes as he literally tumbled back to his knees. 
Yonatan also could not stand and simply shielded his face from the excruciating brightness, which seemed to become more intense with each second. Yonatan turned his face down, putting his palms on the sides of his head, all but ready to cry out in agony, then once again, the situation ended. Slowly he opened his eyes to view the ground before him, the soles of shoes from someone else in front of him, also on his knees. 
Saad began breathing slowly, allowing his eyes to focus once more on the surroundings. 
Then a voice was heard by all. 

"It is time, my children. Be with me for all eternity." 

Not a sound was uttered. All persons literally stopped moving and remained still. No thought ventured beyond what the voice had just spoken for each pair of ears to be able to hear. 

Finally it was Saad who allowed his eyes to look up and behold the miracle before them, high in the sky. Saad dropped his eyes for a second, then looked up once more. The figure was gradually drawing closer and slowly began to come into view. 

Yonatan also began to look up, to see the being who was now present with them. He did not allow his mind to think of anything else, not even ponder the meaning of the words they had all heard. 

"Gaze upon me, my children," the prophet instructed, with Yonatan and Saad realizing they had done so without permission. 

"Allah, be praised," Saad tried to say, but could not form the words with what he was witnessing. The entity seemed to detect what he was thinking. 

Yonatan was slowly dropping his gaze so as not to stare so intently. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, then looked up a final time before he decided he must bow his head in humility. 

Likewise, Saad was about to also lower his face in mercy when the figure finally emerged fully in view. Saad stared at the person who continued to lower to the ground. 

Yonatan began his prayer to the Heavenly Father, when suddenly he heard his name called. 

"Yonatan." 

Yonatan inhaled very quickly, then responded, "yes, o Lord."

"Yonatan!" 

This was when Yonatan realized he recognized the Earthly voice as belonging to Saad. Slowly he opened his eyes and managed to utter a few words, "Be silent, Saad, . . . " but as he spoke, he was looking upward and now saw the same person Saad saw. 

The two of them continued looking upward, while many of those around them knelt and covered their faces. Finally, Yonatan managed to actually glance over at Saad who still had his head thrown back, his eyes opened, but was definitely puzzling over what he saw. Slowly he turned to look at Yonatan. They stared at each other, unblinking. 

"My children." 

Now they turned back to the being above them. 

"Are we your children?" Saad asked. He detected an approving smile upon the being, adorned in long white robes. 

"Are we your children?" Yonatan then asked. Saad turned abruptly to Yonatan, as did the figure who continued to smile approvingly. 

The prophet was now barely eight feet in the air, the billowing white robes wafting about him like wings, tho there was no wind; the same way the long, golden curls seemed to bounce about his face and shoulders. The blue eyes twinkled like drops of cool, clear water on this hot summer day. His smile revealed to them pearly white teeth between ruddy pink lips on the porcelain skin of his face, hands and feet. The tiniest of button noses was distinctive in the center of his face. 

"I have returned to take my chosen people."

Saad looked to Yonatan, who turned and did likewise to Saad. Many of the other people still around, both Muslim and Jew, continued to bow and humbly look down. 

"You have come to take your chosen people," Yonatan asked. 

"I am here, my blessed one," the prophet replied. Saad rose to his feet now. 

"My people are not your children?" he asked the figure. The prophet was now even a bit lower to the ground, levitating about four feet in the air. 

"I am here to see mankind's destiny is fulfilled. As he addressed Saad, Yonatan now stood. 

"Which is why you made us . . . in your image?" Yonatan asked. 

"Of course," the prophet replied, the white robes and golden curls still moving in the air. 

"We are in your image?" Saad asked. The prophet nodded with a smile. 

"Who will you take then, o Lord?" Yonatan asked. 

"Take your people," Saad said. 

"I am here for my loyal believers," the prophet replied. 

Saad now tossed his head back. 

"You are here for those you made in your image," he said, "so that means Yonatan is out, because he has darker skin than you, straight, black hair, a nose much more of distinction and big, brown eyes." 

"And that means you cannot claim Saad as well," Yonatan picked up, "as he has tan skin, also the straight, black hair, a much more distinctive nose and deep, dark eyes."

"So are we in your image?" 

"Perhaps I made a mistake coming here at this time," the prophet fumbled a bit, slowly rising back into the air. By this time, several people had stopped praying and were looking up. Some had stood to their feet. 

"Perhaps you did," Yonatan agreed. 

"Heavenly deity," Saad called to him. He stopped floating up in the air and paused for a bit. 

"Yes, my son?"

"Yea," Saad replied, "great healer, can you heal the pains that afflict my younger brother, so he will not cry in pain anymore." 

"Not to be left off the wagon, Yonatan queried as well, "and could you heal young Amir from his injury received?" 

The person began to elevate into the air once more. 

"My children," he said, "the ways of the supreme creator are not to be questioned. What has befallen the youth has happened for a reason," and with that, he rose even higher into the skies above. 

"Wait," Yonatan called to him, "you should be able to, . . . "

"He is gone, Yonatan," Saad spoke plainly. By this time, many of the people had stood and were mulling about. Some began departing from the scene. 

"What was he?" Yonatan asked Saad. 

Saad continued to look up. 

"A sigh," he replied. "Nothing but a sign."

With tat, Saad departed to check on his brother. Yonatan looked for Amir, who had been removed, so he did not see him. He made his way to his front door and gradually entered within.       

© 2021 R J Fuller


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Added on July 30, 2021
Last Updated on July 30, 2021
Tags: spirit, prophet, Jew, Muslim, middle east, conflict