Short story 2: Siobhan beyond the Gates
Updated: Jul 8, 2019
Shebhuan LeSalleo looked up from where she was lying to see an elderly man with a hood. But she was a little confused.
“Where am I,” she asked.
The old man looked at her with sympathy, and great tolerance, before replying. “Where do you think you are?”
“I am not sure, but am I dead?”
Another look of sympathy came her way. “Does anybody really die?” the old man asked. “Maybe they just move onto another place?”
Shebhuan reflected on that thought for a moment before replying. “I would like that.”
“Good”, said the old man, who now looked relieved, and he pointed towards a brightly lit up gate. It was made of the finest gold, and glistened in the sun.“Glad you think so, because this will be your new address.”
“That’s pretty, and awesome” said Shebhuan, who was struck by the size and appearance of what she was seeing. “What is it like on the inside”
“Why not go and see?”
All Shebhuan had to do was climb the stairs, and yet she was somehow temporarily unable to do so.“I am not sure. I mean; I don’t know you. So how can I be sure it is a good idea?”
“Well Shebhuan, wasn’t life full of things you didn’t understand?” the old man replied with a smile.
“Yes. I was simple that way, my mother would say.”
Shebhuan reflected some more, before adding, “but she did try to encourage me to be careful around people I don’t know yet.” She stopped before asking, “what I mean is who are you?”
“I am Abraham, your forefather. And I look after the gates to heaven. I am here to welcome my children home. Children like you, Shebuan LeSalleo.”
Of course, she knew who Abraham was. He was a patriarch, a man who lived by faith, and she was a descendent of his. But he had lived hundreds of years earlier. Shebhuan was surprised at the idea of meeting him, but was starting to take things in. “So? I am dead then? But how?”
Abraham looked her directly in the eye before asking, “Well what do you remember?”
“The last thing I clearly remember was being in an army truck.” She looked uncertain at this. “Some people had arrived and were taking us somewhere. It is a complicated story.”
Are things really that complicated?
“Well start at the beginning,” advised Abraham in a fatherly manner.
“Why?” Shebhuan demanded.
“I am curious, and the beginning is usually the best place to start.”
Shebhuan could not dispute the logic of the statement, and began the story. “Well I was born in the village, and raised alone by my mother. My father had done a runner when he was told that I was on the way. They were not married, you see?
Abraham smiled as if trying to move the story on. “Well, let’s not worry about that.”
“Why? In the village some people would say I was illegitimate?”
“I see? Well, I suppose that they do that sometimes, but I can’t work out why,” Abraham assured her. “Let’s be honest, it is the parents who have been illegitimate, the child never is.”
“Oh, I hadn’t thought about it like that.” Shebhuan paused before continuing. “Well anyway. My mother raised me alone, in Israel. We didn’t have much money, but we were part of a community that looked after us. I had friends, but mostly I liked to spend my time alone.”
“I see, not a mixer then? That’s a shame.”
How have you lived?
“No. I had a friend in Freida, and Simeon, but they were a couple from the get-go. I was always the odd one out. One day I had hoped to marry, but there were no other boys around.”
“Do you? How can you ‘Abraham - The Father of Faith’ begin to understand me, and being the odd one out?”
“Shebhaun, my child, I was asked to leave my comfort zone, and venture to where I didn’t know, among people I didn’t know. It was a difficult time, and I was the odd one among many.”
Shebhuan suddenly felt really small, and all she could manage to say was. “Sorry. I didn’t realise”
“That’s ok?” replied Abraham. “So? What happened today?”
When disaster comes
“Well it all started in an ordinary way. I had breakfast with mum. Then there was a commotion in the village. The soldiers had arrived again. Only this time it was different.” Shebhuan was now looking at the gate, and trying to peer through.
“How so,” asked Abraham.
“Well,” said Shebhuan, “it got hostile when they said they wanted to remove the girls, to go to the Palace, and serve the Prince. Suddenly there was gunfire, and people fled in all directions, as some of our villagers lay dead.”
Abraham looked concerned, and Shebhuan continued. “I was captured and bound with cable ties, then thrown literally into a truck. We were taken to the palace via a long back root that avoided other villages, and kept a low profile.”
“And you were alone?”
“No, Freida was there, and other girls from the village. All tied, and many of us laying down on the floor in the back of the truck. When we arrived, we were fast marched into the palace, and ordered to strip naked in front of everyone.”
“And you resisted, I trust?” asked Abraham. “Being a good Jewish girl?”
Shebhuan wasn’t sure she had really resisted. “Well, kind of..”
Abraham looked interested in getting further information. “Kind off?” he asked.
I said that “we had nowhere to change. And then..”
“Then I awoke here, and I don’t understand what could have happened Abraham?”
Abraham gave the same look of sympathy, “Well I’m afraid the guard shot you with a pistol. In the head! And you died. You did not suffer.”
Define your achievements
Abraham nodded, for he knew that the girl finally understood. “And you were sent here, to continue your journey. But you can be proud.” And with that he opened the gate, and with a hand gesture invited Shebhuan to enter.
“Why can I be proud? I achieved nothing? My resistance just got me killed”.
“That is not for either of us to judge my dear,” Abraham pointed out. “But know this. What happened today will be remembered by the others. Freida, especially will hold your memory and be inspired by you, as she works out how best to resist. She will experience many unpleasant things, but will triumph, and you will have helped her. Now go.”
Once more Abraham beckoned her inside. And with that Shebhuan climbed the steps. She reached the gate that swung open, and smiled a "smile of thanks" to Abraham. The she entered into her promised land, and her next adventure began.
If you like what you just read, you can further follow the story by purchasing the books from the Green Mist Chronicles series
Book 1 Green Mist Rising available on Amazon and Kindle
Book 2 out in July 2019 on Amazon and Kindle