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Ch. 1. Who are these girls?

A string of twelve camels peeled off the caravan, shuffled over, and stood next to Elijah. Their puller nodded toward the large goatskins full of wine.

“I’ll take one, boy.”

Elijah rested his hand on a skin. “We’ll load it for you, sir. You can pay my father.” He pointed toward the trunk of the oak tree three paces away.

The camel puller reached deep in his robe, extracted a money pouch, and stepped over to Elijah’s father. “Nice seat you got here.”

Elijah’s father stood up and gave the puller a broad smile. Behind him two chattering squirrels collected acorns, and from a limb over his head a yellowhammer sang.

“Thank you, sir.” He glanced at the clumps of pink cyclamen blossoming on his left. “I rolled this stone into the shade before my boys were born.”

He glanced up at two more pullers who left the caravan with their camels and stood in line for Elijah’s wineskins. “Do you carry spices?”

The puller nodded. “For the Nile market.”

“Next week we celebrate the day we left the Nile.”

Elijah’s brother, Nathan, poked him in the ribs. “Wait for it.” He looked sideways at the camel puller.

“The Nile? When were you at the Nile?”

“Thutmose was pharaoh. We left Egypt 621 years ago.”

“Hmpf!” The puller snorted. “Hebrews.”

Elijah’s father flashed a twinkle at his sons and returned a full smile to the puller. As he opened his hand for the five pieces of silver, a slight breeze ruffled his beard.

The brothers chuckled and turned to Balak, the first donkey in line. They loosened the lashes of one of the two skins on Balak’s packsaddle. Elijah grabbed the front legs of the goatskin and Nathan the back.

Their eyes met. “Ready?” They eased the heavy skin off Balak and swung it up toward the side pack on the lead camel.

But Nathan glanced over Elijah’s shoulder, and his eyes flew wide open. He dropped his end of the skin and crouched behind Balak.

The wineskin slipped from Elijah’s grip and hit the road intact, unopened.

He spun around.

A line of girls trudged along beside the line of camels. A steep hill pushed the caravan out of the beating sun right up into the shade of the oak grove and against Elijah’s row of donkeys.

Elijah stood in the girls’ path.

They would stumble over his wineskin.

His father looked up. “Make room, son.”

As the first girl brushed by, Elijah knelt and slid the heavy skin under Balak, first one end then the other.

Each girl stared down at the heels of the girl ahead. One long rope at the ankles linked them in a column that stretched out of sight around the curve of the hill.

A short man with thick shoulders strolled along beside the girls and looked Elijah over.

Elijah stood up and stared. This man was no camel puller. “Who are you? Who are these girls?”

The thick-shouldered man twitched one corner of his mouth and touched the knife at his belt. He shoved Elijah aside and sauntered past. He never looked back.

But the girls. Torn shirts. Dirt. Hair matted with mud or worse. Where did they come from?

Elijah backed up against the camel. As the girls squeezed past him, a few raised their heads, but none met his gaze.

If only his mother could see these girls!

He would take them to Mother. She would wrap her arms around each girl and help her down to the Yarmuk. Into the water and scrub, scrub, scrub. Then out and drape her in a fresh, clean robe.

But how could Mother mend their numb, empty stares?

Elijah’s father pointed to a fourth puller who brought his line of camels off the King’s Highway and waited behind the first three. “Nathan. Elijah. Look lively now with wine for these men. They have customers waiting at the Nile.”

How could his father think about wineskins?

Couldn’t he see the pus that oozed from that girl’s shoulder? She could be sister to Milkah, the girl next door.

Adults talked of Asherah temples and slave girls, but they never said they were so young, and none of these girls looked older than Elijah. He stroked his chin. A beard would show up any day now.

A girl squeezed past with a second man beside her, the same size as the first. A scar ran from the corner of his eye to his neck. Who were these men? Their knives. That rope.

The girl tripped, and the rope jerked the ankle of the girl ahead of her. The man slapped her and knocked her into Elijah. The odor of dried feces invaded his nostrils, and he grabbed her shoulders to keep her from falling.

Elijah’s father looked up from the silver falling into his hand. “Watch out!”

A thick hand knocked the girl aside and shoved Elijah hard against the camel’s side. Another hand flashed a razor-edged knife before his eyes. A blade that sharp could slice his jugular just as fast as his own butcher knife at home opened the vein of a goat.

Elijah froze wide-eyed, teeth clenched. “Careful with that thing, mister!”


1 Kings 17:1 – “Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead…”

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22 Responses to Ch. 1. Who are these girls?

  1. Dr. DeWayne Coxon August 20, 2018 at 4:56 AM #

    Dave,

    I hurt for the young girls in the long line.

    My dad told about Abraham Lincoln as he watched the slaves being sold. He said to a friend, “If I ever have a chance to stop this, I will hit it hard.” He gave his life to make that happen.

    Your friend and brother-in-law,

    DeWayne

  2. Joyce Black August 21, 2018 at 8:14 AM #

    Dave, you paint the picture clearly!

    It rises to Our Father as a great stench! It breaks His heart, these beautiful creations of His, treated worse than a mule! It’s still happening world over, even in our country of, One nation under God! Lord, have mercy!

    Show us how to, “rescue the perishing, care for the dying, snatch them in pity from sin and the grave”!

  3. Wanda Schulcz August 21, 2018 at 8:20 AM #

    Elijah’s story sounds similar to real-life stories we have heard. Human trafficking is horrendous in every way.

    Walt and I support In Better Hands, Inc. which some missionary friends established to support orphanages in Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia to keep kids out of trafficking. We plan to go back to Thailand in January to help rebuild one of the orphanages which is in pretty bad shape.

  4. Lin August 21, 2018 at 12:01 PM #

    When reading the journey of Elijah from a different perspective of expressive ideas takes you also through reliving his life as if you were actually there seeing it through your own eyes.

  5. Ann Videtich August 22, 2018 at 10:23 AM #

    Hi Dave,
    These scenes definitely make one want to hear what’s next! Keep going!
    Ann

  6. Judy August 22, 2018 at 10:33 PM #

    Well written…leaves you wanting to know what is next… a surprise in every paragraph… love how it makes scripture come to life…

  7. Darci Frostick August 23, 2018 at 12:18 PM #

    Oh wow. I wasn’t expecting to read about human trafficking. Sobering.

  8. Linda Reed Burge August 24, 2018 at 12:25 PM #

    I must say, this was Very Interesting & Very Thought – Provoking!

    All we know of most prophets is in a book with their name on it, filled with the promises of rewards for People obeying God’s laws, or punishment because of their evil deeds & rebellion against the Lord.

    To “give life” to Elijah is quite an undertaking!!! A Great beginning, brother Dave!!!!

  9. Jan August 24, 2018 at 12:58 PM #

    Very interesting and well written. I can’t wait to see what you write next.

  10. Lois Rolfe August 25, 2018 at 6:43 PM #

    Can’t wait for next segment. scary to think this happens daily in our world. well written, Dave.

    keep it coming.

  11. Rose Fresquez August 26, 2018 at 11:57 PM #

    I totally love how you weave Elijah’s story into the modern day. Very well written with much creativity! looking forward to read what you write next!

  12. Pauline Stitt August 27, 2018 at 11:40 AM #

    This book will capture your imagination from the first paragraph, and take you on an adventure you will not forget.

    It is Biblical stories with a contemporary flair.

    With Dr. Parks vivid imagination and continual sense of humor you will not want to put this book down.

  13. Douglas Smith August 27, 2018 at 3:58 PM #

    Dave, you’re a boy at heart with a curious mind, who went poking around the biblical accounts of Elijah, trailing him where the sandals meet the sand. Poring over those accounts, placing yourself in Elijah’s dusty leather footwear, following the Bible’s GPS (God’s Personal Step guide) with all of Elijah’s travels, you realized, with no little effort, that Elijah was a regular guy, facing contemporary issues.

    Here, you give us a young boy with feelings and sensitivities like we have. He’s observant and curious and is already attuned to right and wrong, and is not timid. Thanks, Dave, for reminding us that regular people can have a human history, human feelings, and human origins that can be used by God. You stretch our imagination. You show us, from the git-go, that the Elijah we have venerated is an example, not an idol.

    I want to watch him grow up! Keep it coming!

  14. Judith Crawford August 28, 2018 at 10:34 AM #

    David, very interesting story, yes I had a Daycare for 10 years, but never had children of my own, My heart cried when I read this.

    I’m sure this is still going on in our country today, I also would love to read the rest of the story, I can’t begin to imagine how scared these girls might have been. I’m sure they were wondering what is going to happen to us? Where are we going? will we ever see our mother and our father again? Are we going to die?

    David your writing a very true to life story and we as a people need to wake up and be concerned as to what is going on around us.this is happening today.

    Thank you for sharing this .

  15. Nancy Ragatz August 29, 2018 at 6:39 PM #

    Once again the Bible comes alive in this believable story of a young Elijah and I am transported back in time to walk the dusty road with him. Fascinating!

  16. Rev.Gerchom NIBINKOREYE August 30, 2018 at 8:55 PM #

    I need this teachings

  17. Karen Lewan August 30, 2018 at 9:42 PM #

    I think your travels have given you the touches needed for a wonderful description of the setting. I am an avid reader of books, and would much rather imagine the story than see it on a screen! That being said, the story is intriguing, and I can easily picture the scene! Well written, Dave!

  18. Jimmie Bryan Crumley September 1, 2018 at 10:30 PM #

    Dave,

    This makes our efforts to support a girls school in Uganda, taking care of 1300 + rescued girls even more important !!!

    Even living in conditions deplorable to us, is better than the conditions for those in the time of Elijah !!

    As little as we can do, is better than nothing ???

  19. Linda Harvey Kelley September 2, 2018 at 4:57 AM #

    What did I do? I wrote a book; actually two, against bride price and polygamy. I want to read what comes next! Can I be on your mailing list? (I’m now in Israel 🇮🇱 but returning to Rev. Mike Long in Greece 🇬🇷 on Tuesday. I saw this on his wall.)

  20. Tseggai Isaac September 3, 2018 at 2:59 AM #

    David, glad to connect with you. The story is well written; clear and precise.

    It is also full of symbolism.

    The wine is an aspect of happiness; the goatskins contain the happiness in a compromised state, because wines in those days would be preserved on earthen vessels to maintain the authenticity of their taste. Life is not always pleasant. The balancing of the caravans’ burdens aspects of vision, perseverance in life’s journey.

    The unkempt, girls, particularly the falling girl jolting the fetter, symbolizes to me how the most precious human beings and their potential as future mother; their life-giving attributes are the most neglected in modern societies, particularly on that part of the world.

    The mother who would “scrub and scrub”, feed, heal, and nurture is the unique gift of the woman person as a nurturer, with keen sense of judgement, foresight and tenderness. I think the God-sense of us human beings is embedded in the tender love and nurturing care of mothers, wives, daughters.

    David, if you feel my looking symbolism in your story is too speculative, blame it on my wonderful literature teacher at Wesleyan Bible Institute/Jordan College, Mrs. Lexie Coxon. She would say, (paraphrasing) look for symbols in the underling theme of the story.

    Good teachers are memorable.

  21. Carolee Cole September 4, 2018 at 8:08 PM #

    What an enlivened version of the story of Elijah!

    I have often wondered about the “rest of the story” when reading the stories of the Bible. Chapter 1 of, “A Regular Elijah,” presents a very believable and mesmerizing account of Elijah’s potential early teen years.

    Dave Parks’ knowledge of the geography, as well as the history of the area Elijah grew up in, allows him to create a window into what was happening in the culture around Elijah and how it might have affected the person Elijah was becoming.

    I can’t wait to read Chapter 2!

  22. Larry Underhill September 18, 2018 at 8:36 PM #

    Dave, you are a gifted yarnspinner and wordsmith! I was drawn into the story quickly, and moved by the vivid picture of the line of girls and their vicious keepers. The Word has much to say about judgement of those who traffic in the bodies of others. Thanks for inviting me to enjoy this story.

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