Forgot to tell you, Christ Glory Books released a $0.99 digital short last week, my short story clear back from my college days, “The Forgotten.” It was my one attempt at Historical Fiction (that turned into Romantic Historical in the process). It was also an experiment in writing from the viewpoint of a blind person. It is set in first-century Jerusalem in late winter, during the time of Christ’s earthly ministry.
Check it out. And please write a review. Thanks!
Blurb: Blinded while defending his flock from a lion, Yoshiyah Bar-Natan has lost everything but his shepherd’s staff. Only his wealthy great uncle’s mercy spares him from a life of begging on the streets of Jerusalem. Unable to accept his fate, Yoshiyah means to fast until either God heals him or he starves to death. Uncle Binyamin has secret plans for Yoshiyah and commands his maidservant, Rachel, to help Yoshiyah adjust to a life of wealth but without his sight, his honor, and meaningful work. Meanwhile, his uncle’s two sons will stop at nothing to get Yoshiyah and Rachel cast out.
Trapped in an eternal night, Yoshiyah bar-Natan sulked as his father lifted him from the cart. He ought to be out leading his helpless flock. Instead, he was now himself a helpless sheep being led up the steps of Uncle Binyamin’s home in Jerusalem.
That accursed lion. When would he stop seeing the visions of it killing two lambs, himself slaying it, and the dying beast stealing his sight in one final swipe? A bitter taste in his mouth, he tightened his grip around his staff. Once he had used this stick to protect his sheep. Now, Uncle Binyamin was all that stood in between him and a life of begging in the streets.
The city’s open sewers stank. The balmy winter air was slightly crisp, but Passover was only six or seven more Sabbaths away.
“One more step. We’re almost there,” his father whispered before calling, “Hail, Uncle.”
His uncle’s voice called back, “Hail, Natan. Shalom, Yoshiyah.”
Yoshiyah stumbled over the last invisible step. Soft, wrinkled hands clasped his rough ones, hardened in his nineteen years by many nights spent with his sheep in the hills of Galilee.
His uncle released his hands, seized him by the shoulders, and pecked his cheek right below the blindfold. “My, how handsome you’ve grown. I don’t believe I’ve seen you since the Passover the year of your bar mitzvah, Yoshiyah.”
Had his uncle somehow missed the blindfold? Who treated a blind man so?
His father started, “Well, as you can see . . .”
“Yes, yes, your messenger told me. Don’t worry, he’s safe here.”
“Thank you, Binyamin. Shalom.” His father’s footsteps echoed down the stone staircase.
His uncle called, “Boys, come greet your cousin!”
A youthful man’s voice sneered, “Surely you jest, Father. He’s unclean.”
A second, shrill voice said, “Really, Father, a blind beggar? This is too much.”
His uncle barked, “Enough! He’s family, and I have given Natan my word. He stays.”
Last time Yoshiyah had been forced to stay here, temporarily then, the snobs said, “Ew, Father, that shepherd boy belongs in the stable!” His face smoldered. “I’m tired, may I rest?”
“Yes.” His uncle’s hand grabbed his again. “Here, I’ll show you to your room.”
As his uncle led him, his cousins muttered with contempt in their voices.
Blind beggar indeed. Snarling, he shook his head in the constant darkness. He may be a blinded shepherd, but a blind beggar? Never. He’d pray and fast until HaShem returned his sight. If the miracle never came, then may HaShem hold him innocent of his blood.
His uncle left him on the luxurious wooden bed. Surely this private room was for a guest of honor. Who treated a blind man so? At home, he’d had a mattress on the upper room’s floor, and he’d shared it with his parents, his brother, his sister-in-law, his nephews, and his unmarried sisters.
Well, it was time to begin his fast and his prayers. Standing didn’t seem fitting today. He flung himself down on the bed prostrate.
Visions intruded of the lion’s fierce swipe and his terrified, scattering sheep.
Buy “The Forgotten” on Amazon for $0.99 to finish reading it on your kindle or on any device with the free kindle app.