The following was my entry in Christian Flash Weekly Event #19 – please click through to see the winning, and other submissions.
‘You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.’
– Psalm 23:5
The militia came to our city three days ago. Today, they came to my home. They came for me, in my family’s home. My name is Daud.
Our church was destroyed on the first day: burned, in ‘holy’ fire. We prayed at home, my family and I; we prayed for protection, for the Comforter to come. We prayed, and we trembled.
Today they came to my home. My family was dragged to our bathroom, and locked in.
I was taken to the kitchen, where I saw our table raised up at one end. I was taken to the raised end and made to lie back. My arms were tied to the legs at the other end, and my own legs bound.
“You choose to live in this ‘Christian’ city?” the ringleader spat.
“Yes,” I replied.
“You choose their false God over your own?”
“There is only one God”.
A tablecloth was spread tightly over my upper body and face. I heard the faucet running, and the buckets beginning to fill.
“The Lord is my shepherd, ” I began to whisper, “I shall not be in want.”
Sooner than I expected water began to pour onto my face. It quickly soaked through the cloth, poured across my mouth, and as I felt it enter my nostrils I tried to breathe out to force it away. My lungs began to burn until I could not help but gasp to take in breath. Water flowed in as I tried to breathe and I choked violently, gasping for more air, only to receive yet more water. Then the water slowed and stopped and I could hear the faucet running again. The shouting resumed.
“There is one God! Our God, not theirs!”
“He makes me to lie down . . . in green pastures . . . he leads me . . . he leads me beside . . ”
“You think your God will save you? He is a false God! There is one God!”
” . . . beside . . . beside quiet waters”
“You want more water? Is that it? You want us to baptise you again?”
“He restores . . . ”
Water began to pour once more, and I felt my pulse racing as the flow increased. My lungs burned more quickly this time, and I gasped hopelessly for air through the constant stream hitting my face.
“He restores my soul . . . He guides me . . . in the paths . . . in the paths . . . in the paths of right. . .eousness”
I struggled to catch any brief mouthful of air.
“For his name’s sake . . . . . . . Even though I walk . . .”
Pain struck me like a sledgehammer from nowhere. My knees . . . my knees . . . I was in agony . . .
“You want to walk? Deny the infidel God!”
“Even though I walk . . . through the valley . . . of the shadow . . . of death, . . . . . . . I will fear . . . I will fear no evil!”
“You call us evil, blasphemer?! We are servants of the one God!”
Another blow rained down on my legs, from the other side. Another rifle butt I thought. I had never known pain like it. I could hear my family screaming through the bathroom door.
I raised my voice louder, in the feint hope they might hear and take heart, ” . . . For you are with me! Your rod . . .your rod, and your staff, they . . .”
“So, you have been baptised, and now you want we should anoint you?”
At that moment I recognised the sound of our stove burners igniting, the familiar sound of the pan placed upon the hob. In horror, I realised the sickening truth of my enemy’s words: they were heating oil.
“And after you, your family, we swear it! Now, denounce the false God!!”
“Your rod . . . and your staff they comfort me.”
Then I heard a new, commanding voice: “Stop! STOP NOW!!”