A short story by Jason K Powers
October, 2009

You look out across the desert plain… a desert that is nothing but the dry cracked ground.  No piles of sand in sight.  No vegetation.  No critters scurrying around. 


Only the vast plains and the winding cracks in the ground as far as you can see. 
Off in the distance, where the ground meets the sky… the horizon… you see what looks like a wall that runs as far east as one can see, and as far west and the eye can see.  It’s a wall that appears to move and shift, as the patterns roll within itself.  It seems to be made of smoke, and fire, and dust blowing.  A storm of sorts.  A wall so thick, you figure it could go for miles beyond its front lines.  A wall so tall and so wide, that you dare not go closer.  The dark black clouds mix with the wind and sand.  You can hear a faint rumble of the thunder and roaring wind that comes from the wall.  Lightning flickers and fire licks a glowing amber from within.  A whole other world lies beyond its barrier.  It’s a wall that speaks of fear.  No… it doesn’t speak… it roars… and you see the fear and the hurt and pain that it can inflict.  You see the torment in can inflict on those who would dare to enter.  So, off in the distance you watch. 

You know that within that storm… deep within… is a whole different world than the one you are living outside, safely in the distance.  What it must be like…  You hope and pray that you’ll never, ever have to know. 

Suddenly, off in the distance on the horizon, where the wall meets the vast empty desert, you see a silhouette of something emerge out through the great wall.  A figure.  A man.  His world behind him.  He walks out through the storm, walking, looking undeniably tired yet moving forward with determination.  Unmistakably worn… beaten… torn.  As his figure begins to emerge from the wind and dust of the storm, you notice more…

On his head he wears a large black hat.  It looks like a cross between something one would wear in outback of the Austrialian deserts, and something one might wear while trekking through the dense jungles of India.  Embedded on the front of his hat, is a bronze piece with two symbols superimposed over each other.  Greek letters it appears.  ‘Chi’ and ‘Rho’, or ‘P’ and ‘X’. 

His long dusty blonde hair hangs out from under his hat and over his coat, ratted, tangled and wind blown. 

His long coat has become a dull black, sun beaten, and worn.  Steam from the heat of the fire seems to rise from the shoulders of his jacket as he presses forward.  Pieces of the coat seem to be patched up from previous tears.  Perhaps torn in a battle.  Perhaps attacked by a creature, and this is his solemn reminder.  Each patch is grossly hand-stitched on with whatever seemed to be closest at the time it was required.  Hanging down near his ankles, the leather coat tail flaps in the gusty wind that whips up from behind him. 

Emerging through the black coat, you see a belt around his waist.  Its large buckle glimmers in the desert sun.  On it, you see what looks like a letter ‘T’… or is it a Cross?

Carrying on his back he has what looks like a round silver disk that reaches from shoulder blade to shoulder blade. 

In his right hand he walks with a sword.  He seems to be using it as his cane.  Limping with each step he takes, he uses it as his support.

His black boots are worn, covered in dried mud, but still the steel covering the toes still shines through in places.

He takes each step systematically, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time, slowly, concentrating on each step.  Each leg swings around to step forward, his feet dragging from the weariness, but still he steps. 

He approaches.

Woosh.  Woosh.  You can hear the sound of his boots dragging, scraping across the dry dirt and gravel as he drags his legs around with each step.  As he approaches only feet away from you, and you are able to get a good look at his worn appearance, you see his face.  Dust and dirt covers his entire face, but his eyes shine a deep blue through it all.  Though they shine a deep blue, they speak of a weary road he has just travelled.  You see pain and loss in his eyes.  They tell the story.  Amidst that, you can still see something else…


You see a whole world of stories just in his eyes.  The windows to the soul.  

He stops. 

He takes the disc that has been carried on his back, and lays it to the ground.  A shield.  On it, you notice a large inscription that reads, “Sciath an Creideamh”.  He takes off his heavy coat and lays it down next to the shield.  Under his coat he is wearing what looks like some kind of an armored vest.  You look closer and notice that the outside layer has been pierced time and time again.  You wonder if anything ever got all the way through.  He lets go of his sword, and takes off his hat, and drops to his knees.  No… he bows to his knees.  In silence, you watch him bow his head, and then you hear his mumbled voice begin to speak.  Is he speaking to you?  You lean closer trying to hear what he is saying while his head is bowed.  No, he’s not speaking to you… but Another;

“…If I take the wings of the dawn, or if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.  And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me. How precious are Your thoughts to me, O God. How vast is the sum of them…” and then you stop listening because he is praying a prayer so personal, so powerful, with meaning, and heart, that you almost feel like you might be violating the sacredness of it all.  You sense that God is there with him… and you… in your presence.  You begin to back away from him as he continues to speak to the One.  His voice fades as you back further and further away, before finally, you turn around and begin to walk towards the great wall, knowing…  knowing that if you walk towards whatever lies beyond the cover of that great wall, your life will never be the same. 

But will you go? 

Or will you stay in the safety of that the distance provides?

You think.  ‘It must have been a battle he was in… What will happen now?  Where will he go from here?’

No man knows.  Not even him.  But for now, he walks on.  And he wears his armor.  Ready for what may lie ahead.  Ready… and willing.

It wasn’t just a battle he came from.  It was a war.  It was the fight of his life…

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit…”

~The Holy Bible, Book of Ephesians, Chapter Six, Verses Ten through Eighteen~


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