Be With Me::Flash Fiction: By Radrook: May 27, 2019 9:34:27 GMT -5
Post by Radrook Admin on May 27, 2019 9:34:27 GMT -5
Be With Me: by Radrook
The last thing the Spanish knight Roberto Ignacio Garcia remembered, was riding out with Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, AKA El Cid. The day had been dismally cloudy and cold, and a wind-driven drizzle had made headway towards the Almoravide Berber camp, which they planned to attack by surprise extremely difficult.
Strange how El Cid had chosen a road treacherously narrow and almost unsuitable for cavalry. Worse yet, a road flanked by thick vegetation that provided cover for any enemy. Why the Cid had carelessly chosen this route instead of circumventing and taking the longer but safer one, he couldn't at first understand. But lower-ranked knights should not have questioned such decisions, so he kept his thoughts to himself. They had been making slow but steady progress when the Cid suddenly ordered a halt. He had remained on his mount silently for too long for Garcia's liking before he finally spoke.
"Garcia," he said gruffly while looking intently away into the distance,
"I want you to go ahead and scout out the road for any sign of an Almoravide ambush!".
That's when Garcia suspected that this was the Cid's way of getting him executed. There had been an extremely intense disagreement over a senorita the previous evening at a tavern in Valencia. El Cid had come out the loser when the wench, for some mysterious reason, had chosen him instead. After all, the Cid had great fame and cut a far more dashing figure than he did at his advanced age of fifty. To avoid trouble, Garcia had rejected the wench. But the Cid looked extremely offended by the rejection anyway. A panicked feeling of certain doom suddenly descended on him.
"But sir, what stops them from ambushing me on the way there?" Garcia gestured to the deeply- shaded wet, slippery path ahead as it started to rain and the staccato of drops pelting his helmet added to his premonition. El Cid, gazing away into the opposite distance, had remain morosely silent for the better part of a minute before responding. Garcia could see the muscles of his massive pale square jaw working furiously as he searched for some justifiable answer that would hide his true motives.
"Trust in the Lord. He will protect!" the Cid had finally uttered sternly, spurred his horse, galloped away not even deigning to look at him.
Not daring to get into a heated argument, or show lack of faith, Garcia proceeded cautiously down the rock-strewn road at a slow trot as El Cid and the rest of the knights halted and waited. All had gone without incident, and the sound of his horse’s impact on the rocks gave him a certain irrational comfort. Still, he prayed under his breath even though he knew full-well that others who had prayed had perished on the field of battle anyway.
Everything seemed well, his horse had managed to traverse the distance without a slip and he was about to turn back a pronounce the road safe when suddenly the shout of Allah Akbar! was followed by that of a whistling arrow. There followed a stabbing pain to the kidney and another to his throat brought an end to his worries. He felt himself falling off his mount as he desperately tried to remove the shaft from his throat. Then he heard his armor slam against the rocks, heard the thunder of hooves and battle cries approaching, saw the clouded sky slowly dim and began drifting into deep darkness. There was no sensation of time just as there had not been before he was born and eons had transpired.
Then suddenly he sensed the aroma of greenery and the pressure of ground against his back. He wondered why he felt no pain from the deadly wounds just inflicted. He reached for the places where he had felt the arrows enter. The one traversing his throat was gone as well as the others.
Gradually and tentatively, he opened his eyes to the rays of gentle sunlight that was filtering through the canopy of large, pointed. emerald-green yellow-tipped leaves covered by droplets of diamond-like dew. He wondered whether his companions had come to his aid, lifted his mangled body and take him to Barcelona where court physicians had saved his life and where he was now convalescing. But if so, where were they? Why would they place him there all alone?
Cautiously he raised himself to a sitting position and gazed about. Where was this place? How had he gotten here? Why was he wearing a white robe instead of his armor? Where were his weapons and his beloved horse? Where was the narrow road that he had just been traveling on? Gradually, as his mind cleared, he noticed voices a short distance away accompanied by the soft murmur of a meandering river as it coursed over the smooth riverbed rocks towards the gentle splash of a waterfall.
Raising himself to a kneeling position, he cautiously parted the leaves and looked. He noticed that there were young people dressed in long, white garments which reminded him of Roman Togas who were eating fruits from trees that grew along the river’s edge. Others were cupping the crystalline waters that sparkled in the sunlight in their hands and drinking deeply.
In the distance, others were appearing from canopies similar to his, as if butterflies emerging from their cocoons. Crowds were welcoming them with expressions of tearful recognition. Long-separated loved ones suddenly reunited. Embraces of those deemed never to embrace again.
Then suddenly, as if in response to his confusion, he heard the familiar voices, voices he had yearned to hear for decades but had finally lost hope of ever hearing again. Voices that had become but painful memories. There, approaching him, were his two children and his wife whom he had lost to an Almoravide Berber attack on his village years before. Then finally he knew what it all meant. Remembered the scripture which he had read dozens of times.
"You will be with me in paradise"