Chapter 6- Fleeting Phantom


Fleeting Phantom

     I WAS ABOUT TO LEAVE the forest when I heard behind me the loud rustling of leaves. I stopped cold in my tracks and immediately turned around. And there it was. The shadow of a man fleeing into the deeper woods. I wasn’t sure what I saw but this time I didn’t believe it to be a trick of the eye. Tree prank or not, this was going to be settled once and for all. Determined to catch the ghostly phantom I ran back into the forest charging after it like a lion chasing a deer. But the woods grew denser and darker making the phantom harder to see and to chase. When I pursued him in one direction, he suddenly appeared somewhere else. When I speedily changed direction to catch him there, it again sprinted to still another place. It knew I was after him. To avoid being caught it darted behind one tree to another. Then I abruptly stopped and watched as the phantom slid out-of-sight behind a large tree trunk.
     “Halt in the name of the High King!” I shouted, moving stealthily toward the hiding ghost.
      I grabbed the hilt of my sword and slowly unsheathed the weapon. The cool, fire stone blade crackled and flashed with golden sparks of light. Like a prowler hunting its prey I approached the shadowy figure preparing for a fight. My muscles flexed as I reapplied a firm grip on the sword. The blade burst into a flaming blaze of light. I came closer and closer. I couldn’t see him but I heard him breathing.
     Calling him out of the shadows I strongly ordered, “I am the Angel Gabriel, Chief Messenger to the High King of Heaven. Show yourself! And I may show mercy and spare your life!”
      It spoke not a word.
     “Be warned! If you have entered the King’s Land unlawfully, I will strike you down. I command you in the name of El Kedem, show yourself! ”
     There was a long moment of silence…then it started laughing.
     “Oh Gabriel, must you be so dramatic!”
    Much to my surprise, it wasn’t a phantom but it was my playful brother Rafael. He chuckled as he stepped out from behind the tree. I relaxed my grip on the cooling sword and slid it back into the scabbard.
     “What are you doing this deep in the woods?” I asked.
    “If you must know dear brother I was talking to the wind. It was just about to reveal a clue to the incarnation mystery, that was until I was interrupted by a sky runner…that you sent.”
     Putting his finger and thumb close together he said, “I was that close before the runner scared it off. And so I was off to chase the wind.”
     “Well brother,” I replied in jest, “you should’ve known by now it’s a vain thing to chase after the wind?”
     “There you go, quoting the ancient scriptures to me again. Let me think…Ecclesiastes?”
     Opening his arms wide like an actor on a stage he stated, “All is vanity and a striving after the wind.”
      With a squinted eye I replied, “Now who is being dramatic?”
      We laughed then grabbed one another in a brotherly embrace.
     “Gabriel, listen. I didn’t learn too much from the wind but what I did hear I must tell you.”
      “Yes, you must. We can talk about it on our way to the Pools of Currant.”
    We hurried our way out of the Forest of Voices. And once we stepped into the open meadow we heard the giant redwoods whispering. We glanced back wishing we knew the secrets they spoke of.

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