WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS
© by Ross Cochrane
The window had been covered and so the room was dark except for a small lamp burning on the side wall. It cast eerie shadows as Absalom and Uzzah closed the door carefully behind them. Absalom could feel his heart pounding in his chest and in the silence he could hear the sound of blood pulsing through his ears. Their lips and throats were dry and so when Uzzah spoke, it was in a high pitched squeak that didn’t sound very brave at all.
“I think it’s over there,” he said, but Absalom couldn’t see where he was pointing. As their eyes began to adjust to the dim lighting, the vague shape began to emerge from the darkness and both boys stood with eyes wide open in the awe of the moment. Uzzah took the lamp from its stand and as he did, it made a small scraping noise. The sound seemed so magnified that he almost dropped it and Absalom jumped nervously. His legs seemed weak all of a sudden but he moved behind Uzzah and both of them moved closer to the object in the middle of the room.
“Don’t go any closer.” said Absalom, in a whisper.
“I thought you wanted to open it up and see what’s inside?” said Uzzah.
“I’ve changed my mind. I don’t think we should touch it.”
“Why?” Uzzah asked, secretly relieved, but he taunted Absalom. “Are you afraid of boils?” Apparently some Philistines had been afflicted with boils when they had tried to steal the Ark a long time ago.
“Of course not, but we have to get out of here before your brother gets back. If they find us here they could hang us up in the marketplace with our arms and hands cut off like Baanah and Rechab,” said Absalom.
“You know your father wouldn’t do that to you. Let’s try to open it just a little bit.”
They gazed upon the box-shaped object which, in the light of the small lamp, seemed to glow like smouldering coals. They could now make out the shapes of two creatures on top of the box whose golden wings were reflecting ripples of light. It was such magnificent workmanship. As they slowly moved closer, light seemed to flash from the golden wings of the muscular shaped creatures which made them look as if they were moving.
“Stop!” said Absalom, “I don’t want to touch it.”
“Don’t be so superstitious,” said Uzzah
“I think I saw something move,” said Absalom whose forehead was now beaded in sweat. All of a sudden it felt as if the walls were closing in on him.
“Where?” said Uzzah, thinking that his brother, Eleazar, had returned. Fear began to rise up in Uzzah, but he would not admit this to Absalom.
“You know what they say about the Ark,” said Absalom in a whisper, “Let’s get out of here. It’s too risky.” Absalom started to head towards the door. He could see his own shadow looming before him and panic was rising up within him. All he wanted to do was get out of there. Both of them ran the last couple of steps to the door, colliding with each other as they flung it open.