Two Judases: The Traitor And The Tenderheart

the opening of chapter two of ‘THE ELEVEN’, Two Judases: The Traitor And The Tenderheart

ACROSS THE DARK NIGHT SKY over the Galilean hills, imposing bolts of flame did their best to terrify me. I'm not sure whether it was the violence of the storm or the place where I found myself that made me more concerned. I had just arrived. I was chilled, wet with nervous sweat. I was cowering under the outcropping of a grassy knoll with rain pelting to the earth in front of me. To my horror my shoulder pressed against the shoulder of a man who was sharing my puny shelter. Whenever lightening illumined our refuge I snatched peeks at his face and he didn't seem like someone I cared to know. Then he spoke and I almost took off.

I let out a nervous gasp and he said to me, "I'm as surprised to find myself here as you must be."

His admission released my alarm. Another lightening tracer crackled its path noisily through the night. I could hear it burn. And then after the pause, a clap of thunder so loud I felt nauseous. "Ahh, ahh, are you Judas?" I spluttered, anxious that I was side by side with the traitor.

Sensing my nervousness he answered, "Sure I am son." I felt my stomach muscles tighten. "But I'm not Iscariot."

"You're not?" I quivered, relieved.

"No! I'm Thaddaeus."

"Thaddaeus ... oh Thaddaeus," I enthused. "I certainly am pleased to meet you."

He stifled his snickers. I felt his shoulder bouncing against mine and he said, "I wish I could say that I was pleased to be here with you son. But I wasn't expecting to be rained on. And I wasn't expecting to spend the night in a cave," he said with a hint of displeasure.

"I apologize Thaddaeus. This wasn't my idea, either. I am sort of at the mercy of my imagination in arranging these meetings."

"Harrumph," he grumped.

After some time passed he asked me, "Are you afraid of lightening?"

"Not usually," I claimed. "But this incident has taken me by surprise."

Then he startled me. Soft words from that stiff baritone voice. "If it helps," he replied, "I recall Jesus saying, 'Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.'"

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