Streaks of lightning crossed the skies and thunder rolled through the valleys below the hills. With little regard to the approaching storm, Samuel and Levy kicked a leather ball toward a clay pot.
"Samuel, it's going to rain, you need to come in now." Samuel's mother urged her son to stop playing.
Samuel kicked the ball toward Levy. "Mother, it's a dry storm, just noise. Look even the sky seems undecided."
His mother stood in the doorway to their house. "Very well, but you two watch the sky, if the rain starts, then come in at once." She turned to the other young man. "Levy, is your mother home?"
Levy toyed with the ball. "No ma'am, she has gone to the courts to watch what happens today."
"Alright then," Samuel's Mother said, "if it starts to rain you may come in here too."
The two boys hardly acknowledged her again and continued kicking the ball. Samuel's mother looked at the sky and frowned, then pulled the flap over the door opening.
Samuel raced past Levy and kicked the ball, which sailed past the goal and into a stand of reeds. "I'm closer, Levy, I'll get it."
"Good, there's rats in those reeds, better poke it with a stick."
Samuel picked up a thick stick and poked through the reeds to find the ball. Finally he found it nestled in a puddle of water. "Yuck, it's gooey and wet." He struck the ball with the stick, which made a big splash and covered Samuel's legs. "Now, look I have to clean up. I hope it does rain so I can wash this stuff off."
Levy scarcely listened to Samuel. His eyes were on the small ball as it arced out of the reeds and sailed over the ridge of the low hill. "Wow, you hit that thing way over there."
The two friends raced each other to the top of the ridge. From that vantage point they could see most of the hills along the slow moving river. Samuel pointed down the other side of the hill. "Did it go down there?"
"I don't know I lost it when it went over the top. I bet it went clear to the river."
Samuel shook his head. "My brother will kill me if I lose that ball, we be better go down and look."
Levy hesitated. "I don't know, it is forbidden that we should go down there without our parents."
"It couldn't have gone very far, we'll find it quickly, then get back, nobody will notice."
The youngsters walked down the steep incline searching the weeds for the errant ball. Suddenly the sky cracked louder that they had ever heard. The two boys ran to a large boulder and huddled. The leather ball was nestled in the dust of the rock. From where they were seated they could see into the side of another hill. One in which they had never seen before it was an execution area of the city, and their parents had been careful to prevent their children from witnessing the torturous executions of the day.
On the hill two Crosses stood with men hanging on them. The two youngsters stared with wide eyes. They couldn't see the men, just the backside of the crosses. Then, before they could move from where they were seated, another Cross was hoisted into place and a large crowd gathered around.
"Look Levy, the man on the new Cross seems to talking."
"Oh, that's gross, look they're nailing that man to the Cross."
Then a uniformed man thrust a spear into the side of the newest man.
Levy turned and threw up on the ground. Samuel covered his eyes. A slow roar began and then there was great screaming from the people gathered. At the same time the sky seemed to open wide. Samuel continued to watch through parted fingers. Levy finally wiped his mouth and sat up just as the Cross began to glow and seemed to become enveloped in a cloud.
The two boys ran back up the hill but as the reached the ridgeline Levy grabbed Samuel. "Never, I mean never, say anything about what we saw."
Samuel shook his friend's arm off his shoulder. "We got the ball, that's all."
"Yeah. I'm sure we will hear talk of this, but we can't say anything. Even if someone tells of the glowing cross, we say nothing." Levy stuck out his hand. "Deal?"
"Deal." Samuel paused. "But, I wonder who that man was?"
"dub" is a freelance Christian writer, best known for his straight forward approach to common issues. His 38 year professional writing career gives him keen insight into successful reporting. To contact dub email firstname.lastname@example.org