I Am Not Right-Handed (Fiction)

This is my Biblical narrative for my high school English class. We had to write a short story on a Bible story. I’ve been Bible-crushing on Ehud for awhile, and he’s a short story, so I decided to go with it. Note: I originally had Ehud alone, but then realized there were others with him up to a certain point, so part of the plot is slightly stretched, but it’ll work for English class.

UPDATE: I received an A on this project.

The man shifted his weight impatiently as he stood at the corner of the bustling street. Even in the scorching sunlight, he kept his hood up, drawn so the hem cast a slight shadow over watchful eyes. His back molars ground together as he beheld the massive palace, carved from marble and furnished in gold accents. As if the great Eglon thought he was God Himself.

The man glanced at the sun’s position. It was just an hour after the noon meal, the time he was scheduled to meet with the king himself. He readjusted the ornate package under his arm and began limping toward the palace. Four companions followed in his wake, carrying similar packages. Gazes from under palm trees shifted away as the man ambled by, clearly not wanting him to notice their staring at the shriveled right hand he clutched against the folds of his tunic.

Ehud was used to the looks and occasional questions he sometimes received about the hand. Admitting he was dropped as a child was nearly more embarrassing than the hand itself, so questioners only received a solemn glare when they asked. If his conscience would ever allow it, Ehud would come up with a better excuse. Burns, thieves, a horse accident where the appendage was trampled under angry hooves.… Anything was better than “Gera dropped me.”

But for the first time, Ehud was actually grateful for the disability. A crippled man with the seemingly dominate hand out of commission was nothing more than a stray taking his time to die in Eglon’s narrow sight.

Ehud struggled up the fine marble steps, watching the guards at the top out of the corner of his eye. Stoic faces stared with calloused eyes from their shaded posts beside large, oaken doors. Ehud let out a gasp as he reached the top and allowed his shoulders to heave. The shriveled hand did not really hinder his walking, but the guards didn’t need to know that.

“What is your business here?” The guard glared at Ehud like he was a fly who’d unexpectedly dropped in his wine. He glanced at the other four men behind the cripple, possibly wondering if they had the same ailment.

Ehud feigned an accident of almost dropping the package. He steadied it with his mangled hand, letting both guards get a long look at the bone that had been broken in three places and busted thumb. They stared.

“The king’s servants bring a gift on behalf of the Israelites,” Ehud puffed, letting the shadow from his cloak pass over his lowered eyes.

One of the guards eyed the five small packages. “You are the one the king summoned for the afternoon?”

“Yes,” said Ehud. “It…it is custom to search me. I can set the gift down—” Again he nearly dropped the present for Eglon and noticed the revolting look the guards exchanged between them. Good.

The guard to his left glanced at Ehud’s hip with a grimace, careful to keep his distance. “I see no weapon. You are free to proceed.”

After his four companions were searched more carefully, they followed Ehud inside. The company proceeded down hallways and obeyed guards’ directions until they were outside Eglon’s personal quarters. Again, Ehud repeated his act with the gift and was admitted inside without more than a glance for a weapon.

The private chambers were massive, with giant marble pillars the width of Anakim giants. Scarlet fabric lined the floors and purple curtains hung from the ceiling. Windows on one side of the room let in strong afternoon sunlight that made dust particles shimmer in its glow. Ehud was surprised to see palm trees growing in indoor gardens around the perimeter of the area. They didn’t call the place the city of palm trees for nothing.

At the end of the room in a corner was a huge, couch made from expensive fabrics. Everything about it seemed flawless to the Israelite’s eyes.

Too bad it’s ruined with that giant mound of flesh sitting in the middle of it, he thought, swallowing a scowl.

The more Ehud had seen of the Moabite king, the more he grew to detest him. Not only was Eglon the most selfish, greedy, and cruel ruler God’s people had been servants to, he was the ugliest, sloppiest, and fattest man Ehud had ever seen. From where the Israelite stood he counted six chins hanging from the king’s jaw like dripping molasses. His stomach folds appeared as deep chasms in his flesh. His arms and legs were nearly three times the size of Ehud’s, and his fingers were ten disproportioned stubs coming from two cymbals of meaty skin.

Stick to the plan, he had to remind himself.

It was a simple one. The kind of plans God seemed to enjoy formulating with his people. Noah: build an ark. Moses: talk to Pharaoh. Joshua: march around the city seven times.

Ehud: stab the king.

Even now, as he limped his way over the scarlet carpeting, did he feel the two edged blade stroking against his right thigh under his cloak, God’s comforting assurance of victory. The guards didn’t expect to search his other side. He glanced at the eight attendants encircling the throne to wait on Eglon. They wouldn’t pose as a problem.

“What have you brought me?” The Moabite spoke thickly, and Ehud noticed the king’s mouth was a ridiculously small hole in the center of a pale moon. His chins wriggled.

“Gifts, my king.” Ehud gestured with his shoulder to his four men behind him. His left hand still held his own package, and he kept his crippled fist against his tunic. “The finest raiment our weavers could make.”

We have even made them to accommodate your impressive size.

Ehud snuffed the thought, silently repremanding himself. It was quite possible one of the Moabites would read the distaste in his eyes if he weren’t careful. He didn’t have to worry about his companions, however. Ehud had not bothered to tell them of the assassination plot. More knowledge would only bring higher risks to being found out. For all they knew, the presenting of clothes to the king was a simple act of homage.

Eglon’s small eyes flashed with greed and his mouth turned upward. He quickly ordered Ehud and his men to set the gifts down in the other room. Ehud followed only partway, passing off his package to one of them to look after.

“You can leave now,” he told them quietly. “I have a matter to discuss with the king.”

When the men left, Ehud approached the massive king. Looking over his shoulder to see that his men were out of sight, he turned back to Eglon. “I have a confession to make, O king,” he began, as if uneasy. Eglon did his best to lean forward. The couch creaked uncertainly.

Ehud opened his mouth, as if he were choosing his words carefully. The hidden blade pressed against his thigh reassuringly. “Although the gifts were true,” he began slowly, “they were merely a cover for my original errand.” He watched as the attendants curled their fingers into fists with white knuckles. They were nervous.

Eglon frowned, perplexed. “I demand you to tell me what your true errand is.”

Ehud glanced pointedly at the guards and attendants inching into a protective circle around the king. “I have a…a secret errand, O king.”

He could see the Moabite’s doubt in his watery eyes, so Ehud shifted his injured hand, presenting the broken bones and thumb. He forced a grimace. The sight made Eglon grin wickedly. He was in no danger of a cripple.

“Keep silent! Do not speak in front of such a council.” He waved a fat hand in the direction of the door, silently ordering his attendants to leave. A guard challenged Ehud with a cold stare, but Eglon’s fierce, impatient voice sent him scurrying away.

The fat man smiled, chins bunting around his jaw. “We are alone now. Speak your errand, for I am very good at keeping secrets.”

The blade felt hot against Ehud’s skin. A tremor went through his body. His fingertips itched. This was it. A grin tugged at the corner of his mouth that he could not suppress. He stepped forward, the grin growing into a sly smile.

“I have a message from God.”

Eglon struggled out of his seat, clearly giddy. The two men stood two cubits apart. Ehud had never been this close to the king before, and wondered if the stench was coming from forgotten meals buried in the folds of the man’s body.

“The message is for your ears only.”

The blade was in Ehud’s left hand before Eglon could react. With silent swiftness, the Israelite plunged the dagger into the pagan king’s bowels, slicing through skin faster than Ehud was ready for. His hand slipped and wetness enclosed around his arm. He glanced at the king.

The blubbery man’s squinty eyes actually bulged from the moon-face, and his mouth opened in a small, black “O.” He stared unbelievingly into the cripple’s dark eyes. His shoulders heaved, like he was preparing to scream for help. Ehud tensed.

The king coughed. A glob of bile rained on the Israelite. He shuddered and tried to yank the dagger back out of the Moabite but only succeeded in embedding it deeper. It was almost comical as the giant balloon flapped his arms hysterically, nearly falling on the thin, smaller man struggling to retrieve his one working arm from a pouch of intestines. More coughing. More bile.

Ehud tugged with all his might. His fingers slipped off the hilt and was suddenly free, reeling backwards. He stumbled and regained his balance in time to see the king’s belly swell and pop with a reeking stench of gas and intestinal odor. The Moabite’s guts spat from the dagger hole far enough to splatter the front of Ehud’s tunic. The Israelite wretched and heaved. He heard a large thump and saw the shape of the previous king flat on his back, deflating.

Ehud ran to the windows and shoved one open, gasping in the fresh air. His eyes watered and his own stomach bile was working its way up his esophagus. He needed to get out of there before the guards suspected something. Quickly, he locked all the doors to the king’s personal chambers and returned to the window. It wasn’t a very far drop into a small pond below.

He didn’t bother to glance back over his shoulder.


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