This week’s creative writing assignment to write a modern retelling of a famous Bible story. Mine is a rap retelling of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being thrown into the furnace– Sort of… Btw, here’s the rap song it came from. Also, check out the video I made for this. (Hope that counts as a picture Ms. Gaines. 😉)
Chad, Josh, and Abel were three Christian rappers who were headed for university. They were best friends, having met in kindergarten, and maintained contact through the rest of school. They had persuaded their parents to let them attend the same university, Stanford University. Now, as Abel drove, Chad and Josh were catching up and needling each other about high school crushes. Abel and Chad had managed to attend the same high school, but Josh had moved from California to Oregon, and this was the first time in four years that they were meeting face to face.
“Hush now,” Abel said, as the car slowed to a standstill. The duo in the back stuck their heads out of either window to take a look at their new school.
“Well?” Chad asked. “University got your tongue?” He faked a yelp when Josh punched him. Abel shook his head as he stifled a smile. Chad and Josh had what one might call a turbulent relationship. Abel twisted the key out of the ignition, and the three got out of the car. They wandered around the campus a bit, then headed off for registration.
On the way to their row house, their road was blocked by a black figure. The student standing in their path oozed danger. His outfit was completely black. He wore a leather jacket studded with metal bosses and his cap was on backwards. He stood a head taller than Abel, who was the tallest of their group, and his t-shirt had what looked to be a man on it. A man on his knees who was being hacked to pieces by a masked axeman, Josh realized, as his stomach did backflips. He was fortunate he had not eaten much that day.
“You the new kids?” the stranger asked arrogantly. His attitude was hostile, and Chad clenched his fists until his knuckles were white.
Abel quietly put a restraining hand in front of Chad as he answered, “And how are you?” His tone was completely neutral, but the person in front of him chose to take offense.
He drew back a fist and swung it at Abel. Abel noticed the shot was calculated. He suspected his antagonist had something else up his sleeve, and remained motionless, even while Chad strained against the arm restraining him. The incoming fist stopped an inch before Abel’s face. A grin spread across the stranger’s face.
“Well now,” he said, dropping his hand to shake with Abel. “You’re a brave ‘un. The last one fainted dead away. I’m Nate, the Student Manager of your house. Here, let me help you with some of your stuff.”
Josh did not know what to make of Nate’s sudden change of attitude. He almost thought he liked the fellow, then he recalled Nate’s t-shirt, and his estimation of Nate instantly dropped. As Nate came by to help him with his bag, Josh involuntarily shuddered. A wisp of something passed across Nate’s face, but he bent and picked up Josh’s bag anyway. Josh risked another glance at Nate’s t-shirt. He blinked; certainly he had seen the picture, but no, now there was just bright colored shrapnel flaring from a whitish stone.
For a month things did not break out from the normal routine. Chad, Josh, and Abel did well in their studies, their dedication to schoolwork helping each other mutually. This left them time for doing the things they enjoyed; rapping was prominent among these. They made videos for a small YouTube channel they had set up. It had its fair share of subscribers, but even if it had had none, they would have continued, as they enjoyed rapping.
However, the end of the month also brought some unexpected change. One day, when they were relaxing after a recording session, there was a knock at their door. It was somewhere around eight o’clock in the night, and the three looked to each other in bewilderment. Then Abel got up from his sitting position and pulled open the door.
He recognized the student standing in front of his door. He was one of the group that seemed to follow Nate all over the place. He wore the customary black clothes and back-facing cap.
“Nate’s inviting you to a meeting,” the boy said. “I’ll give you a few minutes to decide.” Abel closed the door as their visitor stepped out of the frame.
For a long three seconds, Abel held his position facing the door, then he turned to face Chad and Josh. Nate had not bothered them since the first day they had met, and after their initial view of him, this unexpected invitation had them all on their guard.
“Well,” Chad said slowly. “I guess we could go, then if things get out of hand, we can always leave.”
Abel seemed to feel the same way, but Josh was irresolute. He had not told his friends about what he thought he had seen on Nate’s t-shirt, and as none of them had mentioned it, he assumed that he must have been hallucinating. This assumption did nothing to pacify his fears though, and as Abel turned to gather his things, Josh put a controlling hand on his arm.
“What?” Abel asked, turning back around.
Josh seemed to struggle, then he evidently decided on something and shook his head. “It’s nothing.”
“You know that you can always put your opinion in right? We always listen to what the other thinks.” Chad said reassuringly, but Josh shook his head again.
“It’s fine,” he said. “Just a passing thought, nothing important.” The truth was that Josh was feeling like a third wheel. The past years had put a wide gap between them, he realized with a grimace.
Abel shrugged and resumed his preparations. A few minutes later they were off.
It turned out that Nate had invited them to a party. It was not a particularly wild party, and they decided to stay, and see how it went. They wandered around, sticking together to make sure that none of them got into trouble. They ended up stumbling across Nate.
“Hey,” he said lazily rising from a couch on which he had been reclining. His attitude was that of a cat who was stalking his prey. Josh felt chills run up and down his spine. He felt Chad squeeze his arm encouragingly, and realized he was not the only one feeling this way.
“I heard you do some rapping?” Nate said casually.
“Yes, we do,” Abel said cautiously.
“Why don’t you give us a sample. It would be nice to have a taste of your quality.”
Abel looked uncertainly to his friends. Chad nodded firmly, and Josh gave no resistance, so Abel told Nate that they would.
Nate shouted something at the DJ, and then beckoned for them to head up onto a makeshift stage.
“Alright everybody,” Nate said, waving the crowd around. “These fine gents here have agreed to a rap competition between me and my pals and them. May the best rappers win!”
Josh, Chad and Abel turned to face each other.
“He said nothing about a competition!” Josh whispered hoarsely.
“Well we’re in it now,” Chad said grimly.
“We’re gonna have to make up something on the spot,” Abel said as the music started. “Follow my lead.”
With a silent word of encouragement to the other two, Abel straightened. He stood still with his eyes closed. Absorbing the music, letting it flow through his body and permeate his consciousness. Then abruptly his eyes opened as inspiration came to him. He began rapping about the sin in the world. Then he travelled onto the saving grace of Jesus.
The looks on their audience had gone from expectant to fury. Then the music cut off abruptly as Chad was going to step in.
“What now?” Abel asked calmly as Nate stepped angrily onto the stage. His attitude changes certainly were confusing.
“What junk was that?” He asked.
“It was our song.” Abel replied calmly.
“Well rap about something else.”
“No.” Abel said. His voice was icy cold.
“What?” Nate said, miming a lack of hearing. Then he hit Abel in the gut violently. “Did you hear that?” He asked the people surrounding him. “He said ‘No.’”
Chad, certain now that Abel was only winded, stared daggers at Nate.
“I think we’re going now,” Josh said. Now that he was put under trial, his underlying courage was brought to surface. He understood what he was dealing with now. He realized that Nate’s shirt really did contain what he had first seen, and it was only when looked at from a certain angle that the picture appeared.
“No you aren’t,” Nate said, pulling Josh back roughly and hitting him across the face. The crowd cheered as Nate kneed the gasping Josh in his chest.
“I’ve called the police,” Chad said quietly.
The whole room went silent instantly.
“You did what?” Nate said, turning to face Chad.
Chad’s words had sunk into the crowd, and they started dispersing hurriedly, until it was only Nate and his gang left.
“Do you know what you just did?” Nate asked, his voice rising in anger. “You just lost me one hundred thousand dollars. My only chance to get out of this place. I’m going to get you for this. Beat them up,” he said, backing behind his gang. Then, as they stepped forward, Nate stopped them.
“Wait, I have a better idea.” The alcohol had gotten to his head, and he was blind in his rage. “Burn them.”
Nate’s cronies looked at each other uncertainly for a moment, then a few rushed around the back to get some kerosene. They dumped it over the three, and tossed a few lit matches into the mess. The fire flared up instantly.
A few seconds later, Nate turned to his friends. “Weren’t there only three?”
“Yes, why?” His gang chorused.
“I see four, and they aren’t burning.” Nate said incredulously, as he saw four figures rise to their feet. They all turned to face him, their faces glowing so bright that he could not recognize them. “Run you fools! Run!” He screamed to his gang in terror.
At this show of weakness, the courage of the rest melted, and the whole group fled from the building.
When the police arrived a few minutes later, they did not notice Josh, Abel and Chad sneaking out the back of the burning house completely unscathed.
Disce Ferenda Pati – Learn to endure what must be borne