The Eighth Duel of The Second Round of The Retell Writing Contest

Hello Retellers,

Welcome to the final duel of the second round. All results will be announced after the final duel of the second round.

1. To vote, simply comment : I vote story 1 or I vote story 2.
2. Do not attempt to predict who wrote which story.
3. Do not solicit for votes for any story. You can share the link and ask people to vote but do not tell them which story to vote for.
4. Do not vote more than once.
5. Voting starts by 8am and ends by 8pm (GMT +1).

Today Michael Emmanuel and Onwuzu Dika attempt to bring the thunder. And the theme is pride(they are to pick a story about a display of pride in the bible and retell it). Word count is 500 words.

Let us ride:

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Story 1

She stood in a circle. Her brother stood at one end, and her leader at the other. His name was Moses. Funny she didn’t regard him her other brother anymore. She’d ceased considering him a brother the afternoon he hurried into town and said he’d spoken with God, Yahweh.

“He told me what to do,” Moses had said, his lips curved in effrontery. His face wore a sparkle that she easily judged was pride. Moses had described the encounter with enthusiasm in his voice. He’d won the attention of the tribe leaders.

Now, he stared at her with that same face, except that the sparkle was gone. Creases chiseled corners of his eyes. His fingers quivered as they clutched a metal rod curved at the edge; the same rod that parted the sea and turned into a snake and inexplicably bought the deliverance of God’s people.

“Why?” Moses asked.

Miriam stared at him with what was her best get-lost look. His eyes were sunken in their sockets, like they’d suffered multiple punches. Not that they hadn’t anyway. Lead the people of Israel for a year and you’d understand what words could do.

“Why did you speak against the servant of the Lord?”

That tone again.

“We are all servants of the Lord,” Miriam said. Her voice rose steadily after each word, such that ‘Lord’ came out as a yell.

Gasps filled the air. But it wasn’t because she’d spoken back. It was because HE was here. The Lord was here. Miriam aligned her gaze with that of the leaders.

“Hear my words,” the Lord said. “I will choose who I will speak to. I have chosen Moses who is faithful in all the works I’ve given him.”

“Have you forgotten, Lord?” Miriam said.

“Have you forgotten that it was I who saved Moses? It was I who went to the Egyptian princess and asked if she’d need a nanny for Moses. It was I. I deserve my own respect.”

Miriam gargled. The tent had fallen silent.
Suddenly, a body lunged forward. Aaron hit the ground with a thud. “Please, LORD, forgive her. Forgive us for this foolishness, for speaking against the wife your servant married.”

Miriam snickered. Forgiveness indeed.

Aaron’s voice broke. He was weeping?

“Lord, please. We have sinned against you and your servant.”

Shut it, Miriam wanted to say. She wanted to reach for Aaron and slap sense into his brain. This was Moses, last born of the family. Family before service. Moses, naturally, should be washing their clothes and cooking their meals, not vice versa.

And then.

The presence lifted. Sobs began to cloud her hearing, like dirges at a steady rhythm. She felt it before she knew it. The slight itch at her neck. White pores spread the length of her skin in a blink. Aaron lifted his head from the soil.

“Leprosy?”

Miriam blinked rapidly. Leprosy. Rebellion. Pride. She stumbled to Moses’s feet. “Please, save me. Your servant.”

But he wouldn’t.

STORY 2

The commander stormed away from the door, choosing to leap down the two steps that led down into the dust cover street. The handful of soldiers that he had brought along for this waste of an endeavor straightened their stances, only just managing to look like they hadn’t started a game of cards as soon as his back was turned. It was one of the few slacks he actually cut his men, seeing as that was a way for him to know how fast his men could actually fall into alertness, as well as how far up their asses they could conceal incriminating evidence. It was this kind of out-of-the-box approach, with attention to detail and discipline had allowed him sustain his rank, even after this blasted disease magnanimously decided to carry out a physical make-over of his body. So he damn well knew his worth; he damn well knew his mettle.
 
Naaman strode to his horse with brisk steps that hid how much he was tiring from have stood in wait for longer than he was used to. Aki’d, is stocky, dark-skinned manservant, seemed to materialize out of thin air as he was won’t to do simultaneously when the occasion called for it and when one least expected. He held the reins as Naaman mounted his stead stiffly, maintaining his trademark expression of pleasant blankness, and only breaking it briefly to offer a slight bow in acknowledgement to the appreciative nod Naaman flicked in his direction. Ever since Naaman had become a mezora – a leper – Aki’d had displayed a level of calm steadfastness to a reluctant-to-be-hepled Naaman. All the general servants in his household had presented an air of being dutiful towards him, while they did their utmost to stay out of his reach. They were most likely very impressed with their skill of irony and congratulating one another heartily every day at their remarkable subtlety, however Naaman has observed certain tells to their new system – his underlings playing rock-paper-scissors, looking to decide who had to serve within his vicinity for the day, was rather telling; they were as subtle as concussed goats. 
In any other situation, this should have called for a complete overhaul of his household (and he would have gotten up early in the morning to enjoy the looks on their faces), but the thing is Naaman understood. He knew how much this ailment was dreaded in all of Aram and beyond, and he also knew that he looked like someone had dipped him in a vat of mud, hung him to dry, and enthusiastically taken a hammer to the whole of his being. Repeatedly. 

Yet with all this, it was still his creative thinking that had brought Aram her success in this last skirmish. A fact that clearly still remains fresh in the King’s mind for him to have obliged him the letter to seek this mediocre healer. His king handed him the letter, but some man in the backside country of Israel feels too big to even lay eyes on him?! Naaman felt that he deserved in the very least to see some kind of impressive ritual magic, even if it didn’t do squat to help his issue. Instead, he was merely directed – by a messenger – to go skinny dipping in the River Jordan. Of. All. Places?!
 
Naaman yanked his reins a bit harder to quicken his horse’s pace, glancing backwards at his men to make sure everybody was keeping up. Most of the other horses were laden with the bags of offerings he had brought as a show of good will to the healer, but he now had to carry back. A quick glance in Aki’d’s direction gave Naaman a pause. And then he let out a soft groan of frustration. Because Aki’d had also picked up the habit of giving unasked-for advices with just the power of his eyebrows and the more he has worked around Naaman, the better his master had become at unwillingly deciphering the pointed messages that they were meant to pass across.
 
And right now, Naaman was reading: 
Hey, at least it’s not virgin sacrifice; you know how hard those are to come across these days.
 
Naaman . . . gentle turned his horse in the direction of the Jordan. 

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Let the voting begin.

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