What A Strange Little Man (Chapter 3, page 2 of 4)

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Chapter 3

He continued, "I used to think I was a great father and husband, but I tell you, my wife has even noticed a change in me. She says I wake in the morning with a spring in my step, albeit not as strong as it once was, and also that things don't bother me like they used to. When she asks me why this is, I can only tell her what I am telling you. Something about that man made me feel better about myself. I have a peace that I did not have before our meeting." He then looked soberly into my eyes and said, "I doubt very seriously that our meeting was chance!"

I sat there in silence for the next little while, trying to soak in what I had just heard. How can a man who doesn't say a word to you affect your life so intensely? Is this what I have been experiencing the past few months? Am I going to be like this old man someday? I lifted the goblet of water to my mouth and didn't quit until it was emptied. I drew a deep breath, and looked at the old gentleman and said, "Let's go deliver your parchment."

We entered the small door at the top of the stairs and started our downward descent when the old man looked at me, squinting his eyes as his hands clutched his chest.

"What's the matter?" I inquired excitedly.

The old gentleman didn't say a word as his knees buckled under him, and he fell down the remaining few steps to the floor of the hallway. I started after him and was met by the other guard on duty.

"Something's wrong with his chest!" I exclaimed to my fellow guardsman.

"What shall we do?" He asked.

"Go and get the captain; and hurry, man!" I urged.

He ran down the hall past the cells where the prisoners were kept, and off to the right. I could hear the clapping of his sandals as his flat feet smacked the cold stone floor upon which Simeon was lying. I knelt down beside him and placed my hand on his. He opened his eyes and looked intently into mine. He then stretched out his right arm and pushed the parchment into my chest as he uttered these words with his last breath, "See that he gets this, won't you?"

I had seen death too often. As he lost consciousness, I knew he wasn't coming out of my prison alive.

I took the parchment from his hand as it went limp, and struck the floor with a life-less, deafening sound. The letter from Timothy was now in my possession. I didn't have the time to tell Simeon I would give it to the strange little man in the cell right down the hall, but as I turned to look in that direction I noticed he was standing at the bars that were the door of his cell. He had been watching the tragedy as it unfolded. I couldn't help but feel pity for my strange little prisoner.

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