“Now all of my dreams can come true, because a thief has taken the scrolls from their hiding place. My thief. You”
ylvester stared angrily at Shimshon.
“Foolish child. Did you really think I’d fall for your deceptions? You looked inside that bag, didn’t you? Well, it doesn’t even matter. What matters is that I have good use for those scrolls, but you do not. Hand them over, or I’ll toss you outside to be dealt with as the thief that you are!”
“No, I’m not giving you the scrolls that belonged to my ancestor,” Shimshon said. “They’re holy, and you don’t deserve them. You were the one who told on me, weren’t you? You set me up to steal the scrolls for you, only to stab me in the back once I didn’t give you what you wanted. At least tell me this, did my father really die at the hands of the man outside this tower? Or was the entire story a lie?”
“A lie? Oh, no, I would never lie you to you, Shimshon.” Sylvester smiled, stepping closer. “I just… changed some details, that’s all. You see, I was the one who made your father work in the freezing cold that fateful night. I was the one who brought about his untimely death, though I admit, that wasn’t exactly my intention.”
“Maybe. I prefer to think of myself as an opportunist. I’ve had my eyes on those scrolls for a very long time. They’ve been heavily guarded for many years, but you were the perfect little thief, capable of getting them to me so that I could create a creature kings will pay me fortunes to control. A creature, a golem, that will help armies conquer empires, literally changing the world as we know it. And now all of my dreams can come true, because a thief has taken the scrolls from their hiding place. My thief. You.”
Shimshon bellowed in anger and he rolled between Sylvester’s legs, tripping him and making him fall against the wall as he went. Sylvester was sprawled on the floor when Shimshon hopped nimbly to the windowsill. He turned back to look at Sylvester one last time.
“The scrolls will never be yours, evil man. And one day, you’ll face judgment for what you’ve done.”
Shimshon spun and climbed down the wall, sliding across the rough surface until his feet slammed onto the ground. The riders were after him immediately. As he raced toward the nearby shipping dock, he turned and saw one masked rider galloping close.
Suddenly, a figure hurtled out of the darkness and knocked the rider from his horse.
Shimshon stopped running and turned to face a tall, familiar figure, not yet a man, but years older than Shimshon. Baruch was a close family friend, a quiet, simple teenager known fondly as the “gentle giant” in Shimshon’s village. Not blessed with great wisdom, Baruch made up for his lack of mental sharpness with a kind heart, and he was always helping others.
“Shimshon—” Baruch took a sharp breath, clearly winded from running so far to rescue Shimshon. “I saw… what happened. What’s going on? Why did those men chase you from your house?”
“It’s complicated, Baruch, but I was set up. I stole these scrolls hanging around my neck.”
“So give them back!”
“I can’t! If they’re used by the wrong people, powerful creatures could be brought into the world with the ability to do a lot of harm. Watch out! The rest of the riders are coming! Run, Baruch! This isn’t your fight!”
“Where will you go?”
“I don’t know. I’m going to try and get onto one of the ships. I-I guess I’ll hide there until I figure out a better plan.”
“I’m coming to help you.”
“Baruch, please, you don’t want to get involved in this. Trust me.”
“I’m not leaving you.”
“Fine, then run!”
And they ran.
The shipping dock loomed ahead, the ships gleaming in the moonlight as mist and rain covered the area. Shimshon and Baruch leaped into a small fishing vessel and hunkered down. Suddenly, they became aware of a figure sleeping near their feet. A pirate.
The pirate leaped to his feet, the beads around his dark neck swinging as he drew his sword.
Baruch stood up and kicked the sword from his hand, sending it splashing into the water.
Astounded at the young man’s incredible prowess, the pirate kneeled.
“I’m sorry! I was only planning on borrowing the boat for tomorrow…. You can have it!”
“We don’t care about the boat, there are men coming to kill us! Cut the ropes tying us to the dock and get us out of here!”
The pirate obeyed, as the masked riders arrived and began shooting arrows at them.
After a few harrowing moments, the fishing boat was out at sea, spinning around wildly as the sea raged around them. They spent the night at sea.
The next morning Shimshon and Baruch thought of a plan.
“Shimshon, I have a wealthy uncle, Nathan, who can help us. He lives not too far from here. and he’s very wealthy.”
“Sounds like a good plan, Baruch. Maybe he can send us back home with protection.”
“Take us to the Northern Kingdom, pirate,” Baruch ordered the pirate.
“Please, the name is Sinlar.” The pirate smiled insincerely.
“Okay, Sinlar, do you know the way?”
“I know the seas like the back of my hand. Besides… that’s where I was headed! I live there. But tell me… why were those men after you?”
“None of your business.” Shimshon watched as Sinlar eyed the scrolls around his neck eagerly.
“Fine. You keep your secrets, I’ll keep mine.”
A great weariness descended upon Shimshon. He knew he should stay awake to keep an eye on the pirate, but his eyes refused to remain open. He fell asleep, just as Baruch did the same beside him.
Sinlar waited until the two were sleeping, and then he pulled out his dagger at his side and cut the string of the bag hanging around Shimshon’s neck. He eyed the two sleeping Jews thoughtfully. How should he deal with them? If the big one woke up, then he’d be in trouble….
to be continued…
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 961)
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