The outdoors had warmed up considerably since they arrived that morning. The warmth of the sun felt good across their faces. Becca took her jacket off and tied it around her waist. No other students were around thanks to Principal Jackson’s letting the two of them out early; that made it easy to see Gram sitting in her car outside the main entrance. It was also easy to see the reporters lined up across the street.
The press obeyed the school’s request to stay off the school grounds, but that didn’t keep them from lining up as close to the edge as they could. There seemed to be more than usual. Elijah had come to recognize many of the faces, but there were several unfamiliar ones sprinkled throughout the crowd. He wondered why so many today. His answer came quickly when several shouted questions about his involvement in a fight at school.
“Well, so much for not telling Gram,” Becca said. “Someone must have like narc’ed you out.”
Gram’s head popped up from the far side of the car and she waved at them to hurry up. Becca started first, with Elijah trailing behind. He had hoped that the press would die down a little now that he was back to school and life looked like it might get a little more normal. There was no escaping them now. If he didn’t say something the press wouldn’t give him any peace.
As he approached the car, Gram gave him a stern look. Before she or Elijah could say anything Becca stepped in to try to thwart the oncoming tongue-lashing that Gram’s face clearly showed was coming. “There wasn’t a fight, Gram,” Becca assured her “Elijah and another kid just bumped into each other and he fell on his butt.”
“Is that true?” Gram asked, the stern look on her face easing only slightly.
“Yes, Gram,” replied Elijah, opening the back car door and tossing his book bag in. Elijah quickly brushed over the highlights of the morning’s incident. “Bumping into Meatplow isn’t the problem, Gram. It’s Mark Roche. He tried to make me look bad the first morning by putting me down in front of everyone, then on the news, and I just know it was him that told the press I’ve been fighting. Right now I’d like to give him a fight.”
“Now hold up a minute! I know you’re upset,” Gram said trying to calm him, “but you can’t let one boy get you all bent out of shape like this. It will only push the Spirit away and without the Spirit to guide you who knows what will happen. Jesus said it best, ‘Love your enemies.’ It’s hard for people to fight against love.”
“Showing love right now is easier said than done,” replied Elijah shortly, knowing Gram was right. “Either way, you know as well as I do that if I don’t go over there and say something to those reporters, they’ll just follow us home and keep pestering me until they get something, or worse, they’ll decide to just go with what everyone else is telling them.”
“Don’t worry! I got your back, little bother,” Becca pronounced as she put her book bag in the front seat of the car and closed the door.
“Thanks Becca, but not this time,” Elijah replied. He appreciated Becca’s help with Gram, but unfortunately, he felt it best to face the press alone and have Gram and Becca by the road, ready for a quick exit. He looked at Gram to see if she would allow it. Gram thought for a moment, nodded, and told him to meet them where the school driveway exited back onto the street.
The short distance across grass seemed much farther than usual. As he walked, Elijah was sure that it had to be Mark that started all the rumors, maybe even leaked it to the press. The only one’s that were there to witness what happened were Mark and his cronies, Jonathan, and himself. He could just hear Mark gloating to all of his friends, “Some prophet, can’t see five seconds into the future.”
The long shadows of reporters reached across the grass to meet him. As their long, shadowy heads met his feet Elijah’s attention turned back to the press. Questions started flying as he approached the sidewalk. There was no way to make out all the questions that were simultaneously being thrown at him, but the word fight stood out time and again. He paused for a moment to let the questions die down.
“I see the rumors going around school have made their way outside. I appreciate the opportunity to give my side of the story, but the truth is there wasn’t a fight,” Elijah shouted loud enough for everyone to hear. “I was walking to class this morning and bumped into another student while walking around a corner. The friend I was walking with and the person I bumped into exchanged a few words and that was pretty much it.”
“What about your bloody nose?” called out one reporter.
“Yeah, and your week of detention?” cried another.
“Well, as you can see,” Elijah reached up and rubbed his nose, “my nose is fine and I’m not staying after school for any detention. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go.”
As Elijah turned to go he could see that several of the reporter’s faces appeared to be disappointed. He could almost hear the faint sigh. “Unbelievable!” he thought to himself. “Its as if they wanted me to have gotten into a fight. Forget them. I’m not even watching the news tonight to see what they end up saying! Besides, it’s not their fault they came here all pumped up for a big fight story. Mark just had to have been the one that tipped them off. What’s his problem? I’ve never done anything to him.”
As Elijah walked toward the car he could feel the anger towards Mark building inside of him. “I may not be able to love my enemy yet, but I have to stop this. Next time I see Mark, I’m gonna walk right up to him and ask him straight out why he’s being such a jerk. I don’t care if he, Meatplow, and the whole football team push me around. I’ve had enough!”
Elijah sat alone in front of his computer. He had turned the lights out to deepen his sense of being alone. Homework was done and dinner eaten, now was his time. Time was something he wished he had more of right now. It was getting late, and with school today, church yesterday, and helping Dad get ready over the weekend he didn’t get much time to check the Young Prophet’s website for new posts.
First, he checked instant messenger, but no one was on right now. He’d really hoped to see Ben signed on, but no luck. Ben must not have been at school, he thought to himself, or I’d have seen him. Elijah minimized the application and launched his Internet browser. The Young Prophet’s Society was now set to his home page for faster access.
Clicking the link into the forums Elijah instantly noticed there was a new question of the week. The post was from NoVoice, A.K.A Rodger Murney, the site creator. It was very new, less than half an hour old. Only a few reads and no replies yet.
“I know it hasn’t quite been a week yet, but I think we’ve speculated enough on ‘Why now?’ It was an interesting discussion, but it’s time to move on. My Inbox is getting swamped with ‘question of the week’ ideas. Ones that stood out to me were questions about the boy that appears in all the visions. Should be a good topic. I’ve read a bunch of different theories about him, some off the wall and some fairly plausible. Everything from a future super prophet to resembling Joe Smith. What do you think? Who is he or what does he represent? -- As always, PEACE - NoVoice”
Elijah reflected back on the boy in the vision. He could still see the sun-lit face staring up at the angelic figures. Who could he be? And who was Joe Smith? He ran a search for the name Joe Smith. As he began to scan down the page the first couple links referred to a basketball player. Before he got any further a sudden pop up appeared on his screen. Ben had come online.Hey-B: Yo, E!
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