Prelude 71

The cat looked at him suspiciously, eyeing the saucer of milk that was being held out as a peace offering.

The eternal decision lay before him: wild reckless freedom, or sensible comfortable bondage.


He sat on the rocks, staring dreamily at the wild North Sea churning white around him. The wind howled, tugging icily at his clothing. The girls had decided to give the walk a miss, pleading the atrocious weather as an excuse and preferring to curl lazily inside where a log fire roared in the cottage hearth.

Aaron needed the space his daily walks provided. As much as he loved his family he was by nature an introvert and became rapidly frazzled by too much social contact.

In the distance a light house stood solidly, bravely against the elements, ready to warn off stricken ships from these treacherous shores.

Prelude 69

Aaron watched from his window as the youth cowered under the lamp light, spray can in hand, painting graffiti on the alley wall. He seemed a pretty decent artist, Aaron thought, but had not yet decided whether graffiti was protest art or just plain vandalism.

Either way it seemed to be more about notoriety than point, and soon the inevitable trademark logo was sprayed and the youth bounded off into the darkness.

Aaron couldn't quite make out what had been painted but didn't really care. He wondered if he would have any luck getting back to sleep.

Prelude 68

“Its people like her that give you Christians a bad rap.”
“Oh she's not so bad,” protested Elsbeth.
“Oh yes she is,” insisted Aaron vehemently. “I was ready to give her a smack at the end of the interview. It felt like she would only welcome me in if I fitted her exact criteria. Not exactly welcoming, and certainly overkill for a little charity shop.”
Elsbeth didn't comment, so Aaron continued.
“Church is just like that. Frosty, dusty exteriors, impossible rules, locked gates, unfriendly, suspicious locals that wonder what evil you bring to their precious club.”
Elsbeth raised fiery eyes, and said, “My church isn't like that.”
Aaron paused and smiled. “Your church is certainly a lot better, and there are some pretty decent people there, people who really seem to care about God and humanity, but the elements are there. Its human nature for people to gather into like-minded groups, and to regard with suspicion those outside. Church is no different.”
“Jesus was different.”
“He certainly was, but that was a long time ago, and humanity has had much time to reinterpret his essence for its convenience.”
“Aaron, be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.”
“I won't, baby.” Aaron smirked.

He got a poke for that comment.