I wrote this story several months ago to send into a magazine for a "contest" of sorts. I never heard back from them, so I'm assuming they didn't want it. Oh, well. :-) It is based upon Acts 12:1-17. The story itself will probably seem rather rushed or brief, but that's probably because there was an 800 word limit. Sometimes writing short stories takes more skill than writing really long ones.
"The Divine Rescue"
“No, really! Please, just come and see!”
“Rhoda, that is enough!”
Rhoda groaned and tried one more time. “Please John! You have to believe me! The Apostle Peter is really here! I heard him knocking and ran up to the gate. He told me who he was and I came to get you. Please come!”
“It is simply not possible. You must have been imagining things.”
Rhoda sighed again and went to Mary, John’s mother. “The Apostle Peter has returned! Please ma’am, you must believe me!”
“Come now, Rhoda. We are all tired. It must have been something else.” Mary turned back around and resumed her conversation.
Rhoda furrowed her brow and sank down on a nearby bench. She listened to the hum of voices for a moment, and then suddenly a loud knocking came from the front door. John leapt up from the table and hastened out the room and into the front hall. Rhoda followed close behind, jittering with excitement. The loud knocking sounded again.
“See! I told you!”
“Oh, hush. Who knows who that could be?” John slid aside a tiny window in the door and peeked through it. Letting out a gasp, he swung the door open as fast as possible. “Brother!”
“I wondered when someone was going to answer the door!” Peter stepped through the doorway and wrapped John into a manly embrace. Then he turned to Rhoda. “Well, young lady, I was beginning to think you had forgotten about me!”
Rhoda’s face turned beet red. “Sorry, Sir. I suppose I was too excited to answer the door. Then, when no one would believe me, I guess I…” She laughed nervously. “I guess I forgot you were here.”
“Oh, don’t worry about it, Miss. Now, where are the others? Have I got a story for them!”
“Right this way. We have been praying together all evening.” John stepped back into the light of the room, Rhoda and Peter trailing behind. Astonished gasps greeted their ears, followed by amazed exclamations.
The people swarmed around Peter, all asking questions at once. “Friends, friends, please,” he said, motioning for them all to be quiet. “I must have your ears for a moment. An amazing thing has taken place tonight, a miracle.”
At this, everyone fell silent. Each person took a seat on a bench or on the floor, eyes and ears trained on the apostle standing before them.
“As you may have heard,” he began. “Our fellow disciple, James, that is, the brother of John, has been killed.”
Gasps rose from the group, but Peter rose his hand to quiet them again. They settled down and he began once more. “This was the doing of Herod. He saw that by murdering John, the people became pleased. So he arrested me as well.
“They placed me in prison, surrounded by four squadrons of soldiers. It seemed that Herod planned to bring me out and kill me before the people- sometime near Passover. Escape didn’t seem likely. Yet, I knew that if it was the Lord’s will for me to die, I was content. I prayed continuously, and many others were praying for me as well.
“Tonight, the night before Herod was to bring me out and kill me, I had a vision. At least, I thought it was a vision. I had been bound by two chains, and placed between two soldiers. There were even guards in front of the prison. Suddenly, a bright light shone, and an Angel of the Lord appeared beside me! He struck me on the side and commanded me to arise. The chains fell off my hands. He said to me, ‘Gird yourself and tie on your sandals.’ I obeyed and followed him out of the prison.
“We passed by the first and second guard posts, and then came to the gate leading to the city. It opened all by itself! Once the Angel of the Lord led me down one of the streets, he disappeared. I finally realized that I had not had a vision, but an angel had truly led me out of prison!
“I came to find you, to tell you of this miraculous thing. Go to James, the son Alphaeus, and tell him and the brethren of these things. I must leave you know, and depart to another place. Remember to pray!” With this he turned and left.
Rhoda stared after him in amazement. She had heard of angels appearing in the old days, the days of Moses and the judges, but to hear it directly from someone who had seen it- she was speechless! The people around her began murmuring to each other and she continued to sit in a daze. Mary came up and nudged her.
“Time for bed, dear. We have a big day tomorrow.”