“Grab that goatskin!”

Elijah patted the donkey’s rump. “Excuse me.” As he dove beneath the belly, his knee slid through a pile of fresh droppings. Hmm…. Better than a sharp rock. He poked his head out the other side.

A mother with a baby on her back jumped away and pulled two dirty-faced children with her. Elijah favored them with the smile which had sold dozens of skins of Tishbe wine to camel pullers on the King’s Highway, but the children screamed and grabbed their mother’s knees. As Elijah scooted past, most of the donkey dung fell from his knee.

“He’s getting away.”

A bronze-colored chariot stood in his path. No time to run his hand over the rail or examine the wheels. He leaped the shafts and lunged for  the gate of the fort.

A load of melons hanging from both sides of a donkey blocked  the opening.

From behind him a shout—“Hey, grab that kid in the goatskin. Stop him!”

Elijah nodded to the donkey’s open-mouthed owner, stood tall, sucked in his belly, and squeezed sideways past the bulging sacks. Sandals slapping planks, he dashed across the bridge then down the grade and into the trees. He ripped off the goatskin, jammed it into his pack, and slipped into his robe.

From the gate—“Find that goatskin. He’s not far.”

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