A Fides Short Story- A Quest For A Cabin
Read this exclusive Christian fantasy short story
This short story is apart of the Creativity Stone series. Before reading this story, it's encouraged that you read the novel Downfall, which can be found here.
A Quest for a Cabin
A Christian Fantasy Short Story
Steven Waters sat cross-legged on the ground by a small fire. “So there I was, hopelessly lost in a deep forest beyond the White Mountains when I found a flower lined trail. I followed it and came to a small cabin.”
Four wide eyed children sat across from him, eager to hear his story. After seven years, the details should have begun to fade. But between the life altering nature of the experience and all of the retellings to everyone who would hear, his encounter with Emeth was still vivid in his mind.
“Unlike the cabins we have here in Fides, this cabin was like the ones we used to have on earth before leaving to settle Novitas. It was made out of earth wood and had running water and appliances.”
One of the kids raised their hands. He looked to be under nine, so he’d been born on Novitas. “What are apply … aplances … app-”
“Appliances.” Steven laughed. “They were things we used to keep and cook food. A refrigerator would keep things cool so our food didn’t go bad, then, instead of a fire, we had an oven, stove, or microwave to heat up the food.”
It amazed him that these kids before him would never see the modern appliances they'd taken for granted back on earth. Being on Fides was wonderful, but he did miss how easy cooking used to be.
“I wish we had those.” A girl scrunched up her nose.
Steven smiled. “Well Jefferson is working on figuring out a way to get electricity and water to all our houses.”
Steven looked up to see Jefferson Gent walking past, his face was barely illuminated by the golden moonlight. “Speaking of Jefferson.”
Jefferson sighed and walked up to where they were sitting.
Steven smiled and gave a nod.
Jefferson glared at him. “Are you telling that ridiculous story again? It is utterly preposterous to believe that some cabin with all the modern technological advances of earth simply happened to appear on Novitas.”
Steven winced. “Well it was-”
“And furthermore, it is dangerous to use that fabricated story to spread your lies about our holy God. To say some man named Emeth claimed to know personal details about you and convinced you to stop following the Bible is perilous.”
“He did not tell me to stop following the Bible, he told me to stop following the list of rules and regulations that make up your religious cult. I’m following Jesus.” Steven stood and faced Jefferson.
Ever since becoming the Judge of Mercy, Steven had faced arguments like this on a daily. He was sick of being treated like a deceiver.
“How dare you call the New Day Separatists a cult. You’re starting to sound like your father. When he took me to court, he spread fabricated stories too.”
Steven winced at the mention of his father. “What happened at the cabin wasn’t a lie. Don’t you believe in miracles? The Bible is full of God moving in strange and incredible ways.” Steven clinched his fists.
The kids stared up at them wide eyed. Hearing the commotion, a few people came over to where they stood.
“God can do whatever he wants to, of course.” Jefferson rolled his eyes, as if what he was about to say was incredibly obvious. “But there’s a reason he hasn’t revealed himself to us for thousands of years, we’ve gotten so far away from the truth that he’s rejected us. That is why it’s so important for us to return to him, to make ourselves holy and set apart.”
Steven and Jefferson stared at each other for a long moment.
Everyday was a battle for Steven, conversation after conversation with stubborn and hate filled people. But slowly more and more people were following him, turning away from Esther and Jefferson’s teachings.
More people gathered by the fire. Steven looked at each face. He only recognized one as being on his side. The rest glared at him.
“You really believe you went to this cabin and met some man named Emeth, don’t you?” Jefferson said.
“Yes, I do.”
“You really are a dullard. I don’t know why I even bothered talking to you.” Jefferson turned away.
“You label anyone you disagree with a dullard, anyone who doesn’t fit inside your rigid box, including God.”
Jefferson turned back to him. “Okay fine, I’ll indulge in your little fantasy. If this place is anything more than an illusion of your broken mind, then why haven’t you gone back?”
“Well… I tried going back, but I couldn’t find it.”
“Ahh of course, how convenient."
“I saw him again though, when the fire burned down the church. Emeth showed up and told me to go save Esther. Without me, the Judge of Justice would be dead.”
“Yes, yes and we shower our gratitude on you.” Jefferson rolled his eyes. “You have been telling the villagers this story for years as your undeniable proof that we are all wrong in following the seven remembrances and laws. You’ve changed the story in a dramatic way and expect us to follow because of this man named Emeth. But is there any proof to your story?”
“I haven’t changed the story. Both the Old and New Testament point to a God of relationship, a God who will do anything to restore us to relationship with him, both individually and collectively.”
“And do you have any proof?”
“Umm-” Steven shifted uncomfortably.
He’d only seen Emeth twice, and both had been the man finding him.
Someone beside Jefferson scoffed, another rolled his eyes.
While only five or six people stood there, word would travel fast through the village. Word that Jefferson had made a fool out of Steven and proved him to be a liar. All because of one argument, he'd lose a ton of momentum in changing people's minds.
“If you want to share your story about this cabin, give us proof."
"What kind of proof?"
Jefferson sighed and spoke in a slow, condescending voice. "Now normally the burden of proof should be entirely on you, but I’ll participate in your fantasy. I propose you and I take your little journey past the White Mountains and see if we can find this Emeth and his earth cabin.”
“Or maybe you really were making all of this up, why else would you refuse?”
Steven glanced back at the wide eyed children and onlookers watching this impromptu exchange.
Steven sighed. “Fine. I’ll talk to my wife, Hannah, but we should be good to go.”
“Excellent. I look forward to finally ending this debate.” Jefferson turned and walked into the night.
Steven grabbed a stick and shoved it into the fire. "God please help me."
Jefferson and Steven trudged through the forest of palms reaching into the sky. They’d passed through the White Mountains yesterday and were now wandering around the unexplored woods beyond.
As they walked, Steven glanced around searching through the skinny trees for his cabin. Jefferson kept his eyes forward.
“We should probably set up camp for the night, the sun’s about to set and we’ve been walking all day,” Steven said.
“Afraid we won’t locate your cabin?”
“Well, when I found it the last time, I was wandering around for a while. And it will be easier to find in the daytime.”
“Whatever you need to tell yourself.” Jefferson scoffed.
Jefferson was regretting following this dullard into the deep woods. The pack on his back weighed him down, making each step harder than the last. But worse than that was the certainty that they were wasting their time, and being a genius, his time was way too precious to waste. The delusional man leading the way clearly would never change his ways. Steven’s deception was so ingrained in him, no factual evidence would dissuade him.
“Here is as good a place as any.” Steven stopped walking and leaned against a palm tree.
Jefferson dropped his pack off his shoulders and it landed on the ground with a thud. “I told you we’d need to bring supplies.”
Steven grabbed some logs from his pack and set up a fire. The green palm hairs on the logs quickly created a decent sized blaze.
Jefferson pulled out some dried jerky they’d brought and handed Steven some.
“Can I ask you a question?” Steven stared at him.
“What?” Jefferson sat down and took a bite of his jerky.
“You believe in God right?”
“What kind of question is that, of course I believe in God. I wouldn’t be on this planet if I didn’t.”
“It’s just that from my perspective, you seem to be full of contradictions. You’re a brilliant scientist with, no offense, a superiority complex. You’re very analytical and reject anything that doesn’t make sense in your head. But you’re also a passionate Christian who risked everything to follow what you believe. And yet when I say I experienced a miracle and God moved, you call me an idiot and say it’s impossible.”
“I’ll give you one point. So many of my intellectual peers are more of a dullard than you.” Jefferson gave a slight smirk. “I believe in God because when you really look, it’s impossible not to be. We have more historical evidence for the events in the Bible than we do for Julius Cesar existing. And with everything in this universe and within us, all the complexities of life, to say it was all a coincidence, that is idiotic thinking. And then there’s the big bang, which is a childish name for a senseless theory. If everything was created through that, then there has to be events and existing material to lead to the bang.”
“I guess that makes sense. So you believe in God because he’s logical?”
“Precisely. Meanwhile, your story of a man, presumably God himself, coming to Novitas in a cabin to change your theology is ridiculous. Even if he would do something like that, the notion-”
“Are you saying he wouldn’t?” Steven tilted his head and stared at him.
“Well of course not.”
“Can you bare with me for a minute? Let’s just say theologically, I’m right. God isn’t calling us to be perfect and Jesus didn’t die so we could now follow all the laws and reach the point where we earn eternity.”
“But the Bible clearly states to be perfect and gives countless examples of earning God’s favor through righteousness, and-”
“We can argue all day about what perfection and favor are, but let’s put that aside for a minute, okay?”
“Okay.” Jefferson said slowly as he glared at Steven.
“If what I experienced was real, it would be called a miracle. Do you believe that God still works miracles today?”
“Well empirically what we constitute as miracles are simply placebos or a natural process.”
A rustling sound came from his left, but Jefferson ignored it. There hardly seemed to be any animals on this world, at least none that posed a threat to them.
“What about the parting of the red sea, or Jesus’s healings, or his resurrection? Are you rejecting those too?”
“Ahh I see where you went wrong in your thinking." Jefferson smiled, perhaps it was possible to reason with this man. "I could go through and explain how God works differently in different dispensations, however I believe the easiest way to elucidate you is with this, Biblically what do you see whenever God moves?”
Steven stayed silent, waiting for him to explain.
“Righteousness and favor. You’ll see verses saying and he found favor in God’s eyes. I know you wanted me to follow your premise, however the simple explanation for why we don’t see God move more is because we are unworthy. Our sin prevents us from experiencing more.”
“Then what was the point the sacrifices they had to make, what was the point of Jesus coming?” Steven picked up a stick and stoked the fire.
“Jesus didn’t give us a free pass to do whatever we want. He came so that we can have eternal life, based on the condition that we become sanctified now. I see where you were trying to go. You wanted to lead me into tripping up by showing the contradiction between me believing in biblical miracles but saying God can’t do that today. But I do believe in miracles, I simply reject yours as delusional because logically it goes against how God acts.”
Steven looked up at the stars. “We should get to bed since we’ll be walking all day tomorrow, but I want you to think about something. What if God is bigger than your carefully defined logic?”
A rustling sound jarred Jefferson from his dreams. He squinted, letting a small amount of light from the golden moon filter into his eyes.
It was probably just the wind rustling through the palm trees. He shut his eyes again and tried to get back to sleep.
The rustling noise came back. Then a metal clank.
Jefferson shot up and looked around.
A large creature with sharp claws was digging through their supply packs. It resembled a brown bear, but with a smaller face, more muscular body, and long claws. Its feet were wrapped around a tree, keeping it up in the air as it hung upside down and dug through their stuff.
Jefferson’s mind sped through possible scenarios. Whatever the creature was, it had never ventured close to the village, so it probably was wary of noise and movement.
Jefferson jumped up and waved his arms around. “Hey, get out of there.”
The bear turned its head and glared at him. It climbed down from the tree and bared its teeth.
Maybe I miscalculated.
Jefferson kicked Steven, trying to wake him.
Steven groaned and rolled over.
How that boy was still asleep was beyond him.
The bear took a step towards them and let out a low growl. It was only a few paces away from Steven’s sleeping body.
“Steven, wake up,” Jefferson said. Then louder, “Steven!”
The bear roared loudly and ran at them. It reached Steven and clawed at him. The claws stabbed into his blankets and ripped them away, leaving Steven uncovered.
Steven cried out and shot up. He had a gash across his arm where the bear had nicked him.
“Run,” Jefferson yelled.
He took off, not bothering to check if Steven was following.
The bear roared again and charged at them.
“Bears can’t climb.” Steven caught up with him and pointed in front at a tall tree.
“Climb that one.”
Before Jefferson could tell Steven his suspicions that the bear had been in the trees and climbed down in search of food, Steven wrapped his arms and legs around the trunk and began shimmying up it.
Jefferson turned to see the bear had almost reached them.
Steven was already five or so feet in up the tree. Jefferson could only pray that he was wrong and the bear couldn’t climb.
Jefferson started running again.
After several long seconds of running and panting, he glanced backwards. Unless the bear was hiding in the shadows of the palms, Jefferson hadn’t been followed.
Which meant… Steven!
Jefferson retraced his steps to where Steven had climbed the tree.
Steven was high above him, at least twenty feet in the air. He clung to the top of the palm. The bear was right below him, using one claw to swipe at Steven.
“Help!” Steven shouted.
The bear must be hungry, that’s why it was digging around in their packs.
Jefferson ran back to their campsite and grabbed the rest of their dried cow jerky.
As he ran back, he heard a loud scream and a thud.
Steven lay on the ground, unmoving. He must have fallen from the tree. The bear was climbing down.
“Hello bear, are you hungry?”
The bear reached the ground and turned toward him.
Jefferson held out the jerky and took a step forward, directing the bear’s full attention to the food in his hand.
He chucked the jerky, throwing it as hard and as far as he could. The pieces sailed through the air, flying everywhere. The bear took off after it.
“Steven, are you alright?”
There was no answer.
He bled from several gashes where the bear had attacked him. But it was the fall that worried Jefferson.
Jefferson ran toward Steven and felt for a pulse. It was there, but very weak. Steven had likely broken several bones in his body, and his unconsciousness was an even worse sign. He must have hit his head in the fall.
He needed to get Steven back to Fides, and fast.
The sounds of the bear devouring the jerky spurred Jefferson into action. He grunted as he lifted Steven in his arms and walked as fast as he could back toward the White Mountains.
He raced through the trees as the sky began to brighten slightly.
Blood trickled down Steven's limp body, leaving a trail behind them.
Jefferson prayed the creature couldn't smell blood.
After several minutes, Jefferson’s arms were already tired. There was no way he would be able to carry Steven all the way back.
He attempted to shake Steven awake, but he remained unconscious.
Panting, Jefferson stopped and leaned against a tree.
“Allow me to take a turn.”
Jefferson jumped and spun around.
An older man stood there, a slight smile on his face.
Jefferson was so surprised, he stood staring.
“He doesn’t look so good and Fides is quite a long walk. Perhaps we should take him to my place, it’s just over there.”
The man held out his hands and took Steven from Jefferson, who was too surprised to stop him. He walked away.
Jefferson turned and followed.
After only a minute or so, they reached a quaint cabin that looked like it had been taken right out of a magazine back on earth.
“You’re … you’re Emeth.”
The man turned his head and smiled. “So you’ve heard of me?”
Jefferson’s brain was hurting. There had been no evidence that anyone was living in this forest. There was no logical reasoning for a cabin made out of earth wood or an old man to be here. There was no explanation for how this man had appeared to offer them help.
Emeth went inside and Jefferson followed. He needed answers.
It was exactly as Steven had described it. A plush chair, long couch, fireplace, grandfather clock, and thousands of pictures on the wall.
“We’ll put him in my bed.” Emeth opened a side door and walked into a room with a large bed and even more pictures.
He carefully placed Steven onto the bed. Steven looked pale and his arms and legs were bent at unnatural angles. Blood seeped from cuts along his chest.
“Will he be okay?” Jefferson said.
“Tell me, Jefferson, do you believe in miracles?”
Jefferson hesitated. “We don’t have time for a theological discussion. We need to get Steven medical attention.”
“He’s broken several major bones in his body, has significant internal bleeding, and likely has brain trauma. He’s still alive but would likely not make the rough journey back to Fides for the care he needs. There’s not really anything we can do for him medically.”
“So without a miracle, he’ll die?” Jefferson swallowed hard.
He didn't even care about this man, not really. But somehow without him realizing it, Steven's passion and optimism had gotten under his skin. He didn't want Steven to die.
“I’ll ask again, do you believe in miracles?”
He took pride in his unfailing logic, logic that was now failing him. “Yes I do, however we don’t see miracles happen anymore because we aren’t in that dispensation. The purpose of miracles was to display God’s authority. But now we live an era where we’re called to live by faith not by sight.”
“Ahh, so God’s changed.”
“Yes… well, no but blessed are those who don’t see and yet believe.”
“Of course, but does the Bible say there won’t be things to see as well?” Emeth sat on the bed next to Steven.
“Well no, but-”
“And who says the purpose of miracles is just to display God’s authority? Of course that’s a major part of it, but if that's the only factor, then why did Jesus consistently tell people early on in his ministry not to tell anyone of the healings and miracles he performed?”
“Because …” Jefferson shifted uncomfortably. “Because his time hadn’t come yet to reveal himself.”
“But why would he use his authority without wanting to draw attention to it if the sole purpose of miracles is to draw attention to his authority?”
Jefferson blinked twice and said nothing.
“What if Jesus chose to turn water into wine and heal people not just to demonstrate his authority and power, but also because he loved them.”
Jefferson felt like his brain had been twisted into thick knots. He wasn’t used to people being able to debate him, and Emeth seemed to do it so effortlessly.
“Okay, I’ll concede that. But that doesn’t change the fact that we don’t see miracles today.”
“Says who?” Emeth leaned forward, smiling.
“Well, everybody I suppose.” Jefferson grimaced. He despised anecdotal arguments. But here he was making one.
Emeth smiled. "I propose that God working miracles is threefold. One, to point to his current authority. Two, to point to and spur us in endurance in light of his future authority when he'll reign for all eternity. Three, because he loves his creation."
Jefferson opened his mouth to argue, then closed it.
“What if God’s working miracles everyday to show his love, but the modern intellectual has dismissed the possibility. You gladly accept any implausible explanation for the unexplainable, unable to consider the possibility that God simply worked a miracle.” Emeth gestured at the cabin. “For example, how would you explain the cabin and me here?”
“Are you saying you being here is a miracle?”
Emeth shrugged. “What do you think? Did I somehow create a portal myself and then transport an entire cabin here, the same planet you guys just happened to come to? And then I somehow showed up at the perfect moment to help you out?”
“So then I should simply blindly accept this as a miracle? Why would God spend his energy on us?”
“Ahh now there’s another layer to it. You say you’re unworthy of a miracle. Or maybe it’s Steven here who’s unworthy. After all, he leads people away from your rules. He encourages what you would call a sin free-for-all.” Emeth gestured to Steven’s unmoving body.
“Stop putting words in my mouth.”
Jefferson wouldn’t say something like that. But Emeth’s words had touched a nerve. They were unworthy, right? That’s why they needed God and were called to become sanctified in thoughts and action. For some reason though, as he stared at Steven’s pale and bloodied body, saying he was unworthy felt wrong.
“Surely you’re better though,” Emeth said. “You, Esther, and your followers are models of righteousness and purity. You don’t even need God’s grace because you’re so perfect.”
“I didn’t say that, of course we need God’s grace. But grace means we’ve been given the ability to become sanctified and stop sinning.”
“You follow your long list of rules, and yet your heart is full of pride and anger. What is that word you love to use, dullard? Just because you hide your pride behind a mask of intellectualism doesn’t change what it is.”
Jefferson gritted his teeth. “Fine, I’m prideful. I still have sin. But surely you can’t expect me to be perfect.”
“But isn’t that what you expect out of everyone else?”
“That’s only because God expects it.”
“And yet what did Jesus do in John eight? An adulterous woman was brought forward to be stoned to death.”
Jefferson sighed. “He said to let the person who never sinned throw the stone and condemn her. Then everyone left because they’d all sinned before.”
“Ahh but the story’s not over yet. Jesus had never sinned. He always kept the law. So did he stone her?”
“No, he forgave her.”
“But was she was an adulterer and a harlot. Was she worthy of that forgiveness?” Emeth stood. “And what about the people at the marriage feast, where they worthy of a miracle? Or the lepers or the lame and blind. Or even going back further, were the stubborn and stiff necked Israelites worthy of being brought out of Egypt and saved time after time?”
Jefferson rubbed his temples. “I guess not.”
“So then could God choose to heal Steven right now? Or would it be out of character for him?”
“I guess he could if he wanted to.”
“So then let's pray for him.” Emeth turned toward Steven and laid one hand on Steven’s forehead, the other on his bruised chest.
“You mean right now?”
“Of course. If God can perform miracles and Steven needs a miracle, then our response should be to pray for him to be healed.”
Jefferson wasn’t sure what he believed anymore. But he supposed it wouldn’t hurt to pray.
He walked to the other side of the bed and placed his hands on Steven’s arm.
“Why don’t you start,” Emeth said.
“Okay sure.” Jefferson closed his eyes, feeling awkward and unsure of himself. “Lord God, thou art our majestic king. We come seeking thy favor for Steven. He needs thy healing lest he perish. However, thy will be done. Amen.”
Jefferson could hear the smile in Emeth's voice as he prayed. “Father God, heal Steven. Now rise Steven.”
Jefferson opened his eyes to see Emeth helping Steven sit up. While blood still stained the bed and his clothes were shredded, the cuts were gone. His bones were back to normal, completely healed.
“How … how” Jefferson struggled to speak.
Steven grinned like a child glancing back and forth between Emeth and Jefferson. He laughed loudly. “I told you he was real!”
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