“Petra! Papa, Petra is the place that we are to travel to! We must leave now!” I argued. “He came to me once more. The angel sent by God appeared in my dream again last night. I saw him and he spoke to me like the last time. We must leave. We must!”
“Is this the truth my Namir?” he asked me, not convinced by what I had spoken of already.
“Yes! Why would I tell lies of this? I would not do such a thing! This is important! We cannot ignore God’s words. We cannot!”
“Calm down, Namir,” my mother butted in. “You must think clearly, boy. You know that your father is tired.”
“Yes, Mother, but I also know that we cannot stay here for much longer.” I replied in return.
My father was deep in thought as he stared at the table resting in front of him. “Do not worry your mother, son,” he finally answered.
“The Qurks are to come soon! They will steal more of us away and force us to work for them! We cannot let this happen and if we stay here, we are allowing it. We must at least try to avoid this! We must!” I kept true to my thoughts as I persuaded my father to understand my reasoning.
“How far is this place, Petra?”
I remembered back to my mysterious dream and recalled what the angel had told me. “I was told that it was not far to the west.”
“Not far? Not far? How far is that? We cannot travel blindly without knowing where we are headed or how far we are to travel! We cannot bring our people to follow us if we are not sure of what we are following! A simple boy’s dream? You are not certain if this is really a message from God or not!”
“Papa, please,” I begged. “Please, listen to me! I know that this is what we should do. I can feel that this is right. Staying here is not right and I cannot allow it! I will travel whether you will come with me or not.” With my last remark, I stormed outside into the blazing heat and looked out to the horizon. There was nothing in the distance but the wavering image of sand in the blaze of the Jordan Desert. Where was Petra? Did it even exist? Was it all just my imagination?
My head jerked towards the skies when a loud roar bellowed over the sands. There was not a creature in sight, but the villagers had heard it also. My friends and neighbors emerged from their quaint houses to scan the skies alongside me, all with fear in their hearts. I turned to see my father standing beside me. “That sounded close,” he stated.
The villagers began to talk amongst themselves in worry and wonder.
“What are we to do? If creatures come, where are we to go?” a woman asked.
“We must stay here!” answered a man.
“No, we must leave! We shall travel towards the horizon and follow the wind!”
“That is impossible!”
“What of our homes?”
“What of the children?
“How far is the next village?”
“What of the noise? That animal must be coming towards here.”
People began to argue and fight, trying to convince others that their idea made the most sense until I stepped forth, unknowingly. I was unsure of what I was doing. I walked before the crowd and plainly declared, “I know of a place to go! I know of where it is safe! I have heard from God and He has told me to travel westwards to Petra. We must follow His word, and follow our hope.”
The small crowd seemed to believe me and had quieted to hear what else I had to say. My father joined me before the curious faces and commanded, “Get your things ready. Take only what is needed to survive. We shall leave at sunrise tomorrow!”
– – –
We returned to our house to start to pack for our trip the following morning, and that night, it appeared once more. The angel dressed in no color came before me and spoke, “Yes, take them. Take them to Petra, west from here. It is not far. You must go soon. You must take them all. None shall stay. Lead them safely. Take them to Petra. Go.”
The vision of the temples and buildings carved from the cliffs appeared once more and I studied them carefully. They looked old and ancient. Had they been there for years before? Had they been there before the Qurks invaded? Where they man-made structures? What were they and why were they there? Questions began to flood my mind, however no answers followed as the angel disappeared from my thoughts.
– – –
“Namir, please help your father.” I stretched with a yawn as I walked outside to the cold, desert night and watched my neighbors around me pack food and water. Camels, goats, horses, and cattle filled our dusty roads as they were preparing to leave. The night sky shined brightly overhead as I thought ‘Am I doing the right thing?’
“Namir, come!” my father called. “Please, tie the food to the horses. We must leave soon!” I followed his orders and tied food and water to the animals, before mounting one. Villagers around me were prepared also, as we set off with the sun just rising over our backs. “Follow me and stay close!” I called out, surprised with the amount of assertiveness in my voice. I wasn’t quite sure of what I was doing; yet I was acting on it. My horse began to slowly walk along the dull sand of the desert with camels and families following behind me. We were headed out…to Petra!