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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Feel (emotions) (08/26/10)

TITLE: Untouchable
By Rachel Phelps


Warning: Some sensual content

The man rolled away and stood, fumbling with his tunic and belt in the uncertain light of the guttering oil lamp.

“You were not worth the two gerahs I paid.”

He spat at the edge of the pallet where they had lain.

She merely shifted to claim the space he had taken up, eyes on the opposite wall. The words were like the spittle on the ground, absorbed without a mark. They touched her heart no more than his groping hands had.

She was glad he was gone. The heat of drought lay in the air. The clouds had danced over Jerusalem by day, flirting, teasing with their dark, billowing forms and promise of refreshment in the darkness. She knew better. The clouds were but amateurs at her trade. They would tease hope from the soul, then vanish.

The dust was enough to choke her. She stifled a cough and continued her perusal of the wall. The indistinct shadows were just interesting enough that she need not think. Thinking did her as little good as feeling the insults of her customers. The slaver she had given herself to made it clear that thinking was not expected. She welcomed his words – and the lifestyle he represented. Surely this would keep him at bay.

Nothing else had worked. She had left him before. Flaunted her lovers before him. Boasted that the children he called his own were another man’s. Anything to keep the holy man from coming back. She didn’t want his love or his God.

The heaviness in her chest insisted this was an old argument, as worn out as the rags that covered her. She had run, and for once, he had not followed. Anger flared. Brief. Lacking the fire that had sustained her for so long. Lust. Revenge. They lay flat and dead in her heart, like the dust that coated her skin.

Footsteps. Voices in the hallway – two men, from the sound. She sat up, ready to refill the lamp if need be. She recognized the voice of her master, sounding pleased, for once. The other voice was low, indistinct. Thunder obscured the words. With a spiritless curse at the tantalizing sound, she leaned forward, waiting. The lamp caught their long shadows in the doorway, obscuring their faces.

“You’re sure this is the girl you want?” It was the voice of her master, incredulous.


She recoiled at the sound. Only one word, but she recognized the voice. She groped around for something to throw.


He stepped into the room, keeping to the wall, giving her room.

“Hosea,” she spat back, still feeling for something, anything.

“I have redeemed you,” he said softly. “You are free to return home.”

“I didn’t ask you to come,” she hissed. “I don’t want you or your God.”

The dead anger rekindled, She hadn’t asked for him to save her.

“Your children still cry for you.”

She laughed, bitterness spilling out like vomit. “They drove me out. They didn’t want me as their mother. I was too wicked for them.” Her eyes narrowed on his shadowed face. “Too wicked for you.”

“No, Gomer.”

She couldn’t identify the new feeling in her stomach. It was fear – but not of him. He came closer. Her grasping hand found the lamp and hurled it at him, missing by more than a hand’s breadth. The light extinguished. Tears spilled down her cheeks, catching on the dust.

“Stay back. You don’t want me. I am unclean.”

He knelt by the pallet, reaching out. She slapped his hand away. He couldn’t, wouldn’t forgive this time. It was a painful certainty. The feeling spread to her chest.

“Not in my eyes. Come home. We will begin again.”

“I’ll never be what you want, holy man,” she hissed, but her voice cracked. Now she knew the feeling. She feared herself – feared what she was and could not be. “You do not want to take me back.”

“Try me,” he whispered, reaching out again. This time she did not shy away.

His touch was gentle, respectful. Loving, if she dared admit it. And suddenly, she yearned for it. Longing pushed at the deadness, awakening her heart. He had always been true.

“I am no holy woman yet, Hosea.”

He held out her robe. “You’re free to come home.”

As they stepped into the street, thunder rolled once again. He drew her close as the rain began to fall.


Author’s Note: The story of Hosea and Gomer can be found in Hosea chapters 1-3

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This article has been read 770 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 09/03/10
This Biblical story was retold in a way that brings the characters to life and makes them so real for the reader. Love and forgiveness are powerful healers--as this story shows.
Gregory Kane09/06/10
A great beginning that set just the right tone of despair. I'm not sure but I felt that the ending wasn't quite as intense as it could have been - maybe because we all know what's going to happen. But aside from this there's certainly a rich mix of emotions throughout
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/06/10
You did such a good job of giving her and most women like her a voice. So many say prostitution is a victimless crime and even though that may not have been your main agenda you showed it to be true.
Amy Michelle Wiley 09/07/10
Wonderful job. I love Biblical fiction and this one did not disappoint. I never had really thought of that story from the woman's perspective. Good job handling a sensitive topic delicately, too.
Sarah Elisabeth 09/07/10
Gripping with brilliant flow. Excellently done!
Author Unknown09/08/10
okay, you have to know the warning makes people want to read it, right? :) well done! I love this story (one of those great OT stories full of juicy details that still drips with redemption and grace) and you did not disappoint. savory, dear friend, deliciousness.
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/08/10
Very tastefully and beautifully written--reminding me again of why I love the Lord that is represented here by Gomer.
Cheryl Harrison09/08/10
Good job bringing this Biblical story to life. I've always read this account from Hosea's perspective. It was refreshing to see it retold through Gomer's eyes. Thanks.
Amanda Brogan09/08/10
I was always intrigued by the story of Gomer and Hosea, and you really brought it to life in a fresh way! It's a wonderful story of grace and redemption and a perfect picture of what Christ does for us.

This is just detailed enough to get the point across, but not too crazy with the sensuality. Nice job!
Edmond Ng 09/08/10
I like the way you recount the story of Hosea and Gomer from a different POV. Very well written and vivid in expressing the Lord's love for us—just as we are—even when we feel we are unforgivable.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/09/10
Congratulations for placing in the top 40 overall.