A Spy for Helaman
Here is the first of the stories submitted for the contest. I enjoyed writing these stories and look forward to sharing them with you! Let me know what you think:
A Spy for Helaman
“Aw, Grandma, do I have to read my scriptures?” Adam moaned.
“What’s the trouble?” Grandma sank down on the bed.
“They’re so boring!” he leaned forward to share his secret, “At home I put a book inside and read that instead.”
“Ah, crafty,” Grandma tussled her 9 year old grandson’s hair affectionately. “How about a chapter in exchange for chocolate milk?”
“Okay,” Adam sighed. He chose the shortest chapter he could and raced through it.
“Done already?” Grandma appeared at the door with a cup in her hand.
“I’m a fast reader.”
“Well, here you go. Chocolate milk with just a pinch of magic.”
Adam took the cup, tipping his head to one side, “I’m too old for magic, Grandma.”
Grandma only smiled, “Good thing I’m not.”
Tonight his milk was extra sweet. When it was done, Adam drifted off to sleep only to be woken by the clanging of a bell. Someone shook his shoulder. “The Lamanites are upon us!”
Before he could collect his thoughts he was hauled out of bed and hurried into the predawn morning. The young man beside him took him by the shoulders. “Brother do not fear. Remember mother’s words. God is our protector.”
The boy rushed Adam to a tent nearby. The camp was bustling to life. Young men all around him strapped on breast plates and swords. He felt sure this must be a strange dream. And yet he could hear the whinies of horses nearby, feel the pounding of feet running around him, and see the swell of sunlight on the horizon. He had never seen such grave and determined faces as those on the boys around him.
In the tent Adam stopped with the boy who had called him brother. “Father,” the boy said. A tall strongly built man turned. His face was solemn and yet Adam felt comfort in his presence.
“Thank you, my son.” The man turned to Adam, “Your mission is to bring us a count of the Lamanite Army. We need to know what we’re up against.”
“O-okay,” Adam stammered.
The man placed a large hand on his shoulder, “I invoke the blessings of God upon you, my son. Go under His protection.”
The boy beside Adam nodded, “We’ll send the message as soon as possible, Father.”
Outside the tent Adam hurried after the boy, his mind whirling. The camp was emptying of soldiers as they hurried into the forest, the sound of horns calling the armies to battle filling the air.
“Who was that?” Adam asked.
The boy shot him a curious glance. “Our father Helaman of course…leader of our army.” The name sounded familiar but it took a while of running through the dark forest for Adam to remember.
“Oh yeah, the story of the Stripling Warriors,” he said. The boy didn’t reply until they came to an extremely tall tree. He began to climb. “Over two thousand of our brothers and thousands more Nephite soldiers depend on our news. Come on.”
Adam was a good tree climber. He followed the boy to the top of the forest canopy and looked out over the plain below. A breath of horror caught in his throat. Gathered in companies were Lamanite soldiers as far as the eye could see. The boy’s face was grim. “Each company is 10,000,” he said solemnly.
Adam counted. One, two….six companies. Sixty thousand soldiers! The numbers were overwhelming and he felt a sinking of fear in his stomach. “We’re doomed!” he moaned.
But the boy placed a hand on his shoulder, “Do you not remember the words of our mothers? What is man that we should fear him? Has not God formed the skies and the earth beneath? He is our Captain and under His marvelous power there is nothing we cannot do.”
Adam shook his head, still doubtful, but the boy only retreated down the tree and began to run faster than before. Already they could hear the clash of battle around them, the shouts of captains to their men, the groans of death. Near the camp the boy climbed another tree and Adam followed. Helaman was on horseback above a throng of youthful soldiers. He was scanning the treeline and the boy waved to get his attention. He used signs to share their intelligence.
As the battle below raged on, the boy beside him disappeared. His final words were, “Do not fear brother, our God is with us.” As the fighting went on Adam saw the young men standing boldly against Lamanite throngs while other Nephite soldiers fell all around them. Despite his determination to see the battle to it’s end, he felt his eyes grow heavy no matter how he tried to keep them open. In what seemed like moments he could feel the bed beneath him again. Adam woke back in his Grandma’s house. He wished he could close his eyes and go back to his dream. He needed to know what happened to Helaman and all his soldiers. Did they survive the battle for Cumeni? Adam was sure he’d seen some of the sons fall during the fight. How many had been lost? Suddenly the number was personal. Did the Lord really preserve them as the boy believed He would?
At the breakfast table, Adam searched through the Book of Mormon. “Hey Grandma.”
“Do you know where that Army of Helaman story is in here?”
“Sure, why do you ask?”
Adam paused, “I had the weirdest dream last night.”
“Oh?” Grandma smiled knowingly, resting one hand on her hip as she surveyed him through her glasses.
“I was a spy for the Army of Helaman when the Lamanites attacked the city Cumeni,” Adam could still feel his heart beating at the sight of the armies lined up in companies.
“Sounds pretty exciting.”
Adam thought for a moment, “I never knew the soldiers of Helaman were so young.”
“They were all young men, that’s why Helaman called them his sons,” Grandma said.
“Yeah!” Adam nearly shouted, “He did!”
“Now hang on….the scriptures are boring!” Grandma protested.
Adam grinned, “Maybe I wasn’t so right about that.”
“Ah, reading the scriptures might be a good idea after all?”
“Yeah. Let’s start with this story. I’ve got to know who won that battle.”