I have a lot more I want to do with this story, so I hesitate to call it "finished" in any sense, but I got it as far as time allows for now. Eventually I'll do some research and expand it into a proper story. It was nice to take a break from my novel, but that's still my focus for now. Before I explain more than I actually wrote... I better get on with it! Enjoy!
The broad, open mouth of the furnace gaped before us like a hungry darkness, eager to swallow us up. Flickering tongues of flame licked at the edges. The furnace was overheated. It reminded me of a serpent’s tongue, licking and probing as though searching for its next meal. Soon that mouth would swallow us up, those flames would bathe our bodies in destruction and wash the bones clean.
And yet, I was not afraid.
I stood with my companions, resolute. Each of the three of us exercised our faith in his own way. Hananiah had boisterously decried the security due us as God’s elect, shaming our captors for their foolish and wicked ways. Azariah was nervously muttering prayers under his breath, his whispers sounding like the shush of scraping feet.
I was stoic… silent. I felt peaceful.
The LORD had seen fit to guide my steps and protect me from the gates of Sheol. If he willed, I would stand in the flames safely as you please.
The furnace was overheated. Incredibly so, in fact. The flames had already overcome one of our keepers. His face had become unrecognizable, a lump of charred, black flesh.
I looked up toward the king. He stood on a parapet above, his raiment dazzling. He was there to watch us die. The fury was still plain upon his face. When Hananiah had declared that God could deliver us from the furnace, and would deliver us from the king, I had not known what to think. Not that I didn’t believe, far from it! I simply lacked some of my dear friend’s boldness.
I smiled grimly as I studied the furnace. There was one thing I was certain of. Whether our flesh was consigned to the flames or not, my maker was watching over us. That was all the safety I could ever need.