“Madman” Chapter 12

Ed Sharrow
6 min readJul 23, 2022

Saturday is Story Day

Madman is a serialized Christian novel with 28 chapters. One chapter will be posted each Saturday. The first three chapters are free to read and form a short story on their own. To access chapters behind the paywall, please join Medium using my membership referral link. A portion of your monthly fee will be credited to me.


Madman is based on the life of an historical figure. This fictionalized account offers insights into personal rebirth in Christ.

You may want to begin with the first chapter at https://edsharrow.medium.com/madman-chapter-1-4c860201a69a

Image by Wolfgang Beisswenger from Pixabay

Chapter 12

The next day Anthony asked some villagers where the anchorite’s camp was located. An elderly woman pointed him in the right direction. He walked outside of town to a rocky outcropping on barren and hilly land between the town and the vibrant fields.

Anthony followed an uphill path between the rocks. When he crested the low ridge, the scene of the anchorite facing a group of petitioners spread across the dip before him.

Zafir, the anchorite, looked ancient. Perhaps he was a contemporary of the priest Amram, but he appeared decades older. When Anthony first saw him, he sat nearly naked, crossed legged on a dusty mound. Even at a quick glance it was apparent that his tanned, leathery, folds of skin had a patchwork of wrinkles and pock marks from prolonged fasts. His only garment was a small piece of worn and stained fabric tied tightly to cover his groin. A group of twenty or more, mostly women, gathered before the anchorite.

One by one, each woman moved forward and prostrated herself before him for a blessing. Many who bent face down with outstretched hands wore tattered garments and several were barefoot. They lacked even simple sandals. The supplicants were destitute. Despite their poverty, each offered something of value to the anchorite: a satchel filled with grain, a flower, a dried fruit, or a rare Roman coin.

Anthony observed the scene as he approached. A quiet murmur hung like a thin mist over the group. Most prayed for healing while they waited to receive Zafir’s blessing. Once he stepped into the line, Anthony could overhear…

Ed Sharrow

Author, philosopher, Christian meditation instructor. Secular thoughts on edsharrow.substack.com weekdays.