2022 Writing Contest

6 The next morning Esther awoke to the smell of breakfast, bacon and eggs and coffee. She hurriedly got dressed and brushed her hair. She walked out the big room and was surprised to see two new men. All four rose as she came in the room and walked to the table. Michael moved to the opposite side of the table so she could have his chair, at the head of the table. After she was seated and one of the men had placed a plate of food and a cup of coffee in front of her, Daniel introduced the other men. “Esther, this is Levi,” pointing to another very tall man with wavy reddish blonde hair and blue eyes. Pointing to the next man, Michael continued, “and this is Eli.” Eli wasn’t as tall and had straight brown hair cut very short. Eli had more of a military bearing than the other three men. Daniel spoke as the men sat back down. “After talking things over and praying about it, we decide some additional help would be a good idea.” Daniel looked straight at Esther. His usually calm, clear eyes now seemed to have flecks of gold or silver or copper or maybe all three in them. Esther felt a strength in his look she had never imagined possible. “You won’t forget your promise, will you.” It was a statement more than a question. “No, I won’t forget it.” “And whatever any of the four of us,” indicating all of the four men at the table, “tell you to do, you will do?” Esther was starting to feel real fear. A lump was forming in her throat, making it hard to do or say anything other than to nod her head. With that, Daniel smiled and all the tension she had felt in the room vanished. In a surprisingly deep and melodious voice, Levi said, “All will be well. Please enjoy your breakfast. We will be keeping watch now.” As Esther bowed her head over her breakfast, the four men stood and bowed their heads. All five said amen together. Esther began to eat while the men, except Eli. left the cabin. Eli looked at Esther intently for a moment then said, “Your faith is strong. Do not fear. Michael and Daniel could have dealt with this situation, but they chose a show of strength. Truly, all will be well.” Eli smiled and nodded to Esther then, he too, left her alone in the cabin. A show of strength? With just four men? Was it really possible? As the day wore on, Esther began to notice a tenseness in the air. The four men began spending more and more time away from the cabin. Even the air had a heaviness about it, as when a thunderstorm is about to break. Just before noon, the four men came into the house. There were no smiles of greeting this time. Everyone was silent and had very serious looks on their faces. Michael pulled one of the chairs away from the table and placed it in the center of the room. He then motioned for Esther to sit. Remembering her promise, Esther quickly sat down. The four men form a circle around. her, held hands, and began to pray. Esther bowed her head with the men.