2022 Writing Contest

Outside were two wagons filled to the brim with all manner of things. Daniel was sitting in the second wagon talking to the sheriff who had a couple of deputies riding beside the wagon. Daniel handed the sheriff a paper which the sheriff read quickly, occasionally looking at Daniel. After a few minutes, the Sheriff folded the paper and put it in his pocket and Daniel motioned to the side of the house. The sheriff got down off the wagon, which Esther could see was empty, and motioned for the deputies to follow him. They dismounted their horses and the three men walked to the side of the house. Michael and Daniel exchanged a look which Esther couldn’t understand, then Daniel jumped from the wagon and walked up to Michael and Esther. He tucked one of Esther’s arms into the crook of one of his arms and said, “Come back inside. We have a story to tell you.” When they got back inside the cabin, Ester asked about Levi and Eli. Michael answered, “They had other commitments to attend to and had to leave. Now, sit down and let us tell you a story.” “There is a great war happening every day.” Began Michael. “It is between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan. Many people go through life not knowing what goes on around them or for them. Unfortunately, many are misled into believing that they are good upstanding people, living Christian lives, when they have chosen the path to Hell. The saying, ‘The path to Hell is paved with good intentions’, is very true. You have chosen the correct path.” Here, Daniel spoke up. “We told you we had planned on dealing with the situation by ourselves, but seeing you so heartbroken and defeated, we were given permission to openly set things right, as your husband had planned to do.” Daniel paused, as if deciding something. Then he continued, “Everyone has a choice, every day, of which way to go. Every action, every thought sends out ripples, like a stone thrown into a lake. Every decision made requires a final judgement. Two days ago, the final judgement for several people happened.” Outside the sound of men’s voices shouting and one of the wagons leaving could be heard. Esther looked from Daniel to Michael, who shook his head slightly. Esther stood, as if to go to the door. Michael stopped her. “No, not now. There is much you need to know first.” Esther slowly sat back down. She closed her eyes then sighed deeply. “Then, please continue.” Daniel began, “You remember me telling you about your new neighbor?” Esther nodded her head. “That particular gentleman is where most of your trouble started. Three years ago.” Esther looked at Daniel then Michael. “But how? And why? Is he responsible for Richard’s death? I was told that my husband’s death was the result of something frightening the horses and Richard losing control and the wagon rolled over him.” The ache was still there even after three years. Daniel answered her. “You were not lied to. That is, indeed, the cause of his death. The cause of the accident is very different.” Michael took up the story. “Several days before your husband went into town, he was working out by the creek behind your house, was he not?” Esther thought for a moment then nodded her head yes. “He found something while he was out there that, had he been a little wiser, would have resulted in both of you having a much better life than you have now. Your husband found gold nuggets. Quite a lot of them. Even if that was all he found, it was worth enough for the two of you to live comfortably for the rest of your life.”