2022 Writing Contest

At her question, Daniel and Michael stood. “Please come with us.” Michael held out his hand. Esther looked at him for a moment then took his hand. Esther soon found herself on the bank of the little creek. Several men were working away, building something that looked like a series of flat boxes stair stepping down to the creek. There was a small cabin being built across the creek, and the first wagon was sitting almost empty. “What is this?” Esther asked. It looks like a mine, sort of.” Daniel smiled, “It is a mine. It’s called a sluice mine. Shovel fulls of mud from the creek are put into that top box, called a sluice, water is run down through the various sluices, of different sizes, and then what ever the water carries away is flushed back into the creek. The assayer and the land officer reckons that you have enough gold in the creek to pay for people to work the mine and give you a comfortable life for a very long time.” At that point, a gentlemen walked over to the threesome and identified himself. “Howdy, ma’am. My name is Fred Mitchell. These two gentlemen here said you were looking for someone to oversee this operation. I have worked several different mines and sluices. I’d be happy to take the job.” Esther looked at Daniel and Michael, who both smiled and nodded. “If these gentlemen say you are trustworthy, then I will gladly accept your offer. Although, I have no idea what to pay you or any other men you may hire.” Fred smiled and held out his hand. Esther took it and the deal was done. Daniel smiled and Michael winked at her then he smiled. The three walked back up to her little cabin. The sun was shining and the little garden, now no longer a necessity, was thriving. As the stepped onto the front porch, Esther saw Daniel’s backpack sitting on the step. She knew what it meant. “Oh, do you really have to go now? I still have so many questions.” Daniel looked down at her. “Yes, and you will get your answers in time, but not from us.” Michael took her hands in his. “You are a very strong, courageous woman. Fred and the men he will hire will work for you and will protect you if needed, but I think you know you are already well protected. Be happy.” Together the two men looked at her and said, “May God continue to bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you.” Esther blinked away the tears that had formed and realized the two men were gone.