2022 Writing Contest

Esther looked around her small cabin. The idea of having company was so tempting, finally she shrugged. “I suppose it’s worth a try. I can’t lose any more than I already have.” She motioned to the only other door in the cabin, “You can have the bedroom. It’s a double bed so if you don’t mind sharing, it’s yours.” Daniel looked at the door she had motioned to. “Where will you sleep?” Esther smiled at him. “I will sleep in the rocking chair. I’ve slept in there many times before.” Michael spoke gently, “We thank you for your thoughtfulness and kindness, but we cannot accept. It would be wrong. We will sleep outside.” “Outside!” Esther exclaimed. “You can’t do that, you’ll freeze! The nights are getting cold. And what about those people who are trying to ruin me? What if they come while you’re out there? Please, stay inside where it’s safe and warm.” Why was she pleading with them. If they wanted to stay outside, so be it, Esther thought. Daniel reached across the table and took Esther’s hands in his. “My dear lady, you have nothing to fear for us or from us. I promise you, we are quite capable of protecting both ourselves and you. And the cold won’t be a problem.” Esther couldn’t keep the tears from falling. It had been so long since anybody had said anything kind to her. For however long these two men wanted to stay, she would be glad of their company. “Now,” said Michael, “While you clean up from breakfast, we will go out and see what we can find.” He, also, reached across the table to gently pat Esther’s hands. Esther finished washing the few dishes and cups from breakfast and turned to clean the table. She noticed there was still half a loaf of bread left. She was certain that they had each had a slice of bread with their breakfast. Maybe it had been a larger loaf than she imagined. She wrapped it up carefully in the brown paper it had come in and looked around for the backpack that Michael had. Maybe he had taken it with him when they left. But she couldn’t remember seeing him pick it up. She might not have been paying close attention. It had been a very unusual morning. Esther sat down at the table, fully intending to thank God for the two men who had come to her aid at just the right time. Her mind wouldn’t stay focused, it kept straying back to Michael and Daniel. Who were they, really, and where did they come from? They just appeared out of nowhere. Should she have accepted their offer of help, or had she made a mistake. Try as she might, her thoughts kept circling back to those two men. While she sat wrestling with her thoughts, Daniel and Michael came into the cabin. Both men had smiles on their faces. “Is it as bad as I think it is?” Esther asked, not daring to look at them. Both men hesitated before Daniel finally spoke.