2022 Writing Contest

2 Michael and Daniel walked to the south side of the house, a more protected area to plant vegetable seeds in. Esther sat quietly in the rocker on the porch silently thanking God for His grace and mercy and the gift of companionship, even if it was for a short time. She listened to the sounds of earth being shoveled and the quiet murmuring of a conversation between Michael and Daniel. She could almost tell which one was speaking from the different pitch and tones of their voices. For the first time in 3 years, she felt a sense of peace and safety. Slowly, she slipped into sleep. When Michael and Daniel finished planting the seeds and returned to the porch, they smiled at the sleeping form of Esther. Michael gently picked her up. Daniel opened the door, holding it for Michael, then brought in the rocking chair. Daniel opened the bedroom door and Michael laid Esther on the bed, covering her up with the quilt she had folded at the foot of the bed. They both left quietly and shut the door behind them. Esther awoke suddenly and sat up in bed. She was confused. She remembered sitting on the porch. How long had she slept? Looking out the window she realized it was late, after dark. How could she have fallen asleep and slept for so long and not know when she was brought inside. Where were Daniel and Michael? She could tell the wind was blowing. Were they outside in the cold? What sort of hostess was she to fall asleep like that? Esther grabbed her shawl off the peg by the door and wrapped herself in it. The wind was blowing from the north, a cold, harsh wind. She looked for Michael and Daniel on the front porch but didn’t see them or any sign of them. She thought to check the south side of the house, it was out of the worst of the wind. They weren’t there, either. She was starting to worry. Had something happened to them? Then she heard a light footstep behind her. Turning, she was relieved to see Michael standing behind her. “I was concerned about you both. I wanted to ask you, again, to please come into the house for the rest of the night.” Michael seemed a bit distracted but smiled at her. “I thank you for your concern, but everything is as it should be. We will be watching out tonight, to prevent any further incidents. Daniel is out doing a sort of perimeter walk. As for the weather, we’re used to rapid changes.” Daniel came around the opposite corner of the house, smiling at Michael and Esther. “Everything is fine. No sign of anybody around.” Michael relaxed and his smile was a little brighter. Glancing at Daniel first, Michael said to Esther, “So, you see, everything is fine. Everything is safe.” Again, he looked at Daniel, “Thank you for the concern and the invitation, but as we said before, it would not be proper for us to stay inside with a single woman.” Daniel added, “We are fine, truly. You can go back to bed without worrying. We will be fine.” Esther turned toward the door, then stopped and turned back. “What about lunch and dinner? Have you eaten anything since breakfast? That was a long time ago.”