2022 Writing Contest

3 When Esther came back into the main room, the smell of bacon and eggs and coffee had filled the room. She stood for a moment wondering. She was certain they had eaten all the eggs and bacon yesterday. She asked Daniel, “I thought we had eaten all the eggs and bacon yesterday. Where did this all come from?” Daniel smiled down at her, “Oh, well, I found a quail’s nest on one of my forays yesterday, so I took the eggs. And Michael has so many things stashed in that bag of his, I’m never surprised with what he pulls out of there.” Esther looked at the bacon and eggs. The eggs were smaller, but quail? She had never seen any quail anywhere near their property in all the years they had lived here. How large was the area that Daniel had walked yesterday? She was beginning to wonder, again, if she had made a mistake in trusting them. Something of her thoughts must have been picked up by Michael who offered her a seat and a cup of coffee. ”Trusting people you don’t know is a hard thing. When you trust someone, you leave yourself open to heartache and hurt.” Daniel sat down next to her and added, “We have no intention of causing you hurt. We just want to help you with your problem and then we will move on. It’s what we do, what we have always done.” Esther sat there, looking from Daniel to Michael, who was still standing. It felt like they were sincere and that, in some way, they had just imparted some important information, but what she wasn’t sure what it was. She was still not sure she had done the right thing. It was so hard to know what was right at times. And lately, trusting people was not something she did easily. Michael sat down opposite her at the table. “Just trust us for a few more days. Then everything will become clear.” Daniel added, “Everything will be okay, we promise you this. Just trust us for a little longer.” Esther looked down into her coffee cup, then looked back up at Michael, who had become the leader, of sorts, in her mind. “I want to trust you. I really do. It’s very hard, though. For the last three years I have lived with fear and worry and dread as constant companions. Even with you finding the few vegetables you found, and even if the seeds you planted germinate and grow, I will barely have enough food to get through the month, much less the winter. If my crops had not been destroyed, with what I would have had left over, I would have sold or traded to get staples, like flour, some meat, more coffee, maybe some material to make a new dress…” Esther’s voice trailed off. The tears were starting to come. She took a deep breath then continued. ”Even if you do find out who’s behind this and why they are doing this, how can they be brought to trial with no proof?” “We do understand. Just trust us, for a few days more. Please.” Michael’s voice was calm and gentle, still Esther sensed an almost demand and a tenacity she had never come across before. She looked at Michael and then at Daniel. In their eyes she saw understanding, concern. In spite of herself, she felt compelled to agree. “Good”, said Daniel with a smile on his face, “Let’s have breakfast. I’m hungry.”