"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

1/2/09

Friday Fiction: "Fleeting Respite"



Well, the darling Patty Wysong from Patterings has allowed me to host Fiction Friday this week, and I am thrilled and honored to oblige. Be sure to go to the bottom of my post to find links to more great fiction--and post your own and link up with the Mr. Linky gadget. The more the merrier!
I wrote this story just over six months ago for the Faithwriters Writing Challenge. The subject actually started to captivate me several months earlier when I wrote my first story on this topic, and I have written a couple more since then. Eventually, I plan to write a novel on this (gotta finish my nonfiction first, though!). I hope you enjoy it.


FLEETING RESPITE

She rested against the wall and examined her surroundings.

The place wasn't huge. In fact, it was quite small, considering where she'd grown up. At least it was generally tidy, and she did her best to make it inviting for herself and her husband, especially to the nose. Whether it was the scent of a loaf of bread or a bouquet of flowers, Michal had learned young how welcoming a pleasant smell could be.

"Strive to be pleasing both in vision and aroma, girls," her mother Ahinoam had told Michal and her older sister Merab repeatedly. "It's a sure way to capture a man's interest, and to keep him devoted."

Since her marriage, Michal had strived to make their modest house a place of refuge for her husband. He certainly needed it, with his responsibilities in the wars against the Philistines, as well as his duties to Michal's father the king.

The animosity between these important men in her life was troubling. Ever since she and David had wed, her father's attitude toward her husband had grown increasingly sour.

David had confided in her not a week ago. "He sees me as a threat, Michal. I don't know how much longer I will be able to remain in his view."

Michal had nodded and bit her lip. She had had enough experience with her temperamental father to know David was right. All I can do is make our little home a place of respite for him for as long as I am able. I need to be sure he doesn't dread coming here, when he is running from everything, and everyone, else in his life.

Michal brushed the top of a life-sized wooden statue in the bedroom with her hand and turned the figure slightly to the right. It now faced the corner of the bed, where she sat and faced the walkway between the bedroom and the kitchen.

"Rivkah? Is the evening meal almost ready?"

Hearing no response, she scrunched up her face and then smiled. She must have gone to market. I suspect she'll be back soon.

Michal stood and straightened the bedcover. "I may have to choose between them at some point," she mumbled. '"I hate that."

The sound of footsteps in the adjacent room brought Michal back to the present. She walked toward the kitchen area, where Rivkah stood with flour and a few leeks.

"Will dinner be ready in time?"

"Yes, madam." Rivkah gulped, her eyes lowered. "I have distressing news."

"Tell me, Rivkah." Michal's voice was urgent.

"The king's cook was in the square. He said the king is angry with your master David."

Michal raised her eyebrows. "This is new information?"

"Madam, this sounded much more serious. The cook overheard the king speaking to his men, ordering them to watch David's house and kill him in the morning."

As Rivkah finished speaking, Michal looked up to find a ruddy and flushed David entering the kitchen. He pecked Michal on the cheek and headed toward the bedroom.

"Your father had another of his rages this afternoon. What I do to deserve them, I know not. He was a handbreadth from killing me." David peeked his head around the corner of the bedroom back into the kitchen. "I'm going to have a sleep, then, Michal, I'm afraid I'll need to go into hiding --possibly as soon as tomorrow."

Michal entered the bedroom and took David's hands in hers. "Apparently my father has already sent men to watch the house." She stared into his eyes. "If you don't run for your life tonight, tomorrow you'll be killed.*"

David sighed, embracing his wife. "The sooner I leave, the better, I suppose."

She nodded. "And I wouldn't leave the way you came. Wait until the sun sets, then sneak out the window."

David looked up. "Just know, dear Michal, that I may never feel as welcome anywhere again as I have here."

**

Michal watched David sneak away into the darkness. Glancing off to the right, she spotted a few of her father's men watching the front door. It was clear they saw nothing. She sighed and headed for the bedroom.

They will come looking for him soon enough. I need to delay them. He needs as much of a head start as possible.

Michal surveyed the room. When her eyes fixed on the statue in the corner, they brightened.

"That's it." She placed the statue in David's place on the bed and tucked it in.


*1 Samuel 19:11b
Based on 1 Samuel 19:9-17

**
Thanks for reading! Don't forget to link up below, and/or read more great fiction from Mr. Linky!



8 comments:

  1. It was good to see Michal again. I was thinking about her the other day and wondering if you'd worked on her story lately.

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  2. I can't wait to read your whole book of Michal...of course, after I read the book you're writing now!

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  3. Michal! What turmoil there must've been in her life! I love the atmosphere you created here, JoDear, it's rich.

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  4. When I think of Michal, I think about when David danced before the Lord with all his might, but she saw it and despised him in her heart. It is nice to remember that she also tried to save his life at least this once. This of course makes me curious about the rest of your story.

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  5. When are we going to be able to read this book???

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  6. That left me wanting more! Bible narratives are my favorite. Great job!

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  7. oooo i liked this! and what a neat meme.. if i get myself organized, it's something i need to join!

    btw, i've got you added to the WFW blogroll now! :)

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  8. Michal is such a sympathetic character. I love the detail you included with the aromas.

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