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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Spring (as in the season) (11/28/05)

TITLE: Spring Will Come Too Late
By Amy Michelle Wiley
12/04/05


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It was nearly spring. The land lay desolate. The earth was cracked open, choking on its own dust. No seeds had been entrusted to it, for there were no seeds left. They had long ago shriveled away, dying in the unending sun.

Tanith stood in the doorway of her house. Even her tears no longer fell to water the ground. The flowers and crops would never again come. At least not for her.

She shifted to look behind her, always watching her son. Hanno was little more than dry skin stretched over bones. His stomach protruded from his small body, and his eyes fell deep into their sockets. It would not be much longer. Not for either of them.

Tanith sank to the floor, her legs trembling with the exertion of standing for the few minutes. She pulled her son close.

“Soon it will be spring.” His voice was raspy, but somewhere deep inside, he found the strength to smile.

Always she had told her son to look for spring. It was a time for rain to wash away the dirt, sun to touch away the cold, and crops to grow with health. But rain had not come for several years. And this time spring would come too late.

“I will go now and get kindling to build a fire and cook our last bit of meal.” Some mothers perhaps would give all the food to the child. But not Tanith. She would not let him die alone. She would be there, holding him, whispering to him. “Then we will eat together.” And die together.

The breeze was cold against her dry skin and it kicked up clouds of choking dust, making the world seem to swirl even more. The road to the edge of town stretched unending before her.

Tanith tripped on something unseen. Or perhaps her legs simply gave out. She lay in the road, nearly unconscious, and panicked. No! Do not let me die here! Have mercy on me, on my son. She was not sure who she cried out to. If there was a God, He had long ago abandoned her people.

Somehow she dragged herself once again to her feet. Only a few more steps and she could see some scattered branches. Even the trees were dying, their brittle branches falling with the smallest wind, the hope of spring too late.

A voice suddenly reached out to her, faint and unclear. Tanith raised her head, trying to focus on the hazy figure of a man that stood before her. Finally the words entered her ear. “Please, would you bring me a jar of water so I may drink?”

He wanted water. She almost laughed. Why would she bring him, a Jew passing through, a bit of their precious, nearly-gone water? Ah, but why not. It was not as if she would be needing it. She was moving toward the city well when he spoke again.

“Bring me also, please, a bit of bread.”

That stopped her. She turned, aghast. “As surely as the LORD your God lives, I don’t have any bread--only a handful of grain and a little oil! I am gathering these sticks so I may prepare a last meal for my son and me.” Would he take the only thing she had left to give her son?

“Do not be afraid. Go and prepare the meal. But first take a bit of it and make me a small cake. Then make something for you and your son. For the LORD God of Israel says, ‘The jar of grain and the jug of oil will not be used up until the LORD gives rain on the land.’”

Tanith could only stare. Could she believe this? Would she believe this? Her feet turned and she went numbly toward her home. Her mind could not get around what the Jew had said. Surely the God of Israel did not care about a Gentile. The words she had thought only shortly before came to her mind, “Have mercy on me, on my son.

She allowed herself to hope just a little, imagine that it might be true. That this would not be her last day. Her son's last day. And that perhaps, perhaps they would live to see spring after all.


(Based on 1 Kings 17:10-16)


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This article has been read 2430 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sally Hanan12/05/05
I thought, until I was halfway through this, that it was about a mom and her son with AIDS. It was a big surprise to find out it was a Bible story, as I had never pictured it like this. Thanks for the eye-opener.
Anita Neuman12/05/05
This is amazing. I'd never thought of this story this way, either. You've penned it beautifully!!!
Mary Lang12/05/05
Vivid imagination. Beautiful story. Thank you.
Shari Armstrong 12/05/05
Wonderful!!!!!
Jesus Puppy 12/05/05
Discriptively compelling narative of the story. Most think not of the other side of the story of the widow and son. A wonderful telling, from a wonderful story-teller. Great job..
Debbie Sickler12/06/05
Great writing, your beginning paragraphs pulled me in. Good job! >:o)-I-<
Kyle Chezum12/06/05
Very creative and descriptive! Good job.
Julianne Jones12/06/05
I was thinking Africa or India - the link to the Man of God surprised me - but I liked it. You certainly have a talent for bringing those old stories to life and making them LIVE. Well done.
Jan Ackerson 12/07/05
Perfection.
Marilyn Schnepp 12/10/05
If nothing else, this story made me go to my Bible and re-read that great story once again. It is exactly as this Writer says; It was her last meal that she was preparing for herself and her son...and God provided for many years.

Thank you for this lovely story written in modern times. I love true stories, and you have done a terrific job of bringing back the wonderful Bible Story and made it relevant for us today! Great! Just Great! So well written. Thank you...and Kudos to you!
Brandi Roberts12/10/05
Well done, Amy. I looked through it, but couldn't find anything I would suggest changing! Can't wait to read the future anthology!
Val Clark12/11/05
Great work Amy. Strong sense of place. Good characterisation. Gripping story and the twist that it was the retelling of a bible story worked well - sucked me in! Yeggy
Beth Muehlhausen12/12/05
Compelling!!!! Really brought the situation to life. Great job. I, too, hadn't a clue that this was a story from scripture when I started reading....thought it was a modern-day story.
Shelley Snyder12/12/05
Wow!!! This was amazing and I enjoyed reading this. I sure can learn a lot from you, such great talent!

Congrats on winning, and definately well deserved!!
Kenny Blade12/12/05
No question why you won. This is an extraordinary piece of work. I look forward to reading mor of your work.
Debbie OConnor12/12/05
Awesome Amy! You blow me away.
B Brenton12/12/05
Amy - woo hoo!
You're really good a capturing the feeling in situations like this. I think your 'rain' piece was similar to this.
It's awesome to see how you brought Elijiah in...
I love this story.
Captivating!
Linda Watson Owen12/13/05
Amy, I can't believe I didn't leave a comment the first time I read this..the phone or something must have interrupted my FW time. I loved this when I read it before, and I love it now. Just wonderful!! and definitely a big Congratulations to you!
Pat Guy 01/14/07
Okay - so I liked this version too. *sigh* Such talent. ;)