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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Sibling(s) (05/01/08)

TITLE: Strategy
By Joanne Sher


She sat, back to the wall and knees bent in front of her, her eyes closed. Her long skirt draped over her legs as she held them close to her chest.

She could have listened to that music--to that musician--forever. She loved the sound of the harp, and he played it beautifully. No wonder it calmed her father. She only wished she could watch as well as listen.

She could barely hear through the doorway to her right, but getting any closer was risky. Females were forbidden in the king's chamber unless summoned, no matter their relation to the monarch himself.

She sighed as she thought of the harpist's broad shoulders, boyish good looks, and that smile that practically made her swoon. But right now, she couldn't even look at him, much less speak to him. "Maybe some day," she mumbled.

"Some day what, little sister?" The deep voice of her eldest brother startled her and turned her cheeks bright red.

She opened her eyes and rolled them at Jonathan. "Nothing that concerns you."

He winked. "Sure. So, what's going on in there?"

Michal rose and spoke in hushed tones. "Dad had another one of his fits, so..."

"He called in David." Jonathan interrupted, smirking. "No wonder he wasn't there for our strategy session."

He peeked around the corner. "How long has he been in there?"

"A while. He's probably almost done." Michal's eyes glowed. "You do strategy sessions with David? I thought he was just a musician."

Jonathan shook his head. "Oh, no. I haven't known him long, but he's clearly a warrior at heart and in deed. He's definitely going to make something of himself some day."

"Oh." Michal smiled and her eyes glazed over.

"David." Jonathan's voice brought her out of her fantasies once again. She refocused, to see David, harp in hand, standing beside her brother.

"Sorry about that, sir, but you know where my primary responsibilities lie."

Jonathan patted the young man on the shoulder. "Of course I do. Not a problem. The king comes first. Are you ready now?"

"Yes sir." David smiled.

Michal, standing off to the side, watched from the corner of her eye. She cleared her throat.

"Oh. David," Jonathan said, a touch of merriment in his voice, "have you met my youngest sister, Princess Michal?"

David cleared his throat and shuffled his feet. "I've seen her around the palace, but I don't think we have been introduced." He knelt before Michal sheepishly. "It is my honor."

Michal forced the cheshire grin from her face in an attempt to look refined. "Thank you, David. The honor is mine."

"We need to get to planning." Jonathan tapped his foot. "How about the courtyard?"

David rose, smiled at Michal, and followed after Jonathan.

Finding her former spot on the floor, Michal watched the two as they walked away. Once they left, she leaned against the wall, a grin frozen to her face and her stare passing through everything before her.

She was still there an hour later when Jonathan returned. Her eyes widened as she rubbed her hands together and rose to her feet again.

"What did he say?"

Jonathan raised his eyebrows. "Since when are you interested in war strategy?"

She socked her brother on the shoulder. "No, silly, about me. Did he ask about me?"

"Men don't chat about things like that, Michal." Jonathan chuckled. "If you want my opinion, though, I think he'd make a good match. He's certainly a fine young man. I have a feeling David will do much for Israel, and that he and I will become good friends."

"So, talk to Dad about him for me." Her eyes were pleading.

"Michal, you know Merab must be married off first."

Michal sighed. "I hate being the youngest. I have to wait for everything."

Jonathan shook his head. "The Lord will provide in His time, Michal."

Michal sighed and nodded.

"Still, he does seem to be an upstanding fellow, and I do have my father's ear." He smiled at Michal. "Perhaps I will talk to Father about David for you; when the time is right, of course."

"Oh thank you, Jonathan, thank you!" She hugged her brother and danced down the palace corridor. She entered her own chamber and plopped on her bed.

Some day, when the time comes.

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This article has been read 1664 times
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Marita Thelander 05/09/08
Young love. SOmething that hasn't really changed over the centuries, has it? Well written, dreamy feeling.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/10/08
The brother/sister banter is just right in this well done adaptation of a Bible story.
Ann Renae Hair05/11/08
So fun to ponder...how things are different now, and yet not so different at all! Thank you for taking us there. I enjoyed imagining the sibling relationship. This makes me think beyond the Bible, between the lines, challenging me to think deeper in my time in the Word. Well done.
Laury Hubrich 05/12/08
Oh I love this. You need to start writing and stop researching for a while, my friend! Wow! Love this!
Betty Castleberry05/12/08
I love reading behind the scenes Bible stories. This one is SO well told. Your MC giving her brother a playful punch on the shoulder was just the right touch. Big thumbs up.
Sharlyn Guthrie05/12/08
You bring this family and their story to life! I enjoy your insight and perspective, as well as the imagined brother/sister relationship. I look forward to reading more of your stories about Michal. What a great project!
Jan Ackerson 05/12/08
I love that you're re-introducing us to Michal--her story just isn't as well-known as some, and she's a fascinating character.

This is extremely well-written, with engaging characters, and leaves me wanting more.

My only problem is a bit of cognitive dissonance with their modern idioms. That's purely personal preference, but something that you might want to think through for your larger piece.
Debbie Wistrom05/12/08
For larger work, I'd like more of a sense of the palace.
Her status as princess made know to us earlier by interraction with a servant perhaps,

Not a thing wrong with this as it is though.

I will be interesting to see how the frienship between David and Jonathan grows.

Well worth pursuing!
Dee Yoder 05/12/08
It makes me stop and think about the Biblical characters we're so familiar with, when I read characterization like this. They really were alive and living-just like us. I love this beginning of the story. Caught my attention and held it through to the end!
Patty Wysong05/12/08
You brought all three of these characters to life in a great way. I loved it and can't wait to read more! When Michal refers to Saul as 'Dad' it surprised me, the term, but I loved the interaction between the brother and sister and I could see it so clearly. I hope there's more SOON!! Hugs my friend! :D
Yvonne Blake 05/12/08
Beautiful! I can't wait for the whole book.
Lyn Churchyard05/12/08
Oooh goody, another story about Michal. You doing such a lovely job with this 'series' Jo. Hope we're going to see some more, and not have to wait for the book (or movie). Great job as always.
LauraLee Shaw05/12/08
I'm getting very testy and IMpatient for my signed copy. Love it.
Beth LaBuff 05/13/08
I loved this glimpse into the life of Michal and Jonathan. I appreciated the forshadowing with Jonathan's "I have a feeling David will do much for Israel," and after reading your story, I appreciate what your title implies. I really like this.
Phyllis Inniss05/13/08
I enjoyed this little slice of Biblical history and your presentation in a modern way.
Joshua Janoski05/13/08
If this is a preview of the bigger work, then we are all in for a real treat. If anyone is good at taking Bible stories and creatively expanding upon them, it is you, Joanne. Loved every single line! :)
Peter Stone05/14/08
We tend to think more about the friendship between David and Jonathan, and of the mistake Michal ends up making. But this is a wonderful view of Michal's earlier years before she becomes so cynical.
Mariane Holbrook 05/14/08
You're so good! What am I gonna do with you? Except sit back and savor each morsel as though I might never have another like it again. Put me down for 2 copies. I like to read 2 books at a time, and I'd like them both to be yours! **grin**
RuthAnn Cornelson05/14/08
What can I say that hasn't been said? It's really beautiful to be able to bring Bible characters to life, and you've certainly accomplished that. Loved it.
Beckie Stewart05/14/08
This was delightful and well-written. I really enjoyed it.
Sara Harricharan 05/14/08
Oh I do like it! Michal seems so delightful and girlish here, as if I could've known her myself. You made her come alive here, though I wished for a tad more-feeling-from her. Something to show that she was really into this. I loved the interaction between her and Jonathan. Great job! ^_^
Joy Faire Stewart05/14/08
I always enjoy your retelling of Bible stories. You give the characters so much personality.
Loren T. Lowery05/14/08
So real and believable, all the way from the setting to the feelings made evident in the wonderful dialogue. You have a great knace for engaging the reader and re-telling Bible history.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge05/14/08
It's hard for me to ever comment on your stories because they are so good, but, this one surprised me. You've been moaning about not writing to compete, stretching, etc. You can't write anything that isn't superb, can you :) Excellent.
Gerald Shuler 05/14/08
27 gold boxes must mean you did it right. I think you have a winning combination of style and story. I look forward to the book.
LaNaye Perkins05/15/08
I really do love the way you brind Bible characters to life my friend. Another well written story that pulled me in from the first sentence and held me to the end.
Catrina Bradley 05/16/08
A chapter from your novel, maybe? ;-) Excellent, loved it!