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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Employment (01/26/12)

TITLE: Whose Captives They Were
By Amy Michelle Wiley


Tauthe huddled in the corner, her emotions churning like the sea she was named for. She watched the door, her own door, and stiffened as another woman entered.

For a moment the silence stretched between them, thickening, hardening. Then Aliya spoke. “Where is my supper?”

Touthe snapped upright. How dare she speak like that? Who was she to… Touthe swallowed. “I’ll fetch it.” She’d rather die than add the “my lady” that was expected at the end of every utterance.

It trailed between them, unspoken, as she left the room. In the kitchen she stared at the fire pit. How could she be expected to bend over the hot flames, know when the meat was cooked to the right temperature, choose the right spices, any of it? She lifted a piece of wood. The rough sides bit into her hand.

Anger welled in her toward the men of her village. How could they be so weak? So stupid as to let the Israelites conquer them? To force a lady such as herself to perform work such as this?

She flung the kindling to the floor. It crashed against the wall, sending a basket of food flying.

Aliya appeared in the doorway. “What is the meaning of this?”

“I will not do it. I will not cook or clean or serve my own slave.” She spat the words. Spat, like she wished she could spit right into this woman’s face.

“Former slave.” The Hebrew woman’s face twitched, almost as though she dared smirk. “And you will. I am the mistress now.” She turned to leave, then hesitated. “There are worse possible fates, you know.” Her voice seemed almost gentle. Almost sympathetic.

She left the room.

Touthe sunk to the floor. Her body trembled, with rage and with fear. To her great consternation, tears insisted on overflowing, dripping down her cheeks to make muddy puddles on the floor. The floor wouldn’t be muddy if she were still in charge.

How would she do this? How could she do this?

Something brushed her arm. She jerked.

Aliya bent nearby, picking up the spilled basket. She turned to Touthe. “Come, I will show you how to cook. You will learn so you may do it yourself.”

What? Touthe dashed away her tears. “Why would you do that?” She expected the answer to be something about wanting unburned food, not accepting badly-done work.

“My God is one to be feared and obeyed. He will not tolerate those who do not follow Him.” Aliya held out a hand, offering to help Touthe to her feet. “Yet He is also a God of mercy and love, eager to embrace those who turn to Him. He is a God of forgiveness, willing to put past transgressions behind Him, giving a second chance. I wish to be like Him.”

Touthe stared at that hand, rough and work-stained. One she herself had slapped innumerable times.

“Will you learn from me?” Aliya pressed.

Touthe took a breath and grasped her hand. As she stood to her feet, she looked into the Hebrew’s eyes and nodded.

“Yes, my lady.”

...the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors. ~ Isaiah 14:2 KJV

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This article has been read 963 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Catrina Bradley 02/02/12
You wove a wonderful story from this verse and this time in Bible history. The details unfolded slowly, showing us that the two women's roles had been reversed by showing us their hands. When Aliya(sp?) spoke her words of testimony, her heart was revealed and the ending became obvious--but it was SO satisfying. :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/02/12
This is such a creative take on the topic. It gave me chills. What a beautiful message. We never know when our lives may be totally turned around.
C D Swanson 02/03/12
Beautifully written - well told. I was enthralled by this loving story...It was powerful and provided such a strong message. Great job!
God Bless you.
Allison Egley 02/03/12
Oh, I love this. Very creative take on the topic. I love the role reversal, and how Aliya was able to show love, even though the MC hadn't treated her well. Nice job!
Terry R A Eissfeldt 02/06/12
The time and place was palatable from the beginning. Loved this story.
Carol Penhorwood 02/07/12
Wow! All that inspiration from that one little verse! Nicely done!
Rachel Burkum02/08/12
I really like the way you wrote this story. You had just enough details for me to see everything yet let my imagination fill in the gaps. I also thought it a neat way to express that Bible verse.
No red ink here. ;)
Michael Throne02/09/12
The quality of writing in this story is excellent, as is the story itself. A wonderful display of mercy and compassion. I really enjoyed this!
AnneRene' Capp02/09/12
Congratulations! This had me enthralled from the beginning. Simple and touching, yet deep and convicting.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/09/12
Yay! See what happens when you enter! You shouldn't wait a year until the next time!
Beth LaBuff 02/09/12
I love your creativity for this topic. Great story! Congrats, Amy!
Linda Goergen02/09/12
Congratulations on a well deserved win! This was an absolutely wonderful story, encompassing a wonderful message. So well written! You made the scripture come alive in such a personal way!I was engrossed beginning to end! Applause!
Helen Curtis02/09/12
Simply beautiful writing. You add in little things that aren't perhaps necessary, but take the story from great to amazing. Things like the description of the wood, the muddy floor, and so many other little things. I've read that verse before but never really grasped what it would have been like for the captives. I hope there were many situations like this.

Please, do not wait another year before entering again; I can't wait to read more of your stories! Blessings, Helen.
Charla Diehl 02/10/12
I always enjoy reading a Bible story that the writer can bring to life such as you have done. Congratulations on your much deserved win and talent for taking a short verse and making a compelling story from it.
C D Swanson 02/10/12
congrats...God bless~
Shell Vera02/10/12
This truly moved me. I really enjoyed reading this. I liked how it integrated the Bible with a short story.

I can't think of anything I would suggest to change or do differently to make it any better. You did a great job giving enough detail to put people in the story and did not leave the reader with a million questions at the end of it.

Thank you for sharing this. Your talent shows forth in your writing!