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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)

TITLE: Fleeting Respite
By Joanne Sher


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

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This article has been read 1442 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 06/05/08
Ah, love this title. Great writing and I do believe I know the author:)
Beth LaBuff 06/06/08
You amaze me with these stories and the creative way you make them fit the topic (simply stunning ). The authentic and Biblical names jump out of the story. Your title is perfect. I love this story. It wrapped itself around me like a blanket. Encore!
Chely Roach06/07/08
This was fabulous...I loved it! (I also believe I might know the author...hmmm=)
Betty Castleberry06/08/08
Lovely, realistic writing and a good voice, too. You did a great job with this. Thumbs up!
Deborah Engle 06/08/08
Very excellent writing.
Norma-Anne Hough06/08/08
Wow how beautifully you told this story. Well done.
Jan Ackerson 06/08/08
Very good, Joanne! I liked this more than some of the previous Michal stories, I think because there were far less "Americanisms". It just worked better for me.

As I've said before, can't wait to read the book.
Dee Yoder 06/08/08
I love the descriptions of the characters, and the dialogue is very engaging, too. A joy to read and makes me want to read more!
Yvonne Blake 06/08/08
Well done...It must have been very hard for Michel, having to choose her loyalties...for Jonathan, too.
Excellent writing.
Karen Wilber06/08/08
Good dialogue. Thanks for including the scripture verses. I want to go read this story again.
Debbie Roome 06/08/08
Loved the last line about tucking the statue into bed. Great story.
Debbie Wistrom06/08/08
Grat re-work. I recognized the nae of the servant and knew where I was. I felt more in the time with your dialog this time.

Looking forward to the completed works.
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/08/08
You know I love Biblical fiction and this peice was great. I like getting to look at a story from an angle we don't normally see.
Kristen Hester06/08/08
Great writing. This was very engaging!
Lyn Churchyard06/08/08
As always Joanne, a wonderful retelling of just a snippet of Michal's story. Each one seems to get better and better. Well done girl!
Catrina Bradley 06/08/08
I love the little details, like Michal following her mom's advice and making her home 'pleasing to the nose'. You wove them in effortlessly and told a magnificent tale in the life of this famous couple. This sneak-peek behind the scenes we read in the Bible is simply fascinating.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/09/08
You know I had never been too sympathetic to Michal till I got better acquainted with her in your stories. She really did have some major problems to deal with, as you've presented wonderfully. Another great Bible story!
Ann Renae Hair06/10/08
BRAVO! Can't wait for the book...I'm hooked! You make it so touchable today, while keeping it authentic.
Joshua Janoski06/10/08
This story just makes my mouth water for the full book. Hurry up already!. LOL. I'm joking. It's just so exciting, and it's hard to wait for it all to come together, but I'm sure you'll have the entire work written soon enough...If people like me quit pestering you about it. :)
LaNaye Perkins06/10/08
You truly are a master my friend. I want more of this story! Well done.
Gerald Shuler 06/11/08
Your development of Michal is fine tuning beautifully. You showed her in this story as a woman who has loyalties in several directions but none stronger than to David.

It's becoming cliche, but, I can't wait for the book to be published.
Sara Harricharan 06/11/08
Yay! Another Michal story! I loved this one more than the others, it made her more real with her thoughts in italics, etc. I could see that she really cared for David here and enough to help him escape. Loved the interaction between them! ^_^
Beckie Stewart06/11/08
I love Bible stories made more alive.
Aaron Morrow06/11/08
Outstanding Joanne! I'm with Gerald, your book is going to be amazing!!!

Excellent, excellent job!
Loren T. Lowery06/11/08
I couldn't stop reading and simply wanted to read more. Your work is so intriguing. You are the master of story telling.
D. Phenes06/11/08
Great job. It truly does bring the bible story to life more. thanks.