Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: IN-LAWS( 07/11/19)
| TITLE: "Emzara's Hope" |
By Yvonne Blake
| ~ 2nd Place |
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“What is wrong, my dear?”
She turned toward her husband. “It’s Reynah and the other girls, Aryel and Kezia. Will they choose to stay with us, when the time comes? Or will they return to their families?” She took another sip. “They have sacrificed so much to marry our sons. They have given up family and friends and everything they have known.”
Noah leaned close to her ear. “As you did, my love.”
Emzara shook her head. “No, my family is gone. I have no one but you and my sons. God has not yet given them the comfort of children.”
“Don’t worry. They have faith in God, and they have us. They will stay.”
Emzara wasn’t too sure, but her husband’s confidence gave her peace.
Months passed and turned into years. When her husband wasn’t pounding boards with his sons, he was preaching to anyone who would listen. “Repent of your evil ways. The Almighty will judge the wickedness of the world. Come! Come with us. You will be saved from the judgement that is near.” He preached and pleaded, but no one listened—no one but these three girls.
While the men finished sealing the ark with pitch, Emzara and her daughters-in-law fitted it with supplies. They filled jars with grains, honey, and dried fruits. They fashioned bowls and spindles and cooking utensils. Each added some beauty to their living quarters: cushions, paintings, tapestries. This would be home. They were preparing for a journey—distance and destination, unknown.
“Mother! Look! They’re coming!”
Emzara ran to the enormous door, hoping to see some people choosing to join them—maybe the families of the girls. But, no. It was a dusty cloud in the distance filled with hopping, tromping, crawling creatures. The animals had been arriving for weeks, often wandering close, as if confused as to why they should be drawn to the strange structure. Two of each kind were caged and cared for as they arrived. But this was a rumbling menagerie.
Shem and Ham carefully separated a healthy male and female of each species, and shooed the extra ones on their way. Mammoths and behemoths lumbered up the ramp, shaking the timbers with each step. Lizards, snakes, bats, and bugs gave Emzara the shivers, but each had its own place and settled down for the ride. Lastly, Noah herded seven pairs of sheep and goats, just as the LORD had commanded. As the ark filled, the normally hazy skies darkened and rumbled. The earth trembled. The wind blew.
Noah stood in the market place and pleaded with his neighbors to come within the safety of the ark while Emzara and the girls traded for a few more yards of fabric. Kezia’s mother ran from the crowd and clutched her daughter’s arm. “Leave this crazy man and his son. Can’t you see that the gods are angry? Come back to where you belong.”
Emzara caught Kezia’s eyes and held out her hand. She would not plead with the girl. Kezia would have to choose to believe the Almighty or return to her family’s gods. The girl gently kissed her mother’s cheeks and pulled her robe from the grasping fingers. Sobbing, she joined Emzara and the others as they hurried to the ark.
For seven days, they sat within the sealed ark. For seven days, they heard the laughter and jeers of their people. For seven days, the skies and earth rumbled. Then on the eighth day, the rains came. The earth broke open and sent fountains from its depths. The ark shifted. Animals squawked and roared. Above the sound of rain, the wind, and the earthquakes was the sound of wailing and screaming.
Kezia buried her face into the arms of Japheth. Tears flowed from the eyes of Reynah and Aryah too. Emzara wrapped her arms around Noah, whose face was bowed into his palms. “My husband, you heard the voice of the Almighty and have done that He asked. They chose not to hear or obey. Come, let us praise our God for His mercy and love to us, to our sons, and to their wives. May they be blessed with many, many babies.”
(The women's names are fictional, borrowed from the Ark Encounter built by the Answers in Genesis Foundation.)
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