Denise’s prompt this week: FILTER
Early morning mist filtered the sun which failed to soften her mother’s words, spoken through lips pulled taut with frightened tension: ‘Avia, promise me you’ll paint a grateful smile over your usual glum face—you’re not a child anymore, and might yet marry; don’t you realize your bad attitude could bring a curse on us all?”
Offering a silently compliant half-smile, Avia stretched, began to dress; her mother was afraid, unnerved by recent violent events—complaining was no minor offense, it was judged ‘contempt, lack of trust, rebellion, disobedience’…sin.
Punishment was swift: ten scouts who brought back negative reports were struck dead by plague, two more plagues killed 14,700 and 24,000 respectively; 250 followers of those who’d instigated a conspiracy against the exodus leaders were consumed in fire; and to everyone’s shocked horror the earth split open to swallow primary insurrectionists whole, alive (now erased from collective memory); snakebite fatalities were likely a “testing”, but made one just as dead.
As Avia stepped into the day she saw a cluster of men, heads bent in somber discussion; then she glimpsed Phinehas, Joshua and the handsome Caleb, who caught her eye and approached—his grin a thousand unfiltered sunbeams released from sculpted lips.
Her chin dropped demurely at his pleasant greeting, but she said nothing until his continued interest prompted her to fumble a few words: “I’m worried the cloud of Glorious Presence will descend again, that God remains angry and will send further plagues, or pestilence as my father speculated.”
“You needn’t be concerned,” he said, his companions’ nods conveying agreement; “God’s unfailing love is true—He freed us from slavery, provides for our every need on this journey to a beautiful land He’s already prepared; our two leaders are exemplary men—despite the riffraff’s jealous criticism which cost them their lives; we have hope now, a wonderful future—why wouldn’t we worship God alone, who requires that we not balk at statutes given for our wellbeing; prideful, dissatisfied murmurers have cause to fear, not us”—(privately she pondered if what he described, the “us”, could mean ‘her with him’).
©Zelda Rene, 2021 ~ All rights reserved.