I was overwhelmed with a last minute indexing job that I didn’t finish until until 4 p.m. yesterday. I had not slept since 5 a.m. Sunday and on Wednesday – Saturday night I averaged about 4 hours sleep. I just crashed yesterday afternoon and got out of the loveseat, where I had cocooned, at 8:30 this morning. The day after a mad rush like that is all about recovery. However, I had a posting on prayer on my heart (see previous posting on A Clarion Call To Prayer) I had to get past before I could turn my attention to my missed Moses Monday.
Just to let you know, I have gotten several good emails with suggestions, both straight edits and some terminology or word choice suggestions, most of which I have incorporated. Good stuff. Keep it up. I covet your suggestions and help in making this book as good as it can be, while also passing the “beach test”. As I noted in a comment to a previous Moses Monday, “I want it to pass the beach testa book that is clear enough to be read at the beach. I know that is a tough task for such a serious and Homerific subject, but hey, who said I wanted it to be easy.”
I have always found Miriam to be an interesting biblical character. She comes on the scene early and demonstrates a quick and agile mind, as well as real courage. I have envisioned her as a sort of artistic nerd-in-waiting. My wife is like that (not the nerd-in-waiting part, she has arrived). She is a computer programmer/analyst but also an artist. She weaves and what she can do with flowers is magical. Like her, my Miriam is someone who is willing to reach beyond the ordinary. So, for your enjoyment, I introduce Miriam.
See also Chapter 1: Disturbing Dreams, Chapter 2: Adrift
Copyright 1993-2004 William G. Meisheid
Chapter 3: Waiting
Miriam waited before moving, giving her mother a chance to get a good distance away. The morning light was growing fast and she wanted to be sure that no one would connect her to the retreating woman if they saw her leaving the rivers edge.
After checking to see that the basket was still caught in the rushes, she made her way out through the reeds. Seeing no one about, she climbed a small rise along the downstream bank, and then settled down beneath a palm tree to keep watch.
As Miriam fitted her back against the rough curve of the trunk, her attention was drawn to the luminous rim of the sun as it broke over the edge of the land. She wondered why it moved so quickly and appeared so large as it dawned into view. I can actually see it move as it climbs up from the horizon and watch its color change from deep orange to brilliant yellow, she wondered aloud. A flush of embarrassment washed across her face as Miriam realized she was talking to herself again. It doesnt matter, she said to the tree behind her, no one listens to me anyway.
Miriam reined in her curiosity. Thoughts like this would only start her daydreaming and then she would be asleep in the blink of an eye. Folding her arms across her chest, she pressed her back hard against the rough bark of the tree, determined to stay awake, even if she had to uncomfortable to do it. She had to see what happened to her little brother. Her mother would never forgive her if she fell asleep.
Suddenly laughter rang out in the distance. Miriam looked downstream and noticed that on the other side of the river a procession was winding its way down the pathway to the waters edge. Four soldiers guarded a group of female servants, carrying bundles, who preceded a covered litter carried by four large Nubian slaves.
The servants immediately began preparing an area along the bank. They erected a bathing enclosure, and then a richly clad young woman stepped out from the curtained chair and made her way down to the water. Her sheer gown was of the finest linen.
Miriam guessed that she was either the wife of a rich man or a princess of the court. The entire party seemed happy about something, for their laughter and their joyful banter carried easily up to where she was sitting.
The group was only a short distance downstream from where her brothers basket was lodged, so close to him that Miriam was sure he would be seen. She decided to get close enough to hear their conversation so she could find out who they were. She cautiously made her way down to the edge of the river.
As her innate sense of adventure overcame her initial fear of being discovered, Miriam began to imagine herself a lioness stalking its prey, edging closer and closer to her objective. Because the previous years drought had caused the water level to be exceptionally low, the river, at the place where she reached the waters edge, was only a stones throw wide. Partially hidden by a growth of rushes, she was close enough to the boisterous party to easily hear what they were saying; their words skipping to her across the placid surface of the river.
From the chatter of the servants she quickly discovered it was Asati, Pharaohs sister, who had come to bathe. At this revelation Miriams heart leapt to her throat, almost sending her headlong into the water. There was no doubt that her brother would be killed if he were found. It was the edict of the princess’s father and her brothers rigid enforcement of the decree that condemned him.
Frantically looking about, she realized that a slight bend in the river upstream would shelter her from view and give her a chance to swim across. As quietly and discreetly as her sense of urgency would allow, she crept through the rushes, seeking a way toward her brother. No longer feeling like a huntress, instead she began to feel the bone-numbing fear of the hunted washing across her.