Welcome to Fiction Friday! This week our host is Rhonda over at Beach Reads. Join us over there for links to more fun fiction.
This is the rest of the fiction story I posted 2 weeks ago.
For part 1 click here:
And so it was.
The young Mary gave birth to a handsome baby boy, in a barn, outside of an inn, in the town of Bethlehem.
In the months that followed, Miriam and Mary formed a bond of friendship and sisterhood that only a woman could understand.
Miriam helped Mary in those first weeks after baby Jesus was born.
Mary helped Miriam with Samuel when her morning sickness was too much.
Abijah was thrilled to learn of the coming addition to their family. He was also thrilled that he had a carpenter on sight to help him build the extra rooms.
If Miriam and Mary had the sisterhood bond going on, then Abijah and Joseph had developed a deep friendship as well.
Joseph and Mary moved into the old house in exchange for the work on the addition to the new house. Abijah admired Joseph’s handy work and realized he was getting the best end of the deal. Abijah realized that without Joseph the new rooms would never be ready in time for the new baby.
As Miriam watched her little boy try to take his first step, she laughed as little Jesus came rushing over to help him.
“What a pair!” With only 8 months between their ages, they were fun to watch and a joy to be around.
As Samuel and Elizabeth rounded the corner, Miriam’s heart burst with pride. These two had grown up so much in the last two years. She couldn’t imagine her life being any better. Yahweh had smiled on her and for that she was truly thankful.
A cry came from little James’ direction. She looked up to see that Baalum had taken his wooden toy. Before she could get there, Jesus retrieved it and the toy was back in James’ hands. It seemed these boys were developing a friendship, like that of their parents, even at such a young age.
As Miriam watched the boys she wished there was a way to capture that image to look at forever, but she just burned the memory in her mind, hoping she would never forget how precious these moments were.
The next morning Miriam and her family were up early. There was much to be done. A servant from the temple guard had arrived. He wanted to secure their inn for a regimen of soldiers arriving today~ not Roman soldiers, but King Herod’s.
So, Miriam, Abijah, Samuel and Elizabeth began working furiously. Miriam had sent Elizabeth with James to Mary’s. That way they could get all the rooms prepared without much interruption.
As Miriam set about chopping vegetables, she looked up to see Elizabeth running across the yard with baby James in tow.
“Mother! Mother! Hurry!” exclaimed Elizabeth!
“What on earth?”
Elizabeth thrust a small piece of papyrus in Miriam’s hand.
It was a note from Mary and Joseph.
“To our dearest friends,
We deeply apologize for our sudden departure. If it were not absolutely necessary, we would not be leaving in the dark of night. An old friend came to us and said that we must take Jesus away from here immediately. We wish we could explain, but even we are unsure of the details, but feel it has something to do with our three visitors we had several months ago. You remember, the kings from the east. We trust our friend and know that he has the best interest of our son at heart.
Please, please forgive us for not being able to say goodbye properly.
We are taking only what we need for our journey. Please take everything else as our gift to you. Your friendship has meant more than words can tell in the last two years.
It is our deepest and sincere wish that one day we will meet again.
Joseph, Mary and Jesus”
Tears were streaming down Miriam’s face, as well as Elizabeth’s. Miriam couldn’t move. Questions raced through her mind as she tried to understand all that Mary and Joseph said in the letter.
“What on earth?”
Miriam went through the rest of the day numbly. Nothing was the same. Even Abijah was quiet during the dinner hour.
This sudden hole in their lives was made bigger by all of the unanswered questions.
When Abijah went to tuck Samuel in for the night, he noticed his wooden sword Joseph made him was in the bed with him. As in answer to the unspoken question on Abijah’s face, Samuel announced that he would protect Jesus if he needed to. He just wanted his friends back.
Abijah knew what he meant. If the letter had come from anyone else, they might have doubted the truthfulness of its contents, but this letter was from Joseph and Mary.
Abijah’s family went to bed with a silence in their hearts. Even baby James could not figure out why his buddy Jesus had not been there to play today.
As Miriam tucked in her sweet baby boy, she picked him up one more time and rocked him to sleep.
Humming softly, with his sweet head next to her cheek, she wondered who would want to hurt little Jesus? What on earth could be going on?
The questions swirled in her mind, not knowing that her world was about to be turned upside down.
The family had prepared the inn. The soldiers came and ate but none of them really made a move to go to bed.
Abijah wondered if possibly his people were finally going to make a move toward breaking free from the Roman government, but he knew it would do no good to ask the questions.
As soon as the evening meal was over the soldiers all left.
Miriam couldn’t help but notice the coldness in their eyes. She didn’t know their reason for being there, and if the truth be told, she didn’t really much care. Her mind had been busy on other things today. All she really wanted was to go find Joseph and Mary and Jesus and bring them back to Bethlehem where they belonged!
The blood curdling scream interrupted her pondering.
Adrenaline raced through her veins.
The scream had to have been at least at the outskirts of town, but it was still very audible.
She sat up in the bed!
Where was Abijah?
She made out his form by the window.
Something was happening!
What was it?
Slowly, the little town came alive with torches and lanterns. People were running everywhere.
Abijah ran to his children’s rooms and gathered his family together.
Something bad was happening and he wasn’t sure how to protect his family.
He grabbed the sword from the pantry.
Now there were wails.
Elizabeth began to cry.
Samuel stiffened and fought the tears back.
He grabbed his wooden sword and the slingshot.
He would fight with his father for their family.
A single tear slid down his cheek.
It all happened so fast, but at the time it was like a blur of slow motion.
The incredulousness of it all was overwhelming.
As the little family hid in the pantry, they heard the thud of the soldiers’ boots enter their home.
“Well, we know this family has a little one. Just grab him and be done!”
With that the door burst open and the big guy with the patch on his eye was reaching for baby James out of Miriam’s arms!
Abijah was up in a flash with his sword drawn. Before he could make another move, the large frame of the soldier pushed Abijah into the corner, sending the jars of spices and vegetables falling on top of him.
Miriam screamed and held on to her baby with every fiber of her being.
The blow of the club across her face was the last thing she remembered, along with her son’s cry of “Mo—oooooommmmmmmmmmy!”
When Miriam came to, the adrenaline cursed through her veins again! James! Samuel! Elizabeth! Abijah!
Where were they?
Nausea swept over her and the room began to spin. Her head felt as if it would crack open any second.
She fought through the pain to find her family.
“Oh, Yahweh! Why is this happening?”
She stumbled into the living area to find Elizabeth and Samuel huddled together – sobbing.
Fear gripped her heart as reality was setting in.
“Where are your father and James?”
“Father went after the soldiers”, cried Elizabeth. “They took James. They took ALL the baby boys! They’re all gone! James and Eljah, Elihu, and even the newborn baby of the tax collector!”
The room begin to spin and Miriam sat down.
What was happening? Why would Herod send his soldiers to do such a thing? They’re just babies!
The sound of horse’s hooves interrupted her questions and grief.
She knew it was Abijah by the sound of his footsteps.
She listened for James’ voice, laugh, cry anything. She heard only Abijah.
His shadow crossed the doorway.
A sadness fell across the room as they looked up to see the man of the house holding a very still, very pale, little boy.
The amount of blood answered the unasked question that pounded throughout the room.
Abijah fell to his knees in anguish as he cradled the lifeless body to his chest.
The family surrounded him in sobs and wails.
Throughout the city, the same cry was heard in numerous homes.
Why would a king destroy his own people? Why would he do such a horrible thing?
Her sweet baby James.
Never to laugh or run or even cry again.
Never to play with….
Was he spared this atrocity!?
Did Mary and Joseph escape the sword of the murderous band of soldiers?
Did they know?
Miriam’s mind immediately went to the first night she laid eyes on her friend.
Round belly with a new life inside. Jesus.
She had a life inside her at the same time. James. Now he was gone.
Now all that mattered to Miriam was to make sure that Jesus was safe. One of those two children must live!
It would not be her James.
As Mary looked at her son on a cross, she thought of her friend from years ago, Miriam.
Now, they would both share the grief of losing their precious sons.
James died as a baby.
Jesus would die as a man.
Mary knew that many baby boys died because of Jesus.
Mary knew that Jesus was dying because of the many.
And so, you have a
"Different Christmas Story"