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forsaken: a short story

My 15 year-old daughter wrote a short story called "Forsaken." I loved it so much and asked if I could share it on my blog. She said yes, so here it is.

Adira dragged her donkey, Tobias, behind her in the large crowd. Though her name meant “strength,” she felt the opposite of it. The Israelites wandered in the desert endlessly. The heat beat down on their backs, and their meager sandals did little to protect from the scorching sand.

Everything was dry and yellow here. The sky was dry- it hadn’t rained since they’d gotten there- the ground was dry- no hope of digging a well- and most of all, their mouths were dry. Adira's jugs of water were almost empty.

Moshe, and his brother Aaron, were up ahead of them, though most could not even see him. They had to trust he was there, as they trusted he knew where he was going, and as they trusted HaShem was leading them. These little strings of trust were growing harder to grab onto, but did they have any other choice? They could not go back to Egypt, Adira knew that much. So trust they did, as hard as it was.

On the fifteenth day of the second month since they had come out of Egypt, the Israelites started to grow frustrated.

“We are hungry!” they cried. “We are going to starve to death! At least in Egypt we had large pots of delicious meat!”

Adira watched as the crowd grew grumbly and restless. She was too tired herself to argue with Moshe or Aaron or anybody else- and he was too up ahead. She swept her sticky black hair from her forehead, her hands clammy. A feeling of doom spread over the girl as she watched her group fracture into trusting Moshe and not trusting him.

Was this how it was going to end? Ripping each other to shreds and dying in the middle of the desert? She shuddered at the thought, pouring some water from a ceramic jug over her face, little droplets dripping down her chin. She hoped it would not.

Hours later, as the sun started descending, a message started to spread, like a ripple in the water.

“Moshe said we will be getting quail tonight,” she heard a woman with plaited hair whisper.

A woman with a purple robe replied, “How? The sky has been clear since we arrived in the desert. There are no birds here.”

The woman with plaited hair shrugged. “It’s just what I’ve heard.”

Adira assumed it was just a rumor to help stir hope and keep them going. She sighed, brushing the sand off of her sandals. However, soon, more and more people started to talk about it. There was a lot of talk about said quail.

“We will be eating quail today!”

“But how?”

“Moshe announced it!”

“I will make a stew!”

“The sun is low! How much longer?”

“I cannot wait!”

“Quail is coming tonight!”

Adira listened to the talk as the sky turned a salmon-like color and the sun was lowered by a thin string.

“Quail, huh?” she said aloud.

Tobias huffed next to her, his cedar-colored body lying on the ground. She patted his dark matted mane.

“You think it’ll happen, Toby?”

Tobias snorted.

“Yeah, I’m not too sure either.”

Adira observed as the sky began to freckle with shining stars. She followed one star in particular, which was the biggest star she’d ever seen. The girl was not really one to pray- she wasn’t good at it- but she didn’t care anymore. She was hungry.

She knew that the religious leaders usually prayed in long, elaborate phrases, making sure that every word they said was no less than perfect. But Adira knew she wouldn’t be able to do anything of the sort.

She decided to go simple. She breathed out and closed her eyes.

HaShem, she started hesitantly, and paused. Please… bring quail.

Adira opened her eyes and looked up at the sky, her throat stuck. The girl followed her star in the sky, which was getting bigger by the minute.

She blinked. Wait a second.

This was no star. She saw that whatever was falling was speckled a dusty brown, not white like the twinkling shapes in the sky- and it was coming closer and-

A large shape fell plop! on her head. Adira fell to the ground, and whatever it was slid softly down onto her stomach. Adira groaned, and Tobias came to sniff her curiously.

“What… was that?” she murmured.

The girl looked at what was on her belly, and it seemed like-

Suddenly, there were shouts and screams around camp.

“He has brought quail! He has provided for us!”

Adira looked around at the commotion. Quail was dripping from the sky like rain. More quail than she’d ever seen in her life! The girl grabbed what she now knew was the bird from her stomach and stood up, in awe.

“He has provided for His people!” the Israelites shouted. “Quail is raining from the heavens!

Adira kicked her way through camp, maneuvering around the birds until she arrived at her makeshift tent. She slipped in, shutting herself off from the outside, and closed her eyes.

Thank You, HaShem, she prayed silently. Thank you for bringing us food. Thank You. I know now that, in Your eyes, we are not forsaken.

Adira then prepared one of the most delicious meals she’d ever eaten, savoring every bite.


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