The Proverb | Teen Ink

The Proverb

July 28, 2020
By Emilia-Page, Ionia, Michigan
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Emilia-Page, Ionia, Michigan
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Favorite Quote:
I'm not crazy I'm just special..,no wait...maybe I am crazy...I have to talk to myself about this, one second...

Author's note:

I was inspired to write this piece after reading the first chapeter of Proverbs.

Amasa quietly grabbed his leather satchel and slowly began to sneak down the dusty stairs into the moonlit courtyard. A soft clatter of pottery made him jump. He quickly ducked into the nearest corner, letting the shadows hide him from view. But it was to late. Miara had already seen him. “Amasa, is that you?” She whispered suspiciously. Restraining an annoyed sigh, Amasa stepped out and faced his sister. “What are you doing up?” He demanded in a stern whisper. “I was getting a drink of water. Where are you going?” Miara responded in a calm tone, having noted his satchel and travel headdress. They stood staring at each other. Amasa failed to hide his irritated frown. At 14 years of age, Miara was not going to be fooled easily. She had always been to smart for her own good. Amasa decided it was pointless to lie. “I’m going out with some…friends.” He hoped the poor lighting helped hide his guilty face. “Hmmm. In the middle of the night…interesting.” Miara’s eyes seemed to bore into him. Amasa shrugged. “Yeah, so if you don’t mind…” He slowly started backstepping towards the door. Miara shook her head. “I can’t believe you. Your going out with Thetor and Samid’s group, aren’t you?! Mother and Father told you not to! You know those so-called friends of yours cause nothing but trouble and sin!” “Shhh! You will wake the whole city of Jerusalem with your ranting!” Amasa scolded. “I am plenty old enough to take care of myself. The only reason I’m not living on my own is because Father is so strict and careful, making sure I become a slave to his wishes!” Guilty accusations began to creep into Amasa’s mind at his outburst. His Father was training him to become a potter so that he could make an honest living, an act of love not punishment. But still he was tired of living under his Fathers overbearing rules and regulations. Miara stepped closer, earnest concern in her eyes. “Please Amasa. Don’t go. You will find nothing but trouble. Please.” Amasa glared at Miara, openly pitying her. She was so coddled and foolish, forever praying and teaching others of Yahweh’s love. She didn’t know what she was missing. Life was so much more fun without all that worrying about God and sin. Amasa grinned, “Aw come on Miara. It isn’t all that bad. You should come. I promise it will be loads of fun. I won’t tell Mother or Father.” Miara’s mouth set into a stubborn straight line. “Never. But I will tell Father if you leave. I will, I swear it!” Amasa’s grin disappeared replaced by a vicious snarl. “If you do, I promise you will regret it. You’re just a spoiled little brat trying to ruin all my freedom and fun. I would be happier if you had never been born. I wanted a brother anyway.” Soft tears spilled down Miara’s cheeks at her brother’s hurtful words. A moment of tense silence followed. “I’m leaving so…just…go back to bed. Now.” Amasa pushed down the regret threatening to overwhelm him at the sadness in his little sisters hurt eyes and slumped shoulders as she slowly turned away. He was late already. Jogging over to the doors leading out of the small courtyard, Amasa slipped into the night.

Samid was waiting for him as Amasa walked up to the small group of young men. “Finally. We almost left without you.” Amasa shrugged in apology. “Where are we going?” Thetor smiled at the question. “Stealing.” A small voice in Amasa’s head seemed to scream in protest. He ignored it. “So where are we looting?” Samid laughed along with some of the others. “Its not where, but who. We can all split the goods. It will be fun ya?” All eyes turned to Amasa, daring him to protest. He nodded slowly and managed a grin. “I’m in.” Seemingly satisfied Samid started to pass out coverings for everyone’s faces. As he took the cloth and tied it to his face, Amasa tried not to think about what he was about to do. He had never outright stolen anything and was not very eager to either. But he knew if he refused, he would never be invited to join the group again. They had always done little stuff before. Harmless really. A little drinking here, maybe a little harmless prank there. But never full out crime like this. Thetor drew him out of his thoughts. “Let’s go. Stick to the shadows. Follow my lead. Remember, just surround them and no using your knives unless you need to.” Amasa’s heart dropped. Knives? Looking around he noticed them in the hands of most of the guys. What had he gotten himself into?

Miara sat alone in the bedroom she shared with her family. Brushing her long black hair, she wondered where Amasa was. She prayed for him as she put her blue headdress on and tilted her face to the morning light pouring into the small room. Getting up Miara headed down to the kitchen and was relieved to find her Mother had already gone to the well for water. She didn’t feel like explaining Amasa’s absence. Taking a piece of bread from the almost empty basket, Miara decided to head to the market for bread. Grabbing a coin from the carefully hidden stash under a footstone in the corner, she headed off. She wasn’t the only one wanting to do a little shopping in the early morning. The streets of Jerusalem were already bustling with market vendors and shoppers. Squeezing past two men arguing over a large fish, Miara arrived at her favorite bread booth and purchased a loaf for that night’s supper. As she walked home she decided to walk by the Temple. Gods house never ceased to amaze her. It glittered in the early morning sun, an awesome structure of stone and gold. Miara stopped only for a second to admire the structure and offer a prayer of thanks when a small body slammed into her making Miara drop her bread. Quick as a flash the small boy who had slammed into her grabbed her food and began to run, ducking and weaving in between the crowds of people. Miara only hesitated a second before sprinting after the boy, almost losing him in the busy streets more than once. Finally, she caught up to the child and began to wrestle the bread from his hands. After a small struggle she yanked it from him and backed away, taking a closer look at the young thief. The boy was extremely skinny and dirty. He shook from lack of food and looked about ready to cry at the loss of a whole loaf of bread. Pity swelled up inside of Miara’s heart and she tore off a large hunk of the bread, handing it to the ragged child. “It's alright. You can take it.” Miara smiled encouragingly and the boy, satisfied she was not going to hurt him, began to shove the bread into his mouth. After he was done, he stared at her for a long second, offered a small smile, and disappeared back into the crowded streets.

Miara couldn’t help glancing at Amasa every couple of seconds. She was worried about him. He looked pale and had hardly eaten any of his food. Her family sat in a small circle on the floor quietly eating supper. No one spoke. It went without saying that Amasa had been gone all day doing who knew what and refused to tell Father where he had been. Mother cleared her throat and tried at small talk. “Where did you get this bread, Miara? It is very good.” Miara smiled and told how she had almost been robbed and had given some to the unfortunate little thief. Mother smiled and Father scolded gently for giving away the bread, though he was obviously proud of his daughter’s kind heart. At the mention of the word thief, Miara thought she noticed Amasa’s face pale. Father’s grew thoughtful. “We must remember to pray for the child. Not only him but all who are lost. Only last night there was a group of thieves who robbed and murdered a wealthy man on his way home. They found the body this morning.” Mother gasped softly at Fathers words, clutching her heart. A sad silence followed this proclamation. Suddenly Amasa stood and headed upstairs to the bedroom without another word. Miara had a sudden, horrible idea. But no. It was too terrible to even think. But…what if Amasa had something to do with the murder?

That night Amasa couldn’t sleep. Doubted if he would ever sleep again. Finally, not able to lie still for another minute, he got up and crept downstairs. Kneeling, he grabbed a round clay pot from under a small worktable. He hadn’t been able to hide it very well. Then again, he hadn’t been thinking clearly. Hands shaking, Amasa stared down at the small pile of golden coins in the pot. A small shuffling noise behind Amasa made him whip around. The small pot flew free of his sweaty hands and shattered on the ground. The coins spread out clattering and bouncing in front of Miara’s bare feet. Silence followed. Thankfully, the crash hadn’t woken up their sleeping parents. Miara couldn’t hide the shock on her face at the sight of all the golden coins lying at her feet. Amasa couldn’t take it any longer. He collapsed to the ground, weeping silently. To his surprise, he felt two gentle arms wrap around him, small and comforting. Amasa clung to Miara like a lifeline. They stayed that way for a long while. Finally, Amasa spoke softly, “I’m so sorry. I should have listened to you…I s-should have listened. I-I was there. At t-the murder.” He waited expecting Miara to pull away, but she continued to hold him. “I should have g-gone home as soon as I heard what they were going to do. But they said that they weren’t going to h-hurt anyone, so I figured it was f-fine, you know? A-and then he s-started to struggled and i-it all happened so f-fast…” Amasa began to cry again. Miara also cried, tears wetting Amasa’s hair. He calmed down a little and continued. “After that everyone just ran. I-I grabbed a random bag off the b-body…I don’t really know why. Then I ran. Ran and hid. I-I’m so scared Miara. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even want the money.” Miara sat and listened quietly. She didn’t scold. She didn’t scoff. Miara just held her older brother and listened. And in that moment Amasa was so very glad for his little sister.

Miara swept the courtyard of any leaves or rocks as she waited for Amasa to get home. They had agreed to hide the money and decide what to do with it together in the morning. Then Father had sent Amasa to get some more brushes for painting the pottery. Father and Mother had then left for the Temple together, probably to pray for their obviously troubled son. Miara sang quietly to herself trying to think of a good way to use the gold coins. A hard knock on the courtyard door interrupted her thoughts. Still humming, Miara set down her broom and unbolted the door. Opening it she didn’t even have time to scream before a strong hand grabbed her mouth and shoved her back into the courtyard.  At least a dozen young men pushed their way into the small space. Miara only recognized one of them. His name was Thetor, one of Amasa’s bad influences. A cold knife pressed against her neck. Miara heard someone bolt the door shut. “Where is Amasa? Your going to tell us. And don’t even think about screaming or your dead.” Miara felt her fear swelling up threatening to choke her. Somehow, she managed to say, “H-he left just a little bit ago.” She felt the knife cutting into her throat. “Where is the gold? Tell us. Now.” Thetor’ s voice was unemotional and hard. “I can get it for you. Please. Just don’t hurt my brother.” Miara felt Thetor hand slowly loosen as he hissed, “You better be able to. Your little sneak of a brother stole all the money for himself and then thinks he can get away with it. I think not.” Miara’s whole body shook as she slowly walked over to a small vase filled with flowers sitting on a worktable in the corner, praying every step of the way. Taking the flowerpot, she returned and handed it over to Thetor, hands slick with sweat. “This is it? It’s in here?” Miara managed a small nod. Thetor turned away, and with a small flick of his hand two of his buddies grabbed Miara and began to pin her to the floor. “Stop! What are you doing?! Please stop! Your hurting me!” One of her captors clamped a hand over her mouth, silencing her sobbing pleas, as the other grabbed out a sharp, wicked looking knife. Thetor watched with an evil look set on his hate filled face. “She knows to much Samid. Make it painful. Amasa’s pretty little sister will know what it feels like…to truly suffer.” In her last moments of life, Miara prayed. Prayed for her parents. Prayed for her brother. And most of all she prayed for the ones about to kill her.

Amasa shoved his way past a group of shoppers crowded around a fruit stand and stopped. There he was. The one he had been looking for all this time. Slowly, he crouched. In front of him sat a little boy, ragged and weak. The boy was obviously frightened of him but had no strength to run. Slowly Amasa reached into his satchel and pulled out a loaf of bread. “Are you hungry?” The child’s eyes lit up as he nodded. Giving the child the bread and watching him eat it made Amasa’s heart cry out with joy to the Lord. Finally, after all this time he had found the little boy his sister had spoken of. All those years ago. Quick tears moistened his eyes as he thought of Miara. Little Miara. She would forever be a part of him. After her murder, Amasa had been changed. He knew some would laugh that murder could possibly bring anyone closer to Yahweh. But it truly had changed Amasa. He began to realize that life wasn’t about serving one’s self. It was about serving God and others. Time on earth will never last, for we all must die, but it will determine your eternity.  Amasa a rebellious, foolish young man was now known throughout the city of Jerusalem as the man after Gods heart. The man who had opened a home for the sick and the poor. No one would ever know Amasa was using the golden coins he had taken so long ago to do Gods work. Amasa smiled sadly. No, he would never forget his brave little sister. Instead of going upstairs and getting the coins from where they were hidden inside her headdress, she had given her tormentors a pot of flowers. He would never understand why she hadn’t given the coins to her killers. Maybe she knew they would have killed her anyway. Maybe she knew God would use the gold for his will. Maybe she couldn’t stand seeing evil people getting what they wanted. The group of murderers Amasa had once called friends were caught and stoned to death shortly after Miara’s death. This brought Amasa little comfort. His only comfort was knowing that somewhere, his precious little sister was singing with the angels.

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