Winning Story for Writer’s Quill


Gwynith Hayden

Graphic by Katherine Milliken using Canva

Welcome back to the Writer’s Quill! I am happy to announce that we have a winner for our Easter writing prompt. Congratulations to 10th grader Olivia Henderson for her winning story!

The little girl darted from one doorway to another, her eyes roving, constantly on the lookout. Her hands clasped together, clutching something to her chest so she wouldn’t let it fall. The almost bare streets of Jerusalem paid no attention to the little urchin. Many like her roamed the streets and gained no favor from the rich.
Finally reaching her desired place, the girl disappeared through the doorway into the dusk-like room. It took her eyes a moment to adjust to the dim lighting, but she soon made out the prone form on the single bed in the small building.
“I got the bread, mama,” she whispered. She set the loaf down on the dirty table and grabbed a pitcher of cold water and a small piece of cloth. Dipping the fabric into the water, she bathed the woman’s forehead in the cool water as she made soothing noises.
The woman’s eyes opened to reveal dilated and unfocused pupils that roamed around the room, never quite seeing any one thing. “Is it preparation day already? I must start making the meals for tomorrow.” She tried to rise, but her little daughter gently pushed her back onto the bed.
“Don’t move, mother. It’s Passover today, but I had to work to obtain the bread. I’m sure God will forgive this one day.”
The woman nodded, already slipping back into the land of darkness. “That is good. You must eat, after all.”
The little girl watched as her mother slipped out of consciousness and sighed. Her hands clenched the small piece of cloth in her hand, still damp. The water seeped from the fabric and ran down her leg, creating a trail through the dirt that dusted everything and everyone. Then a tear ran down her cheek, trembling at her chin at the slight movement as the girl put a hand over her mouth as she tried to muffle her crying.
The sun slowly turned the inside of the house red and still she sat at her mother’s side in her lonely vigil. Her head sank to lay on the bed beside her sleeping mother and the now-dry eyes fluttered closed. Her sobs quieted and silence descended on the darkened room.

Sunlight streamed through the window, bringing tidings of a new day. Stretching her arms, the little one rose from her chair, careful not to disturb the sleeping woman. She took the bread from last night and divided it up into five pieces. That would be able to last them for a couple days. She took half a piece and placed the rest in a bare cupboard.
Casting a quick glance back into the corner of the room, the girl darted out of the house and into the streets. The cobbled roads were busier than they were before, people shouting as they jostled each other and haggled for goods. Two women in particular caught the attention of the little girl. Their faces were alight with joy even though it was apparent they had run all the way back to the city.
They made for a small door on the side of a street and hurried inside. The door swung ajar on loose hinges. With nary a thought, the little girl slipped through the small crack of entry into the dim room. No windows let in any light, so it took a few moments for her eyes to adjust.
Old stairs leading above. A small table. Two chairs that looked as if they would break at the slightest touch. The sound of voices coming from the stairs drew her in nearer to the rickety old steps.
“Peter, I saw the tomb! He wasn’t there!” A woman’s high voice floated down. “The stone- it wasn’t over the opening and no one could’ve moved it by themselves.”
“Woah, Mary,” said a deeper voice. “You’re sure of what you saw?”
“Go see for yourself!”
There was a small pause, then the sound of footsteps clattering down the stairs made the little girl jump back, surprised. Two men came jogging down the stairs, one of them stopping as he saw the little intruder.
“Why, hello there, little one. What are you doing here?” His voice was kind and his eyes were trustworthy.
“I was curious about what was going on,” admitted the small one. “What happened, sir? What did that lady mean?”
“If all that the lady said was true,” smiled the man, “then everything will be right soon, my dear. Mary!” He turned toward the stairs, addressing this last call to the women above. “We have a visitor who needs food by the looks of it.”
The woman, Mary, peeked down from the upstairs and gave the little girl a welcoming smile and she descended the stairs. “My, my, my, look what we have here. Come here, child. You look as if you could use some meat on those bones of yours.”
She took the child’s hand, but the girl held back. “I must get back to my mother. She’s ill and she needs me.”
Mary peered at the wise face of the little one in front of her. “Well, you must take her some food as well.”
The two carefully ascended the stairs and Mary busied herself fixing some food, occasionally bursting into a wide grin.
“Excuse,” came a small voice. “But what did that man mean? About everything being right soon?”
Mary knelt by the feet of the little girl, a cloth of food in her hand and her eyes shining. “What he meant, child, is that the Rabbi is alive! He lives!”
The Rabbi. Like all in Jerusalem, the small girl had heard what happened to the man who was supposed to be the Savior. How he was crucified three days before.
“H-he can’t be,” whispered the girl. But her heart wanted to believe, oh! How her heart yearned for the words to be true.
Mary embraced the child and murmured to her. “It is, little one. It is!”
Her heart echoed with the wonderful words. It is. It is!