Gil wiped the grit from his tired eyes. After travelling for two days with hundreds of fellow Samarians, he wondered how long it might be until his legs gave way on the sandy trail. Many had already perished. An older woman clung to him, unable to walk on her own.
He fumbled with the gold shekel, flipping it over and over as he walked, drawing strength from the object that once symbolized his future. A future of smiles and happiness with Carmeline.
Now all was lost. He wondered what his new life would entail. It really didn’t matter, because it would be a life without love.
Carmi. Oh, how I long to hold your hand.
Enchanted by her sun-kissed hair, he’d waited. Captivated by her delightful blue eyes, he’d hoped. The coin was all he’d had to offer with his proposal. One gold shekel. Not much. Not nearly enough for a life with a young woman of such beauty and strength. At the time, he wished he had more. Now, he only wished he could have saved her.
Enchanted by her sun-kissed hair, he’d waited.
He shuddered. The Assyrians led a brutal invasion. Everyone knew what happened to the many young girls who disappeared. Clenching his jaw at the thought of his lost love, Gil fought to keep his anger hidden. Setting his eyes on the guards, he seethed at the thought of what they could have done to his beautiful Carmi. He trembled with frustration. The elderly woman hanging upon his arm gave him a weak nudge— a gentle reminder to remain calm in the face of their adversity.
He had searched for Carmeline until he was forced to begin the migration. He held the shekel tighter now. It was all he had left of his dreams.
Guilt filled his being and without warning, a small tear dripped from his cheek. The woman again jabbed his side, this time moving her hand to hold his.
She whispered, “Adonai rapha.”
How could he ever be healed of such a loss? Love’s fiery truth would never find him again.
They trekked on as he felt his dry, hungry body failing. Each breath of desert air seared his throat while every step sent shockwaves of pain through his weary legs. Gil knew his life was ending. If not now, then someday soon in a slave camp. He had given up any hope of fleeing his captors. Where would he run? Why would he bother? Carmi was gone.
In the distance, he caught a flash of glistening tresses fall from the veil of a woman. He squinted against the harsh light of the sun.
It couldn’t be.
He had been on the journey for days, and he would have noticed.
It looks just like her.
His heart thumped.
Mustering the last of his energy, Gil slowly formed the word. First, it came as a whisper. “Carmi.”
The sound of hopeful fortune. He tried again.
The young woman raised her head slowly, turning to Gil. Their eyes locked. Blue as the depths of the Dead Sea, they bore into him like a branding iron, awakening thirst within his soul. Though haunted by fear, Gil recognized the familiar sparkle of his true love’s gaze. Not even the nightmare he imagined she’d been through could stifle her spirit.
She ran to him, unable to restrain herself.
“Gil! I thought all was lost.”
He brushed strands of spun gold away from her face, admiring her beauty even in such difficulty. He raised his finger to her mouth, hushing her panicked tone. Holding tightly onto his token of promise, he placed the shekel in her hand.
Holding tightly onto his token of promise, he placed the shekel in her hand.
“I’ll never lose you again,” he whispered.
She clutched the shekel with a fierce grip, “We will finish this journey together.”
He kissed her with the passion of renewed life. The elderly woman’s disapproving huff interrupted them, though Gil thought she saw a veiled smirk.
“Forward!” a guard yelled.
“Forward,” Carmeline whispered.
Gill anchored her hand in his.
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Meet the Author
Andy Carmichael enjoys writing Inspiring Fiction, Romantic Suspense, and Sweet Romance from a Christian perspective. A lover of bygone times, her modern-day novels contain a spark of history with a hint of mystery. Whether in historical short stories or contemporary novels, Andy’s characters find renewed hope and strength after experiencing immeasurable hardships. A writer for years, Andy is now beginning the journey of seeking publication to bring her books to the world. She hopes you will accompany her.
“I believe we all have a story to tell. I hope my stories might make you curious, touch your heart, and bring you hope.”