Fiction Thursday: Fully Alive Chapter 7 part 2

Find more of this novella in progress HERE. This chapter really isn’t complete but I hope to complete it in the next week or so — if my brain would ever slow down.

Atticus tightened the leather of his sandal, wincing as it laced into the blister on his ankle, bursting it open and sending blood trickling. He knew he should stop and rest, but he still had a day’s travel before he reached Capernaum and the commune he’d been directed to work with by the Apostle.

He sat back against the rock and slid the sandal off, ripping a piece of cloth off his robe and wrapping it tight around the blister. He was used to blisters and pain. He was used to caring for them by himself. He may no longer be a Roman soldier but he had carried what he learned from those days with him into this new chapter of his life, a chapter with even more uncertainty than his days as a soldier had been.

With the ankle bandaged he leaned back and reached for his wineskin, drinking cool water from it, water he had filled it with from a stream a few miles back. He thought as he drank, remembering what had brought him here at this point in his life, to a place he’d never expected to be.

The day the sky had gone dark in Jerusalem it hadn’t only been the foundation of the earth that had been shaken, but his personal foundation. Everything he had thought was real, was true, was important in life was shaken out and shown to be lacking.


“Atticus, you’re on crucifixion duty today.”

Marcus didn’t even look up from his scrolls as he spoke.

“Have I vexed you somehow, Centurion?”

Marcus scratched the tip of the feather across the a scroll, shaking his head, still not looking up. “No. We are short on men. They’re handling an issue in the red quarter and Pilate has ordered some Jewish teacher who thinks he is the son of God and two robbers crucified today. We need a replacement and you are who I’ve chosen.” He looked up at Atticus, jaw tight. “Don’t go soft on me, Atticus. All we need is crowd control. I won’t make you take the bodies off the crosses. This time anyhow. Go and report to Albus immediately.”

Atticus bowed his head in a curt nod, turned and walked from the garrison’s office, into blinding sunlight. He squinted, noticing the streets were more crowded than normal. He’d almost forgotten it was Passover. Jews were in Jerusalem full force, preparing to celebrate the day their ancient leader Moses had led them out of Egypt. Men, women, and children crowded the streets, pulling donkeys carrying food and supplies or simply walking and carrying their supplies with them on their backs.

Atticus wiped the back of his hand across his forehead, smearing sweat and dirt as he paused to watch the people walking. He pondered the devotion they possessed for this one God they followed, this Yahweh. He’d never understood it. He was raised to believe there were many gods and it took offering them sacrifices and performing well in life to appease them.

Perform well, live well. Make a mistake and suffer for it. It was all he’d ever known. But these Jews — they had been defeated time and time again, taken over by Rome, killed by the thousands, their bodies rotting in the desert, yet they still held on to the belief they were this god’s chosen people.

A few of the Jews were wealthy, yes. The priests, their religious leaders, and tax collectors or anyone who tied their allegiance to Rome. But for the most part most Jews were poor, living in squalor, many begging for food. Year after year, though, they journeyed here, feasting, gathering, worshipping their “one true God.”

Atticus scoffed as a beggar held up his hand, asking for money.

Ah, yes, of course, the one “true God” cared so much for them he but couldn’t even pull them from the depths of depravity and starvation. Atticus walked past the man, barely looking at him, sick of the beggars and the crowds and the long days and even longer nights. Dreams, nightmares really, had been waking him from sleep for weeks. Visions of his time in battle, of the men he had killed filled his mind nightly and he woken more than once in a cold sweat. Long soaks in the baths hadn’t helped. Prayers to Mars, the god of war, hadn’t helped. His past mocked him and it made him angry, sickness gnawing at his gut every day.

Now this. A change in his duties at the last minute. What mistake had he made to make the gods so angry at him? He knew it wasn’t having lain with too many women. It had been too long for that. So long he’d almost forgotten what the soft flesh of a woman felt like beneath his body. Walking through the crowd his eyes fell on a young Jewish woman, her body covered fully by her robes, as was their custom. She looked up at him, eyes bright and deep brown, like pools of a deep well. He walked slowly by her, his gaze roaming from her face down her throat, imagining his mouth there, kissing a trail as his hands explored where no man had probably ever explored before.

She dropped her gaze quickly, clutching her robe to her and he laughed scornfully at her innocence, at the innocence Jewish women held so closely to them, like a child clutching to a toy they thought would protect them. Innocence would not protect her. In the same way her god would not protect her. In the same way her god had not protected his so-called chosen people.

Voices grew louder as Atticus moved toward the edge of the city, toward where the crucifixions took place outside the city walls. A crowd had gathered along the streets, people pushing against each other, soldiers holding back the crowds.

“What’s all this?” Atticus asked Lucius, one of Albus’ men.

“Pilate ordered the death of a man some Jews are calling The Messiah and apparently everyone is here to watch him die,” Lucius answered, dragging a dirt covered hand across his face. “Our job is to keep the roadway cleared. The tribune in charged ordered this teacher, this so called King of the Jews, to carry his cross to Golgotha.

“Atticus!” Albus’ voice was sharp and booming as he pushed through the crowd. “You’re late. I want you along the street further up where it narrows. Keep it open. Take these men with you. Lucius included. They’re in your command.”

Albus was shorter and rounder than most Roman centurions but what he lacked in physical prowess he more than made up for in mental clarity and brutal rule. “Take whatever action you feel you must to keep the crowds back, short of killing. We have enough issues here without causing more of an uprising.”

Albus suggesting he not kill someone was new. Normally inflicting pain or death was Albus’ first suggestion to qwell a possible uprising.

“What is the name of this man being crucified?” he asked Lucius as they walked, the other men behind them.

“I know very little other than they call him their king,” Lucius told him. “Not all of the Jews, though. The priests are the one who called for his death. They said he was causing disruptions among their people.”

Atticus scowled as he walked, people pushing against him, some crying, some yelling, some looking confused and lost. He pushed to the front of the crowd, looked down the path and saw a man barely walking under the weight of a cross gouging a path in the dirt as he shuffled forward. Blood dripped from gouges on his back almost as deep as the one in the dirt made by the end of the cross.

 Atticus grimaced, throwing his arms out to the side to hold back the crowd. He couldn’t remember ever seeing such deep wounds from the flagellum. What had this man done to deserve such a beating? A crown made of thorns was pressed onto his head, sending droplets of blood into his face, smearing down it and dripping into the dirt.  

“Yeshua! Yeshua!” Atticus turned at the sound of a voice filled with despair to the right of him.

A young girl broke from the crowd, staggered forward and fell in the dirt near the man under the cross. Her fingers grazed the edge of the man’s bloody garment as she cried. The flash of sunlight off metal caught Atticus’ eye and he watched a soldier unsheathe his sword and step toward the girl.

Atticus stepped forward quickly and encircled the girl’s waist with one arm, pulling her back through the crowd, away from the punishment I’d the sword, sitting her on the ground hard.

“You can’t be here,” he growled. “It isn’t safe for a young girl.”

She looked up, dark brown eyes, similar to the eyes of the girl he’d seen before but younger, softer, brimming with tears. She gasped in a sob as he let her go, his rough hands slipping across her soft skin.


And older man rushed forward, pulled the girl to her feet, his eyes focused on Atticus as he backed away, taking the girl with them.

Atticus saw anger in the man’s eyes. Hatred even. Hatred of Rome, but also of him.

He watched the man pull the young girl back toward a woman and child near an olive tree. The family cowered together, watching him and the crowd with fear in their eyes.

There was a time when he enjoyed the fear in eyes looking back at him but for some reason it didn’t please him to see the fear in their eyes, especially the young girl’s.

Fiction Thursday: Fully Alive, Chapter 7

This is an excerpt from my Novella Fully Alive, currently in progress. I have not edited or rewritten the fiction posted here yet and do so before I publish it later on Kindle, so there are bound to be typos, plo. To read the other parts of Fully Alive, click HERE.

Josefa woke with a start, cold sweat beading across her forehead. She tried to remember where she was, the only sound her rapid, pulsating heartbeat . She looked around and slowly her room began to take shape in the moonlight. She’d had the nightmare again. The one she’d had night after night. The nightmare of that day in Jerusalem, when her family had been there for Passover.

The day Yeshua died.

The day five years ago when Yeshua had been murdered on Golgotha.

She remembered it like it had been yesterday.

Voices full of rage echoed within the city walls.

“Crucify him!”

Her father had trembled next to her with shock, anger, confusion. He pulled and her younger brother close. “Keep walking. Don’t stop.”

Her mother followed, tears streaking her face, sobs shaking her body.

“Father, why would they do this?” Tears soaked Josefa’s face as the crowd enveloped her, jostled her into other people.

She didn’t understand. Why were the priests of this city demanding the death of the man who had brought her back from the dead? What had he done that deserved death?

She screamed in protest, but no one could hear her and if they could, they weren’t listening.

“It’s not true! He saved me! He brought me back from the dead!” She tried again, her throat raw, her voice hoarse. “He gave me back my life!”

A man shoved her hard to the ground.

“Shut your mouth, you blaspheming liar!”

Saliva dripped down his chin as he screamed. A tremor of fear rushed through Josefa and she looked away quickly. It was as if he was possessed. Maybe he was.

Jairus stooped to protect her and swung around toward the man, anger clouding his vision. “Never touch my daughter!”

The man was screaming again, standing over her and her father. “You are nothing, Jew!”

“I am a leader in the synagogue, I am a holy —”

More people were shouting at Jairus and Josefa now, shouting at anyone they felt were followers of Yeshua.

“You are nothing!”

“Blaspheming scum, go back to whatever city you came from.”

“Do you follow this man? Then you should be put to death with him.”

Jairus jerked his head toward an open area near the city wall.

“Myriam, Ephra, Josefa, come. We must leave.”

Josefa turned to follow her family but paused, looking over her shoulder at the yelling crowd, at the sudden appearance of Yeshua through the crowd, struggling to walk under the weight of what looked like a large piece of wood. She watched in horror as he fell onto the stones, the wood on top of him. Blood dropped onto the dirt from his face, his hands, everywhere. Josefa couldn’t see any of Yeshua’ skin that wasn’t bleeding.

She broke from her father’s arms and stood along the edge of the crowd as Yeshua walked by, reaching out, her fingertips touching Yeshua’ bloody garment, hanging in rags off his shoulder. She jerked her hand away and held it to her mouth as she began to sob.

“Yeshua. Yeshua,” Josefa choked out. “I believe in you, Yeshua.”

Yeshua looked at the ground as he fell again, and she wondered if he even knew she was there. A Roman soldier dragged a man from the crowd and tossed him to the ground in front of Yeshua.

“Help him! Pick up the cross!” the soldier demanded.

As the man helped lift what the soldier had called a cross, another soldier lifted Yeshua to his feet. They watched the scene together and Josefa’s heart raced as Yeshua stood slowly, raised his eyes toward the crowd and found her gaze.

His eyelids were swollen, blood running in rivulets from what appeared to be thorns bent into the shape of a crown on his head. He looked at her with an unfocused gaze as he hooked one arm around the man and the other around the wood. Hot tears stung Josefa’s eyes, rushed down her cheeks as Yeshua moved his gaze from her and looked back to the ground, shuffling his feet forward in step with the other man.

A strong hand gripped her wrist and pulled her backward, through the crowd. She looked up into deep blue eyes, a smooth face stained with dirt under a Roman helmet. The soldier’s face was young, but his eyes were old. She expected a rebuke but instead his voice was gentle, filled with compassion.

“You must leave this area. It’s not safe for young girls like you.”

She could hear her father calling for her, but Josefa couldn’t seem to pull her eyes from the soldier’s.

“Come, Josefa!” Jairus said sharply, prying the soldier’s fingers from his daughter’s wrist. “Let’s get away from here.”

Her father’s voice was breaking with emotion and when she looked up at him, he was rubbing the back of his hand across his face.

“I can take no more,” he whispered hoarsely.

She looked up and the soldier had turned and was following the crowd, to where she didn’t know.

She followed her father and they found the rest of their family waiting for them by the city gates.

“We must leave, Jairus. It’s no longer safe,” Myriam whispered, trembling.

Jairus pulled her close and nodded. “We will go and collect our things from Lieber’s and begin our journey this evening. I will see if I can convince him and his family to come with us. The Romans are thirsty for blood this day.”

“What are they going to do to Yeshua, father?” Josefa asked, fear shivering through her.

Jairus shook his head. “I don’t know, Josefa. Keep walking.”

Jairus’ brother declined traveling away from Jerusalem, begging Jairus to remain for Passover.

“Traveling on Passover is forbidden. We will be safe here on this side of the city. The Romans are only taking care of a troublemaker, a man who called himself the Son of God.”

“But Uncle Leiber —”

Jairus scowled at his daughter. “Josefa. Be silent. Go prepare the afternoon meal with the women.”

All these years later, Josefa still remembered how darkness fell later that day, how the ground shook and she fell to the dirt courtyard outside her aunt and uncle’s home in fear.

She screamed, reaching out for something to hold onto but finding nothing. As the ground rose up beneath her, the sun darkened and she couldn’t see her parents or anyone else.

“Yeshua! Yeshua! Help me!”

Bricks fell from stone structures around her, striking her and then blackness settled over her and all was still.

“Josefa!” She woke to her mother’s voice that day and again, five years later, she heard her mother call to her.  And again her mother took her in arms and again she told her everything would be okay and prayed over her, asking for Adonai’s protection

Fiction Thursday: Fully Alive Chapter 6

Find the other parts of this story HERE or at the link at the top of the page. There are other works of fiction at the top of the page, as well, including The Farmer’s Daughter, Quarantined (a short story), Rekindle (the start of another story story), and links to my two books for sale on digital platforms.

P.S. The character in this section will have a name change before the final publication. I just have decided on the name I want for her yet.

Eliana couldn’t stop thinking about the day her healing had come. Cleaning flour from the bowl, preparing to cook a meal for her sister’s family after so long, tears were warm on her face.

The morning she had been healed she had sat in the room of the home she’d been confined to for so long, weak, her heart heavy with loneliness and despair, the same as almost every morning for 12 years. Her husband Josiah had divorced her years before, declaring her unclean and unfit to bear him children. She watched him with his new wife from a distance, watched their children grow and felt the ache in her own womb for a child of her own.

“He will come with healing in his wings,” she whispered the morning she had been healed, remembering the prophecy of Malachi.

His wings. She wasn’t sure what that meant but she thought of what she had heard – that John the Baptizer had spoken, saying that a man who came to him for baptism was the one they’d been waiting for, the prophesied messiah. This man was a rabbi, a teacher, but whispers said he was so much more. Healings at his hands. Blind men seeing, crippled walking, souls rejoicing. She closed her eyes, pictured the man and what he might look like. What he might be wearing. She pictured his prayer garment and thought of how the corner of it, the tzitziyot, was called the wings of the garment.

The wings of the garment.

The wings.

With wings.

She felt it first in the pit of her stomach, a hard, hopeful knot. From all she had heard this man was indeed the one who would come to heal, not only her, but all mankind.

He had been easy to find. She had simply followed the crowd that pushed against him. She walked with her head covered, the covering pulled across her face with her hands that she clutched before her face, her head bowed.

Even though Eliana felt that this man called Yeshua was the messiah and knew touching his garment could heal her, she was fearful as she approached him. She was impure and she knew that if she touched him – this pure man – he would also become impure. He paused to speak with a man and someone in the crowd bumped her and she stumbled forward. He was so close. So close. She lowered herself to the ground as he stood, slowing reaching out. If she could just touch — Her hand trembled and she clutched her fingers into a fist, biting her lower lip, closing her eyes, hesitating.

Adonai, Adonai. . .” she whispered, her lips dry.

She opened her eyes, drew a breath slow into her lungs, and stretched out her hand again, a sob gurling deep in her chest as her fingertips brushed the twisted wool at the edge his prayer shawl. Comfort and warmth flowed through her immediately and the pain she had suffered under for so long was gone. It was gone. She couldn’t feel the crunching agony within her womb. She couldn’t feel anything but peace.

The blood she had felt drip slowly down her leg, off and on, so many days for the last 12 years suddenly stopped. She felt dry where she had wet for so long. Eliana stood abruptly and turned to leave, to go home, get away from the crowds, think about what had happened, about what her future might hold now.

“Who touched my clothes?”

The voice of Yeshua startled Eliana and she looked back to see him looking around him, searching the crowd for the person who had touched him. A lightening bolt of fear coursed through her. She had been careful only to touch the tzitziyot, not him. How had he known? Even one of Yeshua’ followers expressed disbelief that he wanted to know who had touched him and pointed out that people were all around him. Anyone of them could have touched him.

“I felt power go out from me.”

Eliana trembled in fear, her breathing shallow. She clutched her hands together to try to stop the shaking. He knew someone had reached out for his healing. He knew.

How could he know?

How could he know unless. . .?

She watched him and fell instantly to her knees.

The words spilled out of her

“It was me, teacher.”

She felt, rather than saw him turn to her. Her eyes were on the ground, trembles shivering through her.  “I have been bleeding, unclean for 12 years. I have been to every doctor. I have tried everything. I was shunned by my family, my community. But when I heard about you – when I heard of those you had healed, I knew – I knew you could take it all away and heal me. I knew you were the one who has been prophesied.”

He kneeled to her level, cupped her chin in his hand. She lifted her eyes slowly, to eyes soft with compassion.

“Your trust has healed you,” he said softly, so soft she could barely hear him. Then he spoke again, louder. “Your trust, daughter, has healed you. Go in peace and be healed of your disease.”

Her sister’s voice yanked Eliana from her memories of the day.

“Eliana! Have you finished the bread?”

“Yes, Ledah, I have.”

“Well, bring it. We are ready for dinner.”

Sunlight poured in through the window of the family home and across the table lined with food. Ledah’s family sat on the floor, children with big brown eyes looking kindly and expectedly at Eliana as she handed her sister the bread mixture. Her sister immediately started cooking the bread over the small fire pit just outside the door.

“We shall celebrate today,” Ledah said with a smile at Eliana as she placed the bread in the bowl. “Jeremiah has slaughtered our best lamb to celebrate your healing. It still makes no sense, but I don’t care. It is a wonderful day!”

Eliana smiled and shrugged. “I don’t understand it either. All I know is when I touched his garment, I was healed. I can’t explain it. I can’t tell you more than that. But I no longer suffer the way I did.”

Ledah shook her head. “It makes no sense, Eliana. A mere man can not heal you by you touching his garment.”

“Then he is not a mere man, is he?”

“Eliana, we have all heard these stories before. Supposed messiahs come to rescue the Jews. Yet here we sit under Roman rule. Don’t start believing all that nonsense now.”

“I don’t know what to believe, yet, but I know what happened to me and I know I am healed, Ledah. I know I have a lightness I have not known for 12 years. This is a gift I can not take lightly.”

Ledah took her older sister’s hand, squeezed it and smiled. “And that’s all that matters. That you are back with us and soon you will live life again among your people.”

Live life again? Eliana didn’t even know what that meant. After so many year alone, watching her husband remarry and have children from afar, she didn’t even know how to enter life again.

She couldn’t imagine any man wanting to marry her, not after she’d been cast aside by her husband. Her chance of having children was gone.

Yet, she had her health again and that in itself opened up hope to her.

And hope? Well, hope meant anything was possible now.

Fiction Thursday: Fully Alive, Chapter 5

This is a continuing fiction story.

If you would like to read the other parts of Fully Alive, please click HERE.

If you would like to read other fiction by me, please see my short story Quarantined, here on the blog, my book A New Beginning on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and my continuing story The Farmer’s Daughter here on the blog.

“What do you think you’ll do, Yeshua? Save a girl who is already dead?”

The men laughed.

“What a fool!”

“Who does he think he is?”

“Oh, don’t you remember? He is the son of God.”

More laughter.

“If you hadn’t stopped to talk to that unclean woman, maybe she’d still be alive.”

“Go, we don’t need you here! She’s gone!”

“Clear this house so only your family is here.”

Jairus woke with a start. His memories of that day lingered in his mind as the fog of sleep faded.

It had been two years since Josefa had been raised from the dead. There were some parts of the story he wondered if he had imagined, yet he heard the voices in his dreams each night, seconds before he drifted off to sleep. Josefa often told him the same happened to her.

She wasn’t sure if her memories were dreams or her dreams were memories. She often asked Jairus about the day and what he remembered.

Sometimes Jairus answered, other times he waved her away, told her to go outside and play with her friends, be a child, enjoy life. There was only so many times he could talk about it, still unsure of what had happened and what he should believe.

He thought about the day at the temple. The day the man had reached up, asked Yeshua to heal his hand. Jairus could feel the anger coming off the other synagogue leaders, rabbis, and teachers.

“He would not dare to try his antics on Shabbat,” Rabbi Avigdor whispered bitterly, his face was twisted in disgust.

When Yeshua had told the man to step forward a hush settled over the leaders in the temple. Yeshua turned and looked at each man, as if searching for just one there who might have compassion on the man.

“You know healing is forbidden on Shabbat,” one of the leaders said curtly, as if to answer his gaze.

“Is it lawful on Shabbat to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to kill?”

The leaders pulled their gaze from Yeshua’s and looked at the stone floor, their sandals, anywhere but at the man they had allowed to speak within their walls and now seemed to be challenging them. They fell silent, unwilling to answer him.

Jairus could only watch in surprise. He saw anger mixed with sadness flicker in Yeshua’ eyes before Yeshua turned away from the other leaders to face the man.

“Stretch out your hand,” Yeshua said firmly.

Jairus could tell it pained the man to reveal the withered hand as he lifted it toward Yeshua.

 Yeshua laid his hand over the man’s and when he withdrew it, the marks that had been there were gone. A murmur of shock rippled throughout the crowd of men who had been watching.

“Blasphemy!” Avigdor spat, his body visibly trembling with anger.

“I refuse to stand here and watch this man mock our laws and our traditions. Levi, Micha, Moshe, come with me.”

 Jairus pondered in amazement at the man flexing his fingers, staring at his hand in shock and wonder.

“My hand!” the man’s face was wet with tears. He took Yeshua’ hand and kissed it. “Thank you. Thank you.”

“Jairus!” Avigdor shouted for him from the doorway.

Jairus looked away from Yeshua and the man as Avigdor jerk his head toward the front steps.

He followed the rabbi into the bright sunlight and heat of the day.

“Jairus, tell me you don’t believe the blasphemy of this man?” Avigdor snapped at him.

Rabbi Levi didn’t wait for Jairus to answer. He was incredulous. “Must we again listen to another self-proclaimed messiah?”

“We will not. But too many people – they are already following him,” Avigdor said sharply. “We can not let his man lead our people out of the will of God.”

Levi shook his head and put his hand behind his back.

“But what can we do? How can we stop him?”

Jairus stood outside of the group, tugging at his beard.

“I think we should wait – see what else he says. He may stumble eventually,” he offered finally.

“Wait for what? For him to lead a revolt against us or even worse cause more issues with the Romans?” Avigdor growled. “Jairus, don’t be foolish –“

“Maybe he’s right,” Rabbi Micha took his turn to speak, holding his hand up as if to pause their racing thoughts. “The people will eventually see that this Yeshua isn’t who they think he is. They’ll eventually see he brings them empty promises. If we leave him alone he will eventually  stumble and make a fool of himself.”

“He already speaks blasphemy. He already mocks our ways,” Avigdor snapped. “What more should we wait for?”

Rabbi Levi put his hand gently on Avigdor’s shoulder. “Shabbat is almost over. Let us try to calm ourselves and pray. We won’t help matters yelling and screaming when we are so fired up. We will return to this topic after Shabbat, when we’ve had time to clear our heads.”

Levi was often the voice of reason and the one who could calm Avigdor, but this was one time Jairus wasn’t sure it would work.

Avigdor shook his head, looked at the ground for a moment and then looked at Levi.

“You are right, Levi. I will bring this up again after Sabbath,” he said, still with an edge to his voice, but now calmer than before. “But I can not promise you my opinion will not be the same.”

Jairus followed behind the men then paused and looked back at the door of the synagogue. Yeshua and the man he had healed were walking through the doorway.

“Rabbi, how can I ever thank you?” the man was asking, tears streaking his cheeks.

Yeshua stopped walking and turned toward the man.

“Honor your God each day. Have no other gods before him. Love others as you love yourself.”

The man kissed Yeshua’ hand, which was clasped in his own.

“I will do my best,” he told Yeshua.

“That is all God asks of you,” Yeshua said softly, a smile tilting his mouth upward.

He turned and as his followers came around him they all walked together into the crowd, which swallowed Yeshua from Jairus’ view.

“Josefa! Can you come to the stream to play?”

Her friend Caleb peered at her through the curtain of her sleeping quarters window.

 She rubbed the sleep from her eyes.

“After chores, yes.”

The sun was high the sky when Josefa finally took off her sandals and placed her feet in the stream near the olive trees. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the cool water against her skin.

Caleb leaned close to her and whispered in her ear. “I heard another story about demons and Yeshua’ followers.”

“Caleb. Stop that. There is no such thing as demons.”

“There totally is! They said Yeshua’ follower named Matthew spoke to the man and said there was a demon in him. The man who told me said the man with the demon spoke funny and fell to the ground.”

“Like this!” Caleb fell on the ground and his face twisted up while he jerked around with his arms against his chest, flailing back and forth.

He jumped up and stuck his tongue out at Josefa and shook his head back and forth vigorously

Josefa put her hands up as if to push Caleb away from her as he continued to distort his face, bursting into laughter.

“Then the man yelled back at Matthew and told him he lived there now and he wasn’t leaving, but Matthew said ‘You have no place here, demon and in the name of the most high God I command you to leave.’”

Caleb pointed at an imaginary man and made a stern face to imitate Matthew.

“In the name of the —” He stepped closer to Josefa as he continued to point. He lifted his chin and looked sternly at her down his nose. “The most high Gawd! Be goooone!”

Josefa put her hand over her mouth and giggled until the sound of footsteps startled them both.

Caleb’s older brother, Enoch, scowled down at them.

“Who do these men think they are?” he snapped. Acting as if they have authority to mess with the possessed?”

Enoch knelt next to the stream to fill his wineskin, shaking his  head.

“No one asked you, Enoch,” Caleb said, rolling his eyes.

Enock snorted. “These are the words of children. Stories. That’s all they are. Only a baby like you would believe them.”

Caleb stood, hands clenched into fists. “That’s not true! I heard them talking about it in the market. That man named Matthew called a demon out.”

Caleb made a weird face again and staggered toward Enoch. “’I am a servant of the devil!’ That’s what the man said.”

Enoch stepped away from his brother, turned his back to him and tied his bag closed.

“And, besides, Yeshua raised Josefa from the dead!” Caleb’s voice was loud and defiant.

Josefa’s cheeks flushed red.

“Caleb . . .”

“What?” Caleb said. “He did! You should tell more people! They should know the truth about Yeshua and his followers and who they really are.”

“You speak foolishness, Caleb,” Enoch said.

Enoch turned toward Josefa and she caught his gaze, his deep green eyes watching her. The palms of her hands were warm, moist and her heart pounded hard and fast in her chest.

Enoch smirked and stepped toward her. “Is this true, Josefa? Is it true what people are saying? Tell me, Josefa, daughter of Jairus, what did Yeshua really do?”

Her heart pounding in her ears almost drowned out his mocking words.

She kept her eyes down, looking at the olive branch in her hand. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Why? Because it’s a lie, right? What your family said happened is a lie isn’t it?”

Josefa turned to look at Enoch, her face warm.

“He asked us not to speak of it —”

Enoch laughed. “Of course, he did.” His smile faded, he stepped toward her and towered above her. “Because nothing happened.”

Caleb was furious. “They were already holding a time of mourning for her, Enoch! You don’t know! You were out with the sheep. But it’s true! I was there! I was crying!”

Enoch shook his head and tied his wine skin to his belt and reached for his staff.

“She was probably just asleep. You cry over everything. You’re still a boy.”

“She wasn’t breathing. I saw her! I touched her!”

Josefa looked at Caleb. She hadn’t known he’d been with her.

“You were there?” she asked softly.

Caleb’s cheeks were red now.

“Yes. I came because I did not want to believe it. I didn’t want to believe you were gone. I was there when Yeshua came with those men and then he told us all to leave.”

Enoch’s haughty laugh interrupted their exchange.

“Of course, Yeshua wanted everyone to leave. So, he could pretend Josefa was really dead.” He ruffled Caleb’s hair, but Caleb slapped his hand way. “Okay, little one, I’m leaving you and your friend to your childish tales. Take care of mama while Joseph and I are gone to find the lost sheep.”

He paused and looked at Josefa, half turned away from her.

“Take care, Josefa. I don’t believe you were truly dead, but I am glad you are still alive.”

“Thank you, Enoch.”

Her voice softened to a whisper. “But I was dead.”

The sound of a passing cart drowned out her voice.

Enoch walked around the children and called out to his older brother.

“Joseph wait for me!”

“Why didn’t you tell him?” Caleb asked as Enoch and Joseph disappeared down the road.

“I don’t know. Yeshua said to tell no one. I wasn’t sure —”

“But so many already know, Josefa. They know the truth about what happened to you. If it was me, I wouldn’t be ashamed. I’d be excited to let everyone know that I had been dead but now was alive.”

Josefa flicked at the water with her fingers and stared at the pools rolling into each other.

“But what if no one believes me?” she asked.

“But what if some do?” Caleb countered.

Fiction Thursday: Fully Alive, Chapter 4. Atticus

This is a continuing serial, or a novella in progress. As always there could be typos, missing words, plot holes, etc., etc., which I will fix in rewrites, copy-editing and all that jazz. To read the other parts of the story you can follow along HERE or at the link at the top of the page.

The stench of death filled Atticus’ nostrils. Any other man would have gagged on vomit, but death was a smell Atticus was accustomed to. Before being stationed in Jerusalem he had been on the battlefields of Germania and before that he’d trained in Rome itself to one day become what his father had been — a Roman centurion.

He’d been 16 when he’d first started training. His legion leader had called him a wolf pup, wet behind the ears.

He still had a lot to learn but battle had burned the timid, cautious nature out of him. Sometimes he felt like he had aged more in the last three years than he had in his entire 22-years of life. Experience built a thick jaded wall around him.

Even with all the death he had witnessed in such a short time, he found it hard to get use to the sights and smells of corpses rotting under stones outside the city gates, or bodies half eaten by wild dogs. The Jews called the Romans cruel, but Atticus saw the ways they punished those in their community who had stepped outside the bounds of their laws as vicious and barbaric.

“What I don’t understand is why we’re moving their dead.” Theopholus spat saliva onto the ground and swiped a hand across his mouth. “They killed them they should dispose of them. Instead they leave them here to rot and we have to find somewhere to throw them.”

Atticus shook his head. “Me neither but we must follow orders.”

Theopholus lifted the other side of the cloth they had rolled the corpses into and they shuffled to one side before tipping the cloth and rolling the human remains into a large pit already partially filled with bodies and waste.

“Is that the last one?” Theopholus asked with a look of disgust.

Atticus looked across the field of blood-splattered stones. “It looks like it.”

Theopholus stepped back and leaned against the wall, opening his flask and taking a long swig. “Have you heard about his man in Judeah? This man they say is performing miracles?”

He handed the flask to Atticus and Atticus took it and drank from it. “Another healer, huh?”

Theopholus nodded. “The people think they have another Messiah.”

Atticus laughed and sneered. “Another one? Don’t we get a new one every few years? And yet they still are crap under our shoes.”

“This place will be crawling with them come Passover, you know,” Theopholus said. “They come here in droves to remember the day they say their God delivered them from Pharaoh. The streets smell of them and their food and drink. The only good thing about them is their women. They are worth a good —”

“That beggar is here again.”

Atticus changed the subject quickly. He didn’t want to hear about Theopholus’ sexual conquests today. He wasn’t in the mood, though he couldn’t say why. Maybe it was because he himself had not lain with a woman for more than a year now. It wasn’t for a lack of women that was for sure. Something about the harlots in Jerusalem left him with a sick feeling in his stomach. They were too willing, too eager, expecting he’d come to them quickly and willingly to burn off pent up energy from patrolling the streets all day.

But he didn’t want to release pent up energy as much as he once did. Instead he longed for someone to share his thoughts with not just someone who could meet his physical needs.

“I thought Aurelius told him to leave yesterday. You want me to take care of it?”

Atticus shook his head, still watching the man crouched in front of the wall near the city entrance.

“No. I’ll take care of him.”

“Okay. Then I’m going to the baths. Meet you there later?”

Atticus nodded, staring ahead, thinking about how much he hated this city. The land Atticus had come from, a few miles outside Rome, had been lusciously green, full of life and food. This city was dirty and barren, full of beggars and lepers and people looking for ways to take advantage of other people. It was full of these people called Jews who believed in one God and held strange rituals, though he had to admit their rituals were no stranger than those in his own world who slit the throats of young animals to sacrifice to many Gods, hoping one of them would take pity on them and answer their prayers for whatever their need was.

The Jews killed animals too but believed the blood of a young lamb would wipe out all of their misdeeds, which they called sins. He laughed ruefully to himself as he thought of all his misdeeds. If he ever tried to wipe all his sins away they’d need an entire herd of young sheep to slit the throats of.

He sighed and walked toward the beggar sitting crouched, his knees up, his back against the warm stones and his hand out with a small wooden cup.

“Find favor with God and give to the poor,” the man suggested in a frail, rasped voice as Atticus approached.

His face and clothes were smeared with dirt or at least Atticus hoped it was only dirt.

He sniffed.

It was not only dirt.

The beggar looked up as Atticus’ shadow fell over him, his held tilted back, his eyes obviously unseeing. He must have felt the warmth of the sun disappear from his skin.

Atticus considered the man for a moment, his thin figure, his dirty feet with shredded sandals, his matted hair and clouded eyes, his slightly gaped open mouth with missing teething.  Every day he sat out here, asking for money to buy food to fill his belly. The Jews said someone in his family must have done something wrong because as far as any of them knew, he’d been born blind. Anyone born with a deformity was being punished by God, they said.

 He had scoffed when he heard it, the absurdity of their god apparent. They called him loving yet believed he struck children down for the sins of their fathers? Each time he heard them speak of their god they grew more weak and pathetic in his mind.

Atticus tried not to feel pity for the beggar, but he did. He couldn’t imagine waking up every morning with your only goal being to sit in the middle of a city and beg for money so your belly wouldn’t ache with hunger when you went to bed that night. He didn’t want to chase him away, but he knew the prefect had told him to leave before and would soon use force to make sure he did.

“Who’s there?”

The man’s head tilted from side to side as he spoke, trying to hear what the person standing above him would say.

Atticus squatted next to the beggar so he could be heard over the merchants, animals, and carts passing by.

“You have been told before, old man, that you need to leave.”

The beggar’s expression faded from hopeful to deflated.

“I will not stay long, master. I need just a little bit for my second meal then I shall go.”

Atticus let out a long breath. “You know the rules.”

He wasn’t sure where the compassion he was beginning to feel for the man was coming from but he softened his tone as he spoke again. “Sir, if you don’t go, my concern is you will be forced to go. I think you know what I mean by that.”

The man nodded slowly, clutching the cup with both hands against his chest.  “Yes, centurian.”

Atticus laughed softly. “I am a legionary, sir, but thank you for the promotion.”

The beggar shrugged his shoulders, a grin tugging at his chapped lips. “I can’t keep up with all of the rankings of your army. My apologies.”

Atticus placed a gentle hand under the man’s upper arm and helped him to his feet. He slid two fingers into the pouch on his belt and felt two coins there then dropped them both into the man’s cup.

“This should feed you for today. Go, eat and keep yourself safe from the prefect, okay?”

The beggar’s face showed his surprise. He grasped Atticus’ stronger, rough hands with a gnarled one. “Thank you, master. Thank you. Adonai will smile upon you for your kindness.

Atticus looked around nervously, pried the man’s hand from his and stepped back. “Just go,” he said softly. “I have no need for blessings from your god.”

He watched the beggar limp through the crowd until he couldn’t see him anymore then turned to head back toward the baths to clean the filth and smell of death off himself.

“You won’t ever advance in this army with such softness, soldier.”

The voice of the man towering above him on a stallion was harsh, sharp. Atticus looked up into narrowed blue eyes, a square jawline fixed tight and lips pressed into a colorless thin line. Atticus averted his eyes quickly to the ground, recognizing the actual centurion of his unit, Marcus.

“Yes, sir. I understand.”

“I never want to see you handle our subjects in such a manner again. A firm hand is all that is needed, something you’re well aware of.”

“Yes sir.”

Marcus leaned forward, propping his arms over the leather of the saddle strapped to the horse. “Maybe we need to find a way to toughen you up, young Atticus. Sirius has an opening in his unit. They carry the bodies away from the crucifixions. It might just be what someone like you needs to burn the softness away.”

Atticus’ chest constricted. He’d watched a crucifixion once. He didn’t relish the idea of having to take down the bodies of the dead, their bodies limp and drained of fluids, sometimes their eyes eaten out by the birds.“Whatever you think is best, sir.”

Marcus laughed loudly. “We’ll see, boy. Just don’t let me see you coddling the subjects again. Do you understand?”

“Yes, centurion.”

Atticus watched Marcus ride away before he turned and walked slowly toward the baths, anxious to wash the blood and dirt — and this day — from his body.

Fiction Thursday: Fully Alive Chapter 3

I finally found some time to sit and finish Chapter 3. As always, this is a story in progress, so there will be most likely be typos, plot holes, etc. I’ll rewrite and edit it prior to publishing it in the future on Kindle.

If you’re looking for other fiction I’ve written you can find my first book, A Story to Tell, on Kindle; my second book, chapter by chapter, here, or at the link at the top of the page under A New Beginning, or my short story Quarantined. I’m also sharing The Farmer’s Daughter on Fridays.

“Eliana, you must understand. Your bleeding does not stop. You are tuma. Unclean. I can not continue our marriage covenant any longer. There isn’t even a possibility of continuing my family’s line with you in this condition and there is no possibility of us  . . .”

Josiah turned to look at Eliana, pain in his eyes. He shook his head and turned from her.

“My heart is broken but this is the way it must be. Arrangements have already been made and the divorce will be finalized within a fortnight. I will give you your certificate of divorce then.”

Eliana fell on her knees to the dirt floor of the home she had shared with her husband for only three years before the bleeding started and wouldn’t stop. Eventually he had cast her out and she’d been living in a small home behind theirs because Jewish law called her unclean.

Her body shook with sobs that rose from deep within her as Josiah continued to stand with his back to her.

“Josiah!” she cried out between sobs. “Please. I love you. I am your wife. You can not abandon me at such a time. I am frightened and no doctor has helped me. I already live away from you, I can’t make you unclean. Please, wait . . . wait for me to be healed.”

A cold shiver rushed through her body. She had been shamed so much already, would she now be further shamed by being cast away by the man she had loved for so long? Panic seized her and without thinking she lunged forward, grasping Josiah’s hand, pressing it to her cheek.

“Do not shame me further, Josiah!”

Josiah ripped his hand from hers and staggered back as if struck by a blow.

“Eliana! No! You have made me unclean! I must go to the mikvah now to be cleansed! Stop this! You must accept our marriage is over. I will no longer continue to be bound in marriage to a woman I can’t even touch or . . . or make love to, have children with. A man can’t be expected to live such a lonely existence without his needs being met.”

He turned away from her, yanking the door to the home open. “I will provide you with a small sum of money to help you find food and shelter,” he said, his tone cold and detached. “You may stay in the house I have provided until you find a new home. Please be gone from this house when I return. Goodbye, Eliana. May Yahweh protect and bless you in your future.”

Eliana screamed at the closed door several moments, but soon collapsed in exhaustion. She had no strength to mourn. Blood had flowed from her for so long she wondered how she still breathed at all, let alone how she had managed to function to prepare her own food, clean her clothes and wash the clothes of the gentiles who knew nothing of her lengthy bleeding.

Josiah spoke of loneliness. He knew nothing of the isolation and loneliness she had faced for 5 years now. He knew nothing of the looks of disgust from those in her own community. He knew nothing of what she had suffered because he had turned from her when she needed him most.

Looking around the room, prostrate on the floor, she remembered the early days of marriage with Josiah. She remembered laughter, warm kisses, intimate moments within the bonds of marriage.

“We shall call him Tikvah. ‘Hope’,” Josiah had said, his hands on her protruding belly.

She laughed. “But we don’t even know if it will be a boy or a girl.”

“It will be a boy,” he said, laughing as he leaned close to kiss her. “A big, strong boy to help me in the fields.”

Eliana had laughed with him and now she wished she could remember how to laugh.

The day she held their son, Tikvah, lifeless in her arms, mere minutes after birth, she had forgotten how to laugh or even what laughter sounded like.

Josiah had become more distant, snared in his own grief, unable to soothe Elaina’s emotional pain. When the bleeding wouldn’t stop after birth, trickling each day, she became worried.

“It will stop,” her mother told her. “Do not worry, Eliana. This happened to my sister after she lost her baby, but the bleeding stopped.”

And eventually the bleeding slowed, her energy returned and Eliana was certain happiness would one day return to her, Josiah would hold her in his arms, and another baby would come.

The water of the mikvah was warm and inviting the day the bleeding stopped, and she prayed it would cleanse her from the tuma, make her clean again, help Josiah love her again. His mouth was warm on her own that night as he believed she had been cleansed but she no longer felt the passion she had before the loss. Something had withered inside her, faded away.

A week later she woke and felt warmth beneath her garments. Looking at her bed clothes she stared in disbelief at the growing red stain. The bleeding had returned.

“I love you, Eliana, but you must stay here. I can no longer have you in the home.”

Josiah tossed blankets at her feet, a small sack of coins, a few weeks later. The barren room around her reminded her of her barren womb and she wept when he had closed the door, leaving her alone in the darkened room. She stayed there, alone, only her sister visiting her with food and company a few times a week, watching Josiah live his life at the bottom of the hill, inviting friends to his home, working in the fields, and eventually speaking with Baruch, the butcher, who Eliana knew had three young, unmarried daughters at home.

“Elohim. Please. Please.”

She had paced the floor, tears in her eyes. She clutched at the top of her dress and sat, weak again.

“Don’t let Josiah marry again, leave me behind,” she had whispered to herself.

She could not even reach out to him, beg him to not choose another wife. Touching him would make him unclean like she was. She should have known then that this day would come, the day he would tell her she was no longer wanted, and he would no longer wait for her to be healed.

Eliana wished for death the night after Josiah told her he was marrying another to give him children.

“You can remain as my wife and return if the bleeding stops,” he had told her in a soft, hopeful voice.

But the bleeding had not stopped, and Eliana had watched as Abbigail’s belly had grown rounder and then later when she held a small newborn against her chest.

She now wished for death again, knowing Josiah didn’t want to wait to see if she would be healed. He had decided he truly no longer wanted her, no longer loved her.

She dragged her nails along her skin, wished for something hard and sharp to stab through her veins, let the blood run from every inch of her like it had been seeping from beneath her garments for so long. She imagined death enveloping her like a black sheet, pulling her down and down until she no longer had to think about the pain, the hurt, the rejection, the loss.

Do it.”

A voice hissed at her from the darkness, barely audible.

Her hair and clothes damp against her felt like chains as she thrashed under the blanket, trapped between sleep and wakefulness.

End it.”

She was choking, fingers tight around her throat, squeezing.

No one loves you. No one ever will.”

She reached out, tried to scream, but no sound came.

Shame whispered, breath hot against her face. “You are unclean. You will never be clean.

Depression growled deep in her soul. “You’re worthless.”

Rejection taunted. “You’re nothing. Nothing but a burden to all you touch.

Despair urged her to stop the voices, stop the hurt, stop the terror gnawing at her insides. “Just one cut and it will all be over.”

Eliana screamed out, trying to pull away from the claws pulling her down. “Adonai! Adonai! Help me!”

She gasped as she awoke, sun pouring in on her from the small window above her bed. She threw her blankets from her and stood quickly looking around the room frantically.

Had it all been a dream? Were the spirts still there?

“Eliana? Are you awake?”

Her sister’s voice startled her and she backed against the wall, sliding down it and pulling her knees to her chest.

When Ledah opened the door, Eliana’s face was pressed against her knees as she rocked slowly and sobbed.

“Oh, Eliana.” Ledah kneeled beside her, wrapping her arms tightly around her and pulling her close. “Eliana, I am so sorry for these many years of suffering you’ve faced. I will not leave you. I am here and I am not afraid to touch you. Do you understand?”

Eliana nodded but couldn’t speak, sobs choking her words, tears soaking her hair and dirt stained robe.

Oh Adonai, she prayed, clutching to her sister’s garment. Save me. Don’t let the Spirit of Death torment me any longer. Please, bring healing to me.


The sound of footsteps outside her window woke Josefa. She rubbed her eyes as she looked out the window, watching a crowd of people walking, laughing, talking past. Women and men were carrying children on their shoulders or leading them through the crowds. Older women were walking slowly with walking sticks. Men were speaking in hushed tones while other men spoke loudly, debating theological subjects.

“Where are those people going?” she asked her mother when she walked bleary eyed into the living area.

Her mother was busy kneading flour to bake bread.

“They say Yeshua is speaking on the hill today. They want to hear what he has to say.”

“Can I go, mama?”

“We have things to do here, Josefa. And you have not had your morning meal yet. You should eat.”

“I can take bread with me. I could go and tell you what he says.”

“Go alone? I don’t like the idea of that. . .”

Josefa glanced behind her, out the window and caught a glimpse of her mother’s friend Elizabeth among the crowd.

“Look, there is Elizabeth! I could walk with her.”

Sitting back on her feet, Myriam saw her daughter, saw the brightness in her eyes, the hope. She sighed. There were worse things than her daughter learning from the man who so many, including herself, were beginning to believe was truly the son of God.

“Hurry and catch up with her but don’t stay long. Come home for lunch and tell us what he says.”

She wrapped a cloth around a piece of bread she’d made fresh that morning. “Take this with you and eat.”

Josefa threw her arms around her mama’s middle quickly, snatching the bread and darting from the room.

“Thank you, mama!” she called over her shoulder.

Outside the sun was bright. Excited voices mingled with the sounds of the street – creaks and groans of a merchant’s cart, a woman calling for her child, a man calling out the price of the fish he was selling, laughter from a group of men gathered together outside the synagogue. Josefa pushed forward through the crowd toward Elizabeth, reading out and touching arm.

“Mama said I can come with you. Are we going to hear Yeshua?”

Elizabeth’s dark hair hung loose down her back, bouncing as she walked. Her smile was sweet and welcoming as she turned to look at Josesfa.

“Yes, Josefa. We are going to hear what the teacher has to say. Is it okay with your mother that you come with me?”

“Yes. She said I could come if I was with you.”

 Elizabeth’s youngest daughter, Lydia, held tightly to her mother’s hand, her toddler cheeks flushed in the warm sun.

Josefa slid her hand into Elizabeth’s other hand.

Elizabeth squeezed her hand gently. “Tell me, Josefa. How do you feel since the teacher came to visit you?”

“Amazing, Elizabeth. The world has never been brighter, food never tasted so incredible. It’s as if life is new again.”

Elizabeth laughed. “Oh, Josefa, you always have sounded older than you are. Sometimes I think that you were born a little old woman.”

Josefa smiled, hoping that Elizabeth’s words were meant to be a compliment.

A man behind them walked faster so he was walking in step with them.

“Are you Jairus’ daughter?” he asked, breathless.

He didn’t wait for Josefa to answer.

“Yeshua brought you back to life, didn’t he? What was it like? What did he say? Who do you believe he is? Is he truly the son of God?”

Words rushed out of him quickly, too quick for Josefa to answer and even if she had been able to fit her response in between the questions, she didn’t know what to say.

The rabbi had told her parents to treasure the miracle as their own and not to share it with others.

Elizabeth pulled Josefa against her as they walked.

“She’s just a child,” she said to the man. “Don’t bother her with so many questions.”

The man fell silent, looked down at the ground as they walked.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you.”

He looked up and they followed his gaze to the top of the hill where Yeshua stood with his disciples and other followers.

“What do you think?” Elizabeth asked the man as the crowd slowed their steps. “Who do you say he is?”

The man shook his head slowly, never taking is eyes off the teacher.

“I don’t know. Truly. I do not know.”

“Hear me, everyone, and understand.”

The voice of Yeshua drifted to Josefa and she strained to hear, walking beyond Elizabeth and the man, pushing through the crowd.

“There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him, but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Josefa sat among others near the front of the crowd, pondering Yeshua’ words as he spoke. So much of his words were a mystery to her but she silently prayed Jehovah would show her later what the words meant.

An hour passed before Yeshua’ raised his hand to those asking questions.

“There will be time for answers later. I must go and break bread with my disciples now.”

Josefa looked over her shoulder for Elizabeth but couldn’t see her. She knew she should turn around and find her so they could return home but instead she rushed to follow Yeshua and the men who followed him, careful to stay several steps behind.

They sat next to the water, under an olive tree as another man approached with baskets.

“I have found us food – bread and fish, some fruit. Let us eat.”

As the men began to eat Josefa crouched behind a mound of dirt several feet away, close enough to hear their words.

“Where shall we go next, Master?” a man asked Yeshua.

“Wherever people will listen to us,” Yeshua said, breaking a piece of bread off.

“Master, I have a question – about what you said earlier today,” a disciple sat close to Yeshua, knee propped up and an arm laying across his knee.

“Yes, Thomas . . . please ask.”

“When you were speaking about whatever enters a man will not defile him. Does this mean that there are no rules about what foods we should eat? Should we ignore the law Moses gave us?”

Yeshua took a drink of water from a cup one of the disciples offered him. He sighed and leaned toward the man he had called Thomas.

“Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from the outside cannot defile him because it does not enter his heart, but his stomach and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods. What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

Josefa leaned back against the rock mulling the words over in her mind as the men ate and began to talk about their plans for the rest of the day, where they would rest that night and what cities they hoped to reach later in the week.

Hurried footsteps startled her. “Josefa!”

She looked up to see Elizabeth standing above her. “What are you doing? Your mother trusted me with you. Now come. It’s time to get home. Your mother will want you to help prepare for the afternoon meal.”

Josefa walked behind Elizabeth, the voice of Yeshua and his followers fading with each step. Her mind wandered to life before Yeshua had healed her as Lydia reached up and slipped her tiny had in hers.

Josefa thought about how every day had seemed routine, mundane, not full of life and hope before she’d been risen from the dead. She’d never thought about her future before then. She’d thought about chasing frogs with her friend Caleb and learning how to sow and make bread with her mother. She’d worried about who she might be betrothed to by her parents. But now she thought about so much more. She thought about how she could help others feel the way she felt; how she could show them how amazing life could really be and what a gift it was.

“Josefa, now that you are well life seems normal again,” her brother had told her one day after Yeshua had visited.

But Josefa didn’t want to go back to normal. She didn’t want to look back at the normal of her life before. She wanted to look forward to a new type of normal – a life full of opportunities to really live.

Fiction Thursday: Fully Alive Chapter 2

Here we are at Holy Week! I know it seems odd that we will be celebrating Easter this weekend without full church services, but we can worship together at our computers and celebrate that Christ is Risen. I didn’t even think about that I was sharing this Biblical fiction story in the Easter season, but I suppose it is fitting.

If you missed the first chapter of Fully Alive, you can find it HERE.

The busy sounds of people rushing by to complete their daily chores quieted as Jairus pushed the door to the synagogue closed. He leaned against the door and closed his eyes for a moment as he tried to quiet his racing thoughts.

He focused on the words he had said to Josefa the night after the teacher had healed her. Healed her? Brought her back to life?

Is that really what had happened?

Even now it was all too unbelievable to him. He wondered, did he really believe what he had told Josefa? That this man, this Yeshua was the true Messiah that the prophets had spoken of?

Maybe he had been wrong to say so; to tell his daughter this man must be the true savior of his people. He’d spent his whole life studying the scrolls, learning of Moses and Elijah, about the prophesies of the Messiah. Now here he was almost completely convinced the man he had followed in the street, begging for him to come and heal his only daughter was indeed the Messiah. He knew he was being ridiculed behind his back by the other leaders of the synagogue for asking for Yeshua’s help but he couldn’t deny what he had witnessed that day.

He remembered Josefa’s fever and how she’d no longer been able to stand. Myriam, his wife, had soaked a cloth and laid it across Josefa’s forehead, hoping the cool water from the stream would revive her. For days they sat by her cot, holding her hand, Myriam weeping as Josefa moaned and faded in and out of consciousness.

Jairus had paced the room, rubbing his beard. He stopped and looked at his wife kneeled over their daughter. “You know I told you about this teacher, this man they call Yeshua?” Myriam was looking at Josefa, not responding, merely crying. “Myriam, are you listening? He’s been healing people. I saw him heal a man’s hand in the synagogue last week. The leaders were upset because it was the sabbath, but I saw the man’s hand. It was diseased, scarred, withered but Yeshua held it, touched it and the hand was whole again.”

Myriam dabbed her eyes with her shawl as her husband spoke, barely listening as she watched her daughter’s breathing become more and more shallow. Dark circles were now under Josefa’s eyes.

“I will go to him, ask him to come,” Jairus was speaking again. He paced again, rubbing and pulling at the hairs of his beard as he always did when thoughts overwhelmed him.

“Do we now believe in such men who call themselves healers?” Myriam asked softly, her shoulders slumped forward, her body weary from worry.

Josefa’s body shuddered with a convulsion. Myriam gasped and lifted her daughter, holding the girl’s small frame against her chest. Josefa’s breathing was now labored. Jairus saw the panic in his wife’s eyes and felt it rising in himself as well.

“We are losing her! Go! Go to this teacher and ask him to come!” Myriam’s voice filled with fear. “He’s our only hope now!”

Jairus’ heart pounded as he ran from the house, out onto the crowded paths, pushing his way through travelers and locals and animals being led to market. He could see a crowd around a man in front of him. They were all moving one direction, calling out “Yeshua!” Questions were being asked, some voices mocked, some sounded hopeful.

An image of Josefa’s pale frame flashed in Jairus’ mind and he tried to move faster, pushing more people aside. His chest felt tight, his breathing more labored, reminding him of how old he was getting now. Was this man he was trying to reach a heretic as the synagogue leaders and other rabbis said? What if he was crazy like the man who people called John the Baptist, the man who was covered in dirt and smelled? This John the Baptist, Yochanan the Immerser, had spoken of a healer and prophet who would come to save the Jews. Was this Yeshua that man?

Jairus’ foot caught a stone and he felt himself falling. Dirt flew into his face and pebbles cut at his palms. As he pushed himself up he felt tears hot stinging his eyes. He would never reach Yeshua now.

His head still down he saw a pair of sandal clad feet against the dirt.

“Let me help you.”

Jairus looked up as a man with kind eyes and a smile held a hand out to him. He took it and stood slowly.

“Thank you.”

Jairus barely looked at the man, instead searching the crowd to see where Yeshua had gone.

“Do you seek Yeshua?”


“Come. I’m one of his followers. I will bring you to him.”

Jairus looked at the man, noticed his unkempt beard and slightly frayed clothes. He nodded at him, seeing kindness and concern in his gaze.

The man gently touched the shoulders of those around them and people began to move aside. Ahead of them Jairus saw that Yeshua had paused and turned to the crowd. His eyes focused on Jairus who suddenly felt unsure, uneasy. Jairus dropped his gaze, overwhelmed with worry for his daughter and overwhelmed with the presence of this man who had performed so many miracles. His body felt weak from running, from being awake for so many days watching over his daughter.

His knees give way suddenly and he fell to the ground before Yeshua. Sobs wracked his body as he bowed low, losing control of his emotions.


He gasped out the name.


 A sob choked his words and he thought he wouldn’t be able to finish speaking.

“Yeshua, my little girl is dying. She is my only daughter. Please. Please, come and lay hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”

Tears streamed warm on his face and he shook his head as if to shake them away. He was startled by emotions he usually kept locked inside. A hand touched his head, on the covering he wore there. He sat back on his knees, lifted his face upwards and stared into the eyes of the man he had once seen heal a man’s shriveled hand, an act that had enraged other leaders in the synagogue.  

“Come.” Yeshua’ voice was gentle, yet firm. “Rise and let us go to her.”

Two followers of Yeshua helped Jairus to his feet and Yeshua motioned for Jairus to lead the way to his home. The crowd surged around them as they tried to move forward, moving with them, as if one combined force, following Yeshua. Several moments of chaos followed and Jairus felt a rush of frustration as the crowd pushed between him and Yeshua.

“Yeshua! What does God ask of us?”

“Yeshua, what happens when we die?”

“Yeshua, will I find wealth?”

People pushed against each other; each person wanting to get closer to the man being called a healer and a prophet, each wanting answers to benefit their own life.

Jairus faintly heard Yeshua’ voice over the noise of the crowd.

“Who touched me?”

Jairus tried to push forward in the crowd, looking over his shoulder every few steps to be sure Yeshua was following.

“I felt power go from me,” Yeshua spoke louder to one of his followers. He stopped and turned to look behind him. “Who has touched me?”

The people in the crowd murmured and grew quiet.  Jairus stopped to see why Yeshua wasn’t following him, panic growing in the pit of his stomach.

“Master, there are people all around you and you are asking ‘who touched me?’” one of Yeshua’ disciples scoffed. His tone was incredulous, tinged with annoyance.

Jairus knew this was the man called Kefa, or Peter – a fisherman from Gailee who now followed Yeshua. Many whispered in surprise that Peter, known as brash and abrupt, was following a teacher of God.

 “Somebody touched me,” Yeshua said. “For I perceived power going out from me.”

 His eyes scanned the crowd around him, but no one answered. People looked at each other confused and unsure why Yeshua was concerned. Why did it matter who touched him? Many people had probably touched him, without even meaning to.

 Suddenly a woman’s voice could be heard barely above a whisper.

“It was me.”

Then louder, over the murmurs of the crowd. “It was me.”

“Who is speaking?” another of Yeshua’ disciples asked. “Please, come forward. Answer the teacher.”

The crowd moved aside and a woman, head down, moved toward the front. She dropped to her knees trembling, her head bowed low and covered with a shawl, her clothes tattered and stained. Tears dripped off her face and into the dirt as she clutched her hands before her.

Jairus swallowed hard, shifting in place, anxious. He wanted to grab Yeshua by the arm and drag him forward, back to his house and his daughter, but at the same time he was entranced by the scene unfolding before him. He couldn’t look away.

The woman glanced upwards at Yeshua.

“It was me,” she said softly. “I knew if I could just touch the hem of your garment…”

Her gaze fell again to the ground. She let out a shaky breath. “I heard all that was said about you. About who you are. About what you can do. . . Rabbi, I’ve been bleeding for 12 years. No one will come near me. I am unclean. I’ve been to every doctor, but no one can help me. No one has ever healed me.”

Some in the crowd winced and a few stepped away from her, covering their mouths.

Tears continued to stream down her face.

“I have tried everything. I heard of your miracles and I knew – if I just touched the fringes of your robe – the fringes – that healing would come.

Her fingertips grazed the edge of his robe again. She could barely speak as she sobbed.

“And it did. It did. The healing came the moment my fingertips grazed the tzitziyot of your robe. I felt it. I felt it stop. The pain stopped. It all stopped.” Soft murmurs of awe rippled through the crowd, mingling with her sobs.

Jairus’ heart pounded hard and fast. If this woman was saying that simply touching the hem of the rabbi’s garment was enough to heal her, then he was indeed a powerful man, a messenger of God. If healing flowed from him so easily then there was hope for Josefa.

Yeshua kneeled before the woman, reached out and took her hands in his. He touched her chin and lifted her face up to look at him.

“Daughter, your faith has made you well.”

Yeshua kissed her forehead gently and wiped the tears from her face. He stood and helped her to stand with him.

“Go in peace.”

A sob escaped her lips again and then she smiled and laughed loudly with joy. She kissed Yeshua’ hand as she held it, still laughing. Then she backed slowly away.

“Thank you,” she said, tears of joy now spilling down her face. “Thank you.”

A hush had settled over the crowd. Women dabbed their eyes and men talked quietly to each other, shaking their heads with furrowed eyebrows, trying to make sense of what they had witnessed. Jairus felt a sense of urgency rushing through him, tensing his muscles. He needed Yeshua to hurry. New hope surged within him at what he had seen and he wanted the same for Josefa and his family.  

“Yeshua, my daughter… please …”

Yeshua turned toward him again.

“Of course. Let us go…Lead me to her.”

Jairus felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see Josiah, standing next to him, his face stained with tears and dirt.

“Master, there is no need to hurry now. Josefa . . .” his voice trailed off and Jairus began to shake his head. “There is no need to bother the teacher now. She’s —”

“No! No!” Jairus wouldn’t let him finish.

He felt bile rushing up into his throat and his hands began to shake. He pressed his hands to his head, as if trying to wake himself from a dream, rocking slightly where he stood.

“Josefa…” he felt the tears hot on his face and he clutched his robe against him as pain seared through his chest. “Oh Adonai. Adonai help me.”

He looked up as Yeshua touched his arm.

“Do not be afraid.” Yeshua’s voice was soft, comforting. “Just keep trusting.”

Yeshua’s eyes were kind but Jairus’ mind was reeling. If only Yeshua had moved faster. If only that woman hadn’t stopped them. Josefa would still be alive and her laughter would still fill their home.

“She’s gone,” he told Yeshua. “We cannot save her now. You can not heal her. If only . . .”

Yeshua looked over Jairus’ shoulder, his gaze moving above the crowd.

“Come. Lead me to your home.”

Jairus did as Yeshua told him but his legs felt as if they were weighted down. Before they even reached the corridor near his home he could hear the wailing and knew the mourning had already begun.

Mourners were outside the home, trying to comfort Myriam, who was clearly in shock as she pulled at her clothes and repeated “No. No. No.”  
Jairus rushed toward his wife, grasped her by the shoulders and pulled her against him. She clutched at his clothes and shoved her face into his chest.

“She’s gone. She’s gone. Oh, Jairus. Our little girl is gone.”

Yeshua pushed forward in the crowd. He laid his hand against Myriam’s back to comfort her.

“There is no need for tears,” he said with a gentle firmness. “The girl is not dead. She is merely sleeping.”

An angry voice shouted over the noise of the crowd.

“She’s dead! You give these people false hope! You are a liar and a fool! Like all who have come before you!”

Other voices joined in agreement.

“You say you can heal but you only bring hallow promises to these people,” a man sneered.

Yeshua stood with his back to the crowd, kneeling down beside Myriam and Jairus who had collapsed together into the dirt by their front door.

“Send these people away and come inside with me,” he instructed. “Peter, James, John, come with me.”

Jairus opened his eyes to the sound of someone moving inside the temple, interrupting his thoughts and memories of that day.

“Jairus? Is that you?”

He recognized the voice of Ezra, another leader in the synagogue.

“Yes, Ezra. Good morning.”

Ezra walked toward him holding scrolls.

“Have you come to help me organize these for the scribes?” his mouth lifted in a wry smile.

“I did not but I am glad to help,” Jairus said returning the smile.

The men laid the scrolls on the table next to a bottle of ink.

“I do not know how so much has become in disarray in here – and outside,” Ezra said.

He looked at is friend and noticed Jairus was pulling at his beard, as he often did when deep in thought.

“Tell me, Jairus. How is Josefa recovering?”

Jairus smiled. “Well. She is well. It is – dare I say it?”

Ezra nodded but his expression grew serious.

“Jairus, I must ask you – I’ve heard many talk of what happened with Josefa. Is it true, what they say? Was she dead before Yeshua arrived?”

Jairus felt his muscles tense. He was unsure what Ezra hoped to learn with his questions. He pondered how to answer, but knew telling the truth might encourage Ezra to help him understand more what had happened.

“Myriam and her hand maiden said there was no breath. She was cold when I entered the home and I felt no heartbeat beneath my hand. Her skin . . .” he felt his breath catch in his throat and he paused to choke back emotion. He shook his head as if to shake the image from his mind. “Her skin was pale, tinged with blue. And… so cold.”

Ezra laid his hand on Jairus arm and squeezed it gently.

“You’ve been through much, my friend,” Ezra said.

He opened a scroll to read its contents, rolled it again and stuck it back in a space in the temple wall.

“What do you believe happened that day?” Ezra asked.

“I don’t know, friend. I truly don’t. All I know is she was gone and when Yeshua came she arose at his bidding. He took her hand and instructed her to rise and live and she did.”

“After all you have seen .. .” Ezra paused in stacking the scrolls and turned to look to Jairus “After meeting this man who calls himself the Son of God – who do you say he is?”

Jairus realized he didn’t know how to answer. He had seen Yeshua do miraculous things and heard of even more. He believed his daughter was still living because Yeshua touched her, but was he truly the son of Jehovah or was he simply a great teacher, so holy Jehovah used him to heal?

He looked Ezra in the eyes, opened his mouth to answer and then closed it again. “Ezra – I wish I could say, but truly, I do not know what to believe about this man.”

Fiction Thursday: Fully Alive. Chapter 1

Struggling today with some deep depression. Half my house is in moving van, another quarter is at my parents in boxes in a shed, and a few items are in my echoing house. Things took a bizarre turn three days from closing when our mortgage company dropped us in a massive dump of loans they’d already approved. Worse yet, the mortgage broker never told us what was happening and it took repeated phone calls to get answers but I’m sure that’s just because of all the craziness going on in the world.

Anyhow, our life is in limbo but we are still trying to move out of this house and may need to stay with my parents for a couple of weeks, which could cause them to be exposed to the virus going around, but I hope not.

I need a distraction from life right now and I’m sure some of you do too. I couldn’t decide which story I’m working on to share, honestly. I have one that’s important to me but I’m not working on the way I should. I thought that sharing here might motivate me to actually finish it so I decided to share the first part of the story today. Tomorrow I’m sharing the first part of a different story.

I’ve shared a little bit of both these stories on this blog in the past. They are being updated, rewritten and revised and will be again before I publish them anywhere. With all that said, here is the first chapter of Fully Alive.

Copy of UntitledJosefa felt weighed down, unable to lift her arms or legs.

Her mind was racing and she tried to remember why she was on her cot in the middle of the day. She remembered the dizziness, the weakness, feeling so warm, falling to the ground.

Her father had placed her here on the cot, calling for their servant, Josiah.

“Stay here,” he told Josiah. “Come for me if anything changes.”

His voice sounded so far away. Why was he so far away? She wasn’t sure how much time passed before the voices of her family faded into silence, darkness enveloped her and seconds later a blinding light fell over her.

Blurred shapes, faces of people she didn’t recognize, were slowly coming into focus before her

“Josefa? Josefa?”

The voice was soft and familiar. Her grandmother was standing before her, smiling, hands outstretched.

“Josefa, my darling. Come! Come! I have someone I want you to meet! Oh, so many I want you to meet! Your brother, Jacob, the one your mother lost before you. Your father’s brother, your uncle Malaichi, who died before you were born. Come!”

The village around her was beautiful, bright, bathed in a glow much like sunlight but even brighter, even more brilliant. People followed her as she walked with her hand in her grandmother’s, crowding around her, pushing against her. Josefa felt lighter than the wind. She could see her arms and legs, but she couldn’t feel them, certain somehow she didn’t need them to move in this mysterious new place.

“Welcome, Josefa,” they said, over and over, one by one, a dizzying mix of joy.

A small boy looked up at her with bright brown eyes and her father’s smile. She stared at him in confusion which quickly dissipated into realization. This was Jacob, the baby her mom lost in childbirth two years before her own birth.

“Jacob…” she whispered, feeling warm tears in her eyes.

She kneeled and pulled the small boy to her, breathing in the sweet smell of his hair, the warmth of his body against hers. She looked up to see a man with a long brown beard, streaked with gray, standing above her.

“Uncle Joseph?”

“Oh, Josefa. Why are you here with us already?” he asked. “What has happened, my child?”

“I – I don’t know, Uncle Joseph. I had been so weak and so tired and . . . I don’t know what happened.”

Her uncle reached out to touch her face, but slowly his face began to blur, then drift away. She reached out for him, but his hand slipped through her fingers. When the darkness came again Josefa gulped air sharply into her lungs and bolted upright into a sitting position, her entire body vibrating. The world around her came into focus. She looked at her hands and arms, realizing she could feel them again. She focused on the intense buzz sliding through her limbs. She felt as if she had been struck by lightning.

The tingling rushed from the soles of her feet to the top of her head as she stood quickly and looked around the room, dazed. Three men stood on one side of the room, looking at her in disbelief. One burst into laughter, seeming to be delighted at the sight of her. Another had his hands and face raised upward, his lips moving but no sound coming out. The third was kneeling down, stroking his beard and watching her while shaking his head.

A fourth man was standing before her, a peaceful expression on his face.

Suddenly her parents were clutching her to them, both taking turns to kiss her and cry. Their voices were loud, unabashedly loud, sounds she’d never heard from them before. They were usually reserved, quiet, certain to look proper to the community around them.

What had happened? Why did she suddenly have so much energy when she could remember feeling so weak only moments before?

Josefa heard a voice, soft, gentle, yet firm.

“Do you not see? Your daughter is alive. Get her food, drink. She will need her strength.”

How could someone speak with such authority yet also with such love?

“Yes, of course, Rabbi.”

The voice of her mother was reverent, trembling with emotion. Josefa sat on her bed again, trying to take it all in, decipher what was happening.

The water against her lips was cool as voices spoke excitedly around her and she drank, suddenly thirstier than she’d ever been.

“Praise be to God!” one of the men cried.

The man who had told her parents to bring her food sat next to her, placing his hands on each side of her face. His eyes were full of kindness, compassion, of life. When she looked at him it seemed as they were the only people in the room. She could hear only his voice, see only his eyes.

“Josefa, your life has been returned to you. Go forth and live it fully.”

His hands were warm as he cupped her face in them. He kissed her forehead then gently lifted her face to look into his eyes.

“Do you understand?”

She nodded meekly, not sure she truly did understand, but knowing she wanted to.

The man her father had called Rabbi stood and turned to the other men in the room.

“Kefa, Ya’akov, Yochanan, we must leave. There are others who need us.”

Her parents took his hand, kissed it and then each cheek.

“Teacher, how can we ever –“

His voice interrupted them. He gently shook his head, raised his hand.

“This is a gift. Treasure it. Tell no one what has happened here. This gift is for your family alone.”

Josefa could hear members of the crowd outside calling to him as he left.

“Yeshua! Yeshua! Are you who they say you are?”

“Tell us, Yeshua! Are you truly the Messiah?”

“Yeshua, your followers say you call yourself the Son of God. Who do you say you are?”



Josefa closed her eyes against the growing brightness of the rising sun.

Each day her memories grew stronger of the day she’d come back from the dead.

The sobs, first in grief, then in joy.

The declarations of praise.

The laughs of disbelief.

The gasps of amazement.

There was only so much she had been able to remember from the day the man they called Yeshua brought her back to life.

The rabbi, the teacher, the man who people in the city said was performing miracles, had performed one in her.

She had been dead, no heartbeat and pale, cold to the touch.

But at his word she was warm again, breathing, heart racing in her chest.

That first breath was like breathing for the first time. The air had never felt so fresh, so crisp, so new. She wished she could remember the words he had said when he brought her back or had even heard them. Her father told her days later what Yeshua had spoken.

“ Talita kumi! Little girl, I say to you, get up!”

Josefa still could not understand how it had all happened. She asked her father question after question that night when everyone had gone home.

The lamp had been extinguished. Only the moonlight lit the small home. Her mother had drifted to sleep, next to her, holding her close, afraid if she let her go, Josefa would be gone again. One of her brothers, Efron, was asleep on his mat in one corner of the room. The other brother had gone home with his family, vowing to return in the morning to see her, make sure she was doing well. He had visited each day for two weeks with his family, as if he couldn’t believe Josefa was still with them, cupping her chin in his hand, kissing her cheek and telling her how happy he was she was well.

“How, father? How did he bring breath back to me?”

Jairus paused as he pondered his daughter’s questions. He hesitated, but he knew what he was beginning to believe in his heart, even as his mind rejected it.

“I believe it is possible that he is as he has said,” her father whispered as he answered her questions. “He may, truly be the Messiah.”

He couldn’t imagine what the others at the synagogue would think if they could hear him.

“He is the son of the most high God,” her mother, Myriam said, half asleep. “I never would have believed it until he brought you back to us. Just a teacher can not do these things. A simple man does not have this power. He is the Messiah, Josefa. The one the prophets spoke of. We must believe now and live our life as He would.”

How would Yeshua want her to live her life now that it had been given back to her? She didn’t know. Should she pack her things and follow him? Maybe she could learn more about how to be like him. She was scared. Now that she had been given a second chance what would she do with it? It was the uncertainty that scared her. Yet something in her had been ignited. She felt a rush of anticipation as she pondered her future days.

Whatever she did with her life it had to be something meaningful, something magnificent, maybe even spiritual, something worthy of the Son of God taking time out of his teaching to bring her from the darkness of death to life again.

The whole world looked different in the days after he’d come.

Colors were more vivid.

Sounds were more beautiful- all sounds – even the sounds that once drove her to the brink of insanity- people passing in the street, donkeys braying, men arguing in the market, women gossiping, children laughing when they should be working.

Smells and tastes were different.

Oh, the tastes of all the spices and the softness of her mama’s bread against the inside of her cheek. She savored food now, held it against the roof of her mouth, and soaked in the flavor with her eyes closed.

Always now she let her sounds of pleasure at life escape her and while her parents once chided her for what they called her exploits they now smiled and laughed, simply overjoyed she was still here for them to love and be loved by.

“Josefa, come with me to the market.” Her mother was gathering baskets to carry any fish or fruit they might buy.

The market was crowded but Josefa didn’t mind. It was exciting to see the different fabrics, smell the food, hear the laughter of those trading and bargaining.

“Did you hear about the man Yeshua healed?” She heard a man behind her talking and tilted her head so she could hear better.

“I heard he spit on him,” laughed the other man. “Are we to really believe this man is the son of God? Spitting on people to bring healing?

Both men were laughing now.

“I don’t know about his ways, but many are speaking about his miracles. Who am I to say he is not who he says he is?”

“But if he is, then we should be gathering an army, Isaac. An army to finally overthrow the Roman rule.”

“I don’t know if he is here to lead us out of being ruled,” the first man said. “He said in the temple we should give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

The other man snorted. “What does that even mean? This Yeshua speaks in riddles. He’s not even a real leader or teacher or he would speak plainly. Why do people follow him? We need a warrior, not a storyteller.”


Her mother’s voice startled her.

“Josefa, hand me that basket for the fish. We have to get back soon for supper. Pay attention.”

“Yes, mama.”

She handed her mother the basket and turned to see if the men were still there, but they had blended into the crowds.

Josefa followed her mother back to their home, deep in thought, kicking at the dust with the tip of her foot.

“Josefa, come,” her mother reached behind her and waved her hand at her daughter.

Myriam smiled as Josefa looked up, startled out of a daydream. She’d always been a daydreamer and while it had once frustrated Myriam to no end, she now welcomed it, simply glad to still have Josefa still with them.

Josefa was her second to youngest, her only girl and she was the girl Myriam never thought she’d have. She’d lost Jacob to a fever long before Josefa was born. After Josiah she didn’t think she’d have anymore. Josefa had been a pleasant surprise to her and Jairus both.

“A blessing from Adonai,” Jairus had said when she told him, his smile broad.

“You’re not upset?” she had asked, worry and concern etched on her face.

“Why? Why would I be upset?”

“It’s another mouth to feed.”

“And if Adonai gives us another mouth to feed he’ll give us a way to feed this child and all our children.”

Jairus had pulled her close, pressing his lips softly against her forehead. Seven months later his smile had been even wider when the midwife had held the baby up and they had seen their blessing was a girl. She had been the light of the family since, always laughing and telling stories, ready for an adventure. Her brothers had protected her and delighted in her. The day she had first become ill a dark cloud fell across the family and when she had died as Jairus sought the man so many were calling a prophet, the family had felt as if their life had been shattered.

Myriam smiled as Josefa came into step with her. Where there had been darkness there was now light again. Josefa was still with them and they had the man named Yeshua to thank for her life. So many felt  Yeshua was another false messiah but Myriam knew he was the true Son of God, the one who had been prophesied to lead the Jewish people out of bondage. She knew that only the Son of God could have brought her child back from Sheol, where all who die go to spend eternity. Like her, Jairus now believed Yeshua was who he said he was, but she knew he couldn’t share his belief with anyone within the synagogue because the other rabbis believed Yeshua was a trouble maker and spoke blasphemy.

Myriam wondered if one day even the rabbis and other Jewish officials, even the P’rushim, would one day believe the way she and Jairus did – that Yeshua would deliver them from all their hardships in the world, that he would save the Jewish people from the rule of the Romans.

Full Alive Part 4

This is a continuing fiction story, based on a series of verses from the Bible. To read the other parts of the story click the following links:

Risen Part 1

Risen Part 2

Risen Part 3

“Josefa! Can you come to the stream to play?”

Her friend Caleb was peering at her through the curtain of her sleeping quarters window.

She rubbed the sleep from her eyes.

“After chores, yes.”

The sun wasn’t very high in the sky when Josefa finally took off her sandals and placed her feet in the stream near the olive trees. The water felt cool against her skin and she closed her eyes to enjoy the coolness of the water and the warmth of the sun.

“I heard another story about demons and Jesus’ followers,” Caleb leaned in close to whisper to her.

“Caleb. Now, stop that. There is no such thing as demons.”

“There totally is! They said Jesus’ follower named Matthew spoke to the man and said there was a demon in him. The man who told me said the man with the demon spoke funny and fell to the ground.”

Caleb fell on the ground and his face twisted up while he jerked around with his arms against his chest and then flailing back and forth.

“Like this!” He jumped up and stuck his tongue out at Josefa and shook his head back and forth vigorously

Josefa burst into laughter and put her hands up as if to push Caleb away from her as he continued to distort his face.

Caleb stepped back and stopped laughing.

“Then the man yelled back at Matthew and told him he lived there now and he wasn’t leaving, but Matthew said ‘You have no place here, demon and in the name of the most high God I command you to leave.’”

Caleb pointed at an imaginary man and made a stern face to imitate Matthew.

“In the name of the –“

He stepped closer to Josefa as he continued to point. He lifted his chin and looked sternly at her.

“The most high Gawd! Be goooone!”

Josefa put her hand over her mouth and giggled.
The sound of footsteps startled the pair.

Caleb’s older brother smirked as he looked down at them.

“Who do these men think they are? Acting as if they have authority to mess with the possessed?” he snapped.

Caleb’s older brother knelt next to the stream to fill his wineskin. He shook his head.

“No one asked you, Levi.”

Levi snorted.

“These are the words of children. Stories. That’s all they are. Only a baby like you would believe them.”

“That’s not true! I heard them talking about it in the market. That man named Matthew called a demon out.”

Caleb made a weird face again and staggered toward Levi. “I am a servant of the devil!” he said, pretending to be the possessed man.
Levi stepped away from his brother and rolled his eyes.
“And, besides, Jesus raised Josefa from the dead!” Caleb’s voice was loud and defiant.

Josefa’s cheeks flushed red.


“What? He did! You should tell more people! They should know the truth about Jesus and his followers and who they really are.”

“You speak foolishness, Caleb,” Levi said.

Levi turned toward her and she found herself unable to look up into his green eyes. Her heart pounded fast and furious and the palms of her hands grew moist.

“Is this true, Josefa? Tell me what Jesus really did.”

She could hear her heart in her ears now.

“I don’t want to talk about it, Levi.” She kept her eyes down, looking at the olive branch in her hand.

“Why? Because it is a lie? Right? What the people in your neighborhood said happened is a lie isn’t it?”

Josefa turned to look at Levi. A rush of warmth filled her.

“He asked us not to speak of it –“

Levi laughed. “Of course, he did. Because nothing happened.”

“They were already holding a time of mourning for her, Levi. You don’t know! You were out with the sheep. But it’s true! I was there! I was crying!”

Levi shook his head and tied his wineskin to his belt and reached for his staff.

“She was probably just asleep. You cry over everything. You’re still a boy.”

“She wasn’t breathing. I saw her! I touched her!”

Josefa looked at Caleb. She hadn’t known he’d been with her.

“You were there?” she asked softly.

Caleb’s cheeks were red now.

“Yes. I came because I did not want to believe it. I didn’t want to believe you were gone. I was there when Jesus came with those men and then he told us all to leave.”

Levi’s haughty laugh interrupted their exchange.

“of course Jesus wanted everyone to leave. So he could pretend Josefa was really dead.” He ruffled Caleb’s hair and Caleb slapped his hand way. “Okay, little one, I’m leaving you and your friend to your childish tales. Take care of mama while Joseph and I are gone to find the lost sheep.”

He paused and looked at Josefa, half turned away from her.

“Take care, Josefa. I don’t believe you were truly dead, but I am glad you are still alive.”

“Thank you, Levi,” her voice softened to a whisper and she tried to form the words “But I was dead.”

The sound of a passing cart drowned out her voice.

Levi walked around the children and called out to his older brother.

“Joseph wait for me!”

“Why didn’t you tell him?” Caleb asked as Levi and Joseph disappeared down the road.

“I don’t know. Jesus said to tell no one. I wasn’t sure –“
“But so many already know, Josefa. They know the truth about what happened to you. If it was me, I wouldn’t be ashamed. I’d be excited to let everyone know that I had been dead but now was alive.”

Josefa flicked at the water with her fingers and stared at the pools rolling into each other.

“But what if no one believes me?” she asked.

“But what if some do?” Caleb countered.