ZOE. (The missing seal)
Written by Amah
Zoe said nothing about her successful journey to Timnah and her mother did not ask about it.
She returned the basket which has her sister’s things after making sure everything was clean and in a perfect order.
Mukan asked his sons to take the items to their priestess sister in Timnah the next day and they carried the basket and left for Timnah.
After two weeks passed by and there was no show of blood, Zoe knew she was pregnant. She became excited and also terrified at same time.
She kept her secret to herself and went on with her activity as usual, acting like everything was fine with her.
Hadar began to suspect her sudden modesty and changes but waved it off.
Most night while others slept, Zoe will remain awake, she will spread her hands over her womb. Sometime her fear for the unknown will rise. She wonder how she had even dared to trick a great man like Lord Amos, what will he do to her if he finds out what she has done? He will kill her. But she will not be an easy kill for anyone.
All the things she collected from him, his Seal, cord and walking stick was carefully hidden away.
She had been willing to risk everything, even her own life just for the chance to bear a child.
Now she was afraid for the child she carried, soon her pregnancy would become apparent. Pregnancy cannot be hidden if it was possible she could have hide it until she put to birth to avoid risking the child’s life.
Hadar do not know of Zoe’s condition yet.
If Mukan her father learned of it, he might kill her in a fit of rage. If she dies, Lord Amos child will also die along with her.
Zoe breathed in and try to think clearly, she try to focused on the positive side of life and not allow fear to control her.
She kept it secret and did not confide in Hadar because she knows Hadar will condemn her. Hadar had asked her the day she returned late from Timnah after meeting with Lord Amos.
“where were you all through the day, I searched for you in all the field but you were nowhere around…tell me where did you go?
“I will tell you but not today. You will soon find out where I went to…but is all for a good curse.
Hadar left her alone when she couldn’t get an answer out of her.
After another month passed without blood Hadar was certain that Zoe has done something terrible.
She confronted her.
“Zoe, what have you done? Which man did you lay with? Oh by gods…Zoe, we are both doomed. Who is he…what have done?
Hadar cried out terrified.
“I did what I have to do Hadar. Is the law of both Lord Amos and mine that I have the right to a child by Shelar or by Lord Amos himself. He refused me Shelar and I risk everything to receive justice at Lord Amos hands. I know I have shamed myself and resorted to trickery just to beget a child. Hadar, I do not want to die in shame and disgrace, childless poor widow…I did this for myself and for Lord Amos.
Zoe grasped Hadar’s hand and held them tightly. “you must trust me Hadar…please…
“You must speak out now, before it becomes obvious, Zoe…your father will not spare you if he finds out…you need to tell….
“No…no Hadar, I can’t. Not yet…how can I say such? Where do I even start…no..no.
“Your father will not have mercy on you when he finds out that you have committed adultery…
“It will be up to Lord Amos to decide what happens to me, is not up to my father…
“Then you will die, and the child will also die with you…is that what you want? Lord Amos thinks you brought misfortune to his household and also caused the death of his sons…now this will give him an excuse to get rid of you. Lord Amos may not spare you for committing adultery with another man. Your father will not also spare you…why have you done this to yourself Zoe? Lord Amos will feel betrayed and will think you brought shame to his household by getting pregnant. Why did you do it… how Zoe…speak to me? Who is responsible? Did the man knows that he has gotten you in with a child? oh the gods…tell me what I need to know…
“I will tell you nothing Hadar. Please, let me be. Don’t be scared for me, is my shame, and I will protect this child I carry with my life. I’m trying to be courageous in all of this…stop worsening my fear. I already know my life is in danger but let the true God of heaven have the final say in all of this…
Zoe did not say another thing to Hadar who kept pressurizing her. She did not mention Lord Amos seal or any of the item in her possession. She kept it all a secret for they are her evidence.
The cord and the seal ring were around her neck, hidden by her widow’s garb. The staff was hidden away in her room underground pallet.
She will not show any of the item to Hadar. She will not wag her tongue and give her nurse or father a reason to mock and laugh at Lord Amos.
She will not fully review the father of her child to anyone. She had already said too much and will not say more than that. She will not expose Lord Amos to ridicule or shame.
Zoe thought of Lord Amos pride, his pain, and his losses. She will not add humiliation to his sorrow. She will protect his name and the name of his household even though he has forsaken her but she will not pay him with the same coin.
She will never shame the father of her child before any man and woman.
Zoe, sat in the field the next day all alone and did not want a company.
She knew what was at stake for her. Before she proceed to lay with Lord Amos she knew what she was getting into. Her life was greatly involve and the child’s life too.
After the deed Lord Amos had slept off and she had almost kicked him awake, she wanted to shook him and asked him why he reduced her into playing a role of a harlot just to get him to do the right thing.
She has stared at him, while trembling with anger and fear but needed to let anger go. She did not sort for revenge, she don’t want revenge all she sort for was justice.
She gamble with her life for something better, something permanent and very important and that is the child she carry now. The child was enough reason for her to live and fight.
Hadar came to sit with her.
“I was just praying to the gods that you will be fortunate enough to miscarry, I wish the child will go down into miscarriage so that you will be free and nobody will have to know and your life will not be at stake…I wish you…
Zoe interrupted her angrily.
“Keep the prayer to yourself Hadar. I risk everything for this child. Any miscarriage that want to take my child should take me along. Hadar, I do not need such evil prayer…is not a good prayer and please don’t pray such for me again.
“Zoe, you will die if your father finds out about this. you have suffered enough why did you want to do this to yourself…praying for miscarriage was just for you to be free from any future mishap…I can’t watch you do this to yourself.
Hadar covered her face and cried on Zoe’s behalf.
Zoe knew Hadar was right about her father killing her if he finds out but she has hope in Lord Amos and need to be strong.
How can she even hope in a man that refused her everything and broke his promise to her? but yet, even in her anger all she did was to hope. She refused to give in to fear, fear for the child she carry. Lord Amos child, Lord Amos hope, and his future. That is what she carried inside of her. She hope the man will listen when the time comes for her to reveal the truth.
Two months past then the third month came. Zoe will easily fall asleep while milking the goat, working in the field or selecting the grain. She was getting fat and needed to readjust her widow garb so that her small protruding stomach won’t be easily noticed.
The day of judgement finally came for her, the day she dreaded most arrived without notice.
Zoe had fallen asleep again in the boot, where she was supposed to be milking the goat.
A servant who had seen her sleeping on several occasions and throwing up at the back of the house went to Mukan and told him what she noticed about Zoe.
Mukan summoned Hadar and asked her what was going on with Zoe. Hadar try to pretend and lie but Mukan shouted at her to say the whole truth or he will find out himself.
Hadar was left with no choice than to tell him that Zoe was carrying a child.
Mukan anger erupted like a volcano.
Hadar ran out before his rage could get to her.
She ran to the stone wall where Zoe was hiding and sleeping when she was supposed to be selecting the grains of wheat. Hadar shook her awake.
“We are doomed. Zoe, we are undone…both of us are dead. Your father will kill you…
Zoe sat up and cleared her sleepy eyes. She looked up at Hadar and saw tears pouring from her eyes.
“…A servant saw you sleeping again and have to go and tell your father, he summoned me and I told him the truth, I had to…
Hadar bent and gripped Zoe’s hand
“…Run away, run faraway…you must hide yourself…you must save your life and the child you carry. Run away now before your father gets to you….
A strange calm filled Zoe. The truth was finally out. She has expected this day to come. Her waiting was over.
“No Hadar, I won’t.
Zoe said quietly as she rose from her chair.
She saw two of her brothers running down to where she was, she knew her father must have sent them to drag her down.
She stood still and said nothing as they came. they grabbed her arms and took her to her father who was standing outside his stone house waiting.
His face was reddened in anger and his hands were into fist. His anger burnt like fire.
Zoe knew this day will come. The day of her judgement. She thought of the seal and cord around her neck and the staff hidden away.
She knew it was time to fight hard and save her life and the life of the child forming in her womb.
To be continued