still small voice pt 4

In which I begin to move ahead in the prompts, as some of them are downright unusable.

Bible Bludgeoning We’re rejoining Miriam in the Naughty Room this episode. Violence ensues.


White cotton and blond wood. Wax, too, tall taper candles. Undyed. The women came in to light them every night, along with her tin lantern.

“Have you repented of your sin?” they asked, and Miriam could only reply, baffled:

“I do not know what sin you mean.”

They ordered her to her feet, bade her lift her gown above her hips and drop her bloomers. “Bend over the bed.”

Some nights, then, blood broke the calm color scheme. In candlelight, it looked more black than red. Black for a sinner’s heart, she thought, rubbing her stained fingers together. She had confessed to her ventures into the world, jeans and all; had Seth not forgiven her, there on her knees before him?

No. If he had, she would still be at school, conjugating words and calculating velocities.

So her blood was his vengeance, or else the elders were even harsher than Seth. Neither possibility lent her comfort, exactly, but she’d have a new answer for the women when they came. If they kept whipping her, she would know she had not been forgiven after all.

That night, she slept on her belly, willing the welts to scab over. No resting on her haunches in prayer until they healed; tomorrow she would lean on the bed, her Bible open on the quilt. A new day meant new words to contemplate, both her own and God’s.


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