Fiction Friday: The Wages of Kindness

With his baby daughter, Rosie, sleeping in his arms, Micah watched as the big body was lowered into the shallow grave. Lord, is this the answer to my prayer? Big Jake hadn't been a good man. He was mean with his mouth and mean with his hands, and no one mourned his death. His children seemed uncertain, but his widow, Jessica, stood silently, holding them close. She was a woman with a strong spirit and a stronger faith.

Rosie stirred, her mouth puckering to cry. Micah gently bounced her, hoping she would hold out a little longer. When he looked up, Jessica was walking to her wagon. Micah followed her, watching as she reassured her children.

“Jess?” Micah called as he neared her fire.

With a smile she took the baby, “There's beans in the pot, if you'd like some, Micah.” She adjusted her light shawl, murmuring quietly to Rosie.

It's too soon to talk to her, Father.

Jessica held out a leather pouch to Micah. “This belongs to you.”

Micah eyed it, mentally weighing how much was there. “No, it's yours. Your wages for wet nursing Rosie these weeks.”

With a gentle toss, it landed beside him.

“I would never charge anyone to nurse their motherless baby.” Jessica caressed Rosie's head through the shawl. “This little one eased the pain of losing my own. She's brought comfort and joy to me. Jake had no business charging you. I know why the amount was so high, too.”

A steely glint entered Micah's eyes. He lowered his voice, so it wouldn't carry to the children playing nearby. “Did he tell you I was paying to ensure he didn't lift his hand against you or the children? Did he tell you that?”

Jessica's eyes searched his. “No,” she whispered. “He didn't tell me that.” She looked down at Rosie and gently stroked her cheek before looking back up. “Thank you. I wondered why he had stopped.”

“Did you love him?” Lord, I can't believe I asked her that! She just came from burying her husband.

Jessica looked into the dying fire. “No. I never did.”

“Why did you marry him?”

A shudder went through her. “Pa didn't believe that Jake had forced me so he made me marry him. Pa's heart gave out shortly after overhearing Jake brag about it to his friends.”

Micah's hands and jaw clenched convulsively.

Jessica turned to Micah and smiled. “It's been a long six years, but God kept us safe and got us through. I accepted Christ after a Christian lady nursed me when Jake was on a binge, so there has been some good come from it.”

Did any good come from my marriage, Lord?

“Did you love Rhonda?” Jessica asked.

“I loved who she pretended to be but she was spoiled and self-centered. I'd hoped having a baby would help her outgrow all that, but...”

“Don't blame yourself, Micah. You have Rosie, now.”

Good did come from those years; I have Rosie.

Jessica's children stopped playing and leaned against her, silently studying Micah. With a smile he reached into his vest pocket and withdrew candy he had brought for them. He offered it as he would to a skittish animal. With round eyes they looked to Jessica for permission. She nodded then watched as they plucked the candy from his hand and whispered their thanks.

Micah's heart ached. “You don't need to be afraid anymore.” Their shy smiles gave him hope. Lord, I want to take care of them, and Jessica.

A neighbor's voice carried from nearby. “I'm tellin' ya', Micah should jest marry Jess. They're a matched pair.” Harriet being shushed made Micah laugh and Jessica's face glow.

“She's right, you know,” Micah said.

Jessica's startled eyes flew to him.

“Do you think you could trust me not to hurt you or the children?”

“Oh, Micah, even that time you were furious with Rhonda you never raised your hand against her, and you're a kind man; I've seen that. I completely trust you.”

Micah smiled, his hope soaring. “And through all these weeks I've seen your unselfishness and love for others. Would you marry me? I know Jake just died, but...”

Harriet marched up, grinning. “Thet goat's been dead plenty long enough!”

From nearby someone called out, “Harriet, let the girl answer the question!” Micah laughed and looked at Jessica.

She smiled and nodded. “Yes, I'll marry you.”

Harriet let loose a whoop. “Call the preacher; she said yes!”

I love historical fiction and these characters gripped me. I don't know, maybe someday I'll ask them the rest of their story. This snippet was written for's Weekly Challenge for the topic of 'In every cloud there's a silver lining' --or however that line goes. Did you see the silver lining?

Thank you for joining us for Fiction Friday, whether you're posting fiction or reading--or both. If you're posting, put a link to us here at Patterings, and add your name and url address to the Mr. Liknky gadget. If you're reading, click on the names and it will take you to another story. Enjoy!

And don't forget to tell your friends! Anyone and everyone is welcome!
Now, who's volunteering to host next? (seriously! email me if you'd like to host Ficiton Friday!) Happy Friday, everyone!


  1. Anonymous1:35 AM

    I think we've all known someone that makes us wonder why God doesn't just go ahead and drop them where they stand. If anyone thinks your characters are maybe a bit harsh, they can read this:

    Well worth staying up late. Not only did I get a good read, but also first linky.

  2. it! I even love Harriet. (of course!) This seems like the middle of the story, or the end of the first book in a series. (not like you have anything else to do) *smile*

  3. Anonymous8:57 AM

    This was so fun to the characters....especially Harriet. Really enjoyed this.


  4. I loved this when I read it on FW, and it's good to have an opportunity to read it again!

  5. I love historical fiction but haven't had the courage to write it yet! This was a fun read!

  6. Your characterization is phenomenal, and of course, I MAY have mentioned a time or two that this genre freaks me out, so I'm impressed you can write it. Couldn't be some of that homeschooling literature, could it?

  7. You have SUCH a gift with this. These characters need to be your second book, you know? ;) LLOOVVEE it!

  8. I remember reading this when you first entered it! I'm glad you posted it here, because I had forgot about it. Great characters and dialogue! I could actually see this being a logner story with events leading up to the deaths and then also some additional details of the wedding and what happens afterwards.

    I miss contributing to fiction fridays I really want to start doing it again next week. I just always forget because of work. :(

  9. I want to start from the beginning and go on through their lives. It is wonderful to see such talent in writing. I see very little of it in the students I teach.

    I would never have thought you to be a writer as well as a master in the kitchen and a juggler of all things. I can see I will have to make a point of taking your seat in Sunday School more often - just so we will have an opportunity to visit and get to know each other.

    Thank you for sharing this.


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