by H. A. Titus -
Cara peered through the crack that led from her hidey-hole to the marketplace. Orphans, hunters, and merchants scurried around the large area, giving no sign that they'd seen her worm into the pile of broken beams.
Another night safe. She sighed, snuggled down in her pile of rags, and pulled her one whole blanket up to her hips. The space was just big enough for her bed and a wooden crate of belongings, but she preferred it over the shared rooms at the orphanage.
Cara reached into the crate and gingerly pulled out the book she'd found in the Anchor’s cargo hold. The leather cover crackled as she opened it to the first chapter.
She read through several books with odd sounding names like Exodus and a really boring section called Numbers. She skipped ahead and found Judges, a book with some weird stuff in it, like a guy getting a tent stake pounded through his head.
That's gross. As she paged toward the back of the book, she tried to remember when she'd learned to read. Most of the orphans couldn't read or struggled to sound out basic words.
She'd been able to read when she was five, she knew that. She remembered standing on the street corners and reading the marketplace signs for fun while she waited for her dad to come collect the money she'd gathered from pick-pocketing that day.
At least, he'd said he was her dad. Cara shivered and turned a chunk of pages. A line in red caught her eye and she paused to read it.
"Will you give me a drink?"
She backtracked. A teacher named Jesus was traveling through a place called Samaria when he met a woman by a well. As they talked together, Jesus told her about this water that could give her eternal life.
Now this was interesting. Lots of people wanted eternal life. She kept reading.
Several chapters later, she found a story where Jesus talked about being the 'bread of life'. How could bread and water give life? How could a man be bread?
With a buzz, the lights in the marketplace dimmed. She shut the book and looked out. The stalls were shuttered, the street deserted. Must be midnight.
Cara put the book in the crate and plopped her head on her pillow. Just as well. She needed to sleep on what she'd read tonight.