The house was quiet and dark. Maia and her siblings had gone to bed early, each on their own mattress in the large dark room in the basement. They were used to sharing a room, never knowing any differently.
Maia had not been able to concentrate during the day, nor sleep during the night. Her head was spinning between belief and unbelief, daydreams and nightmares and moments of panic and fear. She feared if she didn't talk to somebody about her experience with Ayam, she might explode. Beside her, Rachelle's breathing was even and open-mouthed. Knowing her sister could sleep through anything, Maia used this opportunity to have a private conversation with her brother. "Isaiah," she whispered, "are you awake?"
She could hear him shifting under the blankets. "I have questions about the Chosen One," she whispered a little louder. In the shadows, she could barely make out his silhouette but she heard him rolling over to face her. She couldn't remember the last time she had had an actual conversation with him. As children the three of them had often stayed up late whispering, but this happened less and less since they'd left home.
"What do you want to know?"
"Everything. What do the Writings actually tell us? Who is he? Where does he come from? What is his mission?"
"The Writings give only hints and whispers. They say that he will be born in the town of St.David. Some priests say he will be born of a virgin, but that passage is-"
Maia gasped, involuntarily.
"Tell me more. Does it say what his name will be?"
Isaiah's voice was strong and hopeful. He recited the writings he had been studying his whole life. "He will be called a son of Ayam, a teacher, a prince, Ayam's presence among us. He will reign on Davod's throne. He will come with justice and save his people. He will bring Ayam's salvation to the ends of the earth. He will open the eyes of the blind, the deaf will hear and the crippled will dance for joy."
Isaiah stopped. Silence rang in the air. Maia did not know what to say. She felt like crying, but tears were not coming.
"How will we know if he comes?" She asked.
"He will fulfill all these prophecies. But nobody knows when he'll come. Most people think it's just a legend. These Writings were written centuries ago, before the wars even begun. If he is coming, it may not be for another hundred years."
"Where is it written that he will be a great king and slay our enemies in Ayam's name and lead us back to our homeland?"
"Maia, why are you suddenly so interested?" Isaiah's voice was low and somber.
"I just... there is so much talk about it, and I want to know what is actually Written and not just gossip. Does it say anything else about the virgin?"
"The Chosen One will be a descendant of Davod."
Maia frowned, glad that Isaiah could not see her face in the dark. Neither of their parents was a direct descendant of the ancestor King Davod. Perhaps there was some mistake. Perhaps this was all in her imagination. A feeling of relief spread through her. She finally felt sleepy.
Isaiah kept going. "I have been tracing the ancestries of the families in our churches. There's a few descendants among us. He listed a few families from church. "Oh, and your boyfriend, Jonas. His father is a descendant. Do you think maybe...?"
Maia had stopped listening. Her mouth was dry and her stomach churned with fear.
"Wait, Maia, do you know something?"
Without warning, she vomited on the floor between them.