The town of Whill was a quaint place whose people were welcoming and traditional. The buildings were of dirt and stone. In the center of the village was a market that sold food and other daily needs. The inhabitants were all believers in God, and they had fallen into the same trap as the Pharisees of the New Testament: they focused on the laws in the Bible exactly, and had resorted to barbaric ways. They stoned their criminals, women had to leave the area when they got their monthly cycle, touching dead bodies mad you unclean, and they sacrificed animals whenever they sinned.
In this town once lived a young girl named Meredith Bethel Elen. She had dark hair and lively green eyes; her body was curvy, and dresses suited her well. She had pale, fair skin, and a quiet but delightful personality. She was betrothed by her father, Jethro Elen, to the priest’s oldest son, who was called Elijah Judah Vangeld. Elijah fancied Meredith and had the means to offer her father fifty gold coins and eight healthy lambs to be allowed to marry Meredith. Her father agreed to this, and Meredith had no choice in the matter because Elijah was the priest’s son, and she could not hurt her father’s honor publicly.
But Meredith’s heart was given to another, someone she truly loved. She wanted to be given to a farmer, Matthew Joseph Apfest. Matthew was a tall man with broad shoulders. His dark brown eyes shown when he smiled, and they were beautiful against his golden hair. He loved Meredith and wanted to marry her, but he had nothing to offer her father. Also, there was no denying the priest’s son.
When they would see each other, Matthew and Meredith would feel a deep, longing pain in their stomach. They wanted to be with each other forever, yet they knew it would never be. They would never live their lives devoted to one another for eternity. On the other hand, when Meredith would see Elijah, she would feel nothing but sadness and anger.
She tried talking to her father one day, but he started yelling that it wasn’t her decision he would never reject the priest for fear of what people would say about him. Meredith had no choice but to marry Elijah. She talked to Matthew about this at one point, and she made it clear she had no choice but to be given to Elijah. Matthew promised her that she would never have to give her heart or body to this man.
All too soon, her wedding day approached. On the dawn of her marriage she had on her best dress, the church was prepared with white décor and an orchestral quartet, and most of the town was seated in the congregation. Even Matthew was there to see Meredith, to remind her of his promise. Within hours, Meredith and Elijah were lawfully wed, promised to each other by force for the rest of their days. The night was finished with a grand meal shared between the families. The priest’s gift to the newlyweds was a new house to call their own.
Elijah and Meredith slept together that night, but Meredith wanted anything but to be with him.
The next morning Elijah went to work for his father while Meredith stayed home. She was sitting at the wooden kitchen table when there was a knock on the door. She stood and walked a few feet to welcome the guest in. When she opened it, she saw the person at the door was Matthew. His eyes were unusually sad, but so were Meredith’s.
“What are doing here?” she asked him.
He held out his hand, which contained ten silver coins. “It’s all I have to give for a gift,” Matthew replied.
“You do not have to offer us anything.”
“Yes, I do,” he insisted.
Meredith hesitated, “Will you come in?”
As she opened the door to him, Matthew stepped inside the small stone house. For hours they talked about Elijah, about their feelings for each other, and about their lives from this point on. Meredith was miserable, and Matthew wanted to save her. Soon enough, they had devised a plan to run away together, wait until Elijah died, and then marry, even if it would take centuries.
The excitement got to both of them, and before they knew what they were doing, they found themselves in bed together. By now the sun was about to set, and Elijah would soon come home. Meredith and Matthew did not think of this because all they wanted was to be with one another.
Matthew was sitting with Meredith intimately on a chair in the kitchen. The door opened, and before Meredith could stand up off of Matthew’s lap, Elijah saw them. Rage grew in him, and he started yelling. He hit them both, and asked angrily if they had lain together. Through Meredith’s tears it was easy to know that they had.
Elijah grabbed Meredith by her arm and dragged her out of the house. He brought her to the church, Matthew following all the way, and told the priest, his father, what they did. Since they were a town that followed all the Bible’s laws, a women who committed adultery was to be stoned, and the man was to be banished. The priest had no choice.
He called out to the citizens Meredith’s crime, and within a few minutes of him bellowing out what needed to be done, most of the people had gathered around Meredith. The priest told them to pick up a stone as he did so himself. Even Elijah, the man who said he loved the woman, had a rock firmly in his grasp. Meredith’s parents were there as well, and they and Matthew couldn’t bear the thought of throwing a stone at her. There were tears falling down Meredith’s cheeks as she sobbed on her knees. She cried because she would never spend her life with Matthew, would never see him again.
“By the law of God, we must purge the evil from among us,” called out the preacher, holding up the stone for all to see. Next, he brought his arm back, preparing to throw it. They threw it at the woman on her knees, and it hit her on the neck. The sharp pain made Meredith cry out in agony, but now everyone else joined in throwing theirs. The hit her arms, back, and sometimes her head. With every stone came a shock of utter pain, and soon, someone standing in front of her brought back their arm. She looked up to see who it was. It was Elijah, the man she loathed, and who now loathed her, as well. There was a burning anger in his eyes that spoke of betrayal and hatred. He hurled the rock at her powerfully, and she saw it coming towards her faster than she could process. Everything turned black as the large rock impaled her skull. She fell to the ground limp, the breath leaving her body.
Elijah walked away, as did the crowd. Eventually, even her family left her body there, knowing they would become unclean if they touched a dead human. Yet, Matthew was there, and he had his body over hers. It was now his turn to sob for their broken and unfulfilled dreams of a life together. His heart yearned for her to awaken, for her to speak of his love for him once more, and for the chance to tell her the same.