The following is an excerpt from Promises, my new book! I hope you enjoy it.
Onnua heard the cries of the small animal long before she could see what was causing the problem. She also heard the laughter of the boys. When she came around the building she saw what was wrong. A small, scrawny dust colored kitten was high up in the branches of the sycamore tree. It was frightened and crying out. The small boys were chucking stones at the hapless creature. Onnua covered her mouth in disbelief. Why were the strong always picking on the weak? Before she could say or do anything she heard a voice, “Get away from there! Leave that animal alone! What’s the matter with you? Have you no sense?”
She and the errant boys turned to see who was shouting. A short man well dressed and carrying a ledger approached them. The obvious leader of the group poked his friends and smiled. “You can’t tell me what to do, you short little thief!” He still had a small rock in his hand and pitched it at the little man. It hit his leg but he did not flinch or back down. The others raised their hands as if to throw stones too.
“Stop it!” The sound of her voice startled even Onnua. She stepped forward. “I know you boys, I know your parents, and I know where you live. They would not be pleased to hear that you were behaving badly when it is almost Sabbath. Go home! Learn to behave more like the young men your parents believe you to be!”
The leader began a chant: “Too tall, no man will call!” The others took up the chant and they ran away, calling after them, “Too tall, no man will call!”
Onnua stood watching the boys depart and then turned to Zaccheus. She had never seen him, but thought she knew who the man was. He had laid down his ledger and had climbed part way up the tree. He reached out and extracted the small frightened creature from the branches. Almost immediately it sank its claws into his garment and flesh crying piteously. He jumped easily to the ground, held on tight to the kitten, picked up his ledger and faced Onnua.