Story sample: Beloved

After David slays Goliath, he falls head over heels in love with himself. But he’s not alone. King Saul’s daughter Michal intends to become his wife even if her father offers her sister’s hand in marriage. A love story with a smile.

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by David H. Hendrickson

Copyright 2011 by David H. Hendrickson

There’s nothing like a man holding the severed head of a giant to get a woman in the mood.

It did nothing for me, but my younger sister, Michal, looked to be in heat.  Her pretty little face flushed.  Her bosom, more ample than mine, heaved.  Her breath came in short, quick gasps.

“He’s so handsome,” she said.

Atop a platform that overlooked the palace courtyard, David lifted Goliath’s head and shook it.  The crowd roared.  Women danced and beat upon their tambourines.  Men still decked out in their battlefield attire raised their spears and shouted.  Clouds of dust rose up to us on the royal balcony beside the platform.

“Look at those eyes,” Michal gushed.

She was becoming insufferable.  “What if the stone missed the giant?” I asked.  “Would he still be so handsome?  What if he ran from the fight, so terrified he soiled his loincloth?  Would his eyes still be so pretty?”

A pout formed on Michal’s lips.  “You’re such a cynic.  There’s not a man in Israel that could impress you.”  She finally tore her eyes away from David.  “If Father expects to marry you away first, I might die a virgin.”

Father would have no trouble marrying me off; he was the king.  But Michal would be the prize.  She was the pretty one.  I was plain.  Serviceable.  Like a healthy donkey. 

“Maybe I don’t want marry,” I said.

She shook her head in that way that said she’d never understand me.  “Well I do.”  Her cheeks burned red.  “David, son of Jesse,” she said.  “I’m going to marry him some day.”

I raised my eyebrows.  “Does he know?”

“You can be so–”

She gasped and touched my arm.  “He’s coming this way!” 

David strode to our side of the platform, his eyes fixed on Michal.  Following behind him were my father, King Saul, and my brother, Jonathan.  I’d heard David had been a humble shepherd, but those days were no more.  He looked drunk with the glory being showered upon him. 

Michal gripped my arm tighter.  I thought she might fall over into a dead faint.

David bent one knee and bowed his head.  “King Saul’s daughters are as fair as this day is great.”

A smooth talker.  As if Michal weren’t already smitten. 

“Tell us of your feat, O Champion,” she said.

David beamed.  “The Lord God Jehovah slew the giant.  I was but his instrument.”

Clever, I thought.  The obligatory deference followed by a proud retelling. 

Her voice quivering, Michal asked, “Will you deny the king’s daughter your story?”

“Of course not.”  David smiled.  “The giant threatened all of Israel, commanding us to send one man who would fight him.  Your father, the King, offered me his armor, helmet, and coat of mail, but I took them off.  Instead, I chose five smooth stones from a brook and put one within my sling.  The first one struck the giant in the head and he toppled to the ground.  I fell upon him and, using his own sword, cut off his head.”

David shook the giant’s head again, setting off another roar from the crowd.

“This was your first time in battle?” Michal asked. 

David flushed.

My sweet, pretty sister had not the sense of the flies buzzing about the giant’s head. 

“Yes,” David said, “but while tending my father’s sheep, I defended the flock by killing a lion and a bear with my own hands.”

A lion?” Michal gasped.  “And a bear?  With your own hands?” 

So much, I thought, for deference to the Lord God Jehovah. 

“I caught the creature by its beard, struck it, and killed it.”

“Such bravery!” Michal said.

I stifled a laugh.  If there had been a lion or bear, I was pretty sure that what had protected the flock was a rock within David’s sling.  There’d been no wrestling the beast to the ground, much less beating it to death with David’s bare hands.  It was a nice tale to charm the young women of the kingdom, but I didn’t believe it.

The way his chest swelled with pride, though, I suspected he’d come to believe the tale himself.  Vanity at its worst.

“Your mother, the Queen, awaits our appearance inside the palace,” David said.  He looked at Michal.  “Perhaps we shall meet again.”

“Yes,” she said, looking as though she might throw herself off the balcony to him.

David bowed and turned away.


For the next few days, every time I spotted Michal with that love-struck look in her eyes, I said, “He’s beating another lion to death right now.  With his bare hands!”  I’d gasp and add, “Such bravery!”

She’d glare or perhaps throw something at me as I burst into laughter, but eventually she began to laugh too.

“He was trying to impress me, that’s all,” she said.  “There’s no harm in a little embellishment.  He can’t be perfect.”

“Of course,” I said.  “Just trying to impress.  I’m sure he’s as smitten with you as you are with him.”  Then I mimicked her dreamy-eyed look.

“That’s not funny,” she said.

“You should see yourself.”

A pout came over her lips.  “Will you speak to Father about David for me?  He listens to you.  He treats me as if I’m still a child.”

I gave her the look.  “I wonder why.”

“I’m a woman now,” she said defensively.  “Just because you’re the eldest doesn’t make me any less a woman.”

She waited.  “Will you?”

I didn’t respond right away.  I thought the one person David was most smitten by was himself.  Drunk with the chants of the crowd. 

Or was I just being jealous, upset that the good-looking hero favored Michal with his attention while ignoring me?

“Don’t help me,” she finally said, bitterness in her voice.  “Forget I asked.  You’re as evil as you pretend to be.”

“Oh, stop,” I said and agreed to help her.

(The full story is available in all electronic formats for 99 cents or less on Kindle, iBook, NOOK, Kobo, Sony, Smashwords, and others. )