Written by Hermione Cameron
Illustrated by Emma Barducci
There is a wise woman who sits in the temple. Every day she waits, and fasts, and prays - gnarled hands quiver, skin crumples into a thousand creases. At night she curls up on the hard dusty floor, folds in on herself like old parchment.
The early evening is her favourite time when the crowds begin to clear the hallway - the usual rituals, teachings are all done for the day, the clatter of footsteps fades.
Soon night comes, spills through the temple walls, and the air fills with silence again. She lies and waits, and prays – each breath is thick and heavy, struggles to escape the skeletal cage of her chest.
Soon her body will no longer hold her spirit. And though she does not fear meeting death, she knows somehow that it is not quite yet her time to go.
In her dreams, she sees a Messiah, one who will walk the floors of this temple. They say this saviour will be the child of God. Some will say they are who they say they are. Some will say they are mad. Some will say they are of the devil. Some will call this person a wise teacher, a healer. Some will say they are much, much more than that…