Prologue - Adanna
The last thing I remember before going to sleep last night was the pain in my gut and the question of what I would wear to church
this morning. These worries are for nothing, because I have no food and only rags to wear. Today is Easter Sunday. Pastor Walter calls it
“Resurrection Sunday.” A day of hope.
I think about what hope means for the people in my village. I try to imagine them rising up in glory, as Pastor says. But I only see twisted bodies, bones poking out of paper skin. They do not rise.
They lie in mounds of yellow dirt. I think of my own body, wasting away because I haven’t eaten for days.
Sometimes I wonder if the gods don’t like me. Maybe it’s because I am dirty and stained, like old rags. I’ve been told by Pastor and Momma, “Easter means new life.” But our lives never change.
Stepping outside my home, a shimmering road unfolds in front of me. It is smooth, like a gift wrapped in gold.
Voices from ahead call out to me, and one foot hurries to catch the other. The sounds are beautiful, like a choir, their voices layered in perfect harmony.
I’ve never felt a road so smooth. It’s like walking on cool water.
The roads I know are brown and rocky.
A magical energy flows through every part of me from my feet to my head, refreshing my tired body. How can something so unfamiliar feel like home?
But this place is nothing like home. The horizon blazes beautiful, glowing colors—violet, blue, and amber dance like giddy fairies. The land is on fire with color.
I turn and see rows of trees taller than any I have ever seen. I could swing from their branches. I would write poems about their splendor. The leaves are leaping for joy. The apples hanging from the trees look like red balloons. One could feed me for a week.
Here, people do not pick up moon rocks and die.
My throat is parched, so I run to the banks of a river. The water is like crystal. It is so perfect I do not want to touch it, but I cannot help myself. I cup my hands and thrust them down to
get a drink.
When I pull out my hands, they are no longer brittle and cracked. They appear soft, even glowing. My hands are new.
Thirst spreads from my mouth to every cell in my body.
I glide through the water like the colorful fish around me, swimming free. Forgetting I am underwater, I suck in a breath. I expect to choke, but I do not. Taking another breath whisks me out of the water and onto the bank.
The jagged scar on my arm has disappeared. I feel new. Not hungry or sick. Even my scars on the inside seem to be gone. In the distance a marvelous light pulsates, lustrous, pure, and white. What shines so warm and soft?
The voice sounds like a thousand mighty rivers, a thundering boom. But I am not afraid.
“Who are you? And how do you know my name?”
“Adanna. Come closer.”
I move toward an illuminated man. He is sitting in a golden chair. The music of many villages rises from where he sits. Love pours out, giving life to the grass, the trees, and I feel it growing roots in
“Are you the ruler of this world?”
“I am. This world and many others. I’ve waited a long time to be with you.”
“I do not know who you are.”
“I have known you, Adanna,” he chuckles, “for a very long time. I have watched you grow. I have delighted in seeing you play, and I have rejoiced over how you have matured. My love has always
Maybe he is one of my ancestors.
“I’m not one on your ancestors, but you are one of mine.”
How did he hear me?
“I do not think I have ever met you.”
“Oh, but you have. Come closer, Adanna. I want to show you something.”
Cautiously, I step forward. He is inviting me with his smile. He stretches out and opens his hand. On it there is writing.
“That is my name, but how did it get there?”
“I put it there.”
“Because I have always loved you.”
“But I am nothing special.”
“Adanna, if you only knew the greatness inside you. You must trust me; I will draw out of you what the world needs to see. Here is your gift. Use it wisely. It will make the way clear for you, and it will
save many of your people.”
He extends a white scroll made of lamb’s skin and hands it to me. I reach up and receive the scroll. “Thank you, sir. I am most grateful. May I ask who you are?”
“You will know, soon.”
“Can I stay here?”
“Not now, but the time will come. Just remember this: No matter where you go, I will be there to help you.”
“What is your name?”
“Whatever You Need. That is my name.”
“I do not understand.”
I take the parchment in my hands. I untie a silk ribbon and unroll it.
My eyes open, and the thatched roof of my hut shudders in the wind.