The dust from the construction site laid a blanket over everything, homes, and clothes, even skin. Yocheved fought against the dusty wind as she and her children ran to the river. She clutched one son in her arms, and her daughter was in Miriam's arms while Aaron carried the baskets.
They stopped at the rivers edge, and revealed their hidden treasures. Aaron set the baskets in front of his mother and they all kneeled next to the bank. Yocheved held both of her tiny children, twins, a blessing to some, but not so in this time in Egypt. The pharaoh had ordered all newborns to be slaughtered, and Yocheved needed to save her children.
She gently kissed both of them, and set them in separate baskets. Aaron tied the baskets together with a tight knot, and then Yocheved set the baskets into the water, tears streaming down her face.
"River, flow gently for me, such precious cargo you bear. Do you know somewhere, they can be free? River, deliver them there."
Miriam followed her little siblings down the river, and panicked when ships came dangerously close to the baskets. They were tossed around so much that the rope binding the two together snapped, and they drifted in different directions.
Miriam knew not which one to follow, and decided to follow the older boy's basket into a calmer part of the river, while the other basket floated down the other way towards the palace.
Miriam saw her brother get picked up by the queen herself, and Miriam knew he was safe, then she ran off towards where her other brother went. She found herself in the back of the palace where servants and slaves got their water. The younger twin girl was picked up by an older woman, whose face crinkled with wrinkles at the sight of the cooing baby.
Miriam knew her siblings were safe, and that they would at least be near one another. She left the palace to tell her mother.
The old woman was a slave in the palace, but she was in service to the queen, whose food she cooked, and as such was not treated as harshly as other slaves. Her name was Adi, and her husband had died years ago, her children lost in slavery.
She yearned for a child of her own, and God answered her prayers when a little basket holding a small girl floated up to where she was washing her clothes. Adi clutched the little girl in her arms, and whispered,
"I will call you Maya, water."
The queen held the other twin in her arms, unaware of the sibling that now lived in the palace as well. Tuya looked down at her son Rameses and said,
"Come, let us show pharaoh your new baby brother, Moses."
Adi went into the kitchens were other servants were washing up and cleaning, one looked over and asked,
"What have you got there Savta?'
Many of the younger slaves and servants called her grandmother because theirs had died long before they knew them, and Adi was all to glad to be their grandmother.
She went to the middle of the kitchen and presented her treasure, several gasps went out of mouths, and Adi shushed them.
"Where did it come from?" asked one.
"She came in a basket on the river, God has answered my prayers."
"Savta, the pharaoh has ordered the death of all newborns, perhaps this is one of the children?"
"And what if she is?" said Adi.
"Then we cannot keep her, the pharaoh will have us whipped if they found her."
Adi defiantly said, "Then they will not find her."
"Savta, what are you saying?"
"I say we hide her, at least for a little while, then we say that one of my children gave birth and I took her in."
"But Savta," said another one, "They will not believe it, they know your children are lost in the slaves."
Adi despaired for a moment, but one girl piped up, "What if one of us pretends to be the mother?"
Adi swiveled her head to look at Neta, a young woman who had recently come to them.
"But who would be the mother? Adi cannot, she is to old."
"I could do it." Said Neta.
Adi went close to the girl, and said, "You would do that? For a strange baby?"
Neta nodded, "Yes, it is important to you, then it important to us."
The kitchen servants set about making her appear pregnant, many of them older women who had also had children and knew just how to fake the pregnancy. They gave Neta rags to stuff on her chest, so it would appear her breasts had milk, and then tied a fake baby bump over her stomach. Her loose clothes made it easy to appear as though she had always been pregnant.
"How old do you think the child is Savta?"
"She looks not even a week old, if we can pretend that Neta is about seven months along, then we can pass her off as a newborn. Maya is small for her age."
"Is that her name?" asked Neta, "Maya?"
"Yes, she came from the water, it only seemed appropriate."
The servants stepped back to view Neta, and they all decided it would work. Neta's long brown hair was over the front of her dress, giving another layer to hide the pregnancy.
"All right, now we have to wait."
In the darkest of the night, the kitchen servants bustled to Neta's room, where she was giving 'birth'. They had taken the blood from the kitchen meat and were making sure it was heated, Neta was made to run in place so that she had a sweaty look, as though she had given birth.
Adi stood and dipped her hands into the blood, then carefully began to coat the little girl in blood. Maya didn't make a sound; she was a quiet baby and didn't fuss too much.
Neta was made to sit down, and then she began to scream. Adi knelt down in front of Neta, holding Maya, and instructed her through a birth. Telling her when to push and breath, when guards pounded on the door, a kitchen servant sent them away, and the guards had no reason to disbelieve the birth, they had all seen Neta and could hear everything.
After an hour of their charade, Adi told Neta to push once more, then Adi pinched Maya's arm to make her wail.
"That should be proof enough. No one will ever know."
In the royal's chambers, baby Moses began to wail for an unknown reason, he felt a pinch on his arm and wouldn't stop wailing until Tuya held him in her arms. She shushed him, and Moses quieted.
"What troubles you so, my son?"
A knocking on the door interrupted her; a guard and servant entered the room and bowed low to the queen,
"Pardon us my queen, but we are here to inform you that a servant has given birth this night, we hoped that she did not bother your rest."
"No, not at all. Who had the child?"
"A kitchen servant, Neta."
"Are they doing well?" asked the queen.
"Yes, Neta has a daughter, called Maya."
"Wonderful, give her time to rest. You are dismissed."
They bowed once again, and left the chambers. Tuya looked down at Moses and said,
"Did you hear the sound of another child? Perhaps a playmate."
Tuya tucked Moses back into his bed and went to her own.
The next morning, the kitchen was bustling, glad that their secret no longer had to hide. They were startled when the queen herself appeared in the room. They all dropped to their knees and bowed their heads.
"Tell me, where is this Neta?"
Adi stood and said, "She is in the room over there."
Tuya walked over to the room and silently opened the door; Adi followed the queen to see Neta standing by the window with Maya in her arms. As soon as her eyes met the queen, she went to her knees carefully. The queen said,
"Please, rise. Not when you have a child."
Neta rose, but kept her head bowed. Tuya went closer to the girl and looked down at the baby, who looked up at her with curious eyes.
"You know, she has the same expression as Moses. Quite curious, isn't she? May I?"
The queen held out her arms, and Neta gently placed Maya in her arms, careful not to bump the queen. Tuya cooed at Maya and said,
"What is your name?"
"It's a beautiful name, I hope you both keep well. Please, spend time with your daughter, and your husband?"
Neta froze for a moment, and then lied, "He was a worker in the fields, but he died of heat a few months ago."
"I'm sorry for that, you have both my condolences, and congratulations for your daughter."
Tuya handed Maya back, then left the room. Neta and Adi bowed as she left, then rose and huddled together once she was gone.
"Savta, I had to come up with the husband, but I feel horrible for lying to the queen."
"God will forgive you Neta, it was necessary for Maya to survive. Our queen is lenient, but her husband is not."
"Savta, what if we mess up?"
"We won't. She will be safe."
Hey people! This story was suggested by Sailor Sacred Moon, where there are twins and Moses is one of them and all of a sudden this story exploded out of me. I seriously cannot wait to write this.