"A long time ago, the people of Israel were attacked by the country of the Philistines. The Philistines were strong, and on their side they had a giant named Goliath."
Why this was the only story she could think of, Emery did not know. But with a man quaking under a knife before her very eyes, it was hard to think of anything.
"The Philistines proposed that Israel bring out a 'champion' to face their champion, Goliath, and that the war be fought and decided by the two champions. But the people of Israel were terrified. Who would be able to face Goliath?"
A change was coming over Beastly; the darkness was fading from her eyes.
"Twice a day, for forty days, the Philistine champion came out, but nobody was brave enough to stand up and fight him."
Beastly slid off the man and sat on the floor beside him, crossing her legs like an Indian. The wild look was completely gone, and she was once more a little girl.
"In the country, there lived a little shepherd boy, the youngest of eight brothers, whose name was David. His father called him and gave him some corn and bread and cheese and sent him to check on his three oldest brothers, who were part of the army of Israel. So David left his sheep with a keeper and traveled to the battlefront."
Emery could feel the eyes of the three frightened adults shifting from her to Beastly and back again. But Beastly had eyes only for Emery.
"When David arrived at the battle front, he saw Israel encamped on a mountainside and the Philistines on the mountainside opposite them, with a valley between them. Both armies rose up to fight, and David cheered for them. Then he left the gift of food with the food-keeper and ran to the army to find his brothers."
Beastly's eyebrows rose. "He ran...toward the army?" The left corner of her mouth pulled back until she had a half-grin on her face. Apparently she liked this David-character already.
"He found his brothers and while he was talking to them...GOLIATH came out!" Emery made the most intimidating face she could muster. "He was over 9 feet tall -- a massive man! On his head, he wore a helmet of brass. And he wore a coat of mail that weighed 5,000 shekels of brass. The staff of his spear was thick and long like a weaver's beam, and the spear head was frightfully large."
Beastly's eyes were wide and her mouth drooped open as if her mind was too overwhelmed with Goliath to bother holding it shut.
"The giant lifted his mighty voice against the people of Israel." Emery raised her voice and filled it with mockery. "'Why are you lined up for battle like this? Let's solve this simply. Aren't I a Philistine? And you are people of Israel? Pick your own hero and let him come down and fight me! We'll settle this between the two of us.'" Emery looked scornfully around the room. "'If your hero can defeat me, the Philistines will become your servants. How is that for an offer?'" Emery curled her lip. "'But if I kill your hero, then your country will serve mine.'"
Beastly's breaths came quick and short.
Emery raised her fist and shouted, "'I defy the armies of Israel!'" She turned to the wall nearest her and slammed her fist against it. "'Give me a man to fight me!'"
Then Emery caught her breath, dropping the Goliath persona. She looked around the room, taking time to notice each face. They were all watching her, but they didn't see her anymore. They were standing just above the valley in Israel, watching in terror as the giant threatened them all.
"The men of Israel ran from the fierce giant. As they cowered behind their lines, they whispered about the great rewards that would be offered to the man who faced the giant. But no one was brave enough to risk certain death to claim the rewards." Emery's voice was hushed, speaking just above a whisper, as if she, too, were hiding from Goliath.
Beastly crossed her arms and chewed on a finger.
"David overheard them. And he asked, 'What will be done for the man who defeats this Philistine and takes away Israel's shame? For who does this ungodly man think he is? What power has he against the armies of the living God?'"
"And the men of Israel told him that the king had promised great riches and the princess's hand in marriage to the man who defeated Goliath. And he had promised freedom to the hero and his father's household." Emery paused a minute to collect her thoughts and then crossed her arms. "But his oldest brother heard him asking these questions and he scolded him harshly. In his eyes, naughty little David had left his sheep and sneaked down to see the battle..."