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Jun 05, 2020 7:08 PM
Imrainai in Gilead
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She's pretty sure the first meal of the day is breakfast regardless of when you have it, but you know what, all right.

"Thank you. Is there a time I should set an alarm for tomorrow?"

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"It's in your journal."

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" - thank you, sorry, I'll try to finish reading it today."

Aaaaa.

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"I'll leave you to your quiet time, then."

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"Thank you, ma'am."

OK, clearly the first thing she needs to do is look at her daily chores, if there's a schedule then it's probably in that section, maybe?

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It is!

There are, in fact, two daily chores lists, one for even days and one for odd days. It looks like Serena split the household chores in half and Keturah is alternating halves. 

There is also a helpful note that Keturah should "feel free to ask for help anytime."

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OK. She can work with this. Is there a schedule that says what she's supposed to be doing at different times of the day, she feels like she's gonna need to know that in order to budget energy and mentally prepare herself and stuff.

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There is indeed a schedule! From 2pm to 3pm every day is designated "Free Time".

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Thaaat's not very much free time, but she's been on mission trips that were roughly that constrained, and she survived them. They were only a week long and they were hard and they drained her but she's gonna try not to think about that. If she gets desperate she can always lie awake for a couple hours at night or something.

She sets the room's alarm clock for tomorrow and checks how much quiet time she has left.

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Serena allotted fifteen minutes for daily quiet time!

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That's not very much but she has what she has. She scribbles a prayer in her journal in very very tiny letters, three lines to a line (she has no idea what her paper supply is going to look like). She cracks open the Bible and checks on Habakkuk where she left him, that seems like an appropriate quiet time activity.

For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs.

They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.

Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.

They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.

Fun times. This sure is gonna be a day, isn't it.

She shuts her Bible and heads downstairs.

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Then she can help make bacon and eggs for breakfast!

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She can do this! She hasn't made bacon and eggs before but she's sure she can figure it out given proper guidance.

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As she cracks the eggs, Serena says, "the Coopers down the street also have a new Handmaid, Emily. Would you like to run errands with her this morning?"

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"Sure, I'd love to." She has no idea what other sorts of people end up becoming handmaids and she's a little scared to find out, but that seems terribly hypocritical at this point.

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"Do you think you will be able to grocery shop on your own with Emily, or should I accompany you?"

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"Oh, uh - I'm sure I can do grocery shopping if I'm given a list? I'm a little worried about getting lost on the way, I haven't been there before, but if Emily has then hopefully that will be fine? But a map might be good anyway."

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"I understand why they don't let Handmaids have phones, but it is not a realistic simulation of what being married is actually like and makes things very difficult for the host families."

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- oh are they supposed to be simulating marriage. Right. Yes. They're going to marry her off after this to someone who believes what they believe, that's the only way out. Don't think about how terrifying that is.

"I'm sorry, ma'am. I'm afraid I don't have a very good sense of direction on my own."

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"That's quite all right, I'll make you a map and I'm sure Emily will have an excellent sense of direction."

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"Thank you, ma'am."

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Time passes!

Serena Joy is tough, but fair and patient, and she never asks Keturah to do something she wouldn't do. If Keturah is competent at something, she backs off; if Keturah is unskilled, she shows Keturah again and again. Keturah's days consist of prayer, tutoring refugees, cleaning, cooking, and studying theology and Greek. 

The time for the Ceremony approaches. 

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Every time he sees her, Nick stares at her emotionlessly.

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Fred occasionally wins at Narnia Stratego!

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Keturah reads more of the minor prophets and tries to be the sort of person she can be proud of. She's not entirely sure how to do this. If the only thing she has to do is endure, just keep existing, then she can do that, sure. If she has to avoid condoning sin no matter what, then -

If she refuses to participate in the ceremony, they'll take her to prison and impregnate her there. Nothing will have been accomplished. But if you're trying to be your best self, then you can't go along with the demands of evil, even when you don't have the strength to stop evil from hurting you for it.

She doesn't want to go to prison. She doesn't want to go to hell. She doesn't want to have to face her creator and tell Him that she knew what the right thing to do was, and she gave up on doing it because it sounded scary and she liked having the chance to study Greek. But it is scary, and she spends the days leading up to the ceremony having frequent crying fits and making herself sick with fear.

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