A Light to the Past

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Wassup, y’all?  I enjoyed all your answers to my surveys, and I learned your least favorite posts are writing advice.  (Haha, guess those won’t be showing up on my blog. 😛 )  I was honestly astonished to see that encouragement posts were the top ranking, which makes me a little bit happy.  What made me a LOT happier was to see that my rambling posts were the second favorite. 😉

(Oh, and if you voted for videos as your favorite, I plan to post more consistently on my YouTube channel, so check it out here.  I won’t post every video I post there on my blog, so I just thought I’d let you know.)

Today I’m going to give you a short story I wrote for a contest.  The theme of the contest was true love, and I wrote on a topic that is fairly close to my heart.  Before you begin, however, I must warn you that it’s not exactly kid-friendly.  If you’re under the age of 12, please ask your parent or guardian to look over it first.  I try not to write anything that I wouldn’t read to my younger siblings, but this story is a more adult-ish topic.  Thanks. ❤


A Light to the Past

 

This might never be told, or it might leak out on a rainy day, when only tears can wash it away.  Lenna looked up from her notebook and let her gaze fall on the fire that crackled in the hearth.  The mountain cabin was quiet, and most importantly, it was safe.  But not safe enough to keep the memories from haunting her.  The past was still the past, and she hadn’t let it go. The memories flooded in, faster and thicker, causing her to shiver even with the bright fire beside her.   She drew a deep breath, shaking her head as she pulled her sleeve up and looked at her arm, scared.

“I can’t do it anymore,” Lenna said to her reflection in the mirror.  The makeup had been taken off to reveal the black eye and the puffy lip that he had given her.  Her body was full of bruises, and she knew she wasn’t the only one. A shadow ruled her house, and it loomed over her family, making everyone of them scared of their every movement.  

“I have to do something. I can’t go on.  I just can’t. Oh, I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.” The tears splashed on the counter, and Lenna’s eyes fell on her brother’s knife.  Without thinking, she snatched it, the insults hurled at her flitting through her brain. She set her jaw and shook her head.

“I’m ugly,” she whispered, as she flipped the blade open and slipped it down her arm.  A trickle of red followed, and the rage and hurt in her only grew. “I’m stupid,” she added, making another red line.  “I’ll never be worth anything, I’m retarded, I’m unwanted.” Each time she added something, she let the knife cut deeper, but it didn’t cut deep enough for her.  It didn’t make her arm hurt as much as her heart.

Lenna pulled her sleeve back down her arm and brushed her sleeve across her eye to dry the tear.  She fiddled with her pen before she put it to the paper and continued writing. I’m free from that now, but if you’re reading this you need to know.  I grew up abused, and in constant fear of my father’s shadow. Lenna sighed and bit her lip.

I didn’t know how to handle it, and so I began hurting myself and telling myself lies.  I was anti-social, considered both awkward and shy, so the children at my church and school left me alone.  Alone to my thoughts, to my fears, and to my tears. I had no future and no hope, so I tried to do the only thing I knew.  I decided it was the best thing I could do.

Lenna felt another tear slip down her cheek, a tear for her past self.  Now, she wasn’t only remembering, she was praying that she would have courage for the future.  That others in her situation would have courage to speak out.

Lenna held the blade and idly let it cut up her arm.  Her body was black and blue. He had just hurt her more than ever before…And there was nothing she could do.  Nothing she wanted to do.

She closed her eyes to think.  She was just tired.  She could see no future that was any more appealing than the present or the past.  She was tired of living, and as she thought on it, she realized something.  Just one cut in the right place, and it would all be over.  

She looked numbly at the picture she had pulled up on her phone.  There, that was were the vein was, it wouldn’t hurt. At least, she had gotten used to the pain on her arms.  It would be quick, and then it would be over. No more physical, no more emotional, no more mental pain.

It would be better for everyone.  No one cared for her, no one wanted her.  She wouldn’t be a worry to her mother, she wouldn’t be a bother to her brother, and he could never get her again.  She would be safe.

Suddenly, a wave of emotion flooded over Lenna.  It was like blood rushing to someone’s numb limb, and the pain of the emotion caused the tears fall, splashing to the floor.  She savagely slashed at her leg, the only way for her to express her emotions.

“I hate myself.  Oh, how I hate myself!” she burst through gritted teeth.  She paused in exhaustion from the emotion and watched with interest as the blood dripped on the floor.  A book was sitting on the bathroom counter, and she pulled it toward her. It was a Bible, and it flipped to Jeremiah 29:11.  “For I know the plans I have for you.”

Lenna’s thoughts whirled.  If God knew, wouldn’t He stop this?  But the verse went on to say they were plans of hope.  Maybe, maybe she could get through just one more day.

Lenna wiped the tear away, and silently thanked God for saving her from that path.  From taking a life that was only God’s to take. The dark clouds then seemed darker than she could bare, but a smile broke through, happy this time, when she thought of the next thing that had happened.  The only bit of sunshine that had crossed her past.

“Hey, squirt, what’s your name?” Lenna looked up to see the new boy at church standing near her.  Her eyes instinctively dropped to the ground, and she remained silent as the boy’s eyes looked her over.  “I’m Andy, by the way.”

“I’m Lenna,” Lenna gathered enough courage to look up into his eyes.  

“Why were you standing over there alone?” he asked, following Lenna as she started walking towards the woods nearby.  

“I don’t have any friends,” Lenna answered, her eyes nervously darting around.

“Well, that won’t do, will it?  But I don’t have any friends at the moment, either.  Just moved, and so I thought I’d get to know you.” Andy grinned, and tried to catch her eye, but Lenna resolutely kept hers to the ground.

“Interesting,” Lenna said, finally sneaking a look at the boy walking beside her.  Andy was lanky, with sandy blond hair, and blue eyes that continually sought the sky.  He had a type of jumpy spring to his step that made one think he was going to take the world in one stride.  

“What do you enjoy doing?” Andy asked, his blue eyes locking with Lenna’s.

“Nothing,” Lenna said quickly, crossing her arms over her chest.  

“C’mon, you have to like something,” Andy answered.

“I like quiet, walking, the woods.”

“I like the woods and walking as well, but I doubt I’m ever quiet, so I guess I don’t like silence.” Andy broke into a wide smile, a smile that scrunched his eyes and added a twinkle to them.

“I don’t talk much.”  

“Then we’ll get along,” Andy flashed another smile.  “I’ll talk for the both of us, as long as you help. Oh, and I heard we’re going to the same school.”  The random fact made Lenna feel wary. She couldn’t let him find out, and yet, as time went on, it got harder and harder.

One summer day, Lenna remembered, they had been walking out in the woods, and Lenna had gotten hot, so she had carefully rolled up her long sleeves.

“Why do you wear long sleeves in summer, anyway?” Andy had asked.  

“Oh, just do,” Lenna shrugged, looking at the ground.

“Here, take that jacket off, silly,” Andy said, but Lenna backed away.

“No, I don’t want to,” she answered, looking around for an escape.

“Why not?  It’s hot, you might get a heat stroke.”

I’m good,” Lenna said stubbornly, slowly backing away.

“Just roll your sleeves up, it won’t hurt you.”  Andy coaxed as he walked closer. “Is something wrong?” He paused when he saw Lenna’s face.

“No, I’m fine,” she sucked in her breath.  “I’ll take the jacket off.” Lenna let the security of the jacket drop off her arms, showing the scars and a few new red lines.  

“Lenna…” Andy trailed off, a puzzled expression on his face before a look of understanding flashed.  “Lenna, I…”

Lenna squeezed her eyes shut, trying to keep the tears from falling.  “Andy,” she breathed. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

“Lenna, don’t go,” Andy grabbed her hand to keep her from running.  “It’s all right. You don’t have to do it anymore.”

“You don’t understand,” was her only response before she ran away.  Away to a different part of the woods where she could hear Andy calling her for the next fifteen minutes.  

Lenna smiled as she picked up an old journal and flipped through it.  There was a red rose, the rose she had found on her doorstep when she came home, left there by the person who knew her problem, and the person that was trying to understand.  The person who actually stayed.

Andy hadn’t left, but he didn’t know the whole story.  At least, not enough. She had never had enough courage to speak her mind, to take the time to tell him and take him to her past.  The past that had scarred her, and left her with a burden.

But then, she smiled again as she remembered something else.  The love and concern of a humanly friend had led her to the real sun, the Son of God.  In a way, that to her was as magical as the fairy tales she had delighted in when she was younger. She had learned about the love of a God.  A love so strong, that it wasn’t even destroyed in the second strongest force on earth…Death.

Then, there was that Valentine’s day in the last year of highschool.  Andy had already graduated the year before, and he had astonished everyone by skipping college and working for his family’s business.  

“Hey, squirt,” Andy greeted, as he pulled up in front of the school.

“What are you doing here, Andy?” Lenna asked.  

“Thought I’d bring you home.  Your mom invited me to dinner, and your school is on the way to your house.”

“Yeah, but it’s three in the afternoon, not six,” Lenna answered, opening the car door and dropping into the passenger seat.

“Coffee can fill the time.”

“Really?” Lenna’s brows went up in mock surprise.  “I thought we would just go home and pass the time staring at each other.”

“I like staring at you anywhere, so it’s up to you where we go.”  Lenna squirmed at the tone and words, and yet, they warmed a part in her heart that had been locked up her whole life. But she couldn’t trust anyone.  She had to protect herself. “Lenna? Where are we going?”

Lenna swallowed before pasting the smile she had grown accustomed to wearing on her face.  “Let’s go for coffee. It’s an adventure, right?”

Andy let out a laugh, scrunching his eyes and adding the twinkle that made them irresistible.  Soon they were at the coffee shop, sitting across from each other. “So, what are you going to do once you get out of highschool?”

Lenna shivered slightly as she thought about her home, and she knew she would do anything to get away from it.  “I don’t know.”

Andy leaned halfway across the table.  “Lenna, I love you, and I want to share the rest of my life with you…”

“No, Andy,” Lenna interrupted, “You don’t understand.”

“Don’t I?  You’ve stopped hurting yourself, and you can move on.  I’ll help you, and I need you to help me. I want you to love me, Lenna.”

“But, Andy, what is true love? What is love in action? How can I love you?” Lenna felt a cold fear settle on her.  She had known Andy for almost four years now, but could she really trust him?

“The greatest love the world has ever known came through Jesus.” Andy answered.  “All throughout my life I have wondered, how do I give that to others? When I first saw you all alone, I knew that I should show you the love of Christ.  You stood as a withered flower, asking someone to help, someone to show you the love of your Heavenly Father. And I tried, Lenna. Now I realize that God has ordained it that we should become one, and model Christ’s love for the church.  Lenna, will you trust me?”

Lenna fingered the two rings on her left hand, and looked up with a smile as a well-known step walked down the hallway.  There were still tears on her cheek, and she knew that tonight, as the blizzard roared outside, she would tell Andy about the things she had been too scared to talk about before.  Today, she had the courage to bring a light to the past, because today she had courage enough to forgive and to love the father who had abused her. She looked at the Bible next to her, and read the verse about love before Andy sat down.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” And then she remembered what her Savior had said when he walked this earth. “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”

Lenna took a deep breath as Andy sat beside her and threw his arm over her shoulders.  “Andy, I have a lot to tell you…”

~~Amie~~

Guest Post by Snowball Rabbit

The sounds of a scampering step sounded in the empty Crazy A studio.  The chair marked with a teal A was empty, and the table had scattered papers on it.  A little white creature pushed the chair back, and climbed into it.

“Oh, bother her!” It said, as it had to make the chair higher to look over the table.  A red light flickered at intervals, and Snowball looked at it.  “Wonder what that thing is.  Hullo?  Hmm, no one’s here.  What was Amie thinking when she told me to come in here alone?  Doesn’t she know I’m a rabbit?

Well, we’ll have to make the best of it.  What are these papers?  Hmm, White Christmas?  What’s that for?  Iraq soldier song?  What is going on in Amie’s brain?  Here’s a notebook.  That might help and tell me what to do.”  Snowball squinted at the paper.

Looking in the mirror and what do I see?

Eyes too big and a noise that doesn’t suit nicely.

Looking in the mirror, I’m not sure I’m happy

With what’s looking back at me.

“Bah!  Nonsense.  I always knew Amie was full of nonsense.  I mean, just read her blog.  Apparently she’s expecting me to make a post that will fill her blog with amazing readers.  This must be her poetry journal.  Let’s find the next paper.

Cara Elisabeth,

Salve! Ego scribere humus scholae.  Latin purūs lingua…

What is this?  Another language?  I’ve only been taught to read English.  Let’s see…Hmm, notes about essays, written essays, a blog post she’s already posted, questions for friends…WHY DOESN’T AMIE WRITE JUICY TIDBITS?  Now I know why she bribed me with bananas to write this post.

MORE POETRY?  I need to tell her to stop.  Listen to this nonsense.

A simple prayer

Isn’t enough

A small little whisper

wasn’t tough

Sounds like more stuff to find in greeting cards.  Hey hey!  Here are some good short stories…I know exactly what I’ll do.  Now, how do you turn on the mic?  HELLO?  Sound man?  What, you’re not a man?  And I’ve been rolling this whole time?  Uh-oh, Amie’s going to be mad…Well, I’ll do what she asked anyway.

An Unseen Frank

by Snowball Rabbit

Twice upon a time, in a land not so far away, there was a boy named Augustine Terrance Lumpus.  All together he was a nice boy, though, of course he did steal from the cookie jar, but that was slender.  And perhaps he did forget to clean behind his ears, but that didn’t make him a bad boy, did it?  Augustine was known by all as an altogether pleasant chap, fun fellow, a chummy comrade.

Augustine was an only child, and as close to an orphan as a child with two parents can get.  His parents were constantly globe-trotting, and having a good time at social events while poor Augustine Terrence was left all alone in their large, dark house.  That is why Augustine firmly believed in the unseen.  So firmly, that Augustine constantly had conversations with the unseen.  Why, he had five unseen brother named Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Frank.  Of course, when he had named them, he hadn’t known there was only four gospels.  He was pretty sure he had heard about the gospel of Frank in his Sunday school class, but he wasn’t quite sure.

On this particular day, his unseen brothers were playing with him in the garden.  It was Frank’s turn to hide, and they all had to seek him.

“Now Frank,” Gus, as his brothers called him, said.  “Don’t hide too hard or I’ll never find you.”  Frank simply nodded his unseen head, and bounded unseen away.  Now, Augustine knew the rules of hide and seek, but he didn’t know exactly the right way to count to fifty, so he counted until he felt fifty had passed.

“One another number, two another number, three another number, four another number, five another number.  Do you think that’s enough, John?” When John nodded his unseen head, Augustine marched to find unseen Frank, with the help of unseen Matthew, Mark, Luke, and, of course, John.

“Where, oh where can he be?” Augustine sang, skipping down the garden path, knowing that his unseen friends were having just as much unseen fun as he was.  They looked high and low, in the bushes and in the trees, but Frank wasn’t in the garden.

“Dear oh dear!  Where could Frank have wondered off to?” Augustine worried, pulling at his little golden curls.  “I know!  He has gone to the park to play.  Come on, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.”

Together they crossed the busy streets, almost being run over, and made it five blocks away to the park.  Augustine bravely walked in, and set to looking for lost, unseen Frank. The bushes seemed the best hiding place for Frank, and there were so many, so Augustine fell to work.

Finally, he came to the very last bush.  It was a very large bush, so Augustine would have to walk all the way around it.  As he did so, he called Frank’s name.

“Hullo!  How do you know my name, chap?” A boy asked, looking up from his book with big, questioning eyes.  Augustine stopped in his tracks.

“Are you my Frank?” Augustine asked.

“I dunno.  Are you my Gus?” Frank asked, though he seemed to be teasing.

“That’s what my Frank calls me.  Oh, Frank, you’ve become seen!” Augustine threw his arms around the older boy’s neck, and the boy looked startled.

“I do declare, this chap’s off his rocker, but he can’t harm me.  There, Gus, what is your real name?”

“Augustine Terrance Lumpus, sir.  And I’m not the second, nor the third.  I’m simply the only Augustine Terrance Lumpus.”

“Well, aren’t you something?  Where is your mum?” Frank asked, standing up and offering his hand to the young fellow.

“I don’t know.  Probably at some luncheon.  She’s very busy,” Augustine explained.  Frank wisely said nothing, simply started off in the well-known direction of the Lumpus establishment.

“I’m really very surprised you became seen, Frank,” Augustine started the conversation again.

“And what do you mean be seen?” Frank asked.  “I’ve always been seen.”

“By me, yes, but no one else had eyes to see you seen, you know,” Augustine said confidently.  “I didn’t want to hurt your feelings by telling you so.”

Frank didn’t know what to think, so he did the only thing sensible boys would do…He asked a question.  “What does unseen mean, chap?”

“Unseen things are like God.  Only certain people can see God.  And even then they don’t really see God, they just know He’s there because He shows himself to them.  God can’t make Himself seen like you did, Frank, because He’s so bright He’d hurt our eyes.”

“Is that so?” Frank asked, thinking that the reason we couldn’t see God was because of our own sinfulness, not God’s brightness.

“Oh, yes.  You see, God is very bright, and we are used to the very dark.  So when the brightness of God comes to close to our very dark, our very dark isn’t very dark anymore.  It’s as black as pitch.  You know, so black that it’s purple?”

“Ah, I see.”

“Yes, it makes it easier to see now that you’re seen, doesn’t it?  But seeing the unseen is only for people who have eyes to see, and choose to use those eyes.  You’re my own unseen Frank made seen.”

Frank smiled down at the little boy.  He didn’t know how to answer to this absurdness, but he liked it anyway. “Now, where are unseen Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John?” Augstine asked, and Frank looked stumped.

The End

Cut! CUT!  Whew, that’s over.  Now, I hope no one notices that’s an unfinished story.  Amie really should work harder on finishing her short stories.  Well, sound woman, our job is done.  Wait?  We’re still rolling?  BUT I SAID!  Oh, I have to say goodbye?

Good bye, all you humans.  Watch out, or the bunny kind will come to make you stay in order.  I had best be gone.

Truly,

Snowball Rabbit.

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Snowball Rabbit is the pet of Amie.  He is known for his friendly licks, love of hopping, and devouring apples at frightening rate.  He is a very handsome and patriotic rabbit.  An Uncle Sam in the rabbit world.  (And he wants you!  Just kidding 😂)

Another quick fiction

Hello, guys!  I felt like I should share this short story I wrote yesterday.  Haha, and that’s only because I didn’t want to take any pictures, or spend a long time on a post.  Enjoy!

Operation Killer

The heavy morning mist came up from the ground as we stood.  All two hundred of us looking the same, and yet, not the same.  We wore the same uniform, carried the same weight, and were on the same mission.  There was a bond between us that none could break, no, not even death.

I rested the a hundred pounds of dead weight I had to carry on the ground.  All together, I was trusting a parachute to carry roughly two hundred and fifty pounds to safety on the ground.  Well, I didn’t like to think of it that way, and neither did my comrades.  We trusted that we’d make it safe, like we had the millions of times before. 

“In a brown study, eh?” Asked one of my comrades, Phil Jensen.  He was briskly bouncing up and down, his thumbs slid under the straps of his gear.  He was cocky, full of spice, and occasionally annoying. 

“No,” I answered quickly.

“Aw, Ed, we all know that death isn’t something to take cheerfully,” Phil continued.  I winced just slightly.  We were the trained 17th Ranger Regiment after all, we should face death with a feeling of steel, shouldn’t we?  Trained in Georgia, and sent out to all the special and elite missions, we were the top notches.  Similar to the Navy SEALS.  

Not only did I wince at death, but I couldn’t stand to be called Ed.  My whole life I was Ned, and whenever someone shortened it to Ed…Well, it got on my nerves.

“You’re a brick, Phil,” I said, my voice heavy with sarcasm.  I looked at the sun, that rose in splendor above us.  The sky was streaked with orange, red, and a blush pink, and it all reminded me that we were soon to be packed like cattle into a C-119 “flying boxcar.”  

“Thanks,” Phil grinned his crooked grin, before turning his attention to another paratrooper.  I was dreading the flight.  Once the jump was over, all was well.  Perhaps you had to attack the Chinese and Koreans, but you were full of adrenaline, and you had already been trained for that.  It was the long, stuffy ride that made me sick to my stomach.  

At least I wasn’t one of the men that vomited.  Many a time I had to ride 170 miles with someone’s lunch in my lap.  We were packed so close together, that those in charge would walk on our laps to get from one end of the plane to the other.  At times, the pilots delighted in make our stomachs churn with the spins they would make the plane take.  By the time it was time to jump, you were more than ready.

Now, we were facing Operation Killer.  I always thought that name was fitting.  On this mission, there were 700 Rangers, and over 2000 paratroopers.  We were to go behind enemy lines southwest of Seoul, the capital of South Korea.  The village was called Munsan-ni, and we were facing not only the North Koreans, but the Chinese “volunteers.” 

We were to be dropped on rice paddies, and the goal was to trap the Chinese and North Koreans.  The date?  Why, it was Good Friday in 1951.  If we seceded in our mission, it would indeed be a good Friday. 

We were marshaled into the planes, and the trip was long.  Many of the men squirmed as the plane went higher and higher.  The constant drone of the plane’s engine was soothing, at least to me, but the altitude was making my ears to pop. 

Before I was ready, we were told it was time to jump.  One after another, we were rudely shoved out the door if we didn’t jump fast enough.  As I waited for my turn, I steeled my nerves.  These weren’t people I was fighting and killing.  They couldn’t be.  They wouldn’t do this if they weren’t.

But I knew they were people.  And I knew that this wasn’t the way God had intended for people to resolve their conflicts.  Before I had finished my prep talk, I was rudely shoved out of the door.  

For one moment, panic lurched in my throat.  I reached for my parachute, and pulled the string.  Suddenly, I wasn’t dropping, but slowly floating.  Quickly, I shoved my gun from me, and released my pack.  There, all was done, and I could watch my comrades flying around me.  I would be all right…As long as I landed rightly.  And the strings didn’t break that were attached to my gun.  

The parachuting was all too short, and yet it seemed to last hours.  Suddenly, I touched the ground, and was covered by my large parachute.  The ground was wet, and my boots sank in the mud.  I took off my parachute in a hurried frenzy, and followed the strings to my pack, and my gun.  The relief of about forty pounds of parachute off my back was wonderful, but now a purpose was rooted in me.  There was only one thing to do to get out of this alive, and that was to make sure they didn’t get out of this alive.  

I looked around me and saw my comrades going through the same process. The steel in my blood spurred me onward.  The battle had begun. 

The gunfire started, and soon the pristine mountain air was clouded with the smokey gunpowder smell.  The ritual of firing continue.  My trusty M1 Garand pinged with every bullet I let fly.  After so many bullets, it was time to reload.  I was a fast reloader, and soon I was again in action.  

During the blood boiling scene, I felt a hot searing in my left calf.  Without realizing it, I fell to my knees.  The shock was etched across my face as I continued to topple downward.  I couldn’t catch myself.  My leg wasn’t responding. 

As fast as the searing had come, it left, but only to have pain that returned with a gut-wrenching quality.  I lay on the ground, my comrades jumping over me, or avoiding me.  I was alone, watching the battle take place from the ground.  I propped myself up, and scooted myself to a rock.  I must keep fighting.  A Ranger always fights until death.

As I managed to get to a rock, I started to think.  Why did God allow this to happen?  And as I thought I remembered my mother, who always said, “Never fight a war unless you know it’s just.”  Was this war just?

The pain made me see spots, and I looked down to see my pant leg a dark red, a red so dark it was almost brown.  I began to think about all the wars in Scripture.  Usually they didn’t seem just.  What was a just war?  Was there such a thing?

My mind drifted back to Sunday school, and the garden of Eden.  Suddenly, I paused before I pulled the trigger.  The reason we were all like this was because of sin.  It was sin, and the world would always be polluted by sin.  There never would be a just war, and there would never be an end to war in this world.

But there would be a world where there was an end to wars.  Would I be there when it happened?  Just as sharp as the bullet that had torn my leg was the feeling of guilt that pierced my heart.  I was the reason that Jesus was hung up there on that tree.  It was my fault.

There, in the bloody battle field, I had my heart washed white as snow.  Washed with the crimson blood that Jesus shed on Calvary.  I was picked up off the field later that day.  We had killed over 300 of the enemy, and had captured 131, but that didn’t matter to me.  I was saved, not from being a POW, but from being lost in Hell forever, where the fire burns continually.  

I continued as a Ranger, but my view of death was not the same.  I was purged by the blood of Jesus, and I knew where I was going if a bullet did find it’s mark.  I was saved. 

laurels+flowers_0001_Vector Smart Object

What did y’all think?  Do you enjoy short stories?  Would you like more?  What is your favorite kind of post on Crazy A?

~~Amie~~

Flash Fiction: In the Hay

So, I read Anna‘s amazing post, and then I read Kate‘s amazing post, and then I said I would write a flash fiction with a friend.  So what happened?  Jac agreed to join me on my crazy adventure, and we both wrote a quick story.  Well, her story was quick.  My story?  Well, I’ll let you read it, but it’s like the beginning of a book.  I’m bad at writing short stories.

BUT!  Before I get any farther I need to promote myself.  Last post I forgot to do this, so…Yeah.  Anyway, check out my giveaway!  It ends on August 31, and y’all don’t want to miss the opportunity to get this AMAZING mystery book.  Who doesn’t want to read something that’s called haunted?  So, check out the giveaway here.

And now…For the prompt.

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And now…

In the Hay

The cheerful sound of whistling filled the air as a tall, muscular lad walked towards the barn.  He held two buckets full of feed, and the evening sun made his sandy brown hair sparkle. He whistled loudly as his boots accompanied him with a rhythmic clip clop.  

“Hello, guys,” David spoke cheerfully to the horses, who stood in their stalls.  It was his job to give them some feed before dark. He did his job with energetic goodwill, speaking to each animal in turn.  To finish off, he had to go up to the loft to get some hay.

“We’ll roll the old chariot along, we’ll roll the old chariot along,” he sang softly as he ascended the ladder.  When his head peaked over the hay, he nearly fell backwards at what he saw.

“Great Scot!”  And his hand flew to his hat to keep it in place.  Lying stretched out in the hay was a  girl in her early teens.  Her hat was pulled down to cover her face, and she was dressed in rather plan, but warm, clothes.  

David stood there for a moment, wondering what to do.  She appeared to be asleep, but how could anyone sleep through all the noise he had just been making? Deciding what to do, David rapidly descended the ladder and ran back to the sleepy farmhouse where his family lived.  He burst through the door, interrupting a quiet family circle in the kitchen.

“Dad, Mom, Kit, Jonathan, Joanna!” He burst out.  “Come see what I’ve found!”

The older people in the room were sitting at the table, leisurely sipping coffee, while two young girls were washing the dishes.  

Kit, who looked about seventeen, looked up at David in disbelief.  “Please tell me that it isn’t kittens again.”

“It’s not,” David replied.  “Jonny, tell them it’s not kittens!”

Jonathan, who was lying on the floor, looked about eleven.  “It’s not kittens,” Jonathan said passively.

“C’mon, guys!” Joanna, who was glad of an excuse to skip washing dishes, threw down her rag.  “Let’s go see what David found.”

Mr. and Mrs. Fowler exchanged glances before standing up and following David and Joanna.  Jonathan jumped up and threw the wood he had been whittling and his knife on the table.

“Well,” Kit said aloud, “I suppose I shall come, too.”  The whole party made there way into the stable, and one by one they climbed up the ladder.  There, in the loft, lay the girl.

“Good heavens!” Mr. Fowler exclaimed.  “It’s a girl!” That exclamation seemed to wake the girl from her deep slumber.  Everyone else had been so surprised that they had been unable to say a thing. Now, Kit spoke.

“What are we going to do with her?”

The girl sat up, and slid her hat to the back of her head as she looked at the family with wide eyes.  She had a thin face with large blue eyes and a small nose. Delicate and determination seemed to clash in her face, for her chin was rather square, her eyebrows were rather thick, and her lips had a determined way to them.

“What in the world are you doing here?” Mr. Fowler asked abruptly.

“Charles!” Mrs. Fowler rebuked.  “He means, would you like some tea, dear?”

The girl looked from Mrs. Fowler’s worn, wrinkled face, to Mr. Fowler’s weathered scowl, and back again.  The children subconsciously stepped out of the limelight.

“Sir, I really am sorry,” the girl began, and stopped.  She stood up, and looked like a frightened hare. She took a few steps back to a small window that they had in the loft.  The shutters were closed like usual, but the girl unlocked them, and threw it open.

“Thank you for the bed,” she whispered, before jumping out of the window.  It was just big enough for her to slip through.

“Holy Smokes!” Mr. Fowler exclaimed, as Jonathan ran to the window.  David flew down the ladder, with Joanna behind them. Both regularly trained for races, and were known to be fast.  They dashed around the corner of the stable, and saw the girl’s black hair in the distance.

The race was on, and David threw all his energy into it.  He suspected that slip of a girl wasn’t the fastest runner.  In his hurry, he forgot about setting his pace to match Joanna’s.  Soon, he left her far behind.

Up in the loft, Jonathan was staring at the running forms.  Kit was standing there, her hand had flown to her neck in surprise when the girl had dropped from the window, and there it had remained.  Mr. Fowler was pacing back and forth in the loft, and Mrs. Fowler clutched her apron corner.

“How did that girl do it?” Mr. Fowler demanded, running his fingers through his sandy hair.

“Oh, I hope the girl hasn’t injured herself,” Mrs. Fowler said softly.  

“Injured herself!  I hope she hasn’t injured any of my property!” Mr. Fowler bellowed.

“Oh, dear,” Kit said, finally regathering her wits.  “If I did that, it would scare me heebies-jeebies!”

“You were already scared stiff just thinking about it,” Jonathan remarked.  

“I just hope David catches her,” was Mrs. Fowler’s final thought.

David’s breath was ragged as he neared the girl.  She had hopped fences, and dashed around trees. Now, she was tiring, and David spurred himself onward.  He watched her stumble, and slow.

Picking up his speed, he reached out and grabbed her arm.

“Ow!  Let me go, I tell you!” The girl stood, and faced him with a frustrated pucker to her brow.  “Unhand me!” She stomped her foot, and scowled fiercely.

“I’ll unhand you as soon as you come back to our ranch.  Ma has a bit of tea ready for you to sip, and we’ll all just have a chat.”

“I don’t need to chat, and I do not like tea.” She held up her small nose haughtily.

“Well, we have coffee and cocoa, too.  I’m David, by the way.” David said, walking her slowly back in the direction they had come.  David was glad when he could see the farmhouse. The whole walk home had been uncomfortable, as the girl had said nothing the entire time.  She seemed to stiffen as the neared the house, but David tried to ignore that. He just hoped she wouldn’t bolt.

He opened the door, and led her into the kitchen.  Everyone was in the same positions as earlier. Kit and Joanna were almost finished with the dishes, and Jonathan lay on the floor with what he was whittling.  Mr. and Mrs. Fowler were at the table discussing the unusual happenings of the night.

“Here she is,” David announced, and that sent everyone scrambling.  Jonathan again dropped his wood and knife. Thankfully, the knife missed his foot.  Mr. and Mrs. Fowler stood, scooting the chairs across the floor. Joanna left go of a plate, sending it shattering to the ground, and Kit did nothing but stare.

“Excuse our manners, deary,” Mrs. Fowler said hastily.  “You see, we live so far out from civilization we forget what another human being looks like.”  Mrs. Fowler ended her sentence with a nervous chuckle.

“Here,” Mrs. Fowler pulled the chair out before nudging Mr. Fowler.

“Hello, Miss,” Mr. Fowler quickly pulled off his hat, and motioned to the chair.  “Please, be seated. David, let her go.”

David released the girl, and she slowly (and rather reluctantly) sat down.  Mrs. Fowler was already making tea.

“I hope you don’t mind black?  Joanna, clean up this plate.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Joanna said, walking to find the dustpan and brush.  The girl said nothing, simply sitting mutely at the table. David and Jonathan stood near Kit, who was draining the dishwater.  Mr. Fowler stood by the table, fiddling with his hat.

“Now, there you go, dear,” Mrs. Fowler set a teacup in front of the girl, and sat down across from them.  “Everyone, come sit down and stop standing around like fish out of water.” Mrs. Fowler’s family obeyed her, all except Joanna, who was still cleaning up the dish fragments.

“May I ask what your name is?” Mrs. Fowler smiled pleasantly.  Her smile made her face look younger, and sparkled in her eyes.

“You may ask,” the girl nodded, “But I might not answer.”

Mr. Fowler suddenly found a catch in his throat, and turned around with a bit of coughing while Mrs. Fowler smiled.

“What is your name, dear?”

“You can call me Tan.  That might stop you from saying dear so much.”  The girl stirred her tea with her spoon, and avoided all eye contact.  

“Tan, that’s a nice name.”

“You can say that,” the girl snorted, but then David caught her eye.  She immediately turned away, but David hoped she had seen the sternness in his eyes.

“What are you doing here, Tan?  It isn’t often a young girl is caught this far from the real world.” Mrs. Fowler kept up her smiliness.  

“I needed a place to sleep,” Tan shrugged her small shoulders.

“In my barn?” Mr. Fowler spoke up, as Joanna joined the family.

“Well,” Tan had the grace to blush.  “It was rather hard for me to find anywhere else this far out of the way.”

“And that brings us to another question, Tan.” Mrs. Fowler paused to sip her tea.  Her eyes had a sharp look to them, but her mouth continued to smile. “Why were you running away?  And from what were you running?”

“I don’t know nothing about running away,” Tan looked deep into the black tea.

“Tan, we would like to help you.”  Mrs. Fowler reached her hand across the table and patted Tan’s.  “Please, explain why you’re here.”

“I needed help,” Tan’s bright blue eyes looked down, and her determined lips turned in a frown.  “I didn’t know where to go, or what to do, so I came here.”

“Can you tell me your troubles?  The rest can go, if you don’t wish them to stay,” Mrs. Fowler got up, and pulled some pastries out of the pantry.  “I made these tarts today.”

“Thanks,” Tan said, taking one of the pastries and taking a bite. After she had chewed, she started her story.  “I lived with my step-father, and mom. Mom was always sick. She was just sick, and so she married him.” Tan’s eyes narrowed at the last word.  “He was kind to her, but he didn’t want me.  I didn’t want him, either. So…” Tan’s lips puckered, and her eyes sparked hatred.  “When I got old enough, I left.”

David looked supicsiouly at Tan.  Something about everything just wasn’t right, but Mrs. Fowler looked sympathetically at Tan.

“I’m so sorry, dear.  Tonight you’ll stay here, and share a room with Kit and Joanna.  Kit’s full name is Katherine, but we call her Kit for short. They have a lovely room, and I’m sure some of Kit’s clothes will fit you.”

Tan said nothing.  She simply stood up, and followed the girls out of the room.  Once they were out of earshot, Mr. Fowler put his legs on the table.

“I know that girl.”

“You do?” David asked incredulously.

“Yep, sure do,” Mr. Fowler reached towards the plate of pastries and was soon munching on a blackberry tart.

“Well, who is she?” Jonathan and David asked together.

“Well, I haven’t seen her since she was a wee thing, but about a few miles that way–” Mr. Fowler stopped to point in the direction he was indicating.  “Is where she lives. She said mostly the truth.”

“Then she lied?” Jonathan asked, his eyes almost popping out of his head.

“Well, I can’t know for certain, but some mysterious things happen in that neck of the woods.”

“Ooh…” Jonathan looked confused, but Mr. Fowler didn’t explain.  He slapped the table, and put his feet on the floor.

“Time for you bedtime, sonny.”

“Yes, sir,” Jonathan sighed, and he walked up the rickety wooden stairs, soon to be followed by David.

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So…Should I continue it?  What do you think?  Have you ever written a flash fiction?

~~Amie~~

Our Dying Stories…

I know a lot of “writers” who can’t finish a book…or even a short story.  They’re in love with writing, they enjoy it, and they are frustrated by it.  They just can’t come up with a good ending…or a good middle…or a good beginning.

Writing is an art.  Each writer will have their own voice or style.  Sometimes I get critiqued for writing this blog with an “Incorrect” style…In other words, writing this like I’m talking to you.  I try to shrug off those comments, because this is my style.  When writing a book, I don’t write like this, and I most certainly don’t write in first person.

But back to the main topic.  Why are the “writers” having such trouble?  Why can’t they (or you) finish a story?

I found I couldn’t either.  I’d type and type and type…and then after six, seven, eight chapters, I’d fizzle out.   What could I write next?  I just didn’t feel like writing any more.  Who wants to do something when it feels like a chore?

The first time I tried to write a book, I was nine.  No lie, I was nine (or was I eight?) and I had no idea how to write, and my grammar?  Hah!  It was a book called “Flowers” and I have a very justifiable reason why it fizzled out.  I lost the notebook I kept it in.

The second book I tried to write was when I was ten.  Three of my friends and I decided to write a historical fiction.  We couldn’t agree on what should happen, and since it was on my family’s computer, I totally rewrote it.

What did I write about?  The Lee family before the Civil war.  And then I found out it was totally unhistorical, so I gave up.

Giving up is a big problem in all of our lives.  Writers often have a brilliant idea.  They sit down at their computers laughing and saying, “Splendid!” But when the tough part comes, they realize that the book would need a lot of editing.  What’s the best idea?  Ditch it.  Throw it in the trash.  Or, maybe just let it sit.  I’ll get back to it fresh with ideas.

The problem I’ve found with letting it sit is that your fresh ideas don’t line up with your old ideas.  You have totally different views on where you want to take the book, so you might as well ditch it and start a new one.

So, what is the actual answer to people who write me and ask for help with their writing?  There is none.  There isn’t some simple fix to help your dying stories.  You are the only person who can save your writing career, and you are the only person who can ruin it.

A lot of people get scared off by growing pains.  We’ve all felt them in some area of our lives.  They’re unpleasant.  No one enjoys sitting at the computer feeling like your brain is fried.  Someone once told me that when you feel the pain, that’s when it really counts.  When you feel that your story is a failure, and you need to step up the pace, that’s when continuing really counts.

A lot of famous books weren’t so good on the first try.  Their authors had to write…and rewrite…and rewrite.  Want to know why the books are so good?  Because the people didn’t give up.  They persevered.

A lot of “writers” enjoy the title of writer.  They love the fun part of writing, but once it gets hard, they quit.  A lot of “musicians” enjoy playing, or listening to music, but once they have to sacrifice things for what they want to do, they give up.

How then do I get my writing to work?  What is my secret?

Alone, everything I write would be a failure.

No lie.  I’m not kidding here.  I have no talent, I’m not even a good writer.  But there’s Someone who writes through me.

A few weeks ago, I was staring at what I had written asking myself why it was such a flat story.  Why wasn’t it flowing?  Then I realized I had missed and forgotten the most important part of my writing.

I had forgotten to pray.

Without prayer and the fear of God, we can’t write anything but the foolishness.  You need to rely on our Heavenly Father, and evaluate if you really are called to be a writer.  If you are, you will have a hard and rocky journey ahead of you.  Writing is not all sunshine and rainbows.  In fact, there are a lot of tornadoes down the writing path.

The only Person who can get us through the writing path is God.  He’s there to take you, to carry you, and to lead you.  Trust in His strength, for when we are weak, we are strong.

~~Amie~~