Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Something New.

Well, I already forgot, but it was sumptin' new. Brownie points is you got that! :D

Heehee. Anyway. I have decided to start putting bits of one of my short stories on my blog, sort of in a serial, so ya'll can see what they're like. So, here is We Regret to Inform You... and click here to learn about the characters. I am in no way saying this story is perfect, and even reading it this afternoon made me realize stuff I needed to change, but please, tell me what you think, if you have a spare moment.

Dad was a telegram deliverer. Mother always said that it was the hardest job on the home front-- to deliver those hated pieces of paper. Those little yellowish slips of fear.
I knew these telegrams were dreaded, but I had no idea just how much until I was over at my friend Brad’s house. We were playing checkers when the doorbell rang twice.
Brad looked up, the checker dropping from his hand. “Ma?” he called, his voice wobbling.
“I heard,” Mrs. Hanson called from the kitchen, her own voice unsteady. I watched silently as she walked to the door and pulled it open. There stood dad.
“Dad!” I said with surprise.
He didn't even acknowledge me, only held out a brown envelope to Mrs. Hanson. “Telegram for Mrs. Hanson.”
“Th--thank you,” Mrs. Hanson whispered, taking it.
Dad nodded and left, without even looking at me. I watched as Mrs. Hanson opened the envelope. Brad went to stand by her side, his eyes on her face.
“We regret to inform you that your husband, Lieutenant George R. Hanson has been killed in action....” Her words died away and Mrs. Hanson began to cry hysterically. “George! Oh, George!” Her legs buckled and Brad was only barely able to catch her before she fell.
“Jack, help!” I rushed to his side and we lowered his unconscious mother to the couch. Tears gathering in his eyes, Brad picked up the yellow paper and finished reading it. By the time he was done he was crying hard.
I stood by his side, not knowing what to do. Mr. Hanson was dead. I couldn't believe it. Looking at the floor, I spotted a glint of metal and bent down to examine it. It was a medal. “Brad, look.”
He saw the medal and snatched it up, holding it to his chest. “Da.” That was all he said, but he repeated it over and over again. “Da.”
“I’m sorry, Brad,” I mumbled, not knowing of anything else to say. What else was there to say? Mr. Hanson wasn’t coming back. “Should... should I get a doctor for your ma?” I asked hesitantly, after a moment’s pause.
He shook his head numbly. “No. Go away, Jack. Please.”
Slowly, I left the house, my heart as heavy as a stone. When I got home, dad was sitting on the porch, having just gotten off from work. When he saw me, he held out his arms and held me tightly. “I”m sorry you had to see that, Jack.”
I started to cry. “Dad, it doesn’t seem fair!”
“I know, son. I know. But it’s God’s Will.”
“But Mr. Hanson’s never coming back! Brad’ll never see him again!”
“I know. It’s hard for me to accept as well. But at time like this, we can do nothing but hang onto our faith and pray that this war will be over soon.” He looked at me carefully, wiping the tear stains from my cheeks. “But while it lasts, we have to bear it like a man. Like all those boys out on the battlefields are. If they can be soldiers, so can you, Jack.”
I straightened my shoulders and saluted. “Yes, dad.”
He saluted back. “Good boy.”
I leaned into his shoulder. “Doesn’t delivering telegrams hurt you, dad?”
He sighed. “Yes, it does, Jack. But I have to keep going. Sometimes, the telegrams hold good news. A promotion, or the news that someone who had been lost has been recovered.” He squeezed my shoulder. “But no matter what, I have to keep going, no matter how painful it may be. It’s my job.”
I lowered my eyes. “But it’s a horrible job.”
Dad lifted my chin so I looked him the eye. “So is fighting in a war. Killing is a horrible thing.”
I dropped my eyes again, knowing he was talking of my games about war with my friends. “But the soldiers are protecting our country by fighting.”
“And I’m helping the families of our country.”
“How are you helping them?” I burst out. “You give them pain and sadness! You bring the messages that hurt them forever!”
“Would you rather have pain forever or never know?” dad countered. “What if we never heard from Michael again? Would you rather know he had died fighting for his country, or would you rather never know what happened to your brother?”
I gulped. “I... I guess I would want to know. I’m sorry, dad.”
He hugged me. “I forgive you, son. You just need to keep a stiff upper lip about these kinds of things. Remember; be a soldier, Jack.”
“Yes, dad.”

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Look In the Mirror.

Chatterbox Time! Click here to go the Rachel's blog, where the event is held! This month's topic is mirrors.

His eyes were like amber coals of fire, burning with the intensity of his passion. Her skin prickled as he stood and paced back and forth before the open window."What are you planning on doing?"

"I don't know. Pierre must be stopped. His evil deeds have gone too far! I cannot live with such a monster reeking havoc in our beautiful--"

"Harry, you aren't making a speech any more. You can drop the formality."

He smiled and took her hand. "I'm sorry, Laura. But whenever I think about what he's done... it just makes my blood get all hot."

"I know. I feel that same way. But how can we stop him? Before we know it he'll have taken over the entire city And after that it's only a matter of time."

Harry ran a hand distractedly over his chin and sank down on a chair before the big glass mirror that hung on the wall across from the table. Looking into his eyes again, Laura saw a mirror of her own feelings; worry, anger, and fear all mixed with the love he had for his city. Rising, she put his arms around his neck and rested her chin on the top of his head. "I know you'll think of something. You weren't elected to the city council for nothing. I know you'll decide what it best to do."

"But that's just it, Laura! I don't know what is the best thing to do!" Harry put his head in his hands. "Everything I try seems to be blocked by a wall." Gazing at the mirror in front of him, he laughed bitterly. "A wall of of pure glass, for everything he does he has a shining cover for. I don't have any proof to show the ugly mess behind the glass."

Laura ran her fingers through his hair. "Try looking at yourself in this glass wall. Glass so often makes a mirror, you know."

"What do you mean?"

"Take a good look at yourself and think about what you believe in. You know Pierre is doing wrong, and though he covers it, God will show you how to find a way to reveal who he really is. Use Pierre's false cover of 'glass' and take a good look at yourself. He may not realize it, but he might be giving you the proof you need to expose him."

Harry stared at her reflection in the mirror, his eyes searching hers. "You have an idea, don't you?"

"I might."

"What is it?"

"Think about it. What is Pierre's main 'glass wall?' "

"Why, his sham that he is using the city's money for charity."

"Exactly." Laura folded her hands, her excitement growing. "The next time Pierre tries to accept donations at one of his meetings, or says what he will do with this month's money income, confront him."

"But how?"

Laura flitted into their bedroom and returned with a package in her hand. "Here, open this."

"It's a video tape. What are you getting at, Laura?"

"This video is a surveillance camera tape. Officer Molten helped me put it in las week. I believe it has everything you need to convict Pierre, including what he was doing two nights ago late at night. He said he was working out some contracts, but this tape, I believe, will prove otherwise. I picked it up this morning and watched it while I made dinner."

"No wonder the meat was burned."

She slapped his shoulder gently. "Don't complain, or you'll be on your own to fix your food."

"I'm not complaining." He turned the tape over his hands. Looking back you at her, there was a spark of awe in his eyes. "Laura, you're a wonder. How on earth did you get it into his office?"

She smiled. "I gave his office a thorough up-grade, with his consent. I gave him a file with all the upgrades listed, and it was easy to get him to say yes."

"But if everything, including the camera, was listed, how did he consent?"

"Well, I'm guessing he didn't read all of it," Laura said slowly. "You see, the file was, if I remember correctly.... seventy-four pages long, plus footnotes."

Harry's jaw dropped. "How long did it take you to..."

"About a week and a half. When I gave it to him, he called me back only half-an-hour later and consented. He couldn't possibly have read it all. The camera as listed on page sixty-nine, and I'm guessing he only looked at the first and last few pages. So, the camera was installed without his knowing."

"Well, we should call the police," Harry said, jumping to his feet.

"I already did; after I watched the video. They'll be over any moment now."

Harry shook his head. "You're a wonder," he repeated.

She grinned, feeling pleased. "I'm not head of the maintenance for nothing."

Standing, he gave her a long hug. "And I didn't marry you for nothing. Laura, you saved the city! How can I thank you?"

She gave his cheek a kiss. "Look in the mirror more often. Crooks may think they can cover what they do, but God can show us a way to get past their 'glass walls.' "