Something New – Part Three of Night Lights in the Forest

Here is the third installment in this story. You can see previous portions here. Please leave me comments about what you like or don’t like.

Part Two: http://wp.me/p19Ob2-6f

Part One: http://wp.me/p19Ob2-6d

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Chapter Three

Emmy awoke to the smell of dirt. Not regular dirt, but the sweet smell of freshly turned earth that she always associated with her mother’s garden in the spring.

Still tied up with her hands bound tightly to her sides but, otherwise unharmed, she looked around the room. It looked like a cave, wooden crates were scattered around the dirt floor. A wooden door was partially closed with light coming in from what might be a passageway, of sorts.

Struggling, she managed to sit up and lean against the dirt wall. She looked around and saw Booger near her but still sleeping.

“Booger.” Emmy whispered.

She nudged him with her foot.

“Booger!” she said, a little louder.

Booger looked up, whimpered and smiled weakly.

“Hey, boy! How are you feeling?”

Booger whimpered again and laid his head back down on his paws.

The door swung open, “So, you’re awake now are you?”, a male voice queried.

Startled, Emmy looked up and saw the outline of a figure standing in the doorway.

“Who are you and why was I kidnapped?”, she snapped.

“Kidnapped? We rescued you. Those faeries enchant people and make slaves out of them. The only way we could get you away from them was to enchant you in a different way and carry you safely to our underground stronghold.”

“But you, knocked me out, tied me up and hid me in this, this—dungeon!”

The voice chuckled, “Oh, yeah, sorry about that. Sometimes humans struggle a lot under that enchantment. We didn’t want to get anyone hurt while we were trying to save you and your dog.”

“Humans? What the heck are you? Aliens?”

“Ha ha, no way. We are an ancient race of elves.”

“Yeah, right. So, you can please untie me now, Mister Elf — sir!”

“Look, I’m sorry, but no. Not for another half hour. That’s enchanted cord. It ties itself and stays tied for two hours. Sorry, you’ll just have to wait.”

“Ok, can you, at least, step into the light so I can see you?”

Stepping into the light was a boy that looked not much older than Emmy. He wore loose green pants, a dark brown shirt that was tied around his waist with a cord and what looked like knit stocking cap pulled down over his head so that it half-covered his ears.

“You know, I think we got off on the wrong foot. My name is Eryndir. What’s yours?”

“Emmy.” She stared for just a bit and asked, “How old are you?”

He smiled, looked down and shuffled his feet just a bit, “Well, that sort of depends on how you count.”

“What? How can you count differently than 1, 2, 3…”

“No, I mean what type of years you count.”

“Oh, well, that clears it up.”

“Ok, let me try it this way. How old is your dog?”

“We got him when I was a baby so, I would say 10 or 11.”

“Do you count dog years the same as human years?”

Emmy thought for a moment, “No, each one of ours is…umm, 7 of his.”

Eryndir smiled, “Ok, I am an elf and our years are like that only backwards. For every ten of your years I age one elf year. I just celebrated my 14th elf birthday, so I am one hundred forty of your years.”

“But, you look the same age as me. How can you be a hundred forty? That’s crazy.”

“It’s not crazy, it’s just,” Eryndir paused to look at his feet, “different.”

He took a step back, focused his eyes on Emmy again and crossed his arms,

“You look familiar for some reason.”

“Yeah, you were spying on me before you kidna…rescued me”

Eryinder shook his head, “No — look, are you hungry?”

Just then, the sound of excited voices accompanied by the thud of running feet echoed down the hallway.

Eryndir turned and ran out of the room. The voices and thudding of feet grew faint as they moved away.

Another story in my pile to be worked on –

The Babylonian Adventure – Dinner with the Queen

Babylon – 480 BC

“Is there enough food and wine for everyone?” The queen asked.

A tall young man behind her stepped forward and answered quickly, “Yes, your majesty. All is as you requested. Everyone is being given whatever they ask for. No request is denied.” He then bowed low and assumed his previous position.

The sun splashed walls of the queen’s pavilion, decorated with the same white cotton curtains and blue wall hangings the queen had chosen for the king’s pavilion, echoed with conversation and laughter. Queen Vashti paused, golden goblet in hand and listened to the laughter and conversation and watched her many guests. Very proud of what she saw, Vashti smiled. Surely this will make King Xerxes proud of me. I am his equal in every way.

The entire kingdom of the Medes and Persians had been celebrating for one hundred and eighty days and were now in the final day of seven days of feasting. All men were welcome at the king’s feast and all women were welcome at the queen’s feast where the food and wine flowed abundantly and freely.

In the hallway, six men jostled each other and joked as they walked down the hall approaching the queen’s pavilion. They stopped at the doorway, formed a line and assumed a more serious demeanor. The two on the outer ends stepped forward and opened the massive double doors and standing erect, held them open while the other four stepped forward.

The room grew quiet as the six tall, lean and muscular men dressed in the style of the eunuchs of the royal household, entered. Several of the women whispered quietly, a few giggled.

Harbona, the tallest, stepped forward and announced loudly, “His Royal Majesty, King Xerxes of the mighty empire of the Medes and Persians, sends his greetings and requests the presence of  Queen Vashti at the king’s feast, wearing her royal crown.” He then bowed and stepped back into line with his companions.

Queen Vashti rose but kept her back to the eunuchs, “Why does the king request the queen’s presence wearing her royal crown?”

Harbona stepped forward again and replied, “The king wishes for the nobles and all of the other men to see your great beauty, your majesty.”

Queen Vashti turned to face Harbona, her cheeks flushed. “Please tell the king that I am busy with my own guests and will not be put on display to be leered at by his drunken guests. That is all, you may leave.”

Harbona bowed. “As you wish, your majesty.”

The six did an about face and left the room, closing the doors behind them.

The queen slowly returned to her seat and attempted to resume conversation; the room quickly filled with murmuring.

No one had ever defied the King before.

Harbona and the others entered the king’s banquet room discreetly and quietly. With a slight quaver in his voice he said, “Your Majesty?”

King Xerxes, turned slowly. Behind him, Harbona and the other five eunuchs stood stiff at attention, in a straight line.

“Where is the queen?”

“Um, may the king live forever…”

“Come on, out with it, Harbona!”

“Your majesty. The queen sends her regrets that she will be unable to join you this evening.”

Xerxes leaned forward.

“Were those her exact words?”

Harbona flushed and looked at the marble floor.

“No, your majesty. They were not.”

“Then tell me exactly what she said!”

Harbona repeated her words exactly.

Xerxes lept up, his face turning bright red.

“Say that again, louder, for all to hear!”

“Queen Vashti said, ‘Please tell the king that I am busy with my own guests and will not be put on display to be leered at by his drunken guests.’”

Xerxes eyes began to bulge out. He sputtered and then shouted, “How dare she defy her King?”

The room fell silent.

No one had ever defied the King before.

The King immediately departed the banquet hall and called a meeting of his seven most trusted advisors, men who knew the law better than anyone in the kingdom, the most powerful men in the empire.

“What can I do about this supreme embarrassment? No one has ever defied me — or any king — before. And to have the queen be the first? Something must be done. Tell me, what does the law say?”

Memucan, the leader of the seven solemnly stood and said, “Queen Vashti has committed an act that not only wronged the King, she has set a precedent for all women everywhere in the empire. If she is not dealt with severely, the wives of every noble and citizen will begin to defy and despise their husbands once they hear of the Queen’s defiance.”

“We would like to suggest that the king issue a written decree, a law of the Persians and Medes which cannot be revoked. Order that Queen Vashti forever banished from your presence, King Xerxes. We also think it wise that the king should choose another to be his  queen, one more worthy than she. We will publish this decree throughout the empire.  Husbands everywhere, of every rank, will receive from their wives, their due and proper respect!”

The king sat and thought about this for several minutes. No one dared disturb him. Finally, he stood and said simply, “Do as you say.”

And so the decree was written, sealed with his royal ring by the king’s highest advisor  and sent to all corners of the empire. Queen Vashti was taken on a caravan to a place outside the empire which stretched across one hundred and twenty seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia and she was never heard from again.

After the King’s anger left him, he missed his queen. His personal advisors offered to search the empire far and wide for another queen. “Let us send envoys to each province to bring back only the most fair and beautiful young women to the royal harem. Then the king may choose, from among them, a new queen more worthy than Vashti.”

The king was very pleased by this idea and sent them forth to find a new queen.

 

New old stories…

I decided to drag out a few old stories that never got finished for some reason and try to work on them some more. Here is one that I began work on a long time ago. It uses some characters that I have used for a number of stories. But, I am trying to write this one as a light hearted – semi-serious mystery. Here is the first chapter. I would love some feedback.

The Case of the Missing Bible

Chapter 1

The front door of the motel room slammed, rattled the walls and punctuated the end of another loud, angry argument between the young girl’s parents. A deafening silence left in the void was broken by the sound of a bottle opening and then clinking against a glass. Dad was gone…again. Mom was going to get drunk…again. She would cry herself to sleep…again, if she had any tears left.

Laying in the small bed she shared with her younger sister, she looked out the window at the motel parking lot. Her mind wandered back to before her family’s life had unraveled, before they were forced to live in a seedy motel on an urban highway, populated with people you really didn’t want to know. She thought back to the nice home they used to live in, to when her parents both held good jobs. It was a nice house in a friendly neighborhood. They went to a good school, went to church, wore new clothes, had nice things and, in general, life was good…compared to now. She buried her face in her pillow and she began to sob, uncontrollably.

The questions she had asked so many times before came back to her when she could cry no more. “Where are you God? Where are you now when our life is a living hell? Where is the Jesus of all the Bible stories that loved people and healed them?” Her thoughts hung there for a moment and then the usual answers came into her head. “He’s not there now. He never really was. Those were just nice stories for people who have no real problems. They are all lies!” Then there was nothing. There was just silence. That was the way the thoughts usually ended, but tonight there was a second voice crowding out the first one. “I am here, child”, it said quietly. “Look for me. Look for me and you will find me. I am coming to you. I will find you.” Then it repeated, “I am coming to you. I will find you.” She felt a strange peace for a few moments after that and drifted off into a deep, restful sleep.

* * *

Talking excitedly on their way out of the girl’s room at Cascadia Middle School, Sue and Andrea both happened to glance out into the courtyard and saw Jon sitting on a bench, Bible open on his lap, staring off into the skylight and his lips moving. Curious, they walked over to him. “John 3:15 “…that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” John 3:15, John 3:15 “…that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” John 3:15….”

“Jon ” asked Sue, “are you reviewing memory verses from Vacation Bible School?” Jon  grinned. “I sure am, I don’t want to forget them. I especially want to remember this one because it reminds me that Jesus wants everyone to have eternal life like we have and I want all of my new friends here at Cascadia to know it too!”

Sue sat on the bench next to Jon. “Maybe we could start our own club here at school. They allow all sorts of clubs for different interest groups, why not one for the Bible?” Jon responded, “that’s a great idea.” “What should we call it?” asked Andrea. She turned at looked right at Sue. “I don’t know…yet,” said Sue with a thoughtful look on her face. “I think we should pray about it and see what the Lord suggests to us.” “That’s a great idea,” said Jon. A loud bell sounded throughout the school, “But lunch is over and we need to get back to our classrooms in a hurry!”

Jon grabbed his backpack, jumped up and and they all headed off to class still talking about their idea for a club.  Left behind on the bench, still open to the highlighted verse he had been reviewing was his Bible. Students hurried to their classrooms. But, one person walked over to the bench, looked casually around, picked it up, looked thoughtfully at the verse Jon  had highlighted, closed the Bible, quickly tucked it into a book bag and walked off quickly in the opposite direction Jon had gone in.

 

Something new… Part 2

Even though I got no feedback from the last installment of this story, I am going to try it again. Hopefully, some of you will be moved to make some sort of comment. 🙂

Chapter Two

Approaching the edge of the forest, the lights became bigger and brighter and the tinkling  louder. Emmy picked up her pace.

Reaching the first tree, she stopped and listened for a minute. She put her hand on it’s rough bark and calmed her breathing. Behind her a screen door slammed shut. But, she was too curious about what was ahead of her to notice much about the all too familiar sound behind her. She pressed on into the forest.

Several minutes later, the lights loomed ever closer, the tinkling grew louder. Now, there was also faint laughter as well. Children’s laughter. That sent a chill down her spine and raised goose bumps on her arms, but she didn’t know why. Emmy put out her hand to pet Booger. He moved closer to her. His warmth calmed her.

The lights halted their forward movement. Her view of them became clearer and the tinkling and the laughter grew louder with each step. Emmy stopped just outside the clearing.

Before her amazed eyes, dozens and dozens of faeries flew around in circles and spirals and swan dives. It was the most spectacular thing Emmy had ever seen. They laughed as they flew. The tinkling came from their wings each time they changed direction. After a few minutes, they seemed to notice her and began moving their spirals and circles closer toward her.

Emmy stood stiff, holding her breath, unable to move as she watched the magical scene.

Booger began making a strange growling, whining sound and then suddenly stopped. Emmy, unable to pull her attention away from the aerial ballet, failed to look down right away. When she did, Booger looked like he was sleeping and she was surrounded by, what looked like, a dozen faeries. These were not the small, beautiful flying creatures she had been watching. But, almost as tall as she was and none of them smiled.

Several of them grabbed her and began pulling her and Booger toward a large hole in the ground that she had not seen before. She kicked and fought but was quickly tied up with some sort of glowing cord. She tried to scream but, nothing came out and then — everything went dark.