On the road with the Magi

On the road with the Magi

“Come on Melchior, you’ve read and re-read that scroll a thousand times. Why do you need to read again now? We need to get going, the star is moving!” shouted an exasperated Balthazar as he climbed onto his camel.

“Patience, my young friend. You are right I have read this a thousand times and probably more. It never ceases to thrill me. I worry though, that we might have misunderstood it in some way. So, I read it again to re-assure me. I am ready now, let me just pack this away for safe keeping. Then I will be ready to go.”

“Alright, I am going to double check the water bags. I’ll be right back.”

Melchior carefully rolled up the scroll and put it into a leather case and then put that case into one his bags attached to his camel.
A voice came from behind him, “Alright my brothers, we have many days of travel yet ahead of us, and the star does not tarry. We must keep pace.”

“Thank you, Caspar, I have been trying to urge this aged one on, but he insisted on reading the scroll again.” sighed Balthazar.

Caspar slid down from his camel and walked over to where Melchior was beginning to climb onto his. “Let me help you, my friend.”

“Thank you, Caspar. These old bones don’t travel like they once did. I am thankful that I am able to make this one last trip. I yearn to see the Holy One.”

“As do I my friend. What scroll were you reading? I’ll wager that I know.”

“You are probably correct. I was again reading one of the scrolls left to us by Belteshazzar. What was his Hebrew name again?”

“It was Daniel. Was it the scroll of Isaiah?”

“Yes, how does it go again? Ah yes! ‘The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.’ We are following one light so that we can see the dawn of another. The star leads us to the birth of the Hebrew Messiah. What a great event that will be.”

Balthazar returned with bulging water bags and urged, “Now both of you are wasting time! Come my brothers we must move to keep up.”

The two older men laughed. Caspar helped Melchior up into his seat and then mounted his own camel.

“Let us move on my brothers. If we are to view this miraculous child, we must press on.”

With that the three men on their camels headed west once again with these words ringing through their hearts, “For a Child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”


Night Lights in the Forest – 2

Once again a draft version of my WIP

Chapter Two

Approaching the edge of the forest, the lights became bigger and brighter, and the tinkling became louder. Emmy picked up her pace.
Reaching the first tree, she stopped, watched, and listened. She put her hand on it’s rough bark, and it calmed her breathing. A screen door slammed shut, somewhere in the distance behind her. But, the all too familiar sound barely registered. 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 approaching 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 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.

Night Lights in the Forest

I am resuming some activity even though my health issue is not yet resolved. I am going to be working on one of my unfinished stories and, to that end, on this blog, I will be posting a draft version of the story one chapter at a time. Here we go . . .

Night Lights in the Forest

By: Steve Mathisen

Chapter One

They’re back! And right on schedule, too! Emmy put a check in the upper right-hand corner of the date on her calendar, picked up her journal, opened it to the page for today and began to write.

If I’m right, it’s the last night of the five-night cycle for this month, and I need to find out what they are. My mind is made up. I’m going tonight! Emmy closed her journal, laid it on her bed and waited for her sister to fall asleep.

She had asked for her father’s permission. His response was clear and emphatic, “No! There are things out there at night Emmy, wild and dangerous things!” That only made her more curious.

Emmy hadn’t seen any wild and dangerous things from her window. So, she determined to sneak out to see what the dancing lights and tinkling bells were all about.

She had noticed they only showed up for the five nights around the full moon cycle. This was the third month running and tonight was the final night of the cycle. If she didn’t go tonight, she’d have to wait another month . . . if they came back.

Emmy sat in the window seat watching the lights and listening for her little sister’s breathing to become slow and steady. Nine-year-old Gigi normally followed her everywhere. She didn’t want her tagging along tonight.

When Gigi finally seemed to be asleep, Emmy slipped quietly out of bed, dressed, grabbed a flashlight and crept slowly down the back stairs being careful to tightly grip the worn wooden rail so she could step over the two steps that creaked.

In the kitchen, Emmy headed for the back door. Booger’s head came up immediately, and she shushed their old hound dog. As she attempted to open the door and step over him, Booger chose that precise moment to stand so that she was awkwardly straddling him and trying to hold on to the door knob so she wouldn’t fall. She stifled a giggle and swung her left leg over him and step onto the stoop. Booger turned to follow her. She bent down, took his head between her hands and looked into the eyes of her old friend. She could see his determination to follow wherever she was going. Her constant companion for many years was now mostly old and tired. Sleeping in the kitchen seemed to be all he had energy for, until now.

Rather than argue, Emmy decided taking Booger along wasn’t such a bad idea. He might not be able to fight off any night creatures, but he could still howl with the best of ‘em. So she held the door open for him to come out and then let it go. Then suddenly remembered, reached out and caught the screen door just before it slammed. Tragedy avoided, she grabbed her chest and held her breath for just a moment to force her heart to slow down. Then she headed off into the darkness toward the night lights in the forest with Booger following close behind.

Crossing the field, Emmy thought about all the nights she spent watching what she thought were fireflies. Somewhere in the back of her mind she remembered something odd that Daddy had said when she talked about watching the fireflies. She couldn’t remember exactly what it was. Mostly she remembered the faraway look he got in his eyes and the fear that flashed across his face. Emmy momentarily shivered at the thought of Daddy being afraid of anything.

Emmy looked up into the millions of stars twinkling in the clear night sky. A full moon peeked out from behind a solitary cloud. She inhaled the sweet, late summer air and noticed just a hint of the smell of the creek that ran through their farm.

Her jeans kept the tall grass from thrashing her legs as she walked through it. The air was warm and moist but cooler than in the house. Crickets chirped and fireflies swarmed so, for the first time, she noticed that fireflies were much smaller than the lights she had seen from her window. That realization strengthened her resolve.