The Mighty Oak Tree

Majestically it stands

Reaching its arms up to the sky

Breeze blowing softly

Rustling the leaves quietly.

Birds nesting in the branches

Singing joyfully

Squirrels chattering

Running to and fro.

It has lived here in this field

As long as any can remember

Maybe since time began

Who’s to say.

The Oak has lived

Through storms, so many

Branches have fallen

Sprouts have blossomed.

Many feathered friends

Have made this tree home

Many children have swung playfully

From its sturdy limbs.

Over the years

Many lovers have picnicked

Sitting on a blanket

Under nature’s canopy.

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The Grounders – A short adaptation of my novel

She had managed to escape again, thankfully. It was getting tougher every time she went out to find food. If she had been alone, she would have packed up her meager belongings and moved on. But she had an ailing elderly grandmother to take care of.

Nanny was from ‘the time before,’ as they called it now. She was from the time when there had been structure and a good government. When people owned businesses or got paid for their labor. There had been grocery stores where one could go and purchase whatever they wanted to eat. Now that was hard for Naomi to imagine. An entire building filled with food and meat. A place you could walk in, pick out what you wanted, pay with real money and go on about your business. Nothing like that existed anymore. Not since the virus had wiped out 98% of the Earth’s population.

Those who had survived the outbreak either became outlaws or grounders. Grounders were those who chose to live peacefully. But they had to live underground to do so. They had taken over subway systems in the cities, finding any way they could to block as many entrances as possible. It was dark in the tunnels but staying there was necessary for survival. Only the fastest got to go out, there was too much chance of the slower ones getting caught by the flying ships.

Naomi was one of the fastest. She had found the motorcycle years ago and Nanny had taught her how to work on it. Now she was able to use it to gather food and water for the grounders in her community. There was an underground fuel storage tank that the outlaws hadn’t discovered yet. She was able to access it and fill the tank on her bike whenever she needed to.

She had heard that the grounders who lived outside the city actually dug into the ground and lived like moles. They were able to hunt game, but it was so scarce, they usually only hunted, but seldom killed or caught anything. She had also heard that there were fewer outlaws outside the cities. Naomi wanted desperately to take Nanny to the country. Things were so much cleaner there, so much healthier. Maybe some day they could go.

There were several others in Naomi’s community who had good survival skills. There was Tom, who was handy at making weapons for the protection of the grounders. And there was Tina, who could take the simplest ingredients and make enough to feed a small army. There were gardeners, who grew mostly potatoes, since that was the only thing they could grow right from the potato itself.

One of the most important jobs in the community was that of Gate Keeper. The gatekeeper was responsible for making sure the entrances and exits remained safe and hidden. They made sure all tire tracks and footprints on the outside were erased each day to ensure that the outlaws didn’t spot them.

For now, they lived day to day. They struggled to find food and they struggled to survive. Naomi looked constantly for a way to get Nanny out of the city. Often, when she was out gathering food, she would scout around for a way out. Today, she thought she might have found a way. But the flying ship came across her while she was out and she barely got away this time.

Tomorrow she would look again. She had to, for Nanny.

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First Date

Linda Herren

Scene 1

Helping others was something she had done since the second grade. She was in girl scouts then, and her troop visited a local nursing home regularly. Each of the girls in the troop had ‘adopted’ a grandparent and while some stopped visiting after just a few months, Katie continued visiting Mrs. Reynolds for almost 2 years. She would go by at least once a week just to sit with her sometimes. Mrs. Reynolds died when Katie was in the 4th grade, but she had never forgotten the sweet elderly lady, or how much she enjoyed helping her.

As a junior in high school, Katie still made time to do what she could to help others, though it was usually outside of school. It seems that at school, everyone was too busy trying to be cool and didn’t have time to be nice and help others.

Every year there were new elective classes added to the curriculum. More choices for the students to make, like there weren’t already enough. Katie had heard there would be several additions this year, but she didn’t care. She would take the classes she needed, her art class and nothing else. Most years, she didn’t even know what the new classes were.

On the first day of the school yeah, her junior year, Katie went to school as usual, driving her old Beetle the 6 miles. She waved to a few friends in the parking lot.

“Hey Katie, have you heard about the new class they’ve added this year?” Tom asked.
“No, I haven’t heard anything. And you know me, I always take art,” Katie responded.
“Yeah, I know you do. But I think you’re gonna like this new class,” Tom said.
“I doubt it,” Katie said with a shrug.
“Let’s make a bet. If you like the class, you go out with me. If you don’t like, I promise never to ask you again!”
Katie stopped walking and stared at Tom, eyebrows raised. “You’ll never ask again?”
“Never.”
“Then you’ve got a bet!” she said, walking away and leaving Tom staring after her.

When Katie entered the main building, she saw a cluster of students around the bulletin board outside the office. She knew they were looking over the list of new classes, including the one she had just bet on.

She waited a few minutes for the crowd to clear before stepping forward to read the list. Unimpressed, she read out loud to herself, “Shop class, horticulture, chemistry II. Chemistry II? Who would take that as an elective?” Not impressed, she continued reading in silence. She had read most of the list and was about to walk away when the word ‘volunteer’ grabbed her attention.

“What?” she said to no one in particular. That’s when she saw it. The last class was listed as ‘community volunteer course.’ In parenthesis, a brief description of ‘earn a school credit while helping your community.’ Glancing around to see if anyone was watching, she stepped closer and read it again.

Several thoughts were racing through her mind. One was that she could tell Tom she wasn’t going to take the class and had no interest in it. But he would know she was lying. Or she could sign up and go out with Tom. He wasn’t so bad. He was kinda cute. He had a great sense of humor.

She laughed when she realized she was trying to convince herself to go out with him. She wanted to take the class. She could handle ONE date with Tom.

“So, do we have a date?”
Katie almost jumped out of her skin when Tom spoke from right behind her.
“Dangit, Tom! Don’t do that!” She said, hitting him on the arm.
“Ow,” he said, rubbing his arm with a grin on his face. “Well?”
She glared at him for a minute then rolled her eyes.
“One date. That’s it. No more. No kissing. No handholding. Got it?”
Grinning stupidly, Tom replied, “Yes ma’am!”

Scene 2

Tom loped off in the direction of his next class, but not before giving her a salute, “Laters!”

Katie rolled her eyes again before heading in the opposite direction for the girl’s restroom. Her next class was art and she knew the teacher wouldn’t mind if she was a minute or two late. She put her books and bag on the shelf near the door and paced back and forth, muttering to herself.

“I can’t believe I have a date with Tom!”

She had never told anyone that she had had a crush on him since Jr. High, Tom didn’t even know. Everyone thought they were just best friends. Now they were going on a date. On one hand, she was thrilled. On the other, she was terrified. What if the date was horrible and their friendship ended? What if he didn’t feel the same way she did?

Pacing and biting her nail, she asked herself, “What am I gonna do?”

Carly, another long time friend of Katie’s, suddenly appeared from one of the stalls.
“Just go out with him and stop worrying about it! You’ll have a blast, you guys were made for each other!”
Exasperated, Katie asked Carly, “What are you doing in here?”
“Umm, peeing. That’s ok, right?”
With a sigh, Katie apologized. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to shout at you. I’m just so nervous about this.”
“There’s no reason to be nervous. Tom is your best friend. What’s the big deal?”
Katie covered her face with her hands and mumbled in to them, “I’ve had a crush on Tom since Jr. High.”
“What did you say? Oh my gawd! You have a crush on Tom? Why didn’t I know this?”
“Nobody knows, not even Tom. I didn’t want to ruin our friendship. And now this. What if it ruins everything?”
“We gotta get to class. I’ll come over after school and we’ll talk, okay?” Carly said, grabbing Katie’s arm and aiming her towards the door.

Katie took her bag and books from the shelf. “Okay, that sounds good. I’m glad my next class is art so I don’t have to think!”

Scene 3

That afternoon, Carly drove to Katie’s house after school. Katie wasn’t home yet, but Carly and Katie had been friends for years, so she let herself in. She went to the kitchen where she knew she would find Katie’s mom cooking dinner.
“Hey, Mrs. C! How are you? Oh that smells good, what is it?”
“Hi Carly! I’m good and its chicken and dumplings. It’ll be ready in about an hour.”
“Okay great,” Carly said as she grabbed a soda from the fridge. “I’ll be up in Katie’s room!”
“Alright,” Mrs. C. said to Carly’s back as she headed up the stairs.
Carly made herself at home, turning on the stereo while she waited on Katie to get home. She didn’t have to wait long.
“Oh my gawd. What am I gonna do, Carly? I have a date with Tom!” She threw herself onto the bed. “Tom, of all people!”
“So, you’ve really had a crush on him all these years and he doesn’t know? Wow.”
“I couldn’t tell him!”
“Well, you could’ve told me!”
“I didn’t want anyone to know. You’re not supposed to have a crush on your best friend. Besides, what if he doesn’t like me?”
“How many times has he asked you out?”
“Oh, I dunno. Hundreds.”
“And why do you think he keeps asking?”
“I don’t know! Because that’s what guys do?”
Rolling her eyes, Carly asked, “And how many times has he gone out with other girls?”
Katie answered instantly, “He’s never gone out with anyone!”
“Exactly!” Carly replied.
Katie gasped, realizing Carly’s point. “You think he likes me?”
“Honey, I KNOW he likes you! Nothing is more obvious!”
Katie couldn’t help the smile that spread across her face.
“So, when’s the big date?” Carly asked.
“I don’t know yet, he’s supposed to call me later.”

Katie sat there on the bed for a minute thinking about what Carly had just told her. Tom likes her! She was thrilled! She jumped up off of the bed and started dancing around the room.
Carly laughed at her. “Well, I can see you’re happy about this!”
“Yes I am!”

Just then, Katie’s cell rang. It was Tom’s ringtone. For the first time in the eight years she had known him, she was nervous about answering his call.

“Hello.”
“Ok, so no handholding. No Kissing. Any other rules?” Tom asked, laughing.
“You keep being a smart ass and there won’t be any date!” Katie answered jokingly.
They had always teased each other, but for some reason, it suddenly felt different, awkward even.
“Okay, okay. Chill out. I was thinking something simple, like dinner and movie. Does that sound okay?”
“You know I hate gong to the movies.”
“True. I wasn’t thinking. Sorry. So what do you want to do?” he asked.
“How about bowling?”
“Sure, that’ll be fine! Pizza?”
“Sure.”
“Okay, I’ll pick you up tomorrow around 7.”
“Okay, bye,” Katie said, hanging up her phone.
“Bye.”

“Well, that was the oddest first date conversation I’ve ever heard!” Carly blurted out.
“What do you mean?” Katie asked. “We always talk to each other like that. I’ve known him forever.”
“I know. It was just weird!”
Laughing, Katie said, “You’re weird! Lets go eat!”
“You’re weirder,” Carly said as she followed Katie down to the kitchen.

“Well, what are you girls laughing about?” Mrs. C. asked.
Before Katie could say anything, Carly told Mrs. C “Katie has a date with Tom tomorrow night!”
“Shut up!” Katie told Carly.
“Tom? Our Tom?” Mrs. C. asked.
Sighing, Katie said, “Yes, that Tom.”
“Well, it’s about time!” Mrs. C. said.
“What?” Katie and Carly said in unison.

Mrs. C. explained, “Well, you two have been crazy about each other for years. I was wondering when this would finally happen.”
Katie shook her head, not sure what to say.
“So, when’s the date?” Mrs. C. asked.
“Tomorrow night,” Katie said as she took a bite of the chicken and dumplings.

Scene 4

The next day, Carly was at Katie’s house helping her decide what to wear on her date with Tom. She finally decides on jeans and a cute top. They agreed that bowling wasn’t a short skirt activity.

By 6:30 Katie was ready and pacing the floor while Carly sat on the bed watching her. After a few minutes of non-stop pacing, Carly spoke up.

“So, what are you gonna do if Tom tries, well, you know?”
“Oh my gawd, I would just die!” Katie replied. “I’ve already told him no hand holding and no kissing.”
“But did you really mean it?”
Surprised by the question, Katie stopped pacing and looked at Carly thoughtfully. She quickly sat on the bed near Carly.
“I don’t know. I’ve dreamed of him kissing me so many times!” she told Carly. “I don’t know how I would act if he actually tried!”
She jumped up, pacing again. Throwing her hands up, she turned to Carly.
“What would you do?” Katie asked.
“I would kiss him,” she replied.
“Kiss Tom,” Katie said to herself. “Kiss Tom.” Slowly, a smile spread across her face. “That sounds like Heaven! Should I kiss him? Or should I wait for him to kiss me?”
“You’ll know when the time is right. It’ll be better if its spontaneous, not planned.”

Nodding, Katie agreed, “That makes sense. Ok. No planned kissing.”

At that moment, they both heard the doorbell and they could hear Mrs. C. talking to Tom. Carly hugged Katie.

“Have fun,” she told Katie, and bounded down the stairs and out the front door, waving at Tom and Mrs. C. as she went by.
Katie took a deep breath, and headed for the stairs. Looking down, she saw Tom. ‘There he is,’ she thought to herself. ‘He’s so good looking.’
Going quickly down the stairs, she kissed her mom on the cheek and grabbed her bag.
“Bye, Mom,” she said as she went out the door.
“Bye kids. Have a good time!”

Scene 5

Tom and Katie climbed into his truck and buckled up. She took a deep breath to calm her nerves.
“Let’s skip the bowling and ride out to the lake,” she said.
Tom was really surprised, but pleased. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” she answered, as she unbuckled and slid across the seat to sit next to him.

He smiled and leaned towards her. She thought he was going to kiss her, but he whispered, “I’ve waited a long time for this,” as he stroked her cheek gently.

She smiled, knowing everything would be fine.

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Then and Now.. What will my child with Down syndrome look like?

Parker Myles

I often find myself writing for new parents of children with Down syndrome and this post is no exception.

Even though my main audience will always be those outside the Down syndrome community, to provide a snapshot of what life is like for one parent of a child with additional needs, I am always drawn back to showing those yet to begin their journey a little of the intense joy they have in store for them.

This resonates strongly with me, as I found myself in a place where I didn’t know my up from down, or a nasal cannula from a foot probe, and I scoured the internet frantically for any new information (AND PICTURES) which would bring me some release from the many fears I had for my son’s future.

 

I had my own list of fears to work through.

How would he sound? Would he be…

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The Cure

This is the 1st chapter of a science fiction novel I am thinking about doing. It was initially done for a college assignment.

                                       The Cure

A Novel by Linda Herren

Chapter 1

I barely remember what life was like before we found out that Kevin’s condition was incurable. He’s seven years old. He doesn’t deserve this. He should be outside playing ball with his friends and flying around on his new fly-cycle. He should be going to school.

Instead, he goes to the doctor. Once a month, and once a week, he goes for nuclear-laser treatment. Personally, I can’t believe that in this day and time, we still have to use the old fashioned ways to treat cancer. You would think that by the year 2075, we would have been able to find a cure.

A glance at the clock in the kitchen tells me I don’t have time for coffee this morning. I rush out the door just in time to catch the commuter fly-train on its last run of the morning. I hate these things, always crowded and slow.

Arriving at the lab, I see everyone is happy and smiling as usual, until they see me. They look at me and the smiles become glued-on looks of sympathy.

“Good morning, Nick,” they say in unison.

“How is Kevin today?” Sheila asks.

“About the same,” I answer dryly, trying to smile gratefully. ‘The same’ means he is still in bed, or on the couch, most of the day. He is still hooked to machines to keep the constant flow of needed medicine coursing thought his tiny veins. ‘The same’ means he still watches TV most of the day, or plays games on one of those new-fangled things kids have. I don’t keep up with technology.

As I continue down the hall to my research lab, I hear them talking quietly. I know they are my friends and have nothing bad to say, but I wish for the happy times with them again. And with my wife and son.

In my office, just I start listening to my messages, there is a knock on the door. I disconnect from the message system and say “Come in.”

The door opens.

“Hey Nick.” It’s Tom, the Director of Research, and the only man higher in the company than I am.

“Hey, Tom.”

Tom enters and sits in the big chair across from my desk. He looks around a minute, as though trying to find the right words.

“I had a visitor this morning,” he finally says.

“Oh?”

Time travel is something that used to be a very common thing. After it was ‘perfected,’ folks started going everywhere, all the time simply for entertainment.  That is, until they realized that, if they didn’t do things exactly right, they would get lost in another time and place. Most often, lost forever. So now time travel is seldom used. It seems no one has ever figured out how to ‘perfect’ it enough for common use.

So, when Tom says he ‘had a visitor,’ I knew by the tone of his voice that the visitor was from another time.

“My great-great-grandson came to visit,” Tom said, thoughtfully. “I must say, it was rather strange to be talking to someone from the future. He sure looks a lot like my own son did at that age.”

“What age?”

“He is 32, and he’s a doctor,” Tom said with a smile. I could tell he was proud so I smiled for him.

“Did his visit have a purpose?” I asked, “or was he just out gallivanting around the universe?”

Tom laughed and said, “A little of both actually. He learned from his grand-father, my grandson, that one of my granddaughters dies from cancer, 75 years from now. She hasn’t even been born yet, and I already know when she will die. That’ll make a man stop and think about life as he knows it.”

I didn’t know what to say, although I agreed with him. I just nodded my head and said “Mmmm Hmmm.”

I gave Tom a minute with his thoughts while I shuffled some papers on my desk. After a minute, Tom began again.

“That brings me to the other reason he came to see me.”

“Oh?”

“He said he was from 2275 and in his time, they have found a cure for cancer. It was discovered in 2200.”

Here Tom paused with a frown.

“What is it?” I asked.

“His name is Troy. He told me that the discovery of the cure for cancer caused World War 3. In 2275, the Earth is nothing like we know it, Nick. It is a place of constant war. There is no peace. He told me of bands of criminals that just go across the land, killing everyone they find. People have to kill or be killed. They have to steal for food. There are no stores, no businesses of any kind, except prostitution. Even those poor women often have to kill or be killed.”

“What caused the war?” I asked, not quite understanding how such a wonderful thing like a cure for cancer would cause war.

“When the cure was discovered and word got out, there were several world leaders and powerful and rich people who had cancer. They all wanted to be the first to be cured. At the time, it was only available in small doses because resources for the ingredients were very rare. So, the rich guys all thought they could buy the cure for themselves. They started a bidding war, each one bidding more than the next, until they resolved to killing each other for the right to be first.”

“Wow!” I said, “That sounds terrible. I can’t imagine.”

“That makes two of us,” Tom agreed, nodding his head.

After a thoughtful moment, Tom continued. “He wanted me to know about the cure, and where to find the only dose he knows of, so I could obtain it for my great-granddaughter. He said circumstances kept him from bringing it to me, but he could help me locate it if I travel to his time.”

“Oh, okay, I see.” Not sure where Tom was going with this, I was a little worried. Was he going to ask me to go with him? There was no way I could go, I had to be here to take care of Kevin.

Tom went on, “I don’t know my great-granddaughter, Nick. I probably never will.” He paused again, a thoughtful look in his eyes. Then he looked up at me and said the words that forever changed my life. “But, Nick, I do know your son, Kevin, and I love that boy as though he was my grandson. I want him to have that dose of the medicine, so he can have a full and healthy life.”

I sat dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say. Here was a friend of twenty years telling me, more or less, that he would give the life of his great-granddaughter for my son, who was no relation to him.

“I don’t know what to say, Tom.”

“Just say ok. Say ok and save your son.”

I sat like an idiot, nodding my head continuously, my mouth open with no words coming out. So many thoughts were running through my head at the same time. Tom is a good man. I will have to travel to 2275. That’s a time of war. I know nothing about fighting.  I’ll have to learn to fight. I have to, for Kevin. I can do this. I can do this for my son!

I looked up at Tom, still nodding my head. “Ok,” I said. I’ll go get the cure.” Standing up, I walked around my desk as Tom rose from the chair. I hugged him tightly, with tears streaming down faced. Unashamed of my emotions, I sobbed openly and thanked him over and over again.

With a slap on the back, Tom said, “Let me know if you need anything,” and he left my office.

Right away, I called home. I didn’t know how I was going to tell Alexis what I was going to do, but I knew she would stand behind me and support me in whatever I did, especially if it means helping Kevin.

 

 

 

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Luna’s Lesson

This is a short story I wrote for a college assignment.

 


 

 

“Do you understand the consequences of your actions?” the King bellowed to Luna.

“Yes, sir, I do,” Luna replied as she fidgeted nervously, head bowed.

“Well, I sure hope you do! This is the last straw, Luna. Just because you are my niece does not mean it’s ok for you to bend the laws in your favor!” King Jordan continued as Luna fidgeted. “You have pranked your governess, the chef in your home and even your poor ailing Aunt Dorothy! Lucky for you, those are harmless for the most part. But your latest shenanigans have taken things to far.”

The King continued, “When your prank caused Mr. Smith to lose a weeks wages, you sealed your fate, Luna. You will go to the farthest village in the kingdom. There you will work as a farm hand on the farm owned by Mr. Smith’s sister. While there, you will dress for the work and you will do as you are told. Mrs. Hayes is a kind but hard working woman and she will expect you to work hard as well. While there, you will learn a lesson.”

“What lesson, sir?” Luna asked?

“You will know when it is learned.” The king replied. “When you learn this lesson, and not before, you may return here and marry your Thomas. If you fail, you will never be welcome here again. Am I clear, Luna?”

“Yes, sir. Very clear,” Luna replied, nodding her head.

“Very well, be gone with you!” the king replied. “And Luna,” he continued more softly as Luna stepped away, “be safe my child.

Luna nodded, “Yes, Sire,” as she turned to go.

King Jordan was the oldest and wisest of all the fairy kings. He ruled with kindness and understanding. Luna knew she had pushed him to the limits and vowed to redeem herself in his eyes. The mere thought of being banned from her troop was horrible enough, but to live without Thomas would be horrific. And her best friend, Sabrina!

I have to do this! Luna thought to herself. I cannot punish my friends and family, I know they would be saddened if I were banned!

Luna rushed home to pack a few belongings. She knew she could not bring her jewelry and fancy dresses, so she only packed what she needed. She had an old grey woolen dress she wore to work in her garden. She chose this to take to the farm.

As Luna packed, Sabrina bounced happily into the room. “What are you doing? Where are you going? Why are you packing? Can I go with you? Is Thomas going too? How long will we be gone?” Sabrina rambled in her usual manner.

Luna laughed and silently thanked fate for giving her a friend like Sabrina. Without pausing in her packing Luna replied, “I’m Packing. To a farm in the far south of the kingdom. Because the king told me to. Yes, you can go. No, Thomas is not going. I don’t know how long”

“You don’t know for how long? How will you know when to come home? Why do you have to go in the first place? What do you mean the king told you to go? What’s going on Luna? What aren’t you telling me?” Sabrina said throwing her hands up.

Luna stopped packing and sat by her friend. “Remember the prank I pulled on Mr. Smith a few days ago? Well, it seems that my prank caused Mr. Smith to lose a week’s wages. King Jordan has told me I have to go to a farm in the farthest village in the kingdom and live and work there until I learn a lesson.”

“But what lesson?” Sabrina asked.

“The king said I would know what lesson when the lesson is learned.”

“Well, that makes no sense.”

“I know. I can only hope that I know when it happens,” Luna said thoughtfully. “Why don’t you go pack? Come back as soon as you can so we can get started. We can talk while we ride.”

Within the hour, Luna was saddling Gunner while Sabrina waited nearby. Thomas was petting Gunner’s neck. “I hope everything goes well, My Love. I have faith that you can do this and we will be together forever.”

Luna finishes with the saddle and turns to Thomas. Touching one cheek softly, she kisses him on the other, “I’ll be back and we shall marry. I make this promise to you, My Love. “ She mounts Gunner and with a last smile to Thomas, she is off, with Sabrina close behind her.

In the fairy world, birth order is everything. Luna was the first child born in her birth year. The first fairy born each day is gifted four magical powers. The first fairy born each calendar month is gifted eight magical powers. The first fairy born each year is gifted all of the magical powers known. Sixteen years ago, Luna was the first fairy born in the new year, as was her mother and her mother’s mother. With that heritage, Luna’s powers were even more enhanced than normal. Luna hoped that her abilities would help her to understand her quest.

The girls were not far from their village when they ran into AnnaBell and her cohorts Darla, Susan and Alice. AnnaBell is Luna’s long-time rival. She was extremely envious of Luna. She was born the same day and just a few hours after Luna. From AnnaBell’s point of view, everything that went wrong in her life was Luna’s fault. Because of this, AnnaBell spent the majority of her time finding ways to cause problems for Luna. When she learned of the orders Luna had received from the king, she immediately started planning how to ruin everything for Luna, once and for all.

“So, where are you going, Luna?” AnnaBell asks. “Oh wait, I already know. She has to go work on a farm! Isn’t that funny?” When nobody laughed, she repeated herself. “Isn’t that funny?” Realizng their mistake in not laughing the first time, Darla, Susan and Alice all began to giggle as if AnnaBell had told a good joke.

Luna refused to answer AnnaBell’s remarks and rode on in silence.

“Come on, let’s go!” AnneBell ordered her friends. “I have an idea.”

While Luna and Sabrina rode on, they talked about the incident that had put them on this mission. “I really don’t understand how you’ll know when you’ve learned the lesson. I mean, what if you learn twenty things? How do you know which is the right one?” Sabrina asked.

“I’m hoping my powers will assist me,” Luna replied.

That evening they made camp in a grove of oak trees by a brook. By this time, they were pretty tired and weren’t talking much. They made the horses comfortable, had a bite to eat and turned in with a quietly spoken good night. Within minutes, they were sound asleep.

Early morning found Luna and Sabrina alone in the camp, their horses gone. They rushed about, looking for the horses, but found nothing. As they walked back to camp, Luna saw prints in the sand. Showing them to Sabrina, they quietly followed the prints. The trail led them to a camp where they found AnnaBell and her trio. Tied to a tree was Gunner and Sabrina’s horse, Rebel.

Luna laughed quietly and whispered, “Does she really thing she can keep Gunner from me?” With that, she let out a piercing whistle that silenced the birds, stilled the trees and set Gunner in motion. He snapped the rope holding him, bit the rope holding Rebel and together, they ran to where Luna and Sabrina were hiding.

Dumbfounded, AnnaBell and her trio stood by with mouths agape, barely believing what they had just witnessed. Highly agitated, AnnaBell swears revenge. “I’ll get you for this!” she says, shaking her fist. Luna and Sabrina laughed as they rode their horses back to camp to pack up for the rest of the journey.

The next evening, they set camp as the night before, falling asleep quickly. Several hours later, Luna was wakened by Gunner nuzzling her face. “What is it boy? What’s wrong?”

Turning towards the woods at the far end of the camp, Gunner neighed and stomped his foot. Luna heard the brush rustling and quickly woke Sabrina. They watched the bushes, not knowing what was there. They heard a low growling. Then Gunner stomped again and neighed differently. Luna wondered what could be in the bushes causing Gunner to neigh ‘hello?’

Then she saw him. It was Lobo, the wolf she had rescued as a pup. She had found him caught in a trap and used her powers to free him. Laughing, she flew to Lobo and rubbed his ears. “You big baby, where have you been? I haven’t seen you in ages.”

Lobo let out a low growl as if trying to say something. Sabrina stood in awe at the beautiful beast before her. “This is Lobo?’

“Yes, come on, pet him,” Luna said.

“Are you sure he won’t mind?”

“I’m positive, come on!”

That is how AnnaBell found them when she arrived a few moments later, Luna and Sabrina sitting on Lobo’s head scratching his ears while the giant beast purred like a kitten.

“What is this? I don’t understand! He was supposed to eat you and your stupid horses!” AnnaBell cried.

“What do you mean?” Luna asked.

“I lured him here to eat you. You have been a thorn in my side since the day we were born and I want you gone! Forever!”

Luna, who had flown down to be level with her, now stepped a bit closer. “I had no idea you hated me so much. What have I done?”

AnnaBell told her, “You had to be born before me. You were the first one of the year and you have all the special powers while I have to make do with only one decent power. You! Everything is your fault! I’m in love with Thomas and you took him from me.”

“What? You had a relationship with Thomas? How can that be, I’ve known him my entire life!”

“No, you stupid girl. He doesn’t even know I exist thanks to you. You’re all he can see. You’re all he has ever seen!” With these words, AnnaBell stepped forward in what seemed like a threatening manner, causing Lobo to jump between them, teeth bared to AnnaBell, a deep warning growl came from his throat.

“Oh you ugly beast, get out of my way. I want to end her for good!” AnnaBell threatened while trying to step around Lobo.

While Lobo was a grown, full size wolf, the fairies were a mere six inches tall, but many of them had very strong powers, some capable of hurting a beast Lobo’s size. When AnnaBell told Lobo to get out of her way, it would have been possible for her to hurt Lobo. But he would have none of that. With one swing of his giant paw, he sent AnnaBell turning end over end.

Prepared for fight, Lobo crouched down. AnnaBell laughed and asked Lobo, “is that all you’ve got?” She pointed a finger at him as if about to use her power on him. He pounced and landed with his giant paw on top of AnnaBell. Staring at her, he growled menacingly. Now AnnaBell was scared. She knew she had overstepped with this beast and she knew he could, and would, kill her.

“No! Please don’t!” she cried out.

Lobo growled, his teeth inches from her. She continued to beg for mercy. Luna flew to Lobo’s head and whispered in his ear. He listened closely. Then, after letting out one final growl, he stepped away.

AnnaBell was so grateful to Luna for saving her, she fell to her knees begging forgiveness and promising to never hurt Luna again.

“Of course I forgive you. One cannot live with hate. It is all consuming and makes one do things they would otherwise not do.”

“Thank you Luna. You are too kind. I promise, you will not regret this,” AnnaBell said. “Goodbye for now, I’ll see you back home. Have a safe journey,” as she turned to go.

Lobo said his goodbyes and went off into the forest. Luna stood, thoughtful for a moment and then she said, “That was it.”

“What was what?” Sabrina asked.

“The lesson. Compassion. He wanted me to learn compassion. To learn how my actions affect others.”

“Oh.” Sabrina said, still puzzled.

Laughing, Luna said, “let’s go home. I have to see King Jordan.”

And with that, they mounted up and headed home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Letter to Daddy in Heaven

The following letter was written by a young friend whose father passed on this day 6 years ago. Thank you Carly for allowing me to share this.

Dear Daddy,

Happy Birthday there in heaven. I guess you know this day’s a tough one for me, given all it commemorates and all the emotion it packs… I woke up thinking of you, and since I can’t call, I thought I’d write. Feel free to answer any way you can…you know I watch for signs. So what’s it like there? Are there people for you to help and build stuff for or is heaven so perfect nobody needs help? Please tell me you’re not bored. How’s your mansion? Are Henry and harley there? And what about you? Are you wise now? Well, Wiser lol? Surely you have a better perspective on things, right? Can you read my thoughts? See my actions? Hear my prayers? Seen Jesus yet? Guessing there’s a waiting list a mile long, huh? Do you have to make an appointment? Can you see the future? Do you worry like I do? Sorry for all the questions but it should be expected. And what about you? Are you happy up there… Over there? Around here? Where are you anyway? Will you be coming back? Would you even want to? If reincarnation is real, how will I know you? Better yet, could you not come back until I get there, cause I liked you as my father and really want to hug you again someday if we have arms to hug with. How’s Aunt Kathy? What about Papa? Paw? Jared? Did you even know Jared before heaven? Do you have a harley? Brody said he saw you one day, and your harley was purple lol. Brody and Raeah are awesome aren’t they. I wish they could meet you. Are there black n mild cigars and beer there? Do you think back on old times back here on earth? I think some memories might make you sad… Can you even get sad in heaven? You always did love birthdays: real life birthdays… Now that you get to celebrate your birthday in heaven what’s the best part? Did they bake you a cake? Throw you a party? Are you surrounded by friends and family eating Crawfish and cutting up? Whatever you’re doing this day, know I’m celebrating too…not with cake, but in my heart. aid a special prayer asking God to let you know, if it wouldn’t make you sad, that you were really missed…for you are really dearly missed dad. Some days I miss you so much I can’t function…but other days, it feels like you’re right here. Whatever you’re doing on this, your 6th birthday in heaven, may laughter and love surround you and may you find peace in knowing not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. Happy Birthday Daddy. I love you more than you could ever imagine ♡ Now and always, your baby girl

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