Finish The Story — A New Dawn, Part 2

F7C858C7-5C5F-4B49-81D4-00ED4A80923BTeresa, over at The Haunted Wordsmith, wasted no time in posting her first Finish The Story prompt of the new year. And she picked me to write the next part.

Here’s how Teresa got it started.

A New Dawn, Part 1

The snow pelted Jon in the face as he stumbled toward the trees. He looked back at the city lights and brushed his long, wet hair out of his eyes. The lights that once held such wonder and mystique now held only despair and heartache. He remembered the warm spring day he first pulled into the city and saw her on the corner waiting for a bus. Lacey would soon be his girlfriend, then fiancé with a little boy on the way. That seemed so long ago. A time when his life was perfect.

He turned back to the trees and allowed the dark to engulf him. Tripping and running into low-hanging branches reminded him he was still alive – for now. Blinded by the snow, tears, and rage, Jon pushed further into the blackness of despair.

Suddenly the ground gave way and he tumbled into a grove surrounded by dead trees. Blood poured over the side of his face and no matter how much he tried, he did not have the strength to fight to live. He only prayed, as he closed his eyes, that they would be waiting for him.

Robins and other songbirds stirred him. Warm rays from the rising sun warmed him, and as his eyes batted and tried to make out what had happened, a sweet voice laughed.

“Lacey?”

The voice laughed again as Jon rubbed his eyes and sat up.

“No silly,” the voice said. “It’s …”


And here’s my continuation.

A New Dawn, Part 2

“It’s Matilda and I am your guide.”

Jon could not see the source for the voice. It seemed to be coming from all around him. “My guide? Show yourself, guide. What is this place and why must I have a guide?” he asked.

The guide laughed again. “Oh Jon, everyone who comes here needs a guide. You’d be lost without one. You wouldn’t know what to do next. Besides Jon, you did pray for me. Don’t you remember?”

The last thing Jon remembered was falling down, tumbling into a glade, and feeling battered, bloody, weak, and hopeless. He touched his head, but there was no blood. He looked at his clothing only to discover, much to his dismay, that he was draped in a white silk robe and had leather sandals on his feet. “I don’t understand,” Jon said. “Where exactly am I and why am I dressed this way?”

“All in due time, Jon,” Matilda said in a smooth, calming voice.

“I demand that you show yourself,” Jon said. “Show yourself and tell me what this place is.”

“I am not like a child who should be seen and not heard,” Matilda said. “Quite the opposite, in fact. As to where you are, Jon, a smart man like you should have figured that out by now.”

“Am I dead?” Jon asked. “Am I in Hell?”

“You’re not in Hell,” Matilda said. “And neither are you in Heaven, Jon. You’re in …”


Now, according to Teresa, I’m supposed to tag another blogger who is supposed to:

  1. Copy the story as he or she receives it.
  2. Add to the story in some fashion.
  3. Tag yet another person to contribute to or finish the story.
  4. Please use FTS as a tag so Teresa can find it or link back to part 1.
  5. Have Fun!

The lucky blogger I am going to tag is Kristian over at Tales From The Mind of Kristian. I’m confident that he’ll do a bang up job with “A New Dawn, Part 3.”

Are Dead People Voyeurs?

CEB274F9-BD76-4B99-A978-93702D2271F0I was watching a TV show the other night when one character said to the other, “You’re father would be so proud of you. I bet he’s looking down from heaven right now with a big smile on his face.”

Yeah, right. Do people really belief that their dearly departed friends and relatives are looking down — or looking up, as the case may be — at them to see what they’re up to?

“Oh my God, Dan, that was the best sex ever. I bet your mom is looking down on you from heaven with a big smile on her face.” Oh wait, maybe it was Dan’s father who was looking up at him from hell and masturbating while watching Dan having a hot time with that blonde he picked up at that party. Hmm. Do the souls of dead people masturbate?

Do people really believe that the souls of their deceased loved ones are spending their days in the afterlife spying on their earthbound family members and pals? Do they do it all the time, or do they only do it when something extraordinarily good or bad happens?

And where’s the line? Are there boundaries, safe zones, where you can escape the prying dead eyes of the deceased? Like the bathroom, maybe. Is my mother watching me sitting on the toilet taking a dump and beaming about what a big boy I am?

Is there a statute of limitations? For example, are these dead voyeurs watching over us forever? Or are we sentenced to a finite number years after their death to be subjected to their constant observation? And how large is this circle of voyeurs? Just your parents or does it go back multiple generations and include more watchers than your immediate family and closest friends?

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m an atheist and I don’t believe in the notion of an afterlife. But I’m genuinely interested in hearing from those who are believers. Do you believe that the souls of your deceased loved ones — your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and closest friends — are looking down at you, watching what you’re doing day in and day out?

I’m not trying to be an asshole. I really want to know what you believe. Tell me in the comments or write your own post and link it back to this post.

Thanks!

MLMM Tale Weaver — The Portal to Nowhere

84693BD2-1472-48E0-B65A-C51B299F5B3BThe reality of his situation was undeniable. Clyde’s condition had worsened considerably over the past six weeks and his doctor suggested that Clyde get his ducks in a row while he was still able.

Speaking about ducks, Clyde loved spending his mornings sitting by the pond watching the ducks, geese, seagulls, and swans frolic. He always brought breadcrumbs and enjoyed watching the water fowl go after his tossed offerings. He’d be damned if he was going to let a little thing like a terminal disease take that away from him.

Having exhausted his supply of breadcrumbs, Clyde rose up off the bench and started to walk back toward his home a few blocks from the pond. Unfortunately, as he left the pond area, he began experiencing yet another visual aura, but much more intense than the auras he’d been getting over the past few weeks.

He quickened his pace, hoping to make it home before the aura spread from the edges of his vision, but it was not to be. The aura increased so rapidly that Clyde felt as if he was stepping into it, which exactly what he was doing.

Clyde felt himself pass through what seemed to be some sort of portal. The park, the pond, and the ducks, geese, and swans were gone. He was surrounded on all sides by a gray mist, and with nothing solid under his feet, he experienced the sensation of floating.

As he was starting to panic, Clyde heard a voice that seemed to be surrounding him. “Relax, Clyde,” the voice said. “Just go with the flow.”

“Who are you and where am I?” Clyde asked.

“I am you,” the voice said. “And we’re snug in your bed at the hospice.”

“My bed? A hospice?” Clyde said. “No, I was just at the park feeding the ducks and geese,” he insisted.

“Only inside your head,” the voice spoke. “You’ve been in a coma for a couple of weeks and, in your mind, you’ve been spending your days at the pond because it gives you peace. But now it’s time to go.”

“Time to go where?” Clyde asked. “Heaven? Hell?”

The voice chuckled. “You know you don’t believe in heaven and hell, Clyde. So why would you ask me that?”

“Well,” Clyde reasoned, “You said I’ve been in a coma but that it’s time to go. So where are we going?”

“The same place you were before you were born,” the voice answered. “You’re going to the Nowhere.”

“The Nowhere?” Clyde asked. “If I did believe in an afterlife, would we be going there?”

“No, Clyde,” the voice answered. “Everyone goes to the Nowhere when they die.”

“But what’s in the Nowhere?”

“Absolutely nothing,” answered the voice.


Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver prompt. We are asked to write a tale about a journey through a portal to a new land. “It could be a fairy world, some magical place, an upside down world, a place of natural wonder.” Image credit: PSA2009 at pxlyes.com.

MLMM Photo Challenge — The Freckle-Faced Girl

904EA04D-5EB2-4F01-A218-91F428B77C56The little, freckled-face girl with the sad green eyes looked up at the man and women who were hoping to take her home as their foster child. Shawna had lived a tough life for one so young, having been “in the system” for much of her young life. Her father had abandoned her and her mother shortly after she was born. Her mother overdosed on meth when Shawna was just three.

She’d been in the custody of Child Protective Services for nearly three years and was living in a group home. It was all she really knew and she wasn’t sure how she felt about being removed from the group home and into a house with strangers.

They seemed nice enough. The woman was pretty and looked kind. The man, well, he seemed nice. And the lady from CPS said that the couple had a lovely home and would be ideal foster parents.

Within a week the couple came back to the group home and loaded Shawna and her few belongings into their car and drove her to a mansion that she thought must belong to a princess.

Once inside, the housekeeper showed Shawna to her very own room with a large bed and a closet full of clothing. She even had her own private bathroom and a separate playroom with dolls and toys.

Shawna thought she had died and gone to heaven. The cook prepared delicious meals and the housekeeper saw to her every need. Her foster parents hired a nanny to educate her and to be her companion. She never imagined that people actually lived this way except in fairytales.

Her foster parents were very nice to her and she couldn’t believe how fortunate she was to have been chosen by them. She felt like a real-life princess.

Every night at bedtime her foster father would come into her room and read her a story. He was very kind and gentle and she cuddled up next to him when he read to her. Sometimes he would stroke her long, red hair as he read. Sometimes he would caress her cheek. There were times when he would gently massage her shoulders.

So it wasn’t that unusual when one night he asked if she would remove her nightie so that he could rub her back. His fingers felt good on her skin and she enjoyed the sensation. After a little while he stopped, and just as had done every other night, he kissed her goodnight on her cheek, tucked her in, and left her room.

But then, a few hours later, she felt her foster father crawl into her bed and get under the covers with her. He asked her if she had enjoyed it when he rubbed her back earlier in the evening and she told him that she had. Then he asked if she’d like him to rub her some more. She said she was tired, but he insisted, telling her that it would make her feel really good and help her sleep after he left. So she said okay.

As she had earlier when he’d rubbed her back, she enjoyed his touch. But then his hands started caressing her private area and she couldn’t help but see his arousal. She told him that she was tired and asked him to stop, but he would not. He asked her if she liked living in their home and when she said yes, he told her that if she wanted to continue living there, she would do as he said. He also warned her that if she told anyone — his wife, the housekeeper, the nanny, the cook, or the woman from Child Protective Services — what they were doing, he would send her back to the group home.

One day, after her foster father’s nocturnal visits had been going on for a few weeks, Shawna told her foster mother about what was going on. But her foster mother accused Shawna of lying and told her that little girls who make up stories were bad girls and deserved to be sent back to live in a group home. So Shawna said nothing more to her foster mother or to anyone else for that matter. And the nightly visits from her foster father continued.

The little, freckled-face girl with the sad green eyes no longer thought that she had died and gone to heaven. Instead, she felt that she had somehow landed in a hell on earth.


Written for Photo Challenge #205 on Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. Photo credit: Ryn-Sweet-Surreal.

Live and Let Live

E9227BC6-99B3-4720-85AF-9D57A498DD08“Without God, you can have no moral compass,” he admonished. “How can you know right from wrong or good from evil if you don’t believe in God. Have you no core beliefs?”

“Of course I know right from wrong and good from evil. And yes, I do have core beliefs,” I said. “But they don’t include believing in a mythical, supernatural, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient being.”

“But God created everything, including you. If you don’t believe in God, what’s the point of life? Of all of this?” he said, waving his arm around.

“Look,” I said. “I believe in live and let live. You know, whatever gets you through the day. Why can’t you do the same? Why do you feel compelled to ridicule me, tell me that I have no moral compass or that my core beliefs are meaningless just because they’re different from yours?”

“I’m just trying to save your soul from eternal damnation,” he said. “Don’t you want to be saved?”

“Saved from being condemned to an eternity in a hell I don’t believe in?” I said. “How about saving me from all of your religious proselytizing, please?”

“I just want you to feel the joy knowing that Jesus is with you and that you’re with Him.”

“I know you mean well,” I said, “and I respect your beliefs. You are free to believe whatever you want to believe, and if your beliefs work for you, that’s great. But so am I free to believe — or to not believe — and if that includes believing that God does not exist, you should respect my beliefs because that’s what works for me.”

“But without God there can be no morality,” he said. “That’s one of my core beliefs and it’s my duty to God to share them with you and to guide you so that you can know Him.”

“I’m sorry, but, while I appreciate whatever it is that you choose to believe, I just don’t accept, much less embrace, it,” I said. “Because my core belief is ‘you do you and I’ll do me’ and, by following that core belief, we’ll both do fine.”


Written for this past Sunday’s Sunday Writing Prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The challenge is to examine one of our core beliefs. In response to this prompt, I wrote this short, kind of fictional vignette. Comments, as always, are welcome.