Through A Glass Darkly

He had wanted to be a hero, not the villain.

That didn’t really matter now, though, as he was firmly (seemingly) on the opposing side of to the angels.

It’s not like anyone would believe him anyway should he ever speak out and try to clear his name. He wasn’t the first to be in this position and he likely wouldn’t be the last, but that was a cold comfort if it gave any comfort at all.

Which it didn’t.

“Is there any point to asking you why you’ve turned your back on our family? On everything we’ve taught you?” his father asked, his mother a silent wraith next to him as they stared at one another from across the courtyard.

“Would you believe anything I say?” he countered.

His mother snorted while his father cast an unhappy glance sideways at his wife, but said nothing against her coming words, “No one would trust the word of a traitor.”

“And yet you have trusted the word of a coward.” he snapped back.

His mother’s face twisted, destroying the illusion of gentility as a sneer painted itself across her face. “Once again, we have to trust the word of a traitor in order to believe what you have to say about that so-called ‘coward.'”

Adam closed his eyes against her face. He hadn’t ever expected her face to look like that while it was pointed in his direction. Oh, he had seen it several times in the past, when he was a child and then a young man, but always from a distance and never to him personally.

He missed seeing her smiles, and it was likely that he would only ever see them again in his life through a glass darkly.

Well, it wasn’t like one didn’t have to leave behind their childhood at some point.

But, he thought to himself as he left his childhood home, It usually didn’t mean that you literally left everyone and everything you knew as a child because you were no longer welcome.

Adam just had to keep reminding himself that it would all work out in the end.

He didn’t know if he could bear the thought that it could turn out any different from what he hoped at the moment without breaking.

He couldn’t afford to break.

No one could afford to have him break at a time like this.

There was too much still left to do.

His father watched him leave, not going back into their home with his wife until the sight of his eldest son’s back was no longer visible.

The elderly gentleman was so very tired of all this and he had not wanted  his son to have to follow this path, though he would never be able to share his suspicions with anyone.

Not even with his wife, who felt such things far more deeply than he did.

“I hope that you will stay safe, son.” he whispered to the empty landscape in front of his eyes.


Response to this Light and Shade Challenge.

Desolation

The building was abandoned, but that wasn’t anything new. Most of the buildings available in this town were abandoned and it really should stop surprising me, but I guess it’s because I can remember when this town was full to the brim. Every inch available within The Valley (because even now I can’t help but think of it as The Valley rather than using the name it was given) converted into something of use for the humanity that was contained within it.

But I was surprised when I found signs that no one had been there since the last time I had darkened the floors with my own shadow.

I was always surprised and not just because it was one of the few defense mechanisms I had left to keep my mind from losing what little sanity still remained hidden within its dark corners-

“Are you done?”

She jumped slightly, just managing to stop herself from toppling the chair she sat in to the ground, taking her along with it.

“Don’t do that!” she snapped once she was certain that all four legs were firmly upon the ground.

He held up his hands and backed up a few steps to appease her. “I just wanted to know how things were coming.”

She took a deep breath, “It’s coming along fine.” She tried to keep her voice even, but knew that she failed when something like sympathy crept into his eyes.

She didn’t need his sympathy or pity or whatever it was that he wanted to emote all over her. She would finish the manuscript with plenty of time before the deadline and she would finish it masterfully.

Just because she hadn’t even reached the halfway point and she was strung so tightly from stress and sugar and not seeing the sun for days, if not weeks

“Just let me know if you need a break or anything.” he commented before going to leave the room. He stopped just before he was out of sight, but didn’t turn around before saying, “Dinner should be ready in an hour or so, we’d really like it if you were able to join us.”

She said nothing, but watched as his shoulders sagged briefly before continuing on his way.

She blinked a few moments before turning back to the word document in front of her and taking up position once again.

She would finish this thing and then she’d have all the time in the world to spend with her family.

(She didn’t remember, couldn’t remember, just how much she missed them when she had so much work left to do.)

(If only she didn’t feel just as alone as her protagaonist physically was then maybe she would be able to remember just why she had started to write in the first place.)


No, this is not based on anything in real life, it’s just what came once I started typing.

This was written in response to the Light and Shade Challenge weekly challenge. I haven’t written for this challenge in quite a while for different reasons and when I decided to check it out today on an off thought I decided that this would be what I was writing today.

Little Time Left

She’s traveled far, her shoes long since worn out and her coat in tatters. Her hair was matted and dirty, stray leaves and even a few twigs caught in the mess. Her face, once fair and almost translucent was smudged with dirt and sun-burned.

She hugged the small swaddled form in her arms closer to her chest and was grateful that the infant was a deep sleeper once more.

She didn’t know if she’d be able to do this if her young one had been awake.

But maybe she’d have been able to push forward anyway. She had learned that she could be strong when she had to be even if Marin had never believed it of her in the past.

Illiana did not sigh, she didn’t have the breath for it.

She only had until the new moon to finish her preparations before her time was up.

The village ahead was a welcome sight and not just because of the threatening clouds overhead. Illiana hurried to  the small house that she recognized from so many years in the past and prayed that her dear friend was still living. The door creeped open and Illiana did sigh this time, though in relief.

“Marin.”

The older woman on the other side looked surprised. “Illiana, what are you doing here?”

Illiana tightened her hands on the bundle in her arms before asking quietly if she could enter.

Marin didn’t respond, just stood back and held the wooden door open. The downtrodden woman on the outside hurried in, but didn’t accept the mug of warm tea or anything else. She simply held the bundle out to her old friend and said nothing until the woman took the child and peered down at his sleeping face.

“He’s gorgeous, Illiana.” Marin cooed before glancing up to where her friend was.

Only to see nothing, no sign other than the baby that Illiana had ever been there.


This was supposed to go somewhere else, but once it was written it was written…

This was written for the Annual Spooky Writing Challenge.

Love in Ten Lines

Love is to mourn

To mourn those loved

To love those lost

To love those found

To love those burdened

To love and lift

To comfort with love

Accept comfort with love

Stand as love’s witness

Love’s a wondrous thing.

 

… Ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yeah, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life. –Mosiah 18:8-9

 

To me, being willing to do as the Lord has asked and as He has done is an act of love. Showing that you love the Lord and will come to love your fellow men/women whether they will love you back or not. This is not an easy thing, but when has something worth more than all the precious things in this glorious world ever been considered easy?

 

To love someone is not easy, but it is likely worth every moment, whether happy or wretched it may be.

 

RULES
-Write about love using only 10 lines.
-Use “love” in every line.
-Each line can only be 4 words long.
-Nominate 10 or so others who are up for the challenge.
-Let them know about the challenge.
-Title the post, Love in Ten Lines
-Include a quote about love (i choose to affix my own)

I nominate the following people:

dragoninthenightsky

The Seeker’s Dungeon

 

And that’s all I’ve got. Kind of dizzy and I’m sorry this is late in coming out…

Q and A: Work

I had many ideas for how to answer this prompt. Some of them involved poetry (which is kind of a go-to thing for me on this blog), some of them involved one of my standing story ‘verses (actually got quite a bit down a page before the story turned into something else and then it just wouldn’t write anymore for this prompt. I was most put out) and some of them involved a mixture of prose and poetry (which I adore doing as well, because I just love to talk and talk and talk.) I wasn’t certain just how to end up answering this prompt, but in the end, I decided to try doing it in a way different from others that I have done before.

I hope that it flows well for everyone.

Do you live to work or work to live?

This is a tricky question. Living takes work, there’s no doubt about it. Living, even living in pampering, is hard on the body and the mind. Living without pampering is even harder.

But for me, I work so that I can live. I’ve had times in my life where I couldn’t work, not even to wash my own dishes or do my own laundry and those times were horrible. Not being able to do anything for myself at that time re-impressed the value of work to me.

I rejoice in my ability to work even if it’s only in the house and on the farm and not for any kind of paycheck.

Everyone must work in order to live because you can’t live without your body working for you in either way.

Are you purpose driven or do you find happiness in simple pleasures?

Can you not find happiness in the simple pleasures found within your purpose? I have often wondered at why you cannot have a career and a family because it always seemed to me that your family, having a family, was always a part of having a successful career. Maybe it’s the old fashioned thought that having a family that you take care of proves your dependability in the work place, I don’t know. (I hadn’t actually been aware that it would help on anything more than an academic level until one of my friends pointed it out to me in one of her stories.)

There are simple things in life that bring happiness scattered all about in our work. I know that I greatly enjoy just sitting with the goats sometimes and letting them cuddle up to me (well, okay, only the goatlings do that and they enjoy chewing n my clothes while they drift off to sleep). The rabbits when they are so tiny and first hopping around their mothers (who look exhausted and are usually happy when it’s time to start weaning the litters). The chickens and ducks and geese that follow you everywhere on the off chance that you have a treat for them (especially if you are carrying anything that looks even remotely like a bucket, whether it’s obviously empty or not.)

Just because you have a purpose and just because that purpose drives you doesn’t mean that you still can’t find happiness in the midst of your journey in completing your purpose (if, indeed, your purpose has an ending). To me, this isn’t really an either/or situation.

Do you have a strict separation between your professional and your private life, or are they inseparable?

When I had a desk job, I did keep my two lives separate, though that wasn’t a very difficult thing to do at the time. The only people who I knew at work happened to be related to me. (My older brother and brother-in-law worked in different departments and we didn’t even have lunch at the same time. My older sister started working there after me and we used to joke that we were slowly taking over the company via family. Of course two of us only worked there part time while going to school…) That and it was during the years where I wasn’t very…erm…awake.

You can hold down a desk job while working on auto-pilot if you can train your body and mind well enough. Those years are kind of blurry. Though I do miss the shredder.

I loved that shredder.

Now, though, now it would kind of be impossible for me to have any kind of separation between what I do and my private life. Probably because I run the family farm (sort of, it’s not a very big farm at the moment) and I’m kind of the nanny for my sister’s kids (though they are certainly old enough that they don’t really need me to do as much as they used to.) It would be kind of difficult to keep the two separate at this point.

Are you happy with your current arrangement or would you change anything?

I think the only thing I would change would be the fencing. I’d love to have more fencing available (better fencing in some cases) in order to keep the animals in their yards and out of the garden (and out of the neighbor’s calf yard). Other than that, I think this is one of the happiest I’ve ever been since I became an adult.

(Now if only the pigs would stay in their pen…)

This strange attempt at a post was brought to you by the Dungeon Prompt: Live to Work or Work to Live?

 

Willing to Ask in Humility

At times we must swallow our pride

Seek out from others what we do not have

Keeping in mind that we don’t have to do it alone

 

Friends and family are all around

Only waiting for their hand to be taken

Reaching back and reaching out at the same time

 

How often have you thought, “I don’t need anyone else?”

Even as the water flows over your head and covers your mouth?

Let them in, let them help, let them be there for you and yours

Please remember that it heals wounds in them that you cannot see.

 

Sometimes being humble means:

-taking lessons from others you believe are less than yourself

-backing down

-accepting the consequences of your actions

And sometimes, sometimes being humble means letting another serve and help you even though you want to stand on your own feet. There is no dishonor in accepting aid when it is needed and offered and given.

Inspired by the Dungeon Prompt: Humbling Ourselves

 

Dreams of Ashes

She’d spent years working towards it, studied it for all of her other ‘you get to choose’ essays from third grade all the way up through college and university. It had been her passion, her desire to just know what was going on that had pushed and pushed and pushed her to continue studying it throughout the long years.

She’d wanted to help people the way others had helped her and those important to her.

If only she had realized the great problem in front of her.

In order to be an effective therapist, you must be able to keep your distance, emotionally, to your patient so that you can remain objective.

When she tried to remain distant, like she was supposed to, she came off as apathetic and like she didn’t care at all. If she was approachable and friendly, then she wasn’t able to keep up the professionalism needed at times.

Either her heart would lead or her head, they could not share the task, no matter how she tried and practiced.

She just wasn’t able to work that way.


And that is why I decided to move away from getting a degree in Psychology and went for another of the things I love (and am a mite obsessed with), Interior Design (or organizing and building things…and running a farm, though that’s a new love that I have discovered by actually living on a farm.)

I wanted to help people, like I had been helped, but there’s a line that they teach you about when you’re studying for an actual degree in order to do anything official. And in order to respect that line, I have a hard time empathizing with people. Or, at least letting them know that I’m more than just ice inside.

Words on a page can change depending on the voice reading them, but the voice itself can have a hard time being heard correctly when there are restraints required on it.

This little bit of soul searching was brought to you by the Dungeon Prompt: Be Careful What You Wish For.

 

Take It With You

I love to see the temple…For the temple is the House of God, a place of love and beauty. –“I Love to See the Temple” from the Children’s Songbook

 

There are many happy places, but the happiest is when you know that you are safe, when you know that those around you care for you no matter what. When you know that nothing bad can happen to you there.

For me, it’s family and there is nowhere that brings family together better than the temple of the Lord.

 

“As a child of God, I know this truth, the family is forever.” –“I Love to See the Temple” from the Children’s Songbook

 

It is true that you have to work to be happy, it doesn’t just come easily. If it did, would we cherish it so? Would it mean the same to us? No, probably not.

So.

You have to work to be happy.

My family makes me want to be happy, makes me want to be a better person. That takes a lot of work.

Being worthy for the temple, to be able to go inside the House of the Lord, that takes effort. You can’t just coast for it, you have to sit down and decide what you are and aren’t going to do in order to qualify for it and then you have to stick to it. The decision can be hard enough, but to keep to that decision is just as difficult. Sometimes more so.

But I don’t live close to the temple anymore. (Moving to the other side of a mountain range into a valley that doesn’t have four temples up and is at least an hour away from the nearest one does that to a person.)

But the Spirit of the Lord, that same Spirit that is present in the temple at all times, can be with you outside and everywhere. So you can bring the feelings of happiness that are in the temple with you when you leave. You can have them at the part, at church, at your home, on the road.

Anywhere.

If you just work hard enough for it, everywhere can be your happy place, because it is something that you can take with you.

Always.


This short ramble was brought to you by the Dungeon Prompt: Getting to Our Happy Place

 

Old Magic

The magic glittered all around her as she laughed and ran and played. The lake was so large, but not large enough that she couldn’t dance across the tiny waves that the wind caused. The river, just as wide as the lake, it seemed, was gentle as she landed on the large boulder in its middle. She plopped down, only slightly winded from dancing across the lake and down the river to the boulder itself, her legs dangling over the edge and the flowing water teasing and tickling the edges of her toes. She giggled happily, joyfully even as she flopped back and let the sun-warmed stone behind her help to dry up the water that had lightly soaked her during her play.

The sun was so warm and though it did nothing to her skin (no tan ever seemed to stick to the girl’s skin, not that she cared generally, but the incessant sunburns that few others in her family had to deal with were really getting on her nerves) she enjoyed the heat it engendered for several more minutes before jumping up and skipping back across the river in order to run through the fields and find her favorite cherry tree. (It was the only cherry tree, but that didn’t really matter to her in the end.) The tree still had some of its summer fruit on it and she gleefully picked a few from the highest branches (the only part that still had any of the tiny red berries) and ate them while still clinging to the gently swaying limbs.

This summer was glorious, but all summers in the Valley were glorious. There was always some kind of fruit in season: apples (six different kinds!), grapes (though you had to leave the Valley for those…), pears, plums (only three or four different kinds), cherries, peaches, gooseberries… The supply was endless as each month something was in harvest. She knew that there had once been other trees and bushes with fruit growing on them, though those trees had long since vanished from the Valley, likely some Evil Plague that had been sent down to frighten the inhabitants of the Valley away so that others could come and claim it.

It wouldn’t have been the first time that someone had tried to take the Valley from its rightful inhabitants and it likely wouldn’t be the last. Such a fertile and idyllic place was often sought after by all and sundry.

Even up in the cherry tree she could see movement in the fields of wild wheat up on one of the hills. Her eyes narrowed and she crouched in the tree, eyes still following the line that was being drawn in the wild wheat before springing out of the tree and racing through the fields and other trees, through the large sentinel-like juniper bushes that were on either side of the entrance to the wild wheat fields. She was careful to not trample the wild wheat (it would do no good flattened on the ground) and tracked the figure who was only several yards in front of her now.

Without any kind of cry (though she wasn’t completely silent) she pounced on the supposed intruder, rolling with them down the hill until the figure was pinned beneath her.

“Was there a reason that you just wrestled me to the ground?” came a voice that she knew, dry in its humor and with only a bit of a threat hidden within it.

She blinked and then flushed, “Oops?”

She scrambled off of the person she’d…well, attacked…before she was flung off.

Her sister had never been the most forgiving type.

“I thought you might be an intruder into the Valley.” She explained as she continued to back away from her advancing younger sister.

“Really, now.”

It wasn’t a question and without another word, her younger sister pounced (much better than she had, she noted silently even as she tried, and failed, to escape.) They went down and she realized that the only reason she’d won in the first place was because her sister had let her.

After a good ten minutes of tussling, she gave up and lay flat, breathing loudly.

“Are we even now?” she eventually asked.

Her sister made a show of thinking it over, “Maybe. I’ll think about it. So what’s this idea that there are intruders in the Valley?”

She shrugged, “It was just a thought, probably nothing.”

Her sister’s eyes narrowed and she stopped getting off of her, deciding to pin her back down, “That’s not what I asked. Spill.”

“It was nothing, can I please get up?”

“No.”

They argue like that for a few more minutes while she tried to dislodge her sister a few times before giving in. It was always best to just give in to her sister; her sister was the natural leader of the two even if she was the one who usually had to actually make her sister’s crazy plans work out.

“I…I, uh, think that some of the problems we’ve been having in the Valley have been a Plague Curse or something, to chase us out so someone, uh, someone else can, uh, take the Valley for their own.” She’d mumbled through the last bit and looked at the ground.

She waited for her sister to say something.

She didn’t.

She waited some more.

Nothing.

Finally, she peeked up through her (covered in dirt and twigs and leaves) bangs at her sister. Her sister looked thoughtful, her brow furrowed and her mouth drawn down into a frown as the thoughts flew across her eyes rapidly.

Apparently her wait in silence would continue, because interrupting her sister when she was thinking led to not good things happening. To her, always to her, because she just wasn’t the most patient of people and was always trying to hurry things along when, if she’d just waited even five seconds more things would have been fine.

Yeah, she had issues with waiting quietly.

Issues that were about to come up again if her sister didn’t say something already.

Before she could open her mouth and say or do something stupid, her sister nodded to herself and seemed to come to a decision.

“We need to bring our brother into this, he’s traveled the most outside of the Valley, he’ll know what’s going on outside and if there’s been any rumors of wars or plagues or anything that would be a problem for the Valley.”

She cringed; she’d hoped that her sister wouldn’t want to contact their brother.

“He’s, uh, he’s not…available…right now.”

Her sister paused in her pacing, which she had started when she’d started talking and laying out what they were going to discuss with their brother. She turned and looked at her elder sister, “What do you mean he’s not available?

She flinched and then wished she hadn’t when her sister’s frown deepened. “He’s, uh, he’s in the house.”

Her sister’s face momentarily blanked while she blinked and absorbed that information.

“What.”

“He’s inside, watching something, maybe playing a video game.”

And just like that the magic was broken.

The Valley melted down into their backyard, the river turned into the gravel that ran alongside the house and the lake became the giant hole they’d dug near the end of the gravel-way. The fruit trees and gooseberry bushes were still there, but closer together and the wild wheat no longer covered hills and dips, just the part of the yard at the back where it was on higher ground than the rest of the backyard.

“I thought he was going to play with us?” her sister asked as they divested themselves of their sticks (swords, daggers, staves) before entering the house through the sliding backdoor.

“He decided he wanted to have a turn on the t.v. before Mom got home from work.”

Her sister sighed, “Fine, but we’re totally going to crash his time and demand some of the popcorn he’s likely made while we were gone.”

She stopped and stared at her younger sister with wide eyes for a moment, “We have more popcorn! He didn’t tell me that!”

Her sister laughed, “Of course not, would you have told us?”

She didn’t bother trying to argue or look guilty as they raced down the stairs.


This little story was partially inspired by my childhood backyard. It was an awesome place and had lots of fruit trees and gooseberry bushes. (There used to be strawberry bushes and rhubarb, but, uh, there aren’t anymore.)

It’s amazing the magic that a child has and I wonder just where some of it goes the older we get. Maybe we need to spend more time practicing the magic we had as children once we’ve become adults to make sure we don’t lose it.

The rest of this story was inspired by the Dungeon Prompt: Our Magical Powers.

 

Just Like You

Sometimes she wondered at the way they were portrayed even as she set the candles in their places around the room. Popular media often showed them in one of two ways: 1) they were eccentric and did things their own way or 2) they tried everything to be as normal as possible. It never occurred to people, apparently, that they might be people just like them and not really that different at all.

So they had a few different talents that others didn’t have. That wasn’t that abnormal either. Plenty of ‘regular’ (and she always snorted even in her own mind at such a word, nothing was normal, really, everything was only normal in relative to whatever was normal for the person in question) people were able to do things that others struggled with if they could even do it at all. That included those who were ‘different’ or ‘not human.’ Just because they were inhuman didn’t mean that they could do all the wondrous things that brilliance often showed within ‘regular’ humans. Everyone had talents that not every had, just because you were ‘only’ human didn’t mean that was any different.

She didn’t bother sighing as she finished unplugging all of her electronics, what few there were in the house (including the refrigerator and stove). She may not have all the different gadgets in her house that many of her college peers had, but that didn’t mean that she wanted to accidentally damage anything. Just because she wasn’t one of those of her kind that had extra abilities didn’t mean that sometimes static didn’t build up anyway. There was always more static around her kind than others and considering how much static electricity could build up around ‘regular’ humans…

Yeah, she hadn’t wanted to take the chance.

There were no other things that she’d gathered from the night other than the numerous candles that were scattered in great abundance around her main room. She wasn’t as big on observing the different holidays of her kind, not like her parents and siblings or even nephews were, but she did like to sit in a room only lit by candles as she sat through the Autumn Solstice.

Once the candles were lit, she sat in one of her chairs in the middle of the room and watched the flicker of light play against her bare walls and windows as the sun sunk beneath the horizon.

As she had already said, she wasn’t a strict observer of the Rites or holidays, but she did like to use them to take the time and think about her life.

After all, being a born witch didn’t much change the fact that she still had to make serious decisions about what she was going to do with her life now that she was nearing the end of her college years and needed to find a job that would utilize the degree that she’d spent the last four years working towards.


This was written for the Third Annual Spooky Writing Challenge, though it’s different from what I offered up last time. I hope that it is enjoyed!