The Lord of the Rings

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The Lord of the Rings

by J.R.R. Tolkein

 

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron’s fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.

When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.

The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.

Stars!

Strong language – 0, I think

Romance – 3

Graphic Details – 5

Magic – 5, yes it has magic, but it’s not dominating.  Similar to Narnia.

Do you like stories of adventure? Journeys to free lands from an evil, tyrannical overlord?  When up to the very last moment you’re wondering what will happen next?

Congratulations, you’ve found a new favorite.

Frodo is a normal hobbit.  But even when you’re ordinary, extraordinary things can happen.

Kingdoms are at stake.

Will Frodo fulfill the quest in time?

(Frodo also has a not-so-normal cousin named Bilbo, whose adventures you can read about in The Hobbit. (Actually, I would recommend reading The  Hobbit first; The Lord of the Rings is a sequel to it.))

Lord of the Rings, an incredibly crafted story.  Sure to be a favorite.  (That is, if you read it!)

Lord of the Rings is on Amazon Here!

Well, that’s all for today!

~Molly

 

*DISCLAIMER* Post may contain affiliate links; if you buy, I may receive money, with NO additional cost to you whatsoever.  Thank you.

The Star Under the City

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The Star Under the City

by Maggie Joy

(Maggie blogs HERE)

When Ellen is suddenly orphaned and dropped alone into a strange city under tight Nazi control, she struggles to survive from day to day. Her life takes an unexpected turn when she finds a mysterious, metal six-point star that is slightly different from the ‘Star of David’ all Jews are forced to wear. Not only does the star feel like a sign of hope, but it sets her on a mission to find out what it really means. As she begins to wonder if she’ll ever find answers, she meets Lenz, and her life is flung into a whirlwind of danger and hardship, new friends and new enemies, and opportunities to learn trust and true sacrifice. As she attempts to find her place in the conflict, she discovers she is a part of something so much bigger than she could ever imagine.

 

Stars!

Strong language – 0

Romance – 1 Derick and Amelia ❤

Graphic Details – I’ll say 4, ages 10 and up

Magic – 0

I first found out about Maggie on Noble Novels, a young writers’ site I am a part of.  I was very impressed with her writing; soon I found her blog.  In 2016-17 she talked a lot about her novel that she’d written in NaNoWriMo, and that she was then editing.

When it finally came out, I was so excited! I pulled weeds in the yard to earn a copy. 😉

Then I read it in less than 24 hours.  Let me tell you why.

THIS BOOK IS INCREDIBLE!!! I mean, I loved it!!! The characters are real and relatable.  The plot is excellent.  The emotion is amazing.

Tytus is so funny!  Lenz and Willie just about tie for favorite character.  Ellen is so relatable.  I just want to sob along with her when *ahem* bad things happen!

All that said, please read this book!  Find your copy here.

Talk to you all later!

Molly

NOTE: I have done a review on The Star under the City before, but I decided to re-do it with the new system.

*DISCLAIMER* Post may contain affiliate links; if you buy, I may receive money, with NO additional cost to you whatsoever.  Thank you.

Wars of the Realm

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Wars of the Realm trilogy: Cloak of the Light

 

Drew is caught in a world of light – just inches away from the dark

What if…there was a world beyond our vision, a world just fingertips beyond our reach? What if…our world wasn’t beyond their influence?

Tragedy and heartache seem to be waiting for Drew Carter at every turn, but college offers Drew a chance to start over—until an accident during a physics experiment leaves him blind and his genius friend, Benjamin Berg, missing.

As his sight miraculously returns, Drew discovers that the accident has heightened his neuron activity, giving him skills and sight beyond the normal man. When he begins to observe fierce invaders that no one else can see, he questions his own sanity, and so do others. But is he insane or do the invaders truly exist?

With help from Sydney Carlyle, a mysterious and elusive girl who offers encouragement through her faith, Drew searches for his missing friend, Ben, who seems to hold the key to unlocking this

mystery. As the dark invaders close in, will he find the truth in time?

Rated…

 

Stars!

Wars of the Realm trilogy: Rise of the Fallen

A six thousand year war rages and now the demonic Fallen are coming for him—the one man shrouded in mystery. Only Validus stands in their way.

Validus is the last and least of God’s angels, but he’s seen much across the millennia since his creation. Empires have risen and fallen as angelic and demonic forces battle in a raging war that will determine humanity’s fate – and the fate of his defeated brothers.

Eventually called to be an earth-bound warrior, Validus rises to a position of power and respect, commanding legions of angels through impossible battles and overwhelming odds. But when orders arrive from the Creator’s most elite Messenger, he finds himself suddenly demoted to a task of apparent insignificance considering the fierce war they are waging against the demonic Fallen – the covert protection of one unbelieving man.

Validus soon finds himself on a mission that will push him beyond his abilities as he battles to protect Drew Carter, for the Fallen are coming for him. Legions of them.

As Validus races against time to discover why Drew is so important to humanity’s survival, can he stand between Drew and all who would destroy him?

Rated…

Stars! - Copy

 

Wars of the Realm trilogy: Light of the Last

 

To Fight What Others Can’t You Must See What Others Don’t

After an accident left him temporarily blind, Drew Carter didn’t just regain his sight. He now sees what others can’t imagine–an entire spiritual realm of mighty beings at war.
 
Forget the gift, Drew just wants his life back. Part of that involves Sydney Carlyle, a woman he is inexplicably drawn to. When he’s offered the chance to become a CIA agent, it seems the way to redeem his past. The only problem–his visions of the supernatural realm are increasing in frequency.
 
It’s up to the warrior angel Validus and his hand-picked team of heavenly agents to protect the unbelieving Drew. Validus now knows that the young man is at the epicenter of a global spiritual war, and the angels must use a millennia of battle experience keep Drew alive, for the Fallen want him dead.

Surrounded by spiritual warriors and targeted by demons, Drew’s faced with an impossible decision that will forever alter the destiny of America…and his own soul.

Rated…

Stars!

 

Strong language – 0

Romance – 3

Graphic Details – 5

Magic – 0 (there is spiritual warfare.)

I can’t say enough good things about this book.  In fact, if you were to ask my favorite book, I’d say this one plus it’s two sequels, Rise of the Fallen and Light of the Last.

One of the best things about this series is the emotion.  You can feel for Drew so totally.  the time in the third one when {MAJOR SPOILER!} *when he gets told that he can’t be with the CIA anymore… Heartbreaking!!! I feel so bad for him!

#1 – Five stars because it’s totally amazing.  When I got done I had to have the next one!

#2 – I was a bit disappointed.   The point of view switches to the main angel.  It goes to the beginning of time and tells about the fall of the angels and doesn’t get back to the story where Cloak of the Light leaves you at a cliffhanger.  However, it is necessary to understanding the third book, so you have to read it.

#3 – My favorite!  You finally find out what happens to Drew that the second one didn’t tell you so that made me happy :).  The plot thickens further… and the chapter titled American Annihilation… yeah. 😉

So that’s the Wars of the Realms trilogy! Have you read these incredible books? (If not, please do!!)

They’re here on Amazon: Cloak of the Light, Rise of the Fallen, and Light of the Last. 

See you all next week!

Molly

 

*If you have read these books and want to read the spoiler, I’ll let you in on the secret.  I wrote the spoiler in white, so you have to highlight it with your mouse in order to see it.

*NOTE* Post may contain affiliate links; if you buy, I may receive money, with NO additional cost to you whatsoever.  Thank you.

Grace Triumphant

 

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Welcome to the first Book Rating!

Profligate London, 1788. Slave ships haunt the seas, bearing human cargoes to further the wealth of the rich and destroy the souls of the slave traffickers. Russell Lawrence is an avid skeptic. Captain of the slave ship Barbados, wealthy, and a respected leader, he views religion as a crutch for the weak. But when the debauchery of the slave trade begins to destroy his good morals, his battle becomes more than fighting pirates and mutineers. What if there really is a God? Impressed as a cabin boy, Jack Dunbar sees his forced service on the Barbados as a God-given opportunity to witness Christ to the crew. But his efforts to influence the hardened slavers seems to be doing little good. How is it possible to live as a Christian on the sin-ravaged seas? Can his light shine bright in Africa’s dark interior? Back in Grosvenor Square, Elizabeth Grey battles opposition from society and her self-seeking fiancé. Her work with John Newton to end the slave trade is being harshly attacked. She faces life branded as a jilter and radical if she stands up for what she believes in. Will she ever glean the strength to call sin by its rightful name? A tale of adventure on the high seas, redemption, and faith. Sin abounds. Is grace enough to conquer doubt and triumph over evil?

Stars! Five+ Stars!

Strong language – Maybe 2

Romance – 2

Graphic Details – 6

Magic – 0

What I liked about this book:

So, I’m feeling at a loss of what to say because the descriptions says it all.  But I’ll give it a try!

This era is fascinating.  England is torn between the slave trade and abolition.  Despite the horrors of the trade, people still seemed to think it all right.

But it IS all right, isn’t it?

That’s what Russel Lawrence, captain of the slave ship Barbados wants to convince himself.  And what his cabin boy, Jack, wants to make sure he isn’t convinced of.

While Jack fights the good fight on the ocean, back in London Elizabeth Grey is fighting a battle of her own.  Will they stand strong?

My favorite characters are Isaac Rey and William Jones.  *Sobs*  They are both really good. 🙂

This book has emotion, drama, adventure, and humor all packed together, and ranges from pirates to masked intruders.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone!

(You can find it HERE on Amazon!)

What do you think of Book Ratings?

For now, Adios!

Molly

 

*NOTE* Post may contain affiliate links; if you buy, I may receive money, with NO additional cost to you whatsoever.  Thank you.

Book Rating System

Hi everyone!

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I’m just popping in to tell you all about my new book rating system!  I am going to be doing one book review per week on my blog.  Check out an idea of how I will be doing this by clicking HERE.

See you soon!

Molly

HE’S Greater than the Fire

Hey everyone!
Here’s a reblog of a post from Amanda’s blog. Please continue to lift up the victims of the fires and the firefighters in your prayers!

Amanda Joy Writes

Hi, everyone. 

My heart is a little heavy today, for the fires raging in many places. I want to shut my eyes at the thought of homes being lost, and men and women diving into the flames. I want to cower underneath the reality of “fire”.  I want to ignore how I would feel, if my house was going to burn down. 

But God hasn’t called me to hide, or choose to be oblivious. He’s called me to pray. I know…that might sound like a small statement, but how HUGE it is. When we pray, we are asking the One who Created the Universe to intervene!!

That’s no small task!

Would or could you join me and pray against the fires? It won’t be in vain. HE’S greater than the Fire!!

Lord,

My heart is a little broken with the knowledge of the extreme devastation, people are enduring.

Right…

View original post 278 more words

Liebster Award Nomination! (Yes, another. :))

Hi everyone! I have been nominated by Laura at Beautiful Things for the Liebster Award.  Thank you Laura!

For those that may not know what a Liebster award is – It is kind of like chain mail.  One blogger nominates eleven other bloggers for the award, then those eleven nominate eleven other bloggers for the award too!  It just keeps getting passed around.  The award is basically a badge that you put on your blog for all to see.  There are rules that each nominee has to follow as well.  Here are the rules that Laura gave her eleven nominees to complete and I will be giving you the same rules as well.

Tag rules:
Thank the blog that nominated you for the award. *check*
Answer the questions they gave you.
Give 11 fun facts about yourself.
Nominate 11 other bloggers for the award, and give them 11 questions to answer.

*All above text copied from Laura’s blog*

 

Questions for my Nominees:

1. What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?

     I don’t remember anything in particular…. 😦 That’s most likely because even heroes won’t feel courageous while they’re being courageous.  At least, that’s how I imagine it being an author and all.

2. Do you prefer ice coffee or hot, or do you not like coffee at all?

     No coffee, thanks. 😀

3. What is your favorite holiday?

     CHRISTMAS!!! By far.

4. What is one of your most special talents?

    Talents? *scratches head*.  Writing?

5. What is your favorite book?

    I don’t have one. 😉 I really like The Wars of the Realms series!

6. What is one of the earliest childhood memories you have?

    Hitting a praying mantis off of my sister’s leg with a baseball bat. 😛

7. Do you prefer cake or ice-cream?

     … Ice cream. *nods*, yes, ice cream. 😀

8. How many books have you read this summer?

     I’ve finished three.  Kinda.  One audiobook and two reading books.  And I’ve started a few more!

9. Cats or dogs?

     Cats.

10. If you could have any exotic pet…*Any kind guys*, which would you choose?

     Wow, that’s hard!  Elephants are cool…. but kinda big.  I like giraffes, but they’re kind of tall… Perhaps an iguana.  Yeah, I like iguanas. 😀

11. What is the best summer vacation you have ever gone on?

     Summer vacation.  I don’t remember the last summer vacation I went on!  My family doesn’t generally go on vacation in summer.  So I’ll change it to vacation in general. 😉

Two years ago this fall I shot a deer while hunting on vacation.  Happy me! IMG_5637.JPG

 

Eleven fun facts about me!!

  1. I like snakes. I caught the one in the pictures below just a few days ago!! It was super cool! And yep, that’s me holding it.

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  2. I’m a musician – I play flute, mandolin, and piano.
  3. I am working on editing a novel which I am kinda/but not really done with.  First draft is written out in a notebook. 😛
  4. Science and writing are my favorite school subjects. (Oh, I’m home-schooled too!)
  5. I like vanilla ice cream. ❤
  6. I read the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe  through in one day.  This was when I was probably eight. 🙂
  7. I read Ben Hur over the time when I was 10 to 11.  Yeah, it took me a year… but who cares??! 😉 Oh, and I was reading chapter books by the time I was 5 or 6.
  8. I’ve never had a nosebleed. 🙂
  9. One of my favorite things to do is write.
  10. While playing Yahtzee I’ve rolled a Yahtzee in one roll.  I’ve also gotten 517 points in one game!
  11. (Last one, this had better be good!) I’m a child of the King of Kings!  On this blog I try to shine for Jesus!

 

I nominate:

  1. Amie at Crazy A
  2. Grace at Grace Caylor
  3. Holly at My Reel Life
  4. Anna at A Story Nerd’s Life
  5. Malachi at Brainstorms with Rain
  6. Liberty at Gone in a Dream
  7. Julia at Julia Witmer
  8. Kellyn at Reveries
  9. Amanda at Amanda Joy Writes
  10. Megan at Perfect Possibilities
  11. Kate at Once Upon an Ordinary

Whew, I got 11!  Now for the questions:

  1. Do you like snakes? Would you hold one?
  2. What genre of music do you like?
  3. What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? (or don’t you like ice cream?)
  4. How long have you been blogging?
  5. Summer or winter?
  6. Inside or outside?
  7. Do you prefer to read or write?
  8. What’s the longest (or closest to longest, if you can’t remember) book you’ve ever read?
  9. Historical fiction or fantasy?
  10. Watermelon or canteloupe?
  11. Cloudy or sunny?

Some of those were really silly. 😛 I guess I  was running out of ideas!

TTYL,

Molly

One Year Anniversary!!

Howdy folks!!

Well, it’s pretty exciting.  Today is my blog’s first anniversary!

I’d like to tell you a bit about A Sparkle of Light and how it got started.

A little over a year ago I’d been wanting to start a blog.  So I read a book about blogging.  I don’t know if it helped me all that much, but I still wanted to get going.  So a year ago… probably yesterday, I brainstormed for a blog name.  Inspired by the fireworks on the 4th, I came up with A Sparkle of Light, and more recently my tagline, Shining for Jesus.

Then I used a picture that I’d gotten from the fireworks for my back round picture.

And so my blog was born. 🙂

Since last year I have gained:

12 followers

45 likes

50 comments

470 views

(From the USA, Mexico, Canada, Sweden, Thailand, Poland, Austria, India, Australia, and Zambia.)

188 visitors

And posted 17 times (18 with this one).

That’s about it. 🙂

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Fireworks!

 

Always shine for Jesus,

Molly

 

Crime Doesn’t Pay: Short Story

This is a short story that Amanda at Amanda Joy Writes and I wrote together, going back and forth every few paragraphs.  After editing, etc., we decided to put it on our blogs.

Now, without further ado:

Crime Doesn’t Pay

 

    I tripped over my long skirt.  Bothersome thing! I thought, though I didn’t dare say it out loud.  Who might be lurking in those dark shadows? What creature could be hidden in those alleys? I stopped in front of a door and compared the numbers on the wall to those on the slip of paper I held.  17475. Yes, it was the right door.

There, in bold, capital letters were the words, ‘CRIME DOESN’T PAY’. I lifted my hand and knocked.  A sound of footsteps approached and the knob turned. The door opened silently.

A man stepped into my field of vision. His hair was very dark, almost black, and he towered over me. I gulped. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. What was I thinking, coming into an alleyway?!? But when his eyes captured mine, I had less of an urge to run. His eyes were a stormy blue, but they held a gentleness in their depths.

“What do you want?” his voice rumbled in his chest.

“I came to ask for some help.” I said, my voice barely above a whisper.  “I received this note yesterday…” I handed him an envelope.

He opened it and pulled out the letter. After looking it over for a few moments, he returned it to the envelope. “So your friend was kidnapped?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

“I can’t help you.” He said, starting to close the door.

“Please–” I put my hand out to stop the door.   “I need help. Even with the inheritance I just received I don’t have enough to pay this.”

“I’m not an official detective. I’ve never had any training–”

“Which is exactly why I need you.  I don’t trust official detectives.”

“I can’t help you.” He pushed on the door.

This time I pushed my way inside the house, determined to get his help.

“Hey, who do you think you are?!” He sputtered. “You cannot just barge into someone’s house! I don’t even know you!”

I ignored his words and I strode across the hard floor. I ran my hands across a smooth wooden table in the middle of the room. I have to find Lauren.  I won’t give up. I felt his eyes on me. “I’m a friend.”

He laughed from his spot by the door, “Oh really? Well then, how come I’ve never seen you before?”

“David Willis sent me.” I looked back at him.

He seemed to really look at me now. His eyes narrowed, “You know David?”

“David’s my brother.” He looked shocked now.

I knew I had one chance to hit home.  “He said you were the only one who could help me; he said you would.”

“I don’t even know your name.”

“Nor I yours.” I replied.

“I’m Daniel.”

“Serena.” I stuck out my hand.

He shook it. “Very well, Serena. I will help you.”

I breathed a sigh of relief.

He looked at the paper – the ransom note – that he still held in his hand and gave a barely perceptible sigh.“Yes, I will help you.”

I sat down at the kitchen table. It was a like a weight had slid off my shoulders. I’m not in this alone. But where do we start? How are we going to find Lauren? I voiced my troubling thoughts, “Where do we start?”

Daniel retraced his steps and closed the front door, setting a secure bar in place. He sat across from me and placed the ransom note in front of him. His dark eyebrows arched on his forehead. “Do you recognize the handwriting? Could the kidnapper be someone you know?”

I leaned forward as he slid the paper closer to me. Might as well have another look. But as I scrutinized the note for what seemed like the hundredth time, nothing rang a bell. I shook my head, “No. The handwriting isn’t familiar. It can’t be someone I know.”

He rubbed his chin. “Now did your friend….um….what’s her name?”

“Lauren Lampton.”

Daniel continued, “Did this Lauren girl, have any enemies? Would someone want to hurt her?”

Now that was a hard question. “Well-” I closed my mouth. How do I go about explaining this?

    “It isn’t really about her.  It’s about me. My grandmother died about a month ago, leaving me a large fortune.  That’s what the kidnappers-” I nodded at the paper “-are after. I knew a guy a while back who tried to court Lauren.  She didn’t want anything to do with him, and he got really frustrated, but I don’t think he’d kidnap her.  Or ask for a ransom from me. I really think this is about me, not Lauren.”

He nodded.  “It would make sense.” He said, “Tell me, when was the last place you saw her?

    My thoughts filed backwards, to when I had seen her last. “I saw her about five days ago, during one of our weekly visits.  Everything was normal-we had tea, we talked and laughed. There didn’t seem to be anything amiss. There was nothing in her demeanor to cause me to be concerned or anything.” I glanced down. “But if only I could have…”

“You couldn’t have done anything to stop what happened.” Daniel’s face was filled with assuredness.

I winced, “But-”

He interrupted me again, “Whomever took Lauren would have just taken you too. Who knows what kind of men or even women we are dealing with.”

“Yeah, I suppose.” But it doesn’t make me feel any better.

Daniel shifted in his seat. “Now what about Lauren’s family?” he asked. “Aren’t they concerned about her welfare? Why haven’t they gone to the police concerning this matter?”

I frowned.  “She doesn’t have any family.  She was orphaned. When she turned sixteen she left the foster home, got a job, and rented an apartment.”

“Does this have to do with her job?”

“No,” I said again, exasperated, “You just read what they want in the note. It’s about me and my money. That’s what they’re after. I just need to find her. Then I’ll leave you alone.”

“I’m trying to help you with that.” He said, “I believe I have a few ideas…maybe a lead. But I need more time to think about it. Do you need help getting home?”

“No.” I replied, rising from my seat.

“Then I shall see you tomorrow, Serena.”

*

I adjusted my dress as I sat on a park bench that was hidden behind bushes and large trees. I glanced to my right, but there was no sign of Daniel. I sighed. If he doesn’t hurry up, I’m going to hunt him down myself! He apparently had some “news”, and I was anxious to hear about it.

I heard footsteps nearby. Daniel. I looked up with a ready smile.

But it wasn’t Daniel. A sandy haired man had rounded the bend and tipped his brown tailored hat towards me. He picked a flower from a nearby bush and looked around, occasionally glancing at me.

      Who is this man? People don’t walk back here often. I should know.

      But the man never said a word. He just enjoyed the scenery for a time, then stalked off in the opposite direction he had come.

Very weird.

      Footsteps reached my ears once again, but I didn’t look up. My brows furrowed. I was vaguely aware of someone sitting beside me.

“Good, you’re here.” Daniels voice said, “I have important news.”

      I stared at the ground, then looked at him on the bench. “The oddest man was just here.”

“What?” He asked.

“Did you see that man?”

“What man?”

“The man that was just here… you should have seen him.”

“But I didn’t.”

“He was acting really weird, picking a flower, then often times glancing at me. As if it’s the most normal occurrence in the world! Very strange behavior.”

Daniel looked around, apprehension rising in his face. “I think we should get out of here.  I don’t like the idea of someone standing behind one of these trees listening to what we’re saying.”

I nodded.

“You go first,” He nodded in the direction of his house, “I’ll start in a different direction.  Meet up at my house.”

I started off. But as I walked, I thought I saw a blur of color in the distance- the shape of a man. My heart beat fast. I struggled to control my breathing as I quickened my pace.

The blurry man took a right, away from Daniels house. I exhaled. There is no need to be on edge; I’m fine, Daniels fine, we’re all fine. Well except for Lauren…this is not making me feel better! I pushed away my thoughts.

I was just a few feet from ‘Daniels alleyway’ when I heard footsteps behind me. My fear quickly returned. What if the man who had kidnapped Lauren was right behind me? Or that strange man from the park? I hastened even faster.

The footsteps sounded closer.

     Dear Lord, keep me safe!

I turned left and looked over my shoulder at the same time. I couldn’t help it!

But there was no one there, not a soul. That’s strange, I thought…

    A strong grip took ahold of my elbow.

I screamed, trying to pull away from whomever had grabbed me.

A brown hand covered my mouth. “Are you trying to get me arrested?” said a voice sounding both reproachful and humorous at the same time.  “I didn’t mean to frighten you, Serana.”

It was my brother, David. I stopped struggling, and David retracted his hand.

His brown eyes seemed to be laughing at me, although he didn’t say a word.

I punched his shoulder. “You scared me half to death! Why did you do that?!?”

“Ow,” he rubbed his shoulder, and laughed. “Do what? I didn’t do anything wrong…”

Any objection on my lips was snatched from me, as another voice came upon the scene.

“Yes, you did.”

I spun around.

There stood Daniel, his hands on his hips.  “You two are being far too loud. Now get inside before someone hears you.”

I clapped my hand over my mouth to restrain a giggle.

We entered the house.

“So, David, what are you doing here?”

I waited for him to answer.  He seemed to be taking a long time to respond. Collecting his thoughts, I supposed.

“I wanted to see how things were-”

I jumped at the sound of a loud pounding from the door….. Shouting followed.

Daniels face turned grave. He and David leaned up against the door.

“Daniel, who in the world do you think would be pounding on your door?” David asked. “You have no enemies the last time I checked.”

“They’ve come for me,” I whispered. “They’ve come for me.”

Daniel glanced back at me. His lips were set in a grim line. “Serena, I want you to go in the guest bedroom-”

“But…”

Daniel shook his head, “I want you go hide behind the bed and stay there until one of us comes and gets you.”

“I don’t…”

“No arguing, just do it.” he growled. “Down the hallway, first door to the right.”

“Ok.” Just because I’m not a man… I closed the guest bedroom door behind me and sighed. “If a ruckus starts up out there, I’m coming out.”

*

I rested a hand upon my chin, while I sat against the wall. An eternity seemed to have passed and I wasn’t staying in here any longer. I straightened to a standing position and strode out the door. Is there anyone here?

David sat at the kitchen table, seeming to be twiddling his thumbs.

“What happened to the person who had been at the door, shouting?” I sat on the chair opposite him.

David’s face lost it’s pleasant look. “Well, um…” he scratched his head.

“David,” I said with warning.

He sighed. “Well, while you were hiding we decided to go ahead an open the door. Our first mistake. There was an angry man on the other side. Daniel asked what the man wanted, but all he did was mutter something in a different language and hand Daniel a note.”

“A note?”

“Yeah. I didn’t understand what it said, it too was written in a different language. However, Daniel understood.” He looked at me with fear in his eyes. “I never saw Daniel look so startled, he’s such a calm person.”

I leapt from my chair. This can’t be good. “Where’s Daniel?”

David shook his head, “I don’t know. He wouldn’t tell me what he was doing or where he was going. Although, I did ask.”

“We have to leave. Daniels in trouble.”

“How do you know?” He rubbed the back of his neck.

“Wherever he was going, he didn’t want us to follow. He must be in trouble. Now let’s go.”

David held up his hand. “Wait, we can’t go. Daniel told me to make sure you stayed here and that he would be back soon.”

I rolled my eyes. “I think I can fend for myself.”

“But-”

“None of that. I’m going whether you come with me or not. Your choice.” I slid on my coat.

He looked apprehensive, but nodded. “Okay. I’m in.”

My heart pounded harder with every noise.  The creak of the doorknob as David turned it, the sound of our footsteps descending the three stairs to the street. The sound of a rat scurrying into an alley.

“Here’s where I last saw him.”  David whispered.

I nodded.

“Stop!” David whispered, blocking my path.

I strained to see around him.  Two men stood beneath a street-light, talking.

“It’s Daniel!” I exclaimed.

David held a finger to his lips.

I listened.

“Are they still convinced?”

“Yes.” That was Daniel.  “They trust me completely.”  He let out a sigh, “I still don’t like it, Jacob.  Fooling Serena and David like this just for the sake of Serena’s fortune….”

“It’ll be worth it.  We won’t hurt them, and she can do without the money.  She did before.”

David motioned with his head.  We crept away from the street, back to Daniels house.

“So Daniel has been lying to us this whole time.”  My temper began to flare, “And we trusted him.”

“He might be playing double–getting together with that man so that we can get Lauren back…”  He didn’t seem convinced.

“I don’t think so.” I replied. My mouth dropped open. “OH, maybe we should leave. This isn’t the safest place to be right now.”

The door creaked open.  We stood. I saw David’s hand go to his side where he kept his gun.

“Daniel,” David’s voice was quiet with an edge of apprehension.

Daniel glanced at me, then David, then back again. He raised one eyebrow, “Is something wrong?

“Are you double-crossing us?!” Anger was evident in my voice.

He frowned.  “What?”

“Exactly what I said.  We heard you talking beneath that streetlamp to ‘Jacob’.”

“Who are you really working for?” David demanded.

“Fine.”  Daniel sunk into a chair, “I confess.  I am working with the men who kidnapped Lauren.”

I crossed my arms, and glowered at him. “So, this whole time you were leading us on? Pretending?”

“No.”

I raised my eyebrows.

He winced, “Yes.” I huge sigh escaped his lips and he clenched his hands in his lap. “It’s complicated.”

“We’ve been friends for two years and I had trusted you.” David stated in a husky voice

Daniel’s face lowered in shame.

“And now, when I place my sisters life in your hands, you…” he fought for control, “you go against me and our friendship?”

The room went dead silent.

David’s eyes rested on the seemingly broken man and he continued. “Why did you take so long to show your true colors?” he asked, his voice laced with bitterness. “For money?”

I placed a hand on my brothers shoulder, shaking my head.

Daniel looked up. “David, I never lied to you. Our friendship has been real and true.”

“Then what happened?!” David’s face was as red as a tomato.

Daniel closed his eyes. “My…my mom had cancer.” His face went into his hands. “We needed money for her treatment…so when I was contacted about receiving a huge sum, if I gathered information about Serena Willis, I accepted the offer.”

“Wait, is that why you refused to help me at first?” I whispered. “Because you were working for the enemy?”

He nodded.

“When was your mom diagnosed?” David asked soberly, the color fading from his cheeks.

My gaze went to his face. He’s always the one to be compassionate and concerned for others.

“Three years ago.” Daniel bit his lip, “Then she died last month.  But I had to keep going with this ruse anyway. I was committed.”

“Wait, but what about the “news” you had to tell me?”

He waved his hand, “No, no. It was a scam. I was going to send you off on a wild goose chase.”

Then, what about the man at the park? Why were you so wary of him?”

“I thought it might have been Jacob, trying to meddle in my part of the bargain. I didn’t want to risk him capturing you then and there-”

“I can’t believe this,” I muttered.

David shook his head.

“I just made an arrangement with that man. I’m supposed to hand you over to them.”

I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach. I blinked. “You…you won’t give us over to-”

“No.” Daniel rose from his chair.

“What do we do?!” I asked.

“You go. I’ll stay here and handle them.”

“Daniel–no! It’s dangerous.” David argued.

“I won’t see you again. But I’ll make sure they don’t get either of you.”

A knock sounded at the door.

“Go out the back door. May God keep you safe.”

David extended his hand. Daniel shook it with a determined nod.

We turned and started for the back door.

Can we just leave Daniel here to die?

My heart gave a jolt as David soundlessly closed the back door. A weird feeling washed over me, as if by the closing of that door, everything would change. David turned away, but I yanked on his shirt.

“We can’t just leave him, David.”

“Shhh.” He continued walking down the dim alleyway.

“But-”

He looked at me with such sternness, that it silenced any complaints on my lips. He motioned with his head and I followed him around the corner.

He stopped.

What is he doing?

    I peered over his shoulder. To my surprise I saw David’s brown, wooden door right across from us. There wasn’t anyone outside.

The man must be inside. Shivers climbed up my spine. Daniel.

     David faced me with a troubled expression. “I want you to go home.”

I shook my head. “I’m not going anywhere. Besides, do you think home is the safest place right now?”

He grasped my forearms. “But it’s not safe for you HERE.” His eyes were filled with worry, and he glanced backwards.

“Is anywhere really safe?”

The second those words left my mouth, a loud gunshot shattered the silence. There was no doubt it came from Daniels’s house.

All breath seemed to leave my lungs. “Daniel!” I  rushed forward.

“Serena!” David grabbed my arm and yanked me backwards.

“We can’t leave him.” I sobbed, “We can’t!”

“Serena, you’re the one they’re after.  You have to get out of here.” David spoke with firm resolution.

I let him lead me away from the terrible place.  My whole heart screamed, and my mind echoed the words David had just said, ‘you’re the one they’re after’. He might as well have said, ‘It’s all your fault’. After all, it was my fault Daniel was in danger, hurt–perhaps even dead.  David brought me up the steps to my house. I took the key from my pocket and handed it to him.

He unlocked the door and stepped inside.  I followed, feeling numb.

“You’d better go get some rest.  I’ll get together something to eat and come get you later.”

*

When I woke up the sun was streaming in.  I looked at the clock. Ten o’clock AM.

Memories from the night before flooded back.  I got dressed and slipped downstairs.

David lay on the couch, sound asleep.

I retrieved my jacket and went outside.  I found myself in the street where Daniel lived.  I climbed the steps and opened the door. The front room was empty.  I went farther. In the middle of the floor was something dark. I knelt down to examine it. “Blood.” I whispered.

No! My heart screamed.  Tears rolled down my cheeks.  He was dead, all because of me. It’s my fault.  If I hadn’t come here in the first place it never would have happened.

I hurried home.

David sat up, rubbing his eyes as I opened the door.

“Serena, what’s wrong?”

“I…went to Daniel’s house.”

“You did what?” he exclaimed, jumping to his feet.

I burst into tears, relating between sobs what I’d seen.

“Serena, calm down.”  He said, “I have a plan. I had found a paper at Daniels house with an address on it. It’s a long shot, but maybe it will lead us the the criminals house.”

*

I leaned my ear against the door, attempting to hear what was being said inside the enemies house. The address on the note had led us the enemies layer, as David had suspected. Now we surrounded the house, with the needed assistance of law enforcement, due to the desperate circumstances.

All the men had wanted me to stay behind, but I had refused. I wasn’t going anywhere with Lauren and hopefully Daniel in there.

     I peered through a crack in the shabby door, and spotted Lauren sitting, with her hands behind her back. A man was pacing up and down the room.

Someone tapped my shoulder. I glanced up to see David. He nodded at me.

 They’re going in.

I stepped back from the door and scurried down the porch steps. I disappeared behind a green bush. I had readily consented to staying out of sight, while they caught the crooks. I just hoped Lauren wouldn’t be harmed in the midst of it.

My heart pounded in my chest as the ordeal played out. Shouting and loud slamming noises, like the tipping of furniture, met my ears.

I restrained myself from barging into the house, having promised David to stay outside because of my own safety. Please let Lauren stay safe!

In an instant everything was utterly quiet. Too quiet.

I held my breath at the sound of the front door groaning open. I almost fell over as a feeble voice spoke.

“Serena?? Serena, where are you? They told me you were out here.”

“Oh Lauren!” I burst out from my hiding place and hugged her tight. She was crying as she rested her head against my shoulder. I tried to smooth her disheveled hair.

We stood like like this for a couple moments.

Then I leaned away from her.

She was trembling and her face was very white. Her eyes were void of their normal sparkle.

My vision became blurry. “Did…did they hurt you?”

Lauren shook her head. “I…I was locked away in a room most of the time. The only visits I received was when I was getting food, but sometimes I never got any.” Her voice broke off.

“I tried to be brave,” she continued, “but I couldn’t. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me.” She started sobbing on my shoulder.

I closed my eyes. “I’m so sorry, Lauren.” I mustered. “It was all my fault.”

“Your fault?” She gasped between sobs.

I nodded.

“I don’t understand. How?” she whispered.

A loud creak interrupted my answer. David stood beside us, looking drained.

Daniel? I looked into his watery eyes.

He shook his head.

I hid my face on Laurens shoulder and cried. This is all my fault.

***

Two Months Later

We had long ago given up the idea of ever seeing Daniel again. My heart rebelled at the thought, but what was I supposed to do? Should I have kept searching, though the authorities had found no trace of him? The criminals hadn’t been of any help either. One had escaped, yet to be found, and the other had died in the crossfire. Thus, no one could have given testimony to where Daniel might have been. My hope was lost.

It was evening, the sun had set, and I went on a walk to get the mail.  I opened the box and found a bright orange note card on the inside.

I opened it and read, “‘You need to meet me at Fairway park, at 7:30 tomorrow evening.  There will be dire consequences if you don’t.'” I froze. What am I supposed to do?

I ran back inside and grabbed the phone to call David.

My fingers trembled as I dialed. Is someone still after me? I pursed my lips as the phone rang on the other end.

“Hello, this is David.”

I cradled the phone against my ear. “David, it’s Serena. I just received a note.”

“What kind of note?” came the weary reply.

“A ‘meet me here, at this time tomorrow, or you will suffer dire consequences’ kind of note.”

“Do you recognize the handwriting?”

I scrutinized the note. “No.” I squinted. “Well, it looks a little familiar but I can’t place it…”

David sighed, “Tell me Serena, why does trouble seem to follow you everywhere?”

My face turned red and tears formed in my eyes. “This isn’t my fault David. I didn’t-”

“I’m just teasing, Serena. Don’t be so touchy.”

I sniffed. “Well, I’m sorry. But this hasn’t been the easiest last couple of months.”

There was a pause.

“How do you feel about it? About Daniel that is.”

I wiped my cheeks and exhaled. “Truthfully…still numb. I know that I didn’t know him for that long, but-” I cleared my throat, “he was a very noble man.”

“Did you have feelings for him?” he asked softly.

My gaze swept to the front window and rested upon the flowers outside. “I knew him for but a second. So, of course, I’m not sure. But I believe I could have liked him very much.” Very much. I stared down at my slippered feet and shrugged. “Doesn’t matter now.”

“I’m sorry.” David sounded like he felt my pain.

I wiped my nose. “Well, enough of this. We have more important matters to worry about. What do you think we should do?”

“Let’s meet this guy. He could be one of the criminals. But we’ll go ahead and contact the policy too, for extra protection”

“Ok, talk to you later. Bye.”

“Bye, Sis.”

I hung up the phone and rubbed my shoulders. We’ll see how this goes.

*

I glanced down at my pocket watch. 7:25pm. Whomever this is, should be here soon. I straightened my dress, while I sat on the park bench.

David was hidden nearby, but close enough to come to my aid at a moment’s’ notice.

I couldn’t help checking my watch again. 7: 28!

I heard the sound of a twig snapping. Footsteps followed and a figure rounded the corner. I froze in my seat as a man, looking exactly like Daniel, approached me! It can’t be.

He slowed his pace at the sight me of and tried to smile. He had scars on his face.

“Daniel!?!” I gasped, jumping up.

“Serena,” He replied, humor evident in his voice. “I’m glad you decided to come.”

“Why – what – how?”

David stepped out from behind a tree.  “DANIEL??!?”

“Hello David,” He extended a hand. David just stared at it. “I’m not a ghost.  Aren’t you going to shake my hand?”

“I…” David stammered.  He reached out and took Daniel’s hand, probably more out of habit than anything else.

“We thought you were dead!” Tears ran down my cheeks.

“So did I.” He replied, a twinkle in his eyes. “But I’m glad you, Lauren, and David are safe. And your fortune, Serena.” Daniels eyes filled with grief. “Serena, I’m sorry that I ever agreed to such a job.”

I nodded at him. “All is forgiven, Daniel.”

His face seemed to brighten as he smiled at me.

It was a smile of hope and something else…perhaps affection? I grinned back at him and my heart rejoiced.

“Hey, but how did you escape?” David gasped, breaking the moment.

Daniels eyes turned upon David. They were twinkling once again. “Now that’s quite a story, but for another time.” Daniel offered me his arm and I took it.

Then, we strolled off, content in the sunshine.

But David glanced at me once and I new what he was thinking…what’s Daniel’s story?

 

To be continued if one desires to hear Daniel’s story…

Whoa, that got long!

If you do want to hear Daniel’s story let me know in the comments!  🙂

‘Til next time,

Molly