Amusement Park – 3

If you’ve just tuned in for this story, you can find segments 1 and 2 in my archives. I post a new episode every Sunday. This story is a writing exercise for me on two levels. I am writing it in first person (I hardly ever do that) and I am working on ways to make horrible things happen to my characters (which I struggle with.)

Last week, Mr. Parker had rounded up all the employees who were still in the park and organized a search for six-year-old Emily who seems to have disappeared off the roller coaster ride earlier. Her older sister, Jennifer, is panicked. She is responsible for her sister. Let’s head to the amusement park and see what’s going on.

***

I half-listened as Mr. Parker assigned each man a different area of the park to search.

Fear gnawed at my gut. Time was wasting. I had to do something.

Finally, he turned to me. “Jennifer, I know this is not what you want to do, but I need you to check at home and see if Emily might have gone back there. And bring your mother with you when you return.” He shoved a cell phone into my hands. “I’ll call you if we find her.”

I nodded and dashed out the gate. I ran like the wind to our two-story wood-frame house six blocks over. I suppose she could have gotten bored and walked home.

What would I tell Mr. Parker when I returned without our mother? Bitterness arose in my throat. I couldn’t even say the word without feeling angry and sick.

No real mother would take off with some strange man and leave her fourteen and six-year-old daughters to fend for themselves without so much as a fare-you-well. She’d been gone for over six months this time. It didn’t matter much that old lady Jobe lived in the house. At 93, she was blind and almost totally deaf. She depended on me to help her with the smallest of tasks. But, she paid her rent every month and that kept the lights on.

“Oh, Emmy, where are you?” This could get really messy. Attention was the one thing I’d managed to avoid until now. I couldn’t lose Emmy. I just couldn’t, and I wouldn’t let them put us off in some strange foster home.

If nothing else, the woman who called herself my mother had taught me to lie…and lie I would.

I reached the front door out of breath and shoved it open screaming. “Emily! Emily, are you here?”

Old lady Jobe stirred in her chair. I shook her and yelled in her ear. “Have you seen Emily?”

“Huh?” the old lady looked dazed and confused.

“Emily,” I repeated. “Has she been here?”

“I don’t think so, child. What’s wrong?”

It took less than two minutes for me to scour every room in the house. Emily wasn’t there.

Without another word, I ran back to the amusement park. Maybe they’d found her by now.

Oh, if only our papa hadn’t gotten killed. None of this would be happening. Tears flowed as I remembered his strong arms around me in the warmest bear hug. Had it already been two years? Emily barely remembered him. It was after that our mother quit caring about anything or anyone but herself. I didn’t mind that she’d left. I’d been taking care of everything anyway.

From that day forward, it fell on my shoulders to take care of Emily and now I’d failed.

I sprinted through the amusement park gates.

To Be Continued…

 

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Amusement Park – Part 2

Last week I started a new story and introduced you to a young girl in a panic because she cannot find her little sister. We don’t know much about these two girls yet except they appear to be on their own without parents. The setting is a small amusement park. Let’s check in and they have found Emily.

***

A rough callused hand grabbed my arm. “Hey! Slow down there, girlie. Where’s the fire?” Mr. Simpson had been the grounds caretaker since the amusement park opened, and that must have been at least fifty years ago. He’d always spoken kindly to me. But, right now, I didn’t trust anyone. Rheumy eyes stared down at me.

Rheumy_eyes_at_91

My breath came in ragged gasps. “It’s my little sister, Mr. Simpson. I can’t find her.”

“There, there.” He patted the top of my head. “She has to be here somewhere. Maybe she fell asleep.”

“I’m afraid something happened to her. Maybe she fell out of a ride and hit her head or what if someone took her?” I choked back tears.

“No need to think the worst, Jenny girl. Let’s go talk to Mr. Parker.”

I nodded.

“Come on now,” he prodded me. “Runnin’ around here helter skelter ain’t gonna do you or her any good.”

The old man moved like cold molasses and I resisted the urge to scream. Time was wasting. My gut told me Emmy was in trouble. I always trusted my gut.

But, I matched my steps with his shuffling feet while my eyes darted right and left looking for any tell-tale sign of Emmy.

We finally reached the office and I rushed inside. Cool air relieved my flushed face.

Mr. Parker sat behind his computer pinching the bridge of his nose. He looked up with kindly blue eyes. “What is it, Jennifer? Is something wrong.”

“Oh, Mr. Parker,” I blurted. “I brought Emily to work with me today and kept an eye on her until right before closing when it got busy. Now I can find her anywhere.” I brushed tears away with the back of my hand.

He pushed his chair back and stood. “Otis, who’s still here?”

“I saw Darren, Tom, Mickey, and Bart a few minutes ago,” Mr. Simpson replied.

“Go gather them up. No one leaves until we find the girl.”

Mr. Simpson nodded and shuffled away.

“Don’t worry, honey. ”  Mr. Parker put a hand on my shoulder and steered me toward the door. “Now, where was the last place anyone saw her?”

I quickly told him everything I knew.

“No one goes home today until we find her,” he declared. “We’ll search every inch of this place.”

Nothing would stop my heart from pounding until we found Emmy safe and sound. I’d never considered any of the guys that worked there dangerous or possibly pedophiles.

Had I been wrong? What had I done to jeopardize the only blood kin I had left in the world? Oh, God! What had I let happen to Emmy?

JONAH – FINAL SEGMENT

When we left Jonah last week, his father, Drake, had given him a key that allowed passage through the portal to a paradise on the other side of the island. The enormity of the sacrifice Tidus had made to try and help him overwhelmed Jonah. He’s taking in this new world but still doesn’t know what his assignment will be. Let’s join Jonah, Tidus, Drake, and Jade for the conclusion of this story.

Jonah turned in a full circle taking in the beauty surrounding him. Palm trees swayed, turquoise water lapped at the shore, birds chirped, and brilliant flowers filled the air with their sweet fragrance.

island

The beauty made his head spin. A large house with stone dragons guarding the entrance sat approximately one hundred yards away.

Drake stood beside Jonah. “You’re home, my son. I have dreamed and hoped for this day when I could claim you. You are strong and brave. You’re everything my son should be.”

Jonah mumbled. “Thank you, sir.”

“I will teach you our ways, and your magic will grow, just as it did with your mother. But, you will have to work hard.”

“You mean like chores?” Jonah asked.

A deep rumbling laugh erupted from Drake’s chest. “I guess you could put it that way.”

Jade reached for Tidus’ hand. “Come, my love. We have some catching up to do.”

Tidus wrapped an arm around his mother’s waist and they walked toward the house, heads together, speaking in low voices. The obvious love between them brought a lump to Jonah’s throat. How he wished for the love of a mother, but his mother was dead and not coming back. He was happy for Tidus, though. The kid deserved to have his family again. He faced Drake.

“I’m ready. What do you have to show me?”

Drake pulled a spyglass from his coat and passed it to Jonah. “Turn around and look through this glass in the direction we came.”

Spyglass2

Jonah put the spyglass up to his eye and let out a shocked gasp. It was as if none of the rocks or brush existed and he had a clear view of the place he’d just left less than half an hour ago.

A smaller boat than the one he had refused to leave on, pulled up to the dock and dropped off a passenger. The memory of himself in that exact situation flooded Jonah. But, wait! It wasn’t a male. It was a female with long flaming red hair!

female red hair

He turned in confusion. “I don’t understand.”

“She, like you, has been banished to the island for her crimes. You will be allowed to help her, but only when she is seeking and ready. You can observe her from time-to-time but, cannot go to her until she does her part of the work.”

Jonah asked. “So, I will be for her like Tidus was for me? Is she my sister? Is she one of us?”

Drake chuckled. “No, my son. She is a mere mortal trying to find her way. And, yes, you will help her. As a half-mortal, you are more able to understand and communicate. She is your first assignment.”

Jonah turned back toward the girl. That moment of helplessness, fear and vulnerability he’d first felt, when he’d been in her shoes, washed over him. It was almost as if he could read her thoughts and emotions.

Drake laid a hand on his shoulder. “Remember what you’ve learned. She must seek inside herself for redemption and answers. In the meantime, you will become my student. And, when you are ready, you will meet the others.”

“Others?” Jonah found words jumbled with thoughts and hard to form.

“Yes, Jonah. Others. We are not alone. But, all in good time. For now, let’s go to the house and get you a proper bath, and clothes.

Jonah nodded and fell into step beside Drake, the powerful Wizard ― his father.

In losing everything, Jonah had found all that he sought. And so it is for us mere mortals from time to time.

THE END

I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed Jonah’s story. It’s been a pleasure to share it with you. My intent was that maybe you’d find bits and pieces of inspiration along the way. To those of you who followed it from the beginning, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

 

Forbidden Love – Nonnie Jules #RRBC #RWISA

5-star-review

In my opinion, these two books go hand-in-hand and there is no way to separate them.

If Only There WAs Music              And the music played

“IF ONLY THERE WAS MUSIC – THE POETRY OF FORBIDDEN LOVE” BY NONNIE JULES AND GIANI JORDAN

BLURB:

This is a book of poetry for and about forbidden love. These poems are sexy, sensuous and hot, but most of all, they are poems of love… and the feelings they arouse in you are unbelievable! They “feel” like love songs and you will “feel” like singing, but they are only spoken words coming from your mouth, without music. If you aren’t in love before you begin reading this book, you will go seeking a love afterward.

MY 5 STAR REVIEW:

This book of poetry is unique, not only because of the authors and the way they collaborated to write these poems but also because of the subject matter ― Forbidden Love.

The emotion, longing and unbridled passion are expressed exquisitely. Divided into two sections, the book explores two points of view. The first is a compilation of poems written by Nonnie Jules. She approaches the subject of forbidden love through the eyes of the woman who is the object of Giani Jordan’s affection. The second part of the book is told through his eyes. The poems are raw and honest emotion felt by both as they take us, the readers, through a myriad of regrets and guilt to longing so intense it causes physical pain. What can two people do who fall in love, yet are committed to others?

In my opinion, the authors work through to a climactic solution and conclusion from one poem to the next. I felt as though I was watching two people waltzing across a dance floor or observing a well-executed opera. Each poem stands alone yet blends with perfection into the next. This is a beautiful book from cover to cover, and it is an absolute must that you take time to read about how the collaboration of these two authors came about.

“…AND THE MUSIC PLAYED” SHORT STORY BY NONNIE JULES

BLURB:

This book is the sequel and the final chapter in the love story between Giani and Christine. The first book, “IF ONLY THERE WAS MUSIC…The Poetry of Forbidden Love” (a co-authored project), was a love story told thru the eyes of two lovers…but written for the hearts of many.

Across oceans and thru many barriers, two hearts try to connect – but with the distance between them, will their love survive? And, with the forces-that-be against them coming in the form of murder plots and domestic abuse, the bigger question is…will they?

MY 5 STAR REVIEW:

I read this short story before I read the prequel to it, “If Only There Was Music – The Poetry of Forbidden Love.” And, because of the way this story affected me, I had to immediately go and read the book of poetry that inspired this short story. When Giani Jordan falls in love with beautiful Christine who lives halfway around the globe, he struggles with guilt. He is married. She is married. But, their love is so strong, so intense neither of them can deny it. So, when Giani walks into his house after making a trip to Italy to see Christine and hears his wife, Lena, making love to another man, he makes an easy decision. Divorce is the only answer. But, Lena’s greed takes over. After all, how can she be expected to live on a measly one million a year? When she recruits her ex-con boyfriend to kill Giani, she is smug and confident all the wealth soon be hers. But, justice is sweet. I won’t spoil the story by telling you what happens, but I couldn’t put this book down. I had to know who would triumph. If you love a satisfying short story filled with intense drama and emotion, you’ll love this one.

FOR MORE BOOKS BY NONNIE JULES, CLICK HERE

Nonnie Jules is the President and founder of THE RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and THE RAVE WRITERS’ INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS.  Both are International Organizations that provide support to and guidance for authors who want to get more reviews for their books and find new readers. But, there is a kicker. You have to give to get. You can read all about it here: https://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/

 

Jonah – Part 14

When we left Jonah last week, not only had he chosen to stay on the island when the boat finally came for him, but he met Drake and Jade and learned a huge secret. Drake is his father. Jonah is half Wizard and half mortal. And now, Drake has told him he has work to do. To say the least, Jonah is overwhelmed with all the developments. I thought I would end Jonah’s story with this segment, but there will be one more. 🙂

“Work to do?” Jonah asked.

“Yes. While you are learning of our ways and practicing the magic, you will be given assignments.” Drake paused. “You see, our original mission on earth was to help mortals find their true selves and lead them into the light and knowledge that lies within each of them.”

“How am I going to do that trapped on this island?” Asked Jonah.

“I will show you. We will work together.” Drake handed Jonah a small staff with a pulsating blue Crystal attached to the end.

blue crystal staff1

Jonah accepted the staff and was surprised to feel it vibrating in his hand. “What is this?”

“It is your key to passage through the portal.” Drake stood and pointed to the North.

Again, Jonah’s head swam. “Portal? I don’t understand, sir.”

“You remember how you tried to follow Tidus the first day you met him, and how the snakes blocked your way while he disappeared through a crevice in a stone?”

Jonah nodded.

“This Crystal allows you passage through that portal into our world.”

Jonah stared at the glowing gem. “I still don’t understand.”

“It will all become clear,” Drake put a hand on Jonah’s shoulder. “Gather your things. Let’s go.”

It only took Jonah a few short minutes to gather his meager possessions. He stuffed everything into a small bag and threw it over his shoulder. With a quick backward glance, Jonah bid farewell to the place where only a short time ago, he’d thought he was doomed to spend the rest of his life. When he stepped away, he watched mesmerized as the hut, the beginnings of the garden, and everything surrounding it dissipated into a dark vapor. Nothing but stinging nettles and tangled brush covered the area.

The four of them, Drake, Jade, Tidus, and Jonah followed a clear and unobstructed path toward the North.

When they reached the crevice in the rock, Drake stood aside. “Go ahead, Jonah.”

Crevice

Jonah hesitated. He held the staff in front of him and cautiously approached the rock. With a swoosh of air, he found himself in the most beautiful tropical paradise imaginable.

He turned around in time to see Drake, Jade, and Tidus appear in a mist. This was where Tidus lived. The enormity of the sacrifice Tidus had made to help him overwhelmed and took his breath away. And, to do it without knowing Jonah was his half-brother.

He approached Tidus with tear-filled eyes. “You gave up all of this to hang out with me in hell?” He made a flourish with his right hand.

Tidus grinned. “It was better than being here completely alone.”

“Thanks, kid,” Jonah choked. “I never imagined your world was this.”

“And, now it’s your world too, Jonah.”

Drake and Jade stood arm-in-arm and observed the two. Jade looked up at her mate. “We did well, my Lord.”

Drake lowered his head and claimed her lips. “That we did, my Lady.”

“I have one regret,” Jade said. “I wish I had been Jonah’s mother.”

Drake sighed. “Ah, my love. I could but wish I had only one regret.”

**Please join me next week for the conclusion to Jonah’s story**

Jonah – Part 12

When we left Jonah and Tidus last week, Jonah had asked Tidus if he would start teaching him magic. Tidus was unsure. Let’s see what happened.

“I’m afraid,” Tidus paced.

“Afraid of what? I’m not going to let anyone hurt you, Tidus.”

“You don’t understand. It’s not up to me, and even though you think you can, you cannot protect me. I don’t think I’m allowed to teach you.”

Jonah stood and laid a hand on Tidus’ shoulder. “Okay. Don’t get all worked up. I’m just trying to understand more.”

Tidus faced him. “It’s not that I don’t want to. I think you need to learn more about yourself first. If you try to go too fast, you’ll burn.”

“Burn?” Jonah stepped back. “That’s a funny word to use. You don’t mean that your father would skin me alive, do you?”

“I don’t know.” Tidus dropped his hands to his side. “I can’t tell you everything you want to know. You have to find it on your own.”

“In the books?”

Tidus nodded. “In the books, in your heart, and in your head. When your thoughts become more honest, and your heart more open, you’ll find what you seek.”

“I suppose that makes sense. You hungry, kid?” Jonah changed the subject.

“Sure. I loved the soup you made yesterday. Can you make it again?”

Jonah laughed and ruffled Tidus’ hair. “For you, kid, I’ll do it. Go gather some firewood.”

The boy traipsed into the thicket. Jonah never stopped being amazed at how the stinging nettles and venomous flowers parted to let him through. That was the kind of magic he craved.

He grabbed the pot and filled it with water and the vegetables Tidus had brought from his side of the island. He dug the package of jerky from the ground. Funny that he hadn’t realized it before now, but this jerky should have been long gone, and yet every time he opened it, he found several pieces. He wondered if that was more of the mysterious magic that surrounded him.

Tidus returned with an arm full of dried wood and Jonah set about building a fire.

soup

A thick silence settled between them while they ate. Jonah mulled over the words Tidus had spoken. He knew beyond any doubt that his thoughts were different than they’d ever been. He spent hours reading, reflecting on and journaling about deep dark secrets that he’d never imagined would see the light of day.

He wanted to purge himself of the darkness he’d embraced for so much of his young life. Shadowed memories of his mother’s loving touch came unbidden. He wished he could remember more, but he’d been too young when it all happened. He only knew what he had been told in the orphanage. Someone had killed her. He’d often dreamed of finding that someone and exacting revenge. Now, those thoughts seemed foreign to him, like they had belonged to another person.

He gathered their cups and strolled toward the water to wash them. He froze in his tracks.

There it was! A boat that looked as if it sailed straight out of Medieval times, approached the island.

Midieval Ship

 

How had he not heard it? His heart thumped. He glanced back at Tidus in time to see him disappear into a thick tangle of brush.

Jonah walked slowly toward the dock as the boat pulled alongside, churning the murky water with its propeller. A rope ladder appeared over the side of the boat, and a voice boomed. “Jonah, you have proven yourself. You are now allowed to return to the mainland. Are you ready?”

He swallowed hard. “I don’t know. Can my friend come with me?”

“What friend? We don’t see anyone?”

Jonah turned and yelled. “Tidus. Tidus come back.”

He was met with silence.

“Come on, Jonah. Let’s go,” an impatient voice continued.

“Can I have a little more time to go find my friend?” Jonah asked.

“No. It’s now or never. Either go with us now or stay here forever. We won’t come back.” The engine hummed and the blades churned.

Jonah put one foot on the bottom rung of the rope ladder and climbed.

“Hurry,” the voice ordered.

Jonah climbed halfway up the ladder and scoured the island as far as he could see, for any sign of the boy.

He yelled again, “Tidus!”

The only response was the hum of the engine.

He started back down the ladder, and the boat began to move. He jumped the last few feet and landed with a thud on the dock.

Without a backward glance, he ran in the direction he’d seen Tidus disappear.

“Tidus! Please come back,” he yelled at the top of his lungs.

He trampled through the tangled brush mindless of the sting.

Tidus emerged from a stand of trees. “You didn’t go.”

Breathing hard, Jonah leaned over and put his hands on his knees. Tears streamed down his face. What had he done? He’d given up his only chance to return. When he looked up, he met Tidus’ steady gaze.

“I couldn’t leave you here, kid,” he choked. “I wanted to go…I did. But, I simply couldn’t go off and leave you here alone.”

“I’m sorry, Jonah. Truly I am, but as I told you, I could not survive on the mainland.”

Jonah’s chest heaved. Emotion thickened his throat, and he turned back toward the hut. “You coming?” he asked.

Tidus fell into step beside Jonah. “I know you think you made a mistake.”

“I don’t know what I think. I wanted to go home, but another part of me is not sure I can survive on the mainland either. At least not the way I did before.”

When they reached the clearing, Jonah stared at the disappearing boat growing smaller. He sank down on the sand and let his chin fall to his chest.

Tidus dropped down beside him.

A shadow fell across them, and Jonah jumped to his feet.

JONAH – PART 11

This has been a pretty incredible journey so far for Jonah and Tidus. There is something shifting inside Jonah. When we left them last week, Tidus had gone back to his side of the island to get gardening tools. Let’s see how they’ve progressed.

***

Days passed by and Jonah spent hours working alongside Tidus.  His skin was covered in welts from the stinging nettles, and a large angry wound covered the back of his right hand where he’d accidentally brushed against one of the venomous flowers. But, they managed to clear a decent sized area for planting.

main-image-dug-bed-2x

Tidus had suggested a poultice of mud and herbs for healing. Again, Jonah was amazed at the boy’s knowledge. Tidus brought vegetable seeds from his side of the island along with a variety of flower seeds.

It made Jonah happy that Tidus spent days on his side of the island. Bit-by-bit, the boy brought more of his things, and Jonah had even constructed another smaller hut for him.

Shock rippled through him when Jonah realized that he hadn’t cast a glance toward the mainland or scanned the horizon for the boat in days.

Slowly but surely, he worked on clearing the land and himself.

After hours of digging, hoeing, planting and watering the rows of seeds in the makeshift garden, Jonah stretched out and opened “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.”

Tidus dropped down beside him. “Will you read out loud?”

“Okay. Sure,” Jonah replied. “Chapter 6. ‘We can now begin to take responsibility for all of who we are, the parts we like and the parts we dislike. At this point, you don’t have to like all of your aspects; you just have to be willing to acknowledge them to yourself and others. There are three helpful questions you can ask yourself. Have I ever demonstrated that behavior in the past? Am I demonstrating that behavior now? Under different circumstances am I capable of demonstrating that behavior? Once you answer yes to any of these questions, you have started the process of owning a trait.’”

Tidus interrupted. “If you ever want to talk about anything, Jonah, I am a good listener.”

Jonah stared at him. “Yes, you are. But, I don’t think I could ever tell you all the things I’ve done. I don’t think you could handle it.”

“I am a kid, but in some ways, I’m really not. It’s all very strange, I am sure, but I’ve just kinda’ stopped aging. I experienced a lot with my mom and dad. Stuff that would make your stomach turn. Before we were banished from the mainland, people came in large groups determined to kill us and all of our kind. But our magic was stronger than their hatred and they never succeeded. I’ve seen my father remove a man’s skin without ever touching him. I’ll never forget the screams. I bet you’ve never seen anything like that.”

man skinned

“You’re right, Tidus. I’ve never seen magic like that. I’ve only seen what magic I could create with my hands and it was all based on fear. I had to make people fear me so they would respect me. I was the king of my turf.”

Tidus poked at the ground with a stick. “What’s the worst thing you ever did?”

“I really don’t want to talk about it.” Jonah cleared his throat. “I’m beginning to wonder if I really want off this island anymore. Now that you’re here, and we’re making it better, maybe I don’t want to go back to the mainland.”

“One thing I know, Jonah. We are both being tested. I can feel my father watching me from somewhere. I know he’s alive, but I don’t know why he doesn’t come and get me. Maybe I’m supposed to be here with you and these poor forgotten creatures that roam this island. You know they weren’t always this way, the Weilderwolves. They mutated into what they had to to survive here.”

“Are you talking about the fanged beasts?”

Tidus nodded.

“Maybe that is what I will do. Mutate.” Jonah spat on the ground. “If your father is alive and watching, then we need to show him the best of both of us. I’ve never cared about being the best at anything before except stealing, bullying and even killing. But, now I have a strong urge to be something better.”

Tidus spread his long webbed fingers out in front of him. “I can’t ever go back to the mainland. I would be tortured and probably killed.”

Jonah growled. “Not as long as I’m alive.”

A long minute of silence passed between them.

“Do you think you could start teaching me your magic, Tidus?” Jonah asked.

“I…I don’t know,” Tidus stuttered and his eyes glowed. “I’m not sure it is allowed.”

“There’s only one way to find out.”

magic sorcerer

Jonah – Part 9

Last week when we left Jonah, he was settling into his new hut. Let’s check in and see if he’s making progress toward getting off the island.

JONAH – PART 9

Tidus came and went. Jonah never knew when the kid would show up, but he always came bearing some sort of gift each time. Jonah now had a more comfortable abode that made daily survival less stressful. And, it had been days since he’d seen the fanged beasts. Jonah was sure that was due to the frequent visits from Tidus.

He’d scoffed when Tidus mentioned that the bigger hut and more comfortable surroundings allowed him the time he needed to focus on himself and do the work the Wise Ones had demanded of him.

Jonah finished “The Four Agreements,” and started on “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.”

He now understood the purpose of the journal.

At the end of Chapter Two, he tackled the exercises.

Question #1: What are you most afraid of?

Jonah thought long and hard. He chewed on the end of the pencil. He didn’t have many fears. He’d spent years making sure others feared him. Okay. Skip that one. Next.

Question #2: What aspects of my life need transforming?

That answer required no thought. He needed to get off this godforsaken island and back to his turf.

Question #3: What do I want to accomplish by reading this book?

Same answer – to get off this godforsaken island.

Question #4: What am I most afraid of that someone else will find out about me?

He sat back on his haunches. He didn’t much care what others thought of him. That hadn’t been important. Okay. Skip that one too. Next.

Question #5: What am I most afraid of in finding out about myself?

He reached for a small mirror Tidus had brought on his last visit. He stared at his reflection. He’d always been told he was handsome with his dark eyes and hair. But the man looking back at him in the mirror had aged. While he’d worked daily to stay in good physical condition, had he let his mind get soft? Was that what he was afraid to discover? That beneath the hard exterior beat a soft heart? That bit of information would tarnish his reputation for sure.

 

Jonah4

He laid the mirror aside and read the next question.

Question #6: What is the biggest lie I’ve ever told myself?

He knew the answer but, refused to write it down. He hated this kind of stuff.

Question #7: What is the biggest lie I’ve ever told someone else?

The answer to both questions were the same.

He closed his eyes and went back to that dark alley where he first killed. The scene unfolded in his mind. The look on the boy’s face. The begging and pleading. The jeers from others who stood by. A tear squeezed its way out of the corner of his eye and ran down his cheek. He hadn’t wanted to do it, but if he’d backed down then, he would’ve lost their respect. No one had seen him retching behind a trash can a few minutes later after they’d all moved on down the street. No one had seen him curled up in the fetal position crying, regretting. If he could take it all back.

dark alley

 

He jumped to his feet and stripped off as he ran straight to the murky water. It didn’t matter that the gray mud sucked his toes down or that the stench attacked his nostrils. A strong urge to wash away the memory was all that mattered. He put his head under and swam back and forth until exhausted, he pulled himself up on land.

Tidus ran to meet him. “Are you okay, Jonah?”

Jonah growled. “Go home, kid.”

“Let me help.” Tidus placed a hand on Jonah’s shoulder.

Jonah shoved his hand away and yelled. “I said go home. I don’t need any help. I just need to get off this shit hole of an island!”

Tidus stumbled backward. He turned to leave, then stopped. “At this rate, you’ll never get to leave.” He dropped something at Jonah’s feet. “Here. I brought you this.”

Then he turned and ran.

Jonah stared at the object hating himself with every ounce of energy he had. The Wise Ones had been wrong. There was nothing about him that was worth saving.

He picked up the soft leather pouch.

Jonah – Part 8

When we left Jonah and Tidus last week, a horrendous and sudden storm had totally destroyed his hut. He’d grabbed Tidus and his meager belongings and fled. After Tidus chanted and held his Amethyst Gemstone to his forehead, the storm had stopped as suddenly as it had started. Now Jonah’s returned to make the shocking discovery of a new bigger and better hut and a new burlap bag. Let’s join them and see what’s next.

Jonah stood rooted in the same spot for a long minute. He turned to find Tidus close behind him.

“What? How?” He pointed to the hut.

Tidus shrugged. “Maybe something in the bag will answer your question.”

Forcing his feet to propel him forward, Jonah reached the burlap bag and pulled the tie. He dumped the contents on the hard ground.

Another book and a note fell out. He dropped to his knees. With shaking hands, he unfolded the note and read it out loud. “Because you thought of someone other than yourself for the first time in your life.”

Tidus knelt beside him. “You mean you’ve never thought about anybody other yourself your entire life?”

“I suppose so,” Jonah muttered.

“But, you made sure I was safe and it seemed to come naturally to you.”

Jonah reached for the new book. “Dark Side of the Light Chasers,” by Debbie Ford.” He held the book out to Tidus. “Ever heard of this one?”

dark side of the light chasers

Tidus nodded. “It’s a workbook of sorts. There are exercises after every chapter.”

“Exercises for what?” Jonah thumbed through the pages.

“It’s sort of a guided way to work on yourself, to face your shadow self and do shadow work.  My favorite quote from the book is, ‘Remember, all the answers you need are inside of you; you only have to become quiet enough to hear them.’

Jonah stood. “Shadow work?  Answers inside me? That makes no sense.”

“It will when you read the book. Looks like you have to do some self-discovery work if you ever want to leave this island.”

“I’ll read the book and learn the right words to say. Then I can talk my way out of here.”

Tidus drew a symbol in the dirt. “It doesn’t work that way, Jonah. They’re not interested in your words. Your actions are what they want to see.”

Jonah squinted. “You’re a weird kid, Tidus. How do you know so much about all this? Did they send you? And what is that you are drawing in the sand? You aren’t doing some sort of magic spell, are you?”

Tidus dropped his stick and stood. “No. I swear it. This is what we call sacred geometry. It is the symbol of the flower of life.”flower-of-life-beach

He continued, “What I told you is the truth. My father disappeared. My mother died and I’m all alone on the other side of the island. I would take you there if I could. Then you’d see I speak the truth.”

“Okay, kid. I believe you. It’s just that you seem to know a lot about all this self-work stuff. More than a kid your age should know.”

“It’s simple. My mother taught me from all these books. She was also teaching me how to grow and use my magic when she died. I have lots of books back at my home. If you want, I could bring you some. Maybe I could help you.”

Jonah shrugged. “Suit yourself. Bigger men that you have tried.” He slapped Tidus on the back. “Let’s look inside my new digs.”

With his dagger drawn, Jonah flung the rickety wooden door open to reveal a more spacious and weather-proof hut. As far as he could tell from the dim light, the inside was empty. He could almost stand up inside.

He sheathed the dagger and tossed the new book into one corner, then emptied the contents of the bag he carried over his shoulder. He quickly dug a small hole and re-buried the Jerky. With some of the vegetables Tidus had brought, he could make them a nice soup to eat. He leaned back against the wall and blew out a breath.

His head spun with thoughts. He was being forced to look at himself. The thought frightened him more than anything or anyone he’d ever faced. This was not going to be easy or pleasant.

Jonah – Part 7

Last week, we left Jonah and Tidus in the midst of a horrific and sudden rain storm that erupted when Jonah questioned Tidus about his father. Let’s join them and see how they fared the storm.

*****

Jonah snatched up his meager possessions as the deluge beat down unrelenting, on the crudely made hut.

Water ran in streams, washing everything in its path down toward the murky waters. He had no time to waste. He dug the jerky out of the ground and tossed it along with the books and his other belongings into the burlap bag.

“Can you make it stop?” He yelled at Tidus.

Tidus sat dazed, his eyes rolled back in his head. He chanted words Jonah could not understand. The fragile walls of the hut began to collapse around them.

Jonah reached for Tidus, slung the burlap bag over his shoulder and ran. The rain blinded him. He stumbled over tree roots and briars.

Where to go?

Jonah pulled Tidus along. His need to protect the kid was strong. Tidus remained lost in some sort of trance.

Finally, Tidus pulled back. He reached into his pocket and withdrew a large Amethyst Crystal.

Healing_Amethyst_2_grande

He raised it to his forehead and chanted in a rumbling voice unlike any Jonah had ever heard. “Bay of old and sun so bright. Clear the mist of clouds at night. I, son of Drake, beseech you. Dispel the darkness, bring the light.”

Almost as quickly as it started, the pounding rain stopped. Black clouds parted, and bright sunshine reflected off remaining droplets on branches and leaves.

rain-drops-123016_960_720

“What in the hell just happened?” Jonah exclaimed.

Tidus placed the gemstone back in his pocket and shrugged.

Jonah turned in a full circle. “That’s all you’ve got? A shrug? My hut is destroyed. What am I going to do now?”

“Sorry,” said Tidus. “Perhaps you shouldn’t mention my dad again.”

Jonah mumbled. “You can bet on that one.” He stomped off in the direction they’d come. When he cleared the trees, he gasped.

His hut was intact. Only it was larger and sturdier than the original. And, it even had a door.

Hut2

 

Jonah’s head swam. How could that be? He’d watched it collapse around him. Surely he was having a wild dream.

Nothing made sense.

And, a newly delivered burlap bag sat nearby.