Category Archives: short story

Eglantine – a short story

Here is a short story inspired by this beautiful picture taken by a photographer friend, Paul Militaru.  An eglantine is a sweet briar rose. The word was mainly used in medieval England.

To me this picture is both beautiful and haunting, like the story. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

thanks for reading!

Eglantine

Fragrant perfume filled the air as my fingers stroked the leaves of the row of eglantine that grew beside the trail. I walked along its path, unconsciously caressing the twigs and occasionally catching my sleeves and fingers on the tiny thorns that lined its branches. The wild rose’s blooms had long since disappeared, leaving in their place the swelling of rose hips, bright in their promise.
My mother and I often collected them. Our days were often filled with brimming baskets of petals and herbs, roots and leaves, that served to restore those who came to receive her gift of healing. Ironic that they now lined the path leading to the monument of her death.
The last two days had been a blur, and realization was only now dawning as I walked the ever widening path that led to the clearing of sorrow, as they called it. It was a place of mournful repose, one that most in our village at one time or another had visited.

Especially recently.

Sickness had entered and spread at an alarming rate among the residents. My mother, being a gifted healer,tended to their wounds and fevers. But even with all of her gifts and knowledge of herbs, she was not immune to its ravages.
Mother had always been careful not to bring remnants of the illnesses she encountered into our cott, often choosing to sleep in the shed with our meager collection of livestock. Most often her ministrations were limited to farm accidents, new babies, and the occasional skin infection. But since the arrival of our new schoolmaster, one by one the residents bloomed with fever and sores. Some had been cured, due to careful tending from my mother. But many died. “A most horrible end”, she had said sadly, refusing to elaborate upon what she had seen.
Then her move to the shed became permanent. She spoke to me through the window of the cott, explaining that most in the village were now sick, and since I was not yet showing signs of exposure, she would not take the chance of spreading the infection to me. That was three days ago.
The next morning she woke with the fever, and the door to the shed was barred from the inside. Refusing my help, she asked only for water, a pot and a few herbal remedies that had already been prepared. I left them beside the door along with some bread and broth. Both remained untouched.
The eglantine bushes for which I was named, now served as a reminder of my young life – of fragrant experiences mingled with pain, and of the sweet love of my mother. The pain and uncertainty that her death would bring was almost unbearable. I was now completely alone, left to follow in her footsteps, or not.
Sweet Brier Rose. She named me this because when I was born, my skin was the color and texture of the soft pink petals that bloomed in early summer. Mother most often called me by my full name and I loved the way it rolled off her tongue; a most beloved term of endearment, especially now.

But everyone else called me Brie.
The path opened up, and I stepped into the clearing among the throng of people gathered there. Downcast faces, each bearing their own pain, rose to mine as I passed. They offered their silent prayers of peace: for mother, her eternal soul, and too, for my days hereafter. I was much to young to stay at the cott alone. 16 was the age of majority, and I had not yet reached it, would not for some years to come.

They would not let me stay there alone, regardless of how much they respected my mother. The elders would take control of our home, and pass it to a family that needed it. Of course I could stay with them, strangers in my own home, but it would be hard. My choices were limited, but I would not  ponder them as I could not yet get past my grief. I knew I  would be allowed a couple of days to gather my few belongings.
I did not know my father. He had gone missing just after I was born. He left with the rest of the men of the village on a hunt and never returned. Mother and I had always managed pretty well, as her skill was renown. We were not well off by any stretch of the imagination, but we always had food and enough wood to keep us warm throughout the winter months; the villagers made sure of it. And really, what else did we need?

But I knew not one other soul attached to my family by blood. And now I would most likely have to leave the only home I knew. There had been offers of a bed among a few of the villagers, but I knew that the offers were made mostly as a kindness. Most cotts were filled to bursting with families and children, and even with so many gone from the illness, the fields had been left largely untended. Food had become scarce.
My steps ended at the pyre that she had been placed upon. There were 6 of varying sizes, and each held a loved one that had succumbed to fever. Most often bodies of the dead were buried beneath a monument to their lives, but fear had driven the elders to proclaim that the diseased would be burned, leaving no remains of what had infiltrated our lives. I reasoned that when my mother was gone, there would be nothing left to hold me here but memories, and those would always be with me no matter where I was.
I walked to the base of her funeral pyre and placed an armful of flowers and herbs that I had gathered from our garden; all of her favorites. The roses that she had always so carefully tended, pink and yellow, and the white ones that she had told me once represented purity and the eternal light that death would ultimately lead to.

They seemed appropriate now.

Rosemary and thyme, barberry and blessed thistle bunched around them, infusing the air with the fragrant blossoms. As I stepped away to my place among the gathered crowd, the scent lingered and I breathed deeply, memorizing its heady aroma. “I will never forget” my soul cried out to hers. And the tears began to brim.
One of the men from among the throng stepped forward with a lit torch. After a slight nod to the families surrounding the beacon, he touched its lit end to the dried grasses that waited beneath. The flame caught and spread, quickly moving up the post toward those who waited. I watched as the fire encapsulated her body, separating it forever from mine.
It was then that I saw him.

Beyond the balefire stood a man who I did not know, whom it did not appear that anyone knew. He faced the ravaging flames with a solemn countenance, and I saw the wet upon his face. His grief puzzled me. Who among these did he weep for? As I pondered this, he looked away from the rite, and directly into my eyes. His eyes bore through me, the same icy blue as those that I possessed. My mother had always said they were the color of a clear sky in winter, unhindered by the clouds, and through them you could see forever. Now, even at this distance, I seemed to be looking into eternity, into what the future held.
Recognition passed between us, and cold fear gripped my heart, my mind refusing to accept what my heart innately knew. It knew this man. How? I let my eyes drop from his piercing stare, and I turned back toward the path of eglantine, back toward all that I had ever known. I had not take but a step or two, when a hand gripped my arm, insistent but gentle. And I heard my name. “Sweet Brier Rose?” The sound of it pierced my soul, and it pulled my eyes back to his.
“Brie?” A cold chill passed through me, as though his voice were a ghost.

”I am your father.”

_____________

I hope you enjoyed this little story! I also have a post running to day on Creative Faith featuring 5 flowers that are “blooming” in my garden right now. It has been a very creative week indeed! Thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear your thoughts on the story – leave a comment if you wish!  Thanks!

~lisa

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National Coloring Book Day is here!

National Coloring Book Day

{This activity begins at 8:00}

Honestly, I have never heard of this holiday before, but as soon as I published my newly released Adult coloring book 31 Days of Coloring HOPE, there it was….a reason to celebrate!

So celebrate we shall!

Today is going to be a day filled with fun, and freebies galore….and don’t forget the virtual food! Let’s start off with a cupcake….because everyone needs a cupcake for breakfast! {cue the virtual cupcake}

Selective focus on the chocolate cup cake

This is a short piece of fiction….shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes or so to read it.  At the end there will be a challenge for you to participate in to win a prize.

Here is the prize: One set of color-able bookmarks download. You just print them off on card stock and color away! These are great for marking your place in a current read, or you can color them and give away to a friend.  However you choose to use them is up to you.

great idea #1 after you color them, laminate for lasting beauty!

31 bookmarks page 1

31 bookmarks page 231 bookmarks page 3

 

 

 

 

Here is the fiction:

THE COLORING BOOK –by: lisa evola

Tears fell upon the pages that she clutched desperately in her hands. Tears of grief. Tears of relief. To cry them tore her heart in two, but in tandem soothed her soul. Never before had Freya felt the hopelessness that she was feeling now. As the memory of her mother blazed brightly in her mind, the tears fell harder. Then remembering the book, the one that her mother had given her just this morning, she pulled it back from her chest in horror. The tears had soaked the pages causing ripples in the tender leaves, and Freya worried that they would tear, taking from her the last gift she would ever receive from her.
Tenderly she caressed its cover, remembering how pleased her mother was at her joy of receiving such a gift. She had given it to her just this morning before she left for school. As Freya sat down to her usual breakfast of oats with honey, the beautifully wrapped package appeared over her shoulder along with a kiss on the side of her head and “happy birthday” whispered in her ear. She had protested. Money was very tight and she knew that her mother wasn’t working many days this week. It would be a struggle just to put food on the table. Gifts were not something that was often considered.
But this one was special. Her mother had created it herself from the recycled paper that she loaded on the trucks down at the mill each day. She brought pages home every now and then, pages that had visual interest or a pleasing texture. Freya remembered asking her about them, why she was bringing them home. She just liked them, she said and tucked them away in the roll top desk that had belonged to her grandmother.
As she carefully unwrapped the gift, her eyes went wide with excitement. It was a coloring book. And one of the most unusual coloring books she had ever seen. She could see how her mother had put together the pages with parts taken from many different pieces. How she managed it, she couldn’t tell, but it was an amazing display of beauty, each page its own piece of artwork, unique and waiting for color to complete its metamorphosis.
Then her mother pulled 3 pencils from her pocket, one each of the primary colors, and set them beside her plate. “I know that you can blend these to create every color under the rainbow,” she said. “I’m sorry that there couldn’t be more…” But Freya was already in motion, flinging her arms around her mother’s neck with tear filled eyes.
“I love it all,” she exclaimed between sobs. “I couldn’t have imagined anything better in all the world.” She had held on tightly then. But had she known that it would be the last moments she would ever spend with her mother, she never would have loosed her arms at all.
She cried then with renewed fervor. Never again would she feel the comfort and strength that those arms brought; the love and acknowledgment that came with their embrace. As her tears loosed upon the open page of the coloring book, through bleary sight Freya noticed something odd. As each tear dropped upon a portion of the page, color appeared, vibrant and spalted, like ink drop from a quill. The color ran quickly through the design, changing in intensity and hue as it traveled from one portion of the artwork to another. When it stopped, the image left behind was transformed into something surreal.

Here is the challenge:

Choose what happens next in this story.  I have 3 ideas below as to how this story could proceed.  Choose one then respond in the comment section with # 1, 2 or 3. If you have a better idea, I would love to hear it!  Leave your idea in the comments and if I choose your idea you win…

what happens next?

1.The page reveals a picture of her mother’s face looking back at her – Comfort fills her and she knows then that her mother will always be with her. Every time she needs to feel hope, her tears transform the pages before her, showing her exactly what she needs to see.

2.Words emerge within the picture, flowing and changing, as though spoken from her mother’s lips, letting her know that she will be alright. Freya finds that she can talk to the pages as though to her mother herself, and the pages talk back, revealing her mothers wisdom. She never needs to be alone again.

3.The coloring book sucks Freya in, and there in the picture she stands, next to her mother, together – forever. And they are both smiling.

 

 

All winners of all the days events will be announced at the end of the festivities (like 8:00 or so 🙂

All comments today will be entered for a free copy of 31 Days of Coloring HOPE!

Good Luck!

Lisa

Share this virtual party on twitter 

Did you miss anything? here are the links for today’s festivities:

Here are the festivities that are scheduled: Eastern time zone

8:00–10:00   Short fiction read + choose the ending challenge for a prize (full set of 31 days bookmarks) http://wp.me/p3FW2F-vA

10:00–12:00       Coloring Challenge – download and color the page created just for this event. Upload your picture to the events facebook page, or share on pinterest twitter, and Instagram using #31daysofcoloringHOPE. Then leave a comment letting me know. Every participant will receive a downloadable bookmark of their choice to color http://wp.me/p3FW2F-vM

12:00–2:00        Purchase the pdf download of the book ($4.99) and receive a free laminated and colored in bookmark (colored by the author). Every purchase is a winner! Bookmark of your choice- http://wp.me/p3FW2F-vU

2:00-4:00           Inktense tutorial and purchase perk – come and see how these amazing watercolor pencils work.  You will love the vibrancy with which they shade in your drawings. Use of a blender pen will also be discussed in this short video tutorial. The purchase perk for this block of time is a free limited edition print with any purchase. Choose from a physical book, the pdf download or the 31 days of bookmarks. http://wp.me/p3FW2F-wa

4:00-6:00          Buy 1 get 1 free!  Buy a 31 Days coloring book and receive a second free to give away to a friend. That is what it is all about, encouraging others to find HOPE. http://wp.me/p3FW2F-wc

6:00-8:00          $5 book sale – For these two hours only I will be offering 3 Days of Coloring HOPE for only $5 plus shipping ($2.60) This is $3.99 off of the list price. Order here on my website, or on the Amazon page here: 31DAYS http://wp.me/p3FW2F-we

All-Day         Leave a comment, share a post, invite a friend to the party and you will be entered for a free copy of 31 Days of Coloring HOPE.

 

Friday fiction in fifteen ~ ordinary miracles

february ordinary miracles

http://wp.me/s45h2I-fatigue

A big thanks to Paul for taking such inspiring photos!

Here’s your picture for today. What story does this picture tell you? set your timer to 15 (or 30….whatever works for you) and write!

Here’s mine:

Ordinary Miracles

The Phone wouldn’t stop ringing.

As soon as one call ended, another would take its place, the melodious song becoming nothing but a clanging cymbal to my ears. I navigated skillfully through the city streets with my internal auto-pilot on high alert – no time to think about steps now.  I simply needed to get to the board room for an early morning meeting.

Shifting the weight of the pack I wore to the other shoulder, my feet carried me around the corner of an old building, eyes still diverted from the path in front of me. Miraculously I had not yet collided with the sea of humanity that hurried around me toward their own destinations. Like bats flying in diming light, we successfully avoided the other’s path.

Till my feet stuck solid.

As my hands flew out to break the inevitable fall that awaited me, the cursed ringing phone struck cement; forever silencing its cry. I wasn’t even upset. But as my hands found earth, along with knees, hip, and shoulder during a truly acrobatic roll, I wondered what I had done to deserve this interruption. I would be late now for sure, and I couldn’t even call to let them know why.

As I righted myself onto my behind, I looked to see what had caused me to stumble. There on the sidewalk, close to the corner of the building, was a man. A sleeping man. I wondered for a moment then if he even lived, for he had not even flinched at my shoe finding his body. Slowly I crawled over to the inert body, and peered into his face. His eyes were tightly closed to the increasing morning light, and I wasn’t sure that I should bother him at all.

I cleared my throat loudly, hoping that this would garner his attention, then possibly I could offer an apology for my misstep.  But the phlegmy din did nothing to stir him. I sat down beside him and reached tentatively for his arm, which lay peacefully across his midsection. Then wrapping my fingers around his wrist, felt for the pulse indicating life. It was faint, but strong, so I breathed a sigh of relief.  As many years as I had lived in the city, I had never before encountered a dead body, and I certainly did not want to gain that experience now.

I placed my hand on his shoulder and gently shook. “Sir”, I said, “are you alright?”  Please be alright, I prayed silently too. I saw his eyelid flicker minutely, but only a small crack appeared, then closed again. Looking around for help, I noticed that the commuting people on the street passed us by as though we were not even there. And I wondered dimly, how long this poor man lay here with no a single person taking notice. Day’s maybe?

I scooped my arm underneath his, and the smell of unwashed body wafted up from the openings in his filthy coat. Still, I garnered all my strength and sat him up against the building fascia. As he sat supporting his own weight, he opened his eyes, and stared at me in wonder.  He did not speak, but his eyes said all. “Why are you helping me?” they asked.

A compassion filled my heart. And reaching for my phone that lie broken a few feet away, I dialed.  “Sarah, could you please make me a reservation at my usual spot near the office?” I had often stayed in a room near work when I had large projects, and looming deadlines. The seclusion and quiet was a balm to my soul, and I found that I could gain the peace that I often missed in those times.  “And order an array of breakfasts to be sent to the room as soon as they can prepare them.”

My eyes never left the man who sat before me. He almost looked fearful now as I spoke, but my gaze must have reassured him of genuine intent, for his eyes closed again. “Yes, I know I’m supposed to be in the meeting. Please make my apologies, and let them know that I will check in a bit later to explain. Thank you Sarah.”

Hanging up, I glanced toward the street and raised my hand to hail a cab. As one pulled to the side, I gathered all the strength I could muster, and helped the man limp to the curb. The cab driver gave me a curious look which was quickly turning angry as I sat the man inside. I reassured him quickly that I would be accompanying my companion. He was wary, but turned around,  and as I relayed our destination to him, he began to pull away.

“You’re going to be okay.” I said to the man beside me. Then looking out the window in front of me, I reassured myself, “You’re going to be okay.”

Let me know how you like the story, and if you wrote one, I would love to read it! Leave a comment below!

 

Friday: fiction in fifteen – a canopy of promise

canopy

http://wp.me/p45h2I-6yF picture by paul militaru

Snow seems to be everywhere these days….I figure that if I can’t get away from it, I will write about it!  So here is my fiction in Fifteen:

___________________

A Canopy of Promise

Snow covered branches form a canopy of protection over the trail carrying my feet toward a hopeful future. I step carefully upon its rock strewn surface, remembering the shaky beginnings of this chapter of life. The struggles were a fading distant memory, but ones that I dared not forget, lest they be repeated and the lessons learned – forgotten.

The lengthy hem of my cloak dragged upon the uneven earth, and caught mercilessly on exposed rocks, creating tears, like those of my heart freshly healed.  Its blood red velvet closed around the wounds, sealing the evidence, as did the blood shed upon the soil of my life.

My hands lift the heft.

Step carefully.

Remember.

Trees thin and open wide to reveal a hopeful expanse. A white edifice grows from the center, reflecting a promise kept, if only I step upon its foundation.

Feet sure.

Breathe.

Smiles greet mine and hands reach for my cloak: the torn and mended heart which I shed gratefully, revealing a pure white promise, one worn upon my transformed life.

A new road lay before me. One of sacrifice and trial, but also of receiving both truth and love. Each step forward proclaims commitment, and trust. But mostly a faith in the promise made. A promise from God… and man.

My man.

With each footfall my heart remembers the love. Each step taken, renews the commitment. And at the end of the trail, a new one begins, and I fall to my knees in supplication. A desperate prayer for a desire to serve the one I love, and the strength to see it through.

To shed the “me” in favor of the “us”.

One.

Forever.

No matter what.

This is the promise that I hold in my heart.

And it feeds my soul.

_______________________

Thanks for reading!  If you would like to read more, I have a devotional running on a beautiful life that speaks to the wisdom of dating and its power for a renewed commitment. I would love for you to stop by there and be filled!  Read it here: http://wp.me/p2zb9s-1ZE

Now it’s your turn!  Set your timer’s to 15 minutes and write from your heart!

 

 

Friday: Fiction in Fifteen – Gathering Storm”

january friday fic in fif 2

http://wp.me/p45h2I-6ug 

[check out Paul's site at the link above! Thanks Paul!]

Isn’t this picture great? It elicits so many emotions within me as I study its depth. And as we all know, emotion is what inspires story!

So have at it! Set your timers for 15 minutes [if you need longer- no worries, take your time] Contemplate the possibilities before you begin to write.  If you do write something, we would love to see it!  Even the first sentence would be great.

I hope you are as inspired by this picture as I am!

Here is my piece:

A Gathering Storm

 A low, deep rumble reverberated through the gathering clouds above . The slow, persistent growl rolled through me and collected in the pit of my belly, churning its contents into a soup of anxiety. How fitting for a morning such as this. Consternation had been my friend for the better part of a year, and its culmination an approaching leviathan.

I averted my eyes of the rumble’s call, choosing instead to focus on the quickly waning strength within me to advance my steps. Squeezing my eyes tight, I asked for more; more strength, more hope. And then less too. Less of the fear and trepidation that threatened to consume me. The dread that I was experiencing only increased with the gathering storm, building to a certain crescendo. Its progress reflected the pattern of recent days, marked by a knowing.  

Morning always brought with it reality. The dreams of my sleep-state had become my refuge; where I felt happiest in the midst of confusion and despair. But each morning the same knowing: the inevitable judgement that we would face, together he and I. Judgement brought on by our own misdeeds. Choices that all led back to here.  I couldn’t be angry with anyone but myself, really.  There was no one to plead with, no begging would stay this decree. I wouldn’t even try. I couldn’t.

I asked for more courage, more strength. Not to deliver me from what was inevitable, but to prop up my shaky steps. No, I would take my punishment as it came, reap the consequences that I wove into the fabric of my life. Nobody’s fault but my own. After the chips fell, and the guilt washed clean from my soul, maybe then I would feel worthy. No, I’ll never be worthy, I felt that deep within. But to find myself back in the grace of God, was a gift I could not embrace now. Now was a time to weather the storm of my own making.

And then wait for a deliverance.

So what did you write in fifteen?  please leave a comment, if only to encourage us to keep writing!

friday: fiction in fifteen ~ “hope feels”

hope feelshttp://wp.me/p45h2I-6qc “Hope sees the Invisible, Feels the Intangible, and achieves the Impossible.”

a great big thank you to paul militaru who takes such wonderful and inspiring pictures! Check out his site at the link above!

So – five minutes is just not long enough to write a creative short piece of fiction….for me anyway! I just love to create short pieces based on pictures; to contemplate what is going on between the lines. I would love to see what you have written during our friday ficiton segments.  Send me a message or post it in the comments..  Write for 5 or 15 – your choice! the point is to keep inspired and writing! Here is my story:

“Hope Feels”

by: lisa evola

I looked through the frost etched window at the shivering bird perched upon the ledge of my prison.

My prison. One of my own making really. I had been given choices. Choices to do the right thing, to admit my error and therefore join with the rest of the group in what they considered playful respite. I didn’t want it; the playfulness. I preferred instead to wallow in my misfortune, to breathe the frigid air of separation and guilt. I chose to sit, exposed and trembling, much like the sparrow outside the window now.

Like me, he has lost hope. He is unable to see the possibility of shelter all around him.  Shelter that would certainly thaw the blood slowing in his veins, that which would save the life so precariously balanced on that ledge. Life has a way of doing that; driving hope from an open wound in the heart. And so I close it up tight, so that not even a fractured ray can penetrate it. Then sit staring out, blinded to the light reflected there, the light that could achieve the impossible. Seeing only what my stony heart sees, which is but cold, icy frost covering all that I had once known as good.

I see the shivering sparrow. I see it still; its downy feathers puffed out to the elements, protectively encompassing his soon to be stony heart. Like mine. And a single tear runs down my cheek, the first in months. The tear clears a path through the skin, washing away the smudges left by careless word and deed. And a trail of heat is left, warming what is beneath. I touch my finger carefully to the tear, and as I pull it away from my face, more come. At first just a few, but then a river flows, ever widening the chasm. It washes my face, my heart – my soul. And as the tears soundlessly pour, I crank open the casement and reach for the tiny frozen sparrow. He does not resist my warm hands, but sits shaking intermittently in them.

Tucking him inside the opening of my sweatshirt, I coo, tears still falling. Falling from me to the bird at my breast, each drop causing him to flinch, then still again. Then he sees it, as I do too. The invisible. The intangible. The tears that would achieve the impossible.

To feel again.

Rescue

http://photopaulm.com
http://photopaulm.com

Branches ripped and slashed at my bare arms as I sprinted down the trail. I was breathing heavy now, weeks of inactivity stealing from me the youthful energy that was once mine. I quickly glanced down at my arm as another thorn slashed at my upper arm, drawing blood and leaving behind evidence of my passage. I did not want to leave such proof of my escape route, but there was no helping it now.  I heard in the distance barking and shouting.

They knew.

Down the trail I ran, silently thanking the deer who had tread here before me. Although it was narrow, the path was sure for my feet, only having an occasional branch or trench that required a leap. And wasn’t this all a leap of faith?

The dream that I woke from this morning had left me breathless and wondering if its message had been prophetic. In it, my captors had approached me with knives of all shapes and sizes. Even though I could not understand their words, my heart knew their intent. They had stopped before me and spewed a series of words; sentences.  All which I could not decipher. Then one word caught my attention: Jesus.

Who were these men? What did they want from me?

When I was taken three weeks before, I had been on my way to meet with friends. I had carried my source of strength in the pack upon my back. That had been the first thing they took from me, followed closely by my freedom.  I didn’t remember much after that, only waking inside the cabin that would be my prison, hands bound, and the pack a fading memory. Now, my strength lived only within my heart, but the light from it glowed with an intensity only my soul understood.

Three weeks they had come to me, shouting. Daily their intelligible interrogation assaulted my senses, not to say anything of the physical assault upon my person.  I did not know how to respond beyond weeping and the wide eyed fear obvious upon my face. But yesterday a camera was set in front of me. The armed man who set it there glared at me with obvious malicious intent, saying nothing, only an evil smirk upon his lips.

That night I dreamt.

As I awakened, the desperate need to escape embodied every fiber of my being. I had been working at the bonds at my wrist for several days, and this morning, my desperation loosed them enough to free my bloodied hands. As I stepped toward the door, I heard the fading voices of my captors, walking away, and I held my breath.  I knew this would be my last opportunity.

Pressing my weakened body through the smallest crack I could manage, I crept toward the woods only twenty steps away. Once in the cover of trees, I sprinted for my life, down trails and through closely growing underbrush I ran, not knowing where I was going, only that the light within me was lighting an obvious path for my feet.

Now, as I ran down the deer trail, I began to smell the wet scent of decaying foliage and moving water. As I burst through the thicket of blackberry branches that ripped and tore through me, I saw the river, and hope bloomed in my speeding heart. Could I swim its racing current to the other side, putting an obstacle between me and those that pursued?

I quickly looked back. I did not see them, but my ears heard the sounds of their rushing pursuit through the leaves, closing in with every step. My eyes scanned the edge of the water looking for anything that could aid my crossing. And then I saw it. Just beyond some branches forming a canopy over the rushing water, I saw a boat.

It was old and weathered, and looked like the current had lodged it tentatively against a root that grew beneath the water from one of the trees along the bank. The boat had missing planks and holes from age and disuse, but it floated. I ran to the river’s edge and launched myself into my rescuers seat. A paddle lay beneath it, and with its help, I pushed myself free from the root’s embrace.

Paddling into the current, the boat caught and twisted me mercilessly. My head spun from the lack of nourishment that my captivity had exacted, but I held on and let the river push me where it would. Then the sound of shouting reached my ears, and I dropped to the floor of the old boat, effectively avoiding their searching eyes and the bullets that soared above its bough.

As I lay there with the sun upon my face, warming my trembling body, I saw something lodged under the seat that I had perched upon, and retrieved it. It was bound in leather, old and worn like the boat itself. I opened the pages of the small book and read the words that greeted my anxious heart:

“If I rise on the wings of dawn, even there Your hand will guide my way.” Psalm 42:8

And I knew I was home.