Tag: short stories

Fiction Friday: He Leadeth Me, Part 2

There is aliteration, Fiction Friday, so I’ve chosen Fridays as my days to share some fiction, if I have any to share a particular week. This is the second part in a story called He Leadeth Me. To find the first part, click HERE.

He Leadeth Me Part I


Part 2: Dancing in the moonlight

“Have you yet had the chance to dance in the moonlight in India?”

He was standing in front of her with one hand out toward her.

His uniform had been replaced with khakis and a plain white button up shirt like those commonly worn by the Indian men.

“I can’t say I have,” she looked nervously at her feet, unsure how to react to this pivot in their conversation.

“Well, come on,” he said with one corner of his mouth turned up. “Let’s be brave and see what happens.”

“There’s no music.”

“I can hum a tune or two.”

His hand was warm, the palms rough from days of working hard to build hangers for the Indian Air Force planes. He gently pulled her closer and placed his other hand lightly against her waist but pulled it back again.

“My apologies. Is it ok if my hand rests there?”

She immediately felt embarrassed and looked down at her feet.

“Um… yes? I guess so.”

She was ashamed to admit she had no idea how to dance and had never had a man ask to dance with her.

His hand barely touched her as he began to sway and gently guide her movements.

“Over in Killarney

Many years ago,

Me Mother sang a song to me

In tones so sweet and low.

Just a simple little ditty,

In her good old Irish way,

And l’d give the world if she could sing

That song to me this day.

 

“Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,

Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, hush now, don’t you cry!

Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,

Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, that’s an Irish lullaby.”

 

She couldn’t look up as he sang.

Her heart was pounding and her head felt light.

What would her father think if he knew she’d come to India to care for orphans and tell others about the love of God but now she was dancing in the moonlight with an Irish airmen? And if pastor Franklin saw them? What might be said? Thoughts raced fast through her mind but she couldn’t seem to pull away, reveling in the feel of her hand in his and the smell of his cologne. She’d met him only a couple weeks ago before at the market, looking for vegetables and lamb for the mission and orphanage kitchen, and now here she was letting him lead her in a dance in the heat of the Indian summer.

He stopped singing, leaned back so he could look into her face and she looked up to see his blue eyes staring into hers.

“Tell me Emily Grant, the American girl with the very Scottish name, have you ever thought that God has made you for something more?”

The muscle in his jaw jumped a little as he started talking about what he expected for his future, not waiting for her answer.

“I mean, I grew up with my family, on a farm, thinking ‘There must be more to life than this.’ My brother loved farming, the shoveling of manure, and rounding up cows, but I just knew there was something more for me and I knew when I saw those children at the mission, my something more was here in India or at least in helping others.”

“Does it sound arrogant to say I believe God has a plan for me? A plan to show others His love not by what I say but by what I do? Is that what brought you here to India with your mission group? Did you think God would do something grand? That life could be something more and beautiful; the more you showed love and felt it back?”

 

Emily didn’t know what to say.

 

She felt her face growing warm.

 

She knew exactly what Henry meant but she’d never known how to explain it. Her parents couldn’t understand why she had signed her name to the list to travel to India with the missionary who had been visiting. They were worried for her safety, terrified she’d be killed by people her father called “Devil Worshippers” and “dark skinned heathens.” Emily had read the Bible. She believed God had created all humans and if that was true, then he had also created the Indian people and He loved them as much as he loved a white-skinned American farmer’s daughter.

 

“It doesn’t sound arrogant,” she said. “It sounds true and real and wonderful. I believe God has a plan for me, but I truly don’t understand it yet. All I knew was something inside me said I needed to follow Pastor James and Margaret here.”

 

Henry was still looking at her, eyes intensely focused on hers.

 

When his eyes glanced to her mouth as she spoke she tensed, suddenly self-conscious.

“Maybe God meant us to be here at the same time. For us to experience all this beauty together, ” he said.

His voice had slipped into a whisper.

He was too close.

Her heart was pounding too fast.

And when his lips touched hers it was too soon.

They’d only known each other two weeks and she hadn’t come to India to fall in love. She’d come to learn more about God’s will for her life.

She pulled away from him quickly and looked quickly at the ground.

“I’m past curfew at the mission. They’ll be concerned about me.”

She walked into the darkness before he could speak.

“Let me at least walk you home,” his voice followed her. “It’s dark and dangerous here at night.”

She paused and nodded an acceptance of his offer.

He fell in step beside her, silent as they walked. When they reached the gate of the mission she placed her hand on the gate and he reached out and wrapped his fingers around hers.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to overstep. I’ve never been so bold before. Will ya’ forgive me, Emily? I’ve enjoyed our time together. I hope you won’t disapprove of seeing me again.”

“It’s okay. I’m just – it’s – I’m here to be a servant to the mission. I shouldn’t get distracted. I don’t know – I just – wasn’t ready.”

She felt foolish as she spoke.

Wasn’t ready for what? To be loved? To let this young airman who spoke of wanting to serve God love her?

“I have to get to bed. We have open clinic in the morning for the village women. Thank you for the dance Henry.”

She pulled her hand from his and rushed through the gate, closed it and walked down the path toward the mission.

In her room, with the door closed behind her, she touched her fingertips to her lips, closed her eyes and remembered the warmth of his mouth on hers. She breathed deep, shook her head to clear her mind of the memory, and reached for her Bible to take her mind off the distraction she felt God didn’t want her to have.

 

 

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Risen Part 4

This is a continuing fiction story, based on a series of verses from the Bible. To read the other parts of the story click the following links:

Risen Part 1

Risen Part 2

Risen Part 3


“Josefa! Can you come to the stream to play?”

Her friend Caleb was peering at her through the curtain of her sleeping quarters window.

She rubbed the sleep from her eyes.

“After chores, yes.”

The sun wasn’t very high in the sky when Josefa finally took off her sandals and placed her feet in the stream near the olive trees. The water felt cool against her skin and she closed her eyes to enjoy the coolness of the water and the warmth of the sun.

“I heard another story about demons and Jesus’ followers,” Caleb leaned in close to whisper to her.

“Caleb. Now, stop that. There is no such thing as demons.”

“There totally is! They said Jesus’ follower named Matthew spoke to the man and said there was a demon in him. The man who told me said the man with the demon spoke funny and fell to the ground.”

Caleb fell on the ground and his face twisted up while he jerked around with his arms against his chest and then flailing back and forth.

“Like this!” He jumped up and stuck his tongue out at Josefa and shook his head back and forth vigorously

Josefa burst into laughter and put her hands up as if to push Caleb away from her as he continued to distort his face.

Caleb stepped back and stopped laughing.

“Then the man yelled back at Matthew and told him he lived there now and he wasn’t leaving, but Matthew said ‘You have no place here, demon and in the name of the most high God I command you to leave.’”

Caleb pointed at an imaginary man and made a stern face to imitate Matthew.

“In the name of the –“

He stepped closer to Josefa as he continued to point. He lifted his chin and looked sternly at her.

“The most high Gawd! Be goooone!”

Josefa put her hand over her mouth and giggled.
The sound of footsteps startled the pair.

Caleb’s older brother smirked as he looked down at them.

“Who do these men think they are? Acting as if they have authority to mess with the possessed?” he snapped.

Caleb’s older brother knelt next to the stream to fill his wineskin. He shook his head.

“No one asked you, Levi.”

Levi snorted.

“These are the words of children. Stories. That’s all they are. Only a baby like you would believe them.”

“That’s not true! I heard them talking about it in the market. That man named Matthew called a demon out.”

Caleb made a weird face again and staggered toward Levi. “I am a servant of the devil!” he said, pretending to be the possessed man.
Levi stepped away from his brother and rolled his eyes.
“And, besides, Jesus raised Josefa from the dead!” Caleb’s voice was loud and defiant.

Josefa’s cheeks flushed red.

“Caleb..”

“What? He did! You should tell more people! They should know the truth about Jesus and his followers and who they really are.”

“You speak foolishness, Caleb,” Levi said.

Levi turned toward her and she found herself unable to look up into his green eyes. Her heart pounded fast and furious and the palms of her hands grew moist.

“Is this true, Josefa? Tell me what Jesus really did.”

She could hear her heart in her ears now.

“I don’t want to talk about it, Levi.” She kept her eyes down, looking at the olive branch in her hand.

“Why? Because it is a lie? Right? What the people in your neighborhood said happened is a lie isn’t it?”

Josefa turned to look at Levi. A rush of warmth filled her.

“He asked us not to speak of it –“

Levi laughed. “Of course, he did. Because nothing happened.”

“They were already holding a time of mourning for her, Levi. You don’t know! You were out with the sheep. But it’s true! I was there! I was crying!”

Levi shook his head and tied his wineskin to his belt and reached for his staff.

“She was probably just asleep. You cry over everything. You’re still a boy.”

“She wasn’t breathing. I saw her! I touched her!”

Josefa looked at Caleb. She hadn’t known he’d been with her.

“You were there?” she asked softly.

Caleb’s cheeks were red now.

“Yes. I came because I did not want to believe it. I didn’t want to believe you were gone. I was there when Jesus came with those men and then he told us all to leave.”

Levi’s haughty laugh interrupted their exchange.

“of course Jesus wanted everyone to leave. So he could pretend Josefa was really dead.” He ruffled Caleb’s hair and Caleb slapped his hand way. “Okay, little one, I’m leaving you and your friend to your childish tales. Take care of mama while Joseph and I are gone to find the lost sheep.”

He paused and looked at Josefa, half turned away from her.

“Take care, Josefa. I don’t believe you were truly dead, but I am glad you are still alive.”

“Thank you, Levi,” her voice softened to a whisper and she tried to form the words “But I was dead.”

The sound of a passing cart drowned out her voice.

Levi walked around the children and called out to his older brother.

“Joseph wait for me!”

“Why didn’t you tell him?” Caleb asked as Levi and Joseph disappeared down the road.

“I don’t know. Jesus said to tell no one. I wasn’t sure –“
“But so many already know, Josefa. They know the truth about what happened to you. If it was me, I wouldn’t be ashamed. I’d be excited to let everyone know that I had been dead but now was alive.”

Josefa flicked at the water with her fingers and stared at the pools rolling into each other.

“But what if no one believes me?” she asked.

“But what if some do?” Caleb countered.