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"Prose 2020"


Prologue
To See The Dark

By Barb Hensongispsaca

Johnny found the spot where he had buried his treasure box. He hoped he had enough change saved to purchase what he had been waiting for.
He gathered up his offering and ran to the store. He left with his flashlight.
"Now I can see what the dark looks like!"

Author Notes 50 words
GreatDogPhotos thank you for permission to use your picture.


Chapter 1
Beware the Gossip

By Barb Hensongispsaca

It started early in the night - two seemingly lonely people coming to find solace from the harshness of the outside world. I'm not sure which one entered first, but when I saw them, they sat at opposite ends of the bar, nursing, what looked like, a 'stiff' drink each.

She talked to a few men who apparently said something she thought quite funny because they laughed. She looked quite at ease, even though she seemed out of place sitting there. The men, who tried to strike up a friendship, soon walked away to pursue other interests. She seemed quite happy sitting where she was as she nursed her drink, making it last way past the melting of the ice that was trying to keep her drink chilled.

The man, on the other hand, I noticed had moved to a booth. He seemed to enjoy the privacy it provided as his eyes roamed the bar, only to fall on the woman. He was on his third drink when I noticed him motion for the waitress to come to his table. She sauntered over, hips swaying in too-short shorts, and leaned down to give him ample view of her button-up shirt tied at the waist.

"See anything you like?" she said in a tight southern drawl.

"Yes, Ma'am," he said, being polite, but knowing what she was hinting at. It was getting close to closing time and 'last call' would be announced.

"See that woman over there at the bar? I want to buy her a drink," he stated as he watched the woman still sipping her stale drink.

A little put out, the waitress stiffened and asked, "What would you like to order?"

He gave her enough money to more than cover the drink and said, "A Sloe Gin Fizz, please, and keep the change."

With those last words, her demeanor changed. She gave him a big smile and left to complete his order.

The man watched as the waitress delivered the drink along with a message of who it was from. The woman looked confused, then looked up and smiled at the man in the booth. She raised her glass and mouthed the words 'thank you'. At that point, the man got up and made his way to the woman's table.

He stood there for a little while at which point, I assume, he asked her permission to sit down, as she nodded to the seat beside her.

I began to notice some flirting between the couple, but I also noticed that the people around them were watching, talking. I heard words like: 'married', 'adultery', 'children', 'I don't know her - but', 'how could he', 'I thought she was a Christian', 'I know he loves his wife'. The accusations became harsher when they left together.

I had to laugh, I know them both. They are my best friends and have been married for 20 years ... to each other.

Can't wait to hear the gossip tomorrow.

Author Notes 495 words

booklotto thank you for permission to use your picture.


Chapter 2
Rich Beyond Riches

By Barb Hensongispsaca

I put off writing for this contest and now I am glad I did. I can share something with you, I just hope it comes out right and not that I am bragging as some seem to do. I just want you to know what happened and why I made the decision that I did.

As most of my friends know, my life has been full of ups and downs which has left me emotionally, spiritually and physically drained. Material things in life used to be important to me, but I have found that they are important to only me. When I'm gone, they will be discarded.

Now, money is another thing. Like others, I pinch every penny because as soon as life knows I have a few pennies ahead, it creates a reason for me to part with them. This is my true story of giving back.

I was raised under God's hand and that faith has been rocked many times. The hardest time was when I held the gun to my head and told God, 'either take my life or You live it, because I just can't anymore'. And He did ... both. He stilled the gun as I fired, and from that point on, I promised to reach out to that one person that needs to know he/she is not alone.

What I am about to tell you, just happened yesterday. I know it was Satan testing me and I feel I passed, but that's not to say, I was not tempted.

I am a true believer in Mexican style food. Due to stomach problems, I can't have any real spicy tasting meals, but I do let go once in a while - followed with a few Tums.

A friend wanted to take me to enjoy some tacos for dinner and I was all for it. We enjoyed our meal - me more than I should have - and it was time to settle up and go home. My bill came to nine dollars and some cents. I laid a twenty dollar bill on that little tray that held my bill and waited for the waiter to bring my change. I was talking with my friend and paid no attention when the waiter dressed in fiesta clothes, brought back my little tray.

When I turned to put my change away, I noticed there was a twenty still there along with other bills. I knew something was wrong and when checking the amount, I realized he had made change for a fifty dollar bill. Now I have not seen a fifty for a long time let alone hold one, so I knew what had happened. I was tempted, but I couldn't. I walked up to the waiter and told him he had made a mistake. He was aghast, I had to be wrong. Another chance to keep it, but I convinced him he was wrong.

I left the restaurant feeling good about myself, but Satan was not done with me yet.

That afternoon I had to go to the bank to withdraw money for bills. I went through the drive in part and sent my slip in through that little 'air bus' for envelopes. I was sure to count it when I got the money back, told the attendant to have a nice day and pulled out. It only took a few minutes for me to realize I was a week early and I did not want money laying around my apartment, so I decided to put it back in.

I drove back to the bank and, using the same envelope the teller had given me, I went back to the drive in part and to the same woman. I laughed as I told her what I was doing, she laughed, we shared a few words, I took my card and envelope out of the 'air bus' and pulled out. Something made me stop and look at the little envelope that I received along with my deposit receipt. Inside was the two hundred dollars I had deposited.

Oh, yes, Satan grabbed ahold. I could use that two hundred dollars. I felt Satan on my left shoulder saying one thing and God on my right shoulder saying something else. I turned around to park and went inside. I asked to speak to the teller and explained that I had something I should not have. She thanked me profusely, over and over. As I walked out the door, I felt a mixture of pride and loss at the same time.

The rest of the month will be tight, but my soul is on track. I am not bragging, I just had to share.

Author Notes meg119 thank you for permission to use your picture.

798 words


Chapter 3
New Playmates

By Barb Hensongispsaca

"Mommy, we got new neighbors!" Johnny yelled as he pushed open the front door.

"That's great," his mother said. "Are there any children?"

"There are three little boys, and they are all about my age," Johnny said happily.

"How do you know," his mother asked.

"Their mom called them something like triplets. I hope they are not sick. The one named Greg said he was eight years old. I don't know how old the other boys are," said Johnny proudly.

Author Notes words 80

VMarguarite thank you for permission to use your picture.


Chapter 4
Is This For Real?

By Barb Hensongispsaca

As a mother of twins, I had humorous thoughts of my sons deciding to have a double wedding. They were each others best friend. Being identical, they could change clothes in the restroom at their school and emerge the other being. Then they would go to class and take the test in the subject that they excelled in, therefore, both passed with flying colors.

I thought a double wedding would be absolutely wonderful, because it would have people always wondering if the brides married the right one. See the humor? Well, they did not either. They did stand up as best man for each other, so I guess that was as close as I could get.

When Jim, my youngest twin, broke the news that he and his girlfriend were going to wed, everyone was very happy, Especially her mother. Now Jenny was a wonderful girl, but ... I am going to sound like the mother-in-law ... she was her mother's daughter. Jenny was very happy when she had everything she ever wanted and everything was going the way she wanted. Her mother was worse. She followed the strict rules of a wedding planner and made sure everyone knew their place and what they were supposed to do to contribute to the wedding.

Jim and Jenny just wanted to get married. Period. But her mother ruled the plans and Jim and Jenny were along for the ride. Her mom picked out the flowers, the church, the reception hall, the food, the colors, and anything else that went with the wedding. She also picked out the bridesmaid's dresses, which were rather bouffant - I believe is the right word. The wedding colors were burgundy and hunter green. The bridesmaids looked like flowering plants in their hunter green, bouffant style dresses. My youngest daughter was ten years old and since she was the junior bridesmaid, she wore a burgundy bouffant. I wish I had a picture to share with you of the bride in the middle -dressed in white, a burgundy 'flower' seated in front of her, and surrounded by hunter green 'plants'. Honestly, that is the way it looked.

The morning of the wedding, the whole groom's entourage went out for a last drink to celebrate the last day of freedom. One led to two and two to three. They arrived at the church a half hour late which set the mood of what was to follow.

Jenny's Mother voiced her displeasure rather loudly and reprimanded Jim for being lax in his duties. Jim, who is usually ready to voice back, held his tongue - and his patience. The wedding came off without a hitch and the wedding party left in the limousine.

Let's skip to the receptions hall, which was the American Legion. Jenny's Mother did not approve of drinking, so the hall was divided between drinkers and non-drinkers. The upstairs was for those that wanted to drink and the downstairs was for the food and festivities. Do you see the potential problem?

When the limousine landed with its party, the first place Jim and his group went was upstairs for a drink. This left the ladies downstairs as they sat at the tables waiting. W-E-L-L, Jenny's Mom was not going to have this. She marched upstairs and told Jim he had better get downstairs for pictures and food. Again, my usually mouthy son kept his cool but I could tell the breaking point was reaching its countdown.

Pictures finished, food eaten, more pictures which led to the start of the festivities. Jim and Jenny had their dance, followed by the parents dance, and the rather lengthy dollar dance. Jim wanted a beer when it was over, but as he started upstairs, Jenny's Mom stopped him and told him he had to wait because they wanted more pictures.

The breaking point was reached.

Jim took the dollars from the dance and threw them at Jenny's Mom and told her that since she paid for the wedding, she could have it. At this point, he marched out of the reception hall. My house was three blocks away and he, in his tux, marched home with a drink in his hand. Jenny ran after him in her wedding gown, screaming at him that if that was the way he was going to be, she wanted a divorce.

Now, remember they just got married. I so wish I had taken a video of that, I know I would have won the prize for 'America's Funniest Video'. Anyway, back to the story.

The kids reached the house right before I did. I saw Jenny's Mom pull up in her car, yelling at the kids to get back to the reception. As soon as the kids got in the house, I stood guard at the door like a soldier guarding Fort Knox. Jenny's Mom told me to step aside, but I smiled sweetly and told her she could not go in. The kids needed to work it out without our help.

After a lot of really nasty words, her Mom left to go back to the reception to try to pull it back together. I waited awhile to go inside my own house, and when I did, I found that the kids had worked things out. I knew they would.

I did not go back to the reception, and neither did the kids. Jenny's Mom did not talk to me for awhile, but that was fine with me. This did not stop her trying to rule their lives, but that was their problem. This was a wedding never to be forgotten by the people in the little town we lived in.



Author Notes beppe47 thank you for permission to use your picture.

971 words


Chapter 5
The Burning Bed

By Barb Hensongispsaca

I debated how to write this and even where to start, but I decided to give you a little background to begin with. I married young as a way to get out of a household with three women. I will admit, I never truly was in love, because I was too young to know what love really involved. When I went with my future husband to get our marriage certificate, he was already drunk at 2:30 in the afternoon, but, like most women, girls, I thought he would change for me. I was very wrong.

As the years passed, things just went from bad to worse. The great thing about my marriage was the three wonderful kids that I was blessed with. They were the light of my life and the reason I kept walking through the bowels of hell.

My husband kept drinking more and more as the years wore on. As I look back on it, I do believe he felt trapped, just as I did. Back in the 60's and 70's, you just got married and kept problems behind closed doors. If you fought, you got over it and moved on to the next day of fighting. There were no shelters, no counselors, no divorces, no hassles. You kept black eyes behind huge sunglasses.

The marriage started out rough and only escalated to a walk through hell. My husband would get drunk every night after work, and then everything would irritate him. He started with yelling, which changed to slapping, then that changed to hitting. I began to fear for my life.

There was one night that I was pushed to my limits and knew one day he would kill me. I was afraid to fight back, a mouse that kept returning to the trap for more cheese knowing that someday it would spring closed on my neck.

I had put my kids to bed and waited for the abuse I knew would start. He had had a bad day at work and was in a very foul mood. I tried to always keep the kids out of his way and knew this night was going to be particularly evil.

I walked out of the kids' bedrooms and landed on the floor without ever seeing the hand that put me there. Shaking off the pain, I looked up into the eyes of pure evil. The hatred that radiated from them paralyzed me. But the worst thing I saw was what was behind him. My three children were aroused from their beds and stood there watching and listening. Without him noticing, I motioned for them to go back to their rooms.

After the next slap, I looked up to notice they were not standing there and I praised God. I knew I could endure whatever he dished out, but I also knew this would be the last time. When he was done doing all the damage he could do, he walked back to the bedroom and passed out on the bed.

What I am about to tell you, I am not proud of, but you have to realize that I saw no way out of this situation. I hope you don't think less of me, but please realize that there are others out there still that are pushed to their limits and feel there is no way out. Just have an open mind and walk in my shoes.

I waited until I knew he was sound asleep. I went into the bedroom with a lighter, a cigarette, an ash tray and a determined mind. On the corner of the bed, I placed the ash tray. After lighting the cigarette, I laid it in the ashtray, but slanted so that the end was resting on the sheets. As the cigarette burned down, it would fall onto the bed and start burning the sheets. I hoped it would look as though he fell asleep smoking and caught the bed on fire.

I also hoped I had it timed right because I went into the kids' rooms, woke them and left our home. After loading my sleepy kids into the car, I started to wonder if anyone would figure it out. If so, I would be arrested and lose my kids to this monster - if he survived. With a heavy heart, I hurried back in and put out the fire that had started. I returned my kids to their rooms, got them to sleep, then decided what to do.

After I went back to the bedroom, I stripped off the burnt sheets to throw them in the corner. He never woke up, even when I pulled them out from under him. I sat against the opposite wall and spent the rest of the night just watching him sleep. I did not know what would happen when I confronted him in the morning, but this was going to end one way or another.

It was a long night that was full of a lot of soul searching, prayers and regrets. Finally, he stirred and I knew this would be my last stand. He looked at me, confused, until he saw the burned area in the mattress. I think he thought I saved his life, but I could not back down this time. I showed him the sheets and told him exactly what happened. I said I would do it again if I had to, but that I would not back down next time.

I expected the wrath from hell, but, without saying a word, he grabbed a few garbage bags and moved out. For the longest time I watched my back and I'm glad I did, but that is a story for another time.

I survived my time in hell, but there are both men and women out there that are going through their own horrors. Granted, there are now places that the abused can go for help and shelter, but there are some who live in too much fear to seek a new life. They are at risk.

If you get a chance to watch the movie "The Burning Bed" with Farrah Fawcett, it is a true story and one that I can relate to. Please read the author's notes for an explanation.


Author Notes booklotto thank you for permission to use your picture.

1065 words

This was a hard piece to write even though it has been many years. I know I am not alone in the experiences of my life and I hope to reach anyone who needs to know they are not alone.

The Burning Bed is both a 1980 non-fiction book by Faith McNulty about battered housewife Francine Hughes, and a 1984 TV-movie adaptation written by Rose Leiman Goldemberg. The plot follows Hughes' trial for the murder of her husband, James Berlin "Mickey" Hughes, following her setting fire to the bed he was sleeping in at their Dansville, Michigan home on March 9, 1977, and thirteen years of physical domestic abuse at his hands.


Chapter 6
The Ghost Hunter

By Barb Hensongispsaca

Let me introduce you to my ghost hunter. Squeak is one of my rescue cats and I do believe a little background history is important for you to understand her mentality.

Her original name was Ginger. When I rescued her, she weighed almost 30 pounds. The kids in her original home tortured her all the time. She would eat quickly, then seek refuge wherever she could that would give her security from those she feared.

When she came to live with me, she had just finished fighting for her life at the end of a curtain cord that had been around her neck. The kids laughed as she tried to 'dance' at the end of a 'rope'. This act fractured her vocal cords and thus, all she could do was 'squeak', so we changed her name.

When she was brought to my home, the first place she headed was under the bed where she stayed for almost a month. That is where she ate, where she drank, where her litter box was put and it was her haven of safety. Every day I would go under the bed a couple of times and just lay and talk to her. It was a joy when she started coming out, and even better when she joined me on the couch for the first time.

She became ghost hunter. She lost so much weight while she stayed under the bed, that she became trim and active. She would be lying next to me and all of a sudden, she would launch off the edge of the couch into the air and shoot through the house. After skidding across the kitchen floor, over the table, to the bedroom, under the bed, hitting the dresser, back over the bed, around the television, she would leap onto the couch next to me ... and lay down to nap.

Sometimes she would wake up long enough to look at the ceiling and utter a low guttural growl, or she would launch her body straight up into the air, only to settle back down and proceed to lick her paws as if nothing had happened.

One time, she ran up the back of my recliner only to perch herself at the very top. She seemed to hover there for a minute, then she started scratching at ... nothing, but I swear it looked like she caught something which she proceeded to 'eat'. Licking her lips, she proudly got down from the top of the recliner, sauntered over to me, only to lay down at my feet and fall asleep.

She was my guardian all her life and kept me safe from the ghosts that invaded our home every once in awhile.

Author Notes Picture is my ghost hunter.


Chapter 7
Did I Hear Her?

By Barb Hensongispsaca

On August 14, 2003, a lot of people that lived on the Eastern coast of the United States and Canada probably thought the end of the world had finally happened. Rumors spread about terrorist activity. Truth of the matter, tree limbs on power lines shut down an area which led to a chain of events that produced mass electric outages, some of which lasted days until the problem could be corrected.

At the time, I lived in Canada, having moved there from Ohio after part of my family was killed in a car/train accident. I lived eighteen hours from my family and only got to see them twice a year. My mother suffered from uncontrollable sepsis after a fall that fractured her pelvis. Her health was on a downhill spiral and my husband and I were traveling to Ohio to see her.

When my mother fell, she was allowed to go home on hospice, only if someone was there with her. My oldest daughter moved in so my mother could die at home. I told my mother that I would be there with her, and that was a promise I was trying to keep. We started out at noon and were into five hours of our eighteen hour drive when we noticed empty store lots that should have been full at that time of day. Traffic was declining during what should have been rush hour. We pulled over to get gas and were told that there was no power to pump the gas due to a major power outage. We had to find a station that had a back up generator to be able to gas the car for the rest of the trip.

Luckily in Canada, people are used to small outages every so often, so they are prepared to use a back up when needed. About a half hour later, we found a little, out-of-the-way station and got a full tank of gas and continued on our way. As night approached, it was strange to see total darkness. Except for the power generated houses and passing car headlights, there was absolutely no light.

Around 10:30 pm, I began to have an uneasy feeling that something was not as it should be. My cell phone was not working, so I begged my husband to find a pay phone somewhere so that I could call my daughter. We were about half way to our destination and the prospects of finding a pay phone in the dark were overwhelming, but a higher power had control of our lives that night. The first exit we tried, there was a pay phone on the side of a gas station that was closed. Our headlights illuminated it as we turned into the lot.

My husband parked the car with the headlights shining directly on the phone. I made the call and my daughter answered on the third ring.

"How is Grandma?" I asked as soon as she answered.

"She is fine, I just checked on her about ten minutes ago," she told me.

"Please, go check on her for me," I begged.

She laughed at me and warned me about being so paranoid, then she wanted to tell me about the huge blackout that, luckily, had not hit mid-Ohio.

The feeling of unease came back and I told her she had to go check on her grandmother. She talked to me as she went into my mom's bedroom.

"Grandma, are you okay?" I heard her say quietly.

She must have been bending down to talk softly into her ear because I heard a soft intake of air that was followed by a whisper of my mother breathing out. It was not to be repeated.

"Mom, I think Grandma is gone," my daughter said. "I have to call hospice right now." Then she hung up.

I realized I was holding the phone listening to ... nothing. My husband could tell by my expression that something was wrong and he instantly came to my side. The tears came. I'm not sure if it was because I realized she was gone, if I knew I did not make it, or if I knew she was not in pain anymore. All I knew was that, somehow, I was there if even by phone, to hear her take her last breath.

In the years following, I was consoled by the thought that Mom made sure she said goodbye in that last soft breath, which to me, held everything she wanted to say.

Author Notes GreatDogPhotos thank you for permission to use your picture.

A major outage knocked out power across the eastern United States and parts of Canada on August 14, 2003. Beginning at 4:10 p.m. ET, 21 power plants shut down in just three minutes. Fifty million people were affected, including residents of New York, Cleveland and Detroit, as well as Toronto and Ottawa, Canada. Although power companies were able to resume some service in as little as two hours, power remained off in other places for more than a day. The outage stopped trains and elevators, and disrupted everything from cellular telephone service to operations at hospitals to traffic at airports. In New York City, it took more than two hours for passengers to be evacuated from stalled subway trains. Small business owners were affected when they lost expensive refrigerated stock. The loss of use of electric water pumps interrupted water service in many areas. There were even some reports of people being stranded mid-ride on amusement park roller coasters. An investigation by a joint U.S.-Canada task force traced the problem back to an Ohio company, FirstEnergy Corporation. When the company's EastLake plant shut down unexpectedly after overgrown trees came into contact with a power line, it triggered a series of problems that led to a chain reaction of outages.


Chapter 8
He Took His Job Seriously

By Barb Hensongispsaca

My home street in Canada had its wide collection of feral cats. Attitudes varied and many times there were disagreements that broke out between warring parties. Little squabbles were usually broken up by the loud banging of a door, followed by a loud and obnoxious human voice. More serious territorial battles were solved by the use of a garden hose or a paint gun. This was Jackson's territory.

Jackson was a strapping security guard - er- cat, that held the title with compassion and vigilance. As he prowled the neighborhood, he issued warnings to the rowdy and offered condolences to the not so fortunate. Jackson was a mountain of a cat, as cat sizes go, and he was loved by everyone fortunate enough to live within his boundaries.

One summer day, a family of four moved in next door to where I lived. Jackson took a shine to the two little girls and they returned the love. Eventually, Jackson moved into the house but still remained the guard of the neighborhood.

Anyone that trespassed Jackson's territory had to undergo the normal inspection to be sure that everything passed his trained eyes. Therefore, any working crews on the street were nicely asked if they would please check their trailers and work trucks for any unwanted passenger before they closed for the night.

As I was packing my car for a visit to my family in the states, Jackson made his usual inspection of my luggage arranging skills and the outside of the vehicle for any smells that should not have been there. Satisfied, he proceeded to walk to his porch where, with passive interest, he watched me finish loading the car.

After gassing the car, I headed toward the border on my usual five hour trip. I put an audio tape in the player. The one I chose was "Relic" by Preston/Child. About an hour into my trip, as the drum sounds on the tape increased to announce the approaching horror of an evil deity, a black flash from the bowels of hell launched itself over the back of the passenger seat. It came to rest on the seat beside me, where it sat there, looked at me, and ... meowed.

After finding my nerves again, I laughed as I looked for an exit to turn around and take my unscheduled passenger back home. My five hour trip just added two more hours; but I was glad Jackson did not wait until I reached the border to announce he was ready for something to eat. The border guards really don't have a great sense of humor.

Author Notes 448 words
I don't have a picture of Jackson, but this is as close as I could get.
Susan F. M. T. Thank you for permission to use your picture.


Chapter 9
Had His Luck Changed?

By Barb Hensongispsaca

It was a stroke of luck when Joseph followed the rainbow's sight to the end and realized he could see where it touched the ground. He was sure his luck had changed as he drove closer and closer to the start of his dreams.

Plans of wild spending that pot of gold ran through his mind as he rounded the corner only to find a leprechaun painting flat, round stones with bright gold colored paint.

Author Notes 75 words

VMarguarite thank you for permission to use your picture.


Chapter 10
Narcissism Pushed Too Far

By Barb Hensongispsaca

Jennifer began to think she was going crazy. Her marriage was dissolving right before her eyes, even though she tried everything to make things right. She couldn't understand why she could not make him happy like before.

"What's wrong with you?" John would always yell. "You used to be so smart! Just listen to how you talk to me!"

Tired of the mental abuse, Jennifer faced her narcissistic husband.

"John, I'm a human being! I'm tired of being your mental punching bag."

He grinned, waiting for her tears, thinking he had control. He watched as she slowly raised the gun.


Author Notes 100 words

Anne thank you for permission to use your picture.

This was a place I lived in once.


Chapter 11
The Watcher

By Barb Hensongispsaca

Everyone has one of those. What? One of those.

My "one of those" is named Cali, for obvious reasons. She is a pure calico cat with the shortest legs I have ever seen on a full grown cat. She also has a tail that acts like a tail on a monkey. She uses it when she wants more scratches by wrapping it around my arm and pulling it to her.

From the day she discovered the screen on the television, she has been a devout watcher. She prefers watching animals, or in the case of the picture shown sideways above, she loves watching anything that moves. She desires the seat reserved for the VIP which is right next to the screen. In choosing that seating arrangement, she blocks the view of anyone who wants to watch.

This is really not a problem because, you see, Cali was a commentator in a previous life. She will continuously monitor the television and relay any pertinent information. Continuously. She meows through the news, mews through the movies, hisses through any series, churtles through documentaries, and cuddles the television screen during cartoons.

But like any human, she goes to get a drink or a morsel of food, and uses the litter box during the commercials. As soon as the break is over, she is back on her VIP perch and commentating for our behalf. Sometimes she will look around to be sure we are watching, and raise her volume to be sure we don't miss anything important.

Author Notes If you are hard of hearing, Cali would be glad to come help you with your television issues.

This is my submission to the club challenge to write something funny about your pet.


Chapter 12
Felt Like Fire

By Barb Hensongispsaca

This is not John's picture, but it is what he expected to see after he had his virus testing so he could have his back surgery for pain.

He expected a quick stop and swab test, then home to wait for results.

John drove up to the entrance to the hospital, where the nurse came out in full turnout gear, as if ready to do battle, swab in hand. She said 'lean your head back' and 'this will not feel very good', which he took as uncomfortable. Right?

The next ten seconds brought his whole life into view as his body froze in pain. That swab went to the back of his nose and then straight up into his sinus, did a little dance with nail studded shoes, then exited amid tears flowing down his face.

She said, "We have a good sample, that made some good tears!"

NO FAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Author Notes Has to be fiction, right? Voluntary pain just does not happen.

150 words


Chapter 13
The Four Chaplains

By Barb Hensongispsaca

John 15:13
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."


A stamp to honor the self-sacrifice of four lives during an horrific time of World War II, gives the world a chance to remember what four brave men of God did for their fellow men.

Now that I have your attention, let me go back in time to give you a little history about these four men of God, and the days that led up to the part they played where they gave up all they had left.

Lets start with the oldest of the four: George L. Fox was born March 15, 1900 in Lewistown, Pennsylvania. After lying about his age, he joined the Army at seventeen to serve in the ambulance corps in World War I. He was a medical assistant and highly decorated for bravery. Upon his discharge, he began his career as a preacher in the Methodist faith. In 1942, he joined the Army as a volunteer chaplain. He was the only one to serve in two world wars.

John P. Washington was born July 18, 1908 in Newark, New Jersey into a poor immigrant family. He loved music and singing. After college, he served as a deacon in the Catholic faith until he was ordained a priest on June 15, 1935. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, which started the appearance of the United States into the war, he received his appointment as chaplain in the United States Army.

Clark V. Poling was born August 7, 1910 in Columbus, Ohio. He was the son of an evangelical minister and felt the call of God early in his life. He was ordained in 1936 and served as Pastor of the First Reformed Church in New York. When World War II broke out, he entered the Army to serve as chaplain.

The youngest of the four, Alexander D. Goode, was born in Brooklyn, New York on May 10, 1911. He followed in his father's footsteps by studying for the rabbinate at Hebrew Union College. He originally applied to the Navy but was not accepted. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he applied to the Army and received his appointment as Army chaplain and went on to active duty.

These four men of God attended Army Chaplains School at Harvard and were later reunited at Camp Myles Standish in Taunton, Mass. where they prepared to depart for Europe on the Army transport vessel SS Dorchester.

The SS Dorchester was a civilian liner converted for military service as a troop transport. She was designed to carry 400 passengers, but she could carry over 900 count. Aware of submarine activity in the area, the men were ordered to keep their life jackets on at all times. The order was ignored due to the intense heat and the discomfort when trying to sleep. In the early morning hours of January 23, 1943, Dorchester was torpedoed in the North Atlantic by the German submarine U-223.

The torpedo knocked out the electrical system leaving the men in the dark and trapped below decks. Panic ensued resulting in ensured deaths as men scrambled to reach topside - vests forgotten, left on bunks or trampled on the floor. The chaplains tried to calm the men as they handed out life jackets from a supply chest, to everyone that needed one. As the supply ran out, the chaplains took off theirs and handed them to the young men. After helping everyone they could to the lifeboats, the chaplains linked arms, and while saying prayers and singing hymns, they went down with the ship. Of the 902 on board, the escort ships were able to rescue only 230. The four chaplains were never seen again.

February 3 was designated Four Chaplains Day by Congress in 1948 to honor the selfless act of these four men of God. All from different faiths, they were brought together in a time of trial and despair to bring peace to many.





Author Notes 690 words
Picture is from Wikepedia.
A story of sacrifice and faith beyond reason.

"It was the finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven" (John Ladd, survivor)

"As I swam away from the ship, I looked back. The flares had lighted everything. The bow came up high and she slid under. The last thing I saw, the Four Chaplains were up there praying for the safety of the men. They had done everything they could. I did not see them again. They themselves did not have a chance without their life jackets." (Grady Clark, survivor)


Chapter 14
The Touchdown Run

By Barb Hensongispsaca

Jim, my youngest twin, always had a total fascination for basset hounds. He thought they were the cutest little puppies, so fat and awkward. When he had a chance to adopt one, he totally jumped at the opportunity without asking the manager of the place where he lived if it was okay - ME.

Jim was still in school, everyone else was gone through the day, so there was no one there to let her in and out as needed. Lucky for him, she was house trained. Unlucky for me, Jim was like most other young pet owners who gave her love, but the survival necessities had to be furnished by someone else - ME.

Lady, Lady Jacqueline Basset (play on words), had to be the dumbest dog ever born. She even had that 'duh' look all the time. She was conservative when she ate, but when she drank water, she lapped it up over and over for going on ten minutes at a time. During each drinking episode, her long ears would drag in the water, absorbing moisture like a sponge. I would have to yell her name to get her to stop drinking. Then her ears would drip all the way to the door where she would proceed to shake them off, throwing water all over the kitchen, as I frantically ran to get the door open. Everyone else thought this was funny, but the housekeeper very seldom laughed - ME.

Lady was a runner. She must have loved the feel of the wind in her ears. One day, she managed to squeeze through the gate and disappear. My son was frantic. The whole family was involved in a total town search. Jim went to check out the football field that was behind our house. After going door to door, asking everyone if they had seen his dog, he saw the yards keeper working on the field. I arrived just as Jim finished describing his dog. The yards keeper chuckled and pointed to something behind us.

"Is that your dog?" he asked as we all looked around.

There was Lady, running the length of the football field. Her ears were flying behind her head as she raced along, her four legs cleared the ground all at the same time, her jowls flowed like airplane wings and she looked like she was smiling.



Author Notes 406 words
Neilnap773 thank you for permission to use your picture.



Chapter 15
I Must Hang On

By Barb Hensongispsaca

"I must hang on! I have to get across this wire to safety. Death waits for me far below, so I have to keep my eyes straight ahead and I dare not stop. If I slip, it will surely be all over," the squirrel thought as he walked the wire.

Author Notes 50 words

supergold thank you for permission to use your picture.


Chapter 16
They Called Him Twenty

By Barb Hensongispsaca

You could always see him with his dog, but never at the same place two weeks in a row. He would be sitting a few yards away from an ATM machine, usually drinking a cup of coffee from a McDonald's cup, probably bought by someone who had just left the drive thru down the street.

John, that's what I called him, was always polite and grateful whenever anyone stopped to talk to him. By his mannerisms, you would think he was born of royalty. He was the kind of person who could talk to the man in a suit in one instance and turn to talk to the teenage rapper in the next. He could relate stories because he was one that had 'been there, done that', even though I don't think John had ever been past the city limits except for once in his life.

John would come early to his chosen spot for the day from somewhere deep in the city's unspeakable area of the lost. No one knew where he stayed at night, but, no one really asked - not that John would ever say. He would have all his possessions around him as he set up shop, so to speak. His aged and battered bicycle pulled a small wooden wagon which held secrets hidden by a patched tarp.

John would spread out his blanket, worn with age, where he and his dog would sit and wait to talk to anyone that would pass by. Now, who could resist a dog. Even if people did not want to converse with the man, they always petted and made over the dog - which, in turn, led them to the man. Even though John was dirty, his dog was well kempt. John would sit for the long hours, brushing Henry, the dog, while people would stop to ask questions. At this point, people were hooked, and John and Henry became part of their lives.

People would look forward to talking to the ever-entertaining John and petting his huge, loveable, wide-eyed, furry mutt. Some would bring him a sandwich and a coffee, some would bring him a few groceries. Everyone brought Henry a bone or a bag of dog food at some point in the day.

This is how John lived. John, a medal of honor recipient, reduced to surviving on his stories to others, became affectionately known to everyone that had the honor of being his friend, as Twenty. Can you guess?

John always planned his day around an ATM machine. What do ATM machines give out? Now you understand ... twenties. So when people leave the machine, usually all they have is what they get from the machine ... twenties. After talking to John, and being romanced by Henry, it is nothing for them to leave a twenty in his hat. But, after you meet John and Henry, you will understand that it is always worth it. Oh, excuse me, I meant Twenty and Henry.

Author Notes cleo85 thank you for permission to use your picture.

500 words.

Fiction. Or is it?


Chapter 17
Hi Mommy!

By Barb Hensongispsaca

Hi, Mommy!

I love you, too. When you and Daddy gonna come home?

How long is that?

OK. I miss you.

Gamma's not here.

She's outside with some men. She said I get to sleep at her house tonight. We all get to sleep there. Won't that be fun?

I don't know, but they came in a big red truck that made a screaming noise.

Gamma said they were tiremen.

Yeah! That's it. Firemen!

Mommy, can I ride in the truck? They said I could.

Ok.
Gamma!! Its Mommy!!

She waved at me.

I can't, she told me to stay in the house.

I don't know, Mommy.
Can I go take a nap in your bed?

I can't, I don't have a bed anymore. It's outside.

The tiremen put it there, now they are looking for the dog.

I know we don't, but can we keep it when they find it?

It came in the house to play with Jonsey. Boy, can she run!

I let it in. Mommy, you're silly.

Gamma!! Mommy says it's a 'mergency!!!















Gamma
Heew
fireman

Author Notes Cleo85 thank you for permission to use your picture.


Chapter 18
The End of Its Journey

By Barb Hensongispsaca

"Give me twenty! Give me twenty! I have fifteen, someone give me twenty!"

I listened as the words kept ringing over and over. The auctioneer was literally begging people to reconsider the piece up for bid. All the previous pieces were newer, shiner, and they brought the best prices. This piece was different.

It was old, I could tell. It had some history behind it, even though I would probably never know what it was. Yet, I was drawn to it, like a mist over the ocean. An unknown piece made for an unknown reason to be owned by an unknown recipient. Was that to be me?

I began to study the piece a little more. I noticed it was deeply scarred with gouges that could never be covered up. Ugly scars, ruining its beautifully aged texture, brought the price way down to where I could afford it. Twenty? I could afford that. It would just be destroyed if no one wanted it.

The legs were bent and misshapen, one was even broken. I could tell by the way it leaned to one side. There were pieces missing, quite obvious, but then again, that is the best part of its unknown history.

I know where it came from, it was bought overseas and shipped here to be sold to the highest bidder. The packaging must have failed because the damage done to this wonderful piece of art is disgusting. Functional once, I'm not sure what I can use it for now, but something tells me to just go ahead and get it.

"Twenty!"

"Sold to the woman with the white hat. Thank you, Madam. You can pick up your merchandise at the gate. Have your money ready."

Well, it's mine. I watch as men pull it off the bidding stage. Not too gentle, I noticed. But then, it is not their merchandise anymore. I just came to watch, I never thought I'd actually buy anything. I never owned a slave before, but I think this one has a story to tell.




Author Notes MoonWillow thank you for permission to use your picture.

355 words


Chapter 19
The Blackout

By Barb Hensongispsaca

"Oh, my head," Tim moaned as he awoke to find himself lying naked on a straw mat inside a glass room.

The last thing he remembered was being surrounded by a blue light, then ... nothing.

Looking around, he noticed other unconnected, unoccupied glass rooms like his, that filled a large sized building.

His eyes focused on what looked like a sign with strange markings. He looked down until he centered on the last line. It read: 'Don't Feed The Animals'.

Author Notes 80 words
avmurray thank you for permission to use your picture.


Chapter 20
The Help

By Barb Hensongispsaca

"Hey, let's cut through here," Jenny said as she pointed to the cemetery gates. "It's a great short cut."

"Oh, no, we can't," whined Sally. "I promised Mommy I would never go in there without her."

"We'll be alright, Phyllis is with us and she's almost ten," Jenny said in defence, her hands on her hips.

Phyllis was the older of the three friends, but only by a few months. Sally, Jenny's sister, was the youngest at seven. The three were neighbors and best friends who did everything together. Tonight, they were walking back home from the store, where they had gone to get a few things for Phyllis's mom.

The three friends stood at the cemetery entrance which was located about halfway home. With the acres of trees, the open gates offered a solace from the heat along with a reduction of about ten minutes. More than that if they ran. But it was getting dark, creating shadows that resembled demons to the imagination.

The girls stood looking at the rows and rows of different shapes, representing so may lives that lived. As soon as Phyllis led the troop through the gates, Sally stopped.

"Wait!" Sally pleaded, "I don't wanna." Her face was all scrunched up and her sister knew she was going to start crying.

"Don't you dare!" yelled Jenny, though she did so in a whisper. She grabbed her little sister's hand to pull her along.

"But the people living here are dead!" explained Sally.

"Come on," coaxed Phyllis, "it will be alright."

Sally tried so hard to be brave, but when she saw something black move within the shadows, she changed her mind. She started to panic as she tasted blood and realized she had bitten her lip. She pulled back on Jenny's hand ... hard.

"No, no! We have to leave here. Jenny, I'm scared. There's something over there," Sally said in a frightened whisper as she pointed towards the shadows on their right.

The two girls followed her gaze and, as they watched, a female figure dressed in black appeared out of the shadows and walked toward them. To Sally, it seemed the woman was gliding on air. She was dressed in funny looking black clothes that were long and flowing. She wore a smile and her face seemed to glow in the light of the setting sun.

"What are you children doing here? It's too late for you to be here," the lady in black warned the children as she approached.

"Please," begged Sally. "Will you walk with us? I'm so scared."

"What are you afraid of, my dear?" the lady asked as she kneeled down to Sally. He voice was soothing and quiet.

All at once, the three girls heard what sounded like growling coming from the bushes. Sally started to cry.

"Now, now, calm your fears. It's only a little scared dog, just as scared as you," the lady told Sally. "Let's get going, I'll walk you to the other side."

The girls gathered around her as she headed toward the opposite gate. It was getting darker and the shadows seemed to be closing in. Strange red floating orbs seemed to follow them, blinking off and on like eyes. Sally buried her face in the woman's cloak as she felt Jenny guide her on.

During their walk that Sally thought was taking longer than it should, the girls could hear strange sounds all around them. There was bumping and scratching and scraping that made the little hairs on the back of their necks stand at attention . The darkness seemed to close in so quickly as it surrounded the little group. All the while, the girls could hear the lady in black hum very quietly, they had to really listen to be able to hear her. That kept their minds off the unholy forces they imagined surrounding them.

"Here we are, my darlings. You are safe and sound. Just like I said. I know what it's like to be so afraid," the woman said as she knelt to wipe Sally's tears with her cloak. "I was always afraid. But that was before I died."

Author Notes 689 words

MoonWillow thank you for permission to use your picture.


Chapter 21
Cat Eyes

By Barb Hensongispsaca

Those of you that have the distinct pleasure of being a pet to a cat, will appreciate the story I am dying to tell you. I have been a pet to numerous felines in my years, and I am here to tell you they are professional hypnotists.

As you know, humans are slaves to cats. This has been going on for centuries and we allow it to happen. Why? Because of the power cats have over us. It's the eyes.

Those haunting eyes, that can tell how they are feeling and what they are thinking, can delve into our very soul. I have a prime example. Let me introduce you to Smokie.

Smokie is a grey Satin who rules my life with the blink of his eyes. I am not sure how old he is, but I figure around eight years old. He was abandoned and left to die in an apartment by his loving owner who took her chihuahua but left her cat. He lived two weeks on what food was left and water from the toilet. Then, this gentle, loving cat picked me to own.

Smokie has inherited the power handed down from the Egyptian cat gods. He can look at me with those hypnotic eyes and I bend to his wishes. When his eyes are open, I know he is satisfied with the way I am handling his affairs and life is good. If his eyes are wide, wide open, then lightning and thunder has hit somewhere in his world and I had better be available to sooth the terrors away. This usually means sitting on the couch with him curled around my legs, 'protecting' me.

When his eyes have that lazy, laid back look it usually means one of two things. Either it is time for his royal meal, served at room temperature, on his climbing platform, in his special dish, or it is nap time and his total body massage is requested. The flick of his tail usually helps distinguish between the two. It helps to be able to read the body language to match the eyes.

The hardest job is when his eyes become slits. If the ends curve up, you are safe. It just means you have walked into his domain, a stranger, unannounced, and he is checking you out to see if you will respond to his 'I might attack you' mode. Again, this is where you have to check the tail. If it is touching the floor, he is just trying to scare you. But if it is swishing, like a whip, he means business and you better retrace your steps and close the door behind you - begging forgiveness from his highness as you go.

Never try to stare down a cat. They don't blink, they don't move, they become statues as their eyes bore holes through yours to your brain. What you don't realize is - this is the time you are most vulnerable. They put hypnotic suggestions into your mind. When they look away, it is not because you won. Oh, no, dear friend. It is because they are done implanting messages into your brain.

Why does a cat always seem satisfied and snobbish? Because he's in control ... and we don't even realize what is happening.

Author Notes cleo85 thank you for permission to use your picture.
This is my contribution to the club. If you want to add your piece, find the club under the social heading.

words 560


Chapter 22
They Still Came

By Barb Hensongispsaca

It was to be a celebration they would miss. My youngest daughter, Connie, was junior bridesmaid in each of her brothers' weddings. They were killed a few years before she wed and our thoughts were with them as we planned her reception.

A disposable camera was placed at every table for guests to catch as many pictures as they could. When we had the films developed, in every picture of the dance floor and no others, there was a mist that hung over the heads of the dancers. It was not smoke.

My sons were there ... they were having fun.

Author Notes 100 words
This is a true story, I tried to find the picture but alas, you know how that goes.
This is a picture of Jim and John a few years before they were killed.




Chapter 23
The Lump On My Car

By Barb Hensongispsaca

One of my jobs that I truly loved to do was being an insurance examiner. When people took out life insurance, depending on the amount, I would be sent to finalize the policy by completing an exam on the applicants.

The exams consisted of getting weight, height, pulse and blood pressure for base line readings. Sometimes I would have to do an EKG with my portable machine, and draw a few vials of blood to be sent for testing.

This was one job I was fond of. I enjoyed driving, seeing new places and meeting new people. Some of the experiences were on the crazy side. This was one of those times.

I was sent to a farm to complete exams on a very nice couple. They said they had no children but were blessed with a lot of babies. I went about completing the exams and talking with them as I did.

I fully expected to hear a dog, or a few dogs, barking. If not dogs, I then expected a furry cat rubbing against my leg. No cat, no dog, no rabbit, no hamster, no bird did I run up against. Still, the couple would mention their 'babies'.

I arrived just before sunset, so after the two hour exam, it was way after dark when I carried my equipment to the car. As I approached where my car was parked, I noticed my car had grown a hump. Honestly, there was a lump on the roof of my car.

Confused, I stopped in my tracks. I couldn't take another step forward. It was dark, so the shadows seemed to play tricks on me. I felt things move around me.

"Don't be alarmed," said a voice behind me. "The babies won't hurt you. They just want the heat from your car."

This didn't make me feel any better, but I started toward the car. Suddenly, the lump from the top of my car moved and shot straight up it seemed. Along with it, the shadows around me made a screech as one, then flew into the air.

Rooted in my tracks, I watched the dark as I began to feel something soft land on my face and hair. I realized they were feathers. The couple raised peacocks.

Author Notes 392 words

eileen0204 thank you for permission to use your picture.


Chapter 24
Follow Up For Requested Prayers

By Barb Hensongispsaca

I POSTED THIS YESTERDAY FOR PRAYER REQUESTS
**************************************************

This is going to be an off-the-wall writing and no reviews requested, only prayers.

My mind is going to places I don't want it to go but the prayers are not for me.

A few days ago, there was a head on crash on Route 30 in Ohio. It took lives and is still taking lives. A 21 year old was killed when she lost control of her car. It crossed the median only to wind up going the wrong way on a four-lane highway.

She stopped when she hit another car head-on. In that car were four kids that graduated with my granddaughter. The driver, a girl, was killed instantly along with the other driver. A boy is in critical condition. The other two, twin girls, are not expected to make it.

This brought back harsh memories that are surfacing with a vengeance. I ask for prayers for for these kids who are fighting for their lives. I ask for prayers for the families of the ones who died wondering 'why'. I ask for prayers for the parents of the ones left who are also asking 'why'. I ask for prayers for the classmates who are stricken with a reality of the fragility of life. They graduated with my granddaughter (the daughter of one of my twins who was killed in 2001). I ask for prayers for the ones who saw the accident and the ones that were sent to help.

I remember twenty years ago when the reality of life caught me, the phone call, the emotions. This family is waiting, wondering, hoping, praying, when mine was a total instant finality. I ask myself which was better. My answer is neither.

In your daily activities, whether you believe or not, please remember these families and friends in your thoughts.

They are all from New Washington, just like my twins.

Thank you.

**********************************************************

I want to thank everyone that took time to read and respond in their thoughts and prayers. New Washington will survive. I wanted to let you know the twins are better today. Definitely not out of the woods, but one of the twins has opened her eyes and spoke a little. She will be paralyzed but they are not sure how badly. The other twin is showing 'signs of life'. She is still critical but responding. The boy is off the critical list but with all the broken bones, he has a long way to go. Plans are being made for the drivers funeral. I know nothing about the plans for the other driver except that her family will need a lot of support to get through the agony of losing their daughter and never knowing why her car went left at such a high speed.
Thank you my friends.

Author Notes This is for reading, not reviewing. Just wanted all of you to know


Chapter 25
He Thought He Was a Cat

By Barb Hensongispsaca

When my youngest daughter was still in school, we raised guinea pigs. We never made any money on them, because we just loved to raise them and give them away. They were always accompanied with a 'guinea pig' kit, which consisted of shavings, a house, carrots, lettuce, feed and anything else we had on hand. It was a great time to raise them because the movie, Dr. Doolittle, had just premiered. When I advertised free guinea pigs, I also stated that 'they did not talk'.

When I moved to Canada, I was given four kittens. The family planned to go on vacation and the father was going to drown them. Yes, you read right. Northern Canada is a whole different way of life. Pets are just that ... pets. At least where I lived, that was the norm.

A lady I knew, wanted to get rid of her guinea pig. When I went to see it, she told me the only reason she bought it was for her Jack Russel dogs to play with. She would put it in it's exercise ball and let the dogs roll it around. She didn't want it anymore so she was going to turn it loose outside. It was the dead of winter with snow over a foot deep. I took him home.

My husband made him a cage fit for a king. It could hold over ten guinea pigs. 'Porkchop lives here' was the sign over his door. He had a full run and made good use of it. I tried to put him in his exercise ball once. After bandaging my scratches, I realized that was his torture chamber. I never tried again. Instead, under supervision of four cats, he earned his right to have the full run of the house.

The cats thought of him as a kitten, and he thought he was a cat. He would sleep with them on the couch and nibble the cat food when he could get at it. He had a game he loved to play with my long-haired, black cat. He would sneak up on Spike while he slept, nibble on his tail, then take off running across the floor squealing. Spike would make a half-hearted swipe at him, then go back to sleep.

He always found new ways to impress us with the sounds he made. My favorite was the one that sounded like an ambulance. It was his 'whoop-whoop' sound. When he was happy, he would churble. That was kind of like purring by a cat. He lived for over four years for us. One day he had a stroke and could not stand. I had to be the one to put him down. My husband was gone and the vet only came once a month to the town down the road.

Author Notes Image from Google.

479 words


Chapter 26
They Are Strong

By Barb Hensongispsaca

No review is asked for, I just want to keep all of you informed of the twins' progress. You have taken time to give prayers and thoughts.

This was originally posted:

This is going to be an off-the-wall writing and no reviews requested, only prayers.

My mind is going to places I don't want it to go but the prayers are not for me.

A few days ago, there was a head on crash on Route 30 in Ohio. It took lives and is still taking lives. A 21 year old was killed when she lost control of her car. It crossed the median only to wind up going the wrong way on a four-lane highway.

She stopped when she hit another car head-on. In that car were four kids that graduated with my granddaughter. The driver, a girl, was killed instantly along with the other driver. A boy is in critical condition. The other two, twin girls, are not expected to make it.

This brought back harsh memories that are surfacing with a vengeance. I ask for prayers for for these kids who are fighting for their lives. I ask for prayers for the families of the ones who died wondering 'why'. I ask for prayers for the parents of the ones left who are also asking 'why'. I ask for prayers for the classmates who are stricken with a reality of the fragility of life. They graduated with my granddaughter (the daughter of one of my twins who was killed in 2001). I ask for prayers for the ones who saw the accident and the ones that were sent to help.

I remember twenty years ago when the reality of life caught me, the phone call, the emotions. This family is waiting, wondering, hoping, praying, when mine was a total instant finality. I ask myself which was better. My answer is neither.

In your daily activities, whether you believe or not, please remember these families and friends in your thoughts.

They are all from New Washington, just like my twins.

Thank you.

**********************************************************
Update Number 1

I want to thank everyone that took time to read and respond in their thoughts and prayers. New Washington will survive. I wanted to let you know the twins are better today. Definitely not out of the woods, but one of the twins has opened her eyes and spoke a little. She will be paralyzed but they are not sure how badly. The other twin is showing 'signs of life'. She is still critical but responding. The boy is off the critical list but with all the broken bones, he has a long way to go. Plans are being made for the drivers funeral. I know nothing about the plans for the other driver except that her family will need a lot of support to get through the agony of losing their daughter and never knowing why her car went left at such a high speed.
Thank you my friends.

**********************************************************

The new Twin update via the family:
Leah: she rocked it today! Pst tomorrow is her birthday! Big 1-9.
Layne: had a major surgery today. It was to repair her neck. She is currently resting and we are hopeful that the vent will come out tomorrow. Pst her birthday is Sunday!
Yes they have two different birthdays
Thank you for all your prayers, love, and the kindness you give to our family! We know it's a long road to recovery and our lives are changed forever, but the support you give us, we know we aren't in this alone.

Quoted on internet:

Leah's condition has been improving steadily, Cassandra Cochran said. She's been able to take a few steps and can get into a wheelchair by herself. Layne was scheduled for surgery Friday.

Both are "literally fighting for every step forward," she wrote in a Facebook post.

Their injuries are extensive.

Leah has a broken knee, and a punctured lung from her fractured ribs. She also fractured her spine, wrist, scapula and collarbone, Cochran said.

Layne's feet and ankles are basically shattered.

"She broke her femur. She had two collapsed lungs from the fractures, from her ribs," Cochran said. "Her spine broke as well as she fractured her spine, and she has a neck injury at the base of the skull, which is the big problem that we're having right now with her. And she has some abdominal issues where her colon kind of ruptured and her intestine came apart from her stomach. She lacerated her liver, and the vein that goes to her heart also got a laceration on it. And she broke her wrist -- the same wrist as her sister."

Please remember these two as they fight their way back.

Author Notes Picture from the family with permission to use.

Leah and her boyfriend, who is now out of the hospital and has visited Leah, were sitting in the back. Layne and Annie were in the front seat.

The four involved graduated with my granddaughter. They are all from New Washington, Ohio. My twins graduated from the same town and Jim's daughter is a good friend of the girls. Kinda like a remake of memories, but these girls are alive by the grace of God.


Chapter 27
Six Years in My Father's Life

By Barb Hensongispsaca

I wish I could give you a glimpse of my Father, but, alas, all I have are memories due to a fire purposely set to destroy me. That is a story for another time.

My Father was poised and always immaculately dressed in a suit and tie. He had one of those brown hats with the brim, that he always wore tilted on his head. His body was svelte as though he worked out every day. In a way I guess he did. He was a farmer, blue Jean's and all when he didn't wear his suit.

I don't remember a lot about my father during his six years with me. The one picture I have stored in my memory was of him and me standing in front of his 1940 something Studabaker. I was around four and had a look of pride to be next to my Father. He was kneeling beside me on one knee, his left arm draped over my shoulder, his right hand holding a beer bottle. He was in his customary suit and hat, tilted on his head.

I had an older brother who was fifteen years older than I, and I was invading his space. I found out, much later in life, that I was a depression baby ... and an OOPS. My Mother did not know she was pregnant with me until she was eight months along. During the depression, times were hard, and new family members were not really wanted. But Mom and Dad did their best.

I remember Dad would always read to me every night from a set of books called The Bobsey Twins. I don't remember the stories, but the sound of my Father's voice was amazing. It was so deep and comforting. But then, Dad was a laid-back sorta guy. I never remember him raising his voice.

Dad had a few extra jobs during the depression besides farming just to help us get by. One job was a car salesman. He used to take me to work and I got to play in the cars, until one day I decided to remove all the keys. I never did remember where I hid them. After all, I was only five years old.

The best job he had was working at the train station in the evenings. I am not sure what his job was; but he would catch the train jumpers, who were just trying to go from place to place to find work, and he would bring them home. Mom would make them a home cooked meal while I sat on the floor, listening to the stories they would tell. Their adventures stirred my imagination and I hated to see each visit end. Mom would pack them a lunch and Dad would take them back to the station to catch the next train.

When Dad began to get sick, Mom took him to every specialist she could. He was diagnosed with an enlarged heart. Back in 1954, there was no cure for anything like that. Today we have transplants, back then there were nitro pills. Mom was told to take him home and make him comfortable.

One night, I woke up to screaming. Dad was in pain and trying to find his nitro pills on the stand beside their bed. In his agony, he had spilled the pills. Mom turned the light on, found one and tried to put it in Dad's mouth. He was gone. An ending to the six years in my Father's life.

The book that had captured his voice the night he died became one of my treasured possessions.

Author Notes Sean T Phelan thank you for permission to use your picture.

The picture reminded me of the car lot where I 'lost' the keys.

619 words


Chapter 28
He Is Circus Material

By Barb Hensongispsaca

Let me introduce you to the world's best aerial performer and should be a circus star ... Master Butch. His gracefulness while hanging onto a curtain is mind boggling. With razor sharp claws, he is able to defy gravity for many minutes at a time.

His great talent started when he was a very young kitten. Shy at first, he realized the thrill of sailing through the air to grab a piece of cloth and just hang on. His ability to ignore the screams of the person wearing the skirt was one of a kind. He seemed lost in his own world, hanging on as the person would twist and turn trying to dislodge the small black intrusion.

Other times, he would practice his rope climbing, but since he did not have a rope, the nearest leg worked wonders. His goal was to reach the top, in this case the head, of the 'mountain' he was climbing before the 'mountain' shook him off.

All of this led to his masterpiece. He looks like a black streak as he runs to the curtain, launches into mid air, and with excellent timing, grabs the curtain about half-way up, and swings. Then, with cat-like precision, 'cause he's a cat, he will turn around on the curtain and push off, only to land on the nearest piece of furniture. With claws honed from days of working the scratch post, he leaves minimal damage wherever he goes.

This picture is of Butch exercising to keep up his form and true cat ability.

Author Notes Picture is of Butch, the true artist of my family.


Chapter 29
He Thought 'Maybe'

By Barb Hensongispsaca

Sam's father was smart, everyone knew that. Sam also knew that his father loved him, or so he always said. John raised his son to be hard and emotionless - the way a man had to be to survive.
Sam wanted to believe everything his father said, hoping he would know when to 'grow up' which is what his father kept telling him to do. But, somewhere deep inside, behind the hidden tears, Sam thought ... maybe ...

Author Notes 75 words

AlondraGallegos thank you for permission to use your picture.


Chapter 30
More Information

By Barb Hensongispsaca

Months ago I asked for prayers for twin girls. This is what I originally posted.
*******************************
This is going to be an off-the-wall writing and no reviews requested, only prayers.

My mind is going to places I don't want it to go but the prayers are not for me.

A few days ago, there was a head on crash on Route 30 in Ohio. It took lives and is still taking lives. A 21 year old was killed when she lost control of her car. It crossed the median only to wind up going the wrong way on a four-lane highway.

She stopped when she hit another car head-on. In that car were four kids that graduated with my granddaughter. The driver, a girl, was killed instantly along with the other driver. A boy is in critical condition. The other two, twin girls, are not expected to make it.

This brought back harsh memories that are surfacing with a vengeance. I ask for prayers for for these kids who are fighting for their lives. I ask for prayers for the families of the ones who died wondering 'why'. I ask for prayers for the parents of the ones left who are also asking 'why'. I ask for prayers for the classmates who are stricken with a reality of the fragility of life. They graduated with my granddaughter (the daughter of one of my twins who was killed in 2001). I ask for prayers for the ones who saw the accident and the ones that were sent to help.

I remember twenty years ago when the reality of life caught me, the phone call, the emotions. This family is waiting, wondering, hoping, praying, when mine was a total instant finality. I ask myself which was better. My answer is neither.

In your daily activities, whether you believe or not, please remember these families and friends in your thoughts.

They are all from New Washington, just like my twins.

Thank you.
************************

I have a great update for all of you and I had to let you know. Leah went home a week ago, still having to wear her back brace due to many fractures in her spine. Layne is off the ventilator now and says her next challenge is to go home. Her back was broken and she is paraplegic but very optomistic. The family thanks everyone for their prayers and thoughts.

Author Notes No reviews necessary, I just want to spread the good news.


Chapter 31
He Was So Sure

By Barb Hensongispsaca

My youngest daughter, Connie, and myself are pure animal lovers. And believe me, animals are smarter than humans, anyday.

Connie adopted two ferrets just exactly like the ones in the picture. The darker one was named Sandy, the white one was named Precious.

If you have never had the pleasure of meeting ferrets, they are amazing critters. They love to play tug-of-war, hide the socks, scatter the food, hide-and-seek, and catch me if you can. They are experts at getting through the smallest of openings to explore the inner workings of the house.

They are also prone to cancerous cysts which is what Precious had the misfortune to get every so often. These were met by a game of 'catch-the-ferret'. Then we have to fasten the door to the cat carrier before Precious was able to slink out under the hands trying to stop her. She was very good at games.

On one particular trip to the vet, she was at her utmost favorable behavior. She was getting a check up for the latest cancer removal and she was very cooperative from the time we took the cage to her to the arrival at the vet's office. When it was our turn, I carried the cage into the examination room. She was very passive, but I was very guarded. I knew how she could turn in an instant.

The vet, on the other hand, was unconcerned as he reached in to get her out of the cage. I warned him again of her nature and he told me that it was okay, he had it under control.

Before he could react, she sank her teeth into the soft flesh between his thumb and first finger ... and would not be persuaded to let go. I am sure it was because I was standing there, that he kept his cool and didn't even respond to what, I am sure, was painful. He tried everything to get her to let go, but she held on as if her life depended on that bite. Finally, he was able to put a tongue depressor between his flesh and her teeth and pried her mouth open. She let go and ran back into her carrier to snuggle with her blanket.

The vet examined her from the safety of the carrier and declared her healthy without further examination.

Author Notes The picture was free from google, but it totally is a picture of Sandy and Precious.

This is my response to the challenge in the 'animal crackers' club found in the social heading. Please come join the fun.


Chapter 32
Heaven Has A New Angel

By Barb Hensongispsaca

Months ago I asked for prayers for twin girls. This is what I originally posted.
*******************************
This is going to be an off-the-wall writing and no reviews requested, only prayers.

My mind is going to places I don't want it to go but the prayers are not for me.

A few days ago, there was a head on crash on Route 30 in Ohio. It took lives and is still taking lives. A 21 year old was killed when she lost control of her car. It crossed the median only to wind up going the wrong way on a four-lane highway.

She stopped when she hit another car head-on. In that car were four kids that graduated with my granddaughter. The driver, a girl, was killed instantly along with the other driver. A boy is in critical condition. The other two, twin girls, are not expected to make it.

This brought back harsh memories that are surfacing with a vengeance. I ask for prayers for for these kids who are fighting for their lives. I ask for prayers for the families of the ones who died wondering 'why'. I ask for prayers for the parents of the ones left who are also asking 'why'. I ask for prayers for the classmates who are stricken with a reality of the fragility of life. They graduated with my granddaughter (the daughter of one of my twins who was killed in 2001). I ask for prayers for the ones who saw the accident and the ones that were sent to help.

I remember twenty years ago when the reality of life caught me, the phone call, the emotions. This family is waiting, wondering, hoping, praying, when mine was a total instant finality. I ask myself which was better. My answer is neither.

In your daily activities, whether you believe or not, please remember these families and friends in your thoughts.

They are all from New Washington, just like my twins.

Thank you.
************************

This is the update I posted last week:

I have a great update for all of you and I had to let you know. Leah went home a week ago, still having to wear her back brace due to many fractures in her spine. Layne is off the ventilator now and says her next challenge is to go home. Her back was broken and she is paraplegic but very optomistic. The family thanks everyone for their prayers and thoughts.

++++++++++++++++++++++

I have news of these brave girls, Layne, who was striving to go home in her wheelchair, has gone home to be with God. I do not have all the information and should wait until I do, but as a mother who lost her children to an accident, I know the numbness that is setting in and I feel they need your prayers now more than I need to find out the answers. Please keep them in your prayers, or just your thoughts. If you want to respond to this, please no reviews, but leave messages of faith and hope that I can get to the family. Thank you.


Author Notes No reivews necessary, but words of hope I can take to the family, would be appreciated.

VMarguarite thank you for permission to use your picture.


Chapter 33
Tigger And The Bat

By Barb Hensongispsaca

You have to meet a very special lady, who came into my life in a round about way.

As all of you know, cats are my life. They are my companions, my confidants, my joy and my entertainment. They are better than watching TV any day.

When I first moved to Canada, I was alone most of the time because my husband worked for the railroad. A friend decided I needed a companion and found me the longest haired kitten she could find. Well, I was alone a lot in my life and I decided that I wanted two instead of one. She came back with another kitten. My husband, being a fisherman, named the male Muskie Bait and the female, Rainbow Trout. Don't ask, please.

We lost Muskie to the intense summer heat because his fur kept the heat in and his little body was too hot. I just couldn't bear to have Rainbow alone, so I went looking for another kitten. I found just the one I wanted, but in answer to your question, no, it was not Tigger. I picked out her bigger brother, Spot. But when the father of the household told me they were going on a months vacation and he would have to drown the kittens, I made my decision.

When I got home, the first thing my husband asked before I got out of the car was, "How many did you bring home?"

Well, the answer was 'three'. I brought Spot, a large white with black spot male, Spike, a pure black long hair, and Tigger, the littlest of them all and a yellow-calico mix. They made themselves right at home, contrary to Rainbow's wishes.

As leader of the clan, Rainbow instilled the 'fear of God' right from the start and the little ones kowtowed to her highness. All except Tigger. Tigger claimed her rightful place wherever she wanted, which, most of the time, was over the window sill or in front of the TV. She was spry, and the dread of all flies and butterflies.

One day, a bat managed to find its way into the house and proceeded to terrorize the cats and myself. I grabbed a fishing net that was nearby and prepared myself to do battle with the little flying demon. Like Babe Ruth, I stood my ground, ready to connect with the 'ball'. The little bat from hell, made its first pass and I missed ... but Tigger didn't. Little did I know, she was making her plans and charting her course. This tiny little ball of fur came out of nowhere, leaped at least five feet into the air and caught the little critter off guard.

Dazed, the black flying demon fell to the ground where Tigger proudly ran to pick it up. Convincing her to drop it so I could throw it outside, was entirely a different matter. Proudly, she walked around with it in her mouth, prancing in front of the other cats as if to say, "Yep, that's me. I did that. Little me. Yep!"

All my coaxing got me nowhere. She was not going to let go and I could see the bat was starting to come out of its trance. Grabbing a can of sardines and opening it by her head, finally enticed her to give up her prize.

In the years to follow, she kept her dignity intact by ridding the house of mice, moles, bats, and moths.

Author Notes Picture is of Tigger and her favorite hobby.


Chapter 34
Butch and The Mouse

By Barb Hensongispsaca

"Come back here, whatever you are! I just want to chase you!" cried Butch, the cat, as he skidded around the corner of the kitchen, colliding with the table leg.

"NO WAY! You're too fast and too big. Leave me alone!" screamed Molly Mouse as she just barely squeezed under the refrigerator.

Hunkered down so he could see through the tiny slit under the big white cabinet where Mom keeps the milk, Butch spied the little brown toy, kinda like the one he tosses in the air. This one is amazing, it runs - AND - talks. Mom really outdid herself in the toy department this time. This one is more fun.

"Don't come near me!" pleaded Molly, "I'll bite you!".

Butch laid down near the slit so he could keep an eye on his new toy as he tried to figure out how to just get to it. He watched as Molly lay on her side, panting. Some idea deep inside of him, told him that this was not a toy.

"How can you talk to me? None of my other toys do. Well, some squeak and some sing. Others whiz, but you can talk!"

Molly got back on all four feet and cocked her head, "What's a toy?"

"A toy is ... well ... it's a toy! You chase it and toss it in the air and cuddle it. It squeaks and burps and fusses with me when I pounce on it. It's a toy!" Butch was getting frustrated.

"Then you don't want to eat me?" asked Molly, sounding rather hesitant.

"Why would I want to do that? Then I couldn't play with you! You are a silly toy!" Butch said laughing.

"I'm not a toy!" Molly said defiantly as she stomped her front paws on the floor. "But I am hungry."

"I have some food, I'll share with you if you'd like," Butch said.

"Promise not to eat me?" Molly asked, hesitantly.

"Talking toys are so silly," Butch laughed again. "Come with me and we will have a snack!"

"No, not you as a snack!" Butch said quickly when he saw Molly back up. "Come on, it's good stuff."

Butch led the way as Molly followed from under the refrigerator.

They traveled across the floor to the closet where there were two dishes side by side. Each exchanged pleasantries and names, laughing at the misunderstanding between mouse and cat.

Just when Molly opened her mouth to take a small crumb, they heard a noise, followed by a scream and a thud.

Butch looked at Molly and said, "That's my Mom. Guess I should have told her we had company."




Author Notes Picture is of Butch who tried to make friends with a water bug today.

This is my response to the challenge of the 'animal crackers' club hosted by damommy. Come play with us.


Chapter 35
Diary of a Murder

By Barb Hensongispsaca

I have to say, I truly love those forensics shows. Even the series that show how 'Killer Kids' are able to commit murder and almost get away with it. That gives the aspiring 'Hannibal' or 'Dahmer' a chance to learn from other's mistakes. They sure taught me a lot to look for. I was getting good at figuring out how murderers could have kept from getting caught. That's why I am so sure I committed the perfect crime.

I went through a lot of money, my wife's money, to prove to her neighbors and friends that she was suicidal. I took a lot of precautions to ensure my innocence in her death. No one dare look at me - the sincere, loving husband who did everything to help his poor, mentally unstable wife. She became her own worst enemy.

Even though she adamantly refused, I was able to convince her to speak to a psychiatrist by slowly getting her to question some of the things I had staged for her to 'see' ... or think she saw. The best one was the ghostly apparition from a family member she never knew. You see, she was adopted, so I was able to introduce 'spirits' I made up. She began to believe she had killed her mother in birth. Devious, right?

Anna, my dearly departed wife, had no known relatives, so now I can sit back and enjoy all her money. All four billion dollars worth. It's old Southern money handed down from the ancestors of the old couple that adopted Anna when she was a baby. They spoiled her rotten. It's too bad they died off before I met her, it would have been fun to take their lives first. She would have depended on me and I would not have had to work so hard to get her to trust me.

But it was all worth it, Doc. Until, 'it' started coming around.

I had picked out a woman I was planning to make the next Mrs. Bruce Freemon. She kinda reminds me of Anna, but she is stylish. She is dumber than a box of rocks, but she will make great eye candy at meetings and social functions. The best thing is, she does everything I tell her to do.

Then I started getting phone calls at all hours of the day and night. When I would answer, no one would speak, but, I heard someone breathing. At first I was amused, then I got angry. Then I was just plain frustrated, but I kept my temper and would just hang up the phone. Or just leave it off the hook, depending on my mood.

Doc, I'm telling you, it began to get spookie. Recently, there has been a voice to go with the calls. It is a sultry voice that seems vaguely familiar. I know I have heard it before, but I just can't seem to remember where.

Now all we talk about is confidential, right? I wouldn't want to go to all the trouble of getting rid of the wifey only to have you betray my confidence, you know what I mean? After all, I am making it worth your while. Right?

Well, then she said something that pulled the rug right out from under me. She said, "I know what you did, I've been watching you for a long time." Can you believe that? She has been watching me way before I did Anna in. I thought she wanted to blackmail me but she has not asked for money. She just calls and says the same thing over and over. One day I almost caught her watching my house, but there was something funny - she looked familiar. I just can't figure it out.

Doc, I think she is trying to drive me crazy. But I won't let her because I have it all under control. She has no proof because when the police found Anna, I was in another state at a convention with over a hundred people as witnesses. I forged her suicide note perfectly and left it easy to find.

Where are you going, Doc? Are we done for today? Sure I can wait, who do you want me to meet?

**************************

"NO!"
"NO!"
"It can't be! You're dead! I killed you!"
"You were hanging there, I saw you struggle, I watched!"
"It can't be you!"
"NO!"
"NOOOOOO!"

************************

"That should do it, Tara." said Dr. Branon. "I can legally document he is insane. That leaves you, Anna's twin sister, the legal heir to her estate and you don't have to share with anyone. Now about my fee ..."

Author Notes LittleBogie 007 thank you for permission to use your picture.


Chapter 36
Playing in the Rain

By Barb Hensongispsaca

What they don't know is not going to hurt them. It's not like I have never gone behind their backs and gone against the rules. What are they going to do? Ground me? I'm already grounded in every way possible.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am not a bad girl. I just love to do certain things that are forbidden by the 'family'. I know what I am doing, I don't have a death wish. Well, sometimes maybe ... it may seem so.

I am one who loves to play in the rain and if the thunder and lightning are also present, I feel it is just the background noise to my Rainy Day Dance, as I call it. I love the little pitty-patter of rain drops on my head. When I close my eyes and just stand with arms outstretched, it feels so relaxing. Kind of mesmerizing at times, to just let go of all the cares of the world, the yelling around me, the rules and regulations that make no sense to me, and the bullying, which is the worst.

It was after midnight, and the whole house was locked down for the night. We were told there was to be a huge rainstorm and I wanted to play outside. If I got caught, well, I just couldn't ... but, it would be worth it. The rain has been scarce this summer and this was to be a real cloud burster, as my Grandfather used to say.

I heard it coming. Grandfather taught me how to read the signs and be able to tell how far the storm was away from me by the seconds counted between the flash and the thunder. Grandfather was so smart and he was the one that taught me how to be safe in a storm and still enjoy the rain. The secret is to be hidden when the time between the lightning and the thunder is a few seconds. That is the dangerous time because the storm is right over me.

I heard the rain starting, a tinny sound on the porch roof, a symphony in beginning stages of composition. That is what Grandmother used to say. It was time for me to go outside. Even when the doors are locked, I know how to release the bolts to escape this place of worry and pain, sometimes just to take a deep breath.

This was one of those times, and I truly looked forward to just escaping into my own wet world for a little while. Sometimes it is the sneaking out that is the real thrill of escape. Releasing the bolts without being heard is like opening the door to a candy store. Going outside in the dark of night, feeling the first drops of rain on my hair, soaking into my head and running down my neck is thrilling.

This night was like all the others, thunder in the background, lightning showing me the leftover dog pitfalls and spotlighting my Rainy Day Dance, and a place to hide when the lightning and thunder meet. Perfectly organized. I know I am locked out until morning, but then I can sneak back into my room, dry off, and go for breakfast without them knowing I was in my safe place for a little while.

The rain feels exhilarating, the dance begins and I fell the pressure of the downpour cleansing my soul. I feel free. I have waited so long for this refreshing rain as it seems to wash me clean using nature's purification. Except for the time I have to take shelter, I am playing in the rain, running through puddles and splashing in the grass. The smell of the nursing home is gone and this seventy year old gets to play in the rain.

Author Notes cleo85 thank you for permission to use your picture.


Chapter 37
He Was There In The Man

By Barb Hensongispsaca

It started out like any other day and I just can't put my finger on the second it changed - but it did. I woke up in pain, but that is normal for me. I usually lie in bed for awhile, relishing in the ability to relax without discomfort, knowing that as soon as I move, the pain will attack me. That is when I say my morning prayers and hope that I can at least get dressed in peace. I moved, it hit.

Fighting back tears, I started my day. I have a routine I do every morning which allows me to get the majority of my plans accomplished before the debilitating time arrives and I spend the rest of my time fighting off the waves of depression. Yes, even Christians get depressed.

Most of the time, I can fight it off. Music, reading, and rearranging my mansion in my mind, makes me stronger. For those of you that don't understand that last part, let me explain. I have written poems on what my mansion will be like when I get to claim the one Jesus saved for me. When the pain gets too bad, I use my mind to rearrange each room in my Father's house.

This day was harder than most, not only for the pain, but for the everyday trials that just seemed to compound on itself. The devil walked right in as if he owned me and right then, I guess he did. After crying and pleading, but not quite turning all things over to God, I went for the pills. Oh, not just the ones I affectionately called 'Happy Pills', but the whole stash I had been saving back for this occasion.

I lined the bottles and calculated how many to take to be sure I fell asleep and never woke up. But I had a back up plan in case I miscalculated - I drew a soothing bath, deep and inviting. I would fall deep asleep in the tub and slip into the water. I was done, and I didn't care. I felt useless and lonely. The devil had taken control and I was listening to nothing else but his lies and peaceful call. A glass of water and I was ready.

I locked the door, turned the phone off and sat down to my 'feast'. It didn't quite go as planned. A voice, from the recesses of my mind, spoke to me. It was comical and I remember what it said.

"Hey, you never called the suicide hotline in your whole life! Why not see if they can talk you out of this? Do one last thing, prove them wrong."

Honest, this was the voice challenging me to do something I had never done. When I took the gun to my head many, many years before, I prayed to God and He stayed the bullets. That is another story. This time I left God out, or so I thought.

Google is a great thing, all I had to do was say 'Google, call Suicide Hotline' ... and it did. Almost instantly, there was a voice on the other end asking my first name. It went from there. He sat back and let me talk, rant, cry and plead. I went on and on with him interjecting a question here and there as to how I felt. Gradually Satan lost control and God intervened. And this man? He was the vessel and he knew what he was doing.

At the end of our conversation, he asked me what I was going to do with the pills. I thought for a little while and said, honestly, 'put them away'. My life did not change with that conversation, but my heart did. My soul found a happiness I thought I had lost.

The next day, early in the morning, my phone rang. It was the man from the night before. He wanted to know how I felt. A simple act I will never forget.

Author Notes The National Suicide Hotline Number is 1-800-273-8255 , but in an emergency 9-1-1 will get immediate help.

Renate-Bertodi thank you for permission to use your picture.

John 14:1-4
1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going."


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