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AbigailSauble

United States

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Message from Writer

' "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor My covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD.' ~ Isaiah 54:10

Proud USMC sister!

FAVORITE QUOTES:

"Most people never meet their heroes;
I grew up with mine." ♥

“And the one good thing about being down here, is that we’ll save on funeral expenses.” ~ Puddleglum (The Silver Chair)

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~ John F. Kennedy

How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. ~ Winnie the Pooh

https://wheniwasanartist.blogspot.com/

My Ghost: Chapter 6

April 14, 2018

FREE WRITING

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Chapter 6:
Increased Danger

When I got home, there was an email from Keren.
Nathan,
Yesterday, I stopped off at the Police Station to give them the sticky note, and asked if I could read through Joelle’s journal. I came upon this entry and thought that I’d share it with you. They let me take a picture which I attached below.
Have a great weekend,
~ Keren

I didn’t hesitate before clicking on the jpg file.

December 30, 2015
Dear Journal,
I feel like a single, microscopic snowflake trailing from the leaden skies, only to land on the ground with billions like me all around. In a few weeks, or maybe even days, I’ll be gone. Life is so fleeting, so swift, that you can’t but reach out and it’s gone. People will pass through your life. Some taking full advantage of their time allotment, and others squandering it.
Their God-given life is too-quickly used up, and then what? They’ll stare back at their lives with blank eyes and wonder what happened. Wonder how it could have disappeared so fast. The ones who stop and ‘smell the roses’, will take the time, precious time, to touch the lives of those around them. A smile, a kind gesture, a gentle critique. They will focus on the people in their life, and will make it their priority to encourage them with every ounce of their being.
They take ‘until death do us part’ literally. They will falter, they will face trials, they will look back, but they will never give up. They may loose heart, but not their loyalty, their faithfulness. Their passion for others encourage those who have the distinct pleasure of knowing them. And through their example is bred a true servant.
Then at the end of their life, with a meek heart and an earnest desire, they will enter their eternal rest, and to them will God give the highest place of honor. He will bring the proud low, and exalt the humble. At the end of my life, will people say that I was a humble servant who did her LORD’s bidding? Or that I was the proud one, who looked down on others, and scorned the day of the LORD? I pray that the LORD gives me a servant’s heart.
One example of this in my life is Nathan. He listens to others, speaks truthfully but in a spirit of gentleness. His servant’s heart is what draws me to him. The way he treats my family, his parents, those around him. He puts others before himself, and doesn’t say things about people that would hurt them. He’s thoughtful, and loves the LORD.
I don’t know if he is the one who I will marry someday, but I thank God for putting him into my life. For I know that ‘til death do us part’, he’ll be my example of light in a dark world. One of God’s ambassadors. One of His sons.
With all my love,
Joelle

Tears smarted in my eyes as I finished the entry. I never knew what she truly thought of me. But now that I did, I didn’t know how I could match up. I didn’t feel worthy to be her example. Swallowing hard around the lump in my throat, I replied to Keren’s email.

Thanks Keren.
My fingers stalled on the keyboard. What else could I say?”
Joelle was the humble servant.
-NH

Closing my laptop, I kneeled by the couch, and talked with God for awhile.

*

As I was getting dinner ready, a memory dropped into my mind, causing a smile to lift my lips.
It was the most exciting part of the Lord of the Ring: The Two Towers; the battle of Helm’s Deep. My eyes were glued to the computer screen which sat nine feet from my position on the Evans’ couch. Joelle had invited me over one Saturday to do a Lord of the Rings marathon. We’d turned off the lights to block any distractions, and had sat down with a bowl of popcorn and a pitcher of lemonade in front of us.
Keren was spending the night at a neighbor’s house, and Mr. and Mrs. Evans had gone out to dinner. So we were alone. I was painfully aware of that fact the entire time we watched the movie. As Aragorn plucked Gimli out of the muddy water, I looked over at Joelle to my left, and my heart nearly melted.
Buried in pillows, her head cradled against the back of the couch, she was fast asleep. A lock of hair hung over her face, and her expression was so peaceful and relaxed, that I don’t at all feel ashamed for what I did next. Reaching over, I brushed the hair out of her face, and kissed her forehead. My heart was pounding, and my face flooded with heat, but it was so worth it.
She didn’t budge, and I shifted closer, wondering how someone could look so adorable all at one time. A grin plastered itself onto my face, and only through sheer force was it eventually removed. Ten minutes later, she stirred, and blinked up at me. Her hair was slightly mussed, and her eyes were so sleepy that I couldn’t keep back another smile. She slowly smiled back.
I always fall asleep during the most exciting parts.” She admitted sheepishly.
It’s okay, you looked very peaceful sleeping there.”
She blinked once more, and smiled. Through the rest of the movie, we kept inadvertently scooting closer until we were almost touching. Then I felt her head on my shoulder, and I froze, peeking down. She’d fallen asleep again, or was starting to.
Joelle?” I whispered.
Hm?” Came her reply.
Are you awake?”
No.”
I chuckled, and, lifting her head up, I slid my arm around her shoulders and set it back down. It felt so perfect, and she didn’t resist. We sat like that until the credits came up, and she woke up with a start.
I’m sorry.” Her face was splotchy with a mixture of sleepiness and embarrassment. I wasn’t the least bit sorry.
Do you want me to play the next movie?” I asked.
Sure. And this time, I’ll stay awake.” We exchanged glances, and burst out laughing.

I blinked to clear the memory, then walked over to the stove to make hot chocolate. I wasn’t going to try and block the memories anymore. I was going to welcome them, and be glad for the ones I had.


*

Something woke me. My heart clenched in fear and my mind raced. I glanced out my bedroom window. A Saturday morning sunrise was exploding across the sky in a swirl of pink and red. There was a strange feeling in the air. Almost a presence. My pulse quickened. Was it my ghost? Peering harder at my dark surroundings, I made out a nearly indiscernible shape hovering just to the right of where I lay. It was Joelle.
The more I gazed at her, the more detailed she became. And, oddly, the more real she looked, the more relaxed I got. Again, she was nearly colorless. Those blue eyes hadn’t changed, though. Piercing, groping, lost. I almost drowned in their depth. They say ‘eyes are windows to the soul’. Was I seeing into the soul of one who was dead?
Help me. She mouthed.
How? I wondered. All I wanted to do was enfold her in my arms and never let go To protect her from whatever haunted her. It wasn’t even funny to think about a ghost being haunted. Though I might’ve laughed with Joelle about it. At another time; almost another life.
“I want to help you.” I admitted in a small whisper. “But I don’t know how.”
My words sounded strange in the empty air with no one to answer them.
Joelle’s face fell. As though any hope she’d had was dashed to pieces by an invisible gavel of condemnation. Sealing her soul to eternal wandering? Or simply to injustice? I didn’t feel I had enough strength to guess. I had already grown weak at her discouragement.
Then it was as though she stepped through an undetectable curtain. I gasped as suddenly she was there. Actually there in the room. Flesh and blood. Joelle. Was I hallucinating?
“Don’t you see?” It was her voice. Her lips moved, and I could hear her. “I wander the earth, watching as you stumble around in your grief.”
I remained speechless. What could I say?
“You must push past and find my killer. Nathan.” Her face softened; her gaze gripping my heart. “You will go past me. You will find your joy again. It won’t be me, but something more wonderful. Trust in the LORD. Everything will be put to right.” She smiled.
A nostalgic one, but still a smile. A little piece of Joelle. A lump rose in my throat.
“I must go. Goodbye, Nathan. I’ll see you soon.” And she vanished.
I lay there in a daze. It had seemed to go in slow motion while it happened, but now I realized that it had sped by too fast. Tears climbed into my eyes, forcing themselves out.
“So close, and yet so far.” I whispered. “I can’t let you go. I won’t let you go.” I looked over at a picture of Joelle on my dresser.
“Not now, not ever.”

*

Later that morning, Keren went to the cemetery to visit Joelle.

I’ve gone cold. It’s like a shadow has fallen over me, and although I see people in the warm sunshine all around, I can’t move. And the shadow hasn’t moved off. I feel isolated. From my family, friends, even God. I want so badly to reach out and feel the sun’s warmth, but my hands remain clenched at my side. I want to experience life. Find my potential, my worth. My mind tells me that I’m worthless. But my heart cries out against its insinuations. Its retaliation grows fainter each day. Maybe tomorrow it will fade completely, and I will truly think that I have no value. I’ve already given in to the thought that I have no purpose other than to make mistakes, and cause distention.
I keep telling myself that I’m important in God’s eyes, but He doesn’t seem to hear my pleas. ‘Delight yourself in the LORD, put your trust in Him, and He will make your paths straight.’ I can’t see anything in the darkness. Whenever I take a step, I stumble. When I stand still, I can feel the darkness tightening on my throat. How long, my God, will You stand by and watch me drown? Are You trying to teach me something? If You are, it is hidden from me.
The shadow covers me completely, and I begin to think that I will never see light again.

Tears sprang to Keren’s eyes. She’d never had any idea that Joelle had felt like this. Lost, alone, discouraged.
All I want to do is hug you right now, Joelle. Keren closed her eyes; a tear slipped past her eyelid. The date on the entry was for June 9th, 2013.
The year I went to that Christian teen camp for the entire summer. Keren realized.
“I’d take it all back if it meant being with you during that time.” She whispered, meaning every word. “And you’re not here to hear me tell you how sorry I am that I wasn’t with you when you needed me the most.”
Letting the tears pour freely, Keren looked from the copy of the journal entry down at the headstone in front of her.
Joelle Louise Evans
1997 – 2016
Forever with Jesus
Forever in our hearts

“You’ll always be in mine, Joelle.” A song sparrow landed nearby and cocked its little striped-brown head at Keren. She whistled Joelle’s bird greeting to it. Three quick slides up, and three down.
“Would you tell Joelle that I miss her?” Keren whispered to the little bird. The sparrow listened for a moment, then flitted away.
Slowly, Keren leaned forward from her kneeling position, and placed a single Daffodil into the metal flower holder at the base of the engraved headstone. “The first of spring. Because you were my sunlight, my first Daffodil.” Keren stood up, wiping her eyes with the edge of her sleeve.
“Goodbye Joelle.”
Turning to go, Keren saw a woman, maybe in her twenties, watching her from the border of the cemetery. Goosebumps feathered out all over her arms despite the sunshine on her face. The woman’s eyes were covered by black sunglasses, and Keren couldn’t see if her expression was sympathetic or hostile. Inwardly shuddering, Keren walked quickly up the cement path to her parked Toyota on the street. She could feel the lady’s eyes boring into her back as she climbed into the driver’s seat.
Pulling away from the curb, she took a peek back. The mysterious lady was gone.

*

I decided to go to the beach. I knew it would be painful since Joelle and I had gone there often. But I figured it would be better to mope there than at my apartment. Or so I thought.
Two hours later, I stepped out of the car and zipped-up my jacket. The breeze had kicked up, and gray clouds were building. I guessed there would be a fresh layer of snow on the ground by morning. There were still some crazy tourists -me included- parked on the blowing sand with their blankets and camp chairs. Grabbing my camera bag from the back seat, I lowered my sunglasses over my eyes, and set out onto the sand.
The tide was low but slowly coming in. Smashed shells and orange agates littered the shore, and seagulls picked through the remains of sea animals who probably wished they were back in their salty environment. The cold breeze made my nose tingle and my cheeks flush. The west coast in January wasn’t the nicest place to be. But it fit my mood.
It was like I’d stepped into a state of apathy. The heaviness of the camera strap around my neck faded as my mind wandered. I stood at the tide line for so long, gazing out at sea, that it wasn’t until I felt water lapping at my tennis shoes that I moved off. The gray waves reflected the gray sky which mirrored my gray mood. I knew the wind must have blown my hair up in a thousand different directions, but I ceased to care. Eventually I sat down on a dry log farther from the ocean, and let a memory slip into my mind.
Joelle and I sat together on a large rock facing the ocean. It was a relatively calm day, and the summer sun was out in full. Joelle’s eyes were covered by a pair of sensible, black sunglasses. She looked up at me and let out a laugh.
What?” I couldn’t keep a smile off my face. I loved her little outbursts of laughter.
Your hair’s a mess.” Her pink braces flashed in the bright sunshine. I reached up to touch my hair, which indeed was askew. Hastily, I tried to smooth it down. My attempts were in vain. She leaned over and tried to help me. My breath caught, like it always did when she touched me, or vice-versa.
I like it better ruffled, anyways.” Joelle grinned when it failed to be of use.
I made a mental note to ruffle my hair up purposefully next time. We continued to let the warm sunlight soak into us, and presently I felt her lay her head on my shoulder.
It’s such a beautiful day.” She murmured sleepily.
Just like you. I thought, wrapping my arm around her slender shoulders.
It felt perfect.
It was perfect. My smile disappeared as the memory faded. I sighed heavily. I don’t know how long I can do this. My world was caving in.

*

That night, I had just gotten into bed, when I heard a dull thud come from the direction of the living-room. Slowly I got up, careful not to let the mattress creak, and felt my way through the darkness. My bedroom door came open without a sound for which I was thankful, and I peered out into the hall. Glancing down at the living-room, it was pitch-black. Nothing moved for a moment, then I heard the sound of my glass porch door softly sliding open. Fear raised my heart beat up a few notches, and I knew I had to grab something to defend myself if need be. The kitchen was to the left of the living-room, but a little too close to the sliding door.
A book? I had a few thick volumes on my bookshelf. I slipped back into my room to grab one. When I looked out again, novel in hand, the curtains were shifting. I knelt down and pressed myself against the door-frame.
Through the split in the curtain, I could see a masked face peeking out into the apartment. Then the figure cautiously stepped into view. I was surprised. The person couldn’t have been taller than five feet, and by his slim figure, I guessed he was actually a she.
Is this Joelle’s killer? I tensed, anger surging through me. The intruder withdrew a sharp object from her backpack. A knife. I was terribly outmatched as far as weapons went. I don’t think I moved, but I noticed the figure stiffen. I held my breath.
Then she saw me. Whirling around, she tried to escape back out the porch door, but I charged forward after her, holding the book like a shield. I knew I looked utterly ridiculous, but I hoped to surprise the intruder by my bold action. In reality, I felt anything but brave.
She let out a small scream when she realized I was right behind her. Her backpack got caught on something; in the darkness I couldn’t see what, and she tugged repeatedly, eyes wild, against the restraint. I frantically searched my brain for where I last saw my phone.
Probably by my bed. Brilliant, Holmes.
She had a knife, I had no phone, she was stuck, and I was defenseless. But as far as emotions went, my heart was lit with anger. Hate, even. And fear. Fear of myself. With my anger, to what extremes would I go? In my hesitation, she freed herself and darted out the sliding door.
After a second, I raced back to my room, grabbed my phone, dialed 911, and ran back to the porch. A dark, small car on the street beneath my apartment started up, and hurriedly drove away. I was relieved, in a way.
LORD, I don’t want to be hateful. Please take this away.
Slowly, I walked back into my apartment. I knew the police wouldn’t find any fingerprints since the intruder wore gloves, so I closed the door. That’s when I saw something on the floor just inside the glass.
It was a beaded animal, one that would clip onto a zipper or key chain.
And I recognized it.

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