Bits and Pieces
Trail of the Sandpiper Triology
The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor and have designs on the islands of the Pacific. Justine Whitcomb's encampment at the Wairopi Missionary Compound is attacked when the Japanese land on Papua New Guinea, leaving her to get herself and several children off the island. This sends her trekking through enemy lines, where she meets up with Tyler Merrick who has been sent by the U.S. Government to search for a spy called the Sandpiper. Justine wonders why a sailor is so far inland. Tyler wonders if Justine is the spy he was sent to find. Can they trust one another to get off the island? Can they trust the Lord to lead them through danger to safety?
Winds Across the Rockies
“Their house fell in,” the woman explained, pointing across the rutted dirt road, to a deep crater in the earth. “Swallowed three shacks whole. Killed seven. Weren’t a good day. Scared the whole Patch. Had 'em camped out on the hills, it did.”
The woman kept on, but Stephen couldn’t hear over the drumming deep in his chest. “What about the boy and his family? Were any of them killed?”
“Ah, they come out. Save for the baby. Joey, they named him. Sweet boy.” The woman sighed sadly.
“He was inside the cabin when it went. Poor Nette. She was hanging clothes when the sink opened, else she’d have been killed herself. Sorrowful day that.” Solemn, she stared at the hole. “The older boys and their pa tried to get in the house. The ground swallowed it up too fast,” she added after a moment of silent reflection. Her eyes on the hole, she relived the day. “Funny thing, a cow went down that day. Went so slow she got to the bottom alive. They killed her anyway, just to get her out. Don’t seem right somehow.”
To Carry Her Cross
Willow Creek, Colorado Territories August 1872
The corridors were arbors of pitch. Black snakes slithered along tar walls like mist, melding till but a glimpse of their silken, lucid skin remained. Real or perceived, Harrison's small torch acted as a dismal beacon to their whereabouts, but his senses, riotous, confused, felt them. The fine hairs on his arms and neck alerted him before the light trapped them on the wall.
Were he wiser, he'd have never taken the tunnel. Wiser, he wasn't, no, only a poor, stupid coward, running from his fears, from the snakes. He went into the tunnel without thought, plan, or a proper torch. The material on the stick flickered and nearly died reminding Harrison of the latter. When it sputtered to new life, he nearly yelped for joy.
Joy was premature. He still had to find his way out.
When he saw flecks of light dance on the corridor walls in the distance, his steps hastened.
Near exhaustion, and madness, Harrison glimpsed daylight far along the path. He stumbled toward its effervescence. Toward freedom. But freedom did not await him in the sunlight. Warm rays did not caress his skin, only the roughness of a noose. The taut, cruel hands of death.
He opened his eyes to face it.
"Noooo." Harrison flailed against death. But Death's fingers wound about his neck in a strong, unrelenting fashion. No matter how hard he fought, they clutched harder, draining him of life. He fought for one last gasp then succumbed to its awesome power.
Then There was Grace
Adam didn't answer, but she wouldn't let that dim her mood. She left him a message and made plans to call him later.
She was passing the 80th floor when Aimee called.
"It is a beautiful day," she told herself with a sigh. "And cold," she decided standing on the observation deck a few moments later. She pulled her coat collar up her neck to her ears and stared out at the world around her. Here she was above the concrete, steel and glass. Here she could see forever.
Well, a couple of states perhaps.
There was no congestion. That was far below her, the cars were moving along like ants now.
God had made a glorious day. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes and turning her face to the sun, let her worries slide away.
"Thank you," she whispered. She stood there in the quiet for a moment then opened her eyes and pulled out her cell phone to check the time. When her sister, Aimee, arrived they could get on with enjoying the rest of the excursion together. Then they would have to go back to the world. Back to Pierce, her brother, who lay in the hospital recuperating from a stem-cell transplant, back to Denver, where Adam and her daughters waited.
Grace flipped open her phone and began to punch in Adam's number, when a huge blast disrupted the stillness of morning. She grabbed for the bars of the fence that surrounded the deck, dropping her cell as the floor on which she stood swayed.
"Earthquake," one of the visitors on the floor yelled and moved himself and family to the doors where they huddled till the quaking stopped.
The ground beneath her settled, Grace picked up her phone and listened. Save for the distance sounds from the traffic below there was quiet. She looked at the world below, it seemed to move along in its ordinary flow. There were no accidents, or emergency vehicles coming down the road with lights flashing.
Perhaps it was an earthquake, after all. If so, there could be another. Tall buildings and tremors didn't mix for her, she wanted off this ride. Grabbing her case, she tugged the strap of her purse on her shoulder and headed for the door. When the quiet was felled by another huge blast that rocked the tower to the left then tossed it to the right. Grace managed to keep her balance, but now, unwilling to get in the elevator she looked for the stairs, noting several of the other observers already headed that way. She froze in her spot when the shrill blast of sirens sliced the morning air sending the chill clean to her bones.
From Hell to Eternity --unfinished
Excerpt coming soon
Finding Middle C
"Get out of my room."
"I can't leave. Not yet. I have work to finish," she told him.
It was another mistake, she now realized, but she went on to make another.
She smiled. "I fixed your toast and cereal, is there anything I can do for you?"
"Leave," came the roar.
In hindsight, Maggie saw that she should have left, and might have were she not slightly affronted. She would not be pushed around by some angry patient when she had a job to do.
"I said, leave," he yelled more firmly this time and sat up in bed.
"Young man, I will not--"
"Leave," he ground the directive through his teeth.
Maggie didn't budge. Like an idiot, she stood there with her arms crossed on her chest, daring him.
His teeth gleamed white with his sneer then his lips pursed and his eyes narrowed. His chest rose and fell with deep breaths, and he looked flushed, as though he'd run a long race. Maggie watched in surreal wonderment as the bowl of grits flew toward her. She dodged the bowl, but couldn't keep the contents from splattering her hair and dress.
"Of all the..." With mouth gaping and chest heaving, she sputtered in disbelief and looked down at her dress. Grits and cream painted her bodice and drizzled her skirts. She studied the way the color of her clothes swirled with the cream. The longer Maggie looked, the more inflamed she became. She was of a mind to grab his tray and dump the contents on his head. Instead, she grabbed her skirts.
Infuriated, and deeply appalled, she straightened to the fullest height her five-foot-two frame would allow. "Now see here, young man. I will not leave until I've finished what I came to do. Do you understand? You're very lucky I don't tan your rebellious hide." With a final, "hmmph," she proceeded to empty his bedpan.
That, Maggie knew now, was the biggest mistake. For no sooner had she turned her back, when more food sailed across the room. "Oh," she gasped aloud when something hit her head. A glob of blackberry jam ran down her cheek and onto her neck. She peeled one piece of bread from her head as another hit.Blinking to keep her eyes from bulging, Maggie pivoted and faced her patient. She was sorely tempted to empty his bedpan on him, but refrained. She wanted to bawl him out, but couldn't begin to find the words, let alone form a sentence. With as much dignity as she could muster, Maggie finished her chores and left the room.