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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Here is the next chapter. Hope you enjoy it...

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As always, some of God's beauty to get the day started!!
 
 
 










~ Chapter Eighteen ~



Justin put both hands above his head.

The Swat leader commanded, “Down on your knees.”

Justin dropped to his knees. “Sir, we’re the victims here.”

“Quiet!”

Several booted officers swarmed past Justin and entered the room where Chance was.

One of the cops came back. “Sir, there’s a baby in there.”

The officer’s eyes met Justin’s. “Okay, follow protocol.” As soon as the other cop left, the leader addressed Justin. “Okay, start talking.”

“A little over a week ago I was jogging down at the park. I tripped over some…”

“Dude, I don’t have all day. Make it quick. Just skip to the part where you tell me why you’re here.” His eyes took in the girl. “And explain who this is and why she’s here.”

Justin glanced at Amy. “This is Amy. The man on the floor kidnapped her and brought her here. I came to rescue the baby, Chance. He belongs to my wife, who was also kept as prisoner by that monster.”

The leader held up his hands, stopping Justin’s explanation. “Hold up, hold up. You lost me. Start over.”

Irritation shot through him, but he squelched it. “That’s why I was trying to tell you from the beginning. It may take longer, but it’ll explain better what’s going on here.”

The leader shook his head. “Okay, get on with it then.”

“Okay.” Justin took a deep breath. They could’ve been done with all this explaining by now if the guy had let him tell the story from the beginning to start with. “As I was saying, I was jogging the other day. I tripped over something in my path, and it turned out to be the baby’s mommy. She’d been held for years by that monster. Feeling despondent because her captor decided to get a new girl,” He paused and gestured with a slight nod of his head at Amy, and continued, “She stole a knife and tried to slit her own throat, thinking he was going to kill her anyway. But by some twist of fate, it turns out the creep has some kind of feelings for her because he placed her on the path, apparently hoping someone would find her and get her to the hospital before she bled to death.”

The cop looked at Justin as if his story was too fantastic to believe. “Go on…”

“After I tripped over her, I of course called 911. To make a long story short, the man found out which hospital she was in and tried to come steal her back. Being a good Christian man, I felt I needed to protect her so I married her and put her in hiding. After I got her settled, I came back to look for the baby because we didn’t feel the police were doing all they could to find him. This is obviously true because I found him pretty quick once I actually started looking.”

The cop snorted in derision. “It was a dangerous thing you did, coming her alone like that. What if the guy killed you?”

Justin nodded in agreement. “I know. I thought about that as I hid in his closet.”

The cop’s eyes widened. “You hid in his closet?”

Justin nodded again. “Yeah. He came back while I was in the room talking to Amy.”

“The cop wrote something down in the little notebook he held. “And do you know this young lady?”

Justin shook his head. “Not until today. She actually saved my life.”

The cops eyes widened again. “You don’t say.”

“Yep. After the shower came on in the man’s room I figured it was safe to come out, so I did. Only I realized too late in my haste to hide when I heard him come home I forgot to lock the door back. I didn’t think about it until I was standing in front of it, looking at the lock. That’s when I heard the floor creak behind me. I turned around, and he was holding a bat over his head, getting ready to hit me.”

The cop looked incredulous. “Wow. And then what happened?”

“This young lady came down the hallway wielding a chair like a sword, that’s what. She rushed the guy and crashed it over his head. That’s why he was passed-out.”

The cop looked down and wrote something else in his little book. “And how did the girl manage to escape the room, assuming she was in there to begin with?”

Amy stepped up and spoke this time. “I found a window in the room disguised as part of the wall and I climbed out and down the side of the house.”

The cop snorted in disbelief. “Right.”

“No seriously, I did. My family works in the circus. It was like rappelling without the ropes, is all.”

The cop wrote something down and switched from one foot to the other. “Okay, where is the mother? We’ll have to do DNA swabs to make sure it’s her baby.”

“She’s at my mom’s lake house. It’s a couple hours from here.”

The cop nodded. “Okay. I suggest you fill out your statement then go get her and bring her back here.”

“Will do. What about Amy?”

“You don’t worry about her. We’ll call her parents and they can take care of what needs to be taken care of.”

Justin shook his head. “Yes sir. Thank you, sir.”

Justin turned and raced down the steps, anxious to fill out his statement and be on his way. Arianna was going to be so happy he’d found the baby…

“Justin, wait.”

Amy’s voice stopped him before he hit the second step. “What’s your phone number?”

She gestured to the pen the cop held, and he handed it to her.

Justin gave her the number and she wrote it on her hand and gave the pen back to the cop. “Just in case.” She gave Justin a wink and turned away.

Uneasiness filled him. What’s she up to? He shrugged. There wasn’t time to examine it right now. He had to get back to Arianna.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The next chapter is ready...

                                  
    Don't forget to stop by the Mine today and check out my interview with Heather Day Gilbert, she's awesome!! 
http://diamondsinfiction.blogspot.com/

                                       More of God's beauty to enjoy!!
     




 



 

~ Chapter Seventeen ~


Justin froze. Bright light flooded the closet. His heart slammed so hard against his chest he couldn’t breathe. He tried to take in a breath, but failed. He was captive to his terror.

‘The Monster’ reached out and pulled a shirt from a hangar in the middle of the rod and closed the door.

Justin shook his head, unable to believe the man hadn’t seen him. Air filled his starved lungs causing him to experience a dizzy, light-headed feeling. He looked upward, whispered, “Thank You Lord Jesus.”

He could hear as the man moved around in the room outside his hiding place. The sound of a creaky faucet was plain to discern, and then the unmistakable flow of water. Is he taking a shower? Should I try to escape? Indecision washed over him. He was in way over his head, and knew it. It was a mistake to come here alone.

He whispered again, “Dear Lord, help me.”

A sudden calmness flowed through him and he sighed in contentment. God is with me.

He laughed. The whole situation was impossible. First, his audacity to offer to help find the baby. The fact he actually came to fulfill that promise, the reality he’d actually found the right place, but most of all, the fact God was with him. He didn’t know why or how, but knew he’d be safe. Or at the very least what he was about to do was meant to be.

He stood up, stretched for a second then opened the closet door. The room was empty,

the sound of running water echoing in from the bathroom. He creeped across the room and out the door, not waiting to see if the man heard him until the door was shut behind him. When the man didn’t appear, Justin made a quick beeline for the room the girl was being held. Chance was there, too.

His heart had resumed its painful pounding, but he tried to ignore it. He had to do this. Two lives depended on it. Should he call the police? Yes. He pulled out his cell and punched in 911 and began talking as he reached the outside of the locked door.

The…locked…door.

Too late, Justin remembered he hadn’t re-locked the door. ‘The Monster’ knew he was here. Or at least that someone had been.

“Sir.”

Justin whirled around as the floor behind him gave a sickening creak.

‘The Monster’ stood behind him, arm raised above his head.

Justin’s eyes followed that arm. He gasped in horror when he saw the bat extending from a beefy hand.

“Sir. This is 911. Is this call in error?”

Thinking fast, Justin screeched into the phone, “Track me!”

The bat came down and Justin instinctively put an arm up to ward off the attack. He closed his eyes, awaiting the impact.

A noise from the end of the hall caused his eyes to pop open again.

The girl came down the hallway brandishing a heavy wooden chair.

He tried to stop her. “No, he’ll…”

But she kept coming, not stopping until she brandished it over her head and whacked him over his.

A voice came over his phone’s speaker, unheeded. “Sir, someone is on the way. Is the intruder still there?”

Justin watched as the man crumpled in a heap to the floor. Why hadn’t he moved before she hit him?

And then it hit him. How had she escaped? So he asked. “How did you get out?”

She smiled. “My family works in a circus during the summers. I’ve done all kinds of daring feats, including tightrope walking, and scaling brick walls—you know, it’s like rappelling without the equipment.”

His eyes widened. She couldn’t be more than twelve or thirteen years old. “Are you saying you climbed down the side of the house?”

She nodded, a smug look covering her young, grimy face.

And it hit him, again.

“But I didn’t see any windows in the room.”

She smiled again as the sound of an urgent siren grew closer. That’s because he has it disguised as part of the wall. The only reason I found it was because I was throwing a tantrum after he first locked me in there. I think I hit every inch of the wall. When I hit that spot, it sounded different, so I explored.”

“Why didn’t you just leave?”

She gestured toward the room. “The baby.”

He nodded. “You’re an amazing child.”

“Thank you, sir. I’m Amy.” She held out a grimy hand.

He took it. “I’m Justin. I married Chance’s mommy.”

“His name is Chance?”

“You didn’t know?”

She shook her head. “Nope. The monster wouldn’t tell me.”

His eyes widened once more. She’d deemed him as Monster too. “Well that’s his name.”

“He’s a good baby. I miss my baby brother.”

“How old is he?”

“He just turned one.”

The man on the floor began moving around, grumbling in pained outrage.

Several people stomping up the stairs broke the possibility of the man getting up, as he was trying to do. A cop wearing SWAT gear pushed a booted foot into his chest. “Stay where you are.” He looked at Justin and said, “What’s going on here?”

Justin moved toward the guy, a smile on his face. “I’ll be glad to tell you…”

The SWAT guy raised his gun at Justin’s chest. “I said don’t move!”

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It's that time again...

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                                  Some of God's beauty to enjoy...


 

 

 

 


~ Chapter Sixteen ~


Justin’s heart pounded. Should he call the police? No, he couldn’t. ‘The monster’ might realize he’d been found out. He couldn’t take that chance. He laughed at the play on words he hadn’t intended. Chance. His new stepson. The tenderness he’d experienced back at the cabin rushed through him once more. He had a son. It didn’t matter if he wasn’t blood. He was his.

The older man disappeared inside the house and Justin turned the old truck’s engine off to wait. For what, he didn’t know. But he was positive he was in the right place. It couldn’t be coincidence the man had his front door padlocked.

A thought crossed his mind and he caught his breath. The other girl must still be in there. He couldn’t leave her behind. That would be monstrous. But how was he going to get a baby and a girl out without being caught? The answer was obvious: Dear Lord, please lead and guide me and enable me to free them, if it be Your will.

Suddenly, he felt confident things would go well. He pulled a can of soda from his bag and popped the top. Might as well relax and eat some breakfast.

As the day wore on Justin’s emotions ran wild. One minute he felt assurance he would succeed, the next he wasn’t sure of anything. He kept a steady stream of prayers up through it all. God was the only thing he was sure of at this point.

Hours later, Justin was irritable. He had to pee and there was nowhere to go and he hadn’t seen hide nor hair of the man again. Wouldn’t he leave at some point?

Justin imagined himself sitting in the truck, beard full and bushy and hair long and uncombed. He laughed at his silliness. “I need to get a grip Lord.”

His mind drifted back to the cabin. Was Arianna okay? Did Mary Jo cook for her? Of course she did. She’s a good woman.

The front door of the house opened up. Justin caught his breath and sat up straight. This is it, Justin. The moment you’ve been waiting for. His heart pounded against an unprepared ribcage in angst. Slouching in his seat, he hoped the guy hadn’t been watching him, watching him all day. That would be bad.

He watched as the guy slipped the padlock key back in his pocket and walked down the sidewalk as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

Justin sat in indecision. How long should he wait? What if the guy came back and caught him? And for that matter, what if he couldn’t even get in?

He pulled his shoulders back. “All chances I have to take.”

He searched the sidewalk where ‘the Monster’ disappeared. He was gone. With a shaking hand he pulled the handle on the truck door and stepped onto the road. It was pretty dark. Hopefully some concerned citizen wouldn’t call the police on him. Or maybe hopefully they would. He shrugged. No matter. This was in God’s hands.

He jogged across the street and up the steps to the door. Of course he couldn’t get in here. The door was metal and secured. He jumped off the steps and around the side of the house. He examined the foundation at ground level. Was there a basement? There was!

Her rushed over to the window and not giving a second’s pause, wrapped his jacket around a fist and put it through the window. He pushed the glass out and stuck his head inside. It was pitch black. He grabbed the flashlight from  his pocket and shined it around. Musty and nasty. Yuk. He pushed himself to slide through the window and onto the basement floor.

Once standing again, he checked his phone for service. Yep. Good.

He found the stairs and climbed up. There was a door at the top. Please don’t let it be locked, Dear Lord. He grabbed the handle and twisted. It opened into the kitchen.

A low whistle of amazement slipped out. The place was immaculate and filled with new-looking appliances. The guy must be loaded. What did he do for a living anyway?

Justin shook his head. It doesn’t matter. Find the baby. And the girl.

He checked this way and that, making sure no one else was about.

As he walked into the living room a horrible thought crossed his mind: What if ‘the Monster’ had the place wired for surveillance? In paranoia he looked at all the corners and crevices he could see. Nothing. He let out a pent-up breath of relief. Good.

A loud crashing noise from upstairs caused him to just about jump out of his skin. A long scream of fury followed it. “You creep! Let me out of here!”

The girl. Had Arianna said her name? He couldn’t remember.

He headed up the stairs, following the long string of profanity that erupted from the girl’s mouth.

Justin realized he was shaking his head in disgust because the girl was cussing like a sailor. Who did he think he was, anyway? She was being held hostage by a man that had all kinds of mean, sadistic things in store for her.

He stopped outside the door. It was held by a heavy bolt lock. The kind you might find on a barn door. He tugged at it and it slid over with a loud clank. How must she feel every time she hears this noise? How had Arianna felt? Compassion filled him.

The door swung open and he was face to face with a young girl. She was shackled to the wall, arms and legs held far apart. The clothes she had on were ripped and filthy. He turned his head away.

“Where is the baby?”

Her voice held suspicion. “Who are you?”

“A friend of Arianna.”

He peeked up at her, trying to concentrate on her face. There was hope etched in her wide blue eyes. “The baby?”

She jerked her head to the left. His gaze followed.

A bassinet, covered by an old blanket, was partially visible. He rushed over and looked down into the bed at the sleeping baby. He whispered, “Chance.”

The door downstairs opened then slammed shut. His eyes darted to the girl, terrified.

“Get in the closet!”

“He’ll know the door was opened…” He raced out the door, re-bolted the lock and looked around. He saw a door at the end of the hall.

This is it, Dear Lord. Help me now if it be Your will.” He rushed into the room. His heart sank. It was his bedroom. In a split second he took in the opulence and comfort of the cozy room. It looked nothing like the room of a monster Justin would’ve imagined.

He saw another door. A closet! He dove inside and slammed the door just as footsteps came up the wooden steps.

Justin crouched down behind a myriad of fancy suits, shrinking as far back as he could manage. He imagined the guy could hear his heart all the way out in the bedroom.

He stopped right outside the closet door. The knob turned.

Justin readied himself to spring…

The door opened.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

It's that time again...


            Don't forget to make the Mine a stop in your day...
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                             As always, some pictures to enjoy...



 

 

 
~ Chapter Fifteen ~


Justin raised his head and faced Mary Jo. “You know, I don’t even remember why I was thinking it would be a good idea to call my mom. I’ll just wait. But what I can’t wait on is a plan to look for Chance.”

Mary Jo nodded. “Agree. The longer he’s with that monster the worse off he’ll be.”

Shaking his head, he pulled a piece of paper from his back pocket. “I’ve been working on this every chance I get. It’s a map of every church in a ten mile radius of where I found Arianna on the jogging trail.”

Mary Jo took it and looked it over. “There must be twenty churchs on this map, Justin.”

He took the map Mary Jo refolded and held out to him. “I know, and I intend to search every house around each one of them. The window she described can’t be that popular. Maybe I’ll get lucky and there will only be one.”

Mary rolled her eyes. “Good luck with that one son.”

“I’m going to need it. First thing in the morning, I’m out of here.”

 

Justin tossed and turned all night in anticipation of the next day’s events. He admitted he was scared. He found himself praying, Dear Lord, if it be your will, please let me find and rescue that baby. He pulled the covers up around his shoulders despite the heat of the night. It was going to be a long one and he could use all the comfort he could get.

He flopped over for the hundredth time, trying not to be negative, but how was he going to find a baby if the police couldn’t? Who did he think he was, anyway? Why had he assured Arianna he would look for Chance?

The questions kept coming, but he had no answers. He hopped from bed, deciding to check on Arianna. He tiptoed through the house and stopped to stare down at her. She looked so peaceful, yet thin and still pale. Mary Jo reclined in a chair a few feet away from the couch.

Seeing the older woman that way assured him he’d made the right decision in bringing her with him. It had been God’s decision, really. In any case, he was glad he listened.

Feelings of tenderness almost overwhelmed him. He was not only responsible for a wife, now, but a child and a nurse too. God must really trust him. He raised his head heavenward and prayed silently, Dear Lord, please let me do right by these women and that baby. Please don’t allow me to let them down. Arianna has been through so much, and Mary Jo is so loyal and loving. And that baby. In his short life, things can’t have been as good as they should be, especially now his mommy’s gone. Poor thing needs her love.

Justin rubbed at his eyes, surprised they came back wet. He wasn’t a crier, never had been. His mom brought him up teaching him to suck-it-up and go on, and he had. He backed up and fell onto the loveseat behind him in his mom’s cozy cabin living room.

He’d taken every good thing in his life for granted. Meeting Arianna had changed his life forever. In every way. She made him a better person, for sure. He’d lived high off the hog while a lonely little girl grew up with a monster enduring unspeakable acts he didn’t even want to allow his mind to explore.

The tears kept coming and he continued to sit, wiping at them with an impatient hand while mulling over his life situation.

He was sure the feelings he had for his new wife were of the forever kind. He’d never experienced such worry and tenderness before, not even for his mom. A moment of guilt assailed him, but he shrugged it away. That’s the way it was supposed to be. A man had to love his wife above his mother, but under God. He smiled. Things were looking up, at least in his mind.

He sat up, wiped his eyes and pulled the piece of paper from his back pocket. He traced a line with his finger. I found her here. His finger moved along the line to the closest church. It didn’t have the bells Arianna talked about hearing, but he wasn’t ruling any of them out until he searched each one. He knew there was only one church in the area that had bells, so why wasn’t he searching there first? Shaking his head to the silent question, he pondered the reason.

In a moment of firm decision he whispered, “I have to look there first.” He folded the paper, stood up and walked to his room to grab a few things for the trip.

He wrote a note for Arianna and propped it on the coffee table in front of where she slept. Hopefully she would see it before Mary Jo. The thought of the nurse seeing his professed I love you before his wife didn’t make him happy, but there wasn’t much he could do about it.

 

He sat in his mother’s old pick-up and looked up at the hulking three story house across the street. He’d ended up here after searching the neighborhood around the church with bells. The reason for wanting to avoid it was finally clear to him: It was his church. The thought Arianna had been suffering for so long so close to where he’d worshiped God his whole life unsettled him. How could it be?

He didn’t know, but there was no time for reflections as his eyes caught sight of a middle-aged man carrying a couple plastic sacks of groceries up to the front door.

Justin watched as the man sat the sacks on the deteriorating concrete steps and pulled a set of keys from his front pocket. He grabbed a padlock and wrestled with it until it snapped open. Who put a padlock on the front door of their home? The answer was immediate. A monster, that’s who.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

It's Tuesday again!!


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~ Chapter Fourteen ~


Arianna walked out of the bathroom and headed back to the couch. Going to the bathroom alone had seemed like a good idea until she was halfway down the hall and feeling shaky. She thought about calling Justin for help but knew he’d be upset she’d tried to go alone. He didn’t seem like the kind to be abusive, but then, she didn’t know him.

“Arianna!”

Her name came down the long hallway as if from a tunnel. Justin? It must be. The walls closed in around her and she put trembling arms out to hold it away.

“Arianna,” another voice called. Mary Jo. She’ll help me. Her name came out nothing more than a squeak, “Mary Jo?” She slid to the floor, not able to stand a moment longer. As her head bounced off the hardwood, his name fell from her lips in a whisper. “Justin.”

*

Justin heard a noise and ran to the hallway just in time to see his new wife slide to the floor, her head bouncing off the hardwood like a bouncy ball. “Arianna.” He rushed to her side. Picking-up her lifeless form he carried her to the sofa in the living room, hollering for Mary Jo at the same time.

Mary Jo popped back into the living room. “Where did you find her?”

“She was coming out of the bathroom. She hit her head. Please come check it.”

Mary Jo tsk tsked as she gently moved him out of the way. “Give me some room.”

“Sorry.”

“No problem. What possessed the woman to go to the bathroom alone?”

“I suspect she doesn’t like to feel helpless. At least that’s why I would.”

Mary Jo nodded. “I guess that makes sense. But you need to tell her not to do that anymore. She could get seriously hurt.”

Justin said, “Okay. Does that mean she’s okay?”

She inclined her head. “For now. Her eyes look fine. No sign of concussion.”

He breathed a sigh of relief. The air he’d been holding in since he saw her fall expelling in a loud whoosh. “Good. I’ve been thinking.”

Mary Jo chuckled. “Whoa now, that’s not a good thing.”

Confused, he said “Why?”

“When a man thinks, it can’t be good.” She laughed at her own joke as she pulled a light bedspread over Arianna’s slender frame.

He liked her. She had personality. “Thank you Mary Jo.”

She whipped around, looking surprised. “For?”

“Being you.”

“Also scary. Why are you complimenting me?”

He shook his head, not sure how to take her. “This has been a really hard time for me, but you being here is making it easier to bear.”

Color rose to the older woman’s cheeks. “Thank you.”

“No, thank you.”

She snickered. “Okay, if you say so. “Now, what were you talking about when you said you’d been thinking?”

He rubbed his chin. “I think I should tell my mom what’s going on. Maybe she could help us.”

Mary Jo looked suspicious. “Help us what?”

“Take care of Arianna.”

“How is that?”

Justin didn’t know if this was the best time to tell Mary Jo, but knew he had to do it. “She’s a doctor. A gynecologist.”

“What?”

She sounded outraged and he didn’t blame her. She hadn’t had to come with them. But something had moved him to offer her the opportunity. His mother wasn’t the best mother material, even though she was his mom.

“I know you’re probably wondering why I didn’t call her.” When he got the incline of her head he’d been waiting on he continued, “She’s my mom and I love her, but she’s not the best people person I know. I didn’t want to scare Arianna.”

“Then why are you even entertaining the idea of telling her?’

He scratched at the stubble on his chin. “Arianna is a lot stronger than I first thought.” He held up his hands before she could say anything to him. “I mean mentally. At least in a stubborn-willed kind of way. That’s probably why she’s still alive.”

Mary shook her head and snorted. “Probably. But we have to keep her safe. I’m no mental healthcare professional and even I can see she’s on her last legs. It has to have taken so much stamina to endure what she has.”

“Yes, my Arianna is a fighter.”

“Yes she is. Let’s hope her baby is too. Especially if that horrid man decides to be mean to him.”

Justin nodded. “Arianna doesn’t think he will.”

“Yes, but she’s a new mother and probably wishful thinking.”

Justin dropped his head, sad. How can I face her if something happens to her son?