Abbeville, AL is a little town nestled between the small town of Headland, AL and the tourist city of Eufaula, AL. It is a town where much of the population put a high emphasis on faith and family. Like many cities in the South, life is centered around church, school, and football. Churches and schools in these rural cities were usually small and family run. Although in churches, people come and go, and pastors generally serve from two to seven years, usually two or three families have a long history in the church and are always representative of the deacon board, pulpit community, treasury ministry, and leadership teams. In small, rural towns like Abbeville, everyone knows everyone. Many of these towns usually have an unspoken code of secrecy and confidentiality. Even if there are people who don’t like each other, they are a close knit group of people. They will gossip all day long about each other, but when it comes to exposing someone for a crime or injustice, it usually won’t happen. The members of and community surrounding Lake Community Baptist Church was just such an example.
He was never sure of how it started… Maybe it was after he decided not to go with his mother on their usual field trips to the local grocery store every Wednesday morning. He could never forget her wearing that same lavender dress she had received from her older sister Carol on Christmas and her peach scented perfume him and his dad had picked out for her last Mother’s Day. Ever since he watched Disney’s 1992 movie Aladdin, she would always let him pick three items from the shelves he could reach with his tiny arms, but when he had asked her to reach for things above his level, she would always tell him, “Jake, you should never rely on others to take you to where you want to be in life. You’ll get there.”
I walked through the deserted house, curious if I could find anything worth selling. In the far end of the house, I heard a creak of a board and my heart immediately jumped into my throat. I got a hold of my nerves by telling myself that there was nothing to fear. All of a sudden, I saw a shadow dart across the wall and disappear into the next room. Something drew me towards it, probably curiosity or stupidity.
It is a mid-summer morning in the chaparral country of South Texas, about a day’s ride from the Mexican border. A young girl of about 10 stands on the side of a hill, on a foot-worn path that separates green-brown patches of weeds and grass.
Ryan’s mother pushed open the door to her daughter’s bedroom. The child lay still in her bed, her chest slowly rising with each breath. She smiled softly, taking in the moment. Her daughter slept innocently and she dreaded waking her, yet today was her daughter’s first day of second grade at a new school. She knew how stressful first days were and she wanted to make sure her daughter filled her belly and was fully prepared.
A Junction in the Country
The creature frozen in place lies there on the ground. Breathing slightly, emulating how I felt with the wound in my side. Weak, growing colder by the minute becoming more and more lifeless. I stared into the eyes of the creature, seeing the spark of gold in them now seemed to be fleeting away with every breath that expelled from both of our bodies. I wanted to speak, I wanted to comfort it, for it was obvious that we were connected somehow and knowing that it was in the same pain I was in made me want to take all the pain only onto myself. I wanted to spare this poor creature from the agony, that would lead to a slow death.
Claire would always remember the day she met the love of her life. It was sunny, warm and beautiful, and while she did prefer cloudy days... there was just something about that day in particular that was different. She fell in love with him the moment she met him. His smile, his beautiful blue eyes, everything about him just drew her in and she couldn't find her way back out. He was everything she ever wanted and needed in another human being, and it was perfect. Up until that day, she didn't really believe in soulmates or love at first sight, but in a matter of minutes she was proven wrong on all counts. He was her other half. She knew that without a doubt. Claire would never forget the warmth of the sun on her face, or the goosebumps when his hand took hers for the first time. It was magical.
My days are numbered. That much I am sure of. Oppressive, artificial heat from above beats down onto my skin. Everything about my life is intensive. I am trapped here, with so many others, whose faces I see one day and they are gone the next. I look across our prison and connect with a mother with blue eyes and long lashes. She's beautiful, and so full of pain, like myself.
Plutarch Octavius was born into one of the wealthiest families in all of Europe. All the other noble families within a fortnight’s journey arrived to witness the birth of a new elite. Plutarch had the blackest hair that anybody had ever seen, eyes that looked like ice, and the fairest skin in all of the country, and possibly the world. Everyone in England with a title knew Plutarch and his family, for they were rumored to be the descendants of an Ancient Roman house. As a youth, he was admired, almost worshipped, by elites. He supped with royal families from all over the world; he was educated by the greatest physicians, philosophers, historians, mathematicians, and holy men. He was destined to inherit the fortune and title of his family, given the fact the he was an only child, and the only child of his father, the sole presumptive of the family’s assets. He was meant for greatness since birth; however, fate took a darker course of action.