I wonder if James ( I changed the name to Paris) has died (I changed that to ‘fallen’) yet.”
10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1.
…did her heart just stop?
I can’t believe I am here. I swore I would never come back. But here I am. With my feet planted on the rocks covered with decaying leaves. Here I am at the bottom of the steps. Now I just need to bring myself to climb up.
I close my eyes, clenching my fists at my sides.
I need to do this. There has to be a way. Breathing in, I open my eyes and begin the long trek up the steps. I stop, feeling the gentle breeze waft through my hair. No one knows about this place. No one but my sister, and my parents.
I begin the countdown.
10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1.
…did my heart just stop?
I’m at the top, and there it is. The bench, the view, the mountains, and the branch where my sister hung before she plunged to her death.
I suck in the air.
Just as I left it eight years before, there is the rock lying under the bench, unmoved.
I drop to my knees and edge it to the side. A white piece of paper peeks out from underneath. I stop. What if this doesn’t work? Will I get my hopes up for nothing?
I have to do it.
I grunt, pushing the rock out of place. The paper is there, a little wet, a little dirty, but I grab it and open it. I can still make out the writing.
That was me, my stupid ten year old self who wrote this letter as a joke. My sister always used to love this place. She would lean over the edge of the mountain and feel the breeze pushing against her auburn hair and blue eyes. I would warn her not to fall. She would laugh and dismiss me.
Then one day, it happened. We were talking, and as usual, she leaned over the edge and a gust of wind slapped her back and she slipped, and fell. She hung onto that branch, far down enough for me not to be able to reach her, then she lost her grip and she fell. It was all my fault. I wrote that dumb letter. I didn’t mean it. It was only a joke. But it became true the day that she died. I’ve always blamed myself. I never did anything to stop her. All I did was tell her not to do it. But I never did anything. She was younger then me. It should have been me.
I fumble through my pocket and fish out a pen. Pressing it down onto the bench, my shaking hand manages to write some words onto the bottom of the page.
“Dear 8-year-old self,
Your sister is going to die if you don’t stop her. Do something. Tell her not to lean over the edge of the mountain. Grab her. Please. Do something. It will determine your whole future.
Your 18-year-old-self “
When Paris died, my Mother’s heart broke and a couple weeks later she passed. My Father’s heart was broken twice, and he has never been the same. It’s like he has forgotten who he is. Like he doesn’t care about anything anymore. He barely looks at me anymore. I want to change that. I want to have my old Dad back. If my old self finds this letter, she will know, and she will be able to do something about it.
I look at my watch. It’s a time watch. It enables me to go back to the past. But, if I do, I will never be able to go back to the future again. I won’t know anything about what I did in the future, so I won’t remember my sister dying. I won’t even know about my warning under the rock. It’ll all be by chance. If I don’t find the paper and Paris falls, I’ll have to live the sorrow over again. If I find the paper, everything will go back to normal. I fold up the paper and stick it under the bench, placing the rock on top of it.
I place my thumb and index finger on the face of my watch and twist clockwise. Then, I pull out the tab, twist my fingers anti-clockwise, twist the tab to the time frame of 8:00 and push the tab back in. I glance around, close my eyes and feel myself swaying.
My eyes flutter open. Ah. Another beautiful day. I glance out the already open window, blinking to take the blurriness away.
I push the covers of my chest and kick my feet up, sliding of the side of the bed and feeling the soft carpet beneath my feet.
I smile. My younger sister Paris is still sprawled across the bed, her hair spread around her small face like the mane of a lion. The sheets are half pushed of her, and her leg, covered in the cloth of mint green pajamas is hanging of the edge of the bed, while her arm is propped up against the wall.
I grin. It’s Saturday. A beautiful time of the week.
A head sticks in the doorway. “How are my lovely girls this morning?” It’s my Dad. His eyes twinkle. “Ready for another day?”
I nod and grin. He comes over and gives me a hug, despite my tousled hair, squinty eyes and bad morning breath. “How’s my little girl?” he picks me up, despite me already being ten years old, and swings me around. I giggle. “Good. And how are you, Daddy?”
“As bright as ever!” he said, kissing my cheek and placing me down.
I love my Daddy. He is the funnest, happiest guy I have ever seen. I hear the familiar aroma of bacon and egg drifting into my room, and I guess Mom is in the kitchen getting breakfast ready. “Get dressed now.” Dad says. He walks over to Paris, and shakes her shoulder gently. “Paris, honey,” he says, “Wake up!”
Paris stirs. Her eyes open, she smiles when she sees Dad, then she turns around and I can see her chest lifting heavily like it does when she’s fast asleep.
“Let her sleep for a little while longer.” Dad winks. He grabs my yesterday clothes of the floor and chucks them at me. I laugh, and he walks out the door. I hear his heavy slippers hitting the wooden stairs.
I slip into my clothes, and troop down the stairs.
Life is good. I have funny parents, a beautiful little sister, a great home, nothing bad could ever happen.
Breakfast is over, and Paris has already been sitting with us for ten minutes. She asks Mom if we can go for a walk in the forest.
She says yes.
I know what my sister means. She wants to go ‘the bench’. The place where we always go and talk about things that a eight year old and a ten year old talk about. I grin.
“Just be careful.” Dad says. “I don’t want you hurting yourselves.”
So a few minutes later Paris and I are walking through the forest, holding hands and talking about the future. Roses and other flowers adorn the forest.
We never talk about this. I don’t know why we are now. We usually talk about our gardens, or our collection of barbie dolls. But not today. I like this. Paris is saying how she wants to have ten children. I laugh.
“You don’t want that.”
“Yes I do.” Paris says. “I could even have twenty!”
“I couldn’t.” I say. I look at her. “What if I forgot about you?”
“I would never forget about you.” Paris says. She is two years younger then me, but she is sometimes like my older sister, and she is almost as tall as I am.
I smile. “I love you.” Paris squeezes my hand. We reach the stairs and we climb up.
We reach the top, and I immediately sit down, the view of the mountains seeping in.
I know what Paris will do. She will go right to the edge of the mountain and dream of flying. And I will look quickly over my shoulder and tell her to be careful.
She goes to the edge and leans forward a little. “This is soooo pretty, Kari!”
“Be careful, Paris! Someday you’ll fall!” I say. My foot kicks a rock underneath the bench. I remember the note that I wrote there. I roll my eyes. I move the rock out of place and pick up the paper. My eyes scan it, and they reach the bottom. Down there, is something I never wrote. It’s a warning. From me. Eight years from now. I look up and turn around. “Paris!” I yell.
My yell frightens her and she titters and screams. I leap up and grab her hand, pulling her up. “Don’t do that, Paris!!” I scold her. “I told you one day you will fall!” I say, pulling her into a hug. I can feel her body shaking against me.
She nods. “I won’t.”
I smile. Before our walk home, I take the paper from under the rock. The writings below have disappeared. I breath heavily. Closing my eyes, I rip it up and crumple the pieces in my hand. I sprinkle them over the cliff, careful not to get to close the edge.
“What was that, Kari?” Paris asks.
“Oh, nothing.” I say. “Don’t do that anymore, okay?”
My heart is still beating. I think an angel put those words there. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have tried to stop my sister.
Well, I hope you liked that! It was a little weird, but oh well. 😉 😀
Hi everyone, I’ve decided to change my review format. The other wasn’t workin’ for me.
Title: Hidden In Harmony
Series (if applicable): Harmony Series
Era (if applicable): 21st Century
Author: JR Thompson
Genre/s: Christian fiction, mystery
I would say the content rating is about 3. There is human trafficking, a little romance which is not a big part of the book, just kissing on the cheek and hugging between husband and wife, character cheating on wife, cannibalism, death.
Age-range: For older teenagers, about 14+
Overall rating: 3.5 stars
Source: I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.
HE NEEDED HELP. The Russell family came home one evening to find an uninvited visitor sleeping on their porch. Brock appeared to be quite harmless.
SO THEY TOOK HIM IN. Knowing the Bible says they are to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, the Russells take Brock into their own home and quickly befriend him, only to find out he has formerly been accused of a horrifying act.
AND TRIED TO BE LOYAL. The Russells do not believe in allowing rumors to tell them who to befriend or who to turn away. They decide to do some detective work and find out about a decade worth of unexplained disappearances in the town Brock was originally from.
BUT IT COST THEM BIG TIME! Threats, violence, death, and kidnappings haunt the Russells as someone desperately attempts to stop their investigative efforts.
When I started reading this book, I was thinking, ‘boy, I’m not gonna like this’. But as I read on… I thought it was pretty good.
At the beginning, the dialogue was a little unrealistic, and it took me a while to actually like the characters.
And what is up with Remington? He is supposed to be 13 years old, but instead, he acts like a 5 year old, and supposedly knows a lot about the bible. He is the worst character I’ve ever seen. He didn’t know how people sometimes become homeless and his Dad had a hard time explaining it to him because Remmy was acting plain like a 5 year old. And when he fell over? What? It says, “he didn’t cry. Didn’t even say ‘ouch’.” What, is he supposed to?
Alayna, at the beginning, I didn’t like at all, but then I read on, she was an okay typical mother. Nikki certainly brought some life to the characters. I did like her, most of the time.
I liked Brock, he was probably my favorite character, but I didn’t like how he brought Nikki on a first date when he was still married. I actually had no idea he was still married. I thought he was divorced, and his wife had left him after he was accused of wrong doings. Is that just me, or did the author fail to mention this? Apparently he was still married. Cheating on your wife is horrible.
I appreciated how much Collin turned to God for help, but sometimes it was just too much. I especially didn’t like how he made some poor decisions when trying to get his son back, such as betraying the lives of 13 boys into human trafficking. What’s up with that? I think he certainly could have come up with something else. In the end, what happened to those boys??
But, on the good side, I did warm up to some of these characters (not naming anyone *coughs* Remmy), and the plot was absolutely wonderful. The ending was put together nicely.
I did accuse the wrong characters of being the villian, including Victoria and Nikki, (HAHA). Soooo, terrific plot and great mystery. 😉
The writing, well, I don’t usually pay attention to writing unless it’s terrific, or if it’s absolutely terrible. Well, the writing in this book was pretty good. This is a book worth reading…you’ll enjoy the mystery.
As I said in my last post, I’m hoping/trying to get back on my schedule, but my sister just got married so I had been helping with all the preparations. Sorry the pictures are kind of bad. 😉 Anyway, here we go!
|Prompts I used/points|
“Have you ever dreamed of flying?”
I watched as everything faded before my eyes.
This could not be happening.
Photo/artwork points: 18
Total points: 22
I watch as everything fades before my eyes. As we drive down our rocky hill I watch as I see the blue fence of our porch and the green of our almond trees shift from view.
This can not be happening.
Have I ever dreamed of flying? Of course I have. Who hasn’t? Who hasn’t dreamed of soaring above the clouds; free; happy; away from the troubles of the rest of the world? No one. No one that I know of. Each person I have ever met wants to get away.
But now, I want to stay put on the ground. I want to walk on the same grass where I took my first step.
Climb up the same tree where I marked the highest branch as my own. I want to live the rest of my childhood here. I want to have the same fun and adventure I had for my first years. I don’t want to leave. I see the yellow on the wattle tree beside our swing set fade into a blur, and our plum tree loaded with fresh plums slowly disappears.
I feel like I’m a tiny person trapped in a place where I don’t belong. Longing to be where I do belong.
Where the only things that hear my singing is the trees. Where when I feel like crying; I can, without any ears to hear me. Where when I’m happy, I can laugh my feelings out to the azure sky.
The memories of our picnics under the creamy clouds, the sunsets in the evening, and the sunrise, both beautiful scenes we could see above the mountain peaks from our windows.
I remember our raft where we floated on our pond, fishing out yabbies in our nets, and wading across our driveway when the rocks below overflowed.
I hear the signal of our car flick to the right, and we turn, leaving the gate, the pond, the rocks, the trees, and my home.
But then I smile. At least I can still remember all the memories. At least, wherever I go, I can make new memories. New cherished moments. And whatever time brings, this place will always be in my heart.
2) Maybe it was just one minute. Or just one second. Or maybe one microsecond.
It whipped past my memory WAY too fast.
3) “Do you even know how to do this?!”
“I don’t know. I’ve never tried to kidnap and hold someone underwater before.”
“Jackson!” the voice screamed. “Jackson Herald, get back here!”
Jackson jerked his bike to the right as a mother with a pram filled with three kids took up half the street. “Watch it!” the Mom shot him an angry glance. Her hair bushed over her face and the blond locks tangled.
“Sorry!” he called back, shooting a glance over his shoulder. She looked tired. Better give her a break.
His legs pushed down on the pedals, his helmet lolling back and forth across his head as he rode. The boy held his head up, feeling the wind whip through his dark hair. When he rode his bike, he felt free. It was the only thing his father left for him before he took off. He had never met his mother.
The yell and the sound of shoes slapping the pavement behind him broke his thoughts. He remembered why he was riding in the first place. It was his history teacher at the Home For Boys. Poor fella couldn’t get anything out of the teenager. This wasn’t the first time Jackson had run from his lessons.
The shoes to the pavement stopped, and Jackson whipped around to see his history teacher standing there, his lips moving as if muttering a prayer and his fists clenched at his sides.
He shook his head and turned around, just as his bike slammed into a pole and toppled of the front of the bike, falling headfirst into the water. He was still conscious when he smacked the surface of the water and saw his bike; the only memory of his father, plunge in after him.
Jackson dove for his bike, his fingers stretching out to grab the handlebars of his bike. It slipped from his grasp. No. He thought. His tears mixed with the salty water. Air, was all he could think about for a few seconds. Shooting one last glance at his bike sinking to the bottom, he pushed his arms against the water as the surface came closer.
He wasn’t moving. Why am I not moving? The surface of the water wasn’t getting any closer. In fact, it was getting farther. NO!
He felt arms grasp tighter around his waist, and then water flooded into his nose and everything turned black.
Maybe it was just one minute. Or just one second. Or maybe one microsecond.
It whipped past his memory way too fast.
All he could remember was Mr. Haynes, his history teacher standing on the street as he rode away from him. Then he remembered falling. And that’s all.
His eyes fluttered open. “My bike.”
A face appeared in front of him. Coal black hair floated around the frame, and blue eyes stared at him.
Jackson tried to scramble back, but he only grunted as rough material ripped at his wrists and ankles. “What the-”
The girl that was staring at him before was now sitting on what looked like a giant shell. She held a sword like thing in her hand, the bottom covered with moss, serving as a handle.
“Am I in-” he paused. “Water?”
The girl nodded. “Yes.” And that’s when I noticed her scaly mermaid tail, shimmering and flicking around underneath her.
“You’re a- mermaid?”
She just looked at me.
“Why am I in- in vines? And…how am I not dead?”
“You’re a spy. You bring war. Why would you not be bound? And if you prefer to be dead, I can make that happen.” She approached him, the point of her sword aimed for his chest.
“No no no!” he tried to scramble back. Then he remembered. “You tried to pull me back under! And I’m the one bringing war? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“But you’re not dead.” She said.
“But neither are you.”
“I might be dead if you had found me first.”
“But instead I’m going to be dead?”
The mermaid looked at me. “You’ve come to bring war. You’re a spy.” She floated closer to him, and he felt the ripple of the water against his skin and instinctively held his breath. “Is that true?”
“No!” Jackson’s eyes shot to his side where a sharp stone lay, fixed to the rock he sat on. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Keeping his eyes on the mermaid, he slowly inched closer to the stone.
She turned her back on him for a minute, and he edged closer, rubbing his bindings against the stone as best as he could in water. Snap! Hands free, he undid the vines on his feet. The mermaid suddenly turned around, and he pushed himself of the rock with his legs.
Bang! Jackson hit a wall. “What?” he turned around, his head smarting. Flinging himself at the mermaid, he pummeled her to the rock floor, taking her by surprise. “How do I get out of here?” he demanded, pressing his hands down hard on her wrists.
In a swift motion, the mermaid snapped her arm down, smashing her tail into his back. She pointed the tip of her sword at his neck. “Perhaps I was mistaken. Even if you had found me first, you would still be dead.”
“Do you even know how to do this?” Jackson tried to laugh. “Keep someone hostage?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never tried to kidnap and hold someone before.” The mermaid sneered. “Have you ever been in a situation like this? If you were, you would know never to go on top of your opponent like that. I will do anything to keep my people safe. You will tell me the plans of your master, or I will kill you.”
TA DA! Yes, I know, that was terrible. Shocking. Truly horrible. *sighs* Oh well. That was fun.
Sorry Team Lavender, that I don’t have any pictures or drawings to go with this. 😦
Good luck to all the other teams as well!
P.S Sorry for the delay to all the people who asked to swap buttons. I’ll get your buttons up soon!!