Sacrifice is the mother of everything.

Without sacrifice, you can’t get what you want in your life.

Your success always demands great sacrifice from you.

Are you ready for that?

Ask yourself.

Then you’ll know how to sacrifice in your life.

Source: POSITIVE THOUGHTS OF SELF-MOTIVATION! Only you can motivate yourself… Only you can bring positive changes in your life…. Birister Sharma


Thank you for reading. Let us make a beautiful world together. God bless!

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COPYRIGHT © Shubham Verma


Welcome Day Three of Walking

Some notes about my daily walks. One it is really hard not to take a bunch of pictures and cheat, posting them on days I don’t walk. This would be self defeating. I have set a limit on myself: three to six pictures a day. Two I love where I live. I wave at every car passing me. Today 6 out of 8 drivers waved back. Country/Small Town people are pretty friendly. Lastly, I measure my distance by mailboxes. My phone has the Samsung Health App which measures my actual distance and time. What I do is pick a mailbox up a head and walk until I get to it. Each day I pick a further out mailbox.

So without anymore delay, today’s pictures:


The Daily Trees to inspire. From this angle they look like they are in line but they are not.


This is a path into the woods I would like to walk but I am not sure who owns the property.


First Wooly Warm of Autumn. Anyone know the folklore about the coloration and Winter?


A turtle cross in the road. This folklore I know, when turtles cross the road it means rain is coming.


BONUS PIC: My best friend’s two year old not ready to face

Another Stab at Self Motivation

Another hiatus. I apologize.

However, I am going to try some new techniques for self motivation and being consistent in my blogging/social media.

So I present the first of Daily Walks. These will be pictures from my morning walks. Since I live on a Country Road they may get interesting. One note: it has been raining a lot where I live as of late. Some days the pictures might simply be of my time and miles on the treadmill.

This was just an odd tree in the middle of the field. Maybe it will inspire someone to write a story or poem.

You can’t see it that well but this person put their satellite dish in the brush for some reason. There was another satellite dish laying on the ground a few yards away and a third dish which looked like it might be the working one. It was more in the open at the edge of their front yard.

I thought this flower was pretty. Even weeds can add color to your life.

Good Day or Bad Day

Your Agreement With Reality Defines Your Life…

The Eye 👀 Sees Only What The Mind💟 Is Prepared To Comprehend…

Everything Is Created Twice, First In The Mind And Then In Reality…

So Always Pay Attention To The Thoughts That You Choose, Because only a Positive Mind Will Give You A Positive Life!!


There is No definition for a Good Day or a Bad Day …..
It all depends on You and your thoughts,
Either You Rule the Day or The Day Rules You ..

The Truth Shall Set You Free

Grayson stood there in shackles. His hands chained to his orange jumpsuit. The manacles on his ankles bit into his flesh each moment he tried to move his legs too far. Not more than five feet to his right stood Caleb’s mother. Tears streamed down her face. Between them stood his lawyer and the District Attorney. Sheriff deputies stood vigil around the group. Nobody knew what the judge would say.

The judge’s voice was firm, “Mrs. James. You may address the court, but not the defendant. The court is aware of your loss and has compassion for your situation, but I need to remind you that this is still a courtroom and we need to maintain order.”

“Thank you, your Honor,” said Mrs. James.

Time stood still for Grayson. Judge Webb was in his mid-sixties. He had been a fair judge throughout the trial. Grayson had only had a limited dialog with the judge, but the man always seemed respectful, even though he had every right not to be. Judge Webb turned his eyes towards Grayson, “Young man, the words I just spoke to the victim’s family apply to you too.”

Grayson shuffled his feet and said, “Yes, sir,” amid the rattling of this chains.

Although Mrs. James was supposed to address the court, she looked squarely at Grayson. Grayson could not stop himself from looking in her direction. Mrs. James’ long gray hair was frazzled and looked as though she had not taken a brush to it in days. Her kind blue eyes that had once looked upon him as a child pooled up with tears of sorrow. Black circles and sunken cheeks made Mrs. James appear older, sicker, closer to death. One good look and Grayson wanted to burst out with the truth, but he would not dare. He had given Caleb his solemn word. Some might call him innocent, but Grayson knew he was guilty.

“Why would you shoot him?” asked Mrs. James.

“Address the court,” said the judge.

Grayson looked up at the judge, “Please, your Honor, it’s okay. She has a right to ask me.”

Grayson turned back to Mrs. James. “Ma’am, your son was a brother to me. We had been together through school, the Army, the middle east, and back home again. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for your son.”

Mrs. James’ tired eyes narrowed as she spoke, “Then why would you kill him?”

Grayson sighed. He could feel the tears flowing down his cheeks. He wished he could reach his face to wipe them away. His defense attorney took a tissue from her purse and wiped them for him. “I wish I could tell you,” said Grayson, “I do, but I made a promise.”

“What kind of promise, Grayson? I thought we were like family.” Mrs. James voiced strained against her frustration and grief.

Grayson shook his head, “I’m sorry ma’am. It’s best if Y’all just put me down like Caleb.”

Mrs. James began to weep, and the judge interjected. “I think that’s enough of the victim statement.”

The judge’s voice deepened and projected farther as he took on a firm, magisterial tone. “Mr. Grayson, this court finds you,” suddenly the rear doors burst opened on the closed hearing. Two deputies stepped in front of a young lady who was smartly dressed and carrying a briefcase in one hand, and a piece of paper in another. The DA spoke up quickly. “I’m sorry, everyone. Your honor, she’s part of my staff.” The District Attorney looked towards the commotion at the rear of the courtroom and raised her voice, “Jenny, this had better be life and death.”

Jenny nodded her head furiously.

The DA turned back to the judge. “Please, if I might have the court’s indulgence, just five minutes. Jenny wouldn’t cause a scene if it weren’t important.”

“Five minutes,” said the judge.

Grayson was led back to his seat behind the defendant’s table. The DA walked to the back of the courtroom to meet with Jenny.  Grayson sat quietly while his defense attorney, Kim reviewed some notes she had written in her plea to avoid the death penalty. Only a minute had passed when the DA asked Kim to join her in the back of the room.

The judge returned six minutes after leaving the courtroom. The attorneys were behind their respective tables, and Mrs. James sat behind the DA with Jenny consoling her. The DA remained standing as everyone sat down with the judge. “Your honor, if it pleases the court. Crucial evidence has come to our attention that we must share.”

Judge Webb raised an eyebrow and said, “I don’t think you need to add anything new to prove your case, Ms. Willis.”

“It’s not for my case, your Honor, it’s for the defense.”

Judge Webb paused, let out a breath and invited the lawyers to the bench.

Grayson began to tap his feet. Why don’t we end this? Haven’t I been tortured enough? Just convict me and put me away already, he thought to himself.

The attorneys returned, and Kim remained standing. She motioned for Grayson to stand up.

“Mr. Grayson Long, it has come to the court’s attention that you did not, in fact, shoot the defendant but attempted to stop him from shooting himself.”

A wave of nausea swept over Grayson. How could they have found out? He never said a word to anyone. “Who told you that?”

The judge frowned at Grayson, “Why does that matter young man?”

“I gave Caleb my word nobody would ever know. I couldn’t get to him in time to stop him, but I could at least keep his reputation intact. It’s the least I could do. I tried to stop him, but I was too slow getting the door opened. I should have been holding that stupid key. I should have known he would lock the door. I lost precious time having to dig through my pockets to find that apartment key. Seconds, I was only a few seconds too late. The only thing I could do was make him a promise to keep things a secret and tell him I loved him as he took his last breath.”

“You risked the gallows because you didn’t have a key in your hand? Young man, you could have been executed for something that isn’t your fault,” said Judge Webb.

Grayson shrugged, “Everybody dies sometime.”

Judge Webb thought for a moment and then nodded his head. His magisterial tone returned, “It is the order of this court, in agreement with the District Attorney, that this case is dismissed, and all documents and records of evidence associated with said case be sealed. Additionally, any arrests, fines or other items associated with this case and Mr. Grayson Long are to be expunged. We’re adjourned.”

“What about Caleb?” pleaded Grayson. “I made a promise!”

Kim put her arm on Caleb’s shoulder, “Don’t worry. We are going to say the weapon accidentally discharged moments before you arrived for a visit. We won’t release all the security camera footage the exterminator found when he was up in the attic. He was the person who found the hidden security camera with the memory stick still inside it.”

Mrs. James walked over. As soon as the chains were free, she threw her arms around Grayson and wept into his shoulder. Her muffled voice was barely audible through her sobbing. “Thank you. Thank you for honoring my son. I prayed you hadn’t done it. You were like a brother to Caleb and a son to me. I feared I had lost both my sons.”

Grayson began to cry, and he and Mrs. James held each other tight. word of the day: magisterial

Author: “Joshua and the Shadow of Death”

  • Releasing October 30, 2018

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Twitter: @gmacwriter





A Lonely Place

Ethan sat by the quiet stream. The bubbling brook brought peace to his soul. A gentle breeze blew through the freshly leafed Spring trees. Green ferns graced the edges of the crystal-clear water that ran over the rocks. Eastern blue star flowers dotted the sides of the woods. Poplar trees and oaks populated much of the forest around Ethan. He sat there on his favorite rock pondering what he was going to do next with his life.

Caroline had always been his true love, and when they married, he knew he would never need anyone else. Their life together had been everything he dreamed it would be. Although both worked to make ends meet, they had managed to always have the weekends free together. Love filled their little two-bedroom apartment, and strangers quickly became friends on their weekend adventures to nearby tourist attractions.

Unfortunately, all that changed when Mason appeared. He was a handsome rogue who had been assigned as Caroline’s boss at the bank branch where she worked. At first, Caroline would mention him almost daily when telling Ethan about her workday. However, as the weeks went by, she stopped saying his name. At first, Ethan assumed Mason had settled into his job, and Caroline had less interaction with him. Then one day Ethan surprised Caroline and showed up at her workplace to take her out to lunch. He was shocked to learn that Mason and Caroline had already left for lunch together. The bank teller behind the counter mentioned they often had lunches together.

Ethan set aside his jealousy, afraid of what it could mean. It wasn’t until that fateful day a week ago that all his fears became true. Caroline was sorry and wept bitterly, but she had fallen in love with Mason. Ethan’s heart was broken, but he let her go. In the end, her happiness was all that mattered to him. Although his chest felt hollow inside when she walked out the door, he knew he was doing the right thing.

It took less than two days for Mason to reject Caroline. She called Ethan crying on the phone from a hotel in town. Caroline sobbed and told him how Mason had walked into the hotel with another woman under his arm. Caroline knew Ethan had no reason to help her or even comfort her, but she had taken the chance and begged his forgiveness. Now, Ethan sat in his quiet place in the woods. He watched the sunlight play in the shadows of the trees and considered his options.

The footsteps behind Ethan were not unexpected. In fact, they were five minutes late. Each step was determined but slow. It seemed the person he had invited into his special place was not used to walking a mile up a muddy path.

“There better be a darn good reason you called me up here.” Mason’s arrogant voice immediately started a rage inside of Ethan soul, but Ethan controlled himself.

“I thought we would talk privately, in a relaxed environment,” replied Ethan.

“Talk about what? I don’t have anything to say to you. The only reason I came here was that you said Caroline was thinking about talking to Michelle. I don’t need that witch chatting up my new girlfriend.”

Ethan wanted to end him now, but he had to give Mason a chance. He had to give himself a chance. To provide Mason with what he deserved would cost him a piece of his own soul. Ethan continued, “I may have lied about that.”

“Lied?” Mason’s voice was a combination of annoyance and anger. “What was your plan? Bring me up here and kill me?”

Ethan forced a laugh from his tightening chest, and responded, “You really are a makebate.”

He could hear Mason begin to step closer, and Ethan finally turned to face him. Ethan nearly burst out laughing. The man had hiked up the path wearing khakis and a button-down blue business shirt. His once shiny Italian leather shoes were now scuffed and stained with red clay. Mason was apparently out of his element. Ethan stood, and Mason stopped less than two feet away from his face.

“I should punch you in the mouth right here,” growled Mason. “You dragged me all the way up here, and for what? Because your wife was a slut? I did you a favor. She was so easy to seduce. All I had to promise were all the things you couldn’t give her.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

Mason took a step back and crossed his arms. With a smirk on his face, he continued. “All you guys are the same. You assume your relationships are perfect, but nobody’s perfect. You had money issues, there were nights you were too tired to pay attention to her, and you’d stop complimenting her as often as you use to. All I had to do was promise her wealth and give her the attention she missed. It works every time.”

“But why did you break her heart?” Asked Ethan. “She loved you, and you used her.”

“Of course, I used her,” said Mason. “That’s the point, and now I’m using Michelle. They give me a little happiness, and I return the favor.”

“You destroy lives.” Said Ethan.

“They destroyed themselves.” Said Mason dismissively.

Ethan had had enough. “Come with me over here a moment.”

Mason raised his eyebrow with suspicion, “Why would I do that?”

“If I were going to kill you I would’ve already done it.” Said Ethan. “I just want to show you something that Caroline had hidden out here the concerns you.”

Mason gave a quick nod and followed Ethan. They walked 5 yards downstream, and Ethan gave a kick to a stick that was leaning into a bush sitting next to the edge of the water. A tree limb shot into the air with a whoosh. Mason screamed as he found himself hanging upside down four feet above the ground.

“What do you think you’re doing? I thought you weren’t going to kill me. Get me down, or I’ll call the police.”

Ethan tilted his head slightly upside down and looked Mason in the eye. “Oh, I’m not going to kill you, and you’re not calling the police.” Ethan reached into Mason’s front pocket and grabbed the cell phone that was dangling out. Then he pulled the twine out of his own pocket and quickly tied Mason’s hands to his belt. Mason yelled and cursed, and attempted to fight back, but his office physique offered little defense.

“How long do you intend to keep me here?” asked Mason through his tears.

Ethan looked down at Mason and smiled. Then he said, “Long enough.” Ethan then turned and began walking back the way they had come.

“Long enough for what?” yelled Mason as he sobbed.

Ethan turned and answered, “Long enough for the bears. They’ve recently come out of hibernation. They always come here for water, and to forage for food. Don’t worry, you probably won’t last more than a few hours before they finally show up.”

“You can’t do this!” Cried out, Mason.

Ethan didn’t respond. He just turned back and whistled to himself as he strolled down the path back to his car. word of the day – makebate

Dead but not Lost

Charles sat on the dark blue love seat. The cream-colored walls appeared as lifeless as he felt.  He looked over at Austin’s dead body lying inside the dark cherry laminated casket. The funeral home was quiet. Charles knew the room would fill with friends and well-wishers in a few hours. Those people would be his future, but for now, he wanted to mourn the past. Charles needed to focus on his best friend.

Charles stood up and walked over to the casket. He grasped hold of the edges of the coffin. The mortician’s makeup did an admirable job of hiding the decay of death. In many ways, Austin appeared to be sleeping, and in other ways, the body in the box did not look like Austin at all. “Why did you leave me? We were going to grow old together and take over the world. You’re only thirty. How is that fair?”

Charles pushed himself away. He looked up at the white ceiling. “Why? What was the point of a heart attack at thirty? Do you know Ella can’t even make it because she is too broken up? What kind of God are you? Don’t you see what you let happen?”

“I do.”

Charles gasped and spun around. A man with a gray flowing beard and matching hair stood before Charles. His charcoal suit looked much like those worn by the employees. “Who are you?”

“You should know. You were talking to me.”

Charles stormed over to the man and stood eye to eye with him. “Don’t you mock me, not today,” said Charles in a pained voice.

“I’m not. Take my hand.”

The stranger’s hand grabbed Charles’, and energy surged up Charles’ arm. He felt light-headed, and then he felt like he was flying. Gravity itself seemed to give way, and his body seemed to be as light as a feather. The room around Charles felt as though it melted away, but he could still see it as if they were looking through an old television set.

“Where are we?” asked Charles.

“For the moment you are transmundane. You are outside of space and time. We are standing in my house.”

Peace and joy seemed to surround and envelope Charles’ body. He looked down, and his black suit had been replaced by a white one. Except, this was not a suit or even his old body. He was something more. Something he had not expected but loved being.

An idea popped into Charles mind, “Can we go back? Can I see Austin again?”

“Why would you want to?”

Austin’s familiar voice emanated from behind Charles, and he spun around to see Austin standing behind him. It then dawned on Charles that nobody seemed to be touching the floor. Everyone just appeared to be there. The glow before Charles was distinctly Austin, and yet nothing like he had been.

“I’ve missed you, my friend. Ella misses you too.” Charles said with joy in his voice. He could not explain it, but the grief that had taken hold was nowhere to be found inside his heart.

“I don’t miss Austin.” Ella’s familiar voice caught Charles off guard, and he watched her glide next to Austin.

“I don’t understand. Have you died too?”

The stranger’s voice interjected. “Focus Charles. Look around you.” Charles began to recognize others. His parents, friends, even people he had never met but seemed to know him.

Charles wanted to be afraid or even confused, but none of those feelings seemed to exist. Although he did not need to know, Charles felt the need to ask, “How is everyone here?”

The man smiled, “As I told you. We are outside the visible world. Everything is now. There is no yesterday or tomorrow. There is no decay, birth, or death. There is only now. Do you understand?”

Charles did understand. Life would not end for those with hope. God was everywhere because of who He is. The earth and time were not sources of reality, but the outlier. When he was ready, he would be born into the eternal existence. Charles closed his eyes and breathed in the revelation. He let out his breath and opened his eyes.

Austin’s lifeless still laid before him. The casket felt hard and cold in Charles’ hands once more. Charles began to weep, but not in bitterness. He cried at his separation from his friend and the real life that awaited him.

“Here you are.” a familiar voice caught Charles’ attention. The stranger stood before him with some tissues.

“You’re back,” said Charles excitedly.

The stranger looked confused and a little embarrassed. “I’m sorry, I don’t believe we have met, but I do have that kind of face. I’m Joshua, one of the assistant directors here at the funeral home. I wanted to see if there is anything you will need for this afternoon’s visitation.”

Charles stared into Joshua’s blue eyes. They were peaceful but did not have the light shining behind them that he had seen with the stranger. Charles stuck out his right hand. “Thank you.” The two men shook hands.  “I believe I have everything I need now,” said Charles.

“I’m very pleased to hear that. If you’ll excuse me, I have others to attend to.” with that, Joshua left the room.

Charles went to grab another tissue and realized the room had no boxes available. He hurried into the hall to catch Joshua, but he was gone. Charles continued down the hallway to the office. Inside he found the funeral home director. “Excuse me, Alice, we are going to need tissue boxes for the visitation.”

“Of course, is there anything else you might need?” asked Alice.

Charles shook his head. “No. Joshua already came by and checked on things, but I didn’t realize we needed tissues at the time.”

“Who’s Joshua?” asked Alice.

“Your assistant director.”

“I don’t have anyone working here named Joshua.” Alice rose quickly out of her chair. “Where did he go?”

“He came down this direction.” the two left her office and Charles followed Alice on a quick survey of the visiting areas.

“I need to check our security files,” said Alice. Charles continued to follow back to her office. “You don’t need to follow me, I’ll be okay,” said Alice.

“That’s alright, said Charles. I’m curious to see where he went.”

“I’m afraid there’s no audio,” said Alice. The security camera in Austin’s room showed Charles on the couch, and then next to the body of his friend. Charles watched himself face the side of the empty room, and then exit into the hall.

Alice nodded and with a hint of joy said, “Oh, that Joshua. I should have known.”

“What did I see?” asked Charles with a quiver of fear in his voice. “Was that a ghost?”

Alice turned around and faced Charles, “No, that is no ghost, but you’ll have to figure the rest out yourself.”

Charles remembered being with his friend and the peace and love. With a smile on his lips, he said, “I think I know.” word of the day – transmundane

Left but Not Alone

Lewis didn’t mind being called a benedict. After all, it was true. He had enjoyed the bachelor life until Marcia came into his life. Now here he stood before two hundred mutual friends, waiting to say his vows with the only woman he had ever truly loved. Lewis’ best friend Jack stood next to him sweating. Clearly, being forty-five and fitting into a tuxedo was not easy. Jack’s neck slightly overlapped his color, and his cummerbund strained against his stomach.

Lewis leaned over to Jack and whispered, “Why didn’t you rent a tux?”

“I didn’t see the point since I own this one,” replied Jack.

“It doesn’t fit.”

Jack’s voice sounded strained, “Yes it does, it’s just a little tight.”

Lewis raised his eyebrow, and the two men had to turn away from one another as they stifled their laughter. Lewis noticed John standing by the doorway at the front of the church. He discretely waved his hand to get Lewis’ attention. Unlike Jack, John had rented his outfit and the gray tux fit over his middle-aged body like a loose-fitting glove. Lewis knew John would be prepped and ready. In many ways, John had been the best man instead of Jack. John had planned the bachelor party, and he made sure Lewis was ready and on time. Of all his friends, John was the most sensible, but it was Jack who had been with him through thick and thin. When Lewis’ world would come crashing down over the years, it was always Jack who appeared on his doorstep first to offer a helping hand and a compassionate shoulder.

John waved his hand in front of his chest again, like a moth bouncing off a flame. At the same time, Denise peaked around from the other side of the door frame. Much like John, she was Marcia’s most reliable friend and the obvious choice to coordinate their wedding. Marcia’s best friend, Sophia, resembled Jack in many ways. Although she was not always prepared for what would happen next, she had been a faithful friend to Marcia for the last three decades. Lewis felt indebted to her for introducing Marcia to him.

Lewis thought about Marcia’s ex-boyfriend Conner and what he had missed. The man had been a fool to leave her like he did. Lewis shook his head and thought, why would anyone leave her like that. To just leave a note that says I need to go. No phone numbers, no reason. A smile crept across this face. Conner’s loss was his gain.

The piano player stopped, and the shuffling of feet pulled back Lewis into the room. The piano player started the wedding march introduction, and Lewis turned to the opened doors in the back. His emotions were overwhelmed. Marcia’s thick auburn hair had been woven so that the veil and her hair appeared as one. The white wedding dress had sparse lace covering her cleavage until it formed a v at the middle of her chest. The white silk underneath the lace covered her chest and flowed down her body to the floor. Marcia’s blue eyes shone brightly and glistened as though she could cry at any moment. The large bouquet of roses she held in front of her completed the outfit.

Marcia walked alone down the aisle. She had lost her father five years earlier and told Lewis she wanted to be alone so his spirit could walk with her. Everyone was transfixed on Marcia as she made her way down the aisle. Halfway down a voice broke into the moment and all heads turned to the back. It was Conner. “Stop!” he yelled.

Marcia turned, and her bouquet dropped to her side.

“What are doing?” Conner asked.

Lewis immediately left his spot at the front of the church and joined Marcia’s side. He could see the tears streaming down Marcia’s cheeks, and he put his arm around her. “How dare you.” snarled Lewis.

Conner did not seem concerned but continued to talk. “Why are you marrying him? Didn’t you get my note?”

“That you left? Of course, I did.” burst out Marcia.

“No, the other part of the note,” said Conner. “The picture of California inside that travel magazine you liked to read.”

“I thought that was just an old magazine,” said Marcia with a tinge of regret.

“No, it was my way of telling you I had gone to California to find work. We always dreamed of moving there one day, and I left to make it happen.”

“Why are you here?” demanded Lewis, “How did you find out about our wedding.”

“Sophia sent me an invitation,” said Conner.

Marcia released herself from Lewis’ grip and spun back towards Sophia, “You did this? You knew he was in California and never told me? Why is he here? Why would you send him an invitation?”

Sophia started to weep, “I’m sorry. I just wanted him to know he was free. I love him, I’ve always loved him. I didn’t think he would come for you.”

Conner chimed back in, and Marcia spun around. “Come back with me. Come to California. I’m your true love.”

“No,” shouted Lewis

Marcia began to cry and handed Lewis her bouquet. “I’m so sorry, but I could never truly love you knowing what Conner has done for me and the love I still feel for him. I’m sorry.” Lewis watched in horror as she hiked up her wedding dress and rushed into Conner’s arms. Lewis stood there shocked, unsure of what to do.

In a moment Jack was at his side with his arm around Lewis. “Come with me, Bro,” is all Lewis heard among the commotion in the church. The two men headed to the back of the church. Marcia and Conner were nowhere to be seen. Jack directed Lewis to an empty room and shut the door.

“We’ll get through this,” said Jack.

Lewis buried his head into his friend’s shoulder and wept as the two men held one another. word of the day – benedict

Guarding The Innocent

Steam poured from under the hood of his Ford Focus. John stood there cursing himself. Earl’s voice played over in his mind, “John, you better summerize that little car. It’s gonna get real hot this year, let me tell you.” John kicked the car’s front tire, and his foot bounced back. “Idiot” grumbled John to himself.

He looked down the road in hopes of seeing the tow truck he had called for earlier. The hopeful sound of a truck engine was non-existent. John looked at his watch, had it only been five minutes? It would be at least another hour before anyone showed up if he was lucky. Why did I use that dirt road? John thought, I could have stayed on the main road, and it would have been easier. Stupid.

At least the moon was full so that he could be on the lookout for snakes crossing the road. The heat and humidity were so thick on this southern summer night that it formed a low-lying mist that covered the ground and extended into the dark woods. John swatted at the occasional mosquito and the gnats that continually buzzed his face. He began to pace back and forth, hoping to break free of their incessant buzzing. Twenty feet from his car the cloud of bugs seemed to dissipate.

John stopped and tried to relax. The sound of frogs singing back and forth, and an owl hiding somewhere in the forest helped his nerves to settle. John began to breathe more naturally, and then a twig snapped just inside the tree line. John started to walk back towards his wounded car slowly.  He listened carefully, trying to estimate the size of the hidden animal. A moment later a figure emerged from the dark woods.

A woman stumbled into the light of the moon. She had red clay covered hair, but John could see golden strands of blond locks poking through the muck. Her mud smeared face was hardly recognizable, and a white sundress clung dirty and wet against her body. She walked stiffly towards John, and he froze. Everyone had heard the stories about the woman in white. It had been used for decades to scare teenagers from parking with their dates in the lonely woods. John could barely breathe.

“Help me,” she said. “I need help.”

John felt light-headed and didn’t move. She stumbled up and grabbed his shirt with her dirty hands. “Please help me, somebody tried to bury me alive.”

John grabbed her wrists. She was human and very much alive. Her skin was slick with mud and sweat. The woman’s frightened blue eyes pleaded with him. “Please help,” she said again.

“What’s your name?” asked John

The woman gave her head a quick jerk to the right. “Rebecca, Becky. People call me Becky. I need help.”

“I have a tow truck coming. Are you hurt?”

The woman looked and felt about her body. “I think I’m okay, but my legs are sore.”

“How did you get out here?”

Becky looked back at John. “I can’t remember.”

Becky started trembling, and John put his arms around her. “It’s okay. You’re going to be alright.” John could feel her ragged breaths. He held her until her breathing became more regular, and released her. “Tell me what you do remember.”

Becky looked around. John could see she was trying to get her bearings. “Well, I was at a bar and met this guy. His name was George, John, Jason, Jeff.”

“Jim?” asked John.

Becky nodded, “Oh no, where’s Jim?”

She ran back towards the woods screaming, “Jim, Jim, where are you!” Her voice echoed back for several seconds until the forest became a cacophony of “Jim.”

John walked over to her and put his hand on her shoulder, “Please, stop. There’s nobody else out here.”

A colony of bats flew overhead, and then the forest was silent. “Is it possible Jim did this to you?” asked John.

Becky stood there silently thinking. “No,” she said. “I can’t remember what happened to Jim, but he wasn’t with me anymore at some point tonight. Another man put me in the back of his car.” Becky looked around and noticed John’s car steaming on the roadside. Fear enveloped her face, and she pointed at the Focus, “Oh God, it was you. You put me in the back of that car and raped me. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t scream. Then you tried to bury me, but something scared you, and you left.”

John shook his head and raised his palms up in surrender, “I promise, it wasn’t me.”

Becky stepped back towards the woods, “Yes it was. I remember your hands and your disgusting shirt that smells like rotten pork.”

John sighed and shook his head, “Why did you have to remember?”

“Get away from me,” screamed Becky.

John’s clenched his fists as he approached the retreating woman. The sound of a branch breaking behind him stopped his movement. Becky’s expression changed to one of relief and then fright. John spun around. A woman with wet raven hair stood before him. Her black eyes seemed to disappear into nothingness. A pure white gown hung loosely from her body.

She spoke with a  guttural growl and pointed her finger at John, “It was you.”

John screamed and the black-haired woman pulled John into the woods so quickly that Becky thought they had simply vanished. The wildlife in the woods screeched and hollered in harmony with John’s cries, and then everything was silent.

Becky folded her arms in front of her and slowly made her way up towards the road. The headlights of a truck appeared on the horizon. A tow truck pulled up and stopped between her and the wounded car. A large man got out of the cab and Becky trembled at the thought of what might happen next.

The driver rushed around with a cell phone in his hand. “Don’t worry ma’am. I’m calling the police right now. I’ll get an ambulance here too. I don’t know what happened to you, but help is on the way. Feel free to sit over there on my truck’s bumper until they get here. I’m gonna check out your car and stay right over there until help arrives.”

The driver headed up towards the car with the cell phone in his ear. In a few minutes, she could hear sirens fill the distant air. Becky sat on the rear bumper, bowed her head and began to weep. She was safe at last.’s Word of the Day – summerize

Misguided Justice

Oliver laid on the ground feeling his lifeblood flowing out of his body. Elizabeth stood over top of him grinning. The small 9mm pistol was only visible due to its silencer. “What’s the matter?” she asked with a smirk, “Surprised?”

Oliver tried to draw in a breath, but the bullet had entered his chest, and he found it difficult to get air. The burning pain in his back and the warmth of the ever-increasing blood pool beneath him told Oliver some part of the bullet had managed to escape from his body. He gasped, “Yes.”

Elizabeth’s laugh sounded demonic. “What, did you think I was some trophy girlfriend? Did you think I was nothing more than a turophile and wine connoisseur? You type of men are all alike. You’re vain, self-centered, and you think every beautiful woman thinks just like you do.”

Oliver was not sure if he understood Elizabeth. Perhaps it was a growing pain throughout his body and the slowly darkening room. He gasped out, “What, are, you, talking about?”

Elizabeth squatted down next to Oliver’s head. The smell of lilacs and roses he had enjoyed just a few moments earlier entered his nostrils that were now desperate for air. She grabbed his chin in her hand, “Come on, you’re at death’s door. Don’t play stupid with me. Don’t you remember a woman named Sharon?”

Oliver attempted to shake his head no. Elizabeth released his face. A painful slap met the left side of his face. The stinging effect brought him back into the fading world. A white flash of pain enveloped his mind. Instinctively he drew in his breath and nearly passed out from the agony. The room spun, and Oliver thought he saw Elizabeth standing up. She now stood over him like a hawk over its prey.

“You’re an idiot. Do you think denying killing my sister will get you off the hook? You’re dead already. You’re just too stupid to realize it. It was your company that put the pipeline through my sister’s neighborhood, even though everyone warned it could cause a catastrophic explosion if there were ever a leak. It was your company that paid off the politicians to make the pipeline happen. It was your company that tried to cover up the explosion that killed my sister. Did you think nobody would figure out that terrorists weren’t in the middle of Kansas?”

Oliver forced the words from his mouth. At first, he coughed up a mouthful of blood from his throat, and then he finally managed to get the words out, “Not me.”

“What do you mean it’s not you. Of course, it is. You’re Oliver Church. We’re inside your Manhattan condo. You’re the CEO of EcoGas. You’re to blame for the death of hundreds, including my sister.”

Oliver gasped, “No, not CEO. That’s my brother, Owen.”

Elizabeth shrugged, “What’s difference does it make. You’re just as complicit.”

Oliver shook his head, and the world spun. He stopped and focused on talking past the pain. “No, I fought my brother on the pipeline.  I don’t own any shares in his company. I work for United Nations Environment Programme.”

“Oh, God,” said Elizabeth.  Oliver closed his eyes and tried to keep breathing. He felt Elizabeth put a pillow under his head. A few moments later she carefully rolled his body over on its side and laid him back down on a soothing cold compress. “What have I done?”

Oliver spoke through the darkness, “I forgive you.”

“Don’t you leave me,” begged Elizabeth.

Oliver tried to speak, but could only mouth 911.

“What?” asked Elizabeth.

Darkness, and then light met Oliver as the pain, and the room slipped away.

“Oh my God,” said Elizabeth as she stood and paced. “What have I done? Oliver, please speak to me,” but Elizabeth knew he would not answer. She had heard the death rattle. Elizabeth prayed she was wrong. In desperation, Elizabeth grabbed a mirror off a nearby table and put it next to Oliver’s lips. No air passed from them. Elizabeth dropped the mirror, paced the condo, and spoke to herself, “What have I done? All I wanted was justice, and now I’m a murderer just like Owen. In fact, I’m worse than Oliver’s brother. His brother wanted money, I wanted to kill. What have I become?”

A dark voice inside Elizabeth’s mind spoke, You know what you have to do. You’ve killed an innocent man. Tears flowed down Elizabeth’s cheeks, and she nodded to the empty room. The voice was right. Only violence could stop her violence. She had to hate her hate. Elizabeth raised her trembling hand towards her mouth. In a moment it would be over. She would pay for Oliver’s death, and then peace.

No,  said a voice somewhere inside. You’re forgiven. Elizabeth looked down at Oliver’s body, had he said something? That was right, he had forgiven her, but how did that change anything? No, came a thought from inside her. I forgive you. Inside her memories, she could hear her Sunday School teacher telling her stories of Jesus and his forgiveness.

“This is stupid,” said Elizabeth to Oliver’s corpse. “I took your life, and I need to face justice.”

Then face it, came another thought.

Elizabeth looked down at the gun in her hand. She thought for a moment longer and then threw the weapon across the room.  Elizabeth reached into her pocket, got her cell phone, and dialed 911. “I need to report a murder,” she said to the operator. After giving the address, Elizabeth sat down in a nearby chair and looked at Oliver’s ashen body. “Thank you, for forgiving me.” Then, Elizabeth closed her eyes in prayer and waited for the police. word of the Day – Turophile