…Is returning soon.
We are on Chapter 5 and things are heating up. Be sure to read the first four installments to catch up before the story continues. Will Tina find Byron before its too late?
Take the time every now and again to step back and to refresh parts of your soul that no one sees. Stay in your studies and send up prayers and meditation to quench the thirst of questions that no man can answer. Everyone laughs at faith until desperation strolls into our lives wearing a smirk and sickle in his right hand. He is here to reap and leave the malnourished one empty. Everyone believes in something when the catastrophe ensues and no one is laughing any longer. Don’t be like those laughing at creation and yet calling on a god when things go wrong. Keep yourself full of hope and expectation no person can touch. Exercise both your body and your mind and it’ll work wonders for you in the end. Read books and study to nourish that beautiful mind of yours so no one makes a prey of you through philosophy and deceit. Sing, dance, praise and laugh like the crazy person you are. How dare you cloak yourself in positive vibes and radiate a smile brighter than the sun? Only if you keep yourself filled with light can you shine. Take these sips of nourishment to sustain you so that in the daily grind that is your life, while you’re busy surviving, you do not forget to live.
It’s been a minute since we’ve had a No Whining Wednesday, where we do not complain, whine or criticize for a 24 hour period.
If this is your first NWW be sure to CLICK HERE to learn more about this segment. For the rest of you, welcome back!
We hold onto hope with shaking hands and weak hearts. It is something we fall back on in times of desperation and fear. We cry out loud for it, searching for solutions to our problems when there’s nothing left to do but wait. When things are out of our hands and we are no longer in control then, and only then, do we hope because there’s nothing left to do.
It is time for an upgrade.
Hope by definition is the substance of what is expected, the proof of what we cannot see. To strengthen expectation is to begin to expect things to happen that is not yet foreseeable. To build in hope is to start to look at life, not through the lens of what is not here, but what is yet to come.
It may seem impossible that you will be relieved of Child Support or that you will get out of prison in time to see your children grow up, that you will find the love of your life or that you will be healed from that disease. It may seem impossible that you can love again after being broken or recover from a traumatic experience. It’s difficult to look at these kinds of situations, many of which we have no control, and expect things to turn out OK. It’s difficult because everything physical says that it will not. Your appeal was denied, your Child Support Payments increased, the doctor says there is no cure and your emotions won’t simmer from heartache.
All the assistance, research, history, and the data is working against you.
But, then, there is hope…
When you can expect things to turn out differently despite all the physical proof that it won’t, this is hope.
When you start to expect what you cannot see. This is hope.
Hope is expecting something to happen that you cannot see is possible but you still expect it. It is, as the saying goes, taking the first step even though you cannot see the whole staircase. You know it leads to a place. You can’t see where it is or what’s up there but you know something’s there. It is when you are willing to be uncomfortable for a time because you expect that things will (despite the “evidence” that it won’t) get better.
To upgrade the hope in your life, you must begin to expect what you cannot see.
When you change your perspective, the way you see things and the way you think about them, your entire life will begin to change.
OK, looks like we are going through with this thing!!
First thing’s first, I am getting a logo made. Something simple but nice which I’ll outsource from Fiverr. BUT, if any of you do logos for free, like, let me know. I am not trying to spend a whole bunch of money. I love you but I am not rich so, like, help a sista out.
The Authors in the running so far have been hand-picked from the books I’ve read, reviewed, and awarded 5-stars going back to 2015 on this blog. Naturally, I can be the only judge since I have read and reviewed all of these books.
To add your name to this list, register your book HERE for review consideration. (I am reaching my limit and will be closing the registry very soon! Don’t wait.)
All reviewed books count whether I bought it or not so if your book is on sale I can also purchase it. If your book is currently 99 cents or free, let me know so I can grab it.
Let me know. If I agree to read your book, review it and award the read 5-stars, you are automatically drafted into the contest.
Currently, my 5-star authors are:
Christa Wojo. for “SICK”
Alexander McCabe for “A Tale of Three Cities”
Linda G. Hill for “All Good Stories”
Anna Kopp for “Rise of the Chosen: Lifeblood Series Book 1 ”
JL Hunt for “Beautiful Boy, Beautiful Girl”
Stevie Turner for “Waiting in the Wings”
Gigi Sedlmayer for “Talon Come Fly with Me”
Deborah Ann Dykeman for “To Thee I’m Wed”
Pamela D. Beverly for “The Love Labyrinth”
JA Owenby for “The Truth She Knew (The Truth Series Book One)”
James Fant for “Coed”
Again, we are only in the preliminary stages of this event so I don’t have much information yet (you’re helping me with that, right?) Briefly, here’s what’s going on:
Now, I am going back to brainstorming. As you all know, I am getting ready to go on vacation but when I return, I’ll have all the details laid out as to how this event will run and when.
Missed the first three Eps? Click on the links below:
Byron brushed the lint from his uniform as he approached the home of his last client of the day. Walking up the steps of the beautiful home in the well-groomed neighborhood, he knocked on the door and looked down at his paperwork.
“Yes?” The door swung open and a woman smiled back at him.
“Good afternoon ma’am my name…”
Byron paused, mesmerized. The woman had the most beautiful blue eyes he’d ever seen. They had to be contact lens. He could look right through them. They were lovely against her milk chocolate skin. He cleared his throat. A woman had never had him so caught off guard.
“My name is Byron Fisher with Guaranteed Insurance Co. We have you listed here as requesting a return visit.” Byron held up a hand, “I know. I’m not the guy from last time but you were on my route so I thought I’d stop on by and see which plan most interest you”, he smiled.
“Oh yes”, said the woman.
She could see in more than one direction as she read Byron’s energy. Her eyes were cameras quickly processing her environment. They zoomed in on the car coming up the street, the lady walking her dog on the corner and the mailman who was late again. Even the candy wrapper in the cracks of the concrete.
Byron’s biography flashed against the screens that were her eyes. It told her he was single with no children and plenty of money to spend. He was also an orphan as a child and moved around a lot before enlisting in the military. After the army, Byron got into the Insurance business. Life never looked better. Well, almost never. The woman smiled. She saw his weakness too, his hurt.
He was in love once. Some lawyer woman he couldn’t have because she dated his friend. The woman’s eyes flashed. She was digging. The chief warned of digging. It required the use of too much energy but she had to know. So, she dug, and her eyes were claws that pierced his skin for secrets. It was safe. At least now. He couldn’t feel anything. At least not yet.
Byron wiped at his brow, frowning at the sudden wave of heat on his face.
The woman smiled, the flashing red dots on the screen of her eyes signaling the passion emanating from the man in front of her. He wanted her. This would be easy. She stopped digging before he fainted in broad daylight. The chief wouldn’t have that again.
“So very nice to meet you”, the woman said, “I am sure we can find something that I like. Please, come in.”
Byron smiled as he walked into the home of the beautiful blue-eyed woman. He couldn’t believe his luck. Some women were easy. Maybe he’ll get her to sign off on more than just papers. He smiled and her blue eyes flashed as she closed the door behind him.
“Look, laugh all you want. I’m not crazy.”
Erica composed herself, “I’m sorry girl. You sound like you believe it and if you believe I do too but…”
“Then you don’t believe me.” Tina got up from the sofa and walked over to the window of Erica’s downtown office. Downtown Chicago was one of the most beautiful places in the country.
Erica put her notepad to the side, “OK. Let’s entertain this for a moment. You gotta think about how this is going to sound. Your nephew died in a drug deal…”
“…it wasn’t a drug deal”, interrupted Tina turning around. It pissed her off that people were still saying that.
“Hold on, let me finish. Far as they know it, your nephew dies in a drug deal and everyone else flees the scene. You take leave from work to raise Keisha’s kids, your remaining nieces and nephew who by the way aren’t really your nieces and nephew…”
“No, no, let me finish. You take them in after winning a custody battle with their Dad after he couldn’t prove stable residency and their drug addict mom gave you permission to have them. And now everyone involved in the case you tried, people Ronnie was involved with, have gone missing. Top this all off with your claim that Aliens killed Ronnie and abducted everyone at the Warehouse.”
Tina nodded. It did sound phony when you said it out loud. She sat back on the sofa, resting her head on the pillow behind her.
“I’m not saying I don’t believe you but you a lawyer girl. You of all people should know this ain’t gonna stick,” said Erica.
“So, what am I to do then? I can’t keep taking these pills. It’s driving me crazy.”
“Listen, you need these pills so you can do your job without seeing little blue men walking around.”
“That’s not funny E.”
“Seriously, here’s what I think. Here’s my professional opinion…”
Tina smirked, “Now you wanna be professional?”
“Don’t be in my office judging me”, laughed Erica, “I’m the one with the pen.”
“In my professional opinion, I think you should see if you can find a connection between those who were abducted and people who may be working with these Aliens or whatever. They gotta be working with somebody or they wouldn’t be able to do anything without being seen.”
Tina sat up, “They look like men though. That’s how they can move about without notice. It’s not like in the movies. The only way to tell is their eyes and sometimes not even then.”
“Still, they gotta be working with normal, everyday people too. Find those people.”
Tina looked at Erica and bit her lip. It was a start.
“Meanwhile,” Erica stood and walked over to her desk and tore off a piece of paper. She walked back to the sofa and handed it to Tina, “get it together.”
Tina rolled her eyes and took the prescription, “I don’t need it.”
“Yes, you do. Even if it’s just in case.”
Tina thought deeply about Erica’s words on the drive home. She did have her wheels turning. Who could be involved in something like this? Az did say it was a cover-up. Reaching for the folders, Tina scanned the names again: Antonio, Brandon, Chareese, Sidney, the two officers, Emmanuel.
Hmm. Someone is missing.
Tina tapped her fingers against the steering wheel, thinking back to the days they used to hang out. Her close ties to everyone abducted did make her look to be involved so she had to be careful or she would lose the case for sure. Antonio, also known as Popeye and Brandon, also known as Tree, were best friends. Chareese, one of her best friends, dated Brandon and was pregnant with his baby and Sidney, the journalist, was also a close friend of hers. Not to mention she went to school with Ja’mella, the woman who accused the men of the rape. All of this had been kept on the low.
Tina searched her thoughts, remembering their card games and get-together. Though she knew them all personally, she wasn’t real tight with the men and the women had gone their separate ways until the case united them.
Tina gripped the steering wheel. Black was Antonio’s insurance agent friend known for his complexion. She had forgotten all about him. His real name is Byron something, but that name’s not in the files. That must mean he wasn’t taken. Finally, something good.
Tina turned the car around and silently prayed Black was at home.
Tina balanced her Caramel Macchiato flavored coffee, car keys, and purse as she entered the office. Lawyers sat at desks answering phones and shuffling papers. They formed their own groups as they spoke in multiple conversations. The office was chaotic already and Tina’s team were already huddled around her partner’s desk. Frederick, “Freddy” Johnson saw her come in and nodded.
“Hey,” he said as she sat her things down at her own desk next to his. Tina swiveled in her large office chair and turned the computer on.
“What we got?” she said sipping her cup, her eyes catching a figure in the distance.
Oh no. Tina’s hairs stood up on her neck and arms. That was him again. The same man from the club. She was sure of it.
Freddy waved his hand in her face.
“Earth to Tina. Everything alright?”
“Yea, I’m good.”
“You sure? I can get someone else on the case. If it’s too early…”
“No”, interrupted Tina. “I’ll be fine. What do we have?”
Freddy turned to the pile on his desk. “We got seven people, all reported missing within the last 24hours.”
“And they’re all connected to the Ja’mella case?”
Freddy handed Tina a vanilla envelope, “Yep.”
Tina crossed her legs. Sidney’s face stared back at her, the Journalist from the case. She pulled out another file and Chareese face smiled back at her, Brandon’s girlfriend, one of the men accused of the rape. Nicknamed Tree for his large size, she remembered his public arrest at the Soccer Field. They got off. Was someone out for revenge? She paused, remembering that Chareese was pregnant. She pulled out another file.
“Who is this man? I don’t remember him being involved.”
Freddy walked over to Tina’s side and peered down at the documents. The face of an elderly man stared back at him. His eyes scanned down to his name. Freddy pointed, “Emmanuel Jackson. Sidney Jackson’s father.”
“So, they’re taking relatives too now? This doesn’t make any sense. What’s he got to do with it?”
“Apparently, enough”, said Freddy walking back to his own desk.
Tina took another sip of her coffee and shivered. She was the attorney in that case and had successfully got the two black men acquitted. Could she be next?
“Did anyone see anything?”
“We can check the testimonies of the families, see where everyone was last seen.”
Tina’s body stiffened at the figure in the distance.
“Tina?” Freddy looked behind him. “What’s up?”
Tina snapped out of it. She had to remember no one else could see them.
“Nothing”, she said sitting the folders on the table, “the testimonies sound good. I want a full report on every single person, where they spent their last hours, where they work, everything.”
“You got it” said Freddy picking up the phone. Tina used the opportunity to walk away, loosening the collar around her neck.
“Is the air on?”
Freddy was already on the phone and ignored her question. It was burning up or maybe it was just her. She entered the women’s bathroom, closed and then locked the door behind her.
I’m losing it.
She splashed cold water on her face and pulled the bottle of pills from her purse.
“I wouldn’t say so”, said a voice as she popped open the bottle. The white tablets fell into the sink.
“Shoot”, she said, scrambling to catch them before they all went into the drain. Now she had to convince Erica to give her another prescription. She only caught two.
Her blood raced, hands grew sweaty and the hairs stood up on her neck and arms, her knees wobbling. She couldn’t turn around or look up so she kept her eyes on the drain.
“What do you want from me?”
“I am not one of them. Well, I am but I am here to help.”
They sounded just like men. Not robotic like people thought or in the movies. It still didn’t change anything.
“You don’t help people, you murder them. What do you want from me? Have you not destroyed my life enough?”
“Listen, I know where they are. The people who are missing. I know where they took them. Most of all, I know why. Give me a chance and we can work this together.”
Tina lifted her head to face the man in the mirror standing behind her. He looked human except for his blue crystal eyes reminding her that he was not her friend. He was one of them. And they killed humans. She thought of her nephew Ronnie and tears filled her throat, courage reaching her eyes.
“First off, we are not friends so stop acting like you can just pop in and out of my life. Secondly, I will never work with you.”
“You are acting like I killed Ronnie.”
“It’s your kind ain’t it? Same difference.”
“Listen, the government is trying to cover up the truth. Give me a chance and I’ll explain. We can be partners.”
“What? Why would I work with you? I don’t even know your name.”
“My name is Azbuga, meaning Strength, but you can call me Az.”
Tina shook her head, “Whatever.”
“Everyone has a job. Just like here. Ours is to watch over mankind. So, that’s what we are. Watchers.”
Tina turned around to face him. She thought Az was attractive for an alien, though she didn’t know what he really looked like. The 7ft being was clothed in Hispanic skin with black hair and thick, black eyelashes. He wore blue jeans and sneakers which made him look normal. His blue jean jacket covered the white t-shirt. Except for his crystal blue eyes, he could be mistaken for a normal, Hispanic looking man. A very tall man. Tina wondered what his true image was. Maybe he’s a fire breathing dragon.
“Why should I believe you?”
Az dug into his right hand and his skin gave way to his fingers like clay to the hands of a child.
“Eww”, said Tina, watching until he pulled out a coin.
“You can see for yourself”, said Az, extending the coin.
“I’m not touching that.”
“It’s the only way to get in touch with me. Whenever you need me, hold it in your hands and think of my name.”
“I still don’t know how this proves anything”, Tina folded her arms.
Az pointed to the symbol on the coin, “Just like we have jobs, we also have symbols. We’re the watchers so the eye is ours. CBS, the back of the dollar bill, camera’s everywhere. All us.”
“So where were you? Huh? Where were ‘The Watchers’ when…” Tina’s voice trailed off as tears filled her throat.
“Not all Watchers are good. Some fell. We were supposed to watch you not…not harm you. Some of my brothers came down and did things with humans that were not right for them to do and now they’re just trying to cover their tracks. But not all of us are bad, Tina.”
“You didn’t answer my question. Where were you when Ron…”
The coin fell to the floor and Tina froze. She had not checked the bathroom stalls coming in. She picked up the coin and put it into her pocket.
“Amy. Hi. Yes, everything’s fine,” Tina stumbled over her words, her arch enemy staring her in the face. Amy walked over to the sink and turned the water on. Her dark chocolate skin and dred loc’d hair pulled up in a pin. The woman washed her hands, cutting her eyes at Tina.
“Alright”, she said smirking.
Dammit T. Now you know she talk too much. Of all the people to screw up in front of, it had to be Amy. This would be all over the office by tomorrow. Tina looked around the bathroom. There was no sign of him.
“Why is the door locked?” asked Amy unlatching the door.
Shoot. I’m definitely not thinking straight.
Tina shrugged and swallowed the pills in her hand dry as Amy rolled her eyes on the way out the bathroom. Tina washed her hands and straightened her clothing on the way out the door. She stopped when she heard murmurs.
“I’m serious. The girl was in there talking to herself. I told you she wasn’t ready to come back”, said Amy.
“She’s grieving. Give it some time”, said Freddy.
“Well, she can grieve on her own time.”
Tina rolled her eyes and shook her head. It hadn’t even been two minutes and Amy was already talking.
I bet that coffee cold as hell now too. Damn. Today is not my day.
Welcome to Day Two of The WATCH RWISA (RAVE WRITERS – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS) WRITE Showcase Tour, a branch of The Rave Reviews Book Club.
A FISHY DAY
It was one of those wonderful August days when the sun was high and warm in the sky. The big cumulus clouds slowly drifted by, creating designs that filled Jim’s imagination, who at nine years could see all kinds of amazing sights. He had been playing with his model airplane in his aunt and uncle’s yard, where he spent the summers on their ranch in San Diego, California. Staying with Uncle Leon and Aunt Helen was always a special time of adventure, fun and farm work.
“Jim, do you want to go to the pasture with me? We’ll check the water trough for the cattle,” Uncle Leon asked, at the same time he took his handkerchief and wiped some perspiration from his tan brow.
“Oh, yes,” Jim responded with great excitement. He ran to the front porch and put his treasured airplane on the table next to where Aunt Helen sat in her rocking chair.
Uncle Leon walked over to the Allis-Chalmers tractor and stretched his long, thin legs up and over onto the metal seat. “All right, Jim, you can come on up now.” Jim awkwardly managed to climb up and grab hold of his uncle’s hand, who swung him onto his lap. With the turn of the key the tractor began to vibrate and the engine roared. Shifting the gears into forward, Leon yelled, “Here we go!”
The pasture was a favorite place for Jim with its rolling hills, oak trees, and green grass. It was always a peaceful place where a boy could run until he was out of breath, and then fall onto the grass and let the wind gently blow over his panting body. Many were the times that Jim would spend his days, just climbing in the oak trees pretending he was hiding from some enemy, or shooting squirrels with his imaginary rifle.
He and his uncle drove through the pasture until they came to a large trough sitting by a water pump on the top of a knoll. The cattle were grazing some distance away, but their occasional moos could be heard.
Uncle Leon helped Jim off the tractor and then sauntered up to the trough. “Not much water left so we best get this filled up.”
Jim was leaning over the trough where the top of it just reached his chest. “What can I do? I want to help.”
“Well, now, how about you pump the water in once I get it primed,” replied Uncle Leon with his usual smiling face. He was happy that Jim wanted to help, but he also knew that pumping water would be a big job for such a young lad. Once he had the water flowing with each downward motion of the pump handle, he instructed, “Okay, young feller, it is your turn now.”
Jim eagerly grabbed the handle and standing on his tiptoes, pushed it down, smiling happily when the water gushed into the trough. He repeated the pumping for as long as he could, but all too quickly his arms and shoulders began to ache. Jim did not want to admit that he was getting tired, but his uncle knew and said, “How about if I do it for a while?”
Once the water neared the top, Jim leaned over cupping some water into his hands. “This is the best tasting water I’ve ever had,” Jim thought to himself. He slurped several handfuls into his dry mouth.
Looking over at his nephew, Leon asked with a twinkle in his eye, “Did you see that fish drop into the water from this here pump?”
“Why, that fish that came right out of the pump into the trough. I thought sure you would have seen him while you were drinking the water.”
“No, sir. I didn’t see any fish.” Jim wiped his mouth with his shirt sleeve and earnestly looked in the water.
“Well, he must still be in there.” Uncle Leon leaned over the trough looking for the mysterious fish. “Now isn’t that something. I can’t see him anywhere.” He peeked a look at his nephew, who now had eyes as big as saucers. “I wonder if you accidentally swallowed that poor little fish while you were drinking all that water.”
Jim stepped back from the trough and began to rub his stomach. “I don’t think so, sir.” The minutes passed and Uncle Leon continued to wonder out loud what happened to the fish. Jim began to imagine that the fish was swimming in his stomach. “I don’t feel so good,” Jim said as he stretched down on the cool grass.
Seeing that his nephew was fearful and feeling sick, Uncle Leon laid down next to him and pointed up towards the clouds. “Jim, look at that cloud up there. See the little one next to the big puffy cloud?”
He waited until Jim nodded his head and said, “I think so.”
“It kind of looks like a fish, doesn’t it? I wonder if that is the fish that was in the trough.”
Jim looked at his uncle, then up at the clouds, and then back at his uncle who was smiling from ear to ear. Uncle Leon laughed and began to tickle Jim’s stomach. “Or, is that fish still here? Where is that fish?”
Jim laughed and joked right back while he patted his uncle’s stomach. “No, I think that fish is right here!”
Soon they both stopped laughing and just looked at one another. “I hope I don’t tease you too much,” Uncle Leon said.
“Oh no, Sir.” Jim looked at his uncle and went on to say, “I like to tease my younger brothers. Mother is always telling me not to do it too much. She doesn’t want them to cry.”
“Well, I would never want to make you cry.” Uncle Leon put his big hand on Jim’s head. “Do you know why?” Jim slowly shook his head back and forth not wanting his uncle to remove his hand. “I love you too much to ever make you cry for any reason.”
With tears in his eyes, Jim whispered, “I love you, too.”
They spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the sun, the warm breeze, and just being next to one another in the grass, watching the clouds drift by. It was a special day that Jim always remembered with a smile.
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