My Gift for Christmas – The Golden Orbs

In 2013 I wrote a “feel good” Christmas story. I’d like to share it again this year. It’s for children too. Please Enjoy.

five glowing orbs

The Five Golden Orbs

The children found them hidden inside the bushes in the back yard just as the sun was setting. They noticed the glow of lights coming from within the small holly bush. Mystified, they had walked up slowly to the shining bush and peered in through the holly leaves.

Five shining orbs of gold lay nestled hidden in the crooks of the branches inside the bush.

“What are they?” The girl child asked.

“I don’t know!” The boy child answered.

They were curious and the glow coming from the shiny orbs was not scary. The emitting light was golden and soft.

one golden orbThe boy reached in and grabbed one of the orbs. It was warm to the touch. But not too warm, just pleasantly so. The girl seeing that the orb rested comfortably in the boy’s hand reached in and grabbed another orb. She held it close and stared at the swirling light shining from within.

“They are pretty, aren’t they?” She said.

“Yes, yes they are.” He replied. “Lets take the rest of them and go inside.” He didn’t wait for her answer just reached inside the bush and pulled out two more. “You get the last one, but come on let’s hurry before anyone sees them.”

She followed his directions, first grabbing the last golden orb in her free hand and then hurrying after him orbs on flooras he ran into the house, carefully cradling the glowing orbs in his arms.

They walked through the hallway into the tiny living room and laid the golden balls on the wooden floor. The orbs were shining even brighter than before.

To the small boy and girl, sitting on the floor of the poorly lit living room, this glorious glow was a thrilling one. Their father was working late again but they knew he’d be home soon and would expect his meal laid out for him. The Christmas tree they had convinced him to bring home the day before stood dark and lonely in one corner of the room, on the other side was the table where they had laid out his bowl, cup and spoon. His soup was in the cooking pot waiting to be served.

The children looked from the orbs to the tree and got the same idea at the same time. Excitedly they the golden Christmas treegrabbed up the glowing orbs and placed them in different places throughout the tree. Each ball settled into it’s spot as if it belonged there. When they were done, they stood back and looked at the Christmas tree. It was now lit up with a golden glow that cast away the shadows in the room and illuminated everything making them feel like they were rich and not so very poor.

They stood there viewing the beautiful lite up tree and then the girl had a sudden thought. With a worried look upon her face she turned to her brother and said “What about Hanna?”

“What about her?” He answered.

“Well, it’s just that her cottage is so very dark, if we took one of these shiny orbs to her, she could place it somewhere in her room and be able to see better at night!”

“That’s true,” He said. “And you know that Bertha and Henry’s cottages a little further away have the same orbs on the floorproblem with not having much light in their homes.” And as the children talked they thought of two more neighbors that they could share the shiny light of their orbs with.

Hurrying quickly they removed the five orbs out of their Christmas tree and carried them down the lane to each of their needy neighbors who with great pleasure and astonishment accepted the gift of a brightly lighted orb.

The children raced back to the house feeling good inside as they thought of the pleasure they had brought to their friends and neighbors.

They were silent and a little disappointed as they realized they wouldn’t have a beautifully lit tree to show their father when they walked inside their hut. Still they did feel good about the gifts they had given. As they walked into the living area of their hut they stopped suddenly staring at the sight in front of them. Where they had expected a darkened tree was a magnificently glowing Christmas tree shining from top to bottom with a most wonderful golden radiance.

“But how can this be?” The little girl asked with wonder. “We gave the orbs away!”

The little boy shook his head, gazing in amazement at the beautiful sight in front of him. They both heard the front door open as their dad trudged into the house. They looked once more at their shiny golden tree and then ran to greet their father and to share this wonderful gift with him.

The tree shone brightly, the light following in the footsteps of two little children who without realizing had given and received the most perfect gift of all.

Merry Christmas

“When you give with love in your heart ~ your gift will return to you” ~ Penny L Howe

In Search of the Perfect Soul!

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He was the leader of a large country of substantial wealth. He had great power but was a good ruler, yet he was not satisfied. He went forth to his advisers (the wisest men he knew) and asked of them “How can I know if I have a perfect soul?”

His counselors conferred among themselves and being wise indeed said, “Oh omnipotent ruler, yours is the perfect soul! There can be none finer.”

But the ruler wasn’t satisfied with this answer, for he did not know himself if this was true. How did one measure the worth and value of a perfect soul?

He called forth all of his couriers and instructed them to scour the land and find perfect souls so he could compare himself to them.

While he waited for their return he thought about his personal assets as it related to being a human being. Was he worthy? A perfect soul had become increasingly important to him for some reason that he could not fathom.

Some time later his couriers returned, each with new ideas for what the perfect soul would contain but none had returned with a “perfect soul”. Still, one and all proclaimed that their ruler indeed was in possession of the perfect soul. And yet he pondered and worried about whether it was true.

So he sent forth a new quest in his land. He asked the question “What is the perfect soul”? He proclaimed that the one who best answered his question would have all the riches he or she could desire.

Crowds of his people flocked to the courts. Each person given the unique opportunity for a private audience with their king to answer the question.

As the days and months past the king became more convinced that there was no such thing as the perfect soul. Many very wise and some equally foolish people past his door to share their understanding of a perfect soul. The goal for most of them, of course, promised riches for the right answer.

One day the king, becoming overly weary of the same responses, dismissed everyone. He told all those in the great halls to depart, he wanted peace, relief from the noisy cacophony of his people. As the assembly hall emptied he noticed a slightly golden glow emanating from a simply clothed figure sitting unnoticed in the corner of the great hall.

The king now alone in the room, except for this one unassuming figure, approached her. At first glance she appeared quite nondescript but her calm demeanor and manner belied her rather ordinary physical appearance. As he came to stand next to her, she lifted her eyes and gazed deeply into his. She smiled a soothing smile.

“My king”. She said bowing her head and then returning her gentle gaze upon him.

He didn’t know what made him ask this person, this least of all individuals, his important question but he did.

“How can I know if I have the perfect soul?” He asked.

She thought for a moment and then responded, the glow of her own soul shining clear and strong as she replied.

“Your soul seeks to be full and complete, even on the most difficult of your lifetime days of activities. Your soul strives mightily on your behalf. You need search no further. Be at peace, your soul will answer your question in it’s own time. You are a good man and a great king, live your life now, quest no more for the answer. It will find it’s way to you as is the way of all souls.”

“How can you be sure?” He asked this soft spoken woman.

The pure radiance of light that now shone from her was near onto blinding the kings eyes, yet he stood firm and waited for her answer … and it came, simply and with no fanfare, just a surety and certainty that wiped away his doubts, worries and fears.

Her answer – I believe!

*

Thank you,

~ Penny

No Safe Side to Midnight – Scarier Sequel to earlier Scary Story!

I wrote (for me) a scary story a few months ago. The Safer Side of Midnight. Being Halloween I was persuaded to write a sequel to this story. We left our heroine in a rather precarious situation, happily she manages to get away (that’s another story though). But for this story it’s Midnight and our heroine is …

Scary story, part 2

No Safe Side to Midnight

Was this hell? She couldn’t tell! Things were so unclear, she opened her eyes, only to be horrified by what she saw staring back at her.

the beginning of evil

“Do you see what I see, my pretty one?” He leans in towards her, his words smooth, a sinuous whisper.

She shudders, struggling in a futile attempt to move, trying to look away even as his hands and arms hold her securely. Staring deeply into her lovely green eyes he notices the gathering cloudiness as they fill with fear, dread … and … something more.

“Ah, yes” He thinks. He feels both her fear and her growing desire. He pulls her closer, sighing deeply. His hot breath flays her flesh, while his lips rest gently against her ear.

“I can feel it, you know” he whispers.  “The evil without. The boundaries of your immaculate being contain an evil. Not inside your soul, mind you.” He pauses to laugh. “Not yet anyway!”

He laughs harder. A harsh sound, resonating like echoes from bat wings, flapping in a cave, wakening for a midnight feast. She closes her eyes, he continues to whisper, assaulting her other senses.

“The evil you wear without is of the finest veneer. A covering so paper thin as to have almost no existence.” His tongue savors her taste as he lazily laps an earlobe, pausing once again in contemplation. Her body shivers. He laughs. Playing with her emotions is such a delicious sensation.

“Yes, hardly there at all. This evil laid upon you in a previous life. You were so innocent, more easily tempted then, but it’s still there, your weakness. I feel this exquisite coating, layered upon the exterior of your soul. This ‘oh so slender veneer’ of evil calls you to me as does your purity.”

“Such a heady mixture of both, I can barely contain myself now that I have you, my ‘oh so’ pretty one.” His voice rich, sultry, seductive, playing with the nuance of each whispered word, hypnotic in its intensity of purpose.

the evil within

She feels him staring at her again! Compelling! She opens her eyes. His look, piercing. She tries again to turn away. Her fear, the captured prey of a wild beast. A beast as surely he is, and yet there is a longing – growing deep inside her – a craving, a desire! The fear is real, yet so is the growing need. How to resist? She senses him, can smell his heat and her own, a dampness to her skin, she shakes with the intensity of need, panting …

Waking suddenly, she sits straight up in her bed! Another nightmare. They were becoming more frequent and certainly more realistic.

More than a year since her escape from the cemetery. A lucky thing. The ‘being’ that had first spoken to her had whisked her away from the others. She still wasn’t sure how he’d accomplished this feat. Her body and spirit still badly bruised from the ordeal. He had left her in another part of the woods. His final words were, “I’m saving you for myself, I’ll find you later, after I take care of Him”. She wasn’t sure what sort of creature he was, but grateful for her life, she had made her way home.

And then she moved, far away. Changed her name, did everything she could to leave no trail. Created a new life. The past had stayed in the past until recently – when the dreams began.

What was she going to do now? During daylight hours she had begun to recall previous lives. She remembered the constant running but knew there was something else. But what? She needed to remember in order to protect herself; and even more to the point – why?

Why were they searching for her? Who were they? If it came to that, who was she and what is so special that she can’t remember? And in the meantime – Dear God! She covered her face with her hands. A nightmare when asleep, a nightmare when awake. Too much for any mortal to take, and now she’s beginning  to wonder – is she mortal? She doesn’t know anymore.

Looking through her bedside window she could see it was still dark outside. Did she even dare try to get more sleep? She had been safe during the day, since she moved. But now, he could find her in her dreams. And there were two of them chasing her, the creature from the cemetery and the demon he had summoned. It was all too much. Her memories of the past, her recent memories and now her fear.

What was she going to do?

“Perhaps I can help?” A voice said quietly, from the other side of her bedroom. There was someone there. In her room, sitting in the bedroom chair. Shadowy, indistinct but there, none-the-less …  and she was awake.

No safe side to midnight!

.

~ Penny

A Halloween Mystery – The Pumpkin Family’s missing Engine!

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“Dag blasted, Jack! What’ve you done with the engine?” Mr. Pumpkin was really angry. It was just about time for everyone to pile in to go to the Halloween party and with no engine in the pickup they wouldn’t be going anywhere.

“Honest, Amos,” Jack replied. A seedy look in his eye, “I just can’t understand what could have happened.”

“Well, it’s not as if you have to be a rocket scientist to figer this ‘un out Jack. Firstly, there’s an engine and now there ain’t!” Amos pulled his orange hankie out of his rear pocket and wiped his sweaty orange brow off with the realization he’d have to tell ‘Maude’, Mrs. Pumpkin.” He knew this would not set well with her.

In the mean time Jack had turned away from the pickup and was searching the ground.

“Jack, what are you doing now?” Amos asked, getting more agitated by the minute. “Looking at the ground isn’t going to solve our missing engine problem.”

“Well, that’s not the way I see it Amos,” Jack responded, scratching his triangular concave nose, while he continued to search the ground. It was starting to get dusk, and hard to see well. Thank goodness for the candle inside his head that illuminated his eyesight!

“Joe and Jeff must have run off to get some food? That would explain things! ” I’m trying to see if they left a trail behind for us to follow.”

“What in the gosh durn heck of it all, do Joe and Jeff goin’ for food have ta’ do with anything?” Amos exploded.

“Well I figer it this way,” Jack went on. “If Joe and Jeff took off goin’ nut huntin’, and they be the lead squirrels in dem cages in the truck engine, then they probably let the other squirrels out at the same time.

I’m guessin’ we’ll have ta’ wait for them to fill up and then they’ll be back at work in the engine, gettin’ it up and runnin’, at least that’s what I reckon’ll happen!”

Amos spat on the ground and went along with Jack to get a lantern, and some moonshine out of the shed. They decided they might as well fill up with fuel too, while they waited for their “engine” to do the same thing!

Halloween Mystery solved – The whole thing was nuts!

*

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!

~ Penny

Friday Fictioneers – The Vertigo of Change

And The Flow of Life

~

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The Vertigo of Change

Suspended in the moment, I think “what is happening?” My emotions seem so intense, yet my balance with life so far removed from what it should be.

There is a feeling of dizziness and beneath that is this amazing rebirth I feel emerging inside me; basic, elemental and needed.

The coordinated dizziness, internal sensations of MY awakening while technology races on. I am swept up in a matrix of life’s design. I marvel from one heartbeat to the next at who I am and what I will be.

If I can just find my balance, the future is waiting for me.

~

snapshot_20120707_45Each week talented writers from around the world sit down to write. Friday Fictioneers offers a wonderful opportunity to explore your writing skills, by using a photo prompt to write a “flash fiction” (100 words or less). The talented Rochelle is your hostess. Click on the link for more information and to join in the fun. You are most welcome and encouraged to join!

Have an excellent day today!

~ Penny

Coffeehouse of Dreams II – Savoring Flavors!

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A few of my fellow bloggers expressed a desire to revisit my Coffeehouse of Dreams and I am pleased to return on their behalf. This one with even more “flavors to savor”!

Languid … beguiling and bewitching, the aroma of coffee. I, seated in my corner table, inhaled; savoringfile0001890668403 the flavor through my sense of smell alone. Senses already heighthened by the familiar. The coffeehouse my home away from home. Not a hang out just a place where I can “be”. A comforting relaxing feeling.

Soothingly smooth and yet … there was a heightened sense of something more this evening! Yes …

…there it was! He was here again.

Standing just inside the doorway, searching the room for … me? Our eyes connected. His with mine. A special exchange.

An intimate look, beguiling but in such a gentle manner that I was disarmed before feeling any danger. The awareness there perhaps, but my senses were already intoxicated with the heavy aroma of freshly ground brewed coffee.

You know that luring blend of huskiness you can almost taste as you breath in. Confusing as to which is which, The coffee or the Intrigue. I couldn’t file0002018755666distinquish, not then and even today as I recall that evening … not now. Too much. A sensual overload of deliciousness.

No, I sat silently in the corner with my book and watched him make his way to my table. He’d already captured me with his eyes. The handful of people scattered around the room at various tables and booths a backdrop to the emotions I was experiencing as he approached.

He had asked if he could share my table, even had I wished him to leave in that moment I would have been powerless to refuse. Hypnotized by a sensation that was both familiar and foreign, I could not look away and just nodded, quietly answering “yes”.

He pulled out one of the empty chairs at my table and moved it nearer to me before seating himself. His eyes taking in my gaze during the entire maneuver. His hand reached across the table and covered my file0002108211823fingers holding my coffee cup with his own. Moving my hand along with his, he brought the cup to his lips sipping and savoring the richness. His eyes had never left mine. “Nice”, he said softly, placing his other hand over my free hand resting on the table top. “Very nice!” His voice seductive.

In that moment an incredible sense of déjà vu enveloped me. The known and the unknown merging into a thoroughly delightful wave of exotic blending, elevating the experience to well above anything I’d encountered before. Preparing me for something I would never have thought possible. Something undefined but exciting, not understood but accepting. My future dreams of love.

And as I’ve said before this, after all, is my coffeehouse of Dreams!

Thanks for the visit, hope you enjoyed,

~ Penny

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Scawy…Very Scawy…trust no one!

During one of the first Halloween holidays that a little girl of 5 had been very vocal about, she had an incident that scared her. She put her small hand up to her chest and patting her heart very quickly and with very wide open eyes said “Scawy…very scawy”. Sometimes I agree with the feelings of that little girl.

I do love Halloween for all the fun traditions that it represents, however some of the aspects of this spooky night can be very scawy, as a little girl so eloquently demonstrated. So having said that here is my scawy story for you:

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She was alone, she hadn’t meant to be alone. It wasn’t supposed to have worked out that way. It was late, the streets were deserted, she was about 3 blocks from her car and she was alone.

The Moon had disappeared behind dark and gloomy looking clouds, giving the shadows surrounding her an almost eerie life-like appearance.

“No Worries” she said to herself as she walked along, “I can walk these next few blocks by myself, I’m not afraid”.

Just because it was Halloween didn’t mean it was any different from any other night. A sound was heard off to her right behind her. A soft sound, and then another, the sound of footsteps, She turned and looked in the direction of the sound, nothing there. She turned back again walking faster.

The footsteps could be heard to be coming nearer. “Oh crap”, she thought, her heart beginning to beat faster, “I really don’t need this, not tonight”. Suddenly a black cat appeared in front of her and she shrieked without meaning to. She staggered around the cat, her walk now increased to almost a run. The streets seemed even darker than before. The edges of the shadows seemed to be reaching out to touch her.

The now pounding footsteps behind her were running, their pounding keeping beat with her racing heart. She broke into a run.

She could see her car, so near. Her breathing ragged, she was sure she could make it, so near now, so near. In just another few seconds, she reached out to the handle of the door. Locked, “Oh my lord”. She thought, A heavy hand landed on her shoulder, she screamed and turned.

“Lady, I’m sorry, I’ve been trying to catch you for several blocks now. You left your purse at the restaurant when you paid your bill.” The Restaurant manager was breathing as heavy as she as was as he handed her the purse. She smiled a shaky smile and thanked him. He smiled back.

She felt so silly, so very silly, it was Halloween after all the mind plays tricks on one’s imagination, She reached into her purse for her keys and turned to thank him once more. His smile was larger than before, that was when she saw the fangs.

Happy Halloween, everyone,

Penny