The Girl Who Broke Me

On Monday, October 2, I walked into my first class of the day to hear the other students talking about yet another mass shooting. At that point, I had heard nothing about it; I walked to my seat and dropped my backpack on the floor. Before I had a chance to sit down, I heard the numbers being tossed around. Fifty dead. Five hundred wounded.

This tragedy comes on the heels of numerous other tragedies that have hit close to home. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires have raised the death toll in the Americas to the quadruple digits. There’s a lot of brokenness going around, folks. A lot of heartache.

I spoke to a friend yesterday who told me that he doesn’t know how to be empathetic anymore. And I understood, because not long ago, I spent time I should have been studying pouring out words that I didn’t plan on ever publishing, just trying to work through the same thing. The same hardness. Yet when he spoke to me, I realized that I’m not the only one struggling with this—I have never been the only one.

Neither are you.

The Girl Who Broke Me

In 2015, I got a part-time job as a “Mama’s helper” for a foster and adoptive mother. I had seen tragedy before. As a person with a high level of empathy, I had watched the brokenness in other people’s lives and thought I knew what it was to be broken myself. I had cried when a woman I had prayed for died. I had rejoiced when a little boy I prayed for got a miraculous healing.

During the time I worked as a nanny/mama’s helper for this family, I touched darkness with my fingers. Two of the kids they had thought they would be able to adopt were suddenly taken away from them—in July, they learned that the bio’s lawyer had found a loophole, and by October, they were gone. They had a twenty minute warning the day the case worker came to take them away.

Two of the kids she had adopted were classified as “Special Needs.” For one of them, it was obvious; she has only three fingers on one hand, and suffers from severe scoliosis. For the other, it was less noticeable. She had come to live with this family as a two year old, and when she arrived, she bore the physical and mental scars of a horrific past.

One day when I was done working, the mama was driving me to the fast food restaurant where my dad would pick me up to take me home. Mama was more upset than usual that day; she had gone to see her daughter’s therapist and had shown her some of the pictures that the six year old had drawn in the week before. They were just another piece in the puzzle, another clue to figure out what had happened to the infant before she was taken into state custody—but this time, it was a piece that made it finally come together.

There’s an unspoken promise when you’re doing a puzzle: whatever image you come up with when you finally put in the last piece, it will be a pleasant one. It won’t give you nightmares. It won’t destroy you.

In real life, there is no such promise.

As we drove that day, this adoptive mama started to tell me a little bit about what they had learned, just what I needed to know to do my job and to keep my little sister, who was friends with her daughter, safe. But once she started, the story kept pouring out, until she had shown me the picture that they had discovered when they put in the last piece of the puzzle. Before she finished, she was crying too hard to speak. At last she took a breath and said, “I don’t know why I’m telling you all this. You just seem like you’re mature enough to handle it.”

After she dropped me off at the fast food restaurant, I walked inside long enough to get a drink, and then stepped outside to wrestle with the sobs building in my chest. I prayed that I would be able to compose myself before my dad showed up, because if he asked what was wrong, I wouldn’t be able to answer. I couldn’t tell him anything I had heard, just like I can’t tell you.

Dear reader, I wasn’t mature enough. No one is ever mature enough to handle the deepest darknesses of this world. No one is mature enough to stare into the depths of evil and not be broken—or hardened.

As a little girl, I was accustomed to grief. I heard stories of illness or desperation, of shootings, like the “Dark Knight” shooting in Aurora, Colorado, and my heart broke for the hurting and I wept. I knew well how to grieve for those who walked in sorrow.

Tragedy Follows You

Last year, I got a job at a fast food restaurant. The family I had been nannying for had experienced a change in circumstances and no longer needed my services, and I had made the decision, at a late age, to go to college. If there was anywhere you could escape tragedy, the burden of others’ loss, it would be in fast food, right?

My first week on the job, I was serving a customer out the drive-thru window. I asked her—partly as a matter of courtesy, partly because I was naive enough to care—how she was doing.

Not well, she told me. Her best friend’s son had gone missing, and she had been up all night searching for him. She was just grabbing some food before getting back to it.

More recently, I was serving on the front counter when a customer told me that her brother was going in for surgery that morning. She did not give me many details, but she asked me to pray.

“We need all the help we can get,” she told me. “He’s my brother.”

Even in an emotionless job, tragedy follows me.

I Don’t Know How to Handle Death

I’m tired.

At twenty-two years old, I’ve seen enough of the world to know it’s an ugly place. As a little girl, I believed in heroes. I believed that I could change the world. But I’m not a little girl any more, and the optimism that someone would save the innocents of this world has changed to emotional weariness as I realize that sometimes, the worst happens. Sometimes a child is violently betrayed by the people who should have protected them. Sometimes a mother has to sit by and watch her child die. The little girl who believed in heroes has grown into a young woman who knows that there are no heroes; there are only people, like me. And I am not a hero.

I’m not, reader. My arms aren’t long enough and my hands aren’t strong enough to save anyone. I’m not brave enough to stand up to evil, and I’m not good enough to love at the risk of loss. I don’t even have the strength to pray. I see the horror of the real world, hear the stories of tragedy, and I want to turn away. I want to close my eyes. I want to harden my heart.

Maybe you do, too.


I know what it’s like to not want to be broken any more. I look around and I cannot see any way to fix the darkness of this world. I am a glowworm squirming in the dirt at night, unable to call up enough light to light the way for even myself. I grew up longing to be a hero and I don’t even know what that means any more. And why does it matter? Can a hero save a little girl who needs a surgery that she can’t get, in a state that she can’t leave? Can a hero fix mental illness, or undo the wrongs committed in years past?

I wanted to finish this with something inspiring, a rousing call to action or a quiet urge to rest. I can’t do either, because I still don’t have the answers. I still find myself trying to shut myself off from other people’s tragedy, and wondering why it matters if I care, or if I try. Can’t I bury myself in a story where heroes actually save the day, and stop worrying about the rest of the world?

I don’t have an answer for you, or for me, but I do have this: In every story, there comes a point where the situation seems hopeless. There is nothing the hero can do to save the day. Nothing he has tried has succeeded, and it looks like the villain is going to win. In writing, we call this “The Dark Night of the Soul.”

In real life, we often call it “today.”

Today, if you’re like me and don’t know what to do, or where to go, and you’re so tired of the darkness you don’t even want to fight it anymore; if you’re tired of hurting and not being able to heal, remember this: We know what happens Tomorrow.

Tomorrow, we get back up. We fight. We love.

And at the end of the story, we win.


On Silence

You may have noticed (and if you’re my sister or mother, I know you have noticed) the appalling lack of posts on this blog. For the past two years, I have posted only challenge-related things, excepting when I shared a giveaway on here. It might be better said that for the past couple of years, I have posted only what other people told me to post.

I wish I could say I’ve been too busy saving the world to update my blog… But that wouldn’t be true. I also wish I could say that I’ve been lazy, and that’s all—Because at least then, I’d know how to solve the problem gradually turning my blog into a zombie. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be true either. (Except the part about the zombie. This site will eat your brain. Or something.)

When I started this blog, I was seventeen— My world had been turned upside down and righted again in the space of four hours a few short months before. I was on the edge of adulthood and on the edge of watching my brother leave for the Navy. And then Aurora, Colorado happened, and I was so full of words and emotions and questions I could not help but write. My first blog post was about death, and the mourning, and heroes, and hope, and a child’s naiveté—But I posted something else first, because I didn’t want to begin my blog like that. Still. I began my blog by telling people what to think.

Now I’m twenty-three. I’ve grown up—a little. I still live in my parents’ house, and have still never dated a man, but I’ve gotten a job and a license and started working toward getting a degree. I still dream big and still hope the world can be changed, but I’ve touched the darkness since 2012 in ways that I never thought I would. I learned more about the world than I wanted to know, and now, somehow, I understand what my mom meant when she said that she knows less now than she did when she was a teenager.

The blog I started by telling people what to think has fallen into silence because, all of a sudden, I don’t know what to tell you any more.

I’m still opinionated; I could still talk your ear off about unimportant theories, I could still argue you into a corner about whether or not it’s moral to kill one innocent person to save a hundred. Yet for the past few years, I’ve opened up my blog editor, looked at the empty page, and realized… I have nothing to say. I have no wisdom to impart to you. I have no knowledge you can’t find somewhere else, no experience you don’t have, and no reason to tell you what to think when you probably know better than I do anyway. I have no advice left to give. I’ve grown a little older and only realized how much I don’t know.

(Besides, does anyone even read blogs any more?)

I started writing this blog post two years ago, when my blog had been silent for only a few months. And in the time since then, things have changed.

On October 1, a man opened fire on a crowd of people for no apparent reason. And once again, I am so full of words and emotions and questions that I can’t help but write. So here I am again, not to tell you what to think—though I’ll do a little bit of that, because I know a tiny bit about the world, and even less about God—but to tell you that someone else is thinking the same questions you are. Here I am again, not to guide you, but to share the journey with you.

Because I’m a writer. I’m a talker. And I can’t stay silent anymore.

Flash Fiction Challenge – Name for Name

Remember this post?

I am once again participating in Rachelle O’Neil‘s Flash Fiction Challenge, in which participants write a flash fiction story based on a prompt given to them by another participant. I received my prompt from FaithSong, who happens to be my sister, and I gave a prompt to Athelas Hale… Who is also, actually, my sister.

FaithSong gave me this prompt:

Your prompt for the Flash Fiction Challenge is this: You must start with, “Darkness.” It can be dialogue, internal dialogue, or narration, but it must be the only word in the first sentence.

After beginning three… No, four different stories, I managed to finish this one (twice, because I never, ever, ever keep my first ending).

I do hope you enjoy it. 🙂



Name for Name


It was the only word on her tongue— The name of her poison, twisting white lips around ugly syllables. She whispered it, over and over, though she barely had breath enough to stay alive.

How could a mortal fight darkness like that? More than an absence of light, the darkness I had glimpsed and she had stared at, long and hard, was a Being itself. If I closed my eyes I could see it again— Solid, alive, a Thing my puny lights could not pierce. Only a fool stared so long into darkness like that. Only a fool.

Oh, Azra.

We won the battle, but the cost was dear. So dear.

I clutched her to my chest so hard I could feel my own heartbeat mingling with hers, two erratic rhythms reverberating through both our bodies, with the steady beat of the dragon’s wings beneath us both. Of the three, hers was the weakest; so faint it seemed to fade from time to time, and my own heart would seize in my chest until I felt her pulse, quiet and unsteady, beneath my fingers.

Then I could breathe again, for a moment.

Beyond the glow of Chanan’s scales, emptiness clung to the world; mist collected on my skin, dampened Azra’s hair, and pooled in the gaps between Chanan’s scales. I gripped Chanan’s ribs between my knees, trying to suppress the shivers crawling along the ridge of my spine. Azra did enough shivering for both of us.

A quiet low from Chanan warned me he was about to descend. My stomach lurched and the wind rushed past us, tearing at the blankets encasing Azra’s frail body. I wanted to tuck them back around her, but I dared not loosen my grip for even a moment. I wanted to place trembling fingers over her ever-moving lips, but I didn’t for the same reason.

I could only hold her, tight against my body, as though I could keep her soul from fleeing if I just held her tight enough.

Chanan spread his wings to slow our descent, stretching them like leathery kites, so far the tips disappeared into the cloud. The wind filled his wings and caught us with a jolt.

As we slowed, the wind settled, and I loosened my hold long enough to tuck the blankets around Azra again. Her whispers faltered, and she curled her trembling body closer to mine. My heart thrilled— Such a small movement, but it was the nearest thing to acknowledging my presence she had done since she looked into the darkness.

“Azra,” I whispered, searching her face for a sign of life. “Azra.”

She didn’t move, except to spell darkness into the air. Despair hardened like a rock in my throat.

Chanan hit the ground at a gallop and eased to a walk. Rocking with the movement of his steps, I let my gaze drift to the featureless landscape around us. East, West, North, South—In this waste, under a grey sky, they were meaningless words. Yet guided by an instinct I hoped would not lead him astray, Chanan trotted onward with an arrow-straight pace.

My heart prayed. It burned with a plea words could not express. And beneath my fingers, her pulse faltered and slowed.

Yahweh,” I whispered, a world of prayer in that word. A light sparked in my soul. Yahweh— The I AM God, the One Who Was, and Is and Shall Be. “Yahweh,” I whispered again, her heart beating against my ribs. Could speaking the Names of the Father of Lights call her back from the darkness in which she dwelt?

“Yeshua. Yahweh Raah. Adonai.

Her body shuddered hard, her fingers clutching at the blankets. I shifted so I could cradle her with one arm, and clasped her hand.

Lamb of God,” I whispered, watching her lips spell darkness once again. “Good Shepherd. Lion of Judah. Yahweh Shalom.

She shivered, hard, fingers tightening around mine. Through the spasms, she could hardly take a breath, but still her lips spelled the name of her poison— “Darkness,” they said, “nothing but darkness.”

El Elyon. Prince of Peace. Yahweh Yireh.

As I gave name for name, her nails bit into my skin. She whispered darkness; I whispered light.

Yahweh Shammah. El Shaddai.

Her lips parted and stilled.

Emmanuel. Yahweh Tsidkenu.”

Convulsing, she choked on her breath, lips turning white around the edges. My heart lurched. Shaking my fingers free of her hand, I pressed them against her neck.

“Father,” I whispered. “Father.”

She went still. Stopped breathing.

My hands went as cold as her body had been all this time. Touching her cheek, staring at her closed eyes, I forgot how to breathe.

“Please,” I mouthed. That was all. My heart screamed with a prayer words could not hold, groaning inexpressible.

Gathering her in my arms, I pressed her to my body, close and tight so all the worlds could not tear us apart. For a moment, Chanan’s steps were the only rhythm I could feel.

Then I felt a thump against my chest.

It banged against my ribs, once, then again, the double beat of a heart. Her ribs expanded and air rushed in through her mouth— Her heart slammed against mine, and it hurt.

But she breathed.

Shivers racked her body. A sob broke from her throat and she curled against me, shaking with the cold.

“K- “ Her fingers gripped my shirt. “K- Kurios.”

My own breaths came in halting, painful bursts. I took her hand in mine, and the wind bit at tears on my cheeks.

“Kurios,” she said again, and she buried her face in my shoulder as if to hide from the sight that must have been seared on her eyes still.

I rubbed her back, raised my eyes to the featureless heavens. She shivered in my arms, her heartbeat weak and irregular, her skin frigid. But when her lips moved, they spelled a new Name— Kurios, Lord, Master, King.

It was the only word on her tongue.

To the Woman in the Grocery Store

I wrote this in a journal late in 2011. I am posting it here on the chance that, maybe, the right person will see it.

Dear Unknown Lady,

What were you doing in that grocery store, more than seventeen years ago? Were you looking for food for your family? Were you shopping for only yourself? Were you waiting for God to show you someone to help? Whatever it was, I’m thankful you were there.

What was that ten dollar bill to you? Was it your lunch for the next day? Was it your desert for the week? Or was it nothing, just a scrap of paper you didn’t need? Did you give it away because you knew you had treasure in heaven?

I wonder what went through your head when God told you to give it to that young couple. I wonder if you thought they didn’t really need it. I wonder if you looked at the two young children hanging on their hands and thought that, yes, they did. I wonder if God use their conversation to plant the idea in your head.

Were you nervous as you stepped up to them? Did you heart beat faster? Did you almost change your mind because you were afraid? Or had you done this many times before? Were you “cool as a cucumber”? Did you question God? What did it take to make you step up and say what you said?

“I feel like God wants me to give this to you.” Were those the hardest words you ever said, or did they flow like water from your mouth? Did you wonder how they would respond, this strange man and woman you had never met?

Who were you, Unknown Lady? Did you have a family? Did you know what it was like to eat beans for a month, because it’s all you could afford? Did you know what it was like to be pregnant, and have to learn how to cook beans so you and your family could eat? Did you just feel sorry for the young family in the grocery store? Or were you an angel, sent for that very purpose?

Unknown Lady, did you know that you doubled our grocery money for the month?

I’ve never met you. I was there, that day, but I was far too young to notice what was going on. No, I’ve never met you, but I saw the tears in my mother’s eyes as she spoke of your kindness. You touched her heart far more than you could have known you would. And through her, you touched me, a girl you never even saw. Did you know, then, what a difference ten dollars would make?

I pray that wherever you are now, you are blessed. I pray that your faith in Jesus Christ is strong. I pray that God is still using you to bless others as you blessed my family.

I pray the Lord will bless you greatly. I pray that you will feel His presence, and I pray that He will lead you. I pray that He will let you see what a difference such a small gift can make.

I pray that someday we will meet in heaven, and I will know you for who you are, and be able to say, “Thank you.”



The Baby who

 had yet to be


Want to Win a Set of Audio Books?

Bryan Davis has been one of my favorite authors for the past several years. I basically grew up on these stories— Some of the first Christian Fantasy I ever read. If you’re interested in winning audio books for all four novels in his “Dragons in Our Midst” series, go follow his blog (which, by the way, is a great resource for writers: he posts writing tips every Monday, and hosts a critique session every Friday, among other things).

The Author's Chair

DIOMAudioBooksWould you like to win an MP3 set of audio books – all four stories in the Dragons in our Midst series? I am giving away three sets. All you have to do to qualify is “follow” this blog and comment on this post to let me know you’re following.

To follow, look at the right-hand column for the “Follow” button. Click on the button and enter your email address, then post a comment here, and you’re in the contest.

If you are already following and you want to enter, post a comment, and I will look you up on my followers’ list and add you to the drawing.

The deadline is the end of January, and I will choose three winners on February 1.

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Flash Fiction Challenge – Illusions

I’m participating in Rachelle O’Neil’s Flash Fiction Challenge. The challenge was to write a bit of flash fiction from a prompt given to you by one of the other participants.

I received this prompt from Katie Grace:

… Which was definitely a challenge. My limit was 1000 words, which I barely, barely, barely managed… Google Docs says 995, and I’m sticking with their count.

Now, flash fiction is not my area of expertise (I haven’t figured out what is, yet), so this was doubly a challenge… And this is not the best piece of writing I have ever produced either. I’d love some helpful input, if any one has any. 🙂

If you want to read the stories of the other participants, go here.

And here is mine. I do hope you enjoy it.



They said an untethered man could drift in the void for centuries and never realize he was lost— Drawn from illusion to illusion, never a thought of the reality beyond the infinite boundaries of the dream-like world.

They called it Dreamworld, or Void, or Illusion, but never safe.

Listening to the siren-call of the Illusion as it punctured the walls of the Chamber, Ian clicked the last buckle of his harness into place and tried to forget what they said. “I’ll find him, and you’ll pull me back?”

The Gatekeeper said nothing— Only looked, hard and deep and unwavering. He could see, Ian knew, that Ian’s instinct rebelled at the thought of trusting his life and the life of an unknown man to the plastic buckles and moldy harness that had been here since who-knew-when. Perhaps he could see everything, even hurts and regrets long-buried.

Running the rope through his fingers until he came to the frayed end, Ian looked at the Gatekeeper. “This would be easier if I knew who I was looking for.”

The Gatekeeper nodded, reaching for the old rope with older fingers. Ian fingered the threads before he relinquished it. What stories could the rope tell, of how many travelers lost?

“Okay.” Ian faced the door. “I’m ready, then.”

As the door opened, the whole world peeled away like burning paper, curling at the edges, driven before the force of the Void. The wailing grew, vibrating through Ian’s bones, his heart, his head, until he felt the siren-song of a place of illusions would tear him apart. Instead, it lodged itself in his heart, and faded from conscious hearing.

He climbed to his feet.


They said the Void had no ground, yet he stood on one. They said the Void was cold, yet warmth filled the air, a warmth of laughter and memories, of long days and short nights, of sitting hand-in-hand with a beautiful woman. Swirls of light and shadow obscured his vision like mist, but if he closed his eyes, he felt he stood in the desert’s sun. Now he knew why men feared this place: The warmth brought vivid memories of happier days, and the hurt that tore them from him. He reached for the harness, for reassurance, and touched only the bare fabric of his shirt.

Fear flared in his stomach, but he thrust it aside. He had come to find a man— Find him he would.

As he drew breath to call out, the mist swirling around him rushed in through his nostrils. It tingled in his mouth and throat, at once cold and hot and without temperature.


When he exhaled, his breath pushed aside the mist, unveiling a black mountain inches from him. A light pulsed at the top, brighter than the mist. Was light good in this land of illusions? Ian didn’t know— Yet he had to start somewhere. He reached for a handhold.

With every step, the warmth faded. His feet numbed. His breath clouded. His fingers froze to the bare stones. Every time he lifted a hand, he left behind a part of himself: His favorite color. His nervous habit. His oldest memory.

Halfway up, he realized the stones throbbed with the same beat as the light, c-cold, c-cold, c-cold. He pulled himself up another step and the world throbbed, too, contracting and expanding with inexplicable, endless beat. It pounded against him, forcing him to inhale when it expanded and exhale when it contracted, matching the rhythm of his breaths to the beat of this world.

A massive nest balanced on the mountain’s pinnacle, framed by stars and a clear, clear sky. In the nest, a tree sat atop a lightbulb larger than Ian, and the bulb pulsed light and dark like the beat of Ian’s heart.

“Who are you?” Asked the tree.

“Who are you?” Asked Ian.

The tree paused. “Isn’t my light pretty?”

Grasping the nest, Ian pulled himself to his feet and looked over the side at the thin glass bulb. With each moment of darkness, the light came back a little bit dimmer. “What’s it doing up here?”

“What are you doing up here?”

Ian stilled. A good question. Why had he come all this way? “I don’t remember.”

“Neither do I,” said the tree. The roots caressed the lightbulb. “It’s safe up here, you know.”

“But useless.”

“They broke it.”


The tree shrugged. “Them. Down there. I keep it safe.”

“That’s silly.” Ian reached to touch the dimming light, but the roots slapped his fingers. “It’s not broken.”

“It healed.”


“They might break it again.” The roots tightened protectively around the bulb. “They might, you know.”

“Lights aren’t meant to be protected. They’re meant to give light.”

“It lights up this place.”

“But no-one can see it. How long has it been up here?”

“Not long,” the tree said. “A hundred years.”

“It’s always been this dim?”

The tree paused, leaning down as if measuring the bulb’s light— Now so faint Ian’s eyes strained to see the shape of the tree against the stars. “No,” the tree said.

“It needs energy.”

“No,” repeated the tree.

“You should take it down to recharge.”


“It will die.”

“No,” the tree whispered. “I keep it safe.”

The voice faded into shadows. The light gave one final, shuddering flash and winked out.

The beat stopped.

The world stilled.

And Ian’s heart stilled with them.

And in that moment, he knew who he’d been sent to find.


He felt the door of the chamber shut out the illusions before he felt the rope pull him back, before he felt his feet hit the metal floor of the Chamber. He lay limp on the floor and breathed. The Gatekeeper’s gaze was on him.

“Does it always have to end like that?” Ian asked.

“Not always.”

“Not always,” Ian whispered.

He remembered a woman’s face. He remembered saying goodbye.

And at the end of remembering, he made up his mind.

Beautiful People: Lorcan, the Black Horse

{It’s been a very, very long time since I posted on my blog. I know. Do you have any idea how many unfinished posts are sitting in my draft folder? Neither do I. Today (or tomorrow, or the next day, or the one after that) I am participating in the “Beautiful People” blog link-up. This month’s subject is villains. If you are interested in participating, click the picture (Note: I don’t necessarily endorse all of the posts on that blog. Or even that post. It has weird flashy thingies that I think are from a Disney movie… But I’m actually not sure. So browse with caution (Not that I think Disney movies are terrible, I just don’t necessarily endorse them. :p))}

Lorcan is technically the recurring villain from the story-world of my (Lord willing) NaNoWriMo story. He is by nature something of a were-horse, able to shift back and forth from horse to humanoid, while still retaining some aspects of his other nature when he shifts.

1. What is his motive?

Lorcan is either incredibly complex, or complicatedly simple— He hides his motives like some people hide their messes.

At the heart of his actions is a need for purpose, and a need for a King. He boasts of a desire to be God, but he does not really want to— Really, he wants God to be God, and to rule him. He wants a man or being he can follow, who has the power and the will and the wit to beat him into submission. And he wants a purpose; he has an enormous intelligence, an enormous power, an enormous energy. He needs something to do with them— Only, he’s looked so long in the wrong places that he is convinced there is no King, and there is no purpose, and so he is determined to make the best of it, never mind the rest of the world.

2. What does he want, and what is he prepared to do to get it?

He wants to play a game. He wants a challenge. He wants to match his wits with someone of equal or greater intelligence. I think, in a funny way, he wants to be beaten— And losing one battle is not good enough. If he can come back, he will, and his retaliation will be swift and merciless. He is not afraid to murder, or… Basically, do anything else. Yet he is master of himself. Every action is calculated, every thought, every word, is carefully controlled and directed so that everything he does is a manifestation of great control. Unlike some werecreatures, he has his instincts entirely under control, and he uses them to great effect. However, he does not kill senselessly— He will kill for the pleasure of it, but he will not kill if there is no pleasure in it. He will not steal if it is not a challenge. He will not break the law if there is not the slightest (very slightest, usually) chance of getting caught, or, in his eyes, the absolute necessity of doing so. He has no particular goals except these, just as Sherlock Holmes would be a detective for the mental challenge, and the Scarlet Pimpernel would rescue aristocrats for the thrill of it. Everything Lorcan does, he does for the experience. He wants to play a game, you see.

3. How does he deal with conflict?

Deal with conflict? My dear reader, Lorcan does not deal with conflict, Lorcan creates conflict! He can walk into a gathering of peaceful people, and all of a sudden there are blaster holes in the walls and anger on everyone’s faces, and Lorcan will not have moved from his rather comfortable position on the couch. He has been threatened with death for simply opening his mouth. Why? Because he plays with people, plays with their hurts, and their hopes, and their random thoughts, and their pride. They are his toys. He needles them to see if he can get a reaction.

4. Describe his current place of residence.

Lorcan moves around a lot. I don’t know where he is now. He is as likely to be in Middle Earth at the end of the Third Age as he is to be at the battle of Lexington and Concord as he is to be at the opening of the first Mars Colony.

5. If he was writing this story, how would it end?

I believe he would leave the ending open-ended. There’s no fun in it if everyone knows what happened.

6. What habits, speech patterns, etc. are unique to him?

Having been what he is for a very long time (his whole immortal life, actually), Lorcan has picked up a few horse-habits. He tends to snort, and toss his head, and he has a peculiar habit of asking, “What are you supposed to be?” when he meets someone new. His eyes are closed more often than open, and when they are open, it is rarely all the way— He always looks half-asleep.

7. How does he show love? What does he like to do with/for people he loves?

If Lorcan loves anyone but himself, I am unaware of it. If he did, I am certain he would show it the same way he shows contempt; only that he would be a little less scornful, and a little less inclined to needle, and a little more willing to die for the person he loved.

8. Does he have any pets?

Other than the whole of sentient beings? No, no pets.

9. Where would he go to relax/think?

He can relax and think in any location, at any time, almost regardless of the circumstances. If he really wanted to relax and think, though, I think he would go to the mountains, a place of crystal streams and bright flowers, far from the clamour and noise of sentient beings. It’s there that all the noise in his own heart and his head lessens— just for a moment.

10. What is his weapon of choice? (FYI: words, eyes/looks, and fists count as weapons too.)

In a battle of wits, words are, of course, his weapon of choice. If he is angry (he is never angry), he can throttle someone with little effort. He doesn’t like swords— Finds them large and clumsy and so conspicuous. Guns, however, he has a certain appreciation for. Perhaps he likes the distance it allows, I don’t know; he does not like small knives, at all, partly because he does not like getting blood on his clothes and partly because they require so little skill to use. I think he does not like blades; they have no sophistication, in his mind. As for poison, he will only use it if there is enough of a chance of getting caught, or if he needs to kill a great many people at once (as someone would poison rats). He prefers to look his victim in the eyes when they know he has bested them.

In his other form, of course, he has hooves and teeth and an enormous mass, all of which he knows how to use to his advantage.

Character Interview: Stori

Athelas Hale interviewed Stori on her writing blog, Red Lettering. Check it out, and be sure to look around at her other posts.

Red Lettering

Happy Tuesday, readers. Today I have the pleasure of introducing to you Stori, Companion to Hope Hunter in Caiti Marie’s (who happens to be my awesome sister) episodic Saturday Stori.

Hello, Stori! Welcome to Red Lettering. I’m honored that you were willing to answer some questions. I know you’re very busy–something about saving the world?–so I’ll make it brief.

To start with, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Stori: *stills, staring into space as she considers the question, then gives a quick laugh* I’m sorry. I don’t introduce myself very often. My name… *forehead wrinkles* You know my name. Well… *quiets for a moment* I was born in Rivervale. You’ve probably not heard of it— It was a tiny village nestled in the South of the Liliwhit Mountains. I am Companion to Hope Hunter, a girl from earth I met a little over eleven years ago.

Actually, I have…

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The Future of Stori

Before I began Season Two of Saturday Stori, I posted on this blog asking for my readers’ opinions about the series; whether they wanted me to continue it, and what changes I should make. When I began to write the first episodes of Season Three, I did not even consider, more than briefly, doing something like that. I probably should have.

This is an official announcement to say there will be no Saturday Stori on Saturday, February 22. And if I got my date wrong, and February 22 is not a Saturday, then this is an official announcement to say that there will be no Saturday Stori on the Saturday immediately after today. I need to take a step back and re-evaluate the story…

Okay. Not really. I actually have re-evaluated the story, a couple thousand times. Now I just need to decide what to do with it. So while I think deep thoughts and try to decide on the future of Saturday Stori — what place it needs to take now, whether I will post it anymore, and if I do, what I will change — The series itself will be suspended. This may mean not only this week, but next week as well— Unless I decide to cancel it, in which case, it will be mean from this week on, to eternity. If readers have any suggestions, or comments, or questions about the series, I would be most grateful to hear them.

Until then, go find something better to read. 🙂

Edit 03/03/2014: “Saturday Stori: Hope Hunter” has been cancelled. Thank you all for the interest and support you have shown since July 27, 2012, when the first episode of Saturday Stori was published.

When Orphans Are Scared

I heard her slip out of her bed in the darkness and paused, listening to hear which direction she would go. It was past eleven o’clock on a week night, and Giggles had already been asleep for a few hours before she got up. When she got past the gate in the doorway, there was a brief pause, and then I heard her footsteps pattering across the hollow floor toward Mommy and Daddy’s room.

Nightmares again.

After several attempts to calm her nighttime fears myself, I had given up. Once a night, she would slip out of her bed and run to Mommy and Daddy’s room to receive to comfort she needs. In a few minutes, she usually walked back, slipped back in bed, and fell asleep. I had gotten into the habit of waiting to hear her walk back into the room before I fell asleep again.

Only this time, she didn’t just walk back in.

After a larger stretch of time passed than I was used to, I heard something that sounded like she ran halfway back, then turned and went the other direction. We have a small house, and through the stillness I could hear clearly the sound of her footsteps, and the quick, short breathing of someone who is terrified and on the brink of tears.

I sat up and looked down the hall to make sure she was not in the living room. I could neither see nor hear her; She must be in Mommy’s room, I thought. Instead of lying back down, though, I stayed where I was, wondering if the lack of light in the kitchen meant that Mommy and Daddy’s door was closed.

After a moment, I heard her running back again, breathing erratically.

I said her name as she entered the girls’ room. “What’s wrong?”

Even I am not so clueless as to remain on my bed as I ask that question to a frightened little girl. I slipped down from the top bunk, and immediately she grabbed hold of me, shaking in fear.

I sat on the floor and she laid her head in my lap. For a moment she lay like that, and gradually her breathing calmed and her shaking ceased. After a moment, she sat up and hugged me– Hard. I wrapped my arms around her and hugged back, reminding myself that when someone had a nightmare, it’s best to just offer comfort, rather than push to get them to tell you what’s wrong.

In a few seconds, she sat down on my lap, and I put both arms around her, remembering to breathe calmly so she would know there was nothing wrong. I wanted to whisper in her ear, something that would let her know there was nothing unusual going on. As I tried to think of something, these words came to mind:

“I wish I could hold another seven year old girl the way I’m holding you right now.”

I swallowed down tears and did not say it.

Reader, the other seven year old little girl is someone I have never met and, unless God works a miracle, probably never will. She was abused extensively as a young child and is now considered one of those “troubled children” you hear so much about. A few weeks after I learned about her, her profile was taken off I don’t know what happened to her. Unless God intervenes, I never will.

It raised the question: When orphans are scared, who comforts them?

My comfort was not enough for Giggles. After a while, she went to get the Lady as she normally does. When she left, she left an odd ache in my chest, and a question turning over and over in my head. That other little girl– does she have a mother now? When nightmares of past abuse come back to haunt her, does she have any one to hold her close, to whisper peace in her ear, to pray over her? When she walks through a dark house and finds nothing but fear, is there comfort at the end of her journey? Does she know that God listens to prayer and that He has not given us a Spirit of fear?

When orphans are scared, who comforts them?


This post has remained unfinished in my draft folder for months. When I come to finish it, I find myself desperately lacking the words. There is nothing I can say, no profound comments I can add to bring this to a conclusion.

It has no conclusion.

You, dear reader, can and must help orphans. Because, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27) Because you were a spiritual orphan before you were adopted by God– An adoption that cost Jesus’s very life. Whether it is donating to adoptive families, becoming a foster or adoptive parent, praying for them, or sharing their stories, there is something you can do for them.

For Holly, who has fifteen months to be adopted before she is “too old.” For Viktor and Yuri who are slowly dying in a Ukrainian orphanage. For the millions of children in the world who have neither mother nor father: those whose parents died, those who were taken from their families, and those who were abandoned. For them, there is something you can do, and I beg you to do everything you can.

Because if you don’t help them, who will?