Time for a Blessing…

Me & My Muse is not quite back yet, but don’t worry.  Here is a wonderful story for you all to read while you’re waiting.  It’s a story that I wrote eight years ago back in 2013.  It’s called “Blessings”, and it’s about a man named Thomas trying to raise Peyton, his five-year old daughter as a line cook at the Steak N’ Bake.

Everything changes when Thomas begins to receive more than what he bargained for.  What did he receive?  Read the story, and be blessed!

So pull up a chair and begin reading.  Warm yourself by the fire.  And remember.  You are always welcome at the estate.

Now for the story.  Enjoy!



                Thomas Miller wiped the sweat off his brow, his eyes probing the entire kitchen.  Every cook was busy, preparing the numerous dishes that were asked of them.  On top of this, various new orders filled the kitchen.  The time was 6:24 p.m.  The orders were coming in faster than what they could manage.  It was crunch time.

                “You’re all doing good!” Thomas shouted, above the various kitchen sounds.  The sounds of steak sizzling on a hot grill.  The clinging and clanging of various pans as the cooks prepared the other side dishes.  Then there was the noise of the pastry chefs on the other side of the kitchen.  Altogether, it was the sound of business.  A well-oiled machine guaranteeing another profitable night.

                Thomas repeated himself, and raised his voice.  “You’re all doing good, but I need you to PICK IT UP!” he barked at all the cooks.  “I’m finishing up the food for table 12.  Where is everyone else?!”

“Chill out, Tom!” one of the cooks shouted.  “We’re all filling the orders as fast as we can!  I’m working on table 4.  It’s a party of ten people, and they all ordered the steak!  Take it easy, man!”

Thomas sighed, shaking his head.  “You all can work faster!” he said, challenging them.  “I know it!  Table 12 is for a party of 16 people, and I just finished it.  Let’s finish these orders, so we can get to the new ones!”

The same cook shrugged his shoulders and flipped over the steak that he was working on.  “Again Tom, please chill.” The cook then grabbed the steak with a pair of tongs and plopped it on the plate.  “Porterhouse is done.  This one just needs the sides.”

Thomas grabbed some new cuts of steak and brought them near the grill.  “Steve,” he said to the cook, “You wouldn’t be doing this if the head honcho was here.  Now, I need you and everyone else to pick up the pace.  We just got three new orders.  All of them are New York strips for table 7.”

“The head honcho is here,” a voice announced.

Thomas turned around and gasped.  Near the door to the kitchen, there stood the manager of Steak N’ Bake, with a slight frown on his face.  “Chris!  I was just motiva….”

“I know what you were trying to do,” Chris interrupted.  “They are all doing a good job, and you really need to have more confidence in them.  See?  They just finished 3 more tables and are ready for the next orders.”

Thomas nodded.  “I just wanted them to be at their best, like you told me.  ‘Lead by example, do your best’….”

Chris smiled.  “They are, Tom.  You need to trust them a little more and not be so critical.  Fridays are always busy, but you need to relax.   Now, how many hours have you worked this week?”

Thomas scratched his hair and let out a nervous laugh.  “More than 40.  I had to cover some extra shifts, due to this crazy flu epidemic….”

Chris retrieved the schedule book and grinned.  “That would explain your behavior.  You’re usually not like this.  Uptight and nervous.  That’s not the Tom I know.”

Thomas adjusted his “Steak N’ Bake” cap.  “What else can I do?” he said with a sigh.  “I can’t control when people get sick!”

Chris nodded, while he leafed through the schedule book.  “Ah!” he shouted.  “Here we go!  You work until 10.  Why don’t you go early?  I’m sure you want to see your daughter.  How is she, by the way?”

Thomas smiled.  “Oh, Peyton?  She’s doing fine.  My usual sitter is watching her right now.”

Chris closed the schedule book and walked over to the oven.  “You can leave early, Tom.  I can take it from here.  Relax and take it easy.”

While Chris was talking to Thomas, a woman with a pastry chef’s hat walked over to him.  “All of my chefs are keeping up with the desserts,” she told him.  “They’re doing a splendid job.”

“Very good, Laura!” Chris said, praising her.

Thomas nodded, and took his time card.  He punched out and grabbed his winter coat.

“Oh.” Laura gasped.  “Are you leaving?”

“He’s filled in for a few sick people this week, so he’s already over the max hours,” Chris told her.  “Plus, I want him to recharge.  Working that many hours can drain anyone.”

Laura nodded.  “My chefs haven’t missed any days.”  She then turned to Thomas.  “Bye Tom!  Enjoy your Friday night with your daughter!”

Or what’s left of it,” Thomas quietly said under his breath as he looked at his watch.  The time was now 6:38 p.m.  A little more than an hour before Peyton’s bedtime.

Thomas left the kitchen and approached the entrance of the restaurant.

“Bye Tom!” the hostesses shouted as he left Steak N’ Bake.

Thomas was hit with a sudden burst of cold air.  He stepped gingerly toward his car, through the snow and ice that blanketed the parking lot.  Upon inspecting his Toyota, there was a thin layer of snow on the windshield.

Thomas sighed, taking off his work hat and starting the ignition.  He loosened the wipers and then re-entered his car.  He then activated the wipers, which swept off the new snow.

After a couple miles, Thomas turned down a couple more streets, which led to the Golden Meadows trailer park.  The sign sat prominently in the front, cracked and worn.  The visibility of the sign faded as the new snow began to cover it.

“More like Broken Meadows….” he quietly said with a sigh.

Thomas drove down, through the rows of trailers. Some of the trailers looked like junkyards, with all the trash that sat around it.  Others were nicely kept, with snow laden lawn ornaments, resembling gnomes.  A couple trailers, despite it being a couple weeks after New Year’s, still had their Christmas lights up.

He pulled his car up to his trailer, which was all decorated with Christmas lights (his trailer was unfortunately one of them).  A green car was parked next to him.  It belonged to the babysitter, who was watching his daughter.

Thomas got out of his car and entered the trailer.  The babysitter was sitting in the reclining chair, which sat beside the window in the tiny living room.  When she saw Thomas, she smiled and looked up.  “Peyton!” she called out.  “Your daddy’s home.  Wanna say hi?”

Peyton, who was watching a movie, looked up from the television screen.  “Okay.” she said in agreement as she got to her feet.  “Daddy!”

Thomas ran toward Peyton, arms wide open.  He then tightly embraced her and scooped her up.  “Peyton!  How’s my peanut doing tonight?”

“Fine, daddy.” Peyton answered.  “Stephanie played dolls with me and we put on makeup.  We then had sloppy joes and we watched a movie….” Peyton glanced at the screen.  “It’s almost over.”  She then glanced at her father, giving him a curious look.  “Daddy, why are you home so early?”

At this, Thomas sighed.  “Daddy was working too much, so they sent daddy home early.  But isn’t that great?  I get to see you before your bedtime!”  He then turned to Stephanie.  “She wasn’t too much trouble for you, was she?”

Stephanie smiled.  “Not at all.  She minds pretty well.  We both had a blast….”  Stephanie then stood up and got her purple winter coat.  “Just give me $40, and that should cover it for tonight.”

Thomas gasped.  “Are you sure?  I usually pay you 70….”

Stephanie nodded, and shoved her hand at him.  “Just 40.” she insisted.  “You came home early, and you mentioned how you were behind on your rent.  I don’t want you to lose this place.  Just accept my offer….okay?”  At that moment, some text message alert sounded on her cell phone, but she ignored it.

Thomas nodded in reluctance.  “Okay.  40 it is….”  He opened up his wallet and paid the babysitter.

Stephanie smiled.  “Thank you.   For Peyton, it’s worth every penny.  She is a wonderful girl, and I enjoy spending every minute with her.  I’ll see you Monday!”

Thomas nodded, as Stephanie approached the door.  “You’re welcome, Stephanie.  I’ll see you later!  Stay warm!”

Stephanie nodded, and exited the trailer.

With Stephanie gone, Thomas carefully surveyed the living room.  Everything was picked up.  There was not a single thing lying on the floor.  He then checked the kitchen.  All the dishes were washed and put away.  The left-over sloppy joe meat sat in the fridge, in a bowl covered in saran wrap.

Right then, Thomas had a sudden urge to go.  As he walked toward the bathroom, Peyton grabbed his arm and shook her head.

“No daddy,” she told him.  “You can’t go in there.”

Thomas frowned.  “Why can’t I?”

Peyton placed her hands in the pockets of her pink corduroy pants.  “The toilet’s backed up.”

Thomas scowled.  “Again?  That’s the second time this week!”

Peyton then opened the door pointed to a small bucket inside the bathroom.  “She had me use that.” she said, holding the bucket.  “She then dumped it out when I was done.”

Thomas then began to shake and squirm.  “Let daddy use the bathroom, okay honey?!”

Peyton nodded, and left the bathroom.

Thomas shut the door and used the bathroom.  Of course he didn’t use the toilet, since it would overflow if he used it.

After he did his business, he washed his hands and opened the door.  He clenched his fist and scowled.  “We’re calling a plumber tomorrow,” he told Peyton.  “There is no way that I’m dealing with this all weekend.”

Peyton nodded, with a disdainful look on her face.  “I don’t like the bucket, daddy….”

Thomas nodded.  “Neither do I.  We’ll take care of it tomorrow, okay?”  Thomas patted Peyton’s face and hugged her.  “Come on.  We need to get you ready for bed.”

Peyton looked at the clock and frowned.  “But daddyyyyyy,” she sighed.  “It’s too earlyyyyyy….”

Thomas looked at the clock, which said 7:25.  “Daddy wants a little alone time tonight, okay?  Let’s get ready, peanut.”

Peyton frowned.  “Okaaaaay….” she reluctantly sighed.

Thomas nodded and smiled.  “That’s my peanut.” he told her.

Thomas took Peyton into her bedroom.  He got out her pajamas and she put them on.  They were pink pajamas, with cute little cat patterns on them.

Once Peyton had her pajamas on, he took her into the bathroom to brush her teeth.  He made sure that she brushed everywhere.  If there was one spot that she missed, he made her brush her teeth again until she got it.

Before Thomas left the bathroom, he noticed that Peyton had an uncomfortable look on her face.

“Do you have to go potty?” he asked her.

Peyton cringed.  “Yes daddy.  But I don’t want to use the bucket.”

Thomas sighed.  “You have to, honey.  Use it for tonight.  Do it for daddy.  The plumber will fix the toilet tomorrow, alright?”

Peyton winced and nodded.  “Okay daddy!”

Thomas left the bathroom and closed the door.  “When you’re done, I’ll be in your room to tuck you in, okay?!” he called to her.

“Okay daddy!” Peyton shouted.

Thomas entered Peyton’s room and sighed.  A broken toilet was the last thing that he needed right now.  Why does this have to happen?  He thought.  I’m already behind on my rent.  I can’t afford to pay a plumber….

Peyton entered the room, with a much more pleasant look on her face.  “I’m all done, daddy.”

Thomas nodded.  “Okay, my peanut.  Daddy’s going to tuck you in now.”

Peyton plopped on her bed and crawled underneath the covers.  Thomas then tucked in the covers around Peyton’s bed.  After that, he kneeled down and gave Peyton a kiss on the cheek.  “Goodnight, my peanut.” he told her.

Peyton wrapped her arms around the covers.  “Good night, daddy….”

Thomas left the room and closed the door.  He then entered the living room and turned off the DVD player.  He sat down on the recliner and watched TV for a while.

When it was a commercial, he got up and walked over to the fridge.  He grabbed a can of Budweiser and sat back down with it.  He cracked open the can and began sipping it.

Thomas glanced at a nicely framed picture of a woman on the coffee table.  Her smile was sweet and innocent.  It was also genuine.  Genuine in such a way that you would know that the smile wasn’t fake.  She meant it. “Julie,” he quietly sighed.  “Why did you have to go?”

Thomas started to tear up.  A tear began to roll down his cheek. “Julie,” he weeped.  “I raised her right, didn’t I?  This is the way that you would’ve wanted it done, isn’t it?”  Thomas took another sip of his beer and sat the can on the coffee table.

The door suddenly opened and Peyton walked out into the living room.  “Daddy….” she said.  “I can’t sleep.”  Peyton then noticed the half drank can of Budweiser on the coffee table.  “Why are you drinking the yucky beer?”

Thomas wiped off his tears.  He didn’t want Peyton to see any of them.  After that, he sighed and put the can in the fridge.  Ever since Peyton was three, Thomas has tried not to drink when Peyton was awake.  This lesson was learned the hard way when he left a partially drank can in the living room.  When he entered the living room, he saw Peyton drinking the can, and spitting it out afterwards.  “Daddy,” she told him.  “This apple juice is yucky.”

Thomas grabbed the can and scolded Peyton.  “Peyton!” he shouted.  “That ‘yucky apple juice’ is beer.  Don’t drink any more of it.  It’s daddy’s, okay?”

Peyton nodded, and gave him a disgusted look.  “Why does daddy drink yucky beer?”

Thomas took all his cans of beer and poured them down the sink.  “Daddy doesn’t drink yucky beer,” he told her.  “Not anymore.”

And to this day, Thomas has tried to do his drinking while Peyton was asleep.  Since then, Peyton has caught him a couple times.

Thomas sighed.  “The beer isn’t yucky to daddy.  Daddy likes the taste.”  Thomas sat down on the couch and had Peyton sit on his lap.  “Now, why can’t you sleep?”

“I was thinking about mommies,” she told him.  “At school, everyone was talking about their mommies and daddies.  Why don’t I have a mommy?”

Thomas fought back the tears and stared into his daughter’s eyes.  “You did have a mommy,” he told her.  “When you were just a baby, she used to hold you.  She loved you very much and you meant everything to her.”

Peyton frowned, looking at her father.  “Where is she?”

Thomas couldn’t hold it back any longer.  “She is not here anymore,” he said, as his eyes began to tear up.

“Can’t we go visit her?” Peyton asked him.

Thomas shook his head.  “We can’t,” he said, weeping.  “Mommy got really really sick and fell asleep.”

Peyton gasped.  “But daddy,” she said.  “Can’t we wake her up?”

“No.  Mommy fell into a very deep sleep.  With that kind of sleep, she will never ever wake up.”

Peyton then hugged Thomas.  “Don’t cry, daddy.  Please.  Don’t cry….”

“Daddy is sad that mommy is not here,” he told her.  “Daddy loved mommy very much.  But mommy got sick, and she fell into a deep sleep.”

Peyton tried to cheer Thomas up.  “Can Stephanie be my mommy?”

Thomas’s eyes lit up.  “The babysitter?  Why do you ask?”
“I asked her, daddy.  I asked her if she could be my mommy.  She said yes.  I told her that I didn’t have one….”

Thomas nodded.  “She can be your mommy then.”  He then walked Peyton back to her room.  “Think you can sleep now?”

Peyton yawned.  “I feel tired, daddy.”

“That’s my peanut.  Good night, honey.”

Thomas kissed Peyton goodnight again on the cheek and tucked her in again.  He then closed the door and sat down on the recliner in the living room.  He reached for the can of beer on the coffee table only to realize that it wasn’t there.  The fridge…. he whispered, a little frustrated.

He grabbed the beer in the fridge, sat back down in the recliner and finished it.  Then, he quietly placed the can in a paper grocery bag, which was filled with empty cans.  This bag sat in the kitchen, near the trash bin.

With his beer gone, Thomas got ready for bed.  He brushed his teeth and then entered his bedroom.  He then stripped down to just his underwear and a T-shirt.  Thomas didn’t like pajamas, and he didn’t feel comfortable wearing them.

Before shutting off the light, he saw the picture of him with his wife.  They were both smiling.  It reminded him of better days.  Days much better than the ones he must deal with now.  Then the pain was too much, so he looked away.

“All at once.” he sniffed.  “First, my wife.  Then my job.  Finally, my beautiful house!”

Thomas was upset.  He looked up at the ceiling and pointed his finger.  “God,” he called.  “At least if there is one, why did you take all of them?  You could’ve at least taken my daughter Peyton, too!  At least then, she wouldn’t have to grow up in this dumpy trailer…..”

Thomas was silent for a couple minutes.  After that, he spread his hands out at the ceiling.  “Why?” he finally said.  “Why did you do this?  You took everything in my life that mattered to me.  Why don’t you just take everything else, until there’s nothing but the clothes on my back?”

Thomas turned off the lights and got into bed.  “Is there really a God?” he cried.  “Are you really there?  If so, then prove it!”

Thomas turned his face over, pressing it on his pillow and wept bitterly.  His crying slowly faded and he fell asleep.

Thomas woke up to notice the glint of the sun in his eyes.  The sunlight leaked through his tattered curtains, shining down on his bed.  He then sat up and looked at the clock.  8:39 a.m.  The alarm was turned off, since he doesn’t like to use the alarm on the weekends.  This is especially the case when he has the day off.  But with those kinds of days being so rare, he just wanted to take advantage of not having to wake up to that infernal buzzing sound.

After looking at the clock, he sat up and sighed.  He couldn’t hear Peyton yet.  Time to do my work out, he said to himself.  Might as well, since she’s not up yet….

Thomas laid down on his back, sliding his feet under the bed.  After that, he did 50 sit-ups.  After the 50 sit-ups, he got on his stomach and did 50 push-ups.  He then did 50 squat thrusts and 50 jumping jacks.

To finish the workout, he bundled up, putting on his winter coat and his snow pants.  His thermal underwear was underneath, so he wouldn’t have to worry about getting cold.  Very quietly, he opened the door and exited the trailer.  He then ran four laps around the trailer park.  With it being winter, he had to adjust his pace, especially since he almost slipped on the ice a couple times.

With that, the workout was now done.  Thomas walked toward the trailer, panting and opened it.  Once inside, he looked around.  Still not a sound from Peyton.  “Peanut’s quite the sleeper,” he whispered.  “She’ll sleep all day if I let her….”

Thomas approached the door to Peyton’s room.  Time to wake her up….As he was about to reach for the doorknob, something hit him.  “The mail!” he whispered.  “I forgot to get that after my workout….”  He made his way back to the living room.  “I’ll wake her up after I get the mail….”

With his coat hanging over his back, Thomas zipped it back up and left the trailer.  Next to his parked car was the mailbox.  He opened it up and pulled out the contents.  Another notice from his landlord, some junk mail about winning a new car and a folded piece of paper.

Thomas took the three items back into the trailer and sat them down on the table in the kitchen.  He opened up the envelope containing the notice and slammed it on the table.  “I get paid next week!” he growled.  “Can’t you wait until then?”

He then looked at the new car offer.  Shaking his head, he threw that in the trash.  “Junk,” he said in a disgusted tone.

His attention was now directed to the folded piece of paper.  It was not in an envelope and it had no address on it.  It was almost like someone just stuck it in his mailbox.  On the one side of the paper were the words “To Thomas,”.  After reading those words, he unfolded the piece of paper.  A few 20 dollar bills were sitting on the note, with a couple falling on the floor.  Thomas gathered the two 20’s that fell on the floor and counted them all.  Altogether, there were seven 20’s.  “$140….” Thomas gasped.  “Where did this come from?”  He then read the message.


This is for the plumber.  I thought this might help.




Thomas sat the note down and shook his head in disbelief.  “Who is this ‘anonymous’?” Thomas said, still shocked.  “I guess that doesn’t matter.  Time to call that plumber.”

After bunching all the 20’s together, Thomas called the plumber and set up the appointment.  He would be coming out around noon.  He hung up the phone and quietly entered the bathroom.  He took a quick shower, combed his hair and got dressed.  He then quietly opened the door to Peyton’s room.

Sure enough, Peyton was still lying in her bed peacefully, sound asleep.

Thomas shook his head.  “You’re getting up, peanut.”  Right then, he scooped up Peyton and lifted her up above his shoulders.  “Up we go, my sweet little peanut.”

“Whoa!” Peyton shouted as she was lifted up.  She then giggled and held on tight.  “Good morning, daddy!”

“Good morning, Peyton.” Thomas said, smiling.  “I had to get you up.  I wouldn’t want you to miss SMILEY FACE PANCAKES!”

Peyton’s face lit up.  “Smiley face pancakes?  Yay!  You’re the best daddy in the world!”   Suddenly, Peyton’s smile faded.  When Thomas saw this, he sat her down.   After that, Peyton pressed her hands below her stomach.  “Daddy, I gotta go potty!”  At that, Peyton dashed out of her room and made a beeline for the bathroom.

Thomas left Peyton’s room and began preparing the pancakes.  While he was doing this, Peyton entered the kitchen.

“The bucket’s almost full.” she told him.

“I’ll take care of it after breakfast, honey.” Thomas told her.  “Go watch your cartoons.  I’ll let you know when the pancakes are ready.”

Peyton nodded, and merrily skipped into the living room.  She grabbed the remote and turned on the TV.

Thomas made the pancakes.  They were a little smaller than the ones he would make for himself, since he was making them for Peyton.  After the batter solidified, he flipped them, each one turning out golden brown.  For him, making the perfect pancake was easy.

After the other sides were done, Thomas placed the three pancakes on a plate.  He squirted whipped cream for the eyes, used a strawberry for the nose and blueberries for the mouth.  When he was done, he had three smiling pancakes for Peyton.

“Peyton!” Thomas called.  “The smiley face pancakes are ready!”

Peyton ran to the kitchen and smiled.  “Yay!” she shouted.  After looking at the pancakes, she frowned.  “Where is the daddy pancake?” she asked him.

“Daddy needs to make one still,” he told her.

Whenever Thomas made smiley face pancakes, he always made a larger version for himself, which he called the “daddy pancake”.  In knowing how important this was for Peyton, he made the “daddy pancake”, sat down at the table and ate it with her.

After breakfast, Thomas had Peyton watch more cartoons while he cleaned up the dishes from breakfast.

When he finished clean up, he took the bucket out of the trailer, went out to the back and dumped it.  He then placed it back inside the bathroom.

A couple hours later, the plumber arrived.  After looking at the clog in the toilet, he was able to quickly fix it.  After an hour of work, the toilet was working again.

The plumber then made out the bill.  “That will be $139.81,” he told him.

Thomas got out the wad of 20’s he had in his pocket.  He gave the plumber the money.  The plumber in turn, gave him a funny look.

“What’s wrong?” Thomas asked him.

“I don’t have any change.” The plumber said, with an embarrassed smile.

Thomas let out a weak laugh.  “No change?  That’s okay.  Just keep it.”

The plumber nodded.  “You’re all set, then.  Have a nice day.”

Thomas led the plumber to the door and he exited the trailer.  With the plumber gone, his attention went to the bill that the plumber gave him.  After looking at the bill, he remembered the note that he received this morning.  He ran and got the note.  It was still sitting on the kitchen table.  He unfolded the note and quietly read it again:


This is for the plumber.  I thought this might help.




Thomas sat there, staring at the note.  His eyes misted up and he shook his head.  “Who is this….?” he wondered.  “….How did they know the right amount….?

While Thomas was looking at the note, Peyton came into the living room, holding a juice box.  A curious expression came over her face.  “What are you doing, daddy?”

Thomas smiled, and hugged Peyton.  “I’m looking at this note, peanut.  Daddy is very surprised at this note.”

Peyton gave Thomas a brief stare.  More confusion.  “Why?”

Thomas showed Peyton the note.  “I know that you can’t read all of this yet, since you’re not old enough,” he told her.  “But some strange person left it.  Their name is anonymous.”

Peyton took a sip out of her juice box, looking all the more curious.  “What does a-na-na-mus mean?”

“It means that person doesn’t want to give me their name….” he told her.  “Whoever they are, they gave daddy enough money to pay for the plumber.”

Peyton beamed.  “I want to see a-na-na-mus, daddy!”

Thomas nodded.  “So do I, peanut.  So do I.”

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.  Thomas looked through the window.  The landlord, he sighed.  He then turned to Peyton.  “Go watch some more cartoons.  We will do something special later, okay?”

Peyton nodded.  “Okay!”

Peyton ran into the living room while Thomas opened up the door.  A man with a blue polo shirt was standing there, holding a slip of paper.

“Thomas Miller, right?” he questioned him.

Thomas nodded.

The man with the blue polo shirt handed him the slip of paper.  “Your rent is overdue.  If you don’t pay it in two days, you’re being evicted.  This is your final warning.  Do I make myself clear?”

Thomas nodded.  “I don’t get paid until Friday!” he sighed.  “Can’t you wait until then?”

“I’ve given you enough extra time,” he told him.  “I don’t need any more excuses.  The rent is due Monday, or you’re leaving.  Good day to you, Mr. Miller.”

“Good day?” Thomas scoffed.  “I think you just ruined it!”

The man ignored Thomas and left, walking off into the distance.

Thomas closed the door.  “It’s cold out there! Is he really going to throw me out there in the snow?”  In trying to get his mind off of the landlord, Thomas opened his wallet.  $10 was in it.  Just enough money to buy himself and Peyton an ice cream cone.  But not nearly enough to pay for the rent.

Peyton looked up from the television screen.  “Who was that?”

Thomas faked a smile.  “It was just the landlord, honey.”

A look of disdain filled Peyton’s face.  “I don’t like him, daddy!” she shouted.  “He’s mean!”  Then she continued watching her cartoons.

Thomas got his coat on.  He was determined to get the blue-poloed man out of his head.  “Turn the TV off and get your coat on, Peyton,” he told her.

“Where are we going, daddy?” she asked him.

“We’re getting some ice cream!” he said.  “Get your shoes and coat on and let’s go!”

Peyton turned off the TV.  She then put on her slip-on shoes and zipped up her coat.

Thomas then opened the back door and sat Peyton in her car seat.  Strapping her in, he got in the front and took off.

Going a short distance from the trailer park, he stopped at the Sweet Spoon, a small ice cream shop that is locally known for their ice cream sundaes.

Once in the shop, he ordered two ice cream cones, each with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  He gave Peyton hers and they both sat down at a table that faced a window.

Peyton began licking the ice cream.  She then smiled.  “I like ice cream.”  She then noticed that Thomas hasn’t touched his cone yet.  “Why aren’t you eating yours, daddy?”

Thomas sighed and began eating the ice cream off his cone.  “I’m sorry, peanut.” he told her.  “Daddy was just thinking.”

“What were you thinking about, daddy?”

Thomas lied.  He didn’t want to talk anymore about the landlord, especially around his daughter.  “Daddy was thinking that we just had dessert first!  We’ll have lunch when we get home, honey.”  Thomas finished the ice cream off his cone and ate the cone whole.  He then waited for Peyton to finish hers.

After Peyton was done, he took her back to the trailer park.  He made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the two of them and they ate them together.  Since the sandwiches were on paper plates, clean-up was a breeze.

For the rest of the day, Thomas played with Peyton.  They played house, using Peyton’s dollhouse.  Thomas played with the daddy doll and Peyton played with the mommy doll.  At one point, Thomas almost forgot about the landlord.  He suddenly remembered when he had to make dinner.

To resolve dinner, he made sloppy joes, using the leftover meat that Stephanie had in the fridge.

After dinner, Thomas let Peyton play a little while he did the dishes.  After dinner, Thomas told Peyton a story.  After the story, he got her ready for bed.  He then tucked her in and kissed her goodnight.

Being troubled by the whole incident with the landlord, Thomas went to bed early himself.  “What am I going to do tomorrow?” he said, sighing.  With all the worrying, his sleep was intermittent.  He didn’t get much sleep that night.

Thomas woke up.  The time was 7:48 a.m.  As he lay there, he felt a headache.  The headache worsened by the minute.  Finally, Thomas couldn’t stand it.  He pressed his hands over his temples and groaned.  “Okay, I’m up!” he cried.

After he got up, he immediately went to the bathroom and got some aspirin.  Using the glass near the sink, he took the aspirin and drank the whole glass of water.

He then went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast.  Since it was a Sunday, he took the day off from working out.  Before he did anything, he noticed the folded slip of paper that was still sitting on the kitchen table.  “The mail!” he said, gasping.

While the mail didn’t come on Sunday, curiosity got the best of him.  He put on his coat, slipped on some shoes and quietly left the trailer.

In checking the mailbox, sure enough, there was another folded piece of paper.  Just like the first one, it was folded neatly in thirds.  He grabbed the piece of paper out of the mailbox and carefully looked around.  “Where is this ‘anonymous”?” he wondered.  Shrugging his shoulders, he quickly went back inside the trailer, since it was very chilly outside.

Thomas hung up his coat and took off his shoes.  He then entered the kitchen and unfolded the piece of paper.  A new message was written, in the same thick and bold font as before:


Don’t worry about the rent.  For today, be watchful and observant.  Someone will need your help.  Find that person and help them.




Thomas sat the note next to the first one and let out a nervous laugh.  “Don’t worry?” he scoffed.  “I owe $307 in rent tomorrow!  This was due more than a week ago!  If I stop worrying, I will lose this place….”

Just then, the door to Peyton’s room burst open.

“I gotta pee-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e…..!” Peyton shouted, hands beneath her stomach as she made a beeline for the bathroom.  She quickly entered, and shut the door behind her.

About a minute or two later, the bathroom door opened.  Peyton walked back to her bedroom and closed the door.

Thomas smiled.  “I guess I’ll use this time to make breakfast….

While Peyton was still sleeping, Thomas made a pot of oatmeal.  He then served the oatmeal, adding some diced apples and raisins to it.

“Peyton!” he called.  “Breakfast is ready!”

Peyton didn’t answer.

“Come on!” he called again.  “Don’t want your breakfast to get cold!”

Still no answer from Peyton.

At this, Thomas sighed.  He marched over to Peyton’s room and opened the door.  Peyton was still sound asleep.  He shook his head, and scooped Peyton out of her bed.

“No daddy….” she said, yawning.  “I wanna sleep longer…..”

“But Peyton, honey!” he pleaded.  “Your oatmeal will get cold…..”

“I don’t caaaaaare…..” she told him.  “I wanna sleeeeeeeep….”

Thomas sighed.  “Very well….” He placed Peyton back into her bed and left the room.

“Daddy!” she shouted.  “Tuck me in!”

Thomas turned around and shook his head.  “Daddy only does that at night.  Tuck yourself in.”

“Okaaaaaay….” Peyton sighed reluctantly, grabbing the covers and pulling them over her face.

“Since you don’t want your oatmeal, I’ll put it in the fridge.  Okay, peanut?”

Peyton nodded from underneath the covers.  “Mmkmm,” she said, her voice all muffled from the covers.

Thomas closed the door.  Since Peyton didn’t want to have breakfast with him, he ate it alone.  He ate his oatmeal and placed Peyton’s in the fridge.  He then cleaned up and got ready.

A few hours later, there was a knock at the door.  Thomas opened it.  Standing there was a slightly younger man, wearing a red winter coat and a woven snow cap.   “We need your help,” he pleaded.  “There’s an old man that drove into the snow bank.  We need your help getting him out.”

Thomas nodded and looked back at Peyton’s room.  She’ll be fine…. he thought.  Then he faced the younger man again.  “I’ll be right over.”

The man smiled.  “Thank you very much!” he said in a grateful tone.

Thomas got his coat on and slipped on his boots.  He put his snow cap on and his gloves.  He took his keys with him and left the trailer.

Next to his trailer, he used one of his keys to unlock a padlock to a tiny shed.  He opened the door and pulled out a snow shovel.  Grabbing the snow shovel, he followed the younger man, who was standing there, waiting for him.

He followed the younger man to a trailer that was just down the street.  Right next to the trailer was a car, stuck in the snow bank.  A younger woman, a middle-aged woman and an older man were all standing there, holding snow shovels.

“We have been digging by the tires,” the younger man told Thomas.  “Let’s keep digging and then try to push him out.”

Thomas nodded.  They dug, going around the rear tires and the front tires.  After that, they tried pushing him out.  The tires spun, digging him into the snow again.  After a couple more times of digging and pushing, the car was still stuck.

With their original plan failing, they decided to dig through the snow bank, all the way out to the road.  After 20 minutes of all of them digging, a nice trench was dug out.  They then tried pushing again, the car then started moving, steadily inching its way through the trench and out to the road.  The car was finally free.

“Thank you all very much,” the old man said.  “So that you don’t get stuck like me, drive carefully.  The roads are a little bit icy.”

Thomas nodded, and held out his hand to shake the old man.  “I definitely will be careful.  You’re welcome.” The old man shook his hand, and Thomas waved goodbye to everyone.

As he made his way back with his snow shovel, Thomas looked at his watch.  3:22 p.m.  The whole thing took about an hour.  Taking the snow shovel, he put it back in the shed and closed the door, locking it with the padlock.  He then looked at the trailer and sighed.  “Peyton better be up, or I’m getting her up….”

Thomas entered the trailer.  In the living room, there sat Peyton on the couch, in her pajamas, eating her cold oatmeal and watching cartoons.

Thomas was a little upset.  “Peanut,” he told her.  “It’s 3:30 in the afternoon and you’re still in your pajamas.  When did you get up?”

“I just got up,” Peyton said, smiling.  “Not too long ago.”

“That’s just great,” Thomas said, sighing.  “You’re not going to want to go to sleep tonight.”

Peyton shook her head.  “Yes I will,” she said, yawning.

“You need a shower,” he told her.  “After daddy showers, I want you to take a shower, okay?”

Peyton’s eyes were glued to the TV.

“Peyton?” Thomas said, growing more impatient.

Peyton looked up from the TV.  “What, daddy?”

“You’re showering after daddy, okay?”

“Okay!  You could’ve waited until a commercial….”

Thomas took a shower, and then left the bathroom.  “Your turn, Peyton….” he told her.

Peyton nodded, and entered her room.  She got her clothes and entered the bathroom.

“Daddy will check to see if you’re clean.” he told her.

“Okay daddy!” Peyton closed the door.

Thomas picked up Peyton’s empty bowl and placed it in the kitchen.  He then washed the bowl.

After Peyton’s shower, he checked.  She was all clean.

For the rest of the day, Thomas just watched movies with Peyton.  He then made tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner and they ate.

After that, he played dolls with Peyton for a short while and got her ready for bed.  Peyton wasn’t tired, but he got her ready for bed anyway.

After he tucked Peyton in and kissed her goodnight, he got ready for bed.  Tomorrow, he worked at the Steak N’ Bake from noon to 8:00.  With this situation, he would have Stephanie pick Peyton up after school.  Even though the school bus would drop her off near his trailer, he figured that it would be better this way.

Thomas thought about the two notes.  Who sent them?  Thinking of today’s note made him worry about the rent again.  “Don’t worry?” he sighed.  “They’re evicting me tomorrow….”

Despite the worrying, a calm peace protected Thomas and he fell asleep.

Thomas woke to the alarm clock.  The time was 6:00 a.m.  The school bus picks Peyton up at 7:50.  He let Peyton sleep until 6:30.

Thomas immediately got up and ran out to the living room.  He put his coat on and slipped on his shoes.  He then exited the trailer and checked the mailbox.

While the mail didn’t come yet, another folded piece of paper was inside.  Thomas grabbed the paper and closed the mailbox.

Taking the paper, Thomas went back inside.  He threw off his shoes and sat his coat on the chair.  He unfolded the paper and read the new message:


The rent is all paid for.  Please stop worrying and have a nice day.




Thomas shook his head.  “Where’s the check?  Where’s the money?  Where’s the receipt?  This is not paid for!  This anonymous guy is clearly mistaken!”  Thomas sat the paper on the table.  Opening the fridge, he got out the leftover oatmeal and began heating it up.

When it was ready, he looked at the clock.  6:34 a.m.  Time to get Peyton up.  Thomas got Peyton up and she ate her oatmeal.

“I’m tired, daddy….” Peyton said, as she ate her oatmeal.

“It’s okay, peanut.” he told her.  “You can sleep on the bus.  We got to get you ready!”

Thomas got Peyton into the bathroom and had her shower.  After she was all dressed, he made sure that Peyton had everything ready for kindergarten.  Her backpack was all packed and he made a lunch for her, which he placed in a paper sack.

After finally getting Peyton out to the bus, Thomas went back inside.  He let out a deep sigh.  The landlord could be coming any minute….

Sure enough, he did.  At around a quarter after eight, the man knocked on his door.  Thomas cringed and opened it.

The landlord stood there.  He was wearing a winter coat that was zipped open, revealing his red polo shirt.  “Thomas Miller?” he asked.

“Yes?” Thomas choked.  He was not looking forward to this at all.

The landlord gave Thomas a puzzled look.  “There’s been a mistake, Mr. Miller.  Our records show that you overpaid the rent for this month.  Here’s $20.  That should make up for the difference.”

Thomas was shocked.  “O-overpaid?” he stuttered.  “Are you sure about this?”

The landlord lowered his head and nodded.  “Mr. Miller, the records that I keep are very accurate.  As of this morning, I discovered that you overpaid for this month.  Now are you going to debate with me about this some more?  Just take what I owe you and have a nice day.”  The landlord placed the money in Thomas’s hand and left.

Right after the landlord left, Thomas shook his head.  He was on the verge of tears.  He KNEW that he was overdue on the rent.  How then, was it already paid for?

Thomas looked at the piece of paper that he received that day.  “All paid for….?” he gasped.  “But how?”  Thomas then smiled.  “I guess that doesn’t matter.  Somehow, the rent got paid for.  I wish I could meet this Anonymous guy so I can thank him….”

Thomas did his work out and then took a shower after coming inside.  He remembered the mail this time.  There was no new piece of paper, since he already got the one for that day.  After the shower, he had lunch and got ready for work.

Over the next few days, Thomas started his day by checking the mailbox for new messages.  Each day, he found a new message.  On Tuesday, it said that the one he loved was sick, and to care for that person.  Sure enough, Peyton came down with the flu that day, and Thomas used his usual remedies to help her get better.  On Wednesday, it said to take it easy on his coworkers.  Thomas remembered this and followed that advice, as that was the same advice that his boss gave him.  On Thursday, it told him to smile even when the weather isn’t smiling.  When Thomas saw the snow storm, he knew what it meant, and smiled.  On Friday, it said to love those who hurt him.  This definitely made sense when Thomas had to deal with a complaint at the Steak N’ Bake.  Every day, it was a new message, and all of the messages were signed by “Anonymous”.

That Friday, Thomas left work, took his paycheck, deposited it at the ATM and went home.

The next day, there was another new message that Thomas found in the mailbox.  This one in particular caught his attention.  It read:


Be careful out there on the roads.  They are covered in ice.




Thomas wrote the current date on the top of the paper and put it with the others.  Since finding the notes, Thomas has dated every single one he found, with the date he found each one.

That Saturday, Thomas worked from 11:00 to 6:00.  With this kind of set up, he had Stephanie, the babysitter watch Peyton.  Stephanie would then drop Peyton off at the Steak N’ Bake after work, since Thomas was planning on having dinner with her.  Every now and then, he would take Peyton out to dinner as a treat.  Stephanie didn’t mind the extra driving, since the trailer park was just a few miles away from the restaurant.

The time was now 5:57 p.m. Looking at the clock, Thomas smiled.  He only had two more tables to go.

“You’re doing good, everyone!” he shouted.  “Keep the steaks coming and try to keep up the pace.  Check for doneness.   We got a complaint yesterday because someone overcooked a steak.”

One of the line cook’s faces turned red.  “That was me, Tom!” he said in an embarrassed tone.  “That was a big table.  Normally, my steaks turn out pretty good.”

“Check it, serve it.” He told the line cook.  “Wait longer if they want it well done.  You’ll get it, Eugene….”  Thomas smiled, and finished his last two tables.

“6:01,” Thomas said, looking at the clock.  “The captain’s leaving the ship, but Chris will be here to handle the dinner rush.  He knows a thing or two about cooking steaks!”

Everyone laughed at Thomas’s joke.

“Hey Chris!” One of the line cooks shouted.  “Do you know how to cook a steak?”

“No, Jimmy!” Chris jokingly said in a sarcastic manner.  “I forgot.  That’s why I’m wearing this manager pin.  What do you think? Come on!”  Chris gave Jimmy a playful shove in the arm.

Chris then turned to Thomas.  “Since your promotion to head cook, you’re doing a good job.  Just remember to have fun with them.  A smile increases morale.  For the newer faces, just remember.  You used to be where they were.  They all know how to cook a steak.  They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t, and neither would you.”

Thomas nervously glanced at the clock. 6:05. “Thank you, Chris.  I’m still a little new at head cook, but I think I’m starting to get it down.”

When Chris noticed Thomas looking at the clock, he smiled.  “That’s right.  You told me that you’re having dinner with your daughter.  I don’t want to keep you from that.  Have a good night.  I’ll see you Monday.”

Thomas nodded and turned back facing the grill.  “Keep up the good work!” he shouted at all the line cooks.

“Sure thing, Tom!” some of them shouted back.  The rest were too busy to talk to him.  Thomas turned around and left the kitchen.

After leaving, he looked around the restaurant for the booth that Stephanie and Peyton was sitting at.  He found them sitting at a booth that was near the entrance to the restaurant.

When Stephanie saw Thomas, she got all excited and told Peyton.  “Look!” she said, pointing at Thomas.  “It’s your daddy!”

Peyton looked up and saw her father standing there.  Then, she ran towards him.  Thomas picked her up and hugged her.

“Oh, my peanut!” He shouted.  “How is my peanut tonight?  Did you have fun with Stephanie?”

“We had a lot of fun, daddy.” she told him.  “We drew funny pictures, watched movies, played dollhouse….”

Stephanie smiled.  “We did,” she told him.  “Just give me another 20 for now.  As often as I’ve been watching her, it doesn’t make sense to charge any more.”

Thomas handed her a 20 and she placed it inside her purse.

“Well, I gotta get going.” she told him, as she put her coat on.  “There’s a winter festival tonight.”

“Bye mommy!” Peyton shouted.

Stephanie laughed weakly.  “Yeah.  She calls me that sometimes.”  She then turned to face Peyton.  “Bye, Peyton!”  Stephanie grabbed her purse and left the restaurant.

Thomas sat Peyton down on her booster seat.   “So, what are you going to get?”

“The same thing I always get.” she plainly answered.

“The chicken nuggets and fries?” he asked her.  “Just get the applesauce too, okay honey….?”

Peyton nodded, as she continued coloring the paper placemat with a green crayon.

Moments later, the waitress was there to take their order.  She smiled when she saw Thomas with his daughter.

“So, is Peyton getting her ‘usual’?” she asked him.

Thomas nodded.  “It’s the only thing she gets.  I guess that doesn’t matter just as long as she’s happy, right?”

The waitress nodded.  “Yes.  It’s been a while since you guys ate here.  I believe the last time was before you were promoted, a little more than a month ago….”  She then began writing Thomas’s order.  “So, will it be the New York Strip for you tonight?”

Thomas nodded.  “Yes.  With a loaded baked potato and a cup of your clam chowder.”

The waitress nodded.  “I figured you would get that, so I already had it written down.  And that will be a water for you and an apple juice for Peyton, right?  I’ll turn the order in and I’ll be right back with your drinks.”

The waitress turned in the order slip and got their drinks.

A little later, the food came.  Both Thomas and Peyton ate.  Peyton shared with Thomas everything she did with Stephanie and Thomas shared a little bit about his day.

After they ate their dinner, Thomas got some strawberry shortcake for dessert.  It was Peyton’s favorite, so they shared one serving together.

Thomas then thanked the waitress, paid the bill and left with Peyton.

As they left the restaurant, torrents of freezing rain were hitting the parking lot.  They both carefully walked to the car, Peyton holding Thomas’s hand.

When Thomas opened the door, he slipped backwards and fell on his butt.

Peyton laughed when she saw this.  “Daddy fell!” she squealed, laughing.

“That’s not funny,” Thomas said, as he got up.  “Here.  Let daddy strap you in your car seat.”

Thomas put Peyton into her car seat and strapped her in.  After that, he got into the front seat and started up the car.  He had to wait for the windshield to defrost, since it was frozen from the freezing rain.

After the windshield was defrosted, Thomas carefully drove out of the parking lot and out of the restaurant.

After that, everything suddenly happened quickly.  Thomas could hear it.  The sound of the brakes.  And then, the sound of glass breaking.  And then, screaming.  And then, crying.  When Thomas’s mind finally caught up to the present, he found himself sitting there, his daughter Peyton crying in the background.  His Toyota Camry has crashed into the passenger side of a car a little smaller than his.  A white compact car, with the passenger door smashed in.

Finally having the time to think, Thomas was able to piece together the whole scenario.  As he was driving along, he saw a car spinning out of control in the distance.  At that very moment, he began to gently apply the brakes.  On a normal road, he would stop in time.  But this road was covered in ice, with the relentlessly persistent freezing rain continuing to fall.  Instead of braking, Thomas’s car slid along the icy road.  The other car continued spinning further into the lane, while Thomas continued to brake.  Unfortunately, there was not enough time to stop completely, and Thomas’s car collided directly into the passenger door of the slightly smaller white car.

Peyton continued crying.  “Daaaaaddy!” she wailed.  “I’m scared!”

Thomas reached into the back of the seat, attempting to hug Peyton.  With the seat harness in the way, the best he could manage was hugging the seat.

“It will be okay,” he told her.  “Daddy’s a little scared, too.  It’s okay.  None of us got hurt, right?”

At that point, Thomas turned his attention to the car that he hit.  He just wanted to know if they were okay.  Was anyone hurt there?  Who did he hit?

Finally, Thomas couldn’t take it anymore, so he unbuckled his seat belt.  “Daddy’s going to talk to the people in the other car.” he told her.  “You wait here, peanut.”

Peyton, who stopped crying, nodded.  She was still a little scared, but she knew that she would be okay with daddy around.  “Okay daddy….”

Thomas crawled over to the passenger side and opened the door.  Because this happened right in the middle of a right lane on a five-lane road, he made sure that he got out on the right side.  He closed the door, and glanced at the front of the car.  The hood was dented, with one of the headlights smashed.  After that, he walked along the shoulder.  The cold rain splashed on his winter coat, as he carefully walked over to the other car.  He almost slipped a couple times, but he managed to regain his footing.  Numerous cars began to cautiously maneuver around the scene of the accident.

As he approached the white car, a woman began to get out of her car.  Upon looking at the car, Thomas saw that it was a Honda.

When the woman saw Thomas, she sighed.  To Thomas, she looked greatly distressed.

“I’m sorry!” the woman shouted.

Thomas couldn’t believe it.  Sorry?  He thought.  I should be the one who’s sorry….

The icy rain continued to fall as Thomas carefully inched his way toward the white Honda. But he wasn’t careful enough.  Despite his determined effort to maintain his balance, he slipped and fell on the icy road.

The woman gasped.  “Are you okay?” The woman asked him.

Thomas sat up, and looked for something for him to hang on to, so that he could regain his balance.  Being close enough to her car, he clutched the bumper and carefully stood back up.

“I’m okay,” Thomas said with a groan.

The woman frowned.  “Are you sure?” she asked him.  “It seemed like you fell pretty hard.”

Thomas nodded.  “I can walk, so I’m fine.  I may be sore, but I’ll be okay….”

As he stood there, he glanced at the woman.  He noticed her long and smooth hazelnut hair.  She was wearing a green winter coat with a blue and yellow striped scarf.

The woman glanced at Thomas, letting out a deep sigh.  “Once again, I’m sorry.” She then gave a quick glance inside the car.  “No one got hurt.”

“Same here.” Thomas told her.  “But why are you apologizing?  I hit you.”

The woman nodded.  “I know that,” she said.  “But it was my fault.  When I turned, I lost control of the vehicle.  Because I lost control, you hit me.  It was my fault.”  The woman then placed her hands over her eyes and began to weep.

Thomas sighed.  “It’s okay.” he told her.  “No one got hurt, right?”

The woman nodded, and began to shiver.  “Right.  I’m getting cold, so I’m going back in.  Sorry again for the accident.  I turned too quickly and….” The woman stopped talking mid-sentence and blushed, when she saw Thomas standing there, nodding in agreement.  “It’s okay?  Good.   You have a nice evening.  Well, at least try to!”  The woman opened the door and carefully stepped back inside.

Thomas carefully made his way back to his car.  As he was doing so, a police car carefully pulled up in front of the white Honda.  When Thomas was about to open his door, a police officer stepped outside and walked over to the woman’s car.  The woman rolled her window down and began talking to him.

While this was happening, Thomas got inside his car and waited.  Peyton was sitting there in her car seat, and her mood was not very pleasant.

“I wanna go home, daddy!” she wailed.

Thomas leaned over his seat and tried calming Peyton down.  “We will soon, honey.” he told her.  “Daddy has to talk to the police officer first.”

Peyton wiped a tear away from her eyes.  “Why?”

“If daddy leaves, daddy will get in trouble,” he told her.  “Daddy’s going to be good by staying here and talking to the nice policeman.”

Moments passed.  Finally, the police officer walked over to the Toyota Camry.  Thomas rolled his window down.

Thomas spent the next few minutes talking with the police officer.  He asked questions pertaining to how the accident happened and Thomas answered them to the best of his ability.

After obtaining all the information he needed, he put his sheet of paper away.  “Mr. Miller,” he told him.  “You’re clear.  From what you told me, you did everything you could to prevent the accident, but you couldn’t.  The woman, however, failed to execute a right turn properly.  This caused her to lose control of her vehicle and what led you to hit her.  I will be filling out an accident report and you can pick it up at the Greenville Police Department in a few days.  Just call the number and give them your name.  Have a good evening, and drive safe.”

The police officer walked away, got back in his car and drove off.

Thomas drove back to the trailer park and parked his car.  He took Peyton inside and got her ready for bed.

After he got Peyton to bed, he grabbed all the dated messages from the kitchen and took them to his bedroom.  He looked at the one from that day.


Be careful out there on the roads.  They are covered in ice.




Thomas sighed.  “I guess I wasn’t careful,” he said, frustrated.  “What was that supposed to mean?  Oh well….At least the insurance will pick this one up….”

As Thomas was getting ready for bed, he couldn’t help but think of that woman.  Who was she?  Why did she have to cause the accident?  Couldn’t she have been more careful?  Thomas brushed his teeth, thinking about these questions.

Still flooded with these thoughts, he got into his bed and fell asleep.

The next couple days passed.  In that time, Thomas was receiving those daily messages from “Anonymous”.  On Sunday, it said that someone else needed his help.  This time, it wasn’t a car stuck in the snow, but a car with a flat tire.  Thomas went and helped the younger man, who was on his way to the store to get some medicine for his sick wife.  With his wife ill, he had his baby daughter in the car with him.  With the tire fixed, Thomas shook hands with the younger man.  He thanked Thomas.  Thomas in turn, nodded.  “I hope your wife feels better.” he told him.

On Monday, Anonymous wanted Thomas to “carry the extra weight”, whatever that meant.  A couple of hours before he left for work at the Steak N’ Bake, his boss Chris called him.  He told Thomas that he was sick with the flu, and for that day, he wanted Thomas to run the restaurant in his place.  Thomas agreed, shrugging his shoulders.  Thomas quietly thought – I’m glad I’m not sick with the flu. Being down one person, Thomas had to work extra hard that day.  Challenging as it was, he made it through the dinner shift and came home late, around 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday then came.  Thomas woke up and made breakfast for himself and Peyton.  He then made Peyton’s lunch, got Peyton up and ready, and walked her to the school bus.  After she got on the bus, Thomas made a quick stride over to the mailbox.  He took the message out and entered the house.  The other mail did not come yet.  He would get that later on.

Thomas took the message to the living room and he opened it.  It read:


Look in your cupboard.  Are you missing anything?




Thomas looked inside his cupboard.  All he found inside was a nearly empty bag of barbeque potato chips and a nearly empty package of chocolate chip cookies.  Just one cookie was left.

In addition to the cupboard, Thomas looked inside his refrigerator.  A nearly empty gallon of milk and a 12 pack of Budweiser with just one can left.

Thinking about the message that he just read, Thomas smiled, nodding matter-of-factly.  Time to make a list.  Thomas got out a notepad and a pen, writing down everything that he could think of.  More cereal.  More milk.  More cookies.  More chips.  And of course, more apple juice.  “Peyton finished off the last juice box the other day….” he whispered.

After a few minutes, Thomas had a list.  Fortunately, he just got paid, so the timing was perfect.  Thomas grabbed the list, bundled up and left the trailer.  He drove off in his still damaged Toyota Camry.  “I still gotta get that thing fixed,” he sighed.  Then it hit him.  “The accident report!” he gasped.

Instead of heading to the supermarket, he first stopped at the Greenville Police Department and picked up the accident report.  He then stopped at a Toyota dealership and dropped off the damaged car.  The repair technician said that the car would be repaired by the weekend.  In the meantime, Thomas rented a slightly newer Toyota Camry.  Unlike his red one, it was blue.  It’s just a rental, so it will do for now.  Thomas got in the blue rental Toyota Camry and took off.

Thomas arrived at the supermarket and entered.  With Peyton at school and having the whole day off, this was the perfect time to get all his shopping done.  He grabbed a shopping cart and wheeled it all the way to the back of the store.

He started with the milk.  From here, he went from aisle to aisle, placing various items in his cart.

When he got to the cereal aisle, he shot a double take.  In that aisle was a woman that looked familiar.  It couldn’t be.  “Just a coincidence….” he quietly said.

The woman turned back and looked at him.  “I’m sorry…..” she told him.  “I didn’t get that.  Did you just say something?”  The woman looked at him again and gasped.  “Wait a second!  Don’t I know you from somewhere?”

Thomas studied the woman carefully.  She was wearing a green winter coat and a blue and yellow scarf.  “Wait!  You are….”

“Yes.” the woman said.  “I remember.  You were the one that hit me.  I’m really sorry that I caused you all that trouble.”

Thomas nodded.  “It’s okay.  It seems like we’re both covered….”

Suddenly, Thomas was at a loss for words.  This usually doesn’t happen to him.  There was just something about this woman that he found….attractive.  “W-what’s your n-name?” he finally said.

The woman humored him.  “M-my n-name is Mary,” she said, playfully teasing him.  “What’s yours?”

His confidence increased.  “I’m Thomas.” he told her.  “I work as a head cook at the Steak N’ Bake.”

Mary nodded, looking very interested.  “You are?  Wow….  I work as a desk clerk for Dr. Maxwell.  He’s a local dentist in my area.”

“Where do you live?”

“Sherman Valley.  How about you?”

“I live right here in Greenville.”

Mary nodded.  “That’s right.  We don’t have a Steak N’ Bake in Sherman Valley.  It’s just a small town, but I like it there.”

“I know.  I’ve heard of it.”

Mary ran her hand through her hair, holding the shopping list in the other.  “That’s why I’m here.  This supermarket has a lot better variety than the dinky grocery store where I live.  Better sales, too.”

Thomas glanced at her shopping cart.  In it was a pack of Pampers Easy-Ups.  “Training pants,” he whispered, smiling.  Then he said louder:  “You have a boy?”

Mary smiled and nodded, with a proud and joyful grin.  “Um, yes.  How did you know I had a boy?”

Thomas smiled, and pointed at her cart.  “The training pants.  They have a picture of a boy on them.”

Mary frowned.  “What’s with the smiling?  Billy only wears them at night!  I’m sure you never had to toilet train a kid before.  Do you have any kids?”

Thomas nodded.  “One.  Her name is Peyton, and she’s five.  And I resent your remark! I toilet trained her well, all by myself!”

Mary gasped.  “I’m very sorry.” she told him.  “I overreacted a little bit.  Billy just turned three in November.  He’s a little younger than your kid.”

Thomas wagged his finger over at the empty child seat on the cart.  “So, where is Billy?”

“I didn’t bring him,” she told him.  “My sister is watching Billy right now, so I can get my shopping done.  When I have him with me, I can’t get a thing done….”

Thomas laughed.  “I don’t blame you.  Peyton’s the same way.  I usually shop here when my babysitter’s watching her.  Since I have the day off, I don’t have to do that.”

Mary glanced at the empty child seat in Thomas’s cart.  “So, is Peyton in kindergarten?”

“Yes she is,” he said.

A curious expression came over Mary’s face.  “You mentioned a babysitter.  Why isn’t your wife watching her?”

“My wife….” Thomas gasped.  Tears began to stream down his face, but he tried to blink them away.

Mary cupped her hand over her mouth, gasping.  “What happened? Was it a divorce?”

“No,” Thomas sobbed.  “She died of breast cancer, okay?” He was now upset.  “So is your husband working?  Is that why your sister’s watching him?”

Mary shook her head.  She reached into her purse and pulled out a tissue.  Her eyes were starting to fill with tears, and she wiped them.  “No.  He died on the battlefield.”

Thomas was shocked.  He ran over to Mary and embraced her.  “Here,” he told her.  “I know what it’s like to lose someone.”

Mary wiped more tears from her eyes, and looked up at Thomas.  “I know,” she told him.  “But I know he’s in a better place.”

“Where, heaven?” Thomas sighed.  “Do you really believe that?”

Mary nodded.  “Yes.”  Mary unzipped her coat, revealing her cross necklace that she wore around her neck.  “I believe in Jesus Christ and I’m not ashamed to tell you that.”

Thomas was now a little nervous.  The woman was beautiful, but to him, she was acting a little crazy.  “Well, I’m not religious.” he told her.

“Neither am I,” Mary argued.  “I didn’t do anything to earn my salvation.  That’s what religion is.  Jesus paid the ultimate price for me, and for you.  That is not religion.  That is love.  That is grace.”

“That is enough,” Thomas told her.  “Stop preaching to me.  Both my mom and dad did this enough.  I don’t need to hear it from you.”

“I’m sorry,” Mary said, as she quietly wheeled her shopping cart away.

Thomas sighed, and turned back to his shopping cart.  He pushed his cart forward and continued his shopping.

As he was approaching the self-checkout, there was Mary, scanning all her items.

When Mary saw him, she smiled.  Thomas, however, sighed.  He didn’t want to say a word to her.

Mary handed him a scrap of paper.  “You are invited to come to my church on Sunday,” she told him.  You don’t have to come, but the invitation is open if you want to accept it.”  And with that, she scanned the rest of her items, paid for them and left.

Thomas held the scrap of paper in his hands.  He was thinking about throwing it on the ground, but he decided to hang on to it.

But after he paid for his groceries and left the store, he changed his mind.  That woman’s a religious nut.  He threw the scrap of paper out in the parking lot.  He then loaded his groceries into the trunk of his rental Camry and left the supermarket.

For the rest of the day, Thomas just kept thinking about Mary.  He didn’t want to, but the thoughts about her remained.  She was a crazy religious fanatic, and he didn’t want anything to do with her.  But the thoughts persisted.  They persisted when he was putting the groceries away, when he was doing his workout, when he was enjoying his beer, when Peyton came home, when he made dinner and finally, when he put Peyton to bed.  The thoughts about Mary did not go away.

Throughout the day, Peyton noticed this.  “What’s wrong, daddy?” she asked, as she was being tucked into her bed.

“It’s nothing, honey.” he lied.  Peyton wouldn’t understand anything that he’s going through.

But that answer wasn’t enough for Peyton.  “But you look different, daddy.” she said, her voice lowering.  “You’re not smiling as much.”

Thomas kneeled down next to Peyton and sighed.  “It’s a complicated adult thing, peanut,” he told her.  “Daddy doesn’t want to talk about it, okay?  Sleep well, my princess.”  With that, he kissed Peyton on the cheek, and they rubbed their noses together.  “Good night, Peyton.”

“Good night, daddy,” Peyton replied.

Thomas got ready and crawled into bed.  When he closed his eyes, he could still see the image of Mary burned into his mind.  At certain times, he could hear her speaking.  The words that she kept repeating was “I’m sorry.” Over and over, these words echoed in his mind.

The very next day, Thomas woke up and got his coat on.  It was another work day, so Stephanie had to watch Peyton again.  On his trip out to the mailbox, there was another message.  Thomas grabbed it and entered the trailer.

Thomas sat down in the living room and wrote the current date on the message: 1/23/2013.  After that, he read the message.  It read:


Apologize to the one that you have wronged.




Thomas gasped.  He was beyond the point of being shocked now.  Thomas was scared.  “Who is this ‘Anonymous’?” he shouted.

After that, Thomas read the note again.  How did they find out about Mary?  Was this person in the supermarket yesterday?  Thomas couldn’t figure it out.  “It has to be someone….” Thomas said in a frustrated tone.

Throughout the rest of the day, Thomas was bothered by the note.  From that point on, he made it a point to look behind himself, everywhere he was in public.  In his determination to find “Anonymous”, paranoia was starting to get to him.  He looked back when he took Peyton to the bus stop.  He looked back when he left for the Steak N’ Bake and when he arrived.  He even did this while he was at work.

“What are you doing, Thomas?” Chris asked him, while Thomas was cooking a steak.

Thomas turned the steak over, and explained the whole story to Chris.

Chris laughed.  “Nobody’s watching you, Thomas.  As for this ‘Anonymous’, I don’t know who it is.  Maybe you’re not supposed to know.  Did you ever think of that?”

Thomas nodded, as he began plating the steak.  “I guess you’re right, but it’s really starting to bother me.”

Chris sighed.  “Don’t let it.  Maybe this ‘Anonymous’ wants to help.”

Thomas shrugged his shoulders.  “Yeah, by invading my privacy.  I hope I find them soon….”

When Thomas left the Steak N’ Bake, he looked behind him.  He then drove home.

The next day, Thomas checked his mailbox again, finding the usual message.  He took it inside, dated it and read the message:

Stop worrying about who’s watching you.  Watch other people instead, and tend to their needs.




This only increased Thomas’s frustration.  How is this happening?  Someone is watching me, but where are they?  Do they go into hiding?  Is it a master spy?  That message only made Thomas worry more instead of less.

The next day, Thomas looked at the next message.  It read:


I will say it again.  Stop worrying about the one who is watching.  Instead, watch others and be a blessing in their lives.




After this, Thomas stopped worrying, but not completely.  After all, “Anonymous” did pay for the plumber and his rent somehow.  But regardless, Thomas was still curious about who the sender of the message was.

On Saturday, Thomas read the next message from his usual trip to the mailbox.  It read:


Go to this church tomorrow morning at 10:30.

Sherman Valley Community Church

3409 S. Abbott Street

Sherman Valley, IL  62246


Don’t forget to apologize.




Thomas gasped.  This was the exact same information that was on the invitation that Mary gave him on Tuesday.  The same invitation that Thomas threw in the parking lot.  Somehow, “Anonymous” was able to reproduce every detail.

“Mary….” Thomas gasped, remembering what she said about the invitation.  Instead of placing the slip of paper with the others, he folded it and placed it in his pocket.

A little later after breakfast, Thomas found Peyton sitting there, with all the pieces of paper lying on the floor.  He forgot to put them away!

“What is a-na-na mus, daddy?” Peyton asked, picking up one of the pieces.

Thomas nervously grabbed all the pieces of paper and piled them together.  “ ’Anonymous’ is….” Thomas paused.  “ Daddy already told you the other day!  ‘Anonymous ‘ is a new friend that keeps bothering daddy.  They don’t ever let daddy know who they are.  They just keep bothering daddy.  And daddy wants to know….who they are.”

“Maybe a-na-na mus is invisdable,” Peyton told him.

Thomas shook his head.  “ ‘Anonymous’ is visible, honey.  They’re just very good at hiding.”

Peyton’s face lit up.  “Hide and go seek?  I wanna play with a-na-na mus!”

Thomas sighed.  “I don’t.  The game has ended, and they still haven’t gone out of hiding.”

After putting the paper away, he put a movie on for Peyton, just as Stephanie arrived.

“Daddy’s going to work.” he told Peyton.  “Be good for Stephanie, okay?”

Peyton smiled and nodded.  “I’ll be good for mommy!”

“She’s not your mommy.” Thomas argued.

“She said I could call her that!” Peyton argued back.

Thomas sighed and left for the Steak N’ Bake.  While Thomas planned on going to work, he actually left a little early so that he could pick up his Toyota Camry.  He dropped off the rental at the dealership and picked up his car.  The hood and headlight was all fixed – Good as new.   And with the dealership billing the insurance company, Thomas didn’t have to pay a dime.  Thomas drove out of the dealership and made his way to the Steak N’ Bake.

After work, Thomas came home.  Peyton was already in bed, and Stephanie was sitting on the couch.

“I already put her in bed, since she was getting tired.” Stephanie explained.  “Also, there is something that is really starting to bother me.”

Thomas frowned and scratched his head.  “What is it?”

Stephanie looked uncomfortable.  “Your daughter is starting to get attached to me.  She keeps calling me ‘mommy’ and she wants me to live here.  I can’t.  And…..” Stephanie started to cry.  “I can’t watch her anymore.  She’s a real fun kid to watch, but she really wants me to serve a role that I can’t provide for her.  What she needs is a real mother.  I can’t serve that role.”

Thomas nodded.  “I understand.  I’m also starting to understand why Peyton is doing this.  Peyton doesn’t have a mother to look up to.  At school, she hears about mothers that other kids have.  Peyton doesn’t remember Julie, since she died when she was so young.  To Peyton, you’re the mother, since she doesn’t understand what a mother looks like.”

Stephanie nodded.  “I know,” she said, wiping some of her tears away with a tissue.  “And I want Peyton to have a real mother.  One that can satisfy her every need.  I’m just her babysitter, and I can’t fulfill that duty anymore.  It’s for her good, okay?  If you have to tell her, just say that I left and I’m not coming back.  It was a pleasure watching her.  Just give me $70, and that should cover it.”

Thomas sighed, and hugged Stephanie.  “Thank you for watching my kid,” he said, handing her the money.

“You’re welcome,” Stephanie said, smiling.  “It’s going to be sad leaving her.  But I can remember all the fun times I had with her….”

Thomas nodded, as Stephanie grabbed her coat.  “Yeah.  My Peanut is special.  Farewell, Stephanie!”

“Bye!” Stephanie said, quietly.  She waved and left the trailer.

Thomas slapped his hand onto his temples and shook his head.  “I just lost the best babysitter I will probably ever have,” he sighed.

He then walked over to Peyton’s room and opened the door.

“Peyton?” he whispered.  “We’re going to church tomorrow.  I know that daddy never goes to church, but there’s this woman that daddy wants to talk to….”

“Okay daddy….” Peyton said, half asleep.

I’ll wake her in the morning, Thomas whispered to himself as he left her room.

The next morning, Thomas’s alarm went off.  It was 9:00 a.m.  Thomas sprang out of bed and ran into Peyton’s room.  He shook her awake.

“Daddy, I’m tired….” Peyton complained.

“You can sleep in the car,” Thomas told her.  “Let’s get ready for church, okay?”

Thomas got himself and Peyton ready for church.  Thomas wasn’t really thrilled about going.  He was only going so that he could talk to Mary.  He was also going because “Anonymous” said so.

Since Thomas never went to church, he didn’t really have any dress clothes to choose from.  The only thing he had was a nice tuxedo that he wore on the day he married Julie.  “Not the tux,” he weeped.  “I’ll just wear the dress shirt with the pants.”

For Peyton, he found a cute pink dress for her to wear.  Despite the fact that she last wore this dress when she was four, she could still fit into it.

After they were both ready, Thomas strapped Peyton into her car seat and they drove off.  The time was 10:08 a.m.  Sherman Valley was about 15 miles away.  From there, he didn’t know exactly where the church was.

When he got to Sherman Valley, he looked at the road that he was on.  It was Abbott Street.  Moments later, he spotted the church, which was on the left hand side of the road.  He turned in and parked in the parking lot.

“Wake up, Peyton!” he shouted.  “We’re here!”

Thomas unstrapped Peyton and led her by the hand into the church.

Just as they entered the door, Mary was standing there with Billy.  She was wearing black tights, a red miniskirt and a black twill shirt, with black stilettos to match.  Her hazelnut hair was neatly combed and she smelled strongly of perfume.  The same cross necklace that she wore the other day was hanging around her neck.  Billy wore a red button-up shirt with khakis and a pair of brown oxfords.

When Mary saw Thomas, she gasped.  “You actually came!” she gasped.  “I didn’t think you would.  I was actually praying that you would, and here you are!”

“I’m sorry,” Thomas told her.

Mary frowned.  “Sorry about what?” she raised her finger and shook it at Thomas.  “Oh right!  You mean the other day?  Don’t worry about that.  I forgive you.”

Mary led Thomas and Peyton through the hallway of the church.  “Is that your girl?” she asked, looking at Peyton.

Thomas nodded.  “Yes.” Then he looked at Peyton.  “Peyton, this is my friend Mary.  Say ‘Hi, Mary!’ “

“Hi, Mary!” Peyton repeated.  “Are you a-na-na mus?”

“What?” Mary said, frowning.

“I’ll explain later,” Thomas told her.  He then looked past Mary and saw Billy.  “That’s your boy, Billy, right?”

Mary picked up Billy and stood next to Thomas with him.  “Yup!  Say hi, Billy!”

Billy looked scared.

Mary smiled.  “He’s a little shy.  He’s not once he gets to know you.  Here. Let’s drop the kids off at Sunday school.  I’ll show you where Peyton goes, since she’s a little older.”

Mary dropped Billy off at the same room she does weekly.  “Bye Billy!  Be good for mommy!”

With Billy dropped off, she guided Thomas to another room, with kids that were around Peyton’s age.  Mary introduced Thomas and Peyton to the teachers.  “He’s new here,” she explained.  “He just came to visit.”

With Peyton dropped off, Thomas followed Mary into the sanctuary.

The service lasted about an hour.  It started with worship music.  After that came the offering and the sermon.  The sermon was about being a blessing to other people.  Something that really shocked Thomas.

“That was in one of the messages,” he whispered as the service ended.

When the service was over, Mary guided Thomas back to the rooms their kids were in.  They picked up both Peyton and Billy.  She then introduced Thomas to a few of her friends.

“So Mary, will you be joining us for lunch today?” a woman about her age asked her.

Thomas spoke up.  “I actually would like to tell her something.” he said.

Mary nodded.  “As much as I would like to, Andrea, I’m actually going to pass.  I’m going to spend a little time with my new friend.”  Mary then turned to Thomas.  “Every week, this church prepares lunch for everyone, and we all eat together.  I usually go, but I’ll make an exception this week.”

Mary said bye to all her friends and she left with Billy, following Thomas and Peyton.

“So, where do you want to go?” Mary asked Thomas.

“Let’s go to my house,” Thomas told her.  “It’s a little bit of a drive for you, but it’s not too far.”

Mary nodded.  “Sure.  Why don’t you give me the directions, and I’ll meet you there.  I would like to get out of my church clothes first.”

Thomas nodded, and waved good-bye to her.  “I’ll see you in a little bit,” he told her.  Thomas took Peyton and they drove home.

Once at home, Thomas made Peyton a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. An hour later, a white Honda parked next to Thomas’s Toyota Camry.  The passenger door was fixed.  It looked brand new.  Mary exited her car and approached the door to the trailer.  Thomas opened it.

“Sorry for the wait.” Mary told him.  “I had to put Billy down for a nap.  My sister is watching him back at home.”

Thomas nodded, pointing at the door to Peyton’s bedroom.  “Same here,” he told her.  In fact, I just got Peyton in her bedroom.

Mary took off her coat.  Thomas took it and placed the coat on a chair.  “Isn’t Peyton a little old for naps?”

Thomas shook his head.  “My Peyton will sleep all day if you let her.  Besides, she gets cranky when she doesn’t have her nap.”

Changing the subject, Thomas pulled a sheet of paper out of his pocket.  “Now,” he began.  “I need your help.”  Thomas got out the rest of the slips of paper, and laid them all out before Mary.  “Every day, I have been receiving these notes from someone named “Anonymous”.  Now I have tried to find out who they are, but I can’t.  I’m thinking that it’s a spy, but I can’t find them yet.”

Mary scratched her head.  “Interesting,” she said with a smile.  “When did you start receiving the notes?”

Thomas thought about it, and then found the first note.  It was the one with the earliest date – 1/12/2013.  “Right here,” he told her.  “They gave me $140 to pay for the plumber.  Now that’s the weird thing.  I saved the receipt from the plumber.  It came to $139.81.  How did they know the right amount to pay me?”

Mary was puzzled.  “I don’t know,” she said, shrugging her shoulders.  “Did you ever receive these notes from ‘Anonymous’ before then?”

“No,” Thomas answered.  “I’ve never received any before until then.”

Mary sat there, thinking.  After a while, her face lit up.  “While we don’t know who it is,” she told him.  “We do know that whoever it was wanted to help you.  Can I look at these other notes?”

“Go ahead.” Thomas told her.  “Look at all of them if you want.”
Mary grabbed the small stack of notes and piled them in front of her.  After a few minutes, she read them all.  “These notes,” she said.  “They’re written in large bold letters.  Did you receive any notes on Friday?”

“I have a couple notes from Friday….”

“No.  I mean Friday, the eleventh?”

“I already told you.  My first note was on that Saturday!”

“Exactly.  You didn’t receive a note on that Friday.  What can you remember doing that day?”

Thomas scowled.  “What does that have to do with any of these notes?”

Mary took one of the notes from her lap and sat it on the floor with the others.  “Think about it.  Can you remember anything from that day?”

Thomas sighed.  “Mary, I don’t know why anything would….”  Mary was sitting there, looking impatient.  “Okay, I’ll think about it.”

Thomas closed his eyes and thought hard about what he did on that night.  Suddenly it returned.  All the frustration from that night.  Losing his wife, job and house all in a short period of time.  If there was anyone to blame, he blamed God for it all.

Then it hit him.  “That’s it!” he cried.  “I can remember everything from that night.”

Mary cast an interested stare at him.  “What can you remember?”

“Mary,” he told her.  “I don’t know if I ever told anyone this.  Maybe just a couple people at work….”

“I lost everything.  Almost four years ago, my wife died to breast cancer.  Two months later, I lost my job as executive.  The entire company went bankrupt.  And then….” Thomas began to sob.  “And then, when my daughter turned two, I lost my house.  It was a beautiful house, Mary.  But I was running out of money so I had to sell it.  I lost my wife, my job and my house.  I lost everything.”

“You didn’t lose everything,” Mary argued.  “You still have Peyton.  You still have your cook job.”

“Yeah,” Thomas sighed. “A job that doesn’t pay diddly-squat.  For the past three years, I’ve been raising Peyton in a dumpy trailer.  I don’t want that for her.  She deserves much better….”

“But you have that job, this trailer and your daughter,” she told him.  “This is what God gave you.”

Thomas was angry.  “What he gave me?” he shouted.  “I can remember that night now!  I asked God to prove to me if he was real or not!  What did he do?  Tell me! What did he do?”

“He gave you all those messages,” Mary said, wiping away a tear.  “Do you want to know who I think “Anonymous” is?  I think he’s an angel.  An angel sent from God to point you in the right direction.”

Thomas shook his head.  “An angel?

“Think about it.” Mary told him.  “How about the car accident that happened?  None of us got hurt.  I believe that this was God’s way of bringing me into your life.”

“Don’t think you’re the only one with problems, Thomas.  Since my husband died, I have been very lonely.  Every day, I have been praying for a husband.  Do you think I get mad at God and blame him?  No.  I patiently wait for him to reveal his will to me.  I don’t make a lot of money, and I rely on my sister a lot to care for my kid.  But none of this has made me any weaker.  It has made me into a stronger person.”

“You challenged God, Thomas.  You wanted him to prove that he was real.  And he has done so with all those messages.  All the gifts that you have received.  And now, he has done so with me.  Now whether or not you want to believe that is your choice. God has given you a lot of blessings, Thomas, and now he wants you to be one.”

Thomas was now in tears.  “I don’t know what to say,” he sobbed.  “I didn’t know that the answer was staring me right in the face.  And now, today, I have 16 answers.   I didn’t expect them to come in this way.”

“God never acts in the way you expect him to,” Mary told him.  “Up to this point, he has been very patient with you.  Please don’t shun that gift.”

Thomas rubbed his eyes and his temples.  “I don’t know how he could be patient with me, Mary.  I would think that God would’ve been done with me by now.”

Mary clasped her hands together and rested them in her lap. “But he’s not, Thomas.  He’s far from done.”  She then gave Thomas a fixed stare.  “Now Thomas, do you think that God is real?”

Thomas glanced at all the messages that were heaped in the middle of the room.  He then looked at Mary.  And, shedding a tear, he nodded.  “Yes Mary, he is.  And it took me until now to realize that.”

Mary’s face then changed.  It began with serious, but was then set on fire.  The flames of passion engulfed it and she smiled.  “Thomas,” she said in a faint voice.  “I….have something to tell you.  You know how I have told you that I have been praying for a husband?”

Thomas stared at Mary.  The radiance emanating from her smile has set him on end.  “Yes.  You told me that.”

“Well,” she said, opening up her hands.  “I think you are the answer to those prayers.  I mean, we both lost our loved ones, right?  This is way more than a coincidence.”  Then Mary snapped out of it, as if she were fighting a spell.  “But I want to be sure.  Is this love for real?  I hardly know you, so I don’t want to take anything too quickly. Let’s just start by you coming to my church again next week.  I don’t think that we’re ready to date yet.”

Thomas nodded.  “I agree.  I’m still trying to make sense of all of this.  I don’t feel like I really like you, yet.  Also, it’s going to be very hard for any woman to take Julie’s place….”

Mary nodded, and stood up.  “Well, I need to get going.  Think about the sermon that you listened to, okay?  Be a blessing.  That’s what God wants you to be.  Also, I feel like God is telling me to be patient with all of this.  Song of Songs, right?”
“Song of what?” Thomas sighed.

Mary’s face reddened.  “Oh, that’s right!” Mary gasped.  “It’s a book in the Bible.  I don’t know how much of the Bible you’ve read.”

“Very little,” Thomas answered.

Mary nodded, as she grabbed her coat.  “Well, I’ll get you a Bible then.   I’ll see you next week!  Sherman Valley Community Church, okay?  Bye Thomas!”

“Bye!” Thomas replied.

Mary opened the door and left the house.

After Mary left, Thomas went out to the mailbox and found another message.  He took the message inside and read it.  It read:


Do you know who I am?




Thomas tearfully nodded.  “Yes I do.  I get it.”  Thomas dated the note, placed it with the others and put them away.

After that, Thomas looked at the time and gasped.  “Peyton!” he shouted.

He ran inside the bedroom.  While he expected Peyton to be sound asleep, like she usually was, she wasn’t.  She was wide awake.

“Who were you talking to, daddy?” she asked him.  “Were you talking to mommy?”

Thomas sighed.  “Stephanie left.  She’s not going to be watching you anymore.  She wants you to have a real mommy.”

Peyton was heartbroken.  “Why?  Why can’t she be my mommy, daddy?”

“Peyton,” Thomas said.  “You are in elementary school.  Stephanie is in high school.  Stephanie is about to go to college and get married.  She will be a mommy, but not yours.  She wants you to have a real one.  A special one.”

Peyton frowned.  “Then who were you talking to, daddy?”

Thomas smiled.  “Remember Mary?  She was the one you met this morning at church.  She had that little boy with her named Billy.”

Peyton smiled again.  “Can she be my mommy?”

Thomas blushed.  “We’ll see, honey.  I just met her, so daddy doesn’t know if he likes her yet.” Thomas looked at the clock.  It was 2:36 p.m.  “Do you still need time to rest?  I don’t want to disturb any more of your nap.”  Thomas was about to leave the room, when Peyton sat up.

“Wait!” Peyton shouted.

Thomas turned and approached her bed.  “What is it, peanut?”

“Who is God?” she asked him.

Thomas gasped.  “God is someone who is really important that you should always listen to, honey.  Now, how long did you hear us talk?”

“When you started shouting.” Peyton told him.  “You woke me up.”

“Well, daddy’s sorry.  I’ll let you sleep then.  Have a nice nap, peanut!”

Peyton nodded, and Thomas left Peyton’s room, closing the door behind him.

One week passed.  Thomas still didn’t consider himself religious, but he was a little more curious about God, and who he was.  With that, the messages continued.  Most of them suggested listening to Mary.  While they all didn’t say this verbatim, they each did in a different way.

Thomas once again went with Peyton to the Sherman Valley Community Church.  Mary was in the lobby with Billy, this time waiting for his arrival.

Mary smiled when she saw Thomas with Peyton.  “You’re a little late.  Hurry!  Let’s get the kids to their classrooms.”

Thomas bashfully smiled.  “Peyton was the one that held me up this morning.” he told her.  “I’m sorry….”

After the kids were dropped off, Thomas entered the sanctuary for another sermon with Mary.  Thomas got more into it this time.  The music was nothing like what he experienced in the past.  When his parents took him to church as a kid, the music was played on an organ.  Sometimes, it was played on a piano.  They all sang from hymnals.  That was not the case at this church.

Unlike the church that Thomas went to as a kid, the music was modern, with a full band playing on a stage.  All the words were displayed on a projection screen.  There was no hymnal to be found anywhere.

After the worship music and the offering was a sermon.  The pastor talked about John 3 & 4.  He compared and contrasted the story with Jesus teaching Nicodemus and the encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well.  He went into great detail with each story, and explained everything very well.  That was the whole sermon.

When the sermon was over, Thomas followed Mary to the classrooms to pick the kids up.  This time, Thomas stayed with Mary to have lunch at the church.

During lunch, Mary handed Thomas a bible.  She called it “spiritual nourishment”, and that he could have it after his “physical nourishment”.  Thomas and Peyton ate the food.  It was chili with an assortment of fruit and vegetables.  After the meal, Thomas took the bible and thanked Mary.  For a meeting time, they both agreed to meet at Sherman Valley Community Church next week.  Same time, same place.

Back at home, Thomas opened up the bible.  This was the first time that Thomas has opened a bible in more than 20 years.  In the front was some lined paper, with a note from Mary.  In the note, she gave him a bunch of passages to look at.  They were mainly from Romans and the four gospels.

Thomas turned the page to Romans and began reading.  For the next three hours, he just kept reading.  He spent so much time reading that Peyton was starting to notice.

Peyton entered the room to find Thomas, sitting at the table with the bible open.  “What are you reading, daddy?” she asked him.

“Daddy is reading an important book,” he told her.

Peyton glanced at the book and frowned.  “There’s no pictures,” she said, pouting.  “Where are the pictures, daddy?”

Thomas smiled.  “There aren’t any, peanut.  That’s why daddy is using his imagination.  There are plenty of pictures when daddy does this.”

Peyton imitated the pose that Thomas was showing her.  “Oh.  Okay daddy!”  Peyton skipped off into the living room, and continued watching her cartoons.

After finishing Romans, Thomas got to the gospels.  He started with John, but stopped when he got to the third and fourth chapter.  He again saw the same words that he heard in the sermon:  “You must be born again”.  Thomas reread that passage over and over again.  After that he began to cry.

Thomas thought about his upbringing and his recent encounter with God.  He was actually angry at him, and blamed him for the loss of all the things that were most dear to him: his wife Julie, his position as executive for a large technical firm and his wonderful house.  All of these were things that he worked hard for.  Julie was his high school sweetheart.  And just like that, she was gone.  Thomas not only blamed God, but wanted him to prove that he was real.  In so many ways, Thomas hoped that he wasn’t real.  But every single time since that night, this never turned out to be the case.  Thomas now saw himself as the horrible person.  He blamed himself, hoping that God wasn’t angry at him.

Then there were the daily messages from “Anonymous”.  He teared up just thinking about them.  For each day that these messages were sent, God was reaching out to Thomas.  And he ignored that!  He wanted to try to find a different way.  Another method to explain the mysterious notes.  They couldn’t be from him, could they?  But they were, and he knew it.  Deep down he did, but he just didn’t want to admit it.

And then, the tears came out.  All the tears that should’ve come out before were coming out.  Every tear that was not shed during this whole experience was there.  Every tear was accounted for, and each went to their assigned places.

Thomas then closed his eyes and said a quiet prayer.  He heard himself say the words “born again” and “I will follow”.  He meant it.

All of a sudden, Thomas was overcome with peace.  It was a peace that Thomas couldn’t explain.  A peace that Thomas never felt before.  Upon feeling this, Thomas smiled, and wiped away the tears.  He was a new person.

The next day, Thomas checked his mailbox for a message.  He found one and took it inside.  It read:


This is my last message to you.  Welcome, Thomas.  We will meet again.  Don’t forget to talk to me.  Read that book.




Thomas nodded, dated the message and placed it with the others.  Altogether, there were 24 messages, all addressed to Thomas.  24 reminders to Thomas of who he was dealing with.  24 blessings, just for him.  On some of those days, the blessing was himself.  A blessing that needed to be shared with those who needed it.

On one of those days, that blessing was Mary.  A blessing that happened in an unexpected way.  Since then, Thomas has started to become good friends with her, and looked forward to seeing her every Sunday.

On the very next Sunday, Thomas told Mary everything.  He had a lot of questions for her, and she answered them after the service.  They mostly pertained to the bible.  One of them pertained to a method of contacting her.  He asked for her phone number, and she gave it to him.  Thomas , in turn, gave her his number.  When Mary told him about her Facebook, Thomas frowned.  Thomas didn’t own a computer, but was now definitely planning on saving up for one.

After that, the phone conversations began.  Thomas called Mary every day.  Sometimes, Mary called first.  It was usually in the evening, since they had the most time to talk, and both of their kids were in bed during that time.  In these conversations, Thomas wanted be with Mary more.  He wanted to go further than the friendship that they were having.  Mary agreed.  This began their “meetings”.

The so-called “meetings” were arranged by either Thomas or Mary, and they involved meeting at a fun place.  The coffee shop, the library, the movie theater, and of course, Mary’s church.

Eventually, Thomas didn’t like the name “meetings” anymore, and wanted to call them dates.  They both agreed on this during one dinner at Thomas’s work — the Steak N’ Bake.  They both sat in a private and secluded part of the restaurant.  With it being a Monday night, they had the place to themselves.

“Another one of our ‘meetings’, huh?” Thomas said, giving her a playful smile.  “I think we should call them something else.”

Mary nodded, and reached for Thomas’s hands.  “Should we call them ‘dates’ then?” she said, smiling.

“Yes,” Thomas told her.  “Dates would do just fine.”  And with that, he leaned forward and kissed her.

Mary blushed.  “This is real love.  I know it is.”

Thomas frowned.  “Why would it not be?”

Mary stared at Thomas matter-of-factly.  “You remember, don’t you?  1 Corinthians 13….”

“Love is patient, love is kind,” Thomas recited.

Mary gave him a nod of approval.  “It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud….” she continued.  After she finished reciting, she kissed him.

After that, Thomas laughed.  “You’re right!  It is love.  Real love.  Genuine love….”

During that spring, Thomas and Mary started dating very frequently.  They dated every weekend on Saturday, going to church on Sunday. From the night that Thomas got saved, he learned so much from Mary.  From the books that she recommended and the book that brought him on the road to salvation.

In mid April, Chris, Thomas’s boss at the Steak N’ Bake was promoted to higher management.  As a result, Thomas was trained to be the new store manager.  Granted, this was a lot more responsibility for Thomas, but the higher salary was rewarding.

Towards the end of spring, Thomas proposed to Mary.  Using the money that he got from his promotion, he bought her a nice engagement ring.  In presenting her the ring, he got down on his knees and asked her the question.  “Mary,” he asked her.  “Will you marry me?”

Mary stood there, awestruck.  She took the ring from him and kissed him.  And, shedding a tear of joy, she nodded.  “Yes,” she told him.  “I will marry you.”

From that day, the wedding was planned for August 24, 2013.

In the midst of all the wedding planning, Thomas was trying to find them a new place to live.  He decided on an apartment.  But with all the planning divided between the wedding and apartment hunting, he was not able to find anything.  Even after months of searching, he was not able to find anything.

The wedding came, and both Thomas and Mary got married.  They exchanged their vows, their rings and their kisses.

A couple weeks later, the newlywed couple searched for an apartment together.  They found just the right one.  A three bedroom unit in a different community.  One that Thomas thought was a lot better than Golden Meadows.  Both Thomas and Mary sold their houses and moved in.  Thomas sold his trailer and Mary sold her 2 bedroom shack.

In addition to selling the house, Mary quit her job, so that she could focus on raising Peyton and Billy.

After the happily married new couple moved into their new apartment, Thomas noticed a box that he forgot to unpack.  It sat in the corner of the kitchen, near the kitchen table.  Thomas opened it.  The 24 “blessings” were inside.

Thomas found the one that referred to the car accident and quietly read it to himself.  If not for that accident, he would’ve never met Mary.  It was that blessing, and all those other blessings that changed Thomas’s life forever.

Thomas looked at the part that read “signed, Anonymous” and laughed.  “I guess you’re not ‘Anonymous’ anymore,” he said with a smile.

Looking at the other notes, he nodded.  “This is all the proof I need.”  Then he shook his head.  “No.  Your Word is….”

Thomas gathered his 24 “blessings” and placed them back in the box.  It was now his turn.  His turn to be a blessing.  To Mary, to Peyton, to Billy and to everyone else who needed it.




Me & My Muse – Day 1887: Writing Weekend

You heard me right.  This weekend, I will be working on my two books.

With my desire to write revived, I have made it a goal of mine to get three books published.  From a previous entry, I mentioned that I was working on three different books.  Here is what they are:

Think & Write: How I Beat Writer’s Block (Working Title)

We all hate the dreaded Writer’s Block and it happens to a lot of people.  I have been a victim of it enough times that I have actually made an exercise that helped me to shatter it.  In my book, I outline my journey of my numerous encounters with Writer’s Block and how Think & Write saved my writing.  I share a selection of my results and offer some useful advice that will help you with your own writing journey that can help beat Writer’s Block dead.

The Tale of Zachary Willowbrook: A Leap Day Paradox

Zachary Willowbrook was born with something special.  The gift of time.  With Zachary being born on a Leap Day, he ages one year for every four years that we age.  When mother Stacy Willowbrook found this out about her son, this left her in shock.  Faced with a challenge to raise a son that slowly ages, Stacy has turned to experts to figure out why her son is so different, and how she can give her son a promising future, despite his unique condition that has shocked the world.  The Tale of Zachary Willowbrook is a story of growing up differently and how to work through all the struggles in being different.  It is about seeing what is different about you as a gift and how you can use that gift for the good of others.

A Long Quest

The year is 1997.  Kyle Walker is a seventh grader at Middleton Junior High.  After repeated attempts to start on his book report for English, he is teleported to the front yard of his house where the evil goblin Henry, his long nemesis, is ready to kill him.  After Kyle’s brother pleads for his life, Henry spares Kyle, sending him to the other side of the universe.  Now on a mysterious planet, Kyle’s long journey back to earth begins.  A journey involving friendship, love, hope, bravery, and revenge.  A journey through many planets and galaxies in search of the one planet that he calls home.


The manuscript of the first book should be done soon, and then it’s getting it edited and fine tuned  before I find a publisher and a way to distribute it.  For the second book, the manuscript is complete, but it still requires some editing before it is ready to publish.  And my third book will be my largest project.  With the length of A Long Quest, it will be released in a five-book series, with a 1 volume edition coming out after the five books are published.


With that, I am now going to get underway on my books for this weekend.

Today’s high is going to be 71 degrees and the silver lining is the weekend finally being here and being able to work on my books.

To those of you who are glad that the weekend is here, I hope that you all have a fantastic day.


Muse:  It’s about time that you got those finished!  I look forward to seeing the printed copies!

Let’s Write a Story!

I decided to run with one of my ideas that I thought of today.  In this one, you will read about a character named Murphy.  Who is this Murphy?  Read and find out!  Story begins below.  Enjoy!


What is the American Dream?  Well that doesn’t matter, because I woke up from dreaming for a while now.

Who cares about it?  It’s just a silly mantra to raise our hopes for getting that job, house, and family with 2.5 children.

If you want an American dream, try this on for size.  I have applied for seven jobs and I haven’t gotten an interview from a single one yet.  Yeah, I got that one job at Phil’s Fill-Up Station but the hours are non-existent.

As far as American Dreams go, that was destroyed at the last U.S. Election.  With Bradford Jones as president, he is stealing every one of our American dreams,  one by one.  Yeah.  His promise for creating all those jobs?  All lies.  Unemployment has gone up since he’s been in office.  “We Can Do It?”  That campaign slogan is so dumb.  No we can’t.

My brother Pete gave me an application for Romano’s and I filled it out.  He said that I will be interviewed tomorrow, so we’ll see how that turns out.  It’s just a pizza job, but it will bring in another paycheck.  That Phil’s Fill-Up is not giving me enough shifts as it is.

Well, I need to get back to the classifieds.  And then it’s time to slay a bunch of mythics.  I need to level up my characters before I go to the next dungeon.  Ultimate Quest XII is a pretty long game, if you do all the side quests and try to 100% everything.

And that interview is tomorrow.  Pete says that Romano’s hires anyone they interview.  We’ll just see about that.

American dream?  Just look at my college degree.  I still don’t have the job to match it.

We’ll meet again, journal.  I’ll be back.


September 6, 2010

The Golden Leaf

The Golden Leaf

Jill looked at the pile of leaves and smiled.  Just as she was about to jump into them, her friend approached her.

“Did you find it yet?” her friend asked her.

“Find what?” Jill asked with curiosity.

Her friend Jaime smiled.  “The golden leaf, of course!” she said with a smile.  “Every 100 years, it is said that a tree will drop a golden leaf.  Whoever has the leaf can do some amazing things!”

After she said that, Jill’s older brother Josh, overhearing Jaime’s story, laughed.  “That is a just a fairy tale!  You will never find anything like that.”

“How do you know?” Jaime challenged him.  “You’ve never seen one before!”

Josh smiled.  “Have you?”

Jaime hesitated, and then sighed.  “No.”

Jill gave Jaime a nudge.  “Come on, then!  Let’s find the golden leaf!”

With that, the girls began looking for the golden leaf.  They started looking together, but Jill started to search a little farther up.  Eventually, she was a good distance away from Jaime.

Jill began to enter the woods, looking at every leaf in sight.  She then approached a very tall tree.  It was also very old, with gnarled branches and gnarled roots.  At the base of it, Jill thought she saw something shine.  Maybe it was just her imagination.

After digging up some leaves at the base of the tree, she saw the flash again.  At that time, she knew that she saw it.  As she kept lifting leaves, the flash got brighter and brighter.  Where could this flash be coming from?  The curiosity was getting the best of Jill, and she began to lift up a few more leaves….

Finally, Jill lifted up the last leaf.  And there on the ground sat a golden leaf, with a bright golden light emanating from it.  This was the leaf that her friend was talking about.  The one that only dropped every 100 years.  She then turned around, and began to head back to tell Jaime.  Instead, she couldn’t resist.  She turned around, ran up to the golden leaf and clutched it in her hand.

At the very moment she did this, she began to flash a golden glow.  The golden leaf did not break when she held it in her hand.  Jill’s hair extended and became a golden color.  Her dress changed into bright colors, reflecting the colors of autumn.  Jill felt a strange power flowing through her.  A strong wind began to blow around her, with the leaves circling Jill.  Along with that, she heard a voice.  It was a girl’s voice, and it sounded like a whisper.

Jill was frightened as she heard the voice.  Who are you?  she asked it, whispering.

You will know soon enough, the voice told her.

Jill nodded.  Her dress and hair were back to normal.  The golden leaf was still resting in her right hand.  Noticing this, Jill concealed the leaf and tucked it inside the top of her dress.

She then exited the forest and noticed Jaime in the distance.  When she saw her friend, her attitude began to change.

Jaime noticed Jill in the distance and called for her.  “Jill!” she shouted.  “Did you find the golden leaf?”

Jill lied.  “No,” she told her.  “I couldn’t find anything back there….”

Jaime sighed.  “Okay Jill.  I gotta go.  My mom is calling me.  I’ll see you tomorrow!”

Jill nodded and said bye to her friend.  While she heard herself say it, the way she said it felt different to her.  Knowing about the golden leaf, she didn’t want her friend to find out for some reason.  Whatever the case, the golden leaf was hers now.  A faint flash emanated from Jill’s dress as she entered the house….


©2012  K. L. Walker

The Golden Leaf: Part II

The Golden Leaf: Part II

Once in the house, Jill’s mother was inside.  She stood in the living room, smiling.

“So Jill, did you have fun with Jaime?”  Her mother asked her.

Jill nodded.  “Yes I did.  Her mother picked her up.  I don’t understand why she did this when she lives right down the road from us.”

Her mother nodded.  “Perhaps her mother was on her way home from shopping.”

Jill felt her stomach rumble.  “Is dinner ready yet?”

“Just about.  I’ll have it ready in a few minutes, honey.”

After a few minutes, the mother served dinner.  The father was home just in time for it.

For dinner, it was generally quiet.  Jill didn’t have much to say, since she didn’t want to mention the leaf that she found.  She only spoke when she was spoken to.  She gave brief answers, as she ate her chicken, rice and green beans.

Finally, Jill was finished with her dinner.  “May I be excused?” She asked her.  “I am not feeling well, and I’m going to bed early.”

The mother frowned.  “You’re not?  Rest up then, and I’ll see you in the morning.”

Jill left the table and walked upstairs.  She wanted to leave the table, but only so that she could see who this voice was.  She could only do this in the privacy of her room.

Once upstairs, Jill took the golden leaf out of her dress and sat it underneath her pillow.  She then changed into her pajamas and got ready for bed.  She brushed her teeth and drank her glass of water.  Jill entered her bedroom.  Her fourth grade math book sat on top of her backpack, as a reminder for homework.  It was Friday night, so she still had time.

Jill then climbed into bed and got underneath the covers.  She lifted up her pillow and held the golden leaf in her hands.  Right as she did this, she flashed and she heard the girl’s voice again.

That leaf doesn’t belong here….the voice said, in almost a whisper.

Jill threw her hands up and crossed them.  “What do you mean?” She asked.  “It’s my leaf.  I found it!”

The leaf is not yours….the voice argued.  You took the leaf out of the forest, where it belonged.  Put it back….

“No!” Jill argued.  “The leaf is mine!  I am not putting it back!”

Jill was suddenly hit with a strong gust of wind.  That golden leaf is my vessel.  It doesn’t belong in a place like this.  It belongs in the forest….

A sudden shock began to fill Jill.  The gust of wind almost knocked her down on her bed.  Jill tried to speak, but no words came out.  Finally, she said “w-w-who are you?”

A gentle breeze brushed against Jill’s face.  I am you….the voice said.

After that, the wind died down.  The voice said no more after this.

Jill was relieved that the voice went away.  What exactly did the voice mean by what it said?  That didn’t matter to Jill right now.  Clutching the golden leaf tight in her hands, she held it as she fell fast asleep.

A faint golden glow emanated from Jill as she slept.  The glow began to fill the room, until it was covered completely….


©2012  K. L. Walker

The Golden Leaf: Part III

The Golden Leaf: Part III

Jill woke up, feeling a little different.  She could not quite explain it, but she knew that something was different about her.

Smiling from ear to ear, Jill clutched the golden leaf in her hand and entered the bathroom.  Looking in the mirror, she was right.  Her hair was a little longer.  Jill guessed about four or five inches.  Her hair was also in a different color.  There were streaks of gold and orange mixed with her naturally brown hair.  At this, Jill shrugged her shoulders and got ready.

Jill got her clothes for the day and got ready.  She picked a purple dress with silver spots speckled all over.  As she got ready in the bathroom, she wondered why her hair was longer and colored differently.  Could it be the leaf? she thought.  After getting ready, she tucked the golden leaf inside the top of her dress and exited the bathroom.

When Jill got to the bottom of the stairs, her mother was standing there.  “Are you feeling any better….Jill!” she gasped.

Jill nodded and smiled.  “I feel a lot better, mother.”

The mother frowned and looked at her in bewilderment.  “That’s strange.  Your hair looks a little longer.  And you colored it?”

Jill lied again.  It was not like her to do this.  She still felt different.  It didn’t make sense to her and she couldn’t explain it.  “Yes mother.  I did it for you.  Do you like it?”

The mother was speechless.  “Jill, I never said that you could color your hair.   It does look a little different.  Kind of like the leaves outside.  Just don’t do it again, honey.”

Jill was troubled.  She knew that she didn’t color her hair.  She tried to say it, but it just wouldn’t come out.  It was almost like something was preventing her from saying it.

“Honey?” the mother frowned.  “Were you going to say something?”

Jill, puzzled, looked at her mother.  “Yes….I was going to tell you that….my hair….looks nice today and I’m going to have breakfast now.”

The mother nodded, pointing towards the kitchen.  “Okay honey.”

Jill entered the kitchen and poured herself a bowl of cereal.  As she was pouring the milk, she was frustrated.  That was not what I wanted to say at all!  What’s happening to me?  As she wondered this, a golden glint of light flashed from inside her dress.

After Jill finished her bowl of cereal, the doorbell rang.  Her mother answered it.

“Jill!” her mother called.  “It’s your friend Jaime!”

Jill ran to the door, which was open.  Jaime was standing there, touting an eager expression.

“Are you ready to look for the golden leaf?” Jaime said with a big smile.

Jill nodded, and turned to her mother.  “Me and Jaime are going to play outside for a while.  I’ll be back later!”

The mother smiled, lightly tapping Jill on the shoulder.  “Okay honey!  Have fun!”

Jill and Jaime walked away from the house, towards the woods.  As Jaime was walking, she stopped and looked at Jill.

Looking impatient, Jill frowned.  “What?” she said, looking at Jaime.

Jaime was filled with confusion.  “You look different.  Your hair is longer and it has gold and orange streaks on it.”

Jill smiled.  “I colored it myself,” she lied.  “Do you like it?”

Jaime frowned.  “I see that, but your hair is longer.  I played with you yesterday and it was shorter.  Hair doesn’t grow that fast, Jill.”

Jill was silent.  She didn’t want to say anymore.  The only thing she wanted to tell her was the truth.  Instead, she was overcome with impatience.  “Just leave me alone about the hair!  So it grew that fast.  Why does this bother you?”

Jaime gasped.  While Jill was talking, she noticed a golden flash coming from her dress.  “What was that flash?” she asked her.

Jill looked around.  “What flash?  I didn’t see any flash?”

“There!” Jaime shouted, pointing her finger at the dress.  “I saw it again!  It was gold colored.  Did you find the golden leaf, Jill?”

Jill choked.  “That’s what we’re going to find, isn’t it?”

A look of concern came over Jaime’s face.  “Your face is getting red.” she told her.  “Why are you sweating?  You have the golden leaf, don’t you?”

Jill flashed, with a very bright gold light and a strong gust of wind blew right out of her, knocking Jaime down. Her hair also reverted back to its original color and retracted to its original length.  “Leave me alone!” Jill shouted, using the girl’s voice she heard in her head.

Jaime was terrified.  Getting to her feet, she screamed, backing away from Jill.  “What’s happening to you?”

Jill used every ounce of strength she had and opened her mouth.  “I….don’t know!” she cried.

Jaime looked at Jill, and pointed at her dress.  “Get rid of that leaf, Jill!  I think that’s what is causing all this.”

Jill shook her head.  “No!  It’s my leaf!  I’m never going to give it up.”

Jaime held up her hand.  “Then I’ll make you.  I am not losing my best friend.”

Jaime lunged at Jill.   In a split second, Jill transformed herself into a pile of leaves, which blew a few feet away from Jaime.  The leaves rematerialized into Jill.

“Bye Jaime,” Jill told her.

Jill ran away from her and back toward the house.  She didn’t want to run away from Jaime.  She wanted to play with her some more.  But for some reason, she couldn’t.

Jill entered the house and walked past her mother.

“What’s wrong?” the mother asked her.

“Jaime hates me!” Jill sobbed, as she began running up the stairs.

Jill entered her room and closed the door.  She sulked on her bed for the rest of the day.

During that time, Jill took the golden leaf out of her dress.  Filled with anger, she wanted to get rid of it.  She ran into the bathroom with it and tried throwing it into the toilet.  She couldn’t.  The leaf stuck to her hand.  Jill then heard the voice again.  Learn who you are and things will be better….

Jill tried crinkling the leaf into pieces, but it remained whole no matter what she did.

Giving up, Jill re-entered her room and plopped on her bed.  When her mom called her down for dinner, she ate it.  Once again, her older brother was at his friend’s house, so it was just her, her mother and her father. Jill said nothing to her parents and quickly ate her dinner.  After that, she ran upstairs, got ready, put her pajamas on and got into bed.

Jill lay there, holding the golden leaf.  She felt helpless.  Anything she tried to say regarding the truth to her parents was subverted by the voice in her head.  She couldn’t get rid of the leaf, either.

Finally, Jill couldn’t stand it.  She called to the voice.  “Who are you?” she asked the voice.  “You sound like a girl.”

A gentle breeze blew on Jill, even though her windows were closed.  The voice then spoke.  I am you, and you are me.  Just give it time, and you will see.

Jill sighed and quietly scowled.  “Why can’t I get rid of the leaf?”

A stronger breeze began to blow on Jill.  I warned you, the voice told her.  I told you to return the golden leaf to the forest, where you found it, but you didn’t.  You wanted this leaf so bad, so now it’s yours.  You will find it to be quite enjoyable, so don’t worry.

“Don’t worry?” Jill said with a frown.  “What do you mean by that?  I can’t get rid of this stupid leaf!”

The voice laughed.  Why would you want to get rid of something that is yours?  You wanted the leaf so bad, so now I am giving it to you as a gift.  Now calm down and please accept the gift….

Jill gave a sigh of resentment and nodded.  “I’ll accept the gift, but first tell me who you are.”

The wind blew around Jill in a sweeping motion, as if it were tickling her.  As this continued, Jill began to giggle.  The girl’s voice spoke again.  I already told you.  I am you, and you are me.  Just give it time, and you will see.

The wind continued tickling Jill and she giggled louder.  “Stop it!” she shouted with laughter.

At her request, the wind died down.  Jill couldn’t figure out the riddle.  On top of that, she was tired, so she decided to sleep on it.  She grabbed the golden leaf and held it in her hand.  Maybe this leaf wasn’t going to be so bad after all.  She felt secure and safe when she held it.  Before she fell asleep, she placed the golden leaf in the top of her pajamas.  Right after this, she fell asleep.

As she slept, the same thing happened as the night before.  Her pajamas glowed with the light emanating from the leaf.  The glow then emanated from the covers and finally into the entire room.  Jill then glowed, with a faint whisper coming from the wind.

Sleep on, Jill.  Things will get better very soon.  Don’t worry….

And the gentle wind remained with Jill, dancing with the golden glow of radiance in the room for the rest of the night….


©2012  K. L. Walker

The Golden Leaf: Part IV

The Golden Leaf: Part IV

Over the next few days, Jill began feeling more and more different.  For each day that she woke up, she noticed this.  She also noticed that her bed was filled with leaves.  Every time this occurred, she opened the window and blew them all out.  The way that she talked began to change slightly and her hair began to subtly change to gold and orange.  The numerous colors on her dress were faded, but were gradually beginning to show.

As for the golden leaf, it never left Jill’s side.  She took it everywhere with her, keeping it tucked away in the top of her dress.  This leaf was becoming more and more a part of Jill, and she knew it.

Contrary to last week, when Jill fought all these changes, she graciously welcomed them.  As the colors of the leaves were changing, so was Jill.

While her mother and everyone else didn’t really notice it that much, Jaime was the only one that really noticed.

One day, Jaime confronted Jill again about the golden leaf.  This was on a Saturday, in the backyard of Jill’s house, near the forest.

“Jill,” Jaime told her.  “I think I know what’s going on with that leaf that you have.  I talked to my grandmother last week.  After talking to her about the golden leaf, I realized that the story came from her.”

“What do you know about it?” Jill said, sighing.  Jill sighed because she really didn’t want to be bothered with something that she already knew.  The thing was that Jill didn’t know how she got this knowledge.  Whatever it was, it had to do with the golden leaf that she had.

“Well, this is what my grandma told me,” Jaime continued.  “She said that her mother had a golden leaf just like yours and that her hair looked very much like yours.  Long and colorful.  Her clothes were also colorful like that.  She told me that her dress contained every color of autumn. “

While Jaime was speaking, a golden flash came from her dress.

Despite the changes that were going on, Jill was still curious about the story.  “What was your great-grandmother’s name?”

Jaime thought for a moment.  “Oh.” she said.  “Her name?  Grandma told me that she changed her name.  Her original name was Eleanor.  But after that, she told me that her name was different.  It was after she had the golden leaf for a while.  She changed her name to Autumn.”

Jill’s dress flashed again.

“Wait!” Jaime gasped.  “Is the leaf flashing because I’m saying the word ‘Autumn’?”

The flash occurred once again.

Jaime gasped.  “Jill.  You have the golden leaf, just like my great-grandma….That means….”

Jill nodded.  “I really like the name ‘Autumn’, but I’m fine with my name right now.”

“Don’t change your name,” Jaime pleaded.  “That golden leaf is doing to you what it did to my great-grandma.  Try to give up that leaf while you can, Jill.”

Jill sadly shook her head.  “I can’t and I won’t,” she said.  “The golden leaf is a part of me now.  Even if I were to try to get rid of it, it will refuse to let me.”

Jaime shook her head and gulped back a tear.  “No Jill….”

“It’s too late,” Jill told her.  “I took what didn’t belong to me.  I wanted this golden leaf so bad, but was unaware of the consequences.  Now this leaf has accepted me, and I, in turn, accept it.  These changes are amazing, and I look forward to the end result….”

“No they’re not!”  Jaime shouted.  “You’re becoming the same thing my great-grandmother was!  Please Jill….I will be talking to my grandmother tomorrow.  I will tell her about you.  Hang in there, Jill….”

Jaime sadly left, walking back toward her house.

Over the next couple weeks, Jill’s hair radically changed.  Her hair remained the same length, no matter how much her mother cut it.  This got her mother’s attention.

“W-what’s happening to you?” Her mother said, gasping.

Jill smiled.  “Something amazing.” she told her.  “That’s what.  Why would you want to cut my beautiful hair? Just leave it as it is.”

The mother, looking a little afraid, nodded.  “Will do, honey….”

From there, the changes continued.  Faster and faster they happened.  In the next week,  something happened with Jill’s outfits.  Her mother wanted her to wear something that wasn’t an autumn-colored dress.  So Jill put on a pink dress.  After showing her mother the dress, it changed before her very eyes into the autumn colors again.  Her mother shook her head in disbelief, and told her to try a different one.  Jill put on a lavender dress.  Jill knew the end result, but she was only doing this to please her mother.  The lavender dress reverted to autumn again.

The mother shuddered in fear.  “What is responsible for this?  Fairies?  Elves? Nymphs?”  Her mother asked this, because she read and studied various mythologies, regarding remembered and forgotten lore from all over the world.

“One of them is right.” Jill told her.  “Which one that is, I’ll leave that for you to decide.”

The mother was a little scared, but she still wanted Jill in a different dress.  Going upstairs to Jill’s room, she made sure that it was different this time.  Opening up all the wardrobes, her mother found that all of her dresses were the same autumn color.

“Fairies are doing this!” the mother cried.  With that, she screamed and ran out of the room.

After she was gone, Jill grinned.  “She’s wrong,” Jill said with a nod.

While all these changes were going on, another thing her mother noticed was her drop in school attendance.  Jill spent less time at school and more time in the forest.  This concerned her mother, who wondered what was going on with Jill.

Every morning now, Jill’s entire room was filled with leaves.  Jill dismissed them like before, outside the window.

After the change with Jill’s outfits, the last thing that changed about Jill was her appearance.  Her complexion changed, and so did her eyes.  Her once fair complexion became more golden and her brown eyes became amber-colored.  At this point, Jill no longer took the golden leaf out of her dress.  The golden leaf was now grafted to her body.  A network of barely visible roots surrounded it, branching out in every direction.  The largest noticeable change was in her size.  Before the change, Jill was a fair build, and about average height for her age.  Jill now was six inches shorter and scrawny.  Her arms and legs were like twigs.  To say that she was petite would be an understatement.

Jill was in the forest, which she secretly called her new home.  She raised her hands and lowered them.  This caused a multitude of leaves of various colors to rain down on the forest floor.  It was nothing but color.  The colored leafy parachutes all slowly drifted down in formation, downward until they rested on the ground below.

As the leaves were falling, Jill danced, immersing herself in the myriad of colors in the now whirling maelstrom of foliage.  When her dance ended, all the leaves grouped together and fell to the ground.

After this, Jill left the forest.  In the distance, she saw Jaime standing there.

When Jaime saw her, she almost started to cry.

“Jill….” she gasped.  “I haven’t seen you in several days, and you look like this?”

Jill, pleasant with everything she saw about herself, nodded.  “It’s almost done,” she grinned.

Jaime fought back tears, but she couldn’t help it.  “I talked with my grandma,” she sobbed.  “After talking to her, everything is clear now.  What’s scary is that you look exactly like my great-grandmother.  Why Jill?”

“Why not?” Jill responded.  “It’s beyond my control now.  I just let the changes happen.  You should be happy for me.  It’s almost complete.”

“What more can possibly change about you?” Jaime wailed.  “Your mom hasn’t seen you in days!  I talked to her about you and what my grandma told me.  She knows the whole story about the golden leaf and she understands now.”

“What’s left?” Jill said, beaming.  “To be honest, I’m really starting to get tired of this name.  It really doesn’t fit me much anymore.  It moreso fits who I used to be.  Now, what name would best fit me now?”

Jill raised her hands, causing a multitude of leaves to spin around her in various directions.  “Can you think of a name, Jaime?” All the colors in Jill’s dress flashed very brightly.

Jaime was now sobbing her eyes out.  “Autumn?” she cried.  “No Jill!  Don’t do it!”

Jill’s smile widened.  “Autumn?” she stated.  “If you were to ask me before, I would tell you that I really like this name.  Now, I can tell you that I absolutely love it.  The name describes me very well.  My name is now Autumn.  If you call me by my old name, I will turn you into a leaf.  Now could you please repeat my name for me?”

Jaime was now sniffling.  “Your name is J…..I mean, Autumn.”

Autumn smiled.  “Isn’t it a nice name?  It’s now done.  My transformation is now complete.  I will now pay my mother a visit.”

Jill walked towards her house.  To clarify, her name is still Jill, since her mother doesn’t know her as Autumn yet.

After entering the house, her mother had a long conversation with Jill.  A lot of it was her reiterating what Jaime told her.

“Get rid of that leaf,” her mother insisted.  “You are not my sweet Jill anymore. Somewhere inside….you are!” And then she started crying.

“Should I get rid of my heart, too?”  Jill asked.  “The leaf is now part of me now.  To get rid of it would be eliminating my source of life.  I have undergone a beautiful transformation.  Now leaving my cocoon, I am now Autumn.  Say the name proudly.  I know you’ll love it.”

“No!” Her mother shouted.  “You are always going to be my sweet Jill to me, no matter how different you look….”

For the next several days, Jill kept pleading with her mother.

“Please mom!” Jill insisted.  “My name is now Autumn!  Jill doesn’t describe me anymore!”

“Jill DOES describe you because I gave you that name when you were born!” her mother countered.

The days passed, and Jill continued pleading.  She was relentless, never losing any strength.  Her mother, however, was losing her strength more and more by the day.

Finally, her mother admitted defeat.

“Call me Autumn,” Jill pleaded.

Her mother broke.  “Okay okay!” she shouted.  “You’re Autumn now!  Okay, Autumn?”

Autumn grinned.  The next day, her mother took Autumn to get her name legally changed.  Her mother cried as she saw the name “Jill” get deleted.  The name was now replaced with “Autumn”.

“Thanks, mom!” Autumn said with a grin.  “I’m going home now.”

Of course, Autumn should’ve told her mother what she meant when she said that she was going home.  Autumn skipped merrily into the forest.  With only a few days remaining until December, she didn’t have much time.

“Now, I will return it.”  Autumn said, nodding.

Autumn reached into her dress and grasped the golden leaf that was grafted to her body.  All of the network of barely visible roots disappeared.  After this, the golden leaf was just like before.

Upon removing it, a golden outline of the leaf was imprinted on her body, resting where the leaf was.

Autumn took the golden leaf and let it rest in the palm of her hands.  “You’re back,” she told it.  “Back where you belong.  In this forest, resting under the same type of tree where I was imprisoned hundreds of years ago….”

Autumn then recalled the riddle that was told to her when she was still Jill:

I am you, and you are me.

Just give it time, and you will see.

“I’m glad I did,” Autumn said with a smile.  “I was stubborn at first, but now I graciously welcome you.  You were in Eleanor before.  Now, you are in me.  You gave us new bodies and new names.  I will use this name wisely and will not disappoint you.”

Autumn took a deep breath and blew at the leaves that rested at the base of the tall tree.  From her breath came a strong wind that blew all the leaves away until it was just soil and old grass.  She then stared at the golden leaf and sighed.  “Farewell, my golden tomb.” she told it.  “I will see you again on the first day of Autumn.”

At that, Autumn sat the golden leaf down and used her gale force breath to cover the leaf again.

The days went by and got colder.  Autumn stood there, jealously guarding the golden leaf.  She blended in well with the forest.  So well that no one would see her, even if you were to look directly at her.

Finally, the days of winter were fast approaching.  At this, Autumn sighed.

“I am exhausted,” Autumn gasped.  “I will rest during the long winter, and will awaken in the spring.

And that’s what Autumn did.  She lied down and threw her hands back.  A large pile of leaves covered her, like a blanket.  Her face materialized into leaves and she rested.

As Autumn rested, a faint glint of light was visible underneath the sparkling snow.  The snow blanketed the leaves and all of the forest.  Autumn was now asleep, with her dreams beginning to fill the white forest….


©2012  K. L. Walker

The Golden Leaf: Part V

The Golden Leaf: Part V

A thick gust of snow began to fill the forest.  The frigid air blew and howled.  The visibility was almost zero.  With that, winter was officially underway.

One day in January, a cry was heard in the forest.  It was Autumn’s mother, bundled up, looking for her daughter.

“Autumn!” The mother cried.  “Where are you, honey!”  The mother dared not say the name “Jill” after what Jaime told her.  “Autumn dear!  Jaime told me that you lived out here now.  Where are you?!  Helloooo!!!!”

The mother’s voice echoed into the dark, cold forest.  Her voice was lost in the wind.  Lost to the blasts of cold air and snow.

As the mother was leaving, a warm gust blew over her face.  She knew that this was Autumn, since the air was not cold.

Meanwhile, Autumn slept on.  In one of her dreams, she saw her mother entering the snow covered forest.  When she saw her, she smiled.  “I’m still here, mom.  Don’t worry….”

The mother exited the forest.  During that whole winter, this was the only time that she ever entered the forest.

Several months passed and autumn finally arrived again.  During the spring, Autumn awakened.  With life in the forest beginning anew, she began guarding the golden leaf.  In her new form, Autumn never ate.  Sunlight was her nourishment.  She drank it in like water until she had her fill.  She especially did this during the summertime, where she continued guarding the golden leaf.   It just wasn’t her time yet.  For nine months out of the year, it never was.

With it being autumn again, the time has finally come again.  Autumn used her gale force breath to reveal the golden leaf.  She then picked it up and held it in her hand.

“Welcome back, my golden tomb….” She said, with a smile of delight.

Autumn placed the golden leaf inside the top of her dress, matching it into the golden outline of the leaf imprinted on her body.  After placing it there, the leaf grafted to her body again, forming a network of barely visible roots branching out in every direction.  A strong gale of wind blew around her and a golden aura emanated from her.

Suddenly, Autumn heard a gasp.


Autumn then saw her mother come out from behind the tree.

“There you are,” Autumn said.  “Did you feel the wind? That was me.  When it blew on you, I felt your presence.”

The mother looked at Autumn, who was short with long orange and golden hair.  She wore an autumn colored dress with leafy sandals.  “Autumn?” she gasped.

Autumn looked at her body, which was still brightly flashing.  “You saw me with the golden leaf.  Isn’t it wonderful?”  She then looked at her mother.  She saw the longing in her eyes.  “I’ll be out shortly, but not for long.  I belong in the forest.”

The mother gasped.  “But what about….”

“Don’t worry,” Autumn assured her.  “I will require a mate when I become an adult.  Bring him here at the appointed time.  Don’t worry about him not loving me.  I have placed a spell on him so that he will.”

With that, Autumn spent a short time with her mother outside the forest.  It was a brief conversation, and very few words were said. After the conversation, they hugged.

“Farewell mother,” Autumn told her.  “I must return to the forest.  You may visit me there whenever you like.

Autumn returned to the forest, causing various trees to drop their leaves simultaneously.

Looking at the panoramic view of various colors of leaves in the distance, Autumn smiled.  “My days in the forest will be until this body expires,” Autumn said, with a pleasant sigh.  “After that, I will return to my golden vessel, which will dissolve into the forest.  I will then be with the next golden leaf.  From now, only 99 more years until the next golden leaf is born…..”

Meanwhile, a faint sound could be heard deep inside of Autumn.  Well, it wasn’t really a faint sound.  It was actually a sound of someone screaming and crying.  But the screams and cries were happening so deep inside her that it would only be heard as a faint sound.

Somewhere, very deep inside of Autumn, Jill was crying.  She was literally a prisoner in her own mind.  Autumn was in complete control, and was unwilling to release her.

“Let me go!” Jill screamed for what seemed like the one millionth time.  Her screaming, however, was in vain.  There was no one to hear her.  No wardens, no guards.  Not a single person.   Autumn did a good job in cleaning out Jill’s mind.

The scariest part about this was that Jill didn’t even know what was going on.  She couldn’t even see with her own eyes or hear with her own ears.  She was forever bound in her own mental prison, rotting away as a figment of her own imagination.  If she were to go totally mad, she would actually believe that she was someone totally made up by Autumn.

But Jill still had her sanity, and she would keep it as long as she could.  And she continued screaming, hoping someone could hear her….

Back at the surface, Autumn was completely unaware of any voices in her head.  As Autumn sat there that night, a blinding flash happened.  The flash was a sphere, materializing in the flashing light.

When Autumn saw this sphere, it sent chills down her spine.  “No.” She said in disbelief.  “Not that….”

The flashing faded from the sphere.  The sphere was transparent, with a flashy white outer coat.  When the flashing completely faded, a hologram of a girl wearing a white dress, holding a golden leaf projected from the sphere.

“To the one originally called Jill,” the girl began.  “This message is for you.  From researching my ancestors, I have found that you are my great-grandmother.  In looking at your history, I have found that we share the same fate.  Autumn has already tainted you, and she is beginning to do the same with me.  I have found this golden leaf, and I wish that I never had.  It is her vessel.  This is what she told me.”

“Now I know that your name is not Jill anymore since she renamed you with her name.  She has not done this with me yet, which is why I am acting quickly.  While I am still in my right mind, I am executing a last-ditch effort to change history.  That sphere that you see before you is an egg.  Now I need you to enter that egg.  It is the only way that you can kill Autumn.  Your body, however will die with her.”

“But don’t think this is the end.  In place of your old body, the egg will hatch and your new body will be born.  It will be just like your old body, only you won’t have Autumn inside you anymore.”

“Please take heed, Jill.  Autumn will not stand anywhere near that egg, for she fears its power.  But you must fight her.  Fight like you’ve never fought before.  I know you can win.”

“Well, my mind is beginning to fail me.  I am beginning to feel her influence even stronger now as I’m recording this.  I hope that this egg and this message gets to your time period.  I love you very much and I hope that this ripple that I’m creating is enough to effect time.  Your great-granddaughter, Margaret.”

Autumn backed away in fear.  “How?” She gasped.  “Where did he….”

With a shriek of fear, Autumn blew herself away to the farthest end of the forest.  The end farthest away from the mysterious egg.

Meanwhile, the egg remained there, sparkling and glowing, as it sat surrounded in a sea of colorful foliage…..


©2012  K. L. Walker

The Golden Leaf: Autumn Reborn

The Golden Leaf: Autumn Reborn

Margaret sat in her room on her bed, holding what looked like some black box.  Letting out a deep sigh, she spoke into it.

“Record,” she instructed the box.

“Margaret’s Video Diary,” Margaret spoke.  “Friday, October 14, 2112.  1:04 p.m.  It is official.  I have officially died of boredom.”

At that point, Margaret almost burst into tears, but she held her composure.  “What’s a nine-year old like me supposed to do when there’s no one to play with?  I have uploaded all my lessons for today and watched all the required lessons.  All of my homework for the weekend is already done and has been sent to the Greenville Elementary Learning Network Server.  This neighborhood has no other kids that I can become friends with.  There are students, but they are all much older than me, and would rather not associate with a ‘kid’ like me.”

Margaret pounded her fist into her comforter.  She then crossed her arms on her lavender dress and pouted.  The tears, one by one, began flowing down her face.  She was so upset that she forgot that she was recording.  By the time she realized this, her dress was slightly damp with tears.  Her face reddened in embarrassment.

“Excuse me,” Margaret said, crying.  “End recording.”

Margaret than heard a knock on the door.  “Come in,” she whimpered, as she brought her face to her knees.

The door opened, and her mother, Lily stood there wearing a dress that was similar to Margaret’s.  The dress also reflected Lily’s stature.  When she saw Margaret, she was greatly surprised.  “What’s wrong, Margaret dear?”

Margaret buried her face in her hands and continued weeping.  “I am extremely bored, mother.”

The mother sat down beside Margaret and gave her a pat on her shoulder.  “There there, sweetheart.  There’s plenty to do around here.  Have you completed all your homework, and lessons for the day?”

Margaret gave a soft nod.  And continued crying.  Her eye contact was directed at her feet, away from her mother.  “I don’t have any friends, mother.  And the older students don’t want to be friends with me.”

Her mother sighed, and looked at her daughter.  There was no face for her to look at.  Just a large unkempt strand of brown hair.  Margaret was now looking downward, at her dress and her knees.  She patted her daughter again.  “Look at me honey, and stop crying.” she pleaded.

Margaret sighed and looked up.  She saw her mother, staring at her.  She felt a sense of longing coming from her.  “Oh mother!” she cried.  And then she threw her arms around her mother and gripped her in tight embrace.

Her mother smiled.  “There we go, Margaret dear.” she said, using a soft tone.  “Now you tell me that you’re bored.  What about your video games?”

Margret released her embrace and shook her head.  “I have already played every single game that is approved for someone my age,” she told her.  “Every single one bores me now.”

At that statement, her mother was speechless.  Margaret too, had no words to say, until a troubling thought entered her mind.

“Why doesn’t daddy ever come home?” Margaret complained.  “He’s always on business and he’s never around!”

Her mother nodded, and she hugged her daughter again.  “I miss him too, honey.  But remember.  He doesn’t want to know that you’re unhappy.  If you should be happy for anyone, be happy for him.”

Margaret nodded and sighed.  “I’ll try.  But it won’t be easy with nothing to do.”

The mother gasped, and then smiled.  It was as if a light bulb went off in her head.  “I just thought of something, my dear.” she told her daughter.  “Why don’t you play outside?  I heard that children used to do this a long time ago.”

“But mother,” Margaret sighed.  “Where would I play?  In pretty much every public area, playing is prohibited.  Just recently, they demolished the last playground in the city, because no one showed any interest playing in it.”

But her mother continued to smile, completely unmoved by what her daughter said.  “I know that, honey.” she said.  “But I’m not referring to those areas.  What I had in mind is that Forest Sanctuary.  From my understanding, you can still play in a spot like that.”

Margaret gave her a strange look.  “By myself?  Who would I play with?”

“Use your imagination.” she told her.  “When I was little, I had an imaginary friend named Lissie.  Me and Lissie did everything together.  Of course we parted ways eventually, but she was definitely fun to play with.”

Margaret nodded.  “It sounds weird, but I’ll give it a try, mother.  I’ll be back later!”

Her mother stood up and got out a black box like Margaret’s.  “Okay.  Be back at 6:30.  Set alarm ‘6:30 p.m.’ to Margaret’s Multitasker. Have fun, honey!”

Margaret nodded, and left her room.   Her mother followed her, then walked into the master bedroom.

After Margaret left her room, she approached the landing.  From the landing was a spiral staircase leading down to the living room, which led into the great room.  Margraret went down the stairs, walked through the great room and exited the house.

Margaret walked down the street to the end of the subdivision.  The lights were on in various houses, with everyone unwilling to leave them.  She approached an intersection, where a teleporter sat.  Across the street led to another subdivision.  To her left, the street led on, with more subdivisions branching on either side, until it eventually turned into local businesses.  To her right, it was pretty much the same thing, only that street eventually led downtown.

Margaret found the coordinates to the Forest Sanctuary and scanned them into the teleporter.  After the scan, the teleporter automatically entered the coordinates.

She was about to teleport when some older guy approached her.  To her, he looked like a high-schooler.

“Where are you going, miss?” he asked her.

Margaret hesitated, and then sighed.  “My mother always told me to never talk to strangers,” she boldly asserted.”

The guy looked at her and laughed.  “Really?” he shouted.  “That is so old-fashioned!  Now look.  You can trust me.  I’m not like those hoodlums at night.  Where are you going?”

At this point, Margaret was getting impatient.  Giving in, she let out a sigh.  “Okay.” she told him.  “I’m going to the Forest Sanctuary.”

The high-schooler laughed again.  “You’re going THERE?  Nobody goes to that boring place.  I’m going to the abandoned mall, so I can see where people used to shop.  Later!”

At that, the high-schooler scanned in his location with his Multitasker and pressed the button.  The teleporter enveloped him in a beam and he was gone.

Margaret shrugged her shoulders and pressed the button on the teleporter.  In just a split-second, she appeared downtown, in a busy plaza.  The Forest Sanctuary was nearby, which everyone walked past.

Margaret approached the Forest Sanctuary.  It was inside a large glass dome, which covered even the tallest tree.  Surrounded by the 300 acres of domed forest was the city.  Highrises and various skyscrapers dwarfed over it.

Margaret entered the Forest Sanctuary.  From what she learned in her history lessons, she was well aware that trees were becoming more and more scarce in the world today.  With urbanization happening everywhere, a measure was taken to protect the forests that still remained.  With the Forest Haven Act, which was passed in 2073, every city was required to set aside a designated haven of trees.  This would prevent America’s supply of trees from going extinct.

As she walked around, she smiled.  For a second, she forgot that there was even a city around her.  She suddenly remembered when she looked up and saw the skyscrapers that stood much higher than the dome.

For the next few hours, Margaret played in the forest.  Since she had no friends, she took her mother’s advice.  She made up her own.  With her “friends”, she jumped into the colorful leaves that dropped from the various trees around her.

Margaret then approached a very tall tree.  It was taller than all the others, with gnarled branches and gnarled roots.  As she was doing this, her alarm went off.  All of her imaginary friends left her and she was left alone, face to face with a giant tree.

After taking it in for a while, Margaret began to leave, but something made her stop.  It was a flash.  A flash that came from a large pile of leaves at the base of the tree.

Curiosity got the best of Margaret, so she got down on her knees and began digging through the pile, scattering as many leaves as she could.

After scattering a few more clumps of leaves, Margaret found it.  The flash was coming from a golden leaf.  One that flashed its new glow brightly and proudly.  What a discovery!

Margaret lifted up the leaf and let it rest in the palm of her left hand.  The flash came out of the leaf again.  This time, it was brighter.  It was as if the flash was granting her approval.  The flash continued, glowing brighter and brighter until it covered her body…..


©2012  K. L. Walker

The Golden Leaf: Autumn Reborn – Part II

The Golden Leaf: Autumn Reborn – Part II

Margaret stood there, gazing at the golden leaf.  As she stood there, the leaves began to blow in a circular motion, until they were making circles around her.  There was something about the leaf that she couldn’t put into words.  Words could not explain what she was feeling right now.  To her, the leaf felt familiar to her.  She couldn’t explain why.  It just felt that way.

As Margaret remained in awe at the golden leaf that she was holding, a loud beep came from her Multitasker, and a holographic image of her mother projected out of it.

“Margaret, it’s almost 7:00.” Her mother said with a sigh.

This snapped Margaret out of her reverie.  Or perhaps it was a different state of mind or a trance.  It didn’t matter what it was.  All Margaret knew was that she was late.  She looked at her Multitasker.  “Display time.” she ordered.

The Multitasker projected a holographic image of a digital clock.  The time was 6:57 p.m.  “Oh mother!” she said, gasping.  “I’m very sorry!  I was having too much fun….”

“I’m glad that you did, sweetheart.” her mother said, smiling.  “Now….”

“And then I found something that was truly amazing!” Margaret interrupted.  “I’ll be home shortly.  Bye!”

The holographic image of her mother vanished, and Margaret began running towards the exit of the forest sanctuary.  As she was running, she held the golden leaf tightly in her hand.
Such a lovely leaf,” she whispered, in labored breaths.  “Can’t wait to show mother….

Margaret came to the exit of the Forest Sanctuary.  She exited the door she entered, and ran back to the crowded plaza nearby.  She found the coordinates for home and scanned them in, using her Multitasker.  She then pressed the button and was transported to Cypress Street, the road that ran down the subdivision where she lived.

From there, she ran down the street, back toward her house.  27842 was the house number that she stopped at.  She concealed the leaf and approached the door.

Upon opening the door, there her mother stood, with a frown on her face.  “Margaret dear!” she shouted.  “What took you so long?  I was starting to worry!”

Margaret, still short of breath, stared at her mother, smiling.  “I’m….very sorry….mother….” she gasped.

Her mother gave her a hug.  “I’m not mad at you.” she told her.  “I was just worried.  Now dear.  You seem to be quite exhausted.  Now I want you to catch your breath, and then we can talk.  Okay?”

Margaret nodded, still gasping for air.  “Thank you….mother….”

Margaret sat on the sofa for a few minutes and waited for her breathing to return to normal.  Her mother quietly sat there, watching her daughter.

Finally, Margaret’s breathing was normal.  She then stood up and approached her mother.  “Now mother,” she announced, “The Forest Sanctuary was a lot of fun.  I took your advice and I used my imagination.  I created several imaginary friends and we all had fun.  Too bad they all had to leave.”

Her mother nodded.  “Well, that’s your imagination, honey.  They can come and go as much as they please if you want them to.”

An even bigger smile began to form on Margaret’s face.  “Now mother….” she announced.  “The reason why I was so late was because I found this.”  She reached inside the top of her dress and pulled out a golden leaf.  “I found this beautiful leaf in the Forest Sanctuary.  Doesn’t it look amazing?”

At this, her mother gasped.  A sudden feeling of fear began to grip her tightly.  “Where did you say you found that again?”

“I found it in the Forest Sanctuary, under a really big tree!” she told her.  “Is there something wrong?”

A sudden look of anxiety began to fill her mother’s face.  “Yes honey,” she said, her voice quavering.  “It”s that leaf that you’re holding.  Get rid of it!”

Margaret brought both of her palms together, holding the golden leaf in the center.  She then looked back at her mother and frowned.  “Why, mother? What’s wrong with this leaf?”

The mother, still nervous, made a waving gesture at her daughter.  “Sit down honey, and I will tell you.  And please put that leaf away.  I…I don’t want to see it.”

Margaret nodded, and placed the leaf back inside her dress. She then sat down next to her mother.  “Now what’s wrong with it, mother?  I think it’s a beautiful leaf.”

Her mother shook her head.  “That leaf is dangerous, and I’ll tell you why.  It affected my grandmother.”

Margaret gasped.  “Your grandmother?  How?”

The mother let out a deep sigh.  “Well….first of all, she’s your great-grandmother.  Now I don’t remember this happening very well.  When I was your age, she died.  After that, her body went inside a golden leaf.  It was a leaf just like the one you have. My mother told me all this since I wasn’t there when my grandmother died.”

Margaret shook her head.  “That’s sad….Now mother, what was my great-grandmother like?”

The mother sighed again.  “I don’t remember much about her, honey.  Now my mother told me a lot about her.  She said that she wasn’t acting herself and that she lived in the forest.” The mother then stared at Margaret directly in the face.  “Now listen to me, dear.  Because of my grandmother, my mother was crazy.  Trying to cure my grandmother was the only thing she spent her whole life doing.  She wrote in her diaries, filling them with notes from everyone that was able to provide information about her.  She even talked to my great-grandmother and my grandmother’s friend.”

“What was her name?”

“Whose name, honey?”

“Your grandmother.”

The mother paused.  Finally she said, “her name is Autumn.”

Margaret gasped.  “Autumn?  That’s an interesting name.”

The mother grabbed a tissue and wiped some sweat off her brow.  “She does have a real name, but I’ll let you figure that out yourself.  Her diaries are upstairs in the attic.  I’ll let you take a look at them.”

Margaret sat there, her face frozen.  She was dumbfounded.  “Why was your mother crazy?” she finally said.

The mother shook her head.  “She was crazy because of all the crazy things that she wrote.  One thing that she claimed to see was this strange vision.  It told her to do something.  That’s all I’ll tell you.  Read the diaries, honey.”

Margaret nodded.  “Okay mother.  I will.”  After that, she sat there, thinking.  “Why don’t we ever visit your mother, I mean, my grandmother?”

When the mother heard this, she burst into tears.  “It’s because she’s gone, honey.  She disappeared on the day you were born, and I haven’t been able to find her since.”

Margaret sat there, silent, watching her mother cry.  Of all the nine years that she has been alive, she has never seen her cry like this.  After she cried for a while, she blew her nose with a tissue.  After that, she felt a little better.

Finally, Margaret stood up.  “I’m going off to bed.” she told her.  “I’m a little tired.”

Lily gasped.  “Without dinner?”

Margaret sighed.  “I’m not hungry, so goodnight!”

“Good night, dear!” her mother said, smiling.  As her daughter was about to go upstairs, she gasped.  “Get rid of that leaf too, honey!  Return it to where you found it!”

Margaret nodded, both feet on the first step.  “I’ll do it tomorrow, mother!”

Margaret walked upstairs and got ready for bed.  While she was doing this, she left the golden leaf on her dresser in her bedroom.  After getting ready, she put on her light blue nightgown.  She then grabbed the golden leaf and sat on her bed, resting the leaf on her lap.

She stared carefully at the leaf and sighed.  The leaf continued to glow, flashing its golden light into her eyes.  “It’s beautiful,” she whispered.  “What could be so bad about this?”

Margaret placed the golden leaf underneath the covers.  She then turned off the light and crawled underneath the covers.  Grasping the leaf, she held it in her hand, pulling the covers with her other hand until just her face was showing, resting on the pillow.

Margaret then fell fast asleep, with the light from the leaf emanating from her clutched hand.   The light grew and grew, until her entire room was greeted by its radiance….


©2012  K. L. Walker

The Golden Leaf: Autumn Reborn – Part III

The Golden Leaf: Autumn Reborn – Part III

Something woke up Margaret in the middle of the night.  It was a strong gust of wind.  After realizing her window was shut, she looked around, trying to find the source of the wind.  She then noticed that it was coming from the golden leaf.  Her room was now lit with a strong yet faint golden glow.

Margaret then heard a voice.  The voice was subtle and quiet.  It was a gentle whisper that was just like the wind.

Margaret…. the voice whispered.

Instead of feeling scared, Margaret felt comforted by the voice.  It sounded familiar to her….  “Who are you?” she asked it.

A gentle gust flowed through Margaret’s hair.  I am you…. the voice whispered.

Margaret shook her head.  “You can’t be me,” she told the voice.  “If you were me, you would look exactly like me.  I don’t see anyone around here, so this can’t be true.”

The golden leaf’s light became brighter, and an even stronger gust of wind blew at Margaret.  I am you….!  The voice shouted in a loud whisper.

Margaret smiled.  “For you to be me, you would have to know who I am.  You would have to know pretty much everything about me in general.  Do you know who I am?”


“Do you?” Margaret said louder, challenging the voice.

The strong wind became violent.  So violent that it knocked Margaret down on her bed.  The voice then spoke, in a rather quick, stern and quiet tone.   I am you, and you are me.  Just give it time, and you will see.

Margaret’s face lit up.  “A riddle? I love riddles!  And it won’t take me time to figure this out.  Trust me….”

A few minutes passed as Margaret thought about the riddle.  In her head, she kept repeating the words “I am you, and you are me”.   “I am you,” she repeated.  “And you are me?”

Moments later, she got it.  “I am you,” she repeated again.  “That means that I will become who you are.  You are me.  That means that you will become who I am….”  At this, she gasped.  “But who are you, then?”

A playful breeze hit Margaret’s face.  I am you….the voice said.  Don’t you see?

Margaret then thought about the riddle again.  “Oh yeah!” she gasped.  “The last line!  ‘Just give it time, and you will see.’ That means that I am not you yet.  But I will be….”

Then it hit her.  “Wait!” She said, gasping.  “Are you the one that my mother was talking about?  Autumn?”

The wind blew back Margaret’s hair.  You figured it out….The voice told her.  I am Autumn, and you will be soon….

Margaret shook her head in confusion.  “Does that mean that you’re my great-grandmother?”

The voice laughed.  That’s who I was.  But now, I need a new host.  You’re a pretty smart girl and you will suit me well….

Margaret was now shocked.  “Is this what you did to my great-grandmother?” She quietly shouted, careful not to wake her mother.  “You possessed her, and ruined her life!  You will not use my body, you wretched nymph!”

Autumn let out a sigh of laughter.  I’m afraid that it’s too late for that.  Both you and your great-grandmother did not learn their lesson.  Both of you took the leaf out of the forest.  That golden leaf is my vessel.  Now, how would you like it if someone took your bed out of your room….?

Margaret shook her head and took the defensive.  “I didn’t know,” she firmly stated.  “To me, it was just a beautiful leaf!  There wasn’t a sign anywhere that said “Do NOT take this leaf!”.

The wind began to pick up.  As smart as you are, you should’ve left it alone.  But thank you very much, Margaret, for letting me use your body.  I will enjoy it very much, and pretty soon, so will you…..

Margaret gasped.  “But I didn’t tell you that….”

A calm wind blew on Margaret’s face.  Again, thank you….and good night…..

Margaret’s face saddened.  She was thinking about crying, but she knew that this wouldn’t make things any better.  Thinking about what her mother said earlier, she tried to find something that she could do to resolve this problem.

Then she heard it.  The voice of her mother saying “Read the diaries, honey.”

The diaries….” she whispered.  “I’ll read them tomorrow….

Margaret, now calmer, got underneath the covers.  The golden leaf blew into her left hand and rested there.  Knowing that it would be futile to remove it, Margaret let it lay there.

A faint glow emanated from the golden leaf, It covered Margaret, filling her and the room with golden light….


©2012  K. L. Walker

The Golden Leaf: Autumn Reborn – Part IV

The Golden Leaf: Autumn Reborn – Part IV

Margaret woke up, covered in a pile of leaves.  This left her in a state of bewilderment.  There was not a single tree anywhere in the city, except for the Forest Sanctuary, which she visited yesterday.

When she saw the bright light emanating from the golden leaf that she was holding, it made sense.  It was her.  The one who called herself Autumn that was doing this.  Margaret, with the strongest conviction inside of her, knew that this was true.

Margaret went to the window and opened it.  Right after she did this, the golden leaf became brighter and created a strong gale that blew all the leaves out of her room, save the mysteriously enchanted leaf.  When all the leaves were gone, she closed the window.

Her next trip was to the bathroom.  She grabbed her clothes for the day and set them in the bathroom, placing the golden leaf on top of them.  Upon looking at the mirror, something puzzled her.  “My hair!” she gasped.  “Why is it all gold and orange?  It’s also longer than what I had it!  Is this the kind of hair that Autumn prefers?”

Margaret stared at the mirror with a sly look.  “Two can play that game,” she said quietly.  “Using her same powers. I’ll turn it back.”  And with the power of her will, her hair shortened to its normal length and changed back to brown.

Margaret showered, humming a happy tune as she usually did.  After she showered and clothed herself, she began thinking about Autumn.  “That leaf gave me weird dreams last night,” she said to herself.  “I also feel different.  I can’t let her control me….”

Margaret picked up the golden leaf and placed it in her white dress.  “You are going back to the Forest Sanctuary,” she told it.

After getting her hair in a ponytail, Margaret was all ready.  She walked downstairs and approached the door.  Her mother was sitting on the couch, organizing her to-do list on her Multitasker.

“Mother,” she announced,  “I’m going back to the Forest Sanctuary to return the leaf.”

Her mother smiled, giving her a nod of approval.  “Okay honey.  Get rid of that leaf, okay?”

Margaret nodded.  “Okay mother!”

Saying goodbye, Margaret left the house and went back to the Forest Sanctuary, taking the same way as yesterday.  After entering, she went to the same place where she found the golden leaf – underneath the tall tree with gnarled roots and branches.

Margaret reached into her dress and pulled out the golden leaf.  As she tried to release it, the leaf stuck to her hand.  She then put the leaf into her other hand and tried thrusting it as hard as she could.  The leaf remained on her hand.  It would not part from it, no matter how hard she tried.

At that point, she heard a voice that sounded like the wind. You silly girl…. Autumn whispered.  Do you think that I would actually change my mind?  I have made my decision.  You are the next one that I will use.  Being a descendant from your great-grandmother, you are like family to me, and the most suitable place to live.  Be a nice girl for me, okay?  Your great-grandmother was….

“My great-grandmother had no choice!” Margaret shouted.  “You took that choice away from her!”  Her anger began to intensify, but when she saw the golden leaf, it all seemed to vanish, like a distant memory.  “This leaf is too beautiful for me to part with.  What was I thinking?”  Margaret gently lifted the leaf up, and placed it back inside her dress.

Margaret, disappointed, went back home.  Autumn was happy that Margaret had the leaf in her possession.  Margaret, however, wasn’t.

As Margaret entered the door, her mother stood up.  “So, did you get rid of it?” she asked her.

Margaret was worried.  But that worry immediately transformed into a joyous passion.  Margaret eagerly took the golden leaf out of her dress, proudly displaying it to her mother.  “No mother,” she said.  “I couldn’t.  This leaf is far too precious for me to part with.”

Lily, her mother, shook her head.  “Far too precious for Autumn, right?” she said, raising her voice.

Fighting back, Margaret broke down.  “Yes mother,” she sadly admitted.  “This Autumn is starting to get to my mind.  I am not feeling myself.  Really! I’m not!”

Her mother nodded, looking increasingly worried.  “I can see that, honey.  Read those diaries while you can.  There may be hope for you.  Hope for a better future.  Hurry!”

Margaret nodded, fighting Autumn as much as she could.  “Right away mother!  I will read them right away!”

The conversation abruptly ended after that.  Margaret sprinted upstairs.  She still had her wits about her, but knew that this was only borrowed time.  Time that would not be wasted.

Once upstairs, Margaret ran to the end of the hallway.  From being up there with her mother in the past, she knew how to get up to the attic.  She pressed a button, that was hidden behind an old portrait.   This activated a compartment, which opened up to reveal a ladder.  The ladder folded downward until it reached the floor.  Margaret then climbed the ladder and entered the attic.

Sitting in the corner of the attic was an old desk.  The old desk was a mess, with diaries laying all over the place.  There were diaries on the desk and diaries on the floor, all caked with dust.

With so many diaries to leaf through, Margaret didn’t know where to begin.  For her, it would make the most sense to start where the earliest year was.  She quickly arranged the diaries into small stacks, from earliest to most recent.  She began with the earliest one, titled “Maple’s Diary – 2048”.

Margaret leafed through every page, trying to find a date that dealt with her great-grandmother.  She came across a page dated “March 22, 2048”.  Margaret read:

March 22, 2048

My mother has just awakened from her long winter nap.  My father just got back from the forest and told me this.  Why is her naps so long?  When I used to take naps, they were never that long.  When I asked my father about this, he told me that she needs naps like this because she’s special.

My mother spends half of the year living in the forest.  Why does she live in the forest?  I know that other mothers don’t live in the forest.  I told my other friends about this and they said that their mother lives with them.  They’re lucky to have normal mothers because I don’t feel like my mother is normal.

My father said that we will be visiting my mother tomorrow.  I am so excited to see her.  He also said that she will be staying with us until late September, when autumn begins.

I miss mother, and I have a lot of questions for her when she comes to stay with me and father.

That’s all I have to say for today.   Until tomorrow, my dear diary!


Margaret read on, leafing through the pages quickly.  She found another page that stood out. She read again:

April 3, 2048

Dear diary,

I am right.  My mother is not normal.  I am starting to get tired of asking all the questions.  Whenever I ask her about living in the forest or her long naps, she gives me the same answer as my father.  She’s special.  But what makes her so special?

I also asked her about her name.  When I asked her, she said that her name was Autumn.  It’s really a strange name, since none of the girls that I know at school have that name. 

Well, my not normal mother is calling me again. Don’t worry, diary.  We will meet again.

Always yours,


Margaret leafed through the rest of the diary, and leafed through a few more.  She then came across a page dated “June 15, 2055”.  Margaret read:

June 15, 2055

Dear diary,

The journey continues in learning the truth about my mother.  But I’m happy to say that I found someone who will help me a lot in that journey.  It’s an older woman named Jaime.  She’s the same age as my mother and she knows a lot about what happened to her.  Hopefully, things will make sense after I talk to her again.  She lives down the street from me, in the same house as my mother.  Well, my mother and father are on a date, and Jaime is coming over here.  Be back later, diary!

Well, I talked to Jaime.  I’m totally blown away with what she told me.  My mother’s real name is actually Jill, and she found this golden leaf when both her and Jaime were nine.  Since she had it, Jaime said that it transformed her into this mysterious woman named Autumn.  Everything that she told me makes sense now.

Well, sort of.  I’m still trying to sort it all out in my head.  I wish that there was something that I could do to help my mother.

I gotta go now, diary!  My mother’s calling me.  I can’t tell her about “the meeting”.  We will meet again tomorrow!

Yours forever,


On and on Margaret read.  After a few more diaries, she came across something totally shocking.  The page was dated “January 21, 2059”.  Margaret read:

January 21, 2059

Dear diary,

It is now the middle of the night, and I just had this really strange dream.  In this dream, a voice was telling me to build a strange device.  The voice said that this device would help my mother, and that one of my ancestors would be the one to save her.

I found it quite strange to have this dream tonight.  It has been exactly one month since my mother began her winter nap.  I am guessing that I had the dream now so that my mother doesn’t know.

After thinking about it, I know that this dream is definitely from God.  I have been praying and praying for a way to save my mother.  Tonight, I can say that my prayers have been answered.

Starting tomorrow, I will begin on this strange device.  From the blueprint that the voice explained to me, this is going to take a very long time to finish.  I will work on it during the fall and winter months, when mother is not living here.

On another note, finishing my psychology degree will not be necessary anymore, since I just met this lovely man who is pursuing his Ph.D. in psychology.  He is very bright and seems to like me a lot. More on all this tomorrow.  Love ya, diary!

Yours always,


Margaret leafed through the diaries.  Most of them had to do with her progress on the device and her conversations with her mother.  Over time, she learned that Maple’s mother was getting more and more suspicious, forcing Maple to be more and more cautious on the device that she was working on.

She then came across another entry that sent chills down her spine.  The date read “October 24, 2085”.  Margaret read:

October 24, 2085

Dear diary,

It just happened.  My mother is gone.  After she died, her body went into the golden leaf.  The golden leaf then vanished, materializing into traces of golden light.  From all the information I’ve gathered over the years, it has been 73 years since that leaf appeared.  The next one will appear in 27 more years, at the very spot I’m standing.

Right now, my daughter Lily is in bed.  I will not tell her about this until I am ready to.

As I am writing this, I am starting to worry.  When my mother was alive, I called her Jill ever since I found out her real name.  Before she died, she cast a spell on me.  It was a spell to turn me into a leaf.  She didn’t say when the spell would happen.  All she said was that one day, I would be turned into a leaf.

Well, I’m not going to let this bother me.  I will continue working on the egg.  Well, that’s what the device is starting to look like, at least.  I am almost done with it.  There are just some hard to find materials.  Once I find them, I can finish this egg.

My mother has lived a long hopeless life as Autumn’s puppet.  82 years have been lived, with 73 of them being stolen from her.  I am hoping that either Lily or her child can send this egg back to the past.  Only then will my mother have a better future.

It is too much for me, diary.  Goodnight!

Tearfully always yours,


Margaret began to tear up, as she read through the remaining diaries.  She finally came to the last one.  The date read “September 30, 2103”.  Full of tears, Margaret read:

September 30, 2103

Dear diary,

I have finally done it.  The egg is finished.  I will tell Lily when I return from the forest.  I go here everyday to visit my mother.  While her body may not be here, I can feel her presence.  It is not Autumn, but her.  I know it. 

Now, it is very important that either she or her daughter send it back to the past.  Lily told me that she was pregnant, and was ready to have her daughter.  When she is ready to have her, I will visit.  I look forward to hearing the g

And that was the last thing that Maple wrote.  The entry was not even finished, something that really troubled Margaret.

The one thing that troubled Margaret even more was the date.  After studying the date, it hit her.  September 30, 2103 was the exact date that she was born.

Margaret frantically looked around in the attic for the egg.  Hopefully, it would be here, considering her current house was different than Maple’s.  In the far end of the attic by the window, Margaret found something that was covered in a large sheet of plastic.  Margaret removed the plastic.  There the egg sat.  On its interior, it looked like some kind of cockpit.  The egg was translucent on the inside with a polished white sheen on the outside.

Upon touching the egg, it lit up, like some sophisticated machine.  A holographic display then came out of the egg, displaying some words and numbers.

“Please enter date, time and location?” Margaret read.  “October 21, 2012.  5:47 p.m.” Margaret than entered the exact coordinates for the tall tree as it was listed on her Multiasker.

After entering the coordinates, one more message appeared.  It read “Record your message.  Say ‘begin recording’ when you are ready.”

Knowing that she was running out of time, Margaret quickly thought about her message.  While she did this, she reached into her white dress and pulled out the golden leaf.  Finally, she was ready.  “Record message.” Margaret ordered.

“To the one originally called Jill,” Margaret began.  “This message is for you.  From researching my ancestors, I have found that you are my great-grandmother.  In looking at your history, I have found that we share the same fate.  Autumn has already tainted you, and she is beginning to do the same with me.  I have found this golden leaf, and I wish that I never had.  It is her vessel.  This is what she told me.”

“Now I know that your name is not Jill anymore since she renamed you with her name.  She has not done this with me yet, which is why I am acting quickly.  While I am still in my right mind, I am executing a last-ditch effort to change history.  That sphere that you see before you is an egg.  Now I need you to enter that egg.  It is the only way that you can kill Autumn.  Your body, however will die with her.”

“But don’t think this is the end.  In place of your old body, the egg will hatch and your new body will be born.  It will be just like your old body, only you won’t have Autumn inside you anymore.”

“Please take heed, Jill.  Autumn will not stand anywhere near that egg, for she fears its power.  But you must fight her.  Fight like you’ve never fought before.  I know you can win.”

“Well, my mind is beginning to fail me.  I am beginning to feel her influence even stronger now as I’m recording this.  I hope that this egg and this message gets to your time period.  I love you very much and I hope that this ripple that I’m creating is enough to effect time.  Your great-granddaughter, Margaret.”

Just as the last word left her mouth, the egg immediately vanished.

“Where is that wretched egg?” Margaret screamed.  “I need to destroy it!”

Margaret then shook her head.  “No Autumn!” she shouted.  “I did the right thing, and history is going to be changed because of it!”

Once again, Margaret continued fighting Autumn.  “No!  I will not….let you….con…trol…..m….eee……”

And just like that, Margaret transformed.  Her hair extended and became orange and gold.  Her body shrunk a few inches and her white dress was now full of autumn colors.  The golden leaf was now grafted to her body, with a network of barely visable roots branching out in every direction.

Margaret’s countenance changed.  Instead of looking stubborn, she now wore a pleasant expression on her face.  “My new form suits me well….” she said, smiling.

She then heard someone climbing the stairs.  It was her mother.

“Honey, what’s wrong?” she said, gasping.  “I heard you scream.  Is there anything….” Her mother glanced at Margaret.  “Oh my goodness!  Margaret honey!  Autumn is starting to control you!”

“Mother,” Margaret told her.  “My name is not Margaret anymore.  I don’t like that name.  I hate it.  I really do, mother.  Do you know what name I like?”

Her mother shook her head in disbelief.  “No, honey….”

Her daughter stared at her with a smile on her face.  “Do you?”

Lily was now crying.  “No! No Margaret dear!  No!”

The daughter nodded.  “Yes mother.  I will tell you, since you don’t want to say it.  I like the name Autumn.  This is my name now, and what you will call me from now on…..”

Her mother sighed, still upset.  “Autumn?”

“Yes,” Autumn said, nodding.  “You will learn to love this name, like my great-great-grandmother did.”

Her mother was now angry.  “But you’re Margaret!” she shouted.  “I will never call you Autumn!”

Autumn faked a frown.  “You won’t?” she said coldly.  “You will have to, or I will turn you into a leaf.”

But the mother refused.  “No Margaret dear,” she argued.  “You will always be my Margaret!”

Autumn grinned.  “Well, let me tell you a secret then.  Do you remember your mother Maple?  I cast a spell on her before she died.  One day, you couldn’t find her.  Do you want to know why?”

“Why?” the mother shouted.

“That is because your mother turned into a leaf,” she answered.  “And this happened on the very day that your daughter was born.  And now, you will be joining her.  Farewell, Lily….”

Before the mother could scream anymore, she became a bright orange leaf.

“A lily colored leaf,” Autumn said with a smile.  “How nice.  I will now return to my real home.”

Autumn became a pile of leaves, and blew herself in a strong gust of wind all the way to the Forest Sanctuary.  When she got to the tall tree, she was upset.

“Too small,” Autumn said, complaining.  “I can barely live in this glass spot!”

Autumn raised her hands, which caused various trees to spring out of the ground.  Several of them broke through the glass dome.  Around the whole perimeter, trees sprang up everywhere, breaking through the glass.

“I will not be limited to this plot of land!” Autumn shouted.  “This wretched city looks ugly too!”

After a few more trees sprung up, the glass dome collapsed.  Chunks of glass fell to the ground, shattering everywhere.  But Autumn didn’t stop there.  When the glass dome was down, more trees sprang through the skyscrapers, causing many of them to collapse.  Autumn continued doing this to every city block.  When she was finished, the entire city was a vast, sprawling forest.

“Now this is the way I remembered it,” Autumn said with a smile.

Autumn sat at the base of the tall tree, staring at the bright moon above her.  Staring at fields and neighborhoods, it left Autumn unsatisfied.  The city was only the beginning….


©2012  K. L. Walker

The Golden Leaf: Autumn Reborn – Part V

The Golden Leaf: Autumn Reborn – Part V

Autumn looked around at the surrounding suburbs.  “Why stop here?” she gleefully smiled.  “I can remodel all these other ugly places too.  Why, I should’ve done this 100 years ago….”

Her destruction continued.  Autumn raised her hands, causing large groups of trees to spring up, destroying entire neighborhoods.  When she got to Cypress Street, she smiled.

“Ah,” she sighed.  “My old house.  Well, Margaret’s at least.  Thank you for the body, sweetie….”  Autumn raised her hand, causing an enormous tree to spring right through the house.

Meanwhile,  a very faint sound was buzzing deep inside of Autumn.  It was deep inside her subconscious.  Now, the sound was actually very loud.  But to Autumn, she could barely hear it.  It was the sound of shouting and screaming.  And crying.  But with this noise being generated at the subconscious level, Autumn was hardly aware of it.

Inside of Autumn’s subconscious, Margaret was shouting and crying.  “Give me my body back!” she screamed.  “Why can’t you hear me?  When I break though, you are totally going to regret it….”

Margaret screamed and shouted, until she couldn’t scream and shout anymore.  She sat down and sulked.  “I hope that Jill got my message,” she said very sadly.  “Jill, please enter that egg.  You are my only hope….”

After that, Margaret started to cry.  Her crying became bawling.  Her bawling became wailing.  Her eyes were flooded with tears, with her cries echoing through time….


©2012  K. L. Walker

The Golden Leaf: Autumn’s Fall

The Golden Leaf: Autumn’s Fall

Over the next couple days, Autumn paced around, keeping her distance from the egg.  Everything about the egg bothered her.  The abnormally large size.  The overly pervasive luminescence that haunted her.  The twinkle of light that shimmered and sparkled from it.  The egg sat there, like an open invitation.  An invitation that Autumn didn’t want to accept.  One that she greatly feared.

The one thing that that bothered her the most had to do with the proximity of the egg to the tall tree where she usually stood.  This was her favorite place in the whole forest, and the egg was encroaching on it.  An unwelcome guest in her domain.  “I can not approach it,” she said with her utmost determination.  “Direct contact with that egg will result in losing this body….”

Then it came to her.  An idea.  One that might prove useful in removing the egg from her forest.  So for the first time in a couple days, she approached the tall tree, where the egg sat.  “That ugly thing will be rid of very soon,” she whispered.

Autumn raised her hands, gathering a great multitude of leaves around her.  It was a towering mass, which was more than tall enough to cover the egg.  She then used her breath, creating a large gale that blew at the leaves.  To her surprise, the egg did not move an inch.

“That egg is for you, and you’re getting inside it.” someone shouted in the distance.

Out of nowhere, Jaime leapt from behind a tree and sprinted forward.  With every ounce of strength in her body, she lunged at Autumn, tackling her to the ground.  Autumn’s head sat just inches from the egg.

“Get inside!” Jaime shouted.

Autumn looked at Jaime and smirked.  “I admire your bravery, but your precious ‘Jill’ is nowhere to be found.  Now step aside.  I have a wretched egg to dispose of.”

Jaime gave Autumn a look of disgust.  “You are wrong.  Somewhere inside you, Jill is fighting.”

Jaime advanced forward towards Autumn.  “I heard the message from the egg.  You have already ruined her great-granddaughter’s future.  You are an unwelcome guest in her life.  Leave my best friend alone!”

Autumn got up and backed away from the egg.  “Quite a nuisance you are.  Maybe I should turn you into a leaf.”

“Try it.” Jaime dared her.

Autumn waved her hands at Jaime.  Nothing happened.  “What’s going on?” she gasped.

“A promise you made with my great-grandma.” Jaime said with a smile.  “You promised not to harm any of my family.  Even if you broke that promise, I am of the same descent.  My genes protect me from your magic, just like they do with you.  Grandma told me all this, so you can’t tell me any lies.”

Autumn shook her head.  “Very well,” she told her.  “But that promise excludes Jill’s descendants.  Now about that wretched egg, I am never entering it and there is nothing you can do to make me.”

Jaime nodded.  “Exactly.  Autumn would never enter the egg.  But Jill wants to so badly.  Now ‘Jill’!  Can you hear me?  I want you fight Autumn like you never fought her before.  Please!  Fight her for me!  For your mother!  For your whole family!”  After she said this, she couldn’t take it anymore.  Overcome with sorrow, she started to cry.  “Fight her, Jill!  Fight her!”

Autumn stood there stiffly.  A different look came across her face.  A look that Jaime recognized more than anything.  A tear rolled down Autumn’s cheek.  “Jaime?”

Jaime squealed with delight.  “Yes!  Keep fighting her!  Don’t stop, Jill!”

Autumn (or Jill) took a step toward the egg, and then stopped.  “Get back inside, you wretched wart!” she screamed.  “I’m in control!”

“Don’t listen to her!” Jaime screamed.  “Keep fighting!”

Autumn smiled victoriously. “Jill has lost the will to fight.  Her strength is spent, and she can’t move another muscle.”

“Then you’ll have to fight me then,” Jaime challenged her.  “I still have plenty of strength, and I’m not going to back down.  Get inside, before I make you.”

Autumn started to run away from the egg.  “You won’t be able to if I’m far away from it.  Away with you, brat!”

“GET IN THE EGG!!!” Jaime screamed at the top of her lungs.  She stared at Autumn with a deep hatred.  The intensifying hatred painted her face crimson.  With the overwhelming tide of emotions beginning to flow through her, she rushed forward and grabbed Autumn by the leg, tripping her.  And, just as Autumn was beginning to stand up, Jaime forcefully shoved her forward, which was enough to send her tumbling forward.  Autumn tumbled into the egg, which sent ripples of light that formed up and down it.

Autumn pressed against the inside of the egg and pounded on it.  “Let me out!” she shouted.

And that was it.  A potent mist emerged from the egg, which dissipated into the air.  Jill lay there, inside the egg with her eyes closed.

Jaime, who was watching at a distance, knew what was happening.  Jill was dying.  Knowing the outcome, Jaime began to leave the forest.  “I’ll come back when her new body hatches,” she said to herself.

Meanwhile,  Jill remained there in the egg, her body motionless.  While her body laid there, her mind was in a different place.  Jill was dreaming.

Jill opened her eyes to find herself in a cell filled with other girls her age.  When she inspected the door, she found that it was locked.

“Don’t bother,” one girl said with a British accent.  “It’s locked.”

Jill nodded.  “I know that.”  Then she turned toward the door and pounded on it.  “Let me out!”

A few seconds after she pounded, someone walked toward the cell.  It was a man with a radiance that almost blinded her.  The man had various otherworldly features, most notably his stature, which nearly extended to the ceiling.  “Do not fear,” the man told her.

In spite of what he just said, Jill was deathly afraid.  The man’s voice was like a multitude of voices.  He spoke with an intensity of a thunderclap.

“W-who are you?” Jill stammered.  “Are you some kind of angel?  What is your name?”

The man unlocked the door and approached her. “Why do you ask for my name?  My name is beyond understanding, and is not something that you really need to know.  While my name will not be revealed, I will do something else for your sake.  You may call me ‘Freedom’, as I feel that this would be a suitable name to address me here on earth.”

Jill walked outside the cell, towards the mysterious man.  “So I can call you ‘Freedom’, in place of your real name that you don’t want to tell me?” Jill asked him.

Freedom nodded.  “The name that I gave you will work.  Now Jill.  Look before you.  Do you know why you are here?”

Jill shook her head.  “I don’t know.” she told him.  “What am I doing in this place, and who are all these girls?”

“To answer the first question,” Freedom began.  “I will tell you who the girls are.  All of these girls you see represent every girl in history that has been under Autumn’s control.  I have set you free, and I will do the same with all the others.”

Jill looked back inside the open cell.  None of the girls even paid attention to the door.  “Why aren’t they escaping?”

“I have already told you,” the man told her.  “In their own time periods, they haven’t been freed yet.  They don’t see the open door like you do.  To them, it’s still closed and locked.

“But wait!  I thought Autumn was dead!  Didn’t the egg kill her?”

The man shook his head.  “The egg only killed her in your era.  Even with that being the case, it only killed her temporarily.  Long enough to free you from her.  To truly destroy her, we must travel thousands of years to the past.  To the place where her first victim dwells.  You will be the one to help free all these girls from the same fate that you were freed from.”

Jill gasped.  “Who? Me?”

Freedom nodded.  “Yes. You.”


©2012  K. L. Walker

The Golden Leaf: Autumn’s Fall – Part III

The Golden Leaf: Autumn’s Fall – Part III

Over the next few nights, Jill had the same dream as before.  It was the same cell as before, only she was outside of it.  In each dream, Freedom told her that her time has not yet come for the plan to be put into action.  This confused Jill, since she was eager to destroy Autumn once and for all.

Meanwhile, Jill worked everyday on her schoolwork.  In being so behind on all her courses, she was home schooled by her mother.  This was nice for Jill, since she got to spend more time at home.  However, this allowed her less time to see Jaime, since she was at school all day.

During the second week of November, Jill had a slightly different dream from all the other dreams that she had.  While the setting was the same, the message was completely different.

Looking at Freedom, Jill sighed.  “Okay.  You want me to free all these other girls throughout history.  When is this going to happen?”

Freedom smiled.  “That day is today.”

Jill frowned.  “Why not any of the other days?”

The man stared at Jill.  “I have told you before, and I will tell you again.  I am not the one who decides when this is going to happen.  I receive the orders from my master, and I carry them out.”

Jill looked at the cell again.  “What about my homeschooling?  Will my mother really send me alone to England?”

“You will not be going alone.” Freedom told her.  “I will be going with you.  Getting there will not be a problem.”

Jill nodded.  “Well,  you freed me from Autumn.  So I will trust you.”

The man shook his head.  “I was not the one who freed you.  My master did.  The dream only served as a symbol of what he did.”

Jill was surprised.  “It did?”

Freedom nodded.  “The egg, too, is another symbol of what he did.  Just as you have been given a new body, so the same must be done with you spiritually.”

Jill nodded.  “I have been reading, and I will continue to read.  I will take these symbols to heart.”

“Arise.” The mysterious man told her.  “We will defeat Autumn and restore history.   But let me advise you.  In doing this, you will have no memory of this ever occurring.  You will be living your life as you did before.  It will just be a better one than before, without Autumn bringing any ruin to it.”

Jill was perplexed.  “Why did this all happen throughout history in the first place?  And what is the point, if I’m not going to remember?”

“All this has happened to serve as a lesson for you,” Freedom told her.  “You will surely remember the one event, but it will only be a dream to you.  A dream that will become a distant memory.  A distant memory that will soon fade away.  This is all that will remain of your current reality in this era.”

“I’d rather it be a dream.” Jill told him.  “A dream that I soon want to forget.  Let’s defeat Autumn, and give these other girls the same peace that I so eagerly desire.”

After Jill said this, she woke up.  She then read her bible and got ready for the day.  After that, she got dressed, putting on another white dress that she had in her wardrobe.

She then went downstairs to tell her mother about the trip that she needed to make.  She told her everything that she heard from Freedom, and pleaded with her.

“You can go,” her mother told her.  “But you need to go with someone responsible.”

At that moment, the doorbell rang.  When her mother opened it, there stood a man with his hand extended out.  The man wore a white dress shirt and blue jeans.

When Jill saw the man, she smiled.  To her, he looked quite familiar.  “You’re the man from my dreams!” she shouted.  “What are you doing here?”

The man shook his head.  “Didn’t I tell you?  I said that I would be going with you.  Is that okay with you, Mrs. Hollingdale?”

The mother nodded.  “Certainly.  I just want her to be with a responsible adult.  And who might you be?”

The man extended his hand and shook with the mother.  “Call me Freedom.  That is all you need to know regarding my identity.  I am a messenger that will help Jill on her mission.”

Jill’s mother, after thinking about what Jill told her, nodded.  “Go right on ahead.  After what happened to Jill, there is nothing that can surprise me anymore.  All I ask is that she returns when she is finished, okay?”

The man nodded.  “Thank you, Mrs. Hollingdale.  Let’s go, Jill!”

Looking at Jill, the mother gasped.  “What about the plane tickets?”

The man smiled.  “Don’t worry.  I have already taken care of that.  They are all paid for.  A round-trip ticket to England.”

“Okay,” the mother said, nodding.  The mother then kissed Jill on the cheek and hugged her.  “Bye honey.  I hope that you can get rid of this ‘Autumn’.”

Jill nodded.  “I will, mother.”

The mother closed the door and they left the house.

As Jill was about to leave in Freedom’s car, Jaime ran up to Jill.  It looked like she was in a really good mood.

“Let’s play, Jill!” Jaime shouted.  “Do you have time for that today?”

Jill shook her head.  “I don’t have time for that, Jaime.  I’m going to England.  The Autumn Sword needs to be forged to destroy Autumn once and for all.”

Jaime nodded.  “It’s too bad I can’t come with you.  But go.  Defeat Autumn for me.”

“Thanks….” Jill said with a smile.  Then she turned around, walking towards Freedom.

“Wait!” Jaime shouted.  “Before you go, can I talk to you?  We haven’t seen each other in a while.  It will be just for a little bit.  I promise!  You do have time, don’t you?”

Jill looked at her watch.  It was now three hours before her flight took off.  “We have time.” Jill told her.  She then turned facing the man.  “Can I talk to her quickly?”

The man nodded.  “Don’t be long.  We don’t want to miss this flight.”

Jill nodded, and faced Jaime.  “What is it?” she asked.

“It’s about your old body,” Jaime told her.  “I want to show you a project that I just finished.  It will be quick.  I promise.”

Jill nodded.  “Okay.”

Jill followed Jaime into the woods.  They walked all the way to the tall tree, where her old body sat.  But when they got there, she saw a shovel stuck in the ground, with a fresh patch of dirt that has been smoothed down into the ground.

“Your old body was repulsive,” she told Jill.  “I couldn’t stand looking at it so I buried it.  I also made a wooden sign to go where I buried the old you.  I wanted to bury your old self, since that’s not you anymore, right?”

Jill nodded.  “We should now leave.  The very thought that Autumn’s still here creeps me out.”

Jaime nodded, pulling the shovel out of the ground.  “I agree.  But before we go, your old body’s grave needs only one thing to be complete.”

Jill shrugged her shoulders.  “What would that be?”

Jaime reached into her front pocket of her jeans and pulled out the golden leaf.  “Don’t you think that this would complete it?”

Jill nodded.  “Place it on there.”

Jaime smiled.  “That’s what I thought. It would complete that grave.  But do you know what?  I love this leaf too much to part with it.”

Jill shook her head in disbelief.  “What are you doing, Jaime?”

Jaime held the golden leaf up, holding it tightly, like it was her prized possession.  “Isn’t it a great leaf, Jill?  I knew how dangerous this leaf was.  But I just couldn’t resist!  You had the leaf before, and you never showed me!  Why did you do that, Jill?  It’s not being a very good friend, is it?”

Jill backed away.  “Jaime, you are starting to scare me….”

Jaime’s smile widened.  “Aw….Is Jill afraid?  Maybe this will make you feel better….” Jaime took the golden leaf and placed it towards the top of her shirt.  The leaf flashed, reappearing on her body.  The leaf then grafted to her body in very much the same way as it did with Jill.

Jaime then transformed.  Her hair grew longer, going from black to gold and orange streaks.  Her complexion became golden and her height was shortened a few inches.  Her jeans and purple shirt flashed and became an autumn colored dress.  Her tennis shoes and socks became leafy sandals.

“Hey Jill!” Jaime shouted, taunting her.  “I am you and you are me.  Just give it time, and you will see!”

“Stop it!” Jill shouted.  “Stop it, Jaime!”

“My name is not Jaime anymore,” Jaime told her.  “Do you know what my name is now?  You know what it is, don’t you Jill?”

“Autumn….” Jill said with a sigh.  “Just know that your days are numbered.  Just as I was freed from you, My best friend will be, too.”

Jill then ran off, away from her imprisoned friend.

“You have a plane to catch?” Autumn shouted in the distance.  “I will not be stopped, and you are not going anywhere.”

Autumn transformed into a pile of leaves and blew herself in front of Jill.  She then rematerialized, holding Jill tight.  “You are not going to make your flight,” she whispered in her ear.

Jill was furious.  “Well you know what, you ancient evil giant?  You are not going to stop me!”  And with that, Jill broke loose from Autumn and gave her a shove.  She then ran out of the forest as fast as she could.

She then approached the driveway, where the man stood.  “Not a moment to waste!” he shouted.  “We are not taking the car.  It will take too long.”

“I’m sorry about the wait.” she told her.  “My best friend….”

“Is now enslaved to Autumn,” he said, finishing her sentence.  “That is exactly why she needs to be vanquished.  Autumn is not doing what she was ordered to do.  Now quick!  Grab my hand!”

Jill saw Autumn in the distance, fast approaching them.  “I see her coming….” Jill cried.

“Now!” Freedom shouted.

Jill quickly grasped the man’s hand and they both vanished.  They appeared at the airport.

“You were thinking of your friend,” the man told her as they ran toward the entrance.  “I know how much she means to you, but she will be freed.  Don’t worry.”

Jill ran with Freedom, holding his hand tightly as they ran through all the terminals.  Eventually, they reached the concourse that had their scheduled flight.  The man showed the tickets to the person at the desk.  Upon seeing the tickets, they nodded, pointing to the gate that they needed to enter.

Jill and Freedom boarded the plane and they were off, on their way to England to the place where it all began….


©2012  K. L. Walker

The Golden Leaf: Autumn’s Fall – Part IV

The Golden Leaf: Autumn’s Fall – Part IV

Jill sat there, in a coach seat next to Freedom, just behind first class.  It was a long flight to England, so it gave her plenty of time to think.

As she stared out the window, she began to think about her parents and her family.  She also thought about Autumn, and how her life was ruined with the golden leaf.  The more she thought about it, the more she hated it.  That golden leaf was a wretched thing, she thought.  Her hatred of it increased, and she was filled with feelings of resentment.  She wished that she never found it in the first place.  It was trouble from the start.

“I hate it.” she quietly growled.

But it was loud enough for Freedom to hear her.

“I know you do,” he told her.  “But do not worry.  We will destroy her, and all this will be a distant memory.  For you, it will be like a bad dream.”

Jill nodded.  Despite what Freedom said, she still didn’t feel any better inside.  She felt troubled and insecure, knowing that she wouldn’t feel any better until Autumn was gone.

The hours dragged on by, and Jill was now deep in thought.  She tried to think of things that were more peaceful.  Things that were more pleasant than what she had to experience for many days.  All these days were spent screaming and crying, hoping that Autumn would allow her to regain control of her consciousness.

Jill was now fast asleep.  After a little while, she woke up, screaming.

“It happened again,” she whimpered.

“Relax,” the man told her.  “You had a bad dream.”

“I dreamt that I had the golden leaf again, and Autumn was controlling me again.” she cried.  She then looked out the window.  “How much longer until we land?”

Freedom smiled.  “They just announced it.  We are one hour from landing.  They announced it right before you woke up.”  Freedom then looked at Jill with a fixed gaze.  “Don’t be afraid. There is nothing to fear.  Follow my master.”

Jill shrugged her shoulder.  “Who is your master?”

At this, the mysterious man smiled again.  “You know who he is, Jill.  There are many names that describe him, but they all refer to him.  Yahweh, Jehovah, Lord, God.  This is the master that I serve.”

Jill nodded.  “I know who he is.”

“Good.” Freedom told her.  “But I feel that you should continue your pursuit.  You will experience more peace if you do.”

“Okay.  I will work on that.”  With that, Jill looked at the window and closed her eyes.  While she wasn’t speaking with her lips, she spoke with her heart.

By the time that she was finished, the plane began to touch down at the airport in Somerset, which was the Southwest part of England.

After the plane touched down, Jill and Freedom got off.  Going to the baggage claim was not necessary, since they didn’t carry any luggage with them.

From the airport, Freedom hailed a taxi, which took them to the forest.  This was the very forest where it all began.

“So, this is the place?” Jill asked Freedom, as they got out of the taxi.

“It is,” the man told her.  “But you won’t find the golden leaf here.  The last time that it was here was in the 16th century.  The weapon, however, is still here.  I will show you where it is.”

“That’s if he can stop me,” a voice answered.

Both Jill and Freedom turned around to find Autumn standing there.

Jill’s heart sank.  “How did you get here?” she gasped.  “I don’t know what you’re trying to do, but whatever it is, we’re stopping you!”

Autumn gave a sinister smile.  “How did I get here?” she asked her.  “Why, I took the plane, of course!  I took the same plane that you did, transforming into a pile of leaves in a piece of luggage.  Did you enjoy the ride?”

“Cut it out!” Jill shouted.  “You caused me more pain than what I could ever bear!”

“Enough.” Freedom told her.  “Don’t say another word to her.  She’s only trying to make you upset.  We’re going to the underground passage where the weapon is.  Then, we will go on a little trip.  Hurry!”

Jill ran with Freedom, right past Autumn.

Jill quickly looked back at Autumn.  “Jaime, hang in there!” she shouted.  “We’ll free you soon enough….”  Right after she said this, Freedom tugged her forward, causing her to resume her faster pace.  They ran off, beginning to outdistance Autumn.

Autumn was furious.  “You will not destroy me.  I cannot die!”  And with that, Autumn began running after them.

“Autumn can die,” The man told Jill.  “The Autumn Sword can kill her.  But the one that I’m showing you won’t.  The materials are worn out.”

“What’s the point of showing me, then?” she asked.

“Just wait, and I’ll show you.” he told her.

Jill and Freedom ran deep into the forest, until they came to a large patch, which sat in the center of the forest.  Freedom revealed an old stone cover in the ground.  Lifting on the stone cover revealed a stony staircase, leading underground.  They both followed the underground passage to where the weapon sat.  The weapon was an iron sword, covered in rust.

“We will not be using that sword,” Freedom told her.  “Grab my hand.  We are going on a trip through time.”

Feeling a little scared, Jill grabbed the man’s hand.

After she did this, a vortex appeared.  Just before it disappeared, Autumn ran and jumped into it.

A few seconds later, Jill and Freedom appeared in the year 1512.  They were in the forest.  Instead of there being a large parch, an enormous tree stood there instead.   Freedom dug through the leaves on the ground and found the golden leaf.

When Jill saw that leaf, she screamed.  “Get that away from me!” she shouted.

The man nodded.  “Don’t worry, Jill.  This leaf is needed to create the Autumn Sword.”

“The one sword that you will never be able to forge,” Autumn’s voice sounded.

The pile of leaves on the ground formed into Autumn, and she grabbed the golden leaf.  “Another leaf?” she gasped.  “This one’s from the 16th century, I see.  I remember that era well.”

As Autumn held the additional golden leaf, she grew until she was half the height of the giant tree.  “This was my height as a child, when I lived long ago.  Just the right size to squash you.”  Autumn then placed the leaf inside her dress.  The second leaf grafted into her body, right next to the first.

“Two leaves?” Jill gasped.  “How can we stop her now?”

“We’re going to the beginning.” Freedom told her.  “It didn’t matter whether she got that leaf or not.  All that matters is that we get the leaf from long, long ago.”

Before Jill or Freedom went anywhere, a girl approached the tree where they were.  When Jill saw the girl, she gasped.

“It’s….the same girl from my dream!” she gasped.  “The one in the cell!  That means….”

“I have two victims!” Autumn shouted.

The girl looked around.  “Who said that?” she said in a strong British accent.  “I thought I heard something….”

“You did.” Autumn told her.  “I have a beautiful gift for you.” Autumn ungrafted one of the golden leafs and gave one to her.  Upon doing this, Autumn reverted to her original size.

The girl held the golden leaf and smiled.  “It’s quite lovely!  I’d fancy this would fetch quite a few shillings!”

“Yes!” Autumn said, smiling.  “And it’s all yours!”

Suddenly, the girl flashed, transforming into Autumn.  “Fancy meeting the lot of you here!” she shouted.

“Let’s go.” Freedom told Jill.  “We still need to get the blade.  After that, we’re out of here.”

Just as Jill and Freedom were about to lift up the stone cover, the current Autumn stopped them.

After that, the newly formed Autumn joined her.  “My twin counterpart,” she said, smiling.  “Really, she’s just me, only five hundred years younger.”

“Quite correct, you are!” The other Autumn shouted.  “Are these scoundrels giving you trouble?”

“Indeed.” she said in agreement.  “Let’s stop them.”

“Stop this at once!” Freedom shouted.  And with that, Freedom spread out his hand, striking both Autumns to the ground.  He then lifted up the lid, revealing the same stony staircase, only a lot less worn.  In fact, the stone looked more freshly cut.

As they both ran down the underground passage, Jill looked at the man.  She looked quite worried.

“Don’t worry,” Freedom assured her.  “I did not hurt them. I only made them lose consciousness for a short time.  Both the girl’s and Jaime’s body will be fine.”

Meanwhile, both Autumns regained consciousness, and combined together.  The current Autumn appeared with both leaves again, standing at half the height of the giant tree. Just as tall as she was before she went after the girl.  The colossal Autumn then became an enormous pile of leaves, blowing herself down the underground passage.

At this point, Jill and Freedom just reached the area where the blade was stored.  There it sat, ready for use.

“It is almost ready,” Freedom said, holding the blade.  “All it needs is a golden leaf.”

“But Autumn already took the golden leaf in this era!” Jill shouted.

“We’ll get the one in the beginning,” the man told her.  “Just a few hundred years after the flood.  About a century after the ice age.”

But Jill was filled with doubt.  “What if Autumn gets that golden leaf? She’ll be unstoppable!”

“She won’t get it.” Freedom told her.  “Don’t worry.”

“I hope not.”

Freedom then held out his hand, inviting Jill to grab it again.  Jill grabbed his hand firmly.  The vortex appeared again.

“Hang on!” The mysterious man shouted.

And with that, they both passed through the vortex, with a large pile of leaves trailing them.

Just seconds later, they appeared in 2488 B.C.  The forest there was fairly new.  Not more than a hundred years old.  In the center of the forest sat a tree that was taller than the others.  Outside the forest was a tiny village with various dwellings.

Jill looked around and gasped.  “Where are we?” she asked the man.

“We are in 2488 B.C.” Freedom told her.  “A few hundred years after the flood and about a hundred years after the end of the ice age.  We are right before the first girl enters the forest.  Shh….Here she comes….

Jill and Freedom quietly watched as a girl walked toward the large tree.  She was covered in animal skins with blondish, puffy hair.  As she approached the tree, she chattered something in her native tongue.

“Now….” Freedom whispered.  “Before the girl grabs the leaf….”

But before they could do anything, a large pile of leaves emerged from the ground, and the gigantic Autumn appeared.

“I don’t even have to take this one from you.” Autumn said, with a sinister grin.  “I will just let this girl take it.”  Autumn then turned to the girl.  “Go on! It’s yours!”

The girl held up the leaf and smiled.  “Ooooooooh!!!!” she shouted.  She then made a series of sounds, indicating joy and excitement.  Jill couldn’t understand a single word she said, but she knew that she was excited.

The girl then let out a sinister laugh, and transformed into Autumn.  This Autumn only spoke the girl’s native language.

“Now that’s a little vague….” Autumn said.  “I used to know that language, but now I don’t.  Combine with me!”

The new Autumn combined with the gigantic Autumn.  Autumn flashed and grew even larger.  She was now taller than the tallest tree in the forest.  She was so tall that the giant tree was as tall as her foot. The third leaf grafted with the first two.

“Now this is the size I was when I was alive,” Autumn said, smiling victoriously.  “Look at you two.  You’re like ants.  Ants that need to be squished.  Long ago, which is actually not too long in this era, I was living a wonderful life.  My mother was of this earth and my father came from another place.  He was not of this world.”

“My life was wonderful!” she continued.  “I ravaged the land, doing whatever I pleased, whenever I wanted.  But then, it started to rain.  It rained so hard that it started to flood.  And it never stopped raining!  After three or four days of non-stop rain, the water was over my head. There was no food to eat, and I drowned!”

“The next thing I know, I was told that I could exist on Earth, instead of being thrown into the abyss.  I started to have my fun again, but then you stopped me.  You enslaved me to this leaf!  With this golden prison, I cannot go anywhere without it!”

“So because of what you did, I decided to have a little fun.  I would relive my youth over and over again.  Granted, it’s just a puny human body, but each one is like a new outfit to me. Some are nice, and some are quite elegant and pretty.  Some can be bratty, but I like them all the same!”

“Apparently, I learn that I was going to have fun in Jill’s great-granddaughter Margaret.  However, all that was ruined.  Because of that wretched egg!  An idea that came from you!

“Do not say my real name!” Freedom ordered.  And with that, Freedom held Autumn’s tongue so that she couldn’t speak.  Autumn then frantically gestured to him.  Freedom restored her voice.

“I won’t say it,” she told him.  “Now let me continue!  That egg ruined my chance of that future happening!  After being ejected from the egg, I tried to get Jill back.  It didn’t work.”

“But then I saw Jaime.  Innocent little Jaime, digging up Jill’s old body and burying it in the ground.  After she saw that leaf for a while, she couldn’t resist.  After all, it’s in her genes!”

“And now, you want to kill me and banish me to the abyss.  You are not permitted to do this!  I WILL NOT LET YOU!!!!”

“That is where you don’t have a choice.” Freedom spoke loudly.  “Your story is a futile attempt at creating sympathy.  While most of it is true, the fruit of your deeds have been nothing but wicked since the day you were conceived.  Your father is one of the many wicked rebels that has fallen out of league with my master.  He should’ve known better than to meddle with the affairs of men!  Our kind is not made to breed, and you, the fruit that he produced from the earthly woman, is proof of it.  This is exactly why we constructed the Autumn Blade.  There was one thing that you mentioned that was a total lie.  You were destined to be thrown into the abyss, but you ran away before we were able to bound you.  This act didn’t happen by accident, but was allowed to happen.  The golden leaf was supposed to be used for the Autumn Blade.  But since you ran away, we used it to imprison you instead.  You were supposed to stay in that leaf, so you have far overstepped your boundaries.   You have done so many times.  Must you try my patience?  If so, how much more would you try the patience of my master?  Now, you were allowed your freedom for a time.  But now, your time is up.”

Freedom held his hands high, and flung his right arm forward.  A strong blast of energy came from his right arm, creating a powerful shock that penetrated the colossal Autumn.  The shock caused one of her three leaves to ungraft and fall to the ground.

Freedom created a soft gust, which resembled a light.  The light extended its palm, clutching the golden leaf in its fist.  The bright, shiny fist then flashed like a zephyr back toward Freedom.  The light dissipated and he caught the leaf.  He then placed the golden leaf on the cross-guard.  The leaf then flashed as it became part of the sword’s engraving.

“To the abyss with you!” Freedom shouted.  “You wicked Nephilim.  Unnatural breed destined for destruction!”

Freedom held up the Autumn Sword, hoisting it as high as he could.  He then swung the sword forward, slicing through the air.  The force of the swing created a bright beam that hit Autumn directly.  After she was hit, the other two golden leaves ungrafted and fell to the ground.  Every one of them were absorbed into the sword.

And with one last swing, that was it.  Autumn let out a piercing scream.  “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” she screamed.  “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!”

A vortex appeared, and Autumn was sucked into it.  As she was sucked in, Jaime’s body remained on the ground, along with the native girl and the British girl from 1512.

Jill stood there in shock.  “It’s over.” she said.  She then looked at Jaime, who laid there, motionless.

Full of worry, she began to shake Jaime.  “No,” she cried.  “Is Jaime….dead?”

“In this era, she is.” Freedom told her.  “In fact, the other two girls are dead as well.  Autumn used all the energy that they had.  But worry not.  They are all alive in the era that you are returning to.  Each in their own era.  And Jaime in yours.”

Jill looked at the girls and then back at Freedom.  “Why?” she asked him.  “Why was it allowed to happen?”

The man smiled.  “This was allowed to happen so that all of you girls throughout history could learn an important lesson.”

“What is that lesson?” Jill asked, still confused.

“Are you still in the dark?” Freedom said, frowning.  “In every one of your lives throughout history, Autumn had control of your lives.  Autumn resembles the sin in your life.”

“Then why was I freed?” Jill asked.  “I was freed with an egg.”

“That too, is important.” Freedom explained to her.  “It pretty much resembles how everyone lived before the savior was born.  You have read about this, haven’t you?”

“Yes, I have!” Jill said, nodding.  “It’s the Christmas story!”

The man smiled.  “Well, with that egg you were in, your old body died and your new body was born.  Think of what this means.”

Jill nodded.  “I guess I’m starting to understand now.  You wanted to teach me and all the other girls a lesson about sin and how we can be freed from it?”

The mysterious man nodded.  “You are starting to get it.”

Jill smiled.  “I still have one question.  What about all the boys?  How are you going to teach them a lesson?”

At this, Freedom smiled again.  “Don’t worry about them.  There will be a way that they will learn, but you won’t ever see it happen.”

Jill frowned.  “I won’t?”

“Well,” the man told her.  “Do you want to experience the golden leaf all over again?”

“NO!” Jill screamed.  “Never again!”

“Then I will spare you living in a world with the lessons that the boys will experience,” he told her.

The man then approached Jill.  “Now,” he told her.  “With Autumn dead, everything that you have experienced will be like a distant memory.  It will be like a bad dream.  Okay,  Jill?  Jill?  Jill?”


©2012  K. L. Walker

The Golden Leaf: Autumn’s Fall – Part V

The Golden Leaf: Autumn’s Fall – Part V

“Jill?  Jill?”

Jill woke up in her bedroom.  Her mother was standing there near her bed, looking down at her.

“Jill?” she called.  “Are you awake, honey?”

Jill nodded, as she let out a yawn.  She then looked around her room.  What is going on?  Was that all really a dream?

“Mother,” she told her.  “I was in England.  A mysterious man named Freedom took me there!  I think he was an angel.”

Her mother looked at her and smiled.  “Well, that must have been an interesting dream.  What else happened?  I heard you scream.”

“I had this golden leaf,” she told her.  “And it turned me into this evil girl named Autumn.  It was terrible, mother!”  Jill then looked around for the golden leaf.  “Where is it?”

“Where is what, honey?” the mother asked.

“The golden leaf.”

“It was only in your dreams, honey. It is nowhere to be found!”

Jill then sat there and thought for a moment.  “Maybe it was just a dream….”  She then thought of the words that Freedom told her:

“But do not worry.  We will destroy her, and all this will be a distant memory.  For you, it will be like a bad dream.  A bad dream.  Baaaad dreeeeeeamm……”  The memories faded and blurred in her mind.

“That’s it!” Jill shouted.  “Freedom reduced everything that I experienced to a dream, so I wouldn’t have to worry about it ruining my life.”

With that, Jill got ready for the day.  The day was Friday.  The same day that she and Jaime played in the woods, looking for the golden leaf.

After getting ready, Jill went to school.  After a day of school, Jill decided to play with Jaime in the back of her house.

Jill looked at the same pile of leaves as she did before, and she jumped into them.

“Jaime,” she said.  “Have you ever heard of the golden leaf?”

Jaime shook her head.  “The golden leaf? What is that?  Is that some kind of new game?”

“No,” Jill told her.  “It’s something that we could….nevermind.”

“What?” Jaime shouted.  “I want to play this new game!”

Jill sighed.  “Alright.”

While it was a game to Jaime, Jill wanted to see if the golden leaf was still in the forest.  Jill entered the forest and walked over to the very tall tree.  It was very old, with gnarled branches and gnarled roots.  At the base of the tree, Jill dug up every leaf that she could.  The golden leaf was nowhere to be found.

At that, Jill smiled.  Autumn was finally gone.

Before she left the forest, she stared at it, quietly thanking God for appointing someone like Freedom to liberate her from the golden leaf.

Jill, being completely thankful, slowly left the forest, gazing at the sea of autumn foliage.


©2012  K. L. Walker

Creative Piece – Miracles Still Happen

Here is another shore piece that I wrote from the other day.  I hope that you enjoy it.


Miracles Still Happen

I have just survived a car crash. Life was flashing before my very eyes and I was given a second lease on life. I walked away from the accident without a scratch on my face and the one that hit me has a broken arm and a broken leg. He is in the intensive care unit, and having just visited him, I know that he is going to be okay. Yes. Miracles still happen.

I was taking a shower and was about to do my hair. I heard the smoke alarm go off. I reached to touch the doorknob, but it was way too hot. I kicked through the window, shattering the glass. I tiptoed carefully down the second story roof in my shower robe, carefully walked down the first story roof and hung off it, safely touching the ground. My eyes burst into tears as I watched my two stories of hopes and dreams go up in flames. A nearby neighbor told me that they called the fire department. But then it hit me. My son was in there. I cried and prayed, not wanting to lose him.

And then, I saw a man walking out of the house, carrying my son. When he reached the ground, I asked if he was with the fire department.   He said that he wasn’t. Before I got his name, he vanished. He was nowhere to be found. A mysterious man saved my son’s life and we are both still alive. Miracles still happen.

Miracles still happen. Do you need any more proof? After surviving a car crash and escaping a fire with my son, I weeped at my loss. I may have lost everything, but God was all I needed. In tears, I prayed and prayed. What I prayed, I could not remember. I prayed about so many things that night. It didn’t matter what I had. All that mattered was that my son’s needs were met. I left my son with the neighbors while I walked over to the curb and knelt down, uttering my desperate prayers.

And then, I saw it. There was a small paper bag and I opened it. It was stuffed with wads of $100 bills. When I poured out the contents, there was a note inside. It said:

              Blessed is the finder of this bag. You are in the greatest need, and every one of them will be satisfied.

                Repayment is not necessary. Keep every bundle. You need it more than anyone else.

                Don’t bother finding me. Count it as a blessing. Give glory to God, for he alone deserves it.

                Your fellow servant in Christ,



Right after I read the note, I placed the money and the note back inside the bag. I was overwhelmed and astonished. Should I take this money? It just didn’t feel right.

Before I could make any other decision, a black Cadillac pulled up beside me. The passenger window rolled down. It was a man.

“Are you Denise Hunter?” he asked me.

I hesitated. “Yes,” I finally told him.

“Get in.” he told me. “I heard about the fire. After the firemen leave and you give them the information they need to know, you and your son are coming with me. There is plenty of space at my house and you both can stay there until you have a place to live.”

I did what the man told me and I stayed with him. The firemen came and went. I told them everything they needed to know. It was an accident. An accident that could’ve happened to anyone.

Over the next few months, I learned a lot about the man, or should I say Andrew. I told him that I was a widow and I lost my husband to a car accident. It was a different one. Not the one that I was in.

I also found out that Andrew was the one who called himself anonymous. I ended up marrying him a few months later.

So having survived a car accident, escaping a fire with my son and receiving an anonymous fortune, I can agree beyond a shadow of a doubt. Miracles still happen, and my new husband is one of them.


©2014  K. L. Walker

Creative Piece – Unbreakable

Here is a short piece that I wrote the other day.  I hope that you enjoy it.



To my dearest mother Irene, whom I love with all my heart,

Here is the letter that I promised. I’m sorry that it’s late. I have been quite busy with the latest developments and I have some really good news to share with you.

I watched the news today. After just a few minutes of it, I turned it off. It was more than I could take.

The news spoke of the government’s proposed solution to health care. Following this was a short piece on how the job market is continuing to decline.

Despite this news, my son has defied the odds, and I’m proud of him. He has finally landed a full-time job. He is now an editor for New York’s premier literary magazine. I forgot what he called it. After I talk to him later today, I will tell you what it is.

David has been relentless in his job search. He has looked at numerous search engines daily and has kept himself busy with his writing. He maintains a website that I should really check out more often. From what he has told me, it is full of amazing writing, and it is supposedly how the magazine found him.

There were times that he felt discouraged. Times that he could’ve given up. But he didn’t. David is unbreakable. Nothing could best him and nothing could master him. Even if there was only one job left on the whole planet, he would not give up until he had it.

With this being a full-time position, David has put in his two week’s notice at the Mexican restaurant that he works at. I believe that the name is Rico’s Taco Shack, or something like that. I have only eaten there a couple times, so I don’t know. He calls it “The Shack” and hates working there. Despite the employees treating him like dirt, he behaves like the kindest saint that you would ever meet. He holds no grudges and takes anything that they deal at him. I tell you, ma, he’s unbreakable. Nothing can wear him out and nothing can do him in. He’s an indestructible wall. An insurmountable obstacle. An impenetrable fortress. Nothing can get past him and nothing can go through him. He’s unbreakable.

Before he got this job, David has shown me his writing. It is amazing. If you were to see it, you could tell that he has put his heart into it. But despite how good it is, he has had trouble finding a publication to work for. He has had trouble, until now.

I have heard it all from him. The numerous rejection emails that he has received. The numerous responses to the follow-ups that he sent out. He was not about to give up, ma. Someone was going to accept his work. Someone was going to hire him. This is what he believed, and I am so glad that he hung on to this belief for so long.

So the news may have been bad today about the job market, but my son has shown me that there is a beacon of hope. Having recently finished my 36 years of working for a corporation, my career has come to an end, but David’s is about to begin.

David’s first day of work at his new job starts in one week. All of the work is done over the computer, so he doesn’t have to go anywhere right away. He’s saving up to move out, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Nothing can touch my son. David is unsinkable. He is unstoppable. He demolishes every obstacle and slays every giant in his path. He blazes a trail through the impossible and makes victory his destination. Hundreds or thousands may tell him no, but he presses on. And above all else, nothing can disassemble him. David is unbreakable.

What has fueled his ambitions? What has kindled the fires of determination inside of him? God has done this, ma. We have taught him well. I learned everything from you and passed it on to him. He reads and studies the Bible every day. He is a mighty warrior that has secured his victory.

Tonight, I will be taking David to his favorite restaurant to celebrate. The entire family will be joining him, as this is a major accomplishment for him.

Now, I have to get going. I want to go to my son’s website and see more of his amazing writing. If anything, I would like to find out why that magazine selected him. After looking at his website, I’m sure that I will know why.

As for David’s recent accomplishment, I’m sure that you will have a lot of questions about him. Since you don’t have a computer, I will answer them in our next phone call.

I love you dearly, and I’m so proud of my son.


Love always,

Randy Peterson


©2014  K. L. Walker


First Draft of The Tale of Zachary Willowbrook: A Leap Day Paradox is being edited….

So what is going on with my first novel?  For those of you who have been following me on the progress of this book, I am pleased to say that I have finished editing the story.  I have recently emailed the story to Tricia McDonald, a friend of mine who has published three books, and owns Splattered Ink Press.  If you haven’t checked out her work, I suggest that you do.  Her work can be found here and I talk about them in my book reviews.  Now Tricia is going to be editing my story.  Knowing how experienced she is, I know that she’ll do a good job on it.

For those of you who have not been following me on the progress of my book or are new to this site, welcome.

First, let’s talk about this site since a lot of you don’t know what the purpose of it is.  The purpose of this site is for me to display my work in an open and honest way.  I have posted short stories, numerous creative writing pieces.  movie reviews and book reviews.

If you are observant, you would notice a link that would take you to something unrelated to this site.  This was Walker on Politics, something that I decided to discontinue for obvious reasons.  There’s not much to see there.  Just my attempt at critiquing politics.  I didn’t like it after a while, so I stopped.  In fact, this site used to be called Walker on Politics, if you could believe that.

But I’m not one to dwell on the past.  Two main things worth noting are the following pages:

Think & Write

These are creative writing exercises that I decided to start, since I was experiencing writer’s block at the time.  Just 10 minutes of creative writing and I had something on my site for the day.  Some of them would make very good ideas while others are just trash.  Some are very imaginative, while others can be strange and bizarre.  If you check out Think & Write #100, there’s a “directory”  that has the first 100 Think & Writes indexed.  Over time, I decided to stop doing these, since I felt that my writer’s block was cured.  Having that said, I suggest that you check them out.

Me & My Muse

This is something new that I decided to start.  It’s pretty much my attempt to combine two things that you never see together:  journaling and creative writing.  It’s an experiment, if you will.  What I do is talk about a certain topic.  It can be about something happening in my day.  At some point during the discussion, my Muse interrupts me.  Hilarity ensues.  Maybe more wit than hilarity, but I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

So who is this Muse?  It’s pretty much my creativity personified.  She can be pretty predictable and shallow.  She’s the comic relief for this series and is very out there because of her creative nature.  She thinks that she’s funny, but that’s her own Achilles heel.  My Muse is pretty much a character that I designed with no boundaries.  She’s spontaneous,  shallow, naive, immature and obnoxious at times.  But she’s creativity.  And creativity cannot be restrained or harnessed (unless she’s in my head).  This, of course, is only demonstrated in the first 100 entries.  After Day 100, the truth is revealed.

At the end, she normally goes back inside my head, where she belongs.  Looking at this series, I really see it as something that I want to improve over time.  I haven’t gotten all the bugs out yet, so bare with me.  But if you read after Day 100, I’m getting pretty close.  I feel that everything after 100 is where this series really begins.  The first 100 were purely experimental, while the later entries more closely reflect where I want to go with this concept.  You will like the Muse a lot more after Day 100.  Trust me.


Now that I talked about the site, let’s return to my progress on this book, which was the purpose of this post in the first place.  For those of you who are new to this site, you’re probably wondering what this book is about.  What is the Tale of Zachary Willowbrook?

The Tale of Zachary Willowbrook is a biographical story about a boy named Zachary.  For the longer version,  I talk about the book here.

Here’s the cliff notes version of Zachary Willowbrook.  He is a boy that was born on February 29th.  And for some bizarre reason that the book never explains, Zachary ages one year for every four years.  So in one year, he would only age three months.

So this story is about Zachary, and how he’s treated because of his gift.  His parents and family will treat him well, of course.  His brother, sister, mom, dad, relatives and friends.  But how will the world treat him?  With Zachary’s gift, he’ll be able to live four times longer than the average person.

While the story was originally intended to be one book, I made it into a trilogy since it was too long to be one book.

The first book, The Tale of Zachary Willowbrook: A Leap Day Paradox is about Zachary’s earlier days, from birth to early childhood.

The second book, The Tale of Zachary Willowbrook: The School Years is about Zachary’s experience at school from his early school years, all the way through his college years.

The third book has no working title yet, but it will cover Zachary’s adult years all the way to his death.

An interesting fact about this story that’s worth noting is that the idea to write this story actually came from a Think & Write (Think & Write #23) and it can be found here.

Getting back to my first book,  I mentioned that I finished the editing process and that my writing friend was looking at it.  After I receive everything back from her,  I will work on a second draft.  I will let you know when that is, and will keep you updated on that.

If any of you have a creative writing blog that you would like to share, please post a link to it in the comments.  If you found this from a creative writing forum, I will look for your blog there.  What I want to do is start linking to other writing blogs, so that there’s more variety, and more traffic.

That’s about it for updates.  If you are new, enjoy this site and check out the different sections if you haven’t already.  If you’re a returning visitor,  I hope to see you again.  But whoever you are, just be sure to wipe your feet on the mat.

Follow me on Twitter to stay updated on the progress that I’m making on my writing projects.  Also click the like button.  You know you wanna…. 🙂

Besides that, just make yourself comfortable here.  You’re always welcome at the Estate.