Well, we picked up a few more readers for chapter two, so let’s move forward, shall we?
I love the beginnings of a story. I love to set the scene and then step back and allow the characters free rein to gallop through the story as they see fit. Of course, this book is easier since I know the characters quite well. They have been with me since I wrote my first novel, “The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday to Today,” so I already have a pretty good feel for what they are going to do in any situation.
Well, let’s see what Sheila and her parents are up to in this episode.
A SLEEPING CHILD
Sam and Heather stood by the tiny bed, watching their tiny child, Sheila, sleep. They experienced peace and serenity during these moments, a room filled with love, a room filled with the promise of all that their young child will be and the good she will spawn during her lifetime.
Sam squeezed Heather’s hand.
“We must protect her, Heather. She is too important to humanity and we must make sure no harm comes to her.”
His face was experiencing the erosion only worry can cause. Heather looked at her man, a strong, good, faithful man, and she smiled and kissed him on his stubbly cheek.
“She’s going to be a handful, and that’s for sure,” she said. “Still, it’s going to be a magnificent ride. Don’t you worry, Sam. I suspect you and I are just along for the ride. Sheila will point the way.”
Sam nodded his head in agreement as he looked out the window at the troubled world. Oh, it looked peaceful enough to the naked eye, birds and trees, streams and billowy clouds floating aimlessly, a peaceful setting that was terribly deceiving, for there was trouble in the world. Pollution was choking the life out of the planet, killing species, causing health concerns for millions. Men fought endlessly, over territory, over money, over religions and greed and…..well, it was enough to bring a strong man to his knees with worry, and many a time he’d been in a public place and hear someone say “what is this world coming to?” and until five years ago there seemed to be no positive answer…..but then….
Sheila was born, and he and Heather had adopted her, and now there was hope, right there in their child, hope for us all, if only they would all listen to a child, observe a child, and learn from a child.
His thoughts were interrupted by another kiss from Heather.
“We need to wake her, Sam. She needs to help Mrs. Kramer today.”
“Are you sure she’s ready for this?”
Heather nodded and squeezed his hand. “She’s been practicing with smaller animals so don’t you worry. It’s time! She’s the one who knew about Mrs. Kramer and that, for sure, is a sign she’s ready.”
Mrs. Jill Kramer was a widow who lived at 18122 Fir Lane on the outskirts of Olympia. She was seventy-eight years old, a lovely woman with silver hair which sparkled in the sunshine, much like her smile. Her husband, Kevin, God bless his soul, had died five years earlier of cancer. Now you might suspect that, given her age, Jill would have just curled up into a ball after the death of her husband and prayed to God to take her as well, but that just wasn’t Jill Kramer. She had no sooner buried Kevin when she began a volunteer crusade, putting in time at the library, at the orphanage, at the hospital, the homeless shelter and the local food bank. She was a whirling dervish of charitable activity, a spearhead for community service and a living, breathing example of the old saying “do onto others.”
And on this day, at ten-oh-four in the morning, as Mrs. Kramer prepared her tea before a trip to the hospital to read to children with leukemia, she clutched her chest, dropped to her knees, gasped and fell to the floor dead.
And what a fitting ending to the life of a beautiful woman, dying as she looked at the picture of her beloved Kevin, smiling one last time, convinced she was about to rejoin her husband.
But it was not her time!
At ten-oh-five that morning the child named Sheila was eating her fresh strawberries, a favorite meal for her. She loved the red of the strawberries, loved their texture, the way they felt on her tongue and of course, their delicious taste. She smiled as she ate, and her parents smiled as they watched her eat, but the scene suddenly changed as Sheila put down her spoon and stood.
“Mother, Father, it’s time. Mrs. Kramer needs us.” And with that she walked from the kitchen table, put on her ladybug jacket, and walked out the front door.
Sam grabbed the car keys and he and Heather rushed to catch up with their daughter.
It was a fifteen minute drive to 18122 Fir Lane, so by ten-twenty-nine Sheila, Heather and Sam were standing on the porch of Mrs. Kramer. Sam and Heather hesitated at that point, unsure if they should knock or just walk in on a stranger, but Sheila ended all mental debate by turning the door knob and walking into the lovely two-story white farmhouse with green shutters and signs of tender loving care all around.
She had never been there before for she did not know Mrs. Kramer, but she hesitated not one bit as she walked through the living room and into the kitchen, where she found the lady of the house, on the floor, clutching a picture of a man and smiling peacefully in death.
“Mother, Father,” Sheila said. “Leave me with Mrs. Kramer, please. I believe there is a cat nearby, a cat named Josie, and she is very worried. She’s hiding in the closet. Would you help her, please?” And then Sheila took off her ladybug jacket, knelt down next to the once-lively Mrs. Kramer, held her hand and hummed a tune without a title.
An Hour Passed
And at the end of that hour Sheila emerged from the kitchen and joined her parents in the living room, where Heather was stroking a calico cat and murmuring reassuring nothings in the cat’s ear.
“Mother, Father, I think it would be best if we stood on the porch and rang the doorbell.”
Questions were not asked, for this was a special child. Sam, Heather and Sheila did exactly that; they released the cat named Josie, walked outside, closed the front door and, standing on the wraparound porch, rang the doorbell. They waited exactly thirty-six seconds and then the door was opened by Mrs. Kramer.
“May I help you?” the lady of the house said, looking quite healthy and none-the-worse-for-wear.
The young child, a special child in a ladybug jacket, smiled at the old woman.
“No thank you, Mrs. Kramer. We just stopped by to wish you a fine day, and to thank you for all the service you do in the community.”
The old woman beamed upon hearing those words.
“Well thank you, child! Excuse me, but do I know you? You’ll have to excuse me. I’m afraid I’m feeling a bit confused this morning. Of all the silly things to do, I’m afraid I fell asleep on the floor and I can’t imagine how that happened.”
The child named Sheila reached out and held the old woman’s hand.
“My name is Sheila, Mrs. Kramer, and these are my parents, Heather and Sam, and to answer your question no, we have never met, but we are friends as all people should be, and we are one, as all people should be, and now we must let you go so you can go read to the children. Again, thank you for all that you do.”
And with that Sheila, her mother and her father turned and began walking down the steps. They had just completed their downward trek when Sheila turned around.
“And Mrs. Kramer, your husband Kevin says he loves you.”
Come on People, Love One Another
I’ll leave you with the words of the Youngbloods echoing in my mind. Thanks for joining me for another chapter and I hope you have a love-filled day.
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)