Updated date:

When Angels Sing: Chapter Two

Thanks for Returning

The first in this new short story series was met with less-than-enthusiastic support. LOL That’s a very polite way of saying hardly anyone read the damned thing. LOL But I will not be discouraged! In a blatant attempt to prove that misery does indeed love company, my first lonely chapter will be given this second chapter to keep it company.

Let us continue, then, with the story of Sheila as a child, a very special child, a child you all would feel pretty good knowing.

Follow me! I think I see her in the fields playing.

On the farm

On the farm

The first in this series

In a Field of Lavender

The child named Sheila, so named, by the way, because she was a caring and loving child, which is what the name means, of course, was playing in a field of lavender one day late in her fourth year. Her father, Sam McCabe, and her mother, Heather Miller, were nearby working in the strawberry garden, if “working” can be used to describe picking one berry and eating one, picking one and eating one. It was a pastoral scene, a feel-good scene, and when the sun hit the perfect angle, a Monet-type scene, the stalks of purple swaying in a gentle breeze, the black hair of the precious child flowing with them, mother and father gazing with love upon their amazing offspring when all of a sudden they heard their cherub say “oh no!”

The parents immediately suspended their grazing and gardening and rushed to young Sheila, and there they found the girl holding something in her hands, seemingly swaying in the breeze, rocking back and forth and whispering words which could not be heard.

“What’s wrong, my darling?” inquired the mother.

“I found a dead field mouse, Mother,” said the child, a look of peaceful calm upon her face.

“And what are you doing now?” the mother asked.

“Why, I’m bringing it back to life, of course,” came the small reply.

The father and mother exchanged glances upon hearing this response. The father stepped forward and kissed his daughter on top of the head.

“Do you mind if we watch?” he asked her.

“You are welcome to do so,” said the girl.


Thirty Minutes Later

The breeze continued to blow gently, the girl continued to rock gently and the words she spoke continued to flow gently. Mother and father heard occasional snippets of the one-way conversation, words like “love” and “parallel,” words like “energy” and “transference,” but it all made very little sense to them. Still, it was a lovely day, and there were certainly worse ways to spend a day than watching your dazzling child under the dazzling sun.

A half-hour came and went, and just about the time mother and father had decided it was time for another strawberry, Sheila stood to her full height, held her cupped hands to the sun, said “thank you” for all to hear, and then bent down and released a perfectly healthy, perfectly agile, perfectly jaunty field mouse, which scampered off in the tall grass, showing no signs of its recent death.

Now you might expect mother and father to be aghast having seen this. You might expect them to question their sanity, question their daughter’s sanity, or just question the reality of it all, but none of these things happened. Instead, Heather bent over and kissed her daughter on the forehead.

“How did you do that, Sheila?” mother asked.

The young girl giggled.

“Silly Mommy, I transferred my energy to the mouse and told him it wasn’t his time to die yet. It was a he, by the way, Maurice is his name, and he remembered his manners and said thank you before running away.”

“You spoke to the mouse?” father asked.

“Of course, father.”

Sam and Heather looked at each other, looked at their daughter, and then both nodded in unison.

“That’s lovely, dear,” said Heather. “Now, I really must have another strawberry. Who will join me?”

On Her Fifth Birthday

As you might suspect by now, Sheila’s fifth birthday was not ordinary. In truth, there was nothing ordinary about this child, so why should her birthday be any different?

Sheila’s parents invited all of her friends to the celebration, the field mouse, Maurice, the robin red-breast, Lola, who was once killed in a freak hailstorm, the golden dragonfly, Agnes, who two months earlier had been sliced and diced by the nearby wind turbine, and Sheila’s bestest of friends, Clarence the rat terrier, who had been flattened by a semi hauling Purina six months earlier.

A grand time was had by all.

Just as the celebration was winding down, a visitor drove down the driveway in a ’48 Plymouth, a dust cloud following on the car’s heels. The car was parked, the engine was shut off and the driver’s door was opened.

And out stepped a penguin!

I jest of course, for penguins cannot drive. No, this driver was simply a woman dressed like a penguin in the distinctive garment of a Catholic Dominican nun. Her name was Sister Mary Louise, Head Prefect of St. Elizabeth’s Home for Children in Tacoma, the orphanage where Sheila once resided.

She was a strong woman, a no-nonsense woman, a woman who could make a lumberjack quiver in his steel-toed boots, but inside that rough exterior beat a heart of gold, not surprising for someone who dedicated her life to the care of young children unwanted and ignored by society.

She stepped out of the car and smiled her warm smile, a smile rarely seen by adults but known well by the children of St. Elizabeth’s, and she waved at Sam, Heather and Sheila and they, in turn, smiled back and then rushed to the nun with open arms. Hugs were exchanged, warm hugs, hugs that meant something, a transference of emotion and love, hugs that said it all and left nothing on the playing field of life.

“Sister, it’s so good to see you,” said Heather. “To what do we owe the good grace of this visit?”

“No special reason, Heather. I simply wanted to see this special child and hear of her progress.”

And so a good hour was spent telling Sister Mary Louise of the rebirths of Maurice and Lola, Agnes and Clarence, the circumstances of their demise and the reversal of their fortunes thanks to Sheila’s energy.

When all details were told the nun nodded and smiled once again.

“So,” she said. “It is as I predicted.”

“Exactly as you predicted, Sister,” said Sam.

“Wonderful! Simply wonderful,” said the gentle woman dressed as a penguin. “Take good care of this precious child. The world needs her. Allow her to grow and develop at her own speed. She will know when to move to the next stage. Do not waste time with traditional schooling. Public schools will only hamper her development, a wet blanket they are for any non-conformist. Instead, school her yourself in all the things of importance, and always use love as your true north.

“Now I must go. We will not meet again. My part in this story is over and soon I will move on to another plane of existence. Sheila?” The old nun bent down and looked the child in the eyes. “You have been given a gift and a gift must never be wasted. Help others with your gift. Make this world a better place with your gift. Teach others love with your gift, and when your part has been played out, pass your gift on to your daughter, Astarte, and her daughter, Hope, and praise be to God, let us hope our efforts are not in vain.”

She kissed Sheila on the top of the head, gave Sam and Heather a final hug, climbed back into her Plymouth and drove from their lives.

Sheila squeezed her mother’s hand. She squeezed her father’s hand. She looked at them both and smiled.

“I’m starving. Is there any birthday cake left, or did that rascal Clarence eat it all?”

More Next Week

In a bold exhibition of nonchalance, even though no one is reading this, I will continue with it. Why? Because I love these characters and I’m entertaining myself…that’s why!

See you next week…or not!

2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 30, 2017:

Thanks so much, PS! I'm so glad you enjoyed this. Blessings and hugs heading your way on a wing and a prayer.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on October 27, 2017:

I love love love this...I think I read this before...but some stories I can read and reread and maybe enjoy more the second time...YOU have a gift....and thankfully you share it Bill.

Know the Angels are headed to you this evening ps

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 20, 2016:

Aw, thank you Marlene. You've been missed as well. My characters want me to say HI to you and to tell you welcome back!

Marlene Bertrand from USA on July 19, 2016:

I am truly loving this. Glad to finally be able to read again. I miss you and all the characters in your stories.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 18, 2016:

I appreciate that, Maria. Sister Mary Louise was much kinder than the nuns who taught me. LOL



Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on July 17, 2016:

Love the infusion of Sister Mary Louise...your pen made her alive in my mind.

I'll treat myself to one more installment before I hit the hay. Love, Maria

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 16, 2016:

Indeed, Michael my friend, this is what we call a metaphor....there are important messages in this story for those who wish to learn. :) Blessings always my wise friend.

Michael Milec on July 15, 2016:

Some of the stories significant acts remind me to a very similar Sheila's good deeds of love to - what I read as a kid - about a boy growing in the city of Nazareth ad performing amazing higher nature everyday deeds. A message of your article is important, timely and needed, concerning necessity and an aspiration of every living soul. (It's my kind of real world; catching up with reading though.)

Blessing always my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 11, 2016:

MIssy, you are so very kind. Thank you! I love your willingness to share a part of yourself with every article you write...with every comment you make. It is refreshing to have a friend like you who is so open, honesty and supportive....you are real and I love real.

Missy Smith from Florida on July 11, 2016:

Hi Bill, I wanted to stop by the next installment before I started well into my chores for the day and didn't have time.

I really like your characters here. As I said, I relate to little Shelia on a few levels, I wish one of those would be that gift she has. I would love to have a gift like that.

Your characters are peaceful and intriguing. I like that. We need people throughout the world that are just like that. I try hard to be a peaceful person, but somehow I fail when I get worked up over something that I believe to be wrong in this world; another reason why I would love the gift little Shelia has; you don't need to rely on your words to convince people that miracles could happen if you just try, you could show them.

This style of writing reminds me of "Big Fish" by Daniel Wallace, and "Mrs. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs; both actually made into films by Tim Burton. I admire his films. They always send me to another universe. I didn't read the first book I mention, but I did see Tim's movie, which I enjoyed immensely. I have read the latter mentioned, and as I love these types of stories, the book would fade in and out for me. By that, I mean, some parts I loved, and some not so much. However, I know the movie is going to be something I love. I'm excited to watch.

I'm enjoying this story. Instead of focusing on many peculiar children as Ransom did in his story, yours focuses on just one miracle child, and I think that makes the story more personal for me. It's more adaptable to me. I hoped Ransom's book would draw me in that way too, and like I said, in some parts it did, but it lost me in others. Too busy I think. I like busy more on the big screen than in a book. So yours is more my style to read.

I'm excited to continue with Shelia on her journey of discoveries and growing up. And as always, thanks for sharing your talent with us. ~Missy

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 07, 2016:

I'm glad I wrote the Shuttle first as well, Sha. It makes this endeavor much-more special to me. Thank you for loving Sheila and the band of special friends she has.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 07, 2016:

Apparently, Sister has special abilities as well. How else would she know Sheila's daughter and granddaughter's names?

I think you were wise to write this after the 12/59, rather than before. It brings about wonderful aha moments for the reader.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 04, 2016:

Sheila thanks you, Sparrow, as do I.

Rochelle Ann De Zoysa from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka on July 04, 2016:

Beautiful :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 30, 2016:

Genna, this is my attempt to write a story of hope....and yes, love....but mostly hope, I think. So many people I see who have given up, or have become so complacent and don't try. I want Sheila to be their guiding light.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on June 29, 2016:

I'm in love with this story. I can't wait to see where Sheila's adventures take her -- and us. Sage words of advice from the old nun. The world around us seems to be getting crazier, if that's at all possible. It's stories like these that bring hope...that call to the better impulses of our nature. Thank you, Bill. I needed this story just now. :-) By the way, I am in awe of George RR.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 28, 2016:

Thank you Lawrence. I'm so glad you and others are enjoying this.

Lawrence Hebb on June 27, 2016:


I think my first sentiments from your opening comment has been repeatedly said by the commenters here. "You gotta be kidding!"

I loved this story.


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 27, 2016:

So do I, Flourish. The beauty of fiction is that there are. ;) Thanks for catching up on the series.

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 27, 2016:

I wish there were people like Sheila who could bring back the loved critters we miss.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 24, 2016:

Shyron, I wanted to create a character we could all embrace. Hopefully I've done that. Thank you and blessings on this weekend to you.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on June 23, 2016:

Yes, I too love the fantasy of your story of a special little girl named Sheila. I know two Sheila's and your story of kindness and love reminds me of both.

I am so happy to read about your Sheila and that you are sharing her with your readers.

Blessings my friend

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 19, 2016:

It tells me quite a bit, Deb, and I thank you. "A child of the woodland" I love that phrase. Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 19, 2016:

Ann, thank you my friend. Age tells? It certainly does with me. I can go full-out on a project now for about four hours and then I'm done. Quite a difference from ten years ago. Oh well! I'm still above ground and productive!

Thank you and Happy Sunday to you!

Deb Hirt on June 18, 2016:

I think you know how I feel about this without me telling you. This is a child of the woodland, and that should tell you something already.

Ann Carr from SW England on June 18, 2016:

What are you talking about, bill? Look at all these people reading! I don't know why the first chapter was not so widely read but I reckon it was a slump in the readers - something must have happened world-wide to have caused such a thing.

Just keep writing this; it's a great story and it's so refreshing to read about good, hope, love and trust. That's what keeps this world revolving and you know that so well, it's obvious in your work.

We're having a few days off to see about selling our house here and to revive our energies. Age tells, doesn't it?!

Have a sumptuous Saturday and a stupendous Sunday, bill!

Ann :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 17, 2016:

PS, thanks for the suggestion. I don't know why, but writing a book for young people seems intimidating for me. I'll have to give it some thought. When I first wrote the original novel, it was suggested that I write one at that time and I gave the same answer. ;)

Keep those angels busy, my friend, and I'll do the same.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on June 17, 2016:

So here I am at Chapter 2 and not disappointed. And who am I to make suggestions but a thought occurred to me that this would /could become a wonderful story for young people....even elementary age (with a tweak here or there in Chapter one perhaps)...

Of course I do not know where you are going with this yet...your ultimate destination, if you will, but I could see this becoming a remarkable new story for children to read and find a message in....just a thought...regardless I will return to see what is up....

Once again more Angels are headed to you all out in a beautiful part of our land. ps shared

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 16, 2016:

Frank, thanks again. I love these characters and I suppose that shows in the writing. They are my first children, so to speak.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on June 16, 2016:

I just read the first two chapters and I heartily recommend this adventure as a most creative and enjoyable tale so far..awesome

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 13, 2016:

MizB, I think I just dated myself. The probably don't wear the penguin suits anymore. LOL

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on June 13, 2016:

Ho, ho, Bill, sounds like you have a full-fledged crystal child here. At first the penguin threw me, but then, I'm not Catholic so that explains it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 13, 2016:

Shannon, now I'm laughing out loud thinking about you laughing out loud. Thanks a lot.

Shannon Henry from Texas on June 13, 2016:

OMG! Thanks a lot! I have problems now, thanks to you. I'm sitting in the break room at work literally laughing out loud. . .almost uncontrollably. I might as well be in touch with the Harpers judging by the looks I'm getting.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 13, 2016:

Back story to fill in, Zulma, and I promise all will be revealed with time. Great questions. Nice to know you're paying attention. LOL

Happy Monday my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 13, 2016:

Shannon, if you've been in touch with the Harpers we both have a major problem. LOL

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 13, 2016:

She is a fascinating girl, Vellur. It's nice knowing her.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on June 13, 2016:

First off, you know as well as I do plenty of people are reading this and you will carry on. lol.

Secondly, how does a Catholic nun know about Sheila's gift and not denounce her as a heretic??? Sounds like there is more to this nun that meets the eye. Good advice about home schooling, though.

Also, I was a little puzzled when the parents were so casual about Sheila reviving a dead mouse. But then you explained this was not her first time so I guess they were used to it. Were they this laid back when she did it the first time?

So many questions? Can't wait to read the rest so I can get some answers.

Shannon Henry from Texas on June 11, 2016:

Are you kidding me, the Harper's say you do it quite well!!

Hahaha. . .good to know I'm not the only one with a strange sense of humor.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 11, 2016:

Shannon, you crack me up. I put the dog food truck in there because my sense of humor is a bit bizarre at times, so thank the gods you found it funny. One more reason for me to like you.

No, this is not my best work. My wife tells me, and I agree with her, that my best writing comes from a dark place. I do the underbelly of society well...that's when I really shine. Writing about love and "warm and fuzzies" is hard for me...so I agree with you.

Shannon Henry from Texas on June 11, 2016:

Perhaps you are just impatient? LOL. Looks to me like people are reading.

In all honesty, I wouldn't call this your best work, but that's just my opinion. And probably only a matter of opinion and style preference. But that is not to say I don't like it and don't enjoy it. I have a very hard time.keeping up with stories on HP, especially the series pieces and then one day I return to my trusty email notifications of new hubs published (they all filter to a folder so I don't miss anything) only to find they are no longer published. I don't know how you find the time for it all!

Oh, and by the way. . .is it terrible of me to find humor in the fact the dog was flattened by a dog food truck? ;)

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on June 10, 2016:

Shela is a fascinating girl gifted with special powers, enjoyed reading and looking forward to reading more in this series.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2016:

Thank you very much, John! I love telling this story. These characters are like old friends to me.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2016:

Thank you Dee! I'll try to keep you entertained this summer.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2016:

Bill, I honestly don't know where the ideas come from, but I'm glad they do. Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2016:

It is very different, Dora. The original novel was my first attempt at novel-writing and it was whimsical for sure.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on June 10, 2016:

A wonderful and different story, Bill. Good to know some of the back story.

Dianna Mendez on June 09, 2016:

A great descriptive moment on the "penguin". Your words of wisdom about having a gift are true and should be noted by readers. I look forward to reading more on this series.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on June 09, 2016:

Hi Bill. I am one chapter late to the party but will get caught up. You certainly got my attention with this chapter. Very interesting. How on earth do you come up with these stories?

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 09, 2016:

I've been away from the computer which is probably why I have not seen the first chapter. This is so different from anything I have read from you and it is just as interesting! Keep writing. I'll read.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 09, 2016:

Thank you Rasma! This one is fun for me to write and I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on June 09, 2016:

An awesome story so far. Love all those darling animals given a second chance at life. Penguin stepping out of the car indeed. Loved this from beginning to end and looking forward to much more.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 09, 2016:

Thanks for following along, DDE!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 08, 2016:

Your creative mind shines in another story. An interesting mind you have there!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2016:

So glad to hear that, Audrey! Thanks so much for being here.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2016:

Well fantastic, Alicia....more coming soon! It's easy to write the prequel since I already know what happens in the original novel.

Audrey Howitt from California on June 08, 2016:

I love fantasy! Sheila's life should be interesting!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 08, 2016:

Since fantasy is one of my favourite niches, I'm definitely enjoying this story, Bill. I'm interested in seeing how it progresses.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2016:

Manatita, no talking animals here, unless you count the penguin. LOL thanks my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2016:

Peggy, it's my humble attempt at fantasy. There is something about this story that will not allow me to leave it alone. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

manatita44 from london on June 08, 2016:

Nothing wrong with it Bill. In fact I found it quite touching! A bit of Eddie Murphy-like animals and perhaps they'll all speak soon. (smile) Nice take on Sheila and the nun and great reactions from the parents.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on June 08, 2016:

Intriguing chapter that could serve as a standalone story in itself. I have a feeling this child will do incredible things. The parents sound like free spirits. I knew some folks like this with an incredible three year old who was wise for her age. Of course, she couldn't perform miracles.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2016:

My pleasure, Clive!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2016:

Thank you Pop! I shall do so!

Clive Williams from Jamaica on June 08, 2016:


breakfastpop on June 08, 2016:

Well, billy, I'm reading it and I love it, so please keep it going.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2016:

Clive, I'm sure she can squeeze you in, my friend. I'll let her know you've got a job for her.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2016:

Thank you Mama....more to come and more shall be revealed.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on June 08, 2016:

Billy, i had a cat named tiger that died. Can i go see sheila?

Karen A Szklany from New England on June 08, 2016:

Very special and entertaining. Enjoyed the read...and learning about Sheila. ~:0)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2016:

Eric, those are kind words, and I thank you for it, but you know as well as I do, love is an easy topic to write about. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2016:

Venkatachari M, thank you so much. I'll try not to disappoint you on this journey.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2016:

Larry, I'm so glad you are along for the ride. Sheila thanks you!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 08, 2016:

Just how you transfer such love in your story to me the reader is beyond my understanding. This story deeply touches me. Thank you for taking the time to write it and share it.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on June 08, 2016:

Lovely story. I am fascinated by the child and your writing skill. I am going to read each and every episode of it.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on June 08, 2016:

Great read.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2016:

I'm so glad to hear that, Sally! Thank you so very much. Have a marvelous Wednesday.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on June 08, 2016:

I love the characters and I will most certainly be following this series. It is my kind of story.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2016:

Thank you Linda! I'll keep it going for awhile and see if there's a book in there.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2016:

Thank you Janine! This is just silliness with a message.

Happy Hump Day to you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 08, 2016:

Ruby, it has been whispered that I just may be nuts, so no guarantees from me. LOL Thanks my friend...this one is fun for me.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on June 08, 2016:

Bill, don't stop. You made me laugh out loud when I got to the penguin. This is fun and I do hope you continue. The days are so beautiful, we need more feel-good stories.

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on June 08, 2016:

Yup, I love this story too and glad you are going on with it here. Definitely made me smile reading more of angel Sheila's story. Happy Wednesday to you now, Bill!! :)

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on June 08, 2016:

What, are you nuts? I absolutely love this story and I thought everyone else did too. I must admit that I thought you might of lost it when you wrote the penquin was driving. I loved it when Sheila saved the field mouse. Let your creativity flow!!!!!

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