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When Angels Sing: Chapter One. The Prequel to The 12/59 Shuttle

Updated on June 02, 2016

An Author’s Note

I wrote “The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday to Today” almost five years ago. It was my first novel and because it was, it holds a special place in my heart. There have been three novels since then as well as four novellas, one non-fiction book and thousands of articles, and I love them all but still, the Shuttle is my one great literary lover. It has its flaws, and it is not my best work, but still I love it.

So it should come as no surprise that I have always wanted to return to that book in one fashion or another, and I’ve been doing that over the past couple of years.

In “The Shuttle,” the main heroine is Sheila, a woman with special powers and a special agenda. The novel ends with a future vision of Sheila’s granddaughter Hope, and over the years I have included Hope in some short stories and, in fact, there is a sequel to “The Shuttle” just waiting to be told….but….

We never heard, in the novel or any short stories that followed, about Sheila’s younger years. What was she like as a child? How did she acquire her special powers and how did her parents help her to harness those powers for the good of mankind?

It is time to correct that deficiency.

This, then, is the story of Sheila as a child.

The orphanage
The orphanage | Source

The original that started it all

In the Beginning

She had not uttered a single word by the time she was three years of age.

The doctors had no explanation for it. There was nothing wrong with the child physically, they said. Tests were conducted and all came back negative. Structurally she was a healthy three-year old. Perhaps, they said, there is a psychological reason for the silence. Perhaps she needs a specialist, they suggested. Perhaps the trauma of 1959 scrambled her brains a bit, they posed.

Nonsense, her parents said. There is nothing wrong with Sheila. She is simply taking her time, observing, reflecting, and when she is ready to expound on life she will do so, starting with that which is most important because seriously, isn’t that the way we should all approach speech, her mother asked.

And so it happened that on August Fourteenth, two months after her third birthday, the child named Sheila looked at her mother and father over a dinner of sprouts and goat cheese and said, “Love.”

If we’re being accurate, “love” was actually the second word she spoke. Back in 1959, as a one-year old, having been crushed to death by a falling tree during a raging storm, she had come back from the dead in the medical examiner’s room and asked for “water,” but that’s a story for another time.

She was a beautiful child with obsidian hair, green eyes and porcelain skin, appearing to be an expensive doll from a distance, but get close to her and you would see the sparkle of eyes, the joy of expression, the gentleness of nature.

She was Baby S in St. Elizabeth’s Orphanage in Tacoma, Washington. Shortly after she was adopted her parents, Sam McCabe and Heather Miller, named her Sheila because, according to them, she looked like a Sheila, caring, kind and loving, and she’s been Sheila ever since.

Along the Deschuttes River
Along the Deschuttes River | Source

Dirt Poor or Rich?

Her parents like to tell anyone who will listen that, back then, they didn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of, but in another universe they were richer than the richest of Sultans. Those who are curious among us have asked about those other universes and been treated to hours of discussion about time travel and the energy of love, walking away shaking our heads, beyond confused. Still, they are peaceful people, Sam and Heather, and they love their Sheila something fierce and will also tell anyone listening that when Sheila was born the angels sang, an odd statement since they adopted Sheila and thus never saw her birth and really, they don’t believe in heavenly hosts singing “Hallelujah,” but still, it’s a lovely sentiment now isn’t it?

They tell time in terms of BS, Before Sheila, and AS, After Sheila, so this story begins in the year 5 AS, or for us normal humans, 1963.

Heather and Sam had traveled the back roads of America in a 1955 Chevy Bel Air, spreading the word to anyone who would listen, camping on the side of the road and making love, sweet love, in the backseat, but once Sheila arrived they lived on the property of some friends, twenty acres overlooking the Deschuttes River in Olympia, Washington, a seventeen foot travel trailer their home, sweet home.

It is there that we find them, 1963, Olympia, trailer, Sam, Heather and Sheila, one big happy family.

The barn and adventure await
The barn and adventure await | Source

The Story

Sam brushed himself off and entered the trailer to the smell of fried okra and lavender tea. Heather was just pouring two cups of the heavenly elixir when he walked in. He felt the familiar catch in his breath upon seeing her, a full-figured woman in peasant dress, auburn hair cascading down her back, a perpetual smile on her face, full lips inviting all to partake in her taste.

“Damn, woman, if you aren’t the most beautiful creature ever to grace this universe,” he said as he put his arms around her waist and nibbled her neck. Truth be told he felt himself to be the luckiest man alive, somehow meeting and marrying this creature of loving light.

“You hush now, silly man, and don’t you be nibbling my neck. You know it drives me crazy and makes me think of fornication between universes. Besides, you need to go say hello to your daughter and take her for a pony ride like you promised. May I assume you finished chopping wood?”

“I did, although wood is a living thing and I don’t feel right about chopping it. I swear I could hear its cries of anguish as the axe bit into the grain. But that’s a topic for another time.” He walked down the lone hallway. “Now where is that little rascal Sheila?” he hollered.

“Here, Daddy, I’m here,” came the cry from the second door on the left, no shortage of words by that time, and shortly after the cry, timed in seconds, the door flew open and the girl with raven hair and green eyes jumped into her father’s arms all smooth and smelling of lavender.

“There she is,” he laughed. “Are you ready to go ride the horse, young Sheila?”

“Silly Daddy,” she said. “I told you before, I don’t ride Mutare. We become one and travel together.”

He laughed again as he set his daughter down on the ground.

“That’s right, I forgot. I really am a silly daddy. Okay, young lady, let’s go get Mutare and you two can travel together with you on her back. How’s that sound?”

It must have sounded wonderful because the little girl raced ahead of her father, the trailer door slamming in her wake, a cloud of dust kicked up by her little feet sprinting for the barn.

Atop Mutare

Sam lifted his daughter up and on the horse, a gray gelding of mercurial temperament but downright gentle in the company of Sheila. The girl giggled with delight, grabbed the reins with her tiny hands and gave a gentle kick in the flanks, signaling the beginning of their journey. Sam walked alongside them.

“What does Mutare’s name mean, Daddy?”
“It means ‘change,’ darling.”

The girl thought about that for a few moments.

“And what is changing, father?”

“The world, my darling, and existence as we know it, and one day, when you are older, you will be a voice of reason and you will help millions of people.”

“How will I do that, Daddy?”

“With love, daughter, with love.”

Sheila all grown-up
Sheila all grown-up | Source

See You Next Week

Well that was fun, ‘eh? I’ve always wanted to write this prequel, so I hope you enjoy it as it unfolds. This story is all about the message and the message is all about the story, one big happy mess rolled up into a few thousand words.

I’ll see you next week!

2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 9 months ago from New York, New York

      Love that you did write this prequel and had so much fun with it. Thanks for sharing it with us Bill and have a wonderful Wednesday now, too!! :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Hump Day, Janine, and thanks for being first to read my new series.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 9 months ago

      Bill, I am excited to learn more about Sheila.

      When I start reading a story they always remind me of some true to life story, just as this did. What this reminded me of was my friend’s son was close to four when he started to talk and like Shelia they could find no reason why, (as you may or may not know my son is deaf and my friend thought that maybe he son was deaf) and then came the day when he just started to talk and my friend asked him why he did not talk before, he simply said that he had nothing to say.

      I think I am going to enjoy this.

      Blessings as always

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 9 months ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill, Yep don't fall off your chair with shock! Whilst I have not been as on the ball as before you and your articles, stories and blogs are never far from my thoughts and I do read many. I am thrilled for you and this sounds like another great novel. Your energy in everything you have going is something I so admire, keep up the fantastic work Irish eyes are still smiling for you my friend xxx

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shyron, what a wonderful story...thank you for sharing that and thank you for giving this story a chance. I appreciate you.

      blessings, my friend

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Whoa, Irish!!!!! Be still my heart for fear of a heart attack. LOL So good to hear from you, and a message filled with lovely words...thank you dear friend. I hope you are well and happy. I love what you are doing with your products. Tell the Mickster I say hello, please, and I'm sending a hug for you.

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 9 months ago from Northern Ireland

      I was on your site on Amazon UK today and saw the 12/59 shuttle there. It looked interesting. It looks even more interesting now that I see a prequel starting. There was another book there, too, which looked more violent than Billy the Kid. Is it? I liked Billy the Kid but am not really into horror or very violent stuff.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 9 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I feel like Janine above, I'm glad you are sharing this story about Sheila. I remember reading about Hope. It will be good to start in the beginning. I love the idea of a child being special. See you the next time.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Meg, are you talking about The Shadow Series? If so yes, it is more violent, so stay away from it. LOL Thanks for looking me up....you might try "Resurrecting Tobias"...no violence.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruby! This series of stories is right up your alley, my friend.

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 9 months ago from Northern Ireland

      Thanks. There is more than one William Holland on Amazon UK and I can find your books more easily there by using William D Holland. But Tobias isn't there, he is under William Holland. Maybe you want to brand yourself under one name? :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the heads up, Meg. I'll look into that boo-boo!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wonderful. The way you write makes me feel.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That means a lot to me, Eric. Thank you sir!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 9 months ago from london

      I like it Bill. Interesting woman our Sheila. Lots of inspiration here. Excellent work!

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 9 months ago from Europe

      I read it with pleasure. Since I haven't read much yet, I cannot judge the whole story, but it might be a great story. Nice interview, by the way! Have a great day, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita! I'm always happy when someone appreciates Sheila!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Buildreps! It's not necessary to have read the book to follow along with this story. This is, after all, the beginning. :)

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 9 months ago

      Bill, I think I will read this series before I read your 12/59. Your beginning kind of reminds me that my first mother-in-law said my ex never uttered a word until he was 2 years old. They were very worried about him, but he started talking normally and never stopped -- talking about himself. (the last phrase added by me). But he doesn't have any superpowers, especially between his ears.

      I think I'm going to like this one. Bring it on, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, you had me howling with that little description of your ex...between the ears....LOL

      I'm glad you enjoyed this....I'll try to keep you entertained, my friend.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 9 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting and thrilling story. I will be waiting for the next instalment.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 9 months ago

      I am looking forward to more. My beautiful sister, whose gone n, was named Sheila. I am almost finished with your second novella and I am loving it! Thanks, billy....

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pop, and thank you for reading the second installment. Number four is about to be published, a brand-new adventure never seen on HP.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen Szklany Gault 9 months ago from New England

      Beautiful, Bill. Glad I took a moment to read this. I care about the characters of this story and I very much enjoyed reading about Sheila's youth. Looking forward to reading more.

      Good to see you so active with your story-telling on HP. Unfortunately, I have had to trail off my readership in search of employment outside the home...and other projects that I can only complete if I stay offline. But glad you are well.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 9 months ago from United Kingdom

      So that's where the lavender thing started. Can't wait to find out more about this young lady. Will you be publishing this too or is it too soon to say?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mama, it's a familiar tale among us writers, out looking for employment. Sadly very few of us can make a living doing this.

      It's nice to hear from you. I hope you are well and I'm very happy you enjoyed this first chapter.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Much too soon to say, Zulma. I've got the sequel to write first, and I'm not sure where that is on my order of priorities. I have two other books I want to write...sigh....well, thanks and I'm glad you enjoyed this.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 9 months ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks for a new series to ponder.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Larry! Thank you, sir!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 9 months ago from California

      So glad that i got his one at te beginning! Too often I catch them late in the game--your writing has become so fluid lately--a pleasure to read!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Audrey. I think I'm finally hitting my stride and finding my natural voice. It's about time! LOL

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 9 months ago from SW England

      'One big happy mess' sounds great! I like finding out the background to a story and this one promises to be just as good as the rest, if not better. I loved your stories of Hope and Sheila is obviously a girl with something special in her heart and soul. Love it!

      A super Sunday to you and yours, bill, and I hope Bev is feeling better.

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ann! I do love Sheila. If I had more time I'd write more books about her...many more books.....time is not on my side, my friend.

      Happy Monday to you!

      bill

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 9 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Good luck with unraveling this story. Will enjoy following this for sure.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rasma! This is a fun story to unravel.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 9 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an interesting first chapter in your new story, Bill. I'm looking forward to learning more about Sheila's childhood. I suspect that it's going to be unusual!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Alicia. I'm glad you are along for the ride.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 9 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You share a lovely photo and this series sounds intriguing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm so glad you like it, DDE!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 9 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I got here at last Bill. Somehow this slipped by me, but then my email inbox is overflowing. I have been kind of busy lately. Anyway it was delightful to read this prequal and I look forward to reading along. Well done.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, John! I appreciate you finding the time to stop by. I know how busy you are.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 9 months ago from The Caribbean

      I read the second story first. Glad I caught up with this one. I like them both and anxious to see where Sheila will take us and what she will teach us.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Dora, for taking the time to read both chapters. You are appreciated.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 9 months ago from Texas

      I will have to read the novel. Your writing is always interesting and this prequel is no exception. Naturally, I am curious about the rest of the story now.

    • profile image

      Deb Hirt 9 months ago

      Surely, this sounds like the voice of true reason.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, the novel is unlike anything I've ever written....you may or may not like it....and I haven't forgotten you and the new novella. It will be in print this week and then I'll send it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I would think so, Deb! Thanks always my friend.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 9 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Did you know Einstein didn't say a word until he was four! Apparently autistic kids often start speaking later on than most of us because they so want to get the words right!

      I think this is going to be a 'special' story too!

      Keep 'em coming.

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for that, Lawrence. I didn't know that....now Sheila has good company. :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 9 months ago from Shelton

      wow you prequel really held my atention.. again wow

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Frank! You made me smile.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 9 months ago from sunny Florida

      Hi Bill so of course I am hooked and of course I need to read the Shuttle....what I read is determined by how quickly I get 'in' to the story and easily I am drawn to read more, to think about what I am reading both as I read and later, and to want to read more....

      You my friend, as you must know by former comments from moi, is why I come again and again to visit...so sorry am not here so often...but am so glad when I do come as it takes me to another place, offering a diversion so often needed. shared

      Angels are once again heading your way bringing many blessings to you and Bev... ps

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 9 months ago from Georgia

      Great story. It does what a good story is supposed to do - makes you hungry for more. We all know you are talented, so I won't say that, but you have created some very interesting characters with enough of a tease of who they are. This will make your readers look for the rest of the story. Well crafted. Take care.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, I'm glad you stopped by; I've been meaning to tell you that you inspired the title of this series....When Angels Sing....so this is for you. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Cyndi! I appreciate your kind words. This story has a lot of work to do to it, but I love the characters and the underlying message it delivers.

    • profile image

      johnmariow 9 months ago

      A very well written humorous chapter. I enjoyed it immensely.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, John! I appreciate it.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

      A beautiful start. Glad to have gone back and caught the first installment. Now on to the second.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Flourish. These are my favorite characters among all I've created.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 8 months ago from Central Florida

      I was thrilled to read this, Bill. The 12/59 is still my favorite of your novels. In fact, if I recall correctly, doesn't the back of the novel have a Mutare stamp and logo in the lower left corner?

      I look forward to following this prequel. I certainly fell in love with Sheila and the rest of the characters in The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday to Today.

      I hope this boosts your book sales. I think your fans will become as enamored with The 12/59 (and the author) as I did.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      aw, thanks, Sha....truth be told, it is still my favorite novel of mine as well. I've done a better job of writing in others, but I love these characters.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 8 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Where have I been? I almost missed this series, Bill; and that is sacrilege. Beautifully written, with an uncanny understanding of human nature, and the ending, tugging at us to want to turn the page again, and again. :-)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, I so appreciate your kind words. This story is for anyone who believes in magic. :) Thank you for your loyal following.

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      rdsparrowriter 8 months ago

      Interesting :) I like the way you have written it :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Sparrow!

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 8 months ago from Florida

      Here I am! I made it to start this story. :)

      I already know I am going to love this story. At the beginning, I so far feel I have a similar quality with young Shelia. She took her time to talk. I, myself, would talk to my family when I was little, but not much, and a lot of people thought there was something wrong with me, because I would actually look at teachers and other adults like they were crazy if they tried to get me to speak a word. Lol... Needless to say, my mom visited the school house quite often.

      I enjoyed your interviews as well. I loved that you say that conservative Republicans won't like it. lol... Did I mention how much of a fan I am of yours??? I like the second interview where you touch on publishing. I too, have had some rejection notices and just stopped stressing myself out, and instead decided I would self-publish one day. That is still a dream I haven't had the opportunity to put into action yet. I know it's only four to five hundred dollars to do so, but unfortunately, being a single parent with two children; I still don't have that to spare. I won't give up on that dream though! I refuse to.

      I'm excited to keep reading this story, and hope I can get back soon and catch myself up. Thanks for sharing your talent with us. ~Missy

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aw, Missy, thanks for being here and enjoying my writing so much. I enjoyed hearing about you as a child. For sure there is a bit of the Sheila in you, and that makes you a friend for life.

      I had to watch the interviews myself. I hadn't seen them in several years. I think I need to get back to making them soon. They are a nice marketing tool and a way to connect with my readers.

      Happy Monday, Missy!

    • profile image

      Michael Milec 8 months ago

      What a story taking us back close to man's 'original' dwelling on the earth innocently and in good standing relationship with the Creator, similar to that of child called Sheila. You have my friend increased awareness of your readers to the " another universe" close and present if we only would keep silent to hear and in obedience to act in love wherever/whatever need is - to change the world into he original design. I believe our generation would be blessed with Sheila's activities...

      Blessing and peace.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, you have easily seen through my transparent outer story and found the inner meaning. Well done, my friend, and blessings to you always.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 8 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Well it took me long enough...but I know from this first chapter, I'll love this story too, dear Bill.

      Hope you had a great weekend. Love, Maria

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I did have a great weekend, Maria, and I hope the same for you. Thanks for stopping by. I'll check out your musings shortly.

      love,

      bill

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 8 months ago from Northern California, USA

      This is so nice. I absolutely enjoyed reading this story and because I read the book it is based on, my mind is racing ahead with questions about this and that. I like the mention of fried okra and lavender tea. One of my neighbors use to bring me okra and each time, I would quickly prepare it and fry it up in the skillet with a fine cornmeal coating. And, of course you know how much I love lavender.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, I'm so glad you discovered this story and that you love it. Thank you so much...and Sheila thanks you as well.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 7 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Finally I got around to reading this first introduction to the prequel. So far I love the characters and look forward to exploring along with Sheila as she travels with her horse. Another good one, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Peg! These characters are special to me, the first I "invented," so they will always hold a place in this old writer's heart.

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