A Glimpse at Savannah Dawn’s Unconsecrated Visions (Friday’s Free-For-all)

Every young girl has dreams. Some dream of being a supermodel or a nurse, a doctor or a fireman, a teacher, a writer or a rock star. Savannah Dawn has dreams too. But she mostly dreams of a life without nightmares.

Chapter 1

My name is Savannah Dawn and I was named for the place of my conception, whatever that means. I’ll be eleven years old come next March. I love to swim and I hate school. I guess that’s all I know to say about myself except sometimes I see things… like in a dream. Not the stuff most folks talk about. I’ve never dreamed of falling off a cliff or being naked in public and besides those things aren’t scary. As a matter of fact I think dreams like that are silly. There aren’t any cliffs around here and the only time I take my clothes off is to bathe and then I put them right back on.

The dreams used to bother me but they don’t anymore.  When I was younger I would wake up crying in the middle of the night. Mama would bring me a glass of milk and sit beside me in the dark. I’d tell her what I saw and she’d say, “they’re just nightmares honey; nothing but unconsecrated visions.” As I got older I felt like Mama didn’t want to hear about the things that troubled my slumber. A few times it seemed to rile her so I learned to stay quiet and get my own milk. When she mentioned it to the doctor I told him I didn’t see things anymore. But I did.

Most times what I dream comes to pass but every so often it doesn’t and that’s a good thing. It gets tiresome seeing all the sorrow in peoples past and the tragedy some are headed for. Too bad I never saw what lay in store for Papa; it would have saved us all a heap of sorrow.

Preacher Zeb calls them revelations and says I shouldn’t tell a soul about what I see except him. Zeb is an ex-Marine and a retired pastor. He was also my papa’s best friend. Last summer he baptized me in the Neches River with only God as our witness. We made a pinky swear to keep it secret. A pinky swear ain’t like a promise to God – it’s a promise not to tell Mama. She would have had a fit knowing I washed my sins in dirty water not to mention I nearly drowned while waiting on the Holy Spirit.

My sister got the spirit once at The First Assembly of God in downtown Trinity. She was sitting on the front pew making goo-goo eyes at Brother Tim when all of a sudden she went limp as a dish rag. The brother hollered ‘hallelujah’ and flew down from the pulpit. He smacked her on the forehead then Jodi jumped up and started shaking all over and everybody went crazy. It took me a minute to realize what was going on; it took Mama about a minute and a half. Jodi said she felt like a movie star when the whole congregation wanted to touch her. She done it so folks would think she was special, that’s what she said. I always thought she was special so I didn’t care one way or the other but it sure was funny watching her dance around with her hands in the air shouting alley baba – naba -naba daba- daba doo. She was doing a different dance after we got home and Mama whipped her for blaspheming the Holy Ghost.

I don’t like referring to the Lord’s essence as a ghost. Mama says they’re the same thing but I know she’s never seen either one or she wouldn’t say that.  I also know spirits don’t always live in a body; some of them live in drinks of alcohol….

This twisted little gem is only 99¢ at your favorite retailer.

The audio (amusingly narrated by Kelley Mack) is available at Audible, Amazon & iTunes.

HaPpY FriDaY Y’all.

Friday’s [Free for Realz] Free-for-All (And HapPy Summer)

Here’s a morsel of Roses from Ishmael, a snack of a story you can read on a potty break, yeah it’s that short. There are links below if it appeals to you.

…Ishmael yanked the eighteen pack of Bud Light from the counter and strolled to his truck.

Just outside of the city limits he reached across the seat and twisted the first cap off of a tepid bottle. The clanking of the glass was comforting and the warm beer eased the queasiness in his stomach. He downshifted and let the black Chevy pull itself along the narrow country lane as he sipped the Bud and drank in the scenery.

The summer heat had taken a toll on the coastal Bermuda that waved its browned tops as he drove past. Ishmael nodded and gestured back, feeling a kinship. But relief was on the way, the weatherman said as much when he interrupted the radio host to announce tornado warnings in effect until eight o’clock this evening.

As he pulled into the drive he sucked the last bit of suds from the third bottle, took a deep breath and sighed. Her car was parked in the usual place. He felt hopeful, nervously adjusting the flowers and dusting the fallen petals to the floorboard before popping a wintergreen disc into his mouth.

The mint clung to his cheek like paste as he gagged, the stench of evergreen causing him to heave with panic. A mouth full of juniper berries was an unpleasant memory to say the least. His tongue darted and swept in search of spit and after several sweeps he managed to be rid of it. When the candy landed Ishmael kicked at the dusty drive covering it and his boot in a fine white powder.

“Honey I’m home.” He called from the kitchen. “Arianna? Sweetheart? Are you still here?” he spoke gently as he made is way toward the guest bedroom.

The squishing of his boots on wet carpet went unnoticed as did her silent cries. “You’re in there aren’t you?” He asked pressing his hand to the door. “Speak to me, please?” Ishmael ran his fingers across the buckled paint and continued, “Ari- I’m sorry…

Get the rest of the story [free for realz] at these stores.

Tell Amazon about a lower price here (where Roses from Ismael is .99 ¢ because I’m not exclusive. Well you know, I ain’t married to none of `em. ) Just scroll down on the left and share a free link. Thanks.

And yesterday was the summer solstice (aka 1st day of summer) so HaPpY summer y’all!

Roses from Ishmael (Friday’s Free-for-all)

Friday’s Free-for-all is a freaky little story I wrote a few thousand years ago. You can read along and/or listen to the narration by Robert Berliner.

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Roses from Ishmael

Ishmael thought the flowers would be a nice touch. Roses were her favorite, red roses to be exact. These were slightly black around the edges and void of fragrance, but they were roses nonetheless.

“You’re not old enough to remember when roses had a smell are you?” he asked the cashier as he handed her a twenty dollar bill.

“No sir, I guess not.” She replied handing him a rumpled one along with thirteen cents in change.

“I bet you’re not even old enough to buy beer.” He said tucking the flowers under his arm. The young woman gave a weary smirk and he shoved the change into his coat pocket. “I guess it doesn’t matter as long as you’re old enough to sell it.” Ishmael yanked the eighteen pack of Bud Light from the counter and strolled to his truck.

Just outside of the city limits he reached across the seat and twisted the first cap off of a tepid bottle. The clanking of the glass was comforting and the warm beer eased the queasiness in his stomach. He downshifted and let the black Chevy pull itself along the narrow country lane as he sipped the Bud and drank in the scenery. The summer heat had taken a toll on the coastal Bermuda that waved its browned tops as he drove past. Ishmael nodded and gestured back, feeling a kinship. But relief was on the way, the weatherman said as much when he interrupted the radio host to announce tornado warnings in effect until eight o’clock this evening.

As he pulled into the drive he sucked the last bit of suds from the third bottle, took a deep breath and sighed. Her car was parked in the usual place. He felt hopeful, nervously adjusting the flowers and dusting the fallen petals to the floorboard before popping a wintergreen disc into his mouth. The mint clung to his cheek like paste as he gagged, the stench of evergreen causing him to heave with panic. A mouth full of juniper berries was an unpleasant memory to say the least. His tongue darted and swept in search of spit and after several sweeps he managed to be rid of it. When the candy landed Ishmael kicked at the dusty drive covering it and his boot in a fine white powder.

“Honey I’m home.” He called from the kitchen. “Arianna? Sweetheart? Are you still here?” he spoke gently as he made is way toward the guest bedroom.

The squishing of his boots on wet carpet went unnoticed as did her silent cries. “You’re in there aren’t you?” He asked pressing his hand to door. “Speak to me, please?” Ishmael ran his fingers across the buckled paint and continued, “Ari- I’m sorry. You have to believe I never meant to hurt you. You believe me don’t you?” the man’s statement was honest but how could she believe him? He knew how she loved her perfect house; how hard she had worked to make the quaint space a home. He knew too that it was him she loved, only him but his jealousy blinded him to the fact. “I was only trying to make a point… a stupid point I know but I never struck the match Arianna. It was an accident. Can you forgive me?”

A sharp snap came from the other side of the door and his heart dropped. He made his way back to the kitchen and tossed the roses into Tuesday’s dishwater. How many Tuesdays had passed? Her silence set a new record. She had never shunned him so long and the guilt that urged him to buy the flowers – the same remorse he felt every time he lost his temper was quickly being replaced by irritation; an all too familiar annoyance building in the pit of his stomach. It would simmer there until it bubbled over and rumbled through his empty gut lapping against raw nerves, reviving memories of every rejection and hurt feeling he had ever known.

Ishmael felt the heat rise in his face and throb in his ears as he gripped the counter to steady his frame. Trembling he strained to recall what the therapist had taught him. It was not working. The only happy thoughts he owned were of her and they had been supplanted by unbearable memoirs, images of unforgiving eyes. Her eyes once bright and smiling now flamed and pierced him with accusations. The same eyes that gave him comfort now cut him to the bone. She had a way of doing that – shaming a man without a word and shame was a thing he hated.

He had been ashamed for as long as he could remember. Even as a small boy, before he had ever heard the word or perceived its definition – he felt it. He ate shame for breakfast and bathed in it before going to bed each night. He knelt on it as he said his prayers and iced his beer in it and sometimes he hid it in a bundle of flowers. Yes shame was his unfaltering companion, the one sure thing he could count on.

Jutting his face toward the heavens he prayed and waited for an answer.

Oblivious to the first drops that landed Ishmael continued to pray. As the rain drenched his upturned face, mingling with his tears he steadied his breath and waited for an answer, an absolution that refused to come. Instead the wind swirled in the open roof above him showering his blistered face with twigs and scorched bits of fiberglass, a foul reminder of things that could not be undone.

“Am I beyond forgiveness?” He pleaded toward the thundering sky. “Will you always be angry with me?”

Ishmael tried to stoop amongst the debris, to kneel if for no other reason than sheer exhaustion but the charred drywall held his fists. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!” he croaked, his throat too dry to scream

“Damn you Arianna!” He cursed through cracked lips, unable to summon any moisture, unable to summon anything. Not so much as a heave could he muster from the memory of juniper on an elementary playground. He would now welcome the kicks of a bully in canvas sneakers, the scratching of coarse pungent needles against his face and the bitterness of their berries.

Ishmael heard the machines approaching; he could hear the men talking just prior to the wall landing. They used words like ‘total loss’, ‘unsalvageable’ and ‘condemned’. Words he had come to terms with, things no amount of roses in the world could fix.

He laid his head against the sooty timber that permanently fixed him and asked once again, “Arianna? Ari-honey are you here?” and again she refused to answer.

From Once Upon a Dead Gull available in digital or audio

Once Upon a Dead Gull Cover (420x640)

Written by Janna Hill

Narrated by Robert Berliner