Shadows ~ A Short Story

Author’s note:

This short story was a fun little project I threw together for a writing exercise of sorts I did with some friends in which we were given a list of words to work into a story. The setting inspiration came from “Mire” and it being a synonym for swamp. Even though it isn’t stated in the short, this set in Louisiana (What can I say? I love my state). With stretcher being part of a rowboat, I had the inspiration for it to be set out on a boat for whatever reason and a lot of inspiration flowed from those two words.
I’ll admit that I might be slightly in love with dystopian/apocalyptic worlds, this one being the latter. It fascinates me to no end how a world can so quickly and drastically be changed in so many ways. I love the freedom of being able to make up my own rules and not be confined by those of current day or those of past. I had a vague idea of our world in the not too distant future, but something has gone wrong and land isn’t safe anymore due to some sort of creature. I sat down with my sister and she had this idea for these shadow monsters which aren’t really shadows, but actual tangible beings that live in the shadows. They are also afraid of the water, which is where the boat came into play.
Something the characters don’t realize though, is that it’s not water, but large bodies of it due to their inability to swim.
These “Shadows” weren’t based on anything but the imagination of my sister who was glad to lend her mind to me.
The stuff about the kids being targeted came into play from a writing prompt I came across one night; “All the boys in a village disappear” I toyed with the idea and used it as a springboard until it felt right.
This is a story I’m planning on revisiting in the future, whether it’s for fun or a full length novel.
I also have a wickedly glorious love of cliff hangers and so I do leave it at a slight cliffy. It was mostly because I wanted to leave a lot to the imagination and let y’all (the readers) decide how you think things go from there until I can come back to it.
(Bonus note: If any of you are interested, Kat is short for Kathryn. :) )


Not long ago I would have thought it beautiful to watch the sunsetting over the lake. Today the only thought running through my mind is that I took too long on my run.
I’ve become accustomed to rowing this boat, my feet planted firmly against the stretcher as I pull the oars against the water. It’s methodical repetition helps me ignore the sounds of night replacing those of daytime.  My rowboat bumps up against the boat I let out a whistle. It’s a song that Zach and I taught the kids as a passcode of sorts.
The cables are thrown down to me, excited chatter floating down to me as little heads peek over the side of the boat. The boat is a larger one of the fishing variety with enough room for all of us, though it can be a bit cramped when we’re all in one place.
I hook the cables to either end of the row boat and wait as the wheel jerkily reels me up. I frown at the faded pain on the hull. The kids insisted we name the ship The Nomad after Lewis called us nomads one day.
“We need to freshen up the paint.” I stand as I  level with the deck.
“What did you find?” Gabby is the first to speak, as always. Her eyes light up as she stares at the lumpy tarp that’s proof I found something on my run. She and Lewis stand side by side, shoulders brushing. I always thought those stories about twins being inseparable were silly until I met those two. They won’t leave each other’s sight. I don’t blame them these days, I should have done the same.
Zach stands back, his arms crossed over his chest as he watches, a smile playing at the corners of his mouth.
I smirk as I stick a hand under the tarp.
“What is it?” Cody asks, impatient with my antics.
“Ginger ale!” I pull out the cardboard box full of green cans. The kids collectively squeals are deafening and I cringe.
“I haven’t had a soda in years!” Mia might be exaggerating.
“One is missing.” Lewis looks at me accusingly.
“Someone had to make sure they weren’t poisoned.” I shrug.
Zach helps me unload as the sound of soda cans popping replaces excited chatter.
“You pushed it,” Zach whispers as I hand him boat fuel.
“I know.” I glance out at the lake. The sun has disappeared, pale remnants of its light caressing the trees. It’s not nearly enough light to be safe. Between clothes, fuel, ginger ale, weapons and ammo, and finding game to hunt for dinner, the run took longer than I had anticipated.
Zach’s dark hand encases mine, steadying me as I jump onto the deck with a thud.
A shrill screech pierces the tranquility of the lake, sending a wave of ice through my skin, causing every hair on my body to stand on end.
The kids’ chatter halts abruptly, and I focus my gaze on the water’s edge.
I swear I can see them moving in the trees, but it’s hard to know when you’re seeing a Shadow.
“Let’s not cut it so close next time, okay?” Zach is always worried about me. I take more risks than he does, but he has a right to worry. I worry about him when he’s the one out there. I did cut it too close today, if I had only been a few more minutes I’d be dinner for those things.
“Yeah,” I mumble.

♦ ♦ ♦

We sit around the fire pit on the deck, munching on the game I shot.
The row boat hangs aloft beside The Nomad, creaking quietly as it sways in the wind.
“Kat?” Cody stares at the meat in his hands, turning it slowly.
“Yeah?” I lick the juice from my fingers.
“Can you teach me to hunt?” He turns his sharp gaze on me.
I glance at Zach.
His lips pucker as he leans down and rubs his fingers on the wooden floorboards. Admiring the amazing carpentry, no doubt. He always does that in uncomfortable situations.
“You know it’s not safe for you on land,” I speak carefully. I don’t want to hurt Cody, but he knows the reality of our lives. Land isn’t safe. Especially for those fourteen and under. He’s only just turned fourteen.
“But how can I ever learn how to protect myself if I never have any experience?”
I sigh and chuck the bone of my dinner off the side of the boat. “Cody, it’s dangerous.” I wipe my hands on my pants and look at him evenly. I don’t want to scare the younger kids. Sabrina is especially sensitive. She watched a gang of Shadows murder her family. She’s only six, but she managed to escape. She has more reason than anyone to be scared to death of them. We’re all scared of them.
Except Cody.
He possesses a dangerous bravery that borderlines ignorant stupidity. There’s been a raging fire inside of him since his foster family died because of this mess. He wasn’t there to witness it like Sabrina, though. He doesn’t understand the real dangers and he hungers for revenge. Zach and I have about him many times and we both agree; we have to keep Cody on this boat as long as we can.
I open my mouth to answer Cody, but a strange noise calls through the darkness, wiping any words from my mind. It’s a deep throated chirping, unlike any animal call I’ve ever heard.
“What is that?” I walk to the edge of the ship.
All other noises have vanished. Frogs, owls, crickets- even the cicadas are silent. The only sounds are that of the breeze and the water gently swishing to and fro, which are deafeningly loud in the absence of the unusual call.
The overcast sky leaves the world dark beyond the light of our fire, unknown Shadows lurking beyond my sight.
Zach stands beside me and switches on the flood light. We rarely use it in an effort to conserve its power, and most times I would tell him not to worry about it, but I’ve never heard an animal like that even though I’ve been hunting since I was a little girl.
“Ever heard that before?” I ask under my breath.
“No.” He shakes his head. “Do you think it could be-”
“There!” Gabby shrieks, her arms wrapping around my waist like a vice.
Zach jerks the light back and- it sits atop a raft, with a long piece of wood as an ore in its long hands. Its body is slender but large, the kind of slender built for speed. It gnashes rows of long teeth that come to sharp, ragged ends, glinting starkly white against a body darker than black. Its eyes are beads, only visible because of the light bouncing off of them, revealing a hungry glint.
“Kat,” Zach’s voice is a tight whisper.
I have no words to give him for comfort.
Shadows have never come out on the water. We don’t know why, but they don’t like it. Maybe they’re adapting, maybe this one is desperate for a child to eat. At least that’s what I think they do with the children they steal. They never eat the adults, they slaughter them mercilessly, but they don’t eat them. I’ve wondered if the slaughtering of adults is a scare tactic. They’ve proven to be intelligent, strategic creatures on multiple occasions.
“What is it doing out this far?” Mia’s voice is steady and low.
My body is frozen in place as Zach rustles beside me. The moment I move it could charge across the water, I can’t eve blink. Blinking could get us all killed. I stare into its hideous demon eyes, knowing the second I look away will be an act of submission or weakness. I refuse to show either.
“Mia, hold this for me, will you?” Zach asks. She’s only twelve, but she’s one of the bravest souls aboard the boat.
She takes the floodlight and holds it high and steady. “It’s not moving,” She says after a few seconds.
The creature opens its mouth and that odd, chirping roar echos toward us again, its black body rippling like waves with each croaking chirp.
Zach shoves a rifle into my hands and I don’t take my eyes from the creature. “Why would it be out here all alone?” I whisper to him.
“What?” He’s rustling through one of the boxes.
“They don’t travel alone, remember?” I say. “They’re like wolves, always traveling in packs.” It’s something we’ve learned over time. If you see one Shadow it means that there’s at least one more close by.
He stands up and looks at me. “Maybe it’s a reject. Wolves do that, don’t they?”
“I don’t-” Darkness fills my vision and I’m shoved to the ground by an icy heaviness. My head slaps hard against the deck as a scream pierces the air.
Every wisp of air shoves from my lungs with the impact. Shouts fill the air around me, matched by shrill, animal screams.
My head is warm as I stand, my vision fuzzy. Zach shoves the kids below deck, shouting at me, but his voice is distant and garbled with the ringing in my ears. I grab my rifle and shoot for the first black shape I see. It moves at lightning speed, barely illuminated by our glowing firelight. They thrive in the darkness. It’s our greatest weakness.
The rifle fires and my ears ring with a screech. It’s not human, and it’s not the hungry cry we heard at dusk, either. It’s pain. I shot one.
Fiery triumph courses through my bloodstream.
Vicious snarls and growls assault me from all angles and teeth gnash in my peripheral. The gun flies from my hands and pain shoots through my arm like an electric wave. I fall to the deck again, held down by the black monster, its foul smell choking me and weight pressing on my lungs.
A gunshot sounds in the night and the creature pulls back with another pained scream, its eye gleaming with fury.
Mia stands, feet braced apart and hands shaking, a pistol held high. The pressure of the body on top of me disappears and everything in me screams.
“Mia, run!” I shout as I jump to my feet.
A weight collides with me and I slam onto the floor again.
I push myself to my feet as Mia’s scream rings out in the silent night like a siren. A dark arm is snaked around her waist, pulling her to the edge of the ship faster than I can think.
“Mia!” Zach runs past me and I follow on his heels. We reach the edge of the ship and Mia’s screaming grows distant in the dark night. “Mia!” Zach screams louder than I’ve ever heard and begins to haul himself off the edge of the ship.
“We can’t!” I grab onto him, pulling as he struggles against my grasp.
“I’m not leaving her!” He turns and shouts in my face.
“And you’ll leave them?” I shout back, waving my arm below deck. “They’re still here and they’re trusting us to protect them!”
“And Mia isn’t?” He snaps. “One of us has to go after her!”
“You know as well as I do that we won’t see her again.” I lower my voice, I don’t want to kids to hear.
“So you’re giving up?” Zach’s face is tight and his voice quivers. “We can find her!”
“And what good will it do Mia if you throw yourself over the edge of this ship and go running into Shadow territory? You wouldn’t be on land for two seconds before they were on you.”
His chest rises and falls with heavy breaths, his dark eyes piercing mine with a fury. I don’t know if the anger is because of me or because of the situation, but I can’t let him get himself killed or hurt the kids. I can’t take care of them by myself.
“We need you here,” I whisper harshly. “These kids need you. I need you.”
“Mia needs us,” He whispers weakly, his shoulders slumping as his eyes fill with tears.
“We’ll look for her tomorrow.” I set a hand on his shoulder. “We aren’t going to abandon her. But we have to be smart about this. Besides,” I look out into the darkness. I can’t hear Mia’s screaming anymore. “We can’t stay here anymore.”

♦ ♦ ♦

I stare at the door, rifle in hand.
We barricaded ourselves into the only one door and no windows. Not even a porthole at the top of the room. Zach woke me a few hours ago to keep watch while he sleeps, Sabrina curled up in his lap.
The flood light sits in the corner, pointed at the ceiling to distribute its light. It works well enough, but nothing compares to warm sunlight. My watch says it’s after 7AM, so the sun should be risen by now, but I want the kids to get enough rest for the long journey.
“Is it early enough?” I glance at Cody. He was shifting enough that I thought he was awake.
“I don’t know,” I answer. “But I want them to get enough rest.”
“We should get started as early as possible.”
“I know.” Mia’s pale face flashes through my mind.
Zach and I didn’t put it together until late into the night. The first Shadow calling out in the water was a diversion. These things are smart, maybe smarter than us. I don’t know how they got away so quickly. They had to have spotted me on my run and followed me back, then used the cover of darkness to attack.
I took a risk and stayed out too long hunting and Mia is gone because of it.
Sky blue eyes that sparkled with gumption, framed by long black hair. She was beautiful.
I wait a half hour to wake Zach.
He wakes with a sharp breath, “What’s wrong?” He sits up straight, making Sabrina stir.
“It’s just getting late, we need to move.”
He nods and I wake up the twins.
A few minutes later once they’ve fully woken up, rubbing the sleep from their eyes, Zach holds the door handle. “Ready?” He asks.
I nod, readying my finger on the trigger of my rifle. It scares me some days how natural it’s become to carry weapons everywhere and check dark corners for monsters.
Zach swings the door open and steps out into the hallway. Sunlight sines down the narrow hallway, but that doesn’t mean a Shadow isn’t hiding. Which is what Zach is looking for as he creeps away from us, and why I’m staying here guarding the kids.
“All good,” He calls back.
I sling the rifle onto my back and balance sleepy Sabrina on my hip, the other three following me down the hallway. I peek in the other rooms, double checking behind Zach, but everything seems safe. They got what they wanted last night.
The sunlight is bright and brings attention to the throbbing in my head. There’s a lump back there and Lewis keeps fussing about a concussion, and an infection in the cuts on my arm. They sting like someone charged them with electricity.
Zach sits on the deck, a map rolled out in front of him. “They took her that way.” He points south.
I sit down next to him, pulling Sabrina closer, letting her hide her face in my neck. She had nightmares  of her family being slaughtered all night, paired with Mia’s kidnapping.
Zach has to know we can’t get Mia back. Not without risking the other four kids that we’ve managed to keep alive this long. He’s too emotional for me to say that, though. He’ll blow up and we’ll never get anything done.
“We need to get off the lake,” I say. “They’re figuring out ways through the water which makes us sitting ducks with clipped wings. We aren’t far from the coast. If we stick to open roads we could get there before dark.” I tap the ocean on the map. It’s our best bet.
“What about Mia?” Gabby looks from me to Zach. He and I don’t disagree often, but this will definitely be one of those times.
“Mia’s gone,” Cody says. “We all know that. Going after her will be useless and just get more people killed.”
Sabrina buries her damp face further into my shoulder with soft sniffles. She’s only four, she shouldn’t have to be living in this hell.
“The way they took her is the same direction we’ll have to go to get to the coast.” Lewis inspects the map closely. “We can keep to the water by traveling through the mire.”
“The what?” Gabby stares at him.
“It’s a synonym for swamp,” He says, still looking at the map.
Gabby sighs and rolls her eyes. “Why can’t you talk like a normal nine-year-old?”
“Because I refuse to stoop to their level of intelligence.” He shrugs.
“We have to travel on land,” Zach says quietly. “Open roads with plenty of light.” His eyebrows pull closely together and he puckers his lips. “That’s what you said, right?” He looks at me.
I nod, hugging Sabrina close. Zach is accepting that we can’t go after Mia. If we were to find her, and if she were still alive, she would be in the middle of a gang of Shadows. We can barely fend off one. Surviving an entire nest of them would be an incredible, but extremely unrealistic, feat. Mia is gone and going after her would be useless. I want to hunt down those Shadows and find her, but I don’t think she would want us to risk it.
“We pack light.” I stand, Sabrina still in my arms. “Necessities only.”
“What do we do when we get to the coast?” Lewis always wants concrete plans.
Zach sighs, “We’ll figure it out when we get there.”


Zach shuts off the boat’s motor, letting us drift into the dock. I keep my eyes on the trees. We found the brightest and most open dock we could. I just hope it’s open and bright enough.
I hop down to the dock, Cody following suit. We help Lewis and Gabby down and Zach jumps down with Sabrina hanging onto his back.
My backpack is heavier than the others since I didn’t want to make the kids carry too much. Zach and I are used to carrying more because of our runs. Sabrina is still so young that Zach keeps her on his back, so I have the heavy supplies.
We follow the road, Lewis reading off directions to the coast. None of the kids have mention Mia in an hour of walking and I think they’ve resigned themselves to the fact that we won’t be seeing her again. They would have to come to terms with it eventually, but they’re learning to cope too quickly. At such young, influential ages being in this environment, being so used to death, I worry they’re going to become hard. I worry Cody already is. Zach and I have over twenty years of memories before everything went dark, but they’re kids. Kids who had been living hard lives and then had them become that much harder.
Sabrina sleeps on Zach’s back and I know he must be tired, but I let him carry her. They have an unusual bond, always comforting each other only with their presence. As tired as he may get, it will be far easier for him to have her close.
“I’m hungry.” Gabby breaks the long silence. I glance at my watch; it’s 2pm already. We’ve been walking for hours and we only ate a light breakfast.
“Let’s take a quick break,” Zach says.
He fishes into bags and pulls out cans of fruit and soup, sitting on the road with the kids. As hot and tired as I am, I can’t sit. We’re getting close, only a few more hours of walking and we’ll be able to see the ocean. I don’t like sitting still when I’m on my own, and especially not with a group of kids.
Birds fly from trees to telephone lines in a large group. They usually become quiet and restless like this when Shadows are nearby. They should be chirping and hiding from the summer heat, but they sit in the sunlight instead, some bathing in puddles to cool off.
I peer at the windows of nearby buildings as best as I can from here. Shadows wouldn’t dare attack in the sunlight. They never do.
“Aren’t you going to eat, Kat?” Gabby’s voice is muffled by her full mouth.
“I’m not hungry.” I smile at her.
I don’t want to let on that Shadows are nearby. They’re probably following us, waiting for us to trip up so they can attack.
Zach only glances at me, but it’s all I need. We’ve gotten used to communicating with nothing but eye contact. He gives me a slight nod and tosses me a water bottle. He spends the next few minutes reminding the kids to hurry so we can get moving. My water is hot and unsatisfying.
Branches in the woods crack and break, and another flock of birds fly from a tree, moving quickly to get away from the danger that lies within their home.
I peer between the trees and dark shapes move in the shade. A head pokes out from behind a tree, watching us with beady eyes from its shaded haven. “Let’s go.” I glance back and Zach is already standing, hauling Sabrina on his back.
The day becomes hotter as it stretches into afternoon and the heat radiates off of the concrete in waves, making it unbearable.
When we hit the interstate, abandoned cars lining it, the kids start behaving uncomfortably. Forest lines both sides of us and we have no escape if something goes wrong.We never did, but at least they had an illusion of safety.
Another hour goes by and it’s almost five in the afternoon.
“How close are we, Lewis?” I ask. We still have a few hours until sunset, but we have to account time for finding a boat to get into the water. And how we’ll survive in the ocean with no land to make runs to? Are we going to take the kids out to sea so they can slowly die from dehydration?
“A few miles…” He’s barely stopped looking at the map. I’m glad he has something to distract himself with. I wish I could give the others a distraction. Gabby’s not talking. On any other day we would call it a miracle, but she’s scared and missing Mia. They were almost as close as she and Lewis.
“How are you doing?” I ask Cody, matching his stride, but placing myself between him and the tree line. He’s been drifting too close and I worry it’s intentional.
“Hot, tired.” He shrugs. “But we all are.”
“Anything you want to talk about?” I give him a pointed look. If he is intentionally wandering toward the forest it’s a stupid plan. He’s unarmed and wouldn’t last.
“No.” He looks straight into my eyes.
That was his mistake because I know he’s lying. Forced eye contact has always been his tell.
But maybe he’s thinking about Mia. He could be missing her like the rest of us. I hope that it’s only a matter of him not wanting to talk about her and not planning a suicide mission.

♦ ♦ ♦

“We’re here!” Lewis beams proudly, pointing at the ocean.
We can see it, but we still have about a mile to go before we actually reach it. And we have to figure out a plan to get out into the water without dying after a week or two.
A town lies between us and the shore, and so does a storm. The wind is strong and cool, the sun hidden behind churning dark clouds.
“We need to hurry,” Zach says, walking to the front of the group. I stay at the back so the kids are in sight at all times. There’s enough shade that we stand a chance of being attacked.
Cody kept wandering earlier and Zach ended up calling him over and they talked about a number of random things. I’m just relieved Zach noticed Cody’s behavior. My sister was a lot like Cody. She was angry that our family had been killed, and when our little brother was taken it was the last straw. She went on a rampage and tried to kill as many Shadows as she could.
I don’t think she got one.
Zach is the only one here who knows about her. He was with me the night she ran off, her screams filling the air. That was the night he held me back the way I did for him last night. Except he didn’t leave fingernail marks on my arms.
The city is full of short, abandoned buildings that keep the streets as bright a they can be with these clouds.
A warm raindrop falls on my face and I wipe it away.
It only takes a few moments for the rain to pour from the sky in a veil that obscures my vision. I make Gabby and Lewis hold on to my backpack so that I can feel them, and I keep a firm grip on Cody’s arm. I won’t let him run off and get himself killed.
Zach walks a few steps in front of me, Sabrina hanging on his back like a soaking wet koala bear.
I run into Sabrina when Zach stops suddenly. “What are you doing?” I shout over the noise of the rain.
“Kat, get your gun!” He shouts back, panicked.
I grab the rifle slug over my shoulder and hold it ready. “What is it?” I shout over the rain as is pours down my face and into my eyes. If this rain would quiet down a bit communicating would be much easier.
“Shadow,” He says. I grab Lewis and Gabby to make sure they’re still there.
“They don’t like water!” I shout back, my voice shaking. My heart hammers in my chest as I squint into the gray blind.
“I saw it,” He shouts back. “I’m sure!”
“We need to run,” Cody shouts. Zach nods and I make sure Lewis and Gabby are in front of me, then we start running.
Water splashes as we run through the streets as fast as we can. Every now and then I see a dark shape darting through the rain.
This doesn’t make sense. They don’t like water. Unless it’s large bodies of water… Maybe they can’t swim and water has no effect on them. How much of what we think we’ve learned is wrong?
A dark shape comes barreling toward us through the rain. I shove Gabby and Lewis out of its path and the figure crashes into me.
I fall into the wet street, the heavy body on top of me. Its growling oddly clear and loud through the sound of the rain that pounds on my face.
Something sharp and stinging scratches my arm and I shove at the Shadow. Someone shouts distantly, my name, I think.
The Shadow’s face comes closer to mine, jaw opening widely to show its jagged glass-like teeth.
I shove at its head, my hands cutting on its fangs. It’s strong, though. Too strong. My arms shake, my muscles giving way.
Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to let it end me right here, right now. It would be quick. But how can I beg Zach to stay with me and the kids and then desert him without a fight?
I shoving at the creature’s face with one hand and grab a knife from my hip with the other. A dark, slender hand wraps around mine and my wrist burns in agony as sharp claws dig into my skin like knives fresh out of a fire.
I won’t scream.
A muffled bang sounds through the rain and the Shadow turns to dead weight, falling on top of me in a limp, cold pile.
Hands yank the dead body off of me and I take Zach’s hand, letting him pull me up.
“Are you okay?” A man I don’t know shouts through the rain.
I shove him back and pull up my rifle. “Who are you?” I shout. “Where is Zach?” I look around, but I don’t see anyone else. “Where are they?” I shout over the rain.
“With my group.” He holds out his hands. “We have a ship. It’s safe!”
“Why should I trust you?”
He sighs and holds his hand up to shield his face from the water. His lips pucker and he whistles a choppy tune.
I lower my gun. “Take me to the ship.”


“That’s it?” I ask, staring at the tiny boat at the end of the marina dock. It’s even smaller than The Nomad.
“No.” The man shakes his head. “We have to ride out to the big one.”
We hurry down the dock and a figure waits beside the ship. Zach.
He squeezes me in a tight hug. “The kids are fine,” He says loudly, the rain still pounding around us. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah.” I nod. Long scratches run down both arms now, my palms are cut and stinging from its teeth, and my wrist bleeds from the deep gashes caused by its claws. My head is hurting too. I think I might have hit it again. “Good call on the whistle,” I say.
“I have a few of those every now and then.” He smiles, but it’s not the one that makes his eyes light up.
The ride on the little boat is rough in the choppy sea. Lewis and Gabby curl up beside me, all of us under a blanket. They both keep saying that I saved their lives, and all I keep thinking about is that Mia isn’t here. I didn’t save her life. We never even looked for her. Maybe we should have, but we barely made it here alive without any detours.
“You didn’t scream.” The man who killed the Shadow stares at me curiously.
“I’m sorry?” I ask.
“When they’re about to die, they always scream.” With a grim expression plastered on his face he turns his back to me.
The ones I’ve known that died by the Shadows do scream, I always remember the screams. It’s why I told myself that if it came down to a Shadow killing me I wouldn’t scream. My sister’s screams were the last time I ever heard her voice. I don’t want Zach or the kids to live with their last memory of me being the sounds of me futilely screaming for a life that I’d already lost.
I stare at the man’s back.
His people supposedly live on a cargo ship. They make occasional runs to shore to get what they need and pick up anyone who might be looking for safety. But they have an enormous stockpile of goods. The man says it was a miracle they were on land when we were attacked by that Shadow, but I hardly believe in miracles these days. Something doesn’t feel quite right about it, but how could they have known we would be there? And what could they even want with us?
Maybe it was a miracle. I don’t trust these people yet, and neither does Zach. Maybe over time we’ll come to trust. But for now Zach says they’re our only shot, and he’s right.
I just hope it’s the right shot.

Copyright© 2014 by Caroline Keeth


“Just keep writing, just keep writing. Just keep writing writing writing, what do we do? We write, write!”

Can anyone guess what I’m up to?
I’ve finally started my fourth draft! :imagine squealing and flailing arms as I try to expend my pent up energy:

It’s been nearly two months since I finished my previous draft and I’ve been dying to get back into this story. I had a lot of work I needed to do first, so my time was well spent.
I didn’t realize just how much I had missed these characters and this world until I got back into my writing two days ago and was literally shaking from excitement! In these past two months I have figured out so much, added so much to my world and my characters and to my plot. I’ve only written 16,000 words so far but this is easily my favorite draft.
I’m finally getting the hang of balancing everything and pulling all of the elements together into one cohesive work.
Writing sounds fairly easy, but in reality it’s one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. You have to balance characters, world and plot, you have to make all of them strong but not over done and they all have to harmonize. You have to have conflict, but not too much and not in such a way that it’s annoying.
So much goes into writing! I’ve had to research so much and I’ve learned so much. While I have to do a lot of work for it, I don’t want to stop. I love doing this so much I don’t care what I have to do and really I love the research and the learning. Everyday I’m learning something new, whether it be about another element to writing or that being ignored causes the same chemical reaction in the brain as experiencing a physical injury. I will never stop learning and I feel like writing is something that helps me learn new things, because you aren’t just a writer. You have to be a soldier, a doctor, an orphan, a brilliant scientist or a wise old man. Being a writer is being whatever your characters are. I think there’s something beautifully inspiring and magical in that.

And since I like to put my photography in my posts, I came across this self portrait I took about a year ago. It’s probably one of my favorites. :)

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Insight Into My Process ~ The Writing Process Blog Tour

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Hello again! Yes, I know, it’s been ages since I last posted. I’ve decided I’m going to stop trying to force myself into blogging and just do it the stress free way – Post whenever I feel like it!

You may be curious as to what this “Writing Process Blog Tour” is. Allow me to explain.
I’m in a writing group on Facebook that a writer friend of mine invited me to. I’m not very active on it, but when someone posted asking if any of their fellow members had a blog I had this vibe (my word for gut feelings) that I should comment on the post. I rarely say anything in there, but I went with it.
Not five minutes later I was contacted by Mrs. Kathryn Lang, who asked if I would like to join in on this endeavor that writer/bloggers are taking up as a community. (By writers, I mean novel writers, thus the distinction between blogger and writer.)
Being in my own little bubble, in my own little corner of the South, I was quite delighted to accept. As I journey further into my world of novel writing I am grasping at any chance I may get to join in on the writing community.
This little tour is made up of four simple questions, which I will try to answer simply, but also satisfactorily.

Before I get started I would like to once again mention Mrs. Lang. you can find her contribution to this blogging tour Here.
As I mentioned above, I met Mrs. Lang through a Facebook group. I’m not very familiar with her, or her work, but I do like what I see. Please take a few minutes to look at her site and books!

Now, to pass along the baton, I’ve selected two other writer/bloggers. They will be posting their answers to these same four questions on their blogs this upcoming Monday (June 2nd). Please take the time to read their posts, as I’m sure they will do marvelously!

First up, Miss Elizabeth Kaiser. She is the author of “The Jeweler’s Apprentice” (which I am currently reading, and enjoying!), and its sequel, “The Traitor’s Knife” You can find her blog Here. I am proud to say I call this sweet girl my friend. I met her through an online forum for homeschoolers and we got to know each other through our mutual love for weaving tales.

The second young lady I will be passing this fun along to is Miss Hazel West. You can find her blog Here. She is an accomplished indie author, having five self-published titles! “Freedom Come All Ye“, “Ballad of the Highwayman“, “On a Foreign Field“, “By Blood or By Bond“(along with it’s companion back-stories), and “A Case of Poisons“, the first book in her Anthony Maxwell mystery series. I have not gotten to read any of her works yet, but they look wonderful, and I hope to become better acquainted with her in the future! 

Without any further ado, here are the questions, and my answers!


1. What are you working on?

My current project is the first novel in a series.
These are the genres in which it fits: YA, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Adventure, Action, Suspense, and Thriller.

I have a few other projects I would like to work on in the future, but currently I’m trying to focus on this one. The next story I hope to work on will hopefully be series of fairy tale re-tellings. I have a Pinterest board I use to pin any inspiration I come across so I can focus my efforts on one project, but I still have what I need when the time comes to move on to the other stories.
Here is a little synopsis that I put together for the big (dystopian) project I’m working on (co-author and co-editor of synopsis, Hannah, my big sister):

Mira and Tess seem polar opposites, with one exception: loyalty to their families even at their own expense. Their home lies inside of what used to be known as the American republic. An autonomous “haven” in the deep-south, sealed off from the chaos and destruction of the surrounding world. It’s a militaristic society fueled by competition and full of constrictions and scrutiny.
They are unexpectedly drafted for a special-ops team whose sole purpose is to be sent into the outside world for an important mission: Find a legendary war hero who they learn isn’t a hero at all before the rebels that they’ve only just leaned exist do. Sent along with the team on their journey is an embedded news crew to report to the masses back home.
They’ve been told their entire lives to look out for themselves, but now the girls must learn to work as a cohesive team with eight others, all barely adults.
Both sides need this man for their own end-game. If the rebels win, the civilization the girls have known their entire lives could come crumbling down around them.
On a mission for their country and their families, they must learn what they believe: About right and wrong, the people around them, when to listen to your own voice and when to listen to another’s, and the line between staying true to yourself and knowing when to change and grow.

Alright, there’s what I’m working on! I’m not sure how long it will be until it’s finished, but I’m just taking this one chapter at a time and hoping something comes out of it. :)


2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I recruited my sister to write this list for me so that it’s accurate (INTJs don’t mess around with this kind of thing).

– Romance is practically non-existent in the first book. (No promises for future books, though. ;))
– It’s set in Louisiana and there is no paranormal element to it.
– Though being dystopian/post apocalyptic the city isn’t in complete ruins and there is a great deal of nature.
– A unique sense of humor. Each character has their own distinctive style.
– There are more shades of gray within characters than there is black and white.
– Dual POVs (Point of view).
– The culture and feel of the world are unique in that it has a subtle mix of various time periods. It has splashes of modern and advanced technologies where old fashioned meets futuristic.

These two aren’t unique to my writing, but Hannah says they are strong suits.
– Girls have minds of their own, but there is still a respect for men.
– Strong, diverse, and varied characters.


3. Why do you write what you write?

Firstly, while my current WIP(work in progress) may be a specific type of genre, I do not plan on sticking with this genre for the rest of my writing days. I plan to write whatever story needs to be told. I write what I feel needs to be said, I write to encourage people and to hopefully help others through struggles I’ve been through. There are books that helped me realize I wasn’t alone in my situations, however dark and difficult those situations may have been, or are, I could feel that others understood. They gave me somewhere I could go when I needed a break from the heartache of life. My hope is that someday I can give someone else that refuge, that hope. The knowledge that they aren’t alone and that they always have a place that they can go and feel safe with characters that feel real and familiar. If I can do that for even one person, then all of my work will have been worth it. I may be shooting for the stars, but I’d rather shoot for the stars and fail than tell myself it’ll never happen and not even try.


4. How does your writing process work?

My writing process is “flying by the seat of my pants.” and “I’ll figure it out as I go.”
When I started my first draft of this novel I had no information aside from character names and personalities. I used my first draft as a tool to discover my world and the story that is trying so hard to be told. The second draft was very different from the first. I had a semblance of a plot and more of an idea of the world but it still wasn’t quite there. I am now preparing to begin my fourth draft. I look back to where I started and am in awe. My writing process is so scatter brained I wonder how I got anywhere at all! It works though, so I don’t question it. I find it to be quite fun actually. I just write as I go. Scene by scene. I have no idea how this series will end, and I’m happy with that. Many writers plot and plan most every scene, then just fill in the little gaps with description and dialogue and give it life. I go from scene to scene, with a vague idea of what needs to happen, but for me it has to evolve. If I try to set up anything strict I become stressed because I feel I have to work toward something set in stone.
An example: I’ve tried to do NaNoWriMo(National Novel Writing Month, the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November) two years in a row now and have failed miserably and ended up quitting both times. It isn’t the fact that I’m incapable, because I wrote over 100,000 words in under a month without any problem just this last March. I work in a very loose manner, letting things grow as I go. I don’t like deadlines and strict “You must write this many words a day to accomplish this goal!” It’s too much pressure, and if there is one thing to know about me; it’s that I do not like pressure.

When I get an idea it’s a very vague thing. I got the idea for one story I plan to work on in the future by listening to “Long Live” by Taylor Swift while driving through a neighborhood in Louisiana with some lovely old doors. The inspiration for this series I am currently working on came from reading the first and second books in the “Divergent” trilogy by Veronica Roth.
The story has progressed by leaps and bounds since it began and is now becoming its own, unique story.
When it comes to my ideas I don’t know what I have until I sit down and write the story. After I wrote the first draft and figured a lot out, Hannah and I sat down with dry erase boards, notebooks, and a plethora of pens to brainstorm. We sit down and use whatever method is necessary, be it serenading a bathroom floor mat, or covering a wall in post-it notes. I think for any writer the best tool is an open-minded brain storming partner. Someone who sees no idea as crazy or impossible. Because that has been my biggest help through it all, someone I could talk anything out with and didn’t have to worry about getting weird looks or having my ideas shot down without being fully considered.
On the outside my writing process looks disorganized(which I’m sure it is to an extent), chaotic, and downright befuddling. The point to it all isn’t how it looks, but how it works, and work it most definitely does!

That does it then! I hope I haven’t bored you to tears with all of this, but I have never been know as one to use few words. I’m excited to see how my process adjusts the further I get with this and how I’ll handle the hardcore editing stages.
I will try and update the blog when I can and keep any readers I have up to date with what’s going on with my life. Thank you for taking the time to read this and as I requested before, please take a few minutes to check out the other women I mentioned in this post!


Paper Cranes

I suck at this blog thing.  They say it’s the thought that counts, so A+ for effort, right?

Currently I’m at a place in my novel writing where I can’t think of anything else to write about, but I desperately need to post something. I decided to post some of my favorite pictures that I’ve taken. Most of them are newer pictures, a few are old ones that I really like.(Posted in no particular order)

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Words Can Be Uplifting Or Destructive. Choose Them Carefully.

Chronic Lyme disease is not something that is easy to live with. I live in constant pain, I have very little energy, and my memory is getting worse everyday. Often I feel isolated and lonely. There are times I feel like crying because I just get so tired of living like this. Everyday I have to remind myself that this is all for a purpose. That God is using it in my life for His will, and His glory, and that this is all part of His plan to help me grow in my walk and become closer to Him.

For people who aren’t sick, it’s a difficult concept to grasp that I’m always ill. Some part of me is always hurting. It never goes away. Most people are used to getting sick every now and then, they get a flu and they can check out for a few days and rest up, get better then get back into the groove of things. People like me can’t do that. We have to push through, we have to work through the pain.

There are several common responses that my sisters and I receive when people learn that we have a chronic illness. Some of them are quite rude, and some downright hurtful and ridiculous.

“You aren’t seeing doctors to be treated?” There are so many times that people behave as if we’re heathens for not going to the professionals for our treatments. Our family has chosen to go the natural route for many reasons. And despite what many people think, the natural route does work and it’s far less taxing than the treatments by the medical “professionals”.

“God wants you to be better.” This one bothers me because if God wanted me to be better I would be. He has complete control over my health and He does not want me to be better. By stating that He wishes me to be better, it is also saying that he is out of control of the situation, which denies His sovereignty.

The response that takes the cake is not only rude and unkind, it’s downright unbiblical: “You’re sick because of some terrible sin in your life. You need to repent and God will heal you.” I cannot even stress how wrong this statement is. How infuriating it is when a person says this to me. To look at a person who lives everyday in pain, in suffering and instead of trying to lift them up you try to tell them that they are “In sin and need to repent” not only puts off a holier than thou air, it’s wrong scripturally.  An example I have is Job. God allowed all of that sickness, tragedy and tormenting to happen to Job. Was it because Job was sinning terribly? No. In fact, God allowed it because He knew that Job was faithful and even through all of those trials Job would not turn away from God. Does anybody remember Job’s friends? “If you will seek God and plead with the Almighty for mercy, if you are pure and upright, surely then he will rouse himself for you and restore your rightful habitation.” (Job 8:5-6) His friends told him he was in sin and if he only repented all would be well. We are to lift one another up, this is not uplifting or kind. Would you say this to a person who found out they had cancer? Or to a woman who had a miscarriage? No. Because it would be unkind and disheartening. It is the same principle.

Living with a chronic illness is not easy, if you know someone who lives with one, I beg you to please consider your words carefully. Consider how you would feel in their shoes if someone repeated your words to you. In essence these words are kicking a man while he is down. No one wants to be treated like this, so why would you do it to someone else?

I would like to make it clear that this isn’t a rant post, this is a problem that myself and others like me deal with often. People who don’t live with chronic diseases and illnesses don’t understand the implications or meaning of their words sometimes. And personally, I feel that if I don’t say how these sound and make people feel I’m doing a disservice to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

If you have said things like this to someone, please don’t take offense to this, but rather use it as an opportunity to grow. Maybe even apologize to the person you may have said these things to. We all make mistakes and we all have issues. I have many myself. I write this because I want others to point out the way my words may be insensitive or hurtful, and if I want others to do so for me I should do the same for them. Our tongues are powerful tools that can either build or destroy, we must be careful to guard them and ensure that we’re using them for good.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” ~ Ephesians 4:29


“Don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flower?”

“You’ve Got Mail” is a classic in my book. Kathleen and I have many a thing in common, including our love of daisies. To me, white daises are the best flower. They’re cute, simple, happy, and there’s just something innocent about them.(Pretty sure they actually mean ‘innocent’ in flower language.)

Tomorrow is my 18th birthday! It’s not something that’s ever bothered me. It’s just another number. At least, I thought that until it started getting closer. Now I feel as if there’s this responsibility I have. I’m going to be an adult, I should do stuff. Now, what stuff I don’t know. It’s not exactly as if my health allows me to do much of anything.

I’m going to be starting treatment for my Lyme right after my birthday. Most likely, this year will be spent taking meds, reading, and writing my little fingers off. Throw in some housework and some trips out somewhere when cabin fever starts to kick in. Hopefully a few photography field trips, as well. And most likely, several trips up to Louisiana to visit with family(yay!).

Also, I think I’m ready to start the 3rd draft of my hopefully one day novel! Things will be changing. A lot. Again. Surprise surprise. For those of you who don’t understand. My writing style is typically refereed to as a “Pantser”. Basically I fly by the seed of my pants, winging it all. When I started my first draft I knew nothing about my novel except for the names of my characters and that it was futuristic. I used my first draft to figure things out. The second draft was more of that, working on my weaknesses and figuring out what exactly was supposed to be going on. I would have started my 3rd draft by now, except that I had some major things to work out. You know, like my characters actually having some sort of goal that they were working toward. Downsides of being an ENFP; I’m great at individual scenes, emotion, and characters. It’s the plot and thinking ahead that I get stuck on. Which is big when you’re shooting for a novel that will probably be more than one book… I’m learning though! Failing isn’t something I’m scared of because I have to fail to learn from my mistakes. The likely root of this fearlessness is because I can make sure the mistake never sees the light of day. ;) I am learning, writing a novel is no easy task. But it is fun, and worth the work it takes, and I have a feeling by the time I get to the end of this I’m going to be very happy with my work. I figured out my major problem last night while cleaning the kitchen(when I come up with my best work), and now my charries have goals! Let the games being!

I realized I haven’t put up any pictures recently! Here are some of my birthday flowers, and Hannah’s birthday double rainbow yesterday! (If you’re feeling confused about birthdays right about now; Hannah’s birthday is on March 5th(she turned 21), mine is on the 7th. We also have a cousin’s who is on the 6th(today!). Cool, huh?)
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It’s hard to see, but the second rainbow is off to the right.

Happy weekend everyone!

“Once Upon A Time”

Disclaimer: Any opinions I express are purely my own, personal opinions. I have absolutely nothing against the people who enjoy this show! :) 


For those of you that are unaware, I am soon to start the third draft of a novel I hope to someday have published. I’ve been working toward this goal for some time now, and have been doing endless hours of research. Reading tips from the pros, reading and re-reading my favorite novels to dissect them and learn what it is I love about them. I’ve also been watching and reading some things I don’t enjoy  for the same reasons. To dissect and learn what it is I don’t like about them.
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I’m sure many of us are familiar with ABC’s hit drama “Once Upon A Time”. For those of you who aren’t; The show depicts classic fairy tale characters that have been sent to our world, a small town on the east coast called “Story Brooke”. Snow White’s evil step mother has put a curse on these characters so that they don’t remember their fairy tale lives in “The Enchanted Forest” (their home land). Emma, our main heroine, is brought to Story Brooke by her son, Henry, who lives with his adopted mother. The evil queen who sent everyone to our world and cursed them. They fight to break the curse and return everyone’s memories, and the show goes on from there.

Like many, I watched it every week. For two seasons I did this. As I watched the show each week something nagged at me. There was something about the show I didn’t quite like. I boiled it down to the soap opera writing style. Dramatic, over done and cheesy at times. It was one of the things I didn’t like about the show. However, I realized more recently, when giving the show another shot due to some writing advice I had read, what was actually putting me off.

The show is a rip-off. You may think I’m being harsh, but let’s look at this. Many of the characters are obviously based off of their Disney counterparts. Not the originals.  “Once Upon A Time” changes things up, just enough, that people don’t notice(and maybe to even avoid copyright infringement). They throw everyone into the real world void of magic. They make Captain hook an anti-hero. They throw in Cora, Henry, and Emma, who are not from the original stories. I will say, Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin is by far the best and most original character on the show. He is well written, and the most complex character there is.

Saying that, the show is not just a rip-off, it’s also poorly written. The writers seem to be trying to grasp at the concept of complexity, but they don’t seem to have the understanding of how to accomplish it. The family tree in this show is incredibly confusing. And not in the Steven Moffat, Who is River Song? Good way. Many people in this show are related, almost everyone has met(I’m not saying every character, but many of them have)  at some point or another.

Another point, the one that bothers me most  in this show, is how black and white they paint things. The bad guys are evil, they may try to redeem themselves but deep down they can’t really change. The good guys are perfect. You may argue that they’ve made mistakes, and you would be right. But they aren’t realistic mistakes. The good guys make small mistakes, and they always have a good reason. When one of the good guys on the show kills one of the bad guys(I’m leaving out names to avoid spoilers to those who enjoy the show and haven’t seen this bit yet), the heart of said good guy starts “turning black”. The act of killing the bad guy, who was killing many other people and threatening to hurt others, has made this person’s heart start to turn black. Their reputation of perfection,  never committing any crime or holding issue with any person, has been completely ruined and now they are turning evil(this is where I stopped watching, so I can’t tell you how it was resolved). The character did do something that wasn’t necessarily right, but you could also argue it was self defense and protecting those around her.

The show’s entire outlook on good versus bad is twisted into what society wants it to be. They don’t show that the heroes are human and they make mistakes. They follow the usual, villain says “You’re just like me.” and the hero responds, “I am nothing like you.” then go to prove that they are, in fact, nothing like the villain. This is a big issue to me. Heroes should be broken, they should have made horrible mistakes, had a person they loved and trusted like family betray them. They should have a dark, ugly, and heart breaking past. They should have that, because it’s human. It’s what everyone goes through. We all have stories that would break the hearts of our friends, it’s something that’s unavoidable. Because in order to grow, you have to break. You have to hit rock bottom before you can climb back to where you were and keep climbing to go higher than ever before. We learn from our mistakes, we learn what we believe in by learning what we don’t.

The same goes for villains. Their story should be just as broken, but the difference is they chose a different path. The difference between a good villain and a good hero, is that the hero chose to become better, to let his past shape him into a better person. A villain is the same. Only his path leads to more destruction. Still though, he is a hero in his own eyes, he believes he’s doing what is right. In his own twisted logic, he is a hero. It’s not as black and white as the show portrays it.

That, is my biggest issue with this show. The story feels like a story, the characters feel like characters. They don’t feel real. They don’t feel real because there are no gray areas. There is one line, the line that separates good from evil. That isn’t how life is, that isn’t human nature, it isn’t how we were created. We break, we fall, we rise and we glue ourselves back together, only to do it all over again hundreds of times over for the rest of our lives.

“If You’re not Veronica Roth…”

“If you’re not Veronica Roth calling to apologize, I don’t want to hear it.” That is what I was about to say to the sales call I got from Illinois shortly after finishing “Allegiant” (character deaths tend to impact me greatly).

“Allegiant” is the last book in the “Divergent” trilogy by Veronica Roth a Chicago native.  Suzanne Collins (author of “The Hunger Games”) and Veronica Roth have some things in common in their writing styles, that I personally love. One of those things being, they make you cry. A lot. Good tears, bad tears, they write stories that make the tears flow. Which I’ve come to find is something I love and admire about their stories.

I’ve been, what I call, “Book hopping” lately. I’ve been picking up numerous books, but find myself unable to finish many. This is why: I have no emotional connection to the characters, their story, or the world they live in. The worst thing is, I can’t find any sort of message in the book. Nothing truly deep that makes me question myself. When I find none of this I become bored and move on. Veronica and Suzanne both, in my opinion, have written books with characters, stories and a world to which I became connected. They both left many beautiful meanings and lessons to see and learn.

Let’s touch on the worlds that were created. While they may have been exaggerated from today’s world, still they speak to problems we have now in our society and humanity, problems I wish we didn’t have. In “The Hunger Games” Suzanne deals with many issues such as violence for entertainment. Think of shows like “Survivor”, while it may not be real, it’s pretty much a gentler version of  the games in “The Hunger Games”. She also opened my eyes to our society’s over indulgence, and over attention to the superficial. Nicki Minaj is an example of that superficiality; she looks as if she walked right out of the Capitol. She is only one example of many.

Suzanne and Veronica have many points and issues that complement each other. In “Divergent” Veronica explores things such as bravery and selflessness. She paints a picture of how becoming too obsessed with knowledge and power can corrupt people, but that they are not inherently bad things. People become corrupt by those things by the choices they make. She also goes into the other extreme. Keeping peace to the extent of being too passive and standing by doing nothing while horrible atrocities are being committed is a way of avoiding the conflict, not solving it. She delves deeply into the true meaning of forgiveness as well. Which has made me think quite a lot.

What I love about the books these two authors have written is not solely in the fact that they made me form an emotional attachment to their characters to the extent that I felt their pain or joy and cried when they died. It’s the fact that there is meaning to the stories and they draw me in with their lessons which make me ask questions about myself. Both of these women made me fall in love with their stories, not because they were preachy and shoved their beliefs down my throat, but because they made me think about things I’d never considered. They told me stories with meaning and power.

And so I thank you, Veronica Roth and Suzanne Collins (even though you’ll probably never see this). Thank you for writing these stories that have touched my life in ways you’ll never know. Never ever apologize for them.


Obama And Hitler

My mom and I both have a love for WWII, the era, the stories of the soldiers and their families back home; she and I can’t seem to learn enough about the era. That being said, I’m not quite sure what to make of people comparing Obama to Hitler as they so often do.

I can understand people making comparisons, those that aren’t terribly familiar with WWII and Hitler are able to easily see them as very similar. Obama has many issues. Do I look forward to when he can’t run for another term? Yes. But that by no means makes him worse than Hitler.

Hitler slaughtered millions of Jews, gypsies and the disabled. He went into government houses for the special needs and slaughtered them. He believed theses people to be diseased. Rather ironic that he was himself from Jewish decent, but I’m not talking about that.

“Of the nine million Jews who had resided in Europe before the Holocaust, approximately two-thirds were killed.  Over one million Jewish children were killed in the Holocaust, as were approximately two million Jewish women and three million Jewish men. A network of over 40,000 facilities in Germany and German-occupied territory were used to concentrate, hold, and kill Jews and other victims.”

“The basic motivation of the Holocaust was purely ideological, rooted in an illusionary world of Nazi imagination, where an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world was opposed to a parallel Aryan quest. No genocide to date had been based so completely on myths, on hallucinations, on abstract, nonpragmatic ideology—which was then executed by very rational, pragmatic means.”

“never before had a state with the authority of its responsible leader decided and announced that a specific human group, including its aged, its women and its children and infants, would be killed as quickly as possible, and then carried through this resolution using every possible means of state power”

These are only the tip of the iceberg of the horrendous acts committed by Hitler while he was in power. This man was troubled mentally, his entire belief system was based on myths and insanity.

I personally believe that making these comparisons is insensitive to those who actually went through the Holocaust. Really examine our country, compare it to other places in the world: Syria, Iran, Mexico, Egypt. These places are going through very dark times and the people flee to our country for a haven. If they consider our lives as free and safe imagine just how terrible their homes must be. I see so much pessimism going around, but why is that? Shouldn’t we trust in God and His plan for us and our country? Maybe we will be part of the next Holocaust, but why distress over it? You don’t know for sure, and if it does happen it’s His plan, He has it all planned for a reason. Maybe you’ll be the next Anne Frank, but look at how many peoples’ lives He’s touched with her story. It might be terrifying, but shouldn’t we be putting our trust in the One who is in control and not a mere man living in a large white house?

You may think I’m being politically correct, but think about this way. If you were a victim of a bombing and lost your entire family in it, and a person complained to you about how horrible their life was because of a burn they got while cooking, how would that make you feel?  That’s pretty much what we’re doing when we make these comparisons. The people who survived Hitler grieve every day, and we sit here with anything we could want at the click of a button and a God who watches over us and yet we complain.

I’ve been seeing  person after person on Pinterest, Facebook and in politics comparing Obama to Hitler, saying he is just as bad or worse. But I beg you, please do your research and consider the effect your words may have on others before making such comments. Obama may be corrupt, he may be stirring conflict in this country, but he is no Hitler.

My Weekend Vacation!

Did you catch the sarcasm in the title? No? Allow me to enlighten you. I spent my weekend in the hospital! “What happened?” you may be asking, it’s a very interesting story. At least I like to think so. It went something like this:

Friday, I felt bleh. Just worse than what my Lyme usually does to me. I figured I had some virus so I ignored it.

Saturday was even more bleh. I had no appetite and I didn’t feel like doing much of anything. But I worked through it, got some dishes done and then took a break at the computer. I was scrolling through my facebook newsfeed when my stomach started hurting like I’d never felt, awful nausea hit me, and I started feeling as if I was going to pass out. I messaged my mom on facebook and she was out of her room within a minute. We thought it was a gallbladder attack at first (I have issues with it, but we treat it here at home.) and so my mom made me some apple cider vinegar water which stops gallbladder attacks dead in their tracks. One sip of the stuff and I knew it wasn’t going to help me.

Rachel starts chanting from the couch, “Jump up and down!” and my mom and I were not in the mood for games, I was in awful pain and really didn’t feel like jokes. However, she was not joking. She remembered my mom will have us jump up and down when our stomach is hurting because it’s a way to tell if it’s your appendix causing the issue. Once my mom realized what Rachel meant I had the joyous task of jumping. I did it in front of the couch so that if it went badly I would have something to fall onto. I jumped and nothing happened and said, “See? Nothing!” Except I wasn’t able to finish saying it before I was saying, “Ow, okay, ow, this isn’t good.” and had to lie down onto the couch from pain. That’s when my mom decided I was going to the emergency room. My dad works night shifts (recent job change.) and was on his way home from work at the time, he had gone to work early and was coming home early, it was really amazing how it all worked out.

We didn’t have a terrible wait in the emergency room thankfully, we were moved into a room where they did several tests. The staff didn’t seem to know what to do with me, the only thing that made me nervous was the needle in the back of my hand for an IV, once the needle was out and all that was there was a tube that was taking my blood I was quite interested in the whole process. I began asking question about how the IV worked, and how far into my hand did the tube go. I must have asked about a million questions over the weekend, and I was lucky to have a staff that was more than happy to answer all of them.

Four vials of blood, and a cat scan later, (we arrived at the hospital at roughly midnight and got our test results around five am, I think…) my ER doctor came in with my test results: I had a stone in my appendix, which my mom and I didn’t even know was possible, but it was causing inflammation, infection, and would have eventually caused a rupture.

I was moved up to a room where I awaited my surgery, since it was an emergency surgery we weren’t sure on the time until shortly before it happened. It went rather quickly actually, I was taken down to recovery pre-op and the surgeon explained the procedure to us, and the anesthesiologist came and explained things to us as well, then before too long she was injecting my IV with the anesthesia.

I felt sort of weird, almost as if I should have been nervous about the surgery, but I never was. I knew the doctors have removed many an appendix in their day and mine wasn’t even as bad as others that they have removed, I was in very good hands and I just simply wasn’t nervous. I actually challenged myself to see how long I could fight off the anesthesia. I didn’t last very long. One moment I’m staring at the ceiling thinking. “I wonder how long people usually last before passing out on this stuff.” I blink and then a nurse is telling me that the surgery is over and went well. In my drug addled brain I was thinking, “What do you mean it’s over? I blinked! It is not over!” but I couldn’t talk. My voice wasn’t working. At all. But it didn’t stop me from signing. I don’t remember much of my forty-five minutes or so down in recovery very well, but my nurses told me that I had kept signing, it’s took them a few tries to figure out I was asking where my parents were. Then they said I would ask them again every few minutes.

My dad brought my sisters up to the hospital later that day, (they hadn’t seen me since I had left for the emergency room the night before.) and they helped perk me up and get me talking, if you could call it talking. I think I sounded more like a strangled frog, but I was communicating with them nonetheless.

Later that day a friend came up to the hospital with her four little boys. I was very out of it and the morphine had me feeling pretty rough and I sadly slept through a good portion of their visit,  but it was so good seeing them even if it was for a little while, I’ve missed them very much!



I was happy when I was discharged on Monday, I loved the staff at the hospital, but home has been far more relaxing. A little over a week later and I’m doing great! I’m moving around and starting to get back to normal, I’m still not allowed to do heavy lifting, but I am able to fend for myself again. :)

I want to thank all of the people who have been keeping me in their prayers through all of this! It’s been a roller coaster ride and I couldn’t have gotten through it without my family and friends praying for, and encouraging me.