“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race [is] not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

~*~Ecclesiastes 9:11~*~

Friday, April 12, 2013

The End

           “We can’t do it,” Liz whispers to her family sitting around her.  Eva listens intently for the first time in her life.

            “You can’t do what?” their mother asks kindly.

            “We can’t leave it behind.  We’ve tried for years, but we can’t leave it behind,” Jackie explains.

            “You left, didn’t you?” Eva asks.  “You quit, you walked out, Liz kicked a man in the crotch.  You came back to us.  And now you tell us that you can’t move on?  Don’t you think that’s a little…I don’t know…late?”

            Liz shoots Eva a look.  “You know what?  You spend nearly nine months in a cult like that, then tell me how easy it is for you to forget it.”

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Chapter Twenty-Four, Part Two

          Boxes upon boxes sat in the attic common room.  Half were marked as being for Liz’s dorm room, the other half marked as being for Jackie’s.  They had spent the last three days putting everything they would need for college into these boxes.  Tomorrow, they would be moving into their respective dorm rooms.

            Liz sat on her brand new blue bedspread, reading through her old Rose notebook, tormenting herself with these rules for the last time.  Finally, she reached a certain highlighted page.  She had never asked Sandra about this passage she had found.

            “I returned, and saw under the sun,” Liz read out loud, “that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”  She stared at the words for a while longer before a single phrase suddenly popped out at her—nor the battle to the strong.  She wasn’t strong, not physically, and for a while she hadn’t been mentally or emotionally strong either.  She hadn’t wanted the battle that had come to her.  But the battle had come anyway and she had somehow won it.  She ripped the page out of the notebook and tucked it into the suitcase that lay on the floor beside her bed.  Liz leaned back again, her back hitting the wall.  Without warning, the cross that Sandra had mounted above her bed fell down the wall and hit her hard on the head.  It was at least the fourth time it had fallen down since she had moved home.  She hadn’t taken it down, because she still thought it was a nice-looking cross, but this was the final straw. 

            “I give up!” she yelled.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Chapter Twenty-Four, Part One

         The first chance that they got, Liz and Jackie went with their sisters and mother to replenish their wardrobes and get new decorations for their bed- and dorm rooms.  If nothing else, it gave them a chance to catch up on what they’d missed over the last several months.  They stocked up on jeans, t-shirts, tennis shoes, short skirts, and sweatshirts.  They bought every single thing they had not been allowed to wear in the Children.  The freedom was exhilarating—no longer was someone dictating to them what they could and could not wear in public.  The group also stopped by a salon.  Jackie and Liz both sat down and got their hair cut.  And while they were out, Mom insisted they take Liz to the doctor.

            “There could be something seriously wrong, Liz,” she explained as they pulled into the parking lot of the family physician.

            “But where will she start?” Eva asked sarcastically.  Liz turned around so fast to glare at her sister that she almost gave herself whiplash.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Chapter Twenty-Three, Part Two

          Without noticing it, she had arrived at the cottage.  Silently, she walked through the front door.  For a moment, she had managed to convince herself that Benjamin was out.  That idea disappeared fast when he came storming into the room.

            “Where have you been?  The bell signaling the birth rang over an hour ago,” Benjamin said.

            She pushed past him, answering, “We had to bless the baby and find out the name and pray.”

            “Sandra stopped by.  You are required to attend a seminar tonight with a group of the new Level Fours,” Benjamin said.  Elizabeth walked into the bedroom and picked up her tote bag that she used to carry her Rose Bible and notebook, but she also threw in her journal and scarves.  “I am not your secretary, wife!”

            He stormed into the bedroom after her, grabbed her by the shoulders, and whipped her around to face him.  Elizabeth pushed against his chest and tried to twist out of his grip, but he just squeezed harder.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Chapter Twenty-Three, Part One

        Throughout the weeks that Elizabeth spent as a wife of the colony, she quickly learned how self-sufficient the community actually was.  Besides having its own school, there was a large garden from which they grew their own organic vegetables, they had a doctor that was a member of the church, and there was a midwife to help the wives through their pregnancies and natural births.  It was truly its own little town and it would be easy enough for someone to live at the colony and never again see the outside world.  There were only a couple of pregnant women in the colony when Elizabeth moved there, so she got to experience her first birth only four days after her talk with Morgan and Jacqueline in the park.

            It had started at six in the morning, just as Elizabeth was waking up and beginning to prepare Benjamin’s breakfast.  A loud and fairly obnoxious knock sounded at the front door.  Elizabeth hurried to answer it as Benjamin yelled, “Answer the door, woman!”

            She opened the door to find Mary and Caroline standing on the stoop, looking more excited than most women looked in the colony.

            “What…?” Elizabeth asked, looking suspiciously between the two women.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Chapter Twenty-Two, Part Two

           “What if we left?” Jacqueline whispered.

            “What?” the other two asked simultaneously, shocked.

            “What if we left the Children?” Jacqueline repeated.  “Maybe Aimee was right.  There’s something not right with this whole thing.  And I didn’t see it before.  But…I can’t keep seeing you like this, Elizabeth.”

            “We’ll go to Hell!” Elizabeth cried.  “And, besides, I can’t leave.  Benjamin may very well kill me!”

            “Look, I’m not leaving without you, Elizabeth.  You’re my sister.  I’m not leaving you behind for Benjamin to torment.  If and when you decide you’ve had enough, when you finally decide to become your old self again and fight back, then I’ll leave too.  But it has to be your choice,” Jacqueline said.

            “I can’t leave,” Elizabeth whispered.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Chapter Twenty-Two, Part One

            “WHAT are you doing?”
            The yell made Elizabeth jump to her feet and face her husband, eyes on the floor.  The list and pen were both still in her hands and the bag lay opened and half-packed on the bed.  She hadn’t heard him come home, but she hadn’t been doing anything wrong.  He had never once forbidden her to put clothes in a bag.
            “I’m…getting ready to go to Drighton.  I have to move in a little over two weeks,” Elizabeth explained in a whisper.
            “Excuse me?” Benjamin hissed, approaching her. 
            She felt him standing close and tried to keep her voice even.  “Drighton…the college I’m going to.  I have to move there in two weeks.”
            He grabbed the list out of her hand and pushed her so she was sitting on the bed again.  “Did I ever say you could go off to college?”