“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, October 26, 2012

Chapter Fourteen, Part Three

         Both Aimee and Kristen looked so hopeful.  Elizabeth found it fascinating—she couldn’t help but think that she had been exactly like this when she had first visited.  Now she was far along on her journey to purification and salvation, she could hardly remember those moments of wonderment.  She couldn’t fully remember anymore what it felt to be an outsider looking in, but she was pretty sure that she hadn’t enjoyed it as much as being part of the Children.  How could she not like being in the Children more?  They were saving her, they were her path to Heaven and her path to being a better person.  Back when she was an outsider, she hadn’t known how it could feel to believe so strongly in these things, in the teachings of Pastor Simon.  She hadn’t known how it felt to have such great friends who were so concerned with her entire well-being, with her soul and her safety.  Elizabeth realized with a jolt that she liked this feeling still, the same feeling she had when she was baptized—that she was someone important.  She hadn’t always felt that in her family.  It was hard growing up with six siblings, but suddenly, even as a Level Two, she wasn’t lost in the mix.  Sandra cared, Delia cared, Morgan cared, Jacqueline cared, and now she got the chance to care for Aimee.  What more could a girl want but to be loved by a family that loved her back?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chapter Fourteen, Part Two

May 11

            Aimee’s been on my mind for the last two days.  I can’t help but think that I was almost exactly like her only five months ago.  Savannah told Sandra that she’s been bringing Aimee to things for the last couple weeks.  She thinks that Aimee only needs a little bit more convincing before she’ll be ready to be baptized.  I can’t wrap my head around the fact that if I’m able to convert Aimee completely I’ll be a Rose Angel.

            “Elizabeth, for the love of all things good in the world, put your journal away!” Sandra cried for at least the third time on the car trip.  Elizabeth had honestly not heard her the first two times, she had been so deep in her own thoughts.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Chapter Fourteen, Part One

         Sandra picked Elizabeth up for worship earlier than usual the Sunday a week after the retreat.  As Elizabeth climbed into the car, adjusting her scarf frantically and trying to pin a few stray strands of hair back into her braid, Sandra gave her a hard look and pulled her hand away from the dark green scarf Elizabeth was picking at.
            “Stop it, Elizabeth, it looks fine,” Sandra ordered.
            Elizabeth nodded and put her hand into her lap.
            “We have more important things to talk about anyway.”
            “Is that why you picked me up so early?” Elizabeth asked.
            “Yes, it is.  Are you going to complain the entire way to the church?”
            Elizabeth shook her head, but didn’t say anything.  Sandra was clearly in a mood and she didn’t want to make her angrier than she already was.
            “Today is a big day for you, Elizabeth,” Sandra began as they backed out of the driveway and started down the street.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Chapter Thirteen, Part Two

          By Saturday morning, Elizabeth was both exhausted and starving—and she had barely been at the retreat for twelve hours.  It was seven in the morning and she was sitting in the kitchen with Morgan and a handful of other new Level Twos, working on a service project for the church.  A huge pile of brochures not unlike the one that Jacqueline had shown Elizabeth before her first visit to the church all those months ago sat on the card table.  The small group in the kitchen was folding the brochures into shape, making them as perfect as could be.  Every few minutes one of the older members—a Rose Angel, Pastor Jeffrey, or Benjamin—would walk in and double check their work.  If it wasn’t satisfactory, they had to fix the ones they had ruined.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chapter Thirteen, Part One

          The view of the church was both a comfort and a mystery to Elizabeth.  She, Sandra, Delia, and Morgan were, once again, driving down the street in Sandra’s car.  It was an all-too familiar route to Elizabeth now, having driven down this street more times than she could even remember over the last four months.  Now, here they were again, pulling into the church parking lot, the outer stone wall of the colony visible just beyond Elizabeth’s view.  She wasn’t one hundred percent certain what she was doing here this time—Sandra had called her earlier that afternoon, informing her that she was to go on a youth retreat with the rest of the new Level Twos and their Rose Angels.

            “We’re all gathering at the colony, spending the weekend together—bonding, becoming closer in our beliefs,” Sandra had explained over the phone.

            “Do I have to?” Elizabeth had asked, thinking of all the homework she had to finish before Monday.

            “Yes, you have to.  I’m still concerned about the thoughts you’ve been having about Derek…”

            “That was almost two weeks ago!” Elizabeth had interrupted, but Sandra had talked over her.

            “…about the questions you’ve been asking.  Every new Level Two is required to go to this event, and I highly suggest you stop questioning everything.”

            “I don’t question everything,” Elizabeth had mumbled.  Her comment had gone ignored.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Small Announcement and a Song

The Announcement:

I won't be putting up a new chapter this week.  There are about a thousand things I'm juggling over the next several days, so for my general sanity, I'm taking a week off from Liz and the Children of the Rose.  Also, I want to actually give you guys a decent story and I just don't feel like I can put the time into it that I need to this week.

HOWEVER, this doesn't mean I'll be quiet.  I'm going to instead treat you to a few behind-the-scenes posts.

So here's your first one for this week.

A Song:

I have this thing I do when I'm writing...which is also an excuse to procrastinate.  I always make a playlist of songs for that particular project.  And inevitably one or two of those songs become that novel's "theme song" of sorts in my head.

So here's one of those theme songs for Nor the Battle.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chapter Twelve, Part Three

         “I was just thinking…” Elizabeth said, stealing a glance at Morgan out of the corner of her eyes before continuing.  “I was just thinking, don’t any of you ever wonder about your choices?  I mean, were you always so sure about your religion…about being a Rose…don’t you ever question what Pastor Simon says?”

            “Are you questioning what Pastor Simon says?” Delia said sharply.

            Morgan shot Elizabeth a glare and elbowed her in the arm, willing her to shut up.  Elizabeth ignored the signal and said, “I don’t know.  I guess…sometimes…”  In her peripheral vision, she saw Morgan put her head in her hands hopelessly.

            “I’m very disappointed in you, Elizabeth,” Sandra sighed.  “I thought you had gotten beyond this.  You were promoted last in your group!”

            “It’s just…I was thinking…why hasn’t Derek been—”

            “Seriously?” Delia interrupted.

            “You’re still stuck on Derek?” Sandra gasped.

            “Who’s Derek?” Heather and Jacqueline asked at the same time.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chapter Twelve, Part Two

         Elizabeth and Morgan stood shoulder-to-shoulder along the perimeter of the room with many other Children of the Rose members.  It was the same room in which Elizabeth had been baptized and promoted—a small room off one of the hallways in the church.  Elizabeth noticed how different it felt witnessing a promotion, rather than waiting anxiously in the middle of the room for a ceremony to begin, like the Level Twos who were being promoted to Level Three stood now.  She could see Jacqueline, Sandra, and Delia all standing near each other, looking anxiously at the table in front of them.  It was the same set-up from when Elizabeth had been promoted, except with light green scarves and stoles instead of the dark green of Level Two.

            Pastor Simon made his way to the front of the room and scooted behind the makeshift altar.  A distinct silence fell upon the room.  Elizabeth stole a glance around the circle of members standing along the walls.  Most of them she only recognized from seeing them at worship services.  The members of her baptism group that had moved up to Level Two with her were interspersed within the older members.  She made a note that Derek was still nowhere to be found—apparently he still hadn’t moved up to Level Two yet.  Silently, Elizabeth willed Derek to just do what he was told, so she could talk to him again.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chapter Twelve, Part One

          Elizabeth watched as Jacqueline hauled her suitcase up the attic stairs.  It thudded on each step, a bit harder than Elizabeth thought was necessary, and she had the feeling her sister was doing this on purpose.

            “You hate coming home.  Why are you here?” Elizabeth said as she followed Jacqueline into her bedroom.  She flinched as Jacqueline threw the suitcase onto the bed, rattling the box springs.

            “Yeah, well,” Jacqueline looked at the suitcase bitterly before turning to Elizabeth and flashing a smile.  “I couldn’t very well leave you to suffer alone for much longer.  And it’s only a weekend.  We’ll have Children of the Rose stuff to go to anyway.”

            Elizabeth didn’t answer, just smiled.  She knew the last thing Jacqueline had wanted to do was come home for the weekend, but she also knew that come summer Jacqueline would have to move home for three months, so she might as well get used to it now.