“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~*~

Monday, December 17, 2012

Chapter Seventeen, Part One

           Elizabeth started her first job a mere three days after graduation.  It was a job that Sandra had helped her find—a cashier in a small bookstore in the mall.  When Elizabeth had found out how interested Sandra was in helping her find a job, she had been incredibly confused.

            “Wouldn’t making money be greed?” she had asked.

            Sandra had shaken her head and answered, “Unfortunately, the world we live in is all about greed, and in order to survive in this society you have to have money.  You want extra spending money when you go off to Drighton in a few months, don’t you?”

            “Yeah, of course, but…”

            “Then stop worrying about it.  Besides, to make yourself feel better and be less greedy, you’ll donate most of your money to the church anyway.”

            Now Elizabeth was a week into her new job and loving every minute of it.  She couldn’t believe she was being paid to work with books—it seemed more of a luxury than a job.  Weren’t you supposed to hate your summer job?  Dread going into work with every fiber of your being?  Be counting down the days until you move back to school and don’t have to work there ever again?  Every person she had ever talked to about summer jobs had said this—that they hated working in retail, that people were stupid, that it was the worst possible job you could ever have.  It was supposed to be the reason you go to college, to avoid having to work in a job like this ever again.  In truth, at work was the happiest Elizabeth had felt outside of the church in months. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Chapter Sixteen, Part Two

           The gown was scratchy.  The mortar board felt like it was trying to squeeze her brain out of her ears.  Elizabeth was shifting uncomfortably in the metal folding chair.  It was hot, Elizabeth was tired, and she was already so done with this place—high school.  She’d been done with it as soon as she’d been baptized.  This graduation was merely a formality, a way to make her family happy.  Not that she really cared much anymore about making her family happy—she’d given up that hope as soon as she’d joined the Children—but the opportunity was kind of nice.  For the first time in months, her parents weren’t looking at her with that concerned gaze, the wrinkled forehead, the squinting eyes.  They were looking at her with pride, like she was the only one in their world.  She had yearned for that feeling for fourteen years, ever since Evalynne had been born, screaming every minute from the time she exited the womb.  And now, here it was—but it was too late.  She had the Children now, she didn’t need the McLancys.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chapter Sixteen, Part One

           Elizabeth stared at the calendar hanging on her wall.  May 19.  Time had flown since she had joined the Children and she barely even registered that any time had passed.  She’d be graduating high school in just a couple of weeks.  But tonight, she’d be going to worship with Aimee and Sandra then taking Aimee to her first seminar.

            Without thinking about what she was doing, Elizabeth pulled her hair back into an almost perfect French braid.  It was just an automatic process for her now.  Briefly, she marveled at how long her hair had gotten over the months.  So much had happened over the last months that Elizabeth hadn’t really thought about—a feeling, she had learned, she kind of liked.  Her walls were almost entirely bare now, her room almost completely devoid of color.  The bulk of this had occurred recently, when Sandra ordered her to overcome greed and donate her pointless material items to the church.

            “We should have done this earlier,” Sandra had sighed as she took note of Elizabeth’s room.  “Clearly your greed is holding you back.

            “It is not!” Elizabeth had said.

            “It’s so bad that you don’t even realize how bad it is.”

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chapter Fifteen, Part Two

            “Aimee Jones.”

            This jolted Elizabeth out of her musings and she guided Aimee to the front of the room and removed her visitor’s scarf.

            “Aimee Jones,” Pastor Simon said, putting his hand on the back of her head, Elizabeth following suit, “do you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior?”

            “I do.”

            “Do you place your life and trust in the hands of the Children of the Rose?”

            “I do.”  Elizabeth could feel Aimee shaking a little.

            “Do you believe that the Children of the Rose is the one true path to salvation and an eternity in Heaven?”

            Here Aimee paused and looked up at Elizabeth, who raised her eyebrows expectantly.  Elizabeth gave a small, curt nod and Aimee finally said, “I do.”

Monday, December 3, 2012

Chapter Fifteen, Part One

           “And then you say…” Sandra prompted.

            Elizabeth rolled her eyes and sighed.  She stared determinedly at the car ceiling as she recited in the most bored, monotone voice she could muster, “Aimee Jones and Kristen Peters, today is a special day.  We put it to you both again…do you trust us?”

            “Good girl.”

            Elizabeth dropped her gaze from the ceiling to the side of Sandra’s face.  Sandra was too busy focusing on driving to notice.  “We’ve been over the whole thing about fifty times.  Can we please stop now?”

            “No,” Sandra said sternly.  “You have to know exactly what to do, be able to do it in your sleep.  I don’t want you to embarrass Pastor Simon, me, or yourself.  You don’t want that either, right?”

            Elizabeth sighed again and returned her gaze to the ceiling.  “Right.”