Here is the first chapter of my newly-published novel. I hope you will enjoy reading it and that you will leave a comment in the box below before leaving. In another post I will tell the story of how this book evolved from a nighttime vision to a finished book 20 some-odd years later.
Rainbows After the Storm
Headly Herald, October 10,1971: Davies, Jonathan Edward, in his 26th year, died October 9 at Headly General Hospital as a result of injuries received when struck by a car. Predeceased by his parents Edward and Katherine (Jones) Davies. Beloved fiancé of Elizabeth (Beth) Worthington of Headly. Visitation at Wilson Brothers Funeral Home October 11 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Funeral service will be held October 12 at 1:00 p.m. at the Headly Community Church. Pastor Jim Dale officiating. Donations to the Headly Community Church benevolent fund in lieu of flowers will be gratefully received.
Beth clung desperately to the wedding ring quilt wrapped tightly around her shoulders, but its warmth had no power to penetrate the icy burden in her heart. She huddled in the well-worn blue armchair that had once filled a cozy corner in her childhood home. Through misted eyes she stared blindly out of the window. Although the heart-wrenching sobs had diminished, teardrops still trickled silently down her flushed cheeks. She sat motionless. Her eyes, shadowed and swollen, exposed deep anguish of soul.
The fire in the grate had almost burned itself out; a fragile warmth tenaciously clung to the few last embers, powerless to dispel the late afternoon chill. A shiver ran through her body. Terrible loneliness and the overwhelming sense of loss had brought her close to emotional collapse.
Heavy black clouds swirled in constant motion across the leaden sky, an ominous herald of the approaching storm. Except for a few leaves which stubbornly refused to fall, the trees had cast off most of their foliage, and the bare branches lashed in fury at an invisible enemy. A blanket of crisp, lifeless leaves mingled with clouds of dust as they whirled through the garden. The once lush lawn now resembled dirty straw. Flowers lay brown and shriveled in their beds, forgotten, their former beauty betrayed by autumn’s demise. The atmosphere of sadness and desolation was almost palpable.
A cold wind howled through the trees, and bowed the few saplings nearly to the ground. It whipped around the corner of the house and brought the first large splatters of rain which signaled the onset of a heavy downpour. In the distance the lake raged. A sudden flash sizzled across the sky. Thunder crashed overhead. Sheets of rain pelted the dry earth and bounced off in fountains of spray.
Still she did not stir. The scene that played within Beth’s agitated mind was as desolate as that which, outdoors, seethed as if in sympathy. At that moment, her life was rapidly spiraling into a vortex so deep she felt there was no escape. As she cast her thoughts back to that fateful day, a flood of emotion almost drowned her in despair. The weight threatened to crush her.
Why, Lord?…Why?…Why?… A single tear trickled down her cheek and spilled onto the quilt.
Why Jonathan? Why me, Jesus? Why us? Why now, when our
whole future was before us? She glanced toward the ceiling as if expecting an answer. Silence.
Where are You, Lord? Have You left me all alone? Why can’t I hear Your voice when I need You so desperately? Please…answer me, Jesus! Still no word from heaven.
Oh, Lord, I loved him so!
Her head dropped into her hands as though too heavy to hold itself up. From the depths of her spirit she sobbed and poured out her burdened heart to the Lord in unspoken prayer. Words could never express such pain. To her troubled heart it seemed that God was not listening. The moaning of the wind was the only response she heard. Deep in her spirit she knew that God had promised never to leave her. She truly believed He loved her, but sorrow deafened her to His voice of comfort; grief deadened her ability to sense His presence.
Jonathan…head bandaged, tubes everywhere…that final moment of recognition, then… Her mind refused to complete the picture.
Gradually, aware of a change in the atmosphere, Beth stirred. The rain had subsided. The thunder was now only a distant roll, the lightning a faint flickering glow. Through the gentle shower, a beautiful double rainbow filled the sky with brilliant arcs of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. A darkened band divided the two distinct bows. Splashes of iridescent color radiated above them as the sun’s rays glinted out from the clouds. Beth gazed at this awesome display of nature. Was this a sign from God? Had He taken His invisible paintbrush and slashed through the dark clouds with His divine colors to remind Beth of His promise of hope? Overwhelmed by the beauty, she was for one short moment set free from the torturous labyrinth of her reflections.
All too soon the flicker of hope waned like the now-fading colors of the rainbow. The icy fingers of sorrow once more endeavored to strangle all essence of hope from her heart. Anguished thoughts raged, stilling all memories of happiness.
When would the torment end?
Beth reached into past memories in an attempt to forget, if but for a moment, this past week’s heartbreak. Childhood memories of a happy Christmas struggled to the surface and she snatched onto them as to a lifeline.
Without warning, her mind was jolted by a long-forgotten image: blood dripping from her finger, a red glass Christmas ornament shattered at her feet, the sting of iodine. As quickly as that brief memory intruded, in a flash the scene vanished.
Check out Look for the Rainbows on my Amazon Author page along with Shadows in My Valley.
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