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Thursday, November 26, 2020

An Angelic Poker Party

This is part one of a two-part episode story. Thus, the "cliff-hanger" that this story ends on. Enjoy this episode of Ally's Angelic Adventure!

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Ally discovered that she did indeed need the downtime. She had time to mentally process all that had happened to her, what she had experienced. Yet a week had gone by with no sign of Joel. Had he forgotten about her? Did he find some other girl to run thither and hither with? Maybe he would never take her with him, again and she would live out the rest of her life normally?

An idea popped into her mind—maybe Joel was waiting on her to call him? She cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled out, “Joel, Joel. Can you hear me? If so, please drop by.” She waited a few minutes for an answer. When none came, she repeated her request, but it achieved the same result. Ally flopped down on her couch. “He’s never coming back.” She let out a big breath of air in resignation to the idea.

Then yet another idea invaded her mind. She jumped up and ran into her room. She rummaged through her drawers and a couple of chest in which she stored various objects. Then, upon opening up a drawer, she saw what she had searched for—a little bell.

She held it in her palm and said, “God, please honor this request of mine, that Joel will return when I ring this bell. Amen.” She imagined that God laughed at the request.

Then she returned to her living room and rang the bell. A blinding flash of light enveloped the  room, then died off to reveal Joel, who was positioned  as if sitting on a chair. He wore a ridiculous costume: a pin-striped shirt, with a fancy lace-outlined vest, and a hat that only had a brim on the front, but no top. Initially, he stared at at his hands as if they held something, but then his eyes first squinted at his hand, then they opened up, darting around. Finally, when he realized he no longer sat on a chair, his eyes grew wide as he fell to the floor in a crash.

“Wha . . . what happened?” His head turned until his eyes landed on Ally. “Oh, it’s you.”

“Good to see you again too.” 

He stood up, brushed himself off, then his clothing changed into his normal white angel “dress” or robe, she wasn’t sure what they  called it. “I was playing poker with some angel friends,” he said.

Ally wrinkled her forehead. “Poker?”

“Sort of like your game of card shark, only with slightly different rules.”

“Oh. Interesting.”

“Now, what’s the deal with interrupting my week’s vacation?”

“Vacation? You mean to tell me angels get vacation time?”

“Of course we do.” He cleared his throat. “Though the rules are different. But the better question is how did you pull me here without my consent?”

Ally held up the bell and gave it a ring.

The color drained from Joel’s face. “Oh no! Micheal didn’t pay you a visit, did he?”

Ally chuckled. “No. This is my own bell. I asked God to use it to bring you here, and he did.”

Joel scowled at Ally. He reached out a hand. “Give me the bell.”

Ally started to pull it back, but then gave it to him. “Have it if you want. I don’t need a bell to call you here. I can just ask the Big Man to do it for me.”

Joel threw the bell on the ground. “Fine. Just let me know before you pull me here next time.”

Ally bent over to retrieve her bell. “I tried to contact you, but it wasn’t working. I thought you had forgotten about me.” Ally froze, then slowly turned toward Joel. “Hold on a minute. Why were you on vacation? I thought I was the one that needed the ‘down time’ as you called it.”

“I was overdue for one and it seemed like a good time. So, I wasn’t listening for you.”

Ally stuck out her bottom lip. “Well, I guess that is okay.”

“Though I am sorry for your trouble in contacting me. So, what do you want?”

She shrugged. “I’m bored. I’m ready for our next adventure.”

Joel rubbed his chin for a moment. “Hum. First I would have to say goodbye to my guests.”

Ally jumped. “Great, then I can go with you!”

“I don’t know if that is such a good idea. Remember what happened last time you came to my house?”

“I promise not to wander off this time.”

Joel looked her up and down. “Well, if you promise not to get into any trouble.” He pointed a finger at Ally. “But don’t get me in trouble with Michael again. Otherwise . . .” Joel gulped. “It really could  be the bell for me, again” He shook his head. “How do I allow myself to be talked into these things?”

They both disappeared in an angelic light-flash.


# # #


They both appeared about the same place that Ally recalled last time. There was the same quaint cottage with a garden next to it growing Joel’s tea, except this time no one was tending it.

Joel waved her to follow. “Come on inside.”

Ally did a double-take. “You mean, I get to go inside this time?”

“Like, yeah! I’m not letting you out of my site this time.”

She followed the angel down his short walk-way, up his porch, complete with a swing on the right end of it, and through his creaky screen door that reminded her of her grandmother’s house. Once inside, a soft couch and rocking chair set, both needed dusting, and a round dining room table gave a particular ambiance that she had never associated with Joel before. Around the table sat eight people, only one who she recognized, Kaylee.

One of the men spoke out, “Well there you are, Joel. We wondered where you had disappeared to.”

Joel held out his arms toward Ally. “Here is the reason for my sudden departure. I’m afraid I must get back to work; vacation is over.”

“You mean to tell me a little girl commands the great angel Joel around!” Guffaws followed those remarks from another guy.

“Joel,” Ally said. “Aren’t you going to introduce me?” Then Ally recognized the man who just spoke. “Doodle!”

He stood and bowed. “Hi, Ally. How are you getting along with your new dragon?”

She glanced at Joel. “Just fine. He’s a little ornery at times, but for an angel, he’s not too bad.”

Everyone laughed again. Once Doodle regained his composure, he added, “I don’t know. Joel is a little too scrawny to ride.” Laughter erupted again.

Ally shot a glance at Joel. His face had turned red, whether from embarrassment or anger she wasn’t sure. Joel scowled at Doodle. “She never got a dragon for your information. As a matter of fact, you almost single-handedly ruined her life trying to play dragon-matchmaker!”

Everyone’s laughter died off, and their smiles disappeared. Kaylee spoke up, “Now Joel, the guys were simply having a bit of fun.”

Ally tried to divert the conversation. “Maybe it would be best for the rest of you to introduce yourselves. How about if we start with you, to the right of Doodle there, and go around the table until you come to Kaylee sitting the Doodle’s left?”

Joel grumbled something under his breath as he sat on the rocking chair.

The first man arose from his chair and bowed. “My name is Seth.” Ally nodded at each one as they spoke in turn. “Mine is Sisko.” “I’m called Jake, Sisko’s brother.” “Josh.” “I’m Cole.” “And to top it off, I’m Kaylee’s brother, Nathan.”

Ally stared at them each in turn. “Wow! This is like a list of the biggest names in Camellia’s history!”

Most of them said together, “Camellia?”

Seth asked, “Isn’t that a flower?”

Kaylee pointed out the window. “Of course it is, but it is also what Ally decided to call our world.”

Sisko nodded. “I like it.”

Cole lifted his cup of tea, made from the plants growing in Joel’s garden. “I like it too. So much so, that I propose a toast to the name Camellia for our world. It’s about time our world had a name. Let’s make it official!”

Everyone at the table raised their tea cups and clinked them together. Scattered “Hear, hears” echoed around the table. Ally beamed as they took sips of their tea.

Ally pointed at a cup. “Don’t suppose I could get a cup of tea?”

Kaylee hopped to her feet. “Of course. Have a seat.”

As Kaylee worked to make her a cup of hot tea, Ally decided to ask a question. “I’ve been curious ever since I was here last and was almost joined to a dragon. Should I think about joining with a dragon and what is it like?”

Sisko shook his head. “I only rode one very briefly. Cole and  Doodle here could speak more to that.”

Cole sat back in his chair. “Well, depends on if you have anything else going on in your life, because being bonded to a dragon is as much like a marriage as anything, as well as a life-long commitment to protect and fight for your dragon.”

“Until, death do you part.” Doodle smiled.

“That’s right.” Cole took a sip of his tea. “About the only way to find out whether or not you are a ripe for such a life is to go through the testing phase yourself.”

Ally thought for a second. “I think I would like to investigate this further.”

“Now hold on one minute,” Joel spoke up. “I don’t think this is a good idea.”

Doodle laughed. “Why not, my dear angel? It is the best way to find out  whether she’s fit for the task.”

“Well . . . because, because I don’t like it. We’ve been going around helping people for a time now. We’re a team. And a darn good team if I do say so myself.”

Ally smiled. “Aw, Joel. I didn’t know you cared that much.”

“I . . . don’t care ‘that much’. It’s just that, that I need your ability to help me.”

Ally placed a hand on Joel’s hand. “It will be okay. You know that ultimately it is up to the Big Man anyway, right?”

“You would have to bring him up.” Joel looked at the table of people. “Isn’t anyone going to support me?”

Seth cleared his throat. “Joel, you know we are your friends and will gladly support you in any endeavor you choose.”

Joel smiled. “Thank you, Seth.

“Hold on, I didn’t finish. In like manner this isn’t about you, it’s about Ally. I can’t speak for the others, but I have a good feeling about her. If she wants to explore this life-purpose, I don’t see any reason to deny her the request.”

Nods and murmurings of agreement rose from the rest of the table.

Joel stood up. “Alright already! Kaylee, I assume you can see to the departure of my guest?”

Kaylee nodded. “Sure.”

“Okay, Ally, let’s go.” A bright light engulfed her and Joel.

When they reappeared, she stood in the midst of a large valley surrounded by mountains. Dense but beautiful vegetation surrounded them. Ally did a one-eighty to take in the area. “Where are we?”

“Where do you think? The Dragons’ Battle Field, naturally. Follow me to the Dragon’s Hall and I’ll introduce you.”

“Really? You’re taking me to see the dragons?” She clapped her hands together.

“That’s what you wanted, wasn’t it?”

“Yes.” She stopped walking. “Joel, how did you manage that back at your house?”

Joel turned to face her. “Manage what? Coming here? I thought by—“

“No, not coming here. I want to know how you could be so grumpy while sitting in Paradise?”

“It wasn’t easy.” Joel’s eyes locked with Ally’s until they both broke up laughing. Joel resumed heading for Dragon’s Hall. “The truth of the matter is that I’ve grown used to having you with me. I wouldn’t like losing you to a dragon’s life. But I couldn’t say that in front of the others.”

Ally caught up to him to walk beside him. “Why not?”

“They wouldn’t understand. They would suspect that I was becoming romantically involved with you, something angels are prohibited from doing.”

“You mean, angels can’t have wives and babies?”

Joel laughed. “No, we cannot?”

“But the stories about Kaylee? What about those?”

“That was different.”

“In what way?”

Joel frowned. “I was tasked with helping her through her fear of men, due to issues you wouldn’t understand. Once I fixed that, I began the work of extracting myself from her desires for me.”

Ally shook her head. “No wonder.”

“No wonder, what?”

Ally sighed. “No wonder she had such a hard time trusting a man.”

Joel huffed. “Like I said, you wouldn’t understand. Now, let’s go get Susuhma over with.”

“You and your strange words.” Ally followed the angel up the steps leading to a big ledge in front of a set of giant doors embedded into the mountainside.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Faith Doubts

It has been a while since I've posted a story here. That's partly because I've ended up distracted from my main writing, fiction, with some non-fiction writing. So I've ended up picking at this story all year. Until, today! Of course, I'll need to go faster if I want to finish the whole series before I leave this world. At any rate, it is done, so here is the short story of the 2020 year! Enjoy.

Note: I've changed the name of the main character from Holly to Ally, in honor of my granddaughter, Alexandria Zingg, who also goes by Ally.


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A clear blue sky greeted Ally as the bright-white light of angel-transportation dimmed, moving them to a new place and probably time. I wonder where we are?

As if he had read her mind—and for all she knew, he did—Joel responded, “This is a place called Earth.”

“Earth?” She shook her head. “Why would somebody name a world after dirt?”

Joel shrugged. “I suppose for the same reasons one might name it after a flower.” He winked.

“Yeah, however, a flower is pretty. But dirt?”

“It is a very valuable commodity here.” Joel licked his finger and stuck it up in the air. “Appears we are in Kansas, United States of America, um, around the year 2008, give or take a couple of years.”

She ignored the strange names Joel spouted out as if she should know where Kansas was, and instead scanned the horizon along the flat plain. Wind whipped chest-high grass in the nearby fields back and forth. “Strange. Not sure why God would have sent us here. There is no one for miles it would seem. How are we going to help anyone if there is no one to help?”

Joel smiled. “You never know who might turn up in the weirdest places.”

Ally started to say something, but Joel held up his index finger. He listened with closed eyes for a moment, though Ally couldn’t hear anything.

Finally, Joel opened his eyes. “I believe at least one reason The Big Man sent us here is there are some very strange things in this world. And one of them will be along soon.”

Ally clapped her hands together. “Really? I’ve always wanted to see a strange thing.”

Joel waved a hand toward her to indicate he wanted her to come. She followed Joel through the tall grass until they arrived at a long, flat, black hard surface stretching into the distance.

She shook her head. “What is this? It looks like a road, but none I’ve ever seen.”

“Indeed. And the things that travel on it are even stranger.” Joel pointed down the road. “And here comes one of them now.”

Ally peered into the distant horizon, and could barely make out the glint of sunlight from a metal object. Though she couldn’t tell exactly how far away the object was on this flat plain, since she knew she could see a long ways, she could tell the object was moving very fast. A lot faster than someone on horseback could ride. “What is that?”

“It is known in this world as a vehicle, automobile, car, or truck. But of course such names would be meaningless to you. All you need to know is that it is a machine designed to carry people.”

“A machine?”

Joel threw his hands up. “If you don’t know what a machine is, how can I describe it? Best you just wait until it comes and you can see for yourself.”

Ally shrugged. The “vehicle,” as Joel called it, grew bigger and closer. As it drew near, a black contraption traveled toward them, with no visible causes for its motion. “So maybe whoever is in there is who we need to help.”

Joel nodded. “Maybe. You never can tell for sure.”

As the vehicle drew near, Joel stuck out his thumb. That appeared to be an odd gesture on Joel’s part, however, it did end up having the person inside come to a stop. The man inside stuck out his head and asked, “Do you folks need a ride?”

“Sure do,” Joel responded.

“Where you going to?”

Joel put a finger to his head and scratched. “Now that is a good question. I guess until the next town, since we don’t know exactly where we are.”

“Hum, so you’re lost?”

Joel nodded, then whispered to Ally, “You sense anything bad in this guy?”

She closed her eyes and then said, “Nothing I can pick up.”

The man in the truck frowned. “Why are you both dressed strangely? You aren’t prisoners who’ve run away, are ya?”

Joel sighed. “That’s a loaded question. If we were, we wouldn’t agree with you. Since we’re not, we wouldn’t agree with you either. So you’ll get the same answer in either case.”

The man scratched his beard. “I reckon you’re right. What was I thinking? See ya later.” He waved, pulled back on the road, and left the two of them standing in the dust his truck kicked up.

After the dust settled and they both stopped coughing, Joel said, “Well. How rude!”

Ally grinned. “Maybe next time you better let me handle the talking.”

Joel shook his head. “I think the problem was with our clothes. He implied that they look like prison garb.”

Ally frowned. “Prison garb? What’s that?”

Joel stared at Ally for a moment and waved a finger at her. “Probably has something to do with my drab colors and your stripped shirt.” Joel snapped his fingers, and a dress appeared over Ally’s body. “There, that should do the trick.”

She examined her clothing. A frilly dress hung upon her along with a big hat. “I can’t wear this?”

“Why not?”

“It’s, it’s, oh, I don’t know. It’s just not me.”

“Looks pretty on you, though.”

Ally scowled. “How about something more practical. Hum?”

Joel rolled his eyes. “Oh, okay already.” He snapped his fingers again, and a set of pants and a frilly blouse appeared upon her.

Ally crossed her arms. “Do you consider this blouse ‘practical?’”

Joel smiled. “But you still look pretty. That’s practical for what we need.”

She wrinkled her nose. “How is that being practical?”

“You’ll get more attention that way.”

Ally thought for a second. “I’m almost afraid to ask. Why do I want to get more attention?”

Joel put a hand to his chin. “Well, let’s just say, you’ll be much more attractive to the opposite sex once another one stops.”

Ally rolled her eyes. “Okay, I’ll play your silly game.”

“Silly game?”

Ally shook her head and shrugged her shoulders.

Joel listened for a bit more, then sighed. “Guess we had better head the direction of the last vehicle. I don’t hear any more coming currently.” He started walking down the road; Ally followed him.

After an hour on the road, a house grew into view. The bright blue paint contrasted with the green, well-manicured lawn surrounding it. The upper windows clued Ally in that it had at least two-stories inside. A possible attic-room could suggest a third story. Outside an L part of the house sat a couple of the strange vehicles that Joel had mentioned, along with some stranger ones sitting here and there, one with giant wheels on the back.

Ally pointed at the house. “Maybe that’s where we’ll find our person-of-interest.”

Joel spun around. “Did you just say, person-of-interest?”

Ally nodded.

“Where did you hear that from?”

She shrugged. “Don’t know. It just seemed the proper thing to say. Why? What’s the big deal?”

Joel stared into her eyes for a moment. “No big deal, really. Just took me by surprise because that is a phrase they use in this world, not in yours.”

Ally continued walking. “Interesting, indeed.”

Joel stared at her, his eyes focused deeply on her.

Ally stopped. “What now? Did I do it again?”

“Sort of. Hard to tell. It wasn’t just what you said, but the way you said it.” Joel continued toward the house. “At any rate, I was thinking the same thing as you. Our ‘person-of-interest’ may be in that house.”

Ally started walking again. “Great! Let’s do this.” Strange, I don’t ever recall saying that before.

That’s because you have never said it before. Something strange is happening to you.

Ally glanced at Joel. “Any idea what is happening?”

“Not for sure, but it like you are becoming more a part of this world the longer you’re here.”

Ally’s eyes widened. “Maybe due to my emotional connection?”

Joel turned onto the walkway toward the house. “As good of a reason as any other. It did start up shortly after you checked out the driver’s emotional disposition.”

Ally nodded. “Curiouser and curiouser.”

Joel grinned. “You’ve got that right.” His grin disappeared. “One other thing.”

“Yes?” Ally stopped at the front door.

Joel knocked on the door. “I can’t do any supernatural things here except to you.”

“Why?”

“Because many people here don’t believe.”

“Believe what?”

“In God.”

Ally opened her mouth, but before she could ask any further questions, or express her shock at the thought of someone not believing in God, or at least some god, the front door opened.

In the doorway stood a woman, medium build, long-blonde hair, about six inches higher than Ally. “Hello? May I help you?”

Joel let out a long breath. “Yes, ma’am. We’ve been walking on this highway for a while, and we wondered if you could spare a couple glasses of water for a couple of thirsty travelers.” Now would be a good time, Ally, to check on her sincerity.

Ally winked. Right. She turned on her emotional connection, and a flood of thoughts impacted her so much that her knees gave way; Joel caught her before she hit the ground. She shook her head to clear the cobwebs to see Joel staring at her, his mouth dropped open.

Joel asked, “Are you okay?”

“I . . . I’m not sure.” Ally steadied herself on the door post.

The lady who answered the door said, “Oh dear! She could use something more than water. I have some tea that is good for this type of ailment. Come on in!” She helped Ally into the dinning room.

“Ma’am, you are a woman after my own heart. I could use some of your tea as well.” Joel bowed as they followed her inside to the kitchen table.

“You’ll both get some of my tea. Oh, pardon my manners, my name is Joy. Joy Quickfeet.” Joy busied herself making tea.

“Hi Joy. My name is Joel, and this is Ally.”

Ally tried to focus on the conversation, but she still reeled from the emotions she had felt, even though she had turned it off almost immediately. It was emotions she had never felt before. The closest she could come to it was emotions of disbelief.

Finally, her head cleared after getting some of Joy’s tea down; the brew really did help.

Joy nodded her head. “You feeling better now? The color has returned to your cheeks.”

“Yes. Thank you for the tea.” Ally rubbed her head. An sense of urgency overtook her. She knew that she needed to get out of this world sooner rather than later. “May I ask you a question Joy?”

Joy gave Ally a glance before returning to her duties. “Sure. Fire away.”

Ally wondered at Joy’s words, while at the same time it made perfect sense to her, though she knew it shouldn’t. “Thank you. Do you believe in God?”

Joy froze for a moment, then slowly turned toward Ally. “I did once.”

“But not now?”

Joy focused on her cleaning. “Well, I don’t rightly know, to tell the truth. Part of me longs for the days when I did, but part of me thinks I might be stupid to continue to believe.”

Then Ally said something she never thought she would hear herself say. “I understand. I feel sort of the same way.” Ally dropped her mouth open and turned to see Joel’s reaction.

His mouth was also ajar. Joel peered into Ally’s eyes. “What did you just say?”

Ally glanced at Joy, who kept looking at Joel and Ally alternately, before she returned her attention to Joel. “I . . . can’t believe I just said that.”

“Especially after what we’ve been through together.” Joel sat back in his chair and scratched his head. “It makes no sense?”

Joy said, “Makes no sense? Made perfect sense to me.”

“Of course it would, ma’am, to you, but . . .”

Joy squinted at Joel. “But what?”

Ally nodded for Joel to go on. He shook his head. She nodded yes. He shook his head no.

Joy sighed. “If you’re not going to tell me why, the least you can do is explain.”

For a minute or more, they stared at each other. Finally, Ally broke the silence. “I think we need to go.”

Joy shook her head. “But you haven’t explained yet. Besides, it is still twenty miles to the nearest town. I can’t have you two walking all that way in your condition.”

Joel shrugged. “She’s right.”

Ally sighed, “I don’t mean just go. I mean go, go.”

Joel’e eyes widened. “Oh, you mean, go, go!”

“Yes!”

“But we can’t do that until,” Joel glanced at Joy. “The Big Man says we can.”

Joy screamed, “Would one of you say something that makes some sense?”

Ally blurted out, “We’re both from another world.”

Joel frowned at Ally, as if to say, “Don’t you dare reveal who I am.”

Ally knew she’d already said too much. Yet, for some reason it seemed right to her.

Joy glanced at both of them. “Hum, I wasn’t expecting that answer. How can I know you’re from another world?”

Joel jumped in before Ally could say anything more. “Like any relationship, ma’am, you would have to experience it before you could believe. We’d have to take you there. But we aren’t allowed to do that.”

Joy smirked. “Of course you cann’t.”

The light of angelic transportation began to envelop them. “Bye. Thanks for the tea,” Ally yelled out before they had totally vanished from Joy’s sight.

Joy’s eyes grew wide as the light dimmed and they were no longer there. She blinked. She stood up and ran her hands over where they had sat. “Must have been a dream or hallucination.” Yet, she couldn’t deny what she’d just experienced. Gradually, it dawned on her. “They must have been angels. Yep, that’s what they were, alright. Angels.

Her eyes grew wide again. “And if they were angels, the ‘Big Man’ Joel had mentioned, must be referring to God. That can only mean that God is real. I’ve got to tell somebody.” She grabbed a hat and her purse and headed toward the door.

Before she reached it, however, she stopped. She remembered the last thing Joel had said to her—like any relationship, she had to experience it first. That had sounded like a cop out, like she knew it would to anyone she told it to. Now, however, it rang with the truth of her own experience. She knew she would probably sound like a crazy woman, just like Ally and Joel had sounded crazy to her initially. But if her testimony would help even one other person, it was worth it. She exited her house, hopped in her truck, and headed to town.

# # #

As the light dimmed, Ally could make out the familiar surrounding of her own house. “Is my time up? Am I in trouble from the Big Man for what I said and did?”

Joel closed his eyes, then opened them. “I don’t think that is the issue. You accomplished the purpose you were sent there to do.”

“But I doubted my faith in God?”

Joel nodded. “You did do that, but I imagine that was more due to your emotional connection with the world you were in than a real belief.”

“I certainly hope so.”

“What do you think about it now?”

“That as much as we’d been through together, I would be crazy to not believe.”

Joel smiled. “There. You see.”

“Hope I don’t ever have to go there again.” Ally looked around her house. What time is this?

Joel responded, “This is the time when we left. You might have noticed a dimming light right over there,” Joel pointed toward the front door. “. . . as we came in.”

Ally nodded. She did recall another light in the room. “So why am I back home now?”

“Hard to say exactly. But if I were to wager a guess, I think you need the time to recuperate after that last episode.” He glanced at his wrist, as if he had a time-piece attached to it. “As a matter of fact, tomorrow is Sunday. I suggest you attend church. I suspect the Big Man has something special for you.”

Ally smiled. “Sounds cool, dude.”

Joel pulled his head back and stared at her.

“What?”

“You did it again. Probably some residual from the last world.”

“Really? Again? Still?” Guess I do need the down time.

“Boy, do you ever.” Joel laughed as he disappeared in a blinding flash of light.