Let’s Go Back

Time travel is possible, and anyone can do it.

The only machine you need is a memory, and a willingness to allow yourself to remember.

In fact, I did it just two nights ago when I was driving home from my daughter’s house.  The temperature outside was a cool 40 degrees and I had my windows cracked to allow some fresh air in and my radio station tuned to oldies, and then suddenly…

I was 17 again, on my way home from a softball game, windows down, singing along with the songs playing on the radio while the wind blowing in through the windows air-dried my sweat-soaked jersey.  It felt wonderful to recall such good times and I also believe it enlightens the heart because it feels good to feel young.

While it is true that there are some memories that we’d prefer not to recall because it’s too painful to do so, they are there nonetheless, stored forever on the original data storage chip called the brain, and sometimes they pop up without being summoned, because that’s what memories are.

Many times I have had flashbacks, recalling my youth and the trials and tribulations I’ve encountered in this thing that we call life.  Some were good, some were not, but all were lessons learned.

Personally speaking, I prefer to remember the good things, like being able to go into a five and dime store with a quarter and come out with a bag full of candy, curling up on the couch with a blanket and watching Creature Feature, riding my bike all over town, trick-or-treating with a group of friends, tater tots from Biff Burger, and walking home from school.  I love recalling my “firsts.”  First kiss, first love, first viewing of music videos on MTV, and the birth of my first child and the overwhelming joy I felt getting to hold her for the first time.

While I have suffered a broken heart on more occasions than I care to remember, I never have been one to dwell on the bad or the negative because it’s impossible to grow and move forward when you deny yourself the ability to do so.

How often do you recall memories of your childhood, your adolescence, your teen years or any other era of your life?  Remembering the good with the bad are the essence of what has shaped and formed us into who we are today.

I invite you to take the challenge.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath…..and remember.

Let me know how it goes!

Until next time…

Take care and God Bless!!

 

 

 

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Snow! (from a Southerner’s Perspective)

It snows in South Florida.

Large, black flakes that fly through the air and then land on everything in sight, leaving a black film of ashes everywhere.  On clothes, in hair, on clean laundry hanging on the clothesline.

It happens every time the sugar cane fields are burned.  While I was always mesmerized by the sight of the glowing orange flames and the sound of the sizzling and crackling fire, it can’t hold a candle to the sight of fresh, white snow.

For years I dreamed of seeing snow and even went as far as requesting tourist packages from multiple cities just to see the pictures of the pristine scenes of snow-covered trees, fields and country cabins.

Every year I took my vacation in December so that I could visit Courtney and the grandkids in Kentucky, hoping every year that my dream would finally come true.  But alas, it never did.  In fact, it never failed that the snow would come after I had already returned to Florida, leaving me to wonder if the day would ever come when I would finally see snow with my own eyes and not in magazines.

When the opportunity came for me to leave Florida and relocate to Indiana, I was elated.  I knew I was leaving behind a lifetime of friends and memories, but I was ready for a change, for a fresh new start somewhere different.  I have never regretted my decision, nor have I ever looked back.  I am living my dream.

Now, when snow is in the forecast, I don’t have to worry about missing it because I have to go back home.  I am home.  And if the snow does fall, I am there to see it and take it in with fresh eyes every single time and experience the same feeling that I felt seeing it for the first time.  It truly is a sight to see.

I am always amazed at the silence.  Snow makes no noise when it’s falling.  I love sticking my gloved hand out and letting the flakes fall onto the fabric so I can see the majestic patterns, no two being alike.  When everything is covered, it looks like marshmallow creme, solid white and smooth.  When I know that snow is on the way, I plan my “comfort food” meals, dishes like chili or chicken and dumplings.  There’s something special about eating those foods when it’s cold and snowing, and it makes me feel all comfy inside.  The moon’s reflection on fresh fallen snow lights up the darkness, appearing as though lights are shining.  Flakes shimmer like diamonds in the sunlight.  It crunches under the weight of shoes/boots.  Touching it with a bare hand is the equivalent of sticking your hand to the inside of a freezer.  It is soft…and cold.

If you’ve ever seen snow, touched it and played in it, then you know what I’m talking about.  If you’ve never seen snow, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Here are some of my favorite shots of a winter wonderland.  Hope you enjoy them!

(My neighbor’s garage, our tool shed, me making a snow angel)

(My backyard and patio table, the oak tree in my front yard)

(These are all from our snow on January 11, 2019.  My front yard, Bruce the Spruce, my hand print, a heart I drew in the snow, the front of my house, the oak tree in my front yard)

(These are all from my first time seeing snowfall in Indiana.  Me “battling” the cold and snow, kids and grandkids building a snowman, the road leading into Lapping Park, a snow mound in Lapping Park)

Would I give all this up to go back to Florida?  To the land of endless sunshine, beaches…and hurricanes?  Not on your life!

Until next time…

Take care and God Bless!

Glenda

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It’s Me, Glenda…And This Is Who I Am

2017-04-26 15.04.51

 

Whenever I read a story, whether it’s a short one or a novel, I always enjoy finding out as much information as I can about the author.  What kind of person they are, what makes them tick, where they get the ideas for their stories.  With that thought in mind, I wondered if any of the readers of my stories were curious to learn more about me, so I decided I’d write sort of a fact page and fill you in on some things that you may, or may not know, about me.  So, here goes.

 

  • If you’ve read the first chapter of “Seeing,” then you’ve read about the head injury sustained while playing softball.  That’s true.  I really did suffer that injury and it happened while playing softball, and the goose-egg I received as a result truly did grow to the size of an orange.  However, I did not start seeing ghosts as a result of the injury, but I did (and still do) get horrible headaches on occasion.  I continued to play ball, including in a women’s league, and I was a mean third baser, not a right-fielder, and definitely had that strong throwing arm.  But now, I probably couldn’t throw a rock across the street!

 

  • Pahokee is a real place in south Florida. It’s where I was born and raised.  And yes, it is on the map.  Pahokee is mentioned multiple times in my novel “Seeing,” and many of the places listed are also real, although many of them no longer exist.  The Prince Theater was my go-to place on Saturdays.  Fifty cents got me into the movie and bought popcorn, soda and candy.

 

  • The idea for “Animus” came as the result of a recurring nightmare that plagued me for over a year. I will not go into details because I do not like talking about the circumstances.  I simply took the idea and ran with it.

 

  • I got my right big toe cut completely off when I was 4 years old.  My oldest sister, Linda, was towing me on the back of a bicycle and ran over a palm frond, causing my foot to hit the spokes, and VOILA’, no big toe!  I didn’t even feel it and didn’t cry until I saw all the blood – then I screamed bloody murder!  The doctor sewed my toe back on and the scar grew as I did.  On occasion it’s tender, and I can’t wear any type of shoe that sits atop or rubs on the surface of the scar.

 

  • I have no fingernail on my left middle finger, the result of my hand being slammed in a thick wooden door. The injury crushed the nail matrix, preventing further growth.  Although I’ve had 3 surgeries on it, my finger still remains without a fingernail.  At one time, I was completely embarrassed by it and went to great lengths to keep it covered by using a fake nail or a band-aid.  Finally, I said to heck with it, it’s an injury and it’s part of me.  Now, I wear it like a Ninja!!!

 

  • I grew up in a housing project.  One of the biggest misconceptions of project life is that whoever lives in one is trash.  That’s simply not true.  My mother raised three daughters all alone after my dad left us when I was only 5 years old and living in a housing authority was the only rent she could afford, and worked 2 and 3 jobs to do that.  But I’ll tell you this much.  Our house was spotless and the floors so clean and shiny that you could have eaten off of them.  Our clothes were always clean and so were our bodies.  Living in a project doesn’t make you trashy, it just means that one is poor.  I think about the many friends I had back then that accepted me for who I was, not where I lived.  They could have easily ignored me or avoided me, but they didn’t.  And I can honestly say that the parents of those friends always welcomed me into their homes and treated me like one of their own.  So, to all my friends and your parents – thank you!

 

  • From a very young age, I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian.  My love for animals runs deep and is quite passionate.  I knew that to become a vet, I must do good in school and maintain good grades, so I did.  I graduated high school with a 3.9 GPA and golden honors for being in the top ten seniors of my graduating class.  It was also the year that my dream of becoming a veterinarian died.  College tuition was way out of reach for me.  I didn’t receive any scholarships and didn’t qualify for a grant, and there was no such thing as financial aid.  I can still love animals and help them in my own way, which I’ve always done and will continue to do.

 

  • Every year I feared that Santa Claus would overlook me because of our financial status, but somehow, he never did.  One Christmas in particular that will always remain a cherished memory is the year that all I wanted for Christmas was a Mrs. Beasley doll.  That’s all I could think about.  I had never wanted a doll so badly in all my life, but I knew that I wouldn’t get one.  To me, it was nothing more than a dream.  But lo and behold, when Christmas morning came, and I looked under the tree, what did I see?  Yes!  Mrs. Beasley!  Santa Claus truly hadn’t forgotten me!!  It wasn’t until several years later that I learned that it wasn’t Santa at all, but my oldest sister, Linda, who had bought the doll with the money she had earned working at Pahokee Army Store, and instead of spending it on herself, she made sure that my dream came true.  When Linda had her daughter, Stacy, I gave her all my childhood dolls, including Mrs. Beasley…but the story doesn’t end there.  Several years ago, I received another special gift from Linda and guess what it was???  By the way, I still have her!

 

  • I almost died several years ago due to an undetected illness.  Although I went to many doctors and specialists, none of them could figure it out.  I heard everything from “it’s psychological,” to “try biofeedback” to “maybe you should consider talking to a psychiatrist.”  I was ready to give up because I knew my attempts were futile, but my husband refused to let me.  It was recommended that I see an Endocrinologist, so that’s what I did, and doing so saved my life.  Turns out my thyroid gland wasn’t functioning at all and was attempting to shut down my vital organs.  I thank God for Dr. David Mordes every day.  Not only for listening to me, but for taking the time to find, and treat, the problem.  I will be on Synthroid for the rest of my life and will suffer from minor secondary problems as a result, but you know what?  I’m alive, and I’m healthy, and that’s all that matters!

 

  • I’m an excellent cook and baker.  I can bake just about any kind of cookie or cake you want and will do it from scratch, but I absolutely cannot, for the life of me, make a pie crust or biscuits!  Go figure!  I cook with a southern flair, well, because I am from the south…South Florida.

 

  • I hate eggs, except for when they’re in cakes or cookies.  I will not eat them in any way, shape or form, except (see my note above).  They’re gross, stinky and disgusting.  I hate bananas because they make me gag, but I love banana cream pie, banana flavored popsicles and banana moon pies.

 

  • I’ve loved writing since I could hold a pencil.  While I can fabricate a storyline from here to eternity, I do not tell lies in real life and have no use for a liar.  My philosophy is, if you can’t speak the truth, then don’t speak.  When I’m writing, my characters may, on occasion, use foul language because I want them to be believable.  Yet when I speak, I do not use profanity.  I feel I can carry on a conversation without it.  I’ve been published several times in magazines and newspapers, but never pursued it wholeheartedly because it was tough to do that while working a full-time job, raising kids and maintaining a household.  “Animus” is the first novel that I’ve written and completed.  I’m currently attempting to secure an agent.  I’ve got my fingers crossed!

 

  • I chose a career in law enforcement with my first stint being with the USDA.  But the call didn’t really get into my blood until I went to work for the Florida Highway Patrol, and from there, probation/DUI school and juvenile corrections.  I was nominated for Employee of the Year by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice because of a tracking system that I created to monitor allegations of abuse reports.  I didn’t win it, but it was an honor to be nominated.

 

  • I worked at a juvenile correctional facility for 11 1/2 years until the State of Florida closed the facility, resulting in more than 300 people losing their jobs – including me.  It’s a horrible thing to lose a job like that, because you don’t just lose a job, you lose your investments, your insurance, your income, and perhaps even a piece of yourself.  I went from making $40K a year to making less than $300 every two weeks in unemployment, then to a big fat zero when that ran out, never able to secure another job.  When we moved to Indiana, within the first two years I applied for over 300 jobs, got called in for 2 interviews, but didn’t get hired for either.  So, when someone says they’ve lost their job, show compassion and concern, because it truly is a horrible thing to go through.

 

  • There isn’t much that I’m scared of, but big spiders rate #1 on the list, with flying cockroaches, or palmetto bugs, coming in second. Those suckers are like B52 bombers and will fly right into your face and hair!!!!  On more than one occasion, I have nearly beaten myself to death trying to get one off me.  I’ll spare you the gory details of the aftermath when a giant Florida spider jumped right in my face when I sprayed it!!!

 

  • As a kid, I used to catch lizards and keep them in the old tin coffee cans. Sometimes I’d take them out and clip them on my earlobes and wear them as earrings.  Fear not, none were harmed, and I always released them back into the bushes.  To this very day, the smell of an empty coffee can still reminds me of…..lizards!

 

  • I bowled competitively for many years and traveled all over the state of Florida to compete in tournaments. I have won hundreds of awards in the sport and was the second woman in the history of the St. Lucie County Women’s Bowling Association to bowl a 700 series and did it during a county tournament!  Alas, I had to give up the sport when degenerative arthritis prevented me from being able to grip the ball.

 

  • I was a young, single mother of three small children for several years before I met and married my husband. I know the hardships of struggling to make ends meet.  At one time, I received welfare, food stamps and Medicaid because I was unemployed for a year after giving birth to the twins because I couldn’t secure a job that would pay me enough to be able to afford daycare.  That all changed when I was given a job at the Florida Highway Patrol by a man who put his trust in me to do a job.  I will forever be grateful to Lt. Richard Helton for giving me the chance that no one else would.  This job enabled me to be able to have better living arrangements, give up the food stamps and Medicaid.  One of my biggest pet peeves is to read or hear people who criticize those who rely on public assistance to help them in their time of need.  There are times when circumstances are beyond our control and we need help.  Choosing to better oneself is a personal choice, one which I opted for and didn’t give up until I did.

 

  • I’m a clown and I laugh a lot. It’s good for the heart and for the soul.

 

  • I’m a people lover – all kinds, all colors, all religions. I love hearing stories of different cultures and ways of living.  I was taught from a very early age never to judge a person by the color of their skin, but by their character.  I live strongly by that rule.  As one of my daughters told me once, “Mom, love don’t come in colors!”  Amen, Candi!

 

  • In our hometown of Pahokee, people who knew us referred to us as “the Enda Sisters.” Linda, Brenda, Glenda.  Wonder what mom would have named a boy had there been one?  Charlenda????

 

  • My favorite color is red / my favorite food is Italian / my favorite movie EVER is Jaws / I love reading anything by Stephen King, Dean Koontz and James Patterson and have a huge collection of their books / my eyes are green / I’m right-handed / I love all animals but absolutely adore tigers.

 

 

Do you feel like you know me better now or would you like to know more?  Have any questions or something you’d like me to answer?  Don’t ever be afraid to ask!!!

Until next time….

Take care and God Bless!!!

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Let’s Go On A Fall Hayride!

One of the things I love most about living in Indiana is enjoying Fall festivities and admiring the fall foliage.  I had the opportunity to do them both at the same time when my husband and I attended the Fall Harvest Hayride in Clarksville.   I’ve loved hayrides ever since I was a kid, but going on one in Florida simply cannot be compared to going on one when there’s a crisp coolness in the air and the trees surrounding you are on fire with reds, oranges and yellows.  The laughter of children and conversations between adults filled the atmosphere around me, giving the ambience of the evening a special, magical spark.

So, grab your jacket or coat, whichever you prefer because you’re going to need it, and come along with me while I take you on a hayride through Lapping Park!!!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!!

Our Ride

This was the hay-filled trailer we rode in on!

By the Campfire

Time for some folk music while we roast marshmallows and make s’mores over an open campfire.  It was hilarious watching my husband try to make a s’more because neither one of us had ever made one before…so, the graham crackers were broken, the marshmallows burnt and the Hershey’s chocolate bar cold as ice, but it was still good.  Gooey and messy, but good.

Guitarist and vocalists, Mike and Molly, who provided the music and encouraged the audience to sing along!  One of the many fire pits that were burning inside the square.  Fear not….volunteers were standing by in the event that flames jumped the rails!!!

Endris Lodge

Endris Lodge, where hot chocolate, hot dogs, chips, sodas and s’mores kits were being sold.

Lonely Bench

So peaceful and serene.  If you could sit on this bench for five minutes and talk to someone, who would you choose?

A Path To

A path to….?  Look at all of those beautiful colors!

Fall Foliage Lapping Park

Some of the foliage along the path that leads down to Silver Creek (where the bench was).

Fallen Leaves

Some fallen leaves…I didn’t want them to feel left out because they’re no longer on the trees..:)

Monarch Waystation

The Monarch Waystation.  They have butterfly gardens at the park now.

Into the Woods

Into the woods we go, following the lit path that led to the Amphitheater where the live animal show took place.  I saw a baby alligator, a baby skunk, a Eurasian Eagle Owl and a giant bullfrog…ribbit!

There were also cordoned off areas that had games and activities for small children, in addition to the playground that is directly in front of Endris Lodge.

We had so much fun and totally enjoyed ourselves and we also plan on attending again next year.

Did I tell you how happy I was to get back to the car where it was nice and warm so that I could thaw out my fingers and toes???

Until next time.

Take care and God Bless!

Glenda

 

 

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Flight of Fancy – A Short Story

NOBODY MOVE!” And then the distinct clicking sound of a gun hammer being cocked. “EVERYBODY STAY IN YOUR SEATS, DO AS YOU’RE TOLD AND NO ONE GETS HURT!”

Fancy raised a flap of her eye mask and blinked groggily, the effects of the sedative she’d taken for the flight lingering heavily, creating a thick fog that enveloped her mind. She had no idea how long they’d been airborne because she’d taken the pill before boarding and fell asleep before takeoff. At first, she thought the man’s voice was coming from the big screen television inside the cabin, but seeing him standing in the aisle armed with a shotgun clearly brought the situation into focus.

“What’s going on?” she asked, sitting upright in her seat. “What’s happening?”

“You!” the armed man barked, pointing his gun at her. “Keep your mouth shut. All you need to know is that there’s been a slight change to our flight plan.”

Fancy began to stand, but quickly reconsidered when the man took a step towards her. “Not a smart idea, Red.”

Fancy glanced around at the other passengers on the small private jet.   She didn’t recognize any of them, but judging by the fear on their faces, they were just as scared as she was.

“Okay, everyone, listen up,” the man announced. “See that man back there?” he asked, pointing. All heads turned to see a second armed man at the rear of the plane that appeared to be an exact replica of the first one. “In case you haven’t figured it out yet, he’s my twin brother. He’ll be collecting cell phones, tablets and any other communications devices you good people may have. We certainly can’t take any chances of having our mission posted all over social media now, can we?”

“Why are they doing this?” Fancy wondered. “They’re obviously Americans, with that southern accent, for Pete’s sake!   Since when did an American hi-jack an interstate flight?”

“That means you, too, Red,” the gunman ordered.

Fancy’s hands were trembling as she picked her purse up from the floor.   Desperately trying to retrieve her phone, she dropped the purse, spilling its contents into the aisle at the gunman’s feet. Reflexively, she squatted on the floor to pick them up.

“Nope,” the gunman said, shoving her backward with the gun barrel. “Get back in your seat.”

Fancy did as she was told.

“What do you hope to gain by doing this?” It was one of the other passengers, a man of about thirty sitting to her right.

Instead of answering, the gunman struck the man on the side of the head with the butt of the gun. The injured man yelped in pain as he grabbed his head, then turned away and stared out the window. She could see blood streaming through his fingers, leaving bright red trails as it ran down the back of his hand.

“Why did I let you talk me into this?” Fancy asked herself, recalling her conversation with Lori, one of the three actual friends she had. “I should have stood my ground when I said no.   This is what I get for giving in.”

Fancy reflected back on that debate now as she sat helpless and unarmed on a flight going to God knows where, while two armed gunmen held her and the other passenger’s hostage.

“Fancy, I have a ticket for a charter flight to New York City, but I can’t use it. I want you to have it and go in my place.”

“Why would I want to go to New York?”

“Have you ever been?” Lori asked.

“No.”

“You’ll love it! I really wanted to go, but something came up and I can’t. I don’t want the ticket to go to waste.”

“Give it to someone else.”

“No, I want you to have it.”

“Why me?”

“Because you never do anything fun or exciting. Don’t you get tired of the same old mundane routine day in and day out?”

“No,” Fancy answered. “I don’t.”

“Look,” Lori pleaded with her. “It’s just a one day thing. You fly there, spend a few hours shopping or sightseeing, whatever you want. Then you get back on the plane and come home.   I truly think you’d enjoy it.   So, what do you say?”

“I don’t know, Lori,” she’d told her hesitantly. “I’m not really fond of flying. It scares me.”

“Then ask your doctor to give you something specifically for the flight, or I can give you one of mine.”

“So you’re scared of flying, too?”

“A little maybe, but it’s the only way to travel. Beats driving any day.”

Fancy sat quietly as she pondered the thought of seeing New York. It had never really been a desire of hers to go, but it might just be fun afterall.

“It’s only about a two hour flight,” Lori told her. “You’ll be there before you know it, especially if you take a feel good pill. And I promise that you’ll have so much fun you won’t even think about it.”

Lori was right about one thing – she didn’t lead an exciting life. Some may even find her lifestyle quite boring.

“Tell you what,” Lori prompted. “You do this one thing for me, and I’ll never ask you to do anything else.”

“I’m not sure, Lori,” Fancy said, shaking her head.

“Please, please, please,” Lori begged. “The ticket is already paid for and it’s non-refundable. All you’ll need is money to spend on yourself.”

Fancy took a deep breath and exhaled through her nose. “Okay,” she said, sounding reluctant. “But you owe me big time.”

As she sat stiffly in her seat, staring down at her money scattered on the floor, she longed for that boring life she loved. What she wouldn’t give at that moment to be at home curled up on her couch watching an old movie while listening to Pokey purr.

“Well, well, lookey here,” the gunman said, picking the bills up and placing them in his front pocket. “Thank you for donating to the cause. It’s greatly appreciated.”

Fancy opened her mouth to protest, reconsidered the possible consequences, and then sat quietly as she stared straight ahead.

The gunman remained by her side, hovering as he held the shotgun tucked beneath his arm.

“What’s your name, anyhow?” he asked her.

Did he seriously expect her to engage in casual conversation while he held them all at gunpoint? She remained silent.

“I asked you a question,” he said, his voice hardening. “And I would like an answer.”

“Fancy,” she answered without looking at him.

“Say that again,” he said, chuckling softly. “I just want to make sure I heard you correctly.”

“Fancy!” she spat, this time making eye contact with him. In the midst of such peril, she hated to admit to herself that he was quite handsome, and appeared to be of Greek descent with his dark hair and eyes, and olive complexion. She looked away and stared out the window when he began laughing.

“Are you serious? Your name is Fancy? Well, fancy that, Miss Fancy. What kind of drugs was your momma taking when she named you?” he laughed heartily.   “My name is Danny, and my brother back there is Randy.”

Fancy did not acknowledge his statement.

“Fancy,” he said, shaking his head. “Now I’ve heard it all.”

“Can I please go to the restroom?” Fancy asked without looking at him.

“Well now, seeing that you just gave me…” he paused, reaching into his pocket and retrieving the wad of bills. He immediately bent down to pick up a round lapel pin that had stuck to the money and quickly shoved it back into his pocket, glancing furtively around the cabin as if he was making sure that no one else saw it. Unfolding the cash, he counted, “One, two…five hundred dollars, I suppose I could let you do that.”

Fancy’s legs were wobbly as she stood up, slowly making her way toward the back of the plane, where Randy had remained the entire duration of the flight.   He wasn’t holding his shotgun, but it was nearby, propped up against the wall where he stood.

Fancy turned on the faucet and splashed her face with cold water. She glanced around the small cubicle, assessing the possibility of obtaining a weapon. There were no phones on the plane, other than the cell phones, and those had all been confiscated, so the chance of making a call was out of the question. The paper towel dispenser was built into the vanity of the sink; therefore, there were no metal racks that she could rip from the wall. She could break the mirror, but the sound of shattering glass would send them running, and they’d more than likely tear down the door before she could retrieve a shard and hide it inside her shirt. She was helpless. There was nothing she could do to defend herself, so she did the only thing possible – she returned to her seat and sat back down.

Once again, she replayed her conversation with Lori over in her mind, hating herself for being so spineless and giving in to something that she never wanted to do in the first place.

As she sat with her arms folded across her chest, staring out the window, she became lost in thought.

Why had Lori been so adamant about making sure that she got the ticket?   She had plenty of other friends that would have jumped at the opportunity for a free trip, and she had suggested as much, only to be told no.

And how did Danny and Randy get those huge guns onto the plane without anyone noticing? She had been the first one on board and had immediately fallen into a heavy sleep, but surely the other passengers would have noticed and said something, wouldn’t they? Come to think of it, the sedative that Lori had given her had worked much too well. For a pill that was only meant to calm her, it had knocked her out completely, so anything could have happened and she wouldn’t have known about it. That would certainly include armed gunmen boarding the plane after her. And why weren’t they wearing masks? Did they not care about being identified? Unless…Fancy was suddenly struck by a horrible thought, feeling a panic stir inside of her. Unless they were planning on killing all of them once they reached their destination!

Why were none of the other passengers conspiring to overthrow the gunmen?   Other than the one gentleman who had been struck in the head, not a single one of them had said a word. How could they all sit there so somber as though nothing were going on? The eight of them could easily overtake the two gunmen if they worked together. Of course, someone might get shot in the process, or a stray bullet might penetrate the fuselage and cause the air pressure to destabilize, which would then cause the plane to crash. On the one hand, she could understand why no one was eager to be heroic. They were probably as terrified as she was, but by doing nothing, they were all sitting ducks simply waiting to see what their fates held in store for them.

For two men who were hi-jacking a plane, why had neither one of them attempted to storm the cockpit? Afterall, the pilot would play a major role in getting the aircraft to their desired location, unless the pilot was in on the plot, too, and the flight plan was pre-arranged.

Fancy took a deep breath, closed her eyes and laid her head back.

Instantaneously, she opened her eyes and sat upright. “Wait a minute,” she thought, remembering the pin that had fallen out of Danny’s pocket, and how quickly he’d retrieved it, but not before she saw the DAC logo that was printed on it. She knew that symbol quite well. In fact, she had seen it on numerous occasions and couldn’t believe the thought hadn’t occurred to her until that moment.

Fancy immediately knew what was going on – and who the person was that was behind this whole charade.

What she didn’t know was why.

Drawing on her sudden realization, she made a decision and hoped that her instincts were right. If they were, this ordeal would end without injuries or casualties. But if she was wrong…

“I’m not afraid of you,” she said, standing up to face Danny. Wielding the nail file she’d taken from her purse, she lunged at him, the sharp tip of the file pointed at his left cheek. He seemed genuinely surprised at her sudden show of bravery, taking a step backward and away from her.

“Sit down,” he told her, keeping an eye on the weapon she held while waving it back and forth as if she were competing in a fencing match.

“No,” she stated firmly. “If you’re going to shoot me, then go ahead and do it.”

Danny sprang forward, grabbing her by both wrists and forcefully put her back in her seat. “Stay put, I mean it,” he instructed her, making his way toward the rear of the plane.   Keeping his back toward her, he began conversing with Randy, who was obviously agreeing with whatever Danny was saying because he was nodding. She could hear them whispering but couldn’t make out what they were saying.

“What are the two of you discussing,” Fancy asked, standing up and turning to face them.

“I told you to sit down,” Danny said, pointing to her seat. Randy took a cell phone from his pocket and dialed a number. Danny remained directly in front of him, preventing her from being able to read his lips while he talked.   The conversation only lasted a few moments, and when Randy put his phone back in his pocket, Danny returned to the front of the plane.

During the entire exchange between Fancy and Danny, all of the other passengers remained in their seats as quiet as a church mouse, stealing only a glance at her when she spoke, confirming her suspicions that they, too, were involved in whatever was going on.

“Ladies and gentlemen, there’s been a change of plans,” Danny announced, looking at Fancy while he spoke. With a remote control in hand, he turned toward the big screen television and turned it on. “Stay tuned for a public service announcement,” he said.

“Fancy, Fancy, Fancy,” came the voice from the television.

Fancy stared at the screen in shock. “Lori?” she asked, frowning.

“Yep, it’s me,” she said, smiling. “This part wasn’t supposed to happen so soon, but we figured it best to end it before someone really did get hurt.”

“What part?” Fancy asked, alarmed when she heard a loud POP! erupt from the rear of the plane, thinking it was gunfire, but was stunned when she turned around to see Randy holding a bottle of champagne, foam spilling over the top and onto the carpeted floor.

“What’s going on?” Fancy asked, turning back to the television.

“I’d like you to meet some of my friends,” Lori said. “Ladies and gentlemen, please stand and take a bow.”   And they did – every single passenger.   “They’re all members of the Drama Actors Club. You know, Fancy, the one I belong to. You’ve been to several of my plays.”

“Yes, but…”

“You want to know why?”

“Yes, I do.”

“For starters, I thought you could use some excitement in your life,” Lori explained.

“So you staged a fake hi-jacking? Don’t you think that’s somewhat extreme?”

“Perhaps, but I, we, would have never let anyone get hurt for real.   It was all in good fun. How many times have you told me that you would love to be in a play with me? So, congratulations, you had the starring role.”

“You call nearly giving me a heart attack fun?” Fancy exclaimed, her voice cracking. “And what about him?” she asked, pointing to the man who had been struck in the head.   “He got hurt.”

“Fake blood sac,” he answered, standing and facing her. “See?” he said, holding up his hand. “It was glued to the palm and ruptured when I hit the side of my head,” he explained, reenacting his movement.

“And the guns?” Fancy asked.

“Props,” Danny answered. “From a play we did a few months ago.”

“But I heard you cock it,” Fancy protested.

“Like this,” one of the female passengers said, shaking her phone up and down. “Sound effects. I had to turn the volume up and cue it several times to wake you up. That pill Lori gave you really did the trick.”

“Oh, Fancy,” Lori said. “I’ve been planning this for months. I thought it was all going to fail when you gave me such a hard time over the ticket.”

“I wish it had failed,” Fancy said. “I’ve never been so scared in all of my life, and I still don’t understand why you did it.”

“Tell her why, friends,” Lori said. While Randy poured the champagne into plastic wine glasses, the group began singing Happy Birthday.

“Lori, my birthday isn’t for another week,” Fancy said when the singing was over.

“I know that, silly, but I’ll be out of town then. I wanted to give you a special birthday, one that you would never forget. How’d I do?”

“Well, you got the ‘never forget’ part right,” Fancy answered, taking a sip of champagne.

“Good,” Lori said with a laugh. “If you think your flight was exciting, just wait until you see what I have planned once you arrive in New York.”

“Goody,” Fancy said with a frown. “I can barely wait.”

“Okay, everyone, I’ll see you when you get here. Great job, guys!”

Danny turned off the television and extended his hand to Fancy. “No hard feelings?”

Fancy stared at his hand momentarily, then shook it. “No, but someone has a lot more explaining to do.”

“I’ll leave that up to Lori,” he said smiling. After returning her cell phone and money, he joined his brother at the back of the plane.

Fancy stared out the window as she sipped her champagne, wondering what else Lori had planned for her, hoping that whatever it was didn’t include bungee jumping off the Empire State Building.

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Identifying the Antichrist: Signs, Traits and Characteristics of the Beast

How many of you have ever seen the movie “The Omen?”  Doesn’t matter whether it’s the original or the remake, they both carry the same message – the birth and rising to power of the Antichrist.  If you did see the movie, then you know that Damien Thorn didn’t simply appear in a puff of magical smoke – he was born from a jackal, chosen from his conception to fulfill the role of The Beast, taking the place of a murdered newborn to claim his place in the family of the United States Ambassador to Great Britain.  While The Omen is a work of fiction, it is based on Biblical teachings about the Antichrist and how he will rise up in a position of power.  Not by being an investment banker or a movie star – but politically.  At the end of the first movie, Damien is shown standing by the side of the President of the United States while attending the funeral of his father.  Keep in mind he had already murdered his mother and was also responsible for the death of his father.  In the sequels, Damien is taken in by his uncle, and after the deaths of those family members, turns the uncle’s company into a global business corporation.  Damien went on to become the Ambassador to Great Britain (the same position as his father) because England was the site of the second coming.  Damien didn’t let anything or anyone stand in the way of his success or his calling, and he did whatever it took to make sure that his purpose was uninterrupted, and that his mission was fulfilled.  Now, let’s put the fiction behind us and move ahead to what’s real.  Are you ready for this?

First off, while The Omen is a movie with fictional characters and an embellished plot, the undertone is VERY real.  I have been a Christian all of my life, and many times have been taught about and heard of the second coming, the Antichrist and the Mark of the Beast, what to look for, how to identify him.  Many times I have wondered if I would be able to make those distinctions.  Afterall, he will look like an average, every day man, but with exceptionally different attributes.  I’ve pondered whether or not we would be put to a test, a trial run, so to speak, just to see if we will recognize him when we see him, or if we’ll be so caught up in his splendor that we won’t be able to see the forest for the trees.

I did a lot of research before writing this blog, and also consulted my Bible and even my Bible for Dummies to gain knowledge and insight to help me understand exactly what I wanted to say and what I wanted to make a point of.  To begin, let’s take a look at, and break down, some of the top and most important characteristics to look for.

HE WILL HAVE CHARISMA

He will be charming and speak the words that people want to hear, but only those caught up in his web of deceit will see his words as soothing.  There will be those who are not so taken in by his charisma, and those will be the ones questioning his true intentions.

HE WILL BE CLEVER

He will be a master of deception, akin to a charming, clever psychopath, that will bring him to global prominence in multiple ways.  He will have the ability to avoid what some people might call “scandalous behavior.”

HE WILL BE A LIAR

And I don’t mean tiny white lies, like telling your friend she looks great in that dress when, in fact, she doesn’t.  He will tell whoppers that are so convincing that when he speaks the words and the words fall upon the ears of his followers, they believe it to be the truth because the deception is so deep that they can’t see beyond the alternate reality that he creates around them.  Additionally, he will know they’re lies when speaking them, but conviction for wrong-doings isn’t an attribute he possesses.

HE WILL HAVE ECONOMIC CONTROL

While I’m sure this is self-explanatory, keep in mind that this particular economic control goes beyond the United States!  It will be global and will affect everyone living on earth.

HE WILL PERFORM WONDERS

Remember, he is a master of deception and the “wonders” you may witness aren’t really wonders at all, but more like the slight of hand from a master magician.  Some examples of this would be creating a massive chaotic situation that will ruffle the feathers of some, but not all, then finding the means to repair the chaos, all the while claiming victory for solving the problem.  What he will create are optical illusions, but his faithful followers will be so drawn in by him that they will fail to see the truth.

HE WILL BE BLASPHEMOUS

Most people probably view blasphemy as a direct insult toward God, but that’s not necessarily true.  Insulting God’s people is just as blasphemous as if it were pointedly directed at God himself.  Matthew 25:40 tells us that ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  Bottom line – insulting God’s children equals insulting God.

HE WILL BE LAWLESS

In other words, the law doesn’t apply to him so he doesn’t have to follow any of them.  He will be able to do and say what he wants without any repercussions.  Again, he is a master of deceit, so those who are taken in by his charisma won’t view his actions as lawless and they will defend him relentlessly.

HE WILL BE A DESTROYER

What, exactly, does that mean?  Is he going to destroy buildings?  Will he tear up highways and blow up bridges?  While that is certainly possible, because he will be extremely destructive, I’m leaning more toward the fact that this means a destroyer of people and relationships.  For instance, let’s say a husband and wife are on opposite sides of the belief spectrum – one is a follower and one isn’t.  You don’t think that would cause a huge riff between the couple?  Possibly arguments and eventually a splitting of the two?  Is that not being destroyed?  Not just couples either.  Parents and children, family and friends.  Those who choose not to follow his path of destruction and deceit will be ostracized by those who do.

HE WILL BE A DECEIVER

What does it mean to be deceitful?  One example would be saying one thing publicly but quite a different story in private to those who surround him (and he will have a team of supporters to help him with his dirty work – he will not act alone in his deceptions and lies).  Another would be spreading falsehoods and gossip and passing them off as truths, knowing that his loyalists will believe whatever he says.

HE WILL BE A POLITICIAN

Just like Damien Thorn.  Why?  Because that’s where the power is.  Where better to be than in a position of power where he can be in the public eye and known worldwide?  He won’t be a Little Tom Thumb sitting in the corner eating his pie.  He will be bold, crass and loud.  Afterall, he DOES want his message to be heard.

HE WILL BE EXTREMELY ARROGANT

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes arrogance as “exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one’s own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner.”  To put it simply, he will be so full of himself that anything and anyone outside of his own personal bubble will be of no importance to him, other than using them for financial or personal gain.  In his mind, they are dispensable and inadequate in comparison to him.

While there are certainly many, many more characteristics, I personally thought these are some of the most important ones to mull over.  The Bible warns us to be vigilant and to keep watch constantly so as not to be taken in by a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  I believe that when we are finally faced with dealing with the Antichrist, (and we will), there will be two distinct groups – those who believe in him and follow his teachings, and those who don’t.  The two groups will be at constant war with each other, either by slander, hateful and hurtful words, possibly even physical contact, such as fighting and shooting.  The devil will delight in such behavior, because nothing makes him happier than witnessing actions such as the warring, idolatry (yes, fighting over him is most definitely idolatry!), wicked words and actions.  He relishes in it, wraps himself in it like a warm blanket while he smiles and the wars continue to rage around him.  Those who love, worship and adore him won’t be able to figure out why those who oppose him don’t feel the same way that they do – and vice versa.  The answer is quite simple.  It’s because the two groups will sit on opposite sides of the fence, with differing insights, opinions and feelings.  It will be the ultimate battle between good and evil.  I can only hope and pray that when that time comes, I choose wisely.

Christians, be vigilant, be alert, be focused, and pay attention.  Your eternal life may just depend on it.

Until next time….

Take care and God Bless!

Glenda

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What Grows In the Garden – Short Story

“Well, what do you think?” Monica asked, wiping the sweat from her forehead onto the back of a gloved hand, mussing the black ringlets that had formed on her wet brow. She folded her hands atop the shovel handle and rested her chin there, fondly admiring her handiwork.

Dale stood on the front porch sipping a cup of coffee as he watched his wife lay down the shovel and remove her gardening gloves. “Looks good,” he said.

“Only good?” she asked incredulously, cocking her head. “Four hours of work out here in this hot sun, digging, planting, sweating…and all you can say is that it looks good?”

Dale chuckled. “It looks great, Hun. You did a wonderful job, and your flowers are an array of vibrant colors,” he said with the wave of a hand. “I just hope they turn out better than the ones last year did,” he added with a smile.

Monica knew what he was referring to. He had called her the bloom murderer for weeks after that debacle, when everything she had planted turned brown, withered and then died. “Me, too,” she agreed. “I don’t…” she began, her words abruptly interrupted by a violent round of sneezing.

“You alright?” Dale asked.

“I think so,” Monica answered, wiping at her nose. “Probably nothing more than allergies from all the pollen I stirred up.”

“Why don’t you call it a day and come inside and take a long, hot shower? I’ll fix you a cup of lemon and honey tea.”

“Sounds good,” Monica answered, picking up the shovel and the small green basket of gardening tools. As she made her way towards the tool shed, she was struck with another bout of explosive sneezing.

Monica was awakened from a deep sleep shortly after midnight by a horrible pain in her throat. Careful not to wake Dale, she slid quietly out of bed and walked down the carpeted hallway and into the kitchen, rubbing her throat along the way.   The night light next to the stove provided enough illumination for her to see without having to turn on the overhead light. At the sink, she turned on the tap and held a finger beneath the running water until it began to get warm, and then filled a glass half full, added salt and gargled. It hurt to swallow, the excruciating pain recalling memories of the recurrent episodes of tonsillitis she’d suffered as a young girl.   That situation had been remedied by having her tonsils removed and she’d never had another sore throat that severe…until now. “I must be getting a cold,” she whispered, rinsing her glass and placing it upside down in the dish drainer.   Rummaging through a drawer, she found a flashlight and went into the bathroom, closing the door behind her.   Monica turned the adjustable light switch knob to the brightest setting and stepped up to the vanity mirror. An external examination of herself revealed nothing out of the ordinary, certainly nothing to raise concern. Other than the sore throat, which seemed to be getting worse by the second, she didn’t feel sick or feverish at all. She stared into the mirror for several seconds, focusing her attention on the pain, wondering if this was nothing more than a common sore throat, or perhaps something more serious. The entire left side of her throat was pulsating as if it had a heartbeat of its own, throbbing to its own rhythm. She recalled the many times she had described her tonsillitis as “feeling like swallowing a razor blade,” but she didn’t remember it ever throbbing like this. Even more weird was that it felt as if something were crawling beneath the warm, moist skin. She turned on the flashlight, stuck out her tongue as far as she could and shined the light inside of her mouth. Nothing extraordinary there either. Perhaps it was somewhat redder than usual, but nothing that would cause alarm. Turning off the flashlight, she left the bathroom, returned to the kitchen and placed it back inside the drawer. She had no desire to use salt water again, so she opted for a throat lozenge instead. After popping it into her mouth, she immediately spat it into the garbage.   The menthol only exacerbated the pain to the point that it was almost unbearable. The ache had grown so intense that she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to sleep. She made a mental note that if she didn’t feel better by morning, she would make an appointment to see her doctor.

“Dale, my throat is killing me,” she said hoarsely, pouring him a glass of orange juice, barely able to speak above a whisper.   “I think I’m coming down with something.”

“So, it’s not allergies, then?”

“I don’t think so,” she answered, struggling to speak. “If it is an allergic reaction, I can honestly say that I’ve never had one this bad. Here,” she said, handing him the flashlight. “Look and tell me if you see anything.”

“Hmm, uh-hunh, hmm,” Dale said as he examined her throat. He then turned off the flashlight and handed it back to her.

“Well? Did you see anything?”

“Yep.”

“What?”

“A tongue, teeth, uvula, but nothing out of the ordinary.”

“I haven’t had a sore throat this bad since I was a little girl,” she told him.

“Maybe you’re having a bad reaction to something you planted yesterday. Flowers that you’re sensitive to, maybe?”

“I don’t know,” she said, shrugging.

“Do you remember getting any of the potting soil in your eyes or up your nose? Or did you accidentally inhale any of the fertilizer?”

“None of those,” she said. “But,” she continued, and then stopped.

“But what?” Dale prompted.

“It’s probably nothing, but the only thing I can think of is that I had a really hard time getting one of those drastic dandelions out of the ground. I pulled and pulled, but it didn’t want to let go, so I yanked it as hard as I could, and when I finally did get it to budge, I fell backwards with it in my hand and some of the dirt from its roots fell in my face.”

“That shouldn’t be causing you to have this kind of a problem with your throat. I mean, it is only dirt, afterall.”

Monica chewed thoughtfully on her lip. “It’s not the dirt that concerns me,” she explained.   “It’s what was beneath it. I didn’t really think much of it at the time, but now…” she said, her voice trailing off.

“What was under the dirt, Monica?” Dale asked, sounding alarmed.

Lost in thought, Monica didn’t answer.

“Monica!”

“Hmm?” she asked, returning her attention to Dale.   “What did you say?”

“What was under the dirt?”

“Worms,” she answered. “Big, fat red ones, tons of them, knotted together and squirming all over each other. When I planted last year, I dug up a couple of them, but nothing compared to what I saw yesterday.” She paused and swallowed, grimacing at the pain. “When I finally pulled the dandelion out, the ground gave way under it, leaving a deep hole. More of a crater, actually,” she stated. “Deep enough for me to stick my whole arm in. You don’t suppose one of those worms got into my nose and burrowed itself in there, do you? Or somehow wiggled its way under my skin?”

“No,” Dale replied with a short laugh. “If a worm did by chance get into your mouth or nose, you would have swallowed it. Then you could just poop it out and be done with it. As far as one getting under you skin, which, by the way, I think is impossible. But if it did, I’m sure you would have felt it chewing its way through, don’t you?”

“Gross,” Monica said, shuddering at the thought of a worm being inside her mouth. Or worse, having one crawling around inside of her.

“Is there something else?”

“No,” she said, shaking her head as she gave it some thought. “Well, except for all of those little white things covering the roots. There seemed to be hundreds of those.”

“White things?” Dale repeated.

“Yes, but it wasn’t the roots themselves, they were on the roots,” she stated. “I have no idea what they were, but in hindsight, I can only say that they looked like maggots.”

As she had the night before, Monica was awakened when she began coughing, heaving so fiercely and deeply that every cough caused her to gag.

“Monica?” Dale said sleepily.

“I’m okay, honey, go back to sleep,” she told him as she slid out of bed, closing the bedroom door behind her. No sense in keeping Dale awake for something he couldn’t do anything about anyway. Besides, if she needed him, then, and only then, would she wake him. If only the doctor’s office could have gotten her in, perhaps he could have given her some medicine that would help her start to feel better. Unfortunately, they didn’t consider a sore throat an emergency and couldn’t get her in for another two days.

Doing the only thing she knew to do, she again gargled with salt water, but it didn’t help at all. In fact, the salt set her throat on fire.

With the flashlight in hand, Monica once more stood before the vanity mirror. Sliding the power button to the ON position, she shone the beam of light into her mouth – and took a step backwards in horror, dropping the flashlight as she covered her mouth with both hands.

What appeared to be a tonsil stone covered the left side of her throat. But Monica knew it wasn’t a stone, because of all the ones she’d ever had, none of them had been green.

She picked the flashlight up from the floor, hoping the loud noise hadn’t wakened Dale. When the bedroom door didn’t open, she knew it hadn’t and that he was probably snoring his way down the paths of dreamland.

She had to take another look – needed to.   She must know whether or not what she had just seen inside her mouth was real – or a figment of her imagination.

Not only was it real, it had also gotten bigger.

At first glance, it had been about as big as a pea, and nearly the same color. Now, it had grown to the size of a penny – and had turned a darker green.

Monica began to cough and gag, struggling to catch her breath. When the incident finally subsided, Monica closed the lid on the toilet and sat down, shaken and frightened by it. She felt dizzy, lightheaded and winded. Looking at her hands, she saw that they were trembling uncontrollably. She rubbed them together and shook her arms in an effort to calm down. Her heart was pounding like a jackhammer inside her chest. She considered waking Dale up and getting to the emergency room, but reconsidered when the coughing fit passed and she began to regain her composure.

One last look at her throat, then she’d drink a glass of water, go back to bed and try to get some sleep, if that was possible.

Monica could not believe what she was seeing.   In the short time that had elapsed since she’d last looked, the stone had grown even larger, extending almost to the center of her throat. What looked like tiny thorns extended from the sides of the circular stone, giving it the appearance of a sandspur.

A tickle began to build in Monica’s throat, warning her that yet another coughing and gagging spell was about to occur.

Hastily, she went into the kitchen and poured herself a glass of water – but she didn’t get a chance to drink it.

She was overcome by a coughing fit so severe that it took her breath away. Whatever that thing was inside of her throat was now cutting off her airway, preventing her from being able to even breathe through her nose.

Monica felt as though she were being suffocated by an invisible hand that covered her face while it robbed her completely of all of her oxygen.

Tiny white specks of light flashed in the darkness around her like fireflies flitting about as they performed a farewell dance in her honor.

She clawed at her throat as she struggled to breathe, feeling a darkness descending down upon her – the black claws of death reaching out for her, beckoning to her, calling out her name.

As she collapsed onto the floor, she grasped the dish drainer, pulling it and all of its contents down with her.

“Monica?” Dale sprang from bed, awakened by the loud clamber of shattering glass and utensils as they scattered across the tile floor.

Stepping briskly into the hallway, Dale called out again. “Monica?”

No answer.

The bathroom light was on and the door was open, but Monica wasn’t in there. Dale was taken aback as he rounded the corner from the hallway that led into the kitchen.

From the entranceway, he could see what appeared to be a dark figure slumped on the floor, but something didn’t appear quite right about the silhouette. In one essence, it appeared to be human, but the outline of a protrusion that extended upward from the body was macabre, and definitely out of place.

“Monica?” Dale said, approaching the figure and kneeling down beside it. He covered his mouth to stifle the scream that threatened to break through as he stared into the distorted face of what had once been his beautiful wife.

He could now see what had given such an odd appearance to the darkened form in the dimly lit kitchen.

Jutting from her mouth were six jagged leaves, spread out across her face like spider legs.

And in the center, one perfectly shaped, beautifully bloomed, single yellow dandelion.

Dale burst into a fit of maniacal, crazed laughter when he realized with horror that his wife, in her death, had become a human vase to the one species of flower that she had destroyed and prevented from growing in her garden.

 

 

 

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