Been out because I forgot my email and couldn’t get back in. It happens with my brain under stress.
25K update on “Sunlight, Stained Glass, and a Sinner Sanctified”, my novel for this month’s National Novel Writing Month (NANO)
Yippy Skippy! I have made the halfway point in Nano! At this typing, I am sitting at 25, 533 words! 24K to go to the finish line. It’s at this point that I usually hit a proverbial wall… this year is no different. So, I’m taking a few minutes to relax, regroup, renegotiate the plotline, etc.
A very few have asked if maybe my opening scene of an explosion taking out the church wall, window, and half the choir is so appropriate given what happened in Texas. To them, let me say this… it is what it is. The opening scene is a continuation from the last scene of the last novel from a different point of view. In that context, the damages to the church are as ‘collateral’ damages.
While horrific, how better to start a story that’s based on the hope and restoration of a community, a church, a congregation, and at least one (possibly more) sinful souls in the process. When do we see hope the easiest? When we feel hopelessness the most. So, when do we feel the most hopeless? Usually when our world/ our reality is shattered through some crisis (be it minor or major). So, I begin S3 (abbreviated title) with that in mind, starting with a major crisis.
The story line is about the Restoration of Hope… with that comes Faith. Of course, Faith springs from the concept of love. Throw in a smattering of Grace, and I think I have the makings for a good story to be told. Not quite sure how it will all play out at this point, but it is playing out, one word at a time.
So, if you’re interested, below is an excerpt from Chapter Three. Enjoy…
“Sunlight, Stained Glass, and a Sinner Sanctified” Excerpt…
James Killdeer slipped into a folding chair in the back of the basement level fellowship hall. It was very crowded and cramped for the congregation and would be for some months, yet. Inwardly, he shook his head. It never ceased to surprise him that these church folk would find a way to meet, even if their sanctuary virtually destroyed. Nothing, it seemed, would stop them from meeting on this Sunday morning. It was something he did not quite grasp. It had only been three weeks since they had lost so many of their parishioners.
He looked down to the bulletin that had been placed in his hand. It was all laid out there in black and white; the lives of this group of people intertwined with the ageless traditions of a church service. James, being a bit less than familiar with church as a whole, thought that the whole procedure of the service seemed to be so hollow. After all, what did these people get out of two songs and a sermon, anyway? Did they really believe that if they went through some kind of motions that they would live for eternity. If they did, then they were more gullible than he thought. Eternal life was a myth. Everything was born, lived, and died. All anyone had to do to confirm that was drive out to the cemetery and look at all the stones.
He shook his head slightly as he turned the bulletin over and read the list of community activities. Bible study, small groups, choir practice. Wait. Choir practice? There must be a typo. Have the choir was either dead or on the disabled roster. He sighed, not understanding these church people at all.
Music began to play from an electronic keyboard in the front corner as people found their seats and became quiet. Reverend Walford stepped to the front of the room, where a music stand now served as his pulpit.
In front of him was a small table serving as a temporary altar that contained a single candle and an offering plate. James frowned still more. He was not getting what these people were doing at all. This whole set up was nothing like that late night church he had watched on the television, nor was it like that church he had seen when he was up in Covington. Not, it was not at all like he expected a church, or a service to be.
The Reverend was dressed in slacks with a shirt and tie, but he wore sneakers. Where was the Reverend’s flowing robes and smelly incense? Where were the so-called communion wafers and the communal chalice of wine? This definitely was not like any kind of church service he had ever seen before or heard about before.
As the congregation rose to sing a hymn, James could literally feel the music clear into his bones. As the voices rose around him he felt like an insulating blanket was being tightly wrapped around him. What it was supposed to be insulating him from, though, he had not a a single clue. It was almost like being in a life-jacket bobbing in the lake during a storm. He had had to do that once or twice. It was not a fun experience. By the time that the hymn ended, he was feeling very disconcerted and his hands were shaking.
James sat along with the others, folding his arms over his chest and tucking his hands into his arm pits to hide their shaking. The last thing he wanted was to show one of these Jesus freaks that the music bothered him. Oh, wouldn’t they have a heyday with that, he thought. It was a wonder that he did not just bolt out the door before anyone could notice. But, he had made a decision to stay for the entire service, even if it killed him.
After all, he needed to be able to read these people if he was going to succeed in his ultimate plans to fleece the church for every penny it had. It would serve them right after the way that they had treated his mother and him. As far as he was concerned they were just a bunch of red-necked hypocrites. He was so swirled with his own thoughts that he was finding it a little difficult to focus on Reverend Walford’s voice as he began to read from the bible he had opened and placed on the music stand.
Hope you enjoyed….
Ahhh, I can resist it no longer… I just have to post the prelude…
“Sunlight, Stained Glass, and a Sinner Sanctified”
C.2017, Lee McQuinn, pending.
Disclaimer: The writing herein is entirely fiction. Any semblance to reality is greatly disabused. The Author prays deeply that this should never become a reality.
The choir was rehearsing for an upcoming special performance that morning, and so their typical seating arrangement had been moved to be in front of the ancient stained glass window portraying the crucifixion. The small altar area where they now sat was crowded as they cheerfully belted out one of the old spiritual hymns.
No one heard the sound of police siren or the explosion before the window shattered.
The concussive force of the stained glass exploding inward was deafening as shards of it flew in all directions. Like a million blades of steel, the glass impacted the Choir members killing several before they could even scream. Those closest to the window, the bass and tenor section bore the brunt of the explosion.
The aftermath was tragic.
It’s not an original title, or feeling for that matter. I was rather strongly moved by Rochelle’s story for Friday Fictioneers this week. Although it was not Crystal Nacht, a night of broken glass, but rather a morning… a morning of broken concrete, steel, and lives by the thousands…
It took me back to a time not so unlike the one she mentions in a way. Back to a chilly September morning and the deafening sounds that came from within my very soul as I screamed and fell to my knees instantly crying out to God. I felt a fear that I had never known before, and still struggle with to this day. I prefer to avoid cities with tall buildings, airports with low flying aircraft, and the like. Often the fear is paralyzing. To this, I write this week.
Frozen by Time
I hadn’t been back since that fateful day. I didn’t think that I could bear it.
Then the bus stopped at the corner and I had to step off and down onto the sidewalk. The people around me quickly dispersed. The bus drove away. I stood there, frozen in time.
Unnamed fear wrapped around my soul, holding me in place, refusing to let go. I gulped several times, trying to will myself to step forward. The gaping wound in the earth was gone, but the hole in my soul would never be filled. I stood there and wept.
This work of fiction is written as part of the Friday Fictioneers 100 word writing challenge hosted weekly by the lovely Rochelle Wisoff-fields. If you’re up to a good challenge, or even a really awesome reading experience, these little stories are well worth your time. Come on out and join us at: https://rochellewisoff.com/ . We’d love to see you around the table.
Last night, I had the weirdest dream, and I just had to share it. Okay, so, here goes it…
The clothing was of biblical era. The environs were outside in a wooded area in fall and inside a house with a lot of dark walnut stained wood.
The weirdest thing, I was speaking, hearing, and understanding Hebrew. Everyone was speaking it. There was some kind of roundup or something like that going on. People were welding fence posts that weren’t really fence posts, but crosses upon which they were about to be crucified, and no one seemed to notice this but me. And there were Christians pretending to be Jewish just to survive. Annnd, there was a very narrow staircase in the extremely crowded house that was packed with these masquerading Christians that led to safety, but the stairway was so crowded that no one was going anywhere…. meanwhile, more and more crosses were being erected. And, I was speaking to Yeshua Ruma, and Elisha Israel, and Rabbi Yoltz and they were all speaking in Hebrew, and I understood every word, but can’t remember now what was being said, but it was said with dire importance.
Then, I heard an English word. It was loud, distinct, and in my husband’s voice. “Help!” I woke instantly, and reached out for him to check to see if he was having a seizure. But he was okay. Tried to go back to sleep, but my mind was filled with Hebrew words, and a scroll passing quickly, too quickly to read (it was in hebrew, too). The dream was disconcerting to say the least.
And, where dreams usually don’t stick with me after waking, and never for hours, this one has.
Each family brought their chalice, eleven in all.
One was missing.
The ‘Lost Ones’, as they were called knew exactly where they were, and why. It had been a bitter separation from the community. A rift in how Creator’s laws were meant to be practiced, and how they were to worship. Their family had chosen to worship outside of the tents and away from the violent and bloody sacrifices, choosing grace, forgiveness, and a worship of dance and song.
‘Tell me again, Father, how Creator loves us all, even the lost ones.’ Little Feather asked, lighting the sacred sage.
If you would like to join the 100 word weekly writing craze known as Friday Fictioneers, please join us out at the blog of our lovely hostess, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Thank you, Sarah Hall, for a wonderful photo to write from. We’d love to see you stop by, and maybe even share a story with us. You can find us all at: https://rochellewisoff.com/?wref=b