Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Campfire Tale by Gloria Schumann

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by Gloria Schumann
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"Oh no you don't." Emma scolded David. "You are not going to tease us all with, 'I've got this great story to tell you', and then walk off to do who knows what in the house, for who knows how long." Arms crossed with a what-have-you-got-to-say-for-yourself look about her face, she waited, expecting to hear the only response she would accept.

She did not. In fact, she heard none as she saw the backside of David entering the house. And what a nice backside to view. Snap out of it, Emma. You're mad at him. Glancing over her shoulder at his long-ago friends who invited themselves over and a young woman they dragged along with them, she saw that there was no help offered on that front.

A long-suffering sigh escaped her pouting lips as David's trip back to the campfire went unnoticed by Emma as she held her face skyward to take in the spectacle of shimmering pinpoints in the expanse of contrasting darkness. It couldn't help but lighten her countenance.

As she twisted her body around to the fire, she spied David there. Her expression contorted into a question as David held out his hand to her, gestured for her to come over and patted the seat next to him. She looked to the back door as if it was a portal to another world, then back to the very normal scene in the backyard.

Emma sauntered over as if nothing had happened. Sometimes you just have to have enough confidence to pull it off. That's all it took. The ability to ignore the obvious and those around you will follow.

"You done star gazing so we can get to the good stuff?" David could not refrain from teasing her.

Well, so much for putting it behind her. She plopped in the canvas camp chair and leaned as far from David as the furniture would allow. "I was trying to make good use of my time and take in the beautiful night."

"It's sure is gorgeous." David didn't take his eyes from her as he went on. "Choppy, would you get us all some marshmallows?"

"What do I look like? Your servant. I'll get the ladies..." Choppy winked at Emma and Trish. "...anything they want, but you, my man, are going to have to fend for yourself."

"I am, am I?"

"Yeah." Choppy was a bit hesitant, knowing David could come up with things to hurt him rather easily.

"Well, I guess you'll have to figure out where to get your next beer from." David's expression didn't change on the surface, but he had a huge mental smile going.

"Way to go for the jugular, man. You gotta be so mean? I'd never be that mean."

"Really? That's why you just... Oh, never mind. Just sit down and listen."

"Whatever you say, man. Trish, get your skinny little butt over here so I can protect you from David's twisted imagination." The bleach blonde stick figure obeyed willingly.

"I told you guys this really happened." David leaned forward, planted his elbows on his knees and rubbed his hands together.

"I was in the bathroom..."

"Were you on the toilet?" Choppy laughed at his own infusion into the infant narative.

"Don't be such a middle schooler. No, I was not. I was shaving after my shower. The mirror was steamed useless and the room already had an oppressive feel to it from the hot shower when the pressure suddenly pressed hard enough against my chest to knock the wind out of me. I gulped for air." His hands flew to his neck with the demonstration.

"Yeah, right." The sarcasm in Emma's quiet utterance, unmisstakable.

David continued with the skip of a mere beat. "Once I caught my breath, I felt my head being lifted and my eyes somehow being directed to the mirror. I looked carefully, but nothing was there. My body quivered, my hands sweaty and shaking." He demonstrated. "I lifted my hand, watched its jerky movements as it felt detached from me, yet still mine, as it reached for the obscured mirror." He slowly stretched to a spot directly in front of him. "I touched the palm of my hand to the now cool, smooth reflective surface and felt a shock..."

"No!" Trish cried and hunkered closer to Choppy.

David surveyed the circle noticing Emma's protective body language. Her knees were kissing her chest, her head bowed down to them with her cheeks propped on her knee caps, eyes cast downward. He brushed the arm closest to him, that was wrapped around her folded legs, in comfort. "You okay?"

"Fine," was Emma's clipped response. "Just continue with your stupid story."

"I always do what the lady wants."

"HA! You are just full of it tonight. Wait, not just tonight."

"Watch it girl. I have to take you home after this. You'll be alone with me." They battled each other with their eyes.

She knew he was just messin' around, but, for some reason, a chill ran the length of her spine and lodged in her neck. It wouldn't relent.

"Let's see. Oh yeah, I was at the spark from the mirror part. I retracted my hand in a fraction of a second and took a step back. When I was willing to look back at the mirror it was entirely clear. Almost like you could step through it. I couldn't take my eyes off of it. It felt like it could suck me into its world and my body was beginning to yearn to do so. It freaked me so, that I stepped back until I stumbled against the tub and tumbled over the side of it." David settled down the murmurs with his hands. "This is where it gets weird."

"What! It can't get much weirder." Very hesitantly, Trish asked, "Can it?"

"Don't worry Trish, David's a writer. He's just pulling our legs." Hank, Choppy's ever-present, at least not imaginary, friend said.

"Am not. What do you want me to do to prove it's the truth?" David held up a finger. "Wait. I know." He said as he hiked up his pant legs. "I've got bruises on my calves from hitting the bath that hard."

With a humph, Emma scoffed, "What is that going to prove? You could have gotten those anywhere."

"Well, I didn't. And they're the exact height of the top of the tub." He stood and turned around.

There was a collective gasp. They were black and purple and uniform.

"I told you." He sat.

"Just get this over with and finish your lame story." Choppy was attempting to brush off his case of nerves.

"Okay, okay. You can't rush a storyteller. Alright, so I felt myself hit the porcelain, float backwards waiting for the crack that was to be my head against the tile. Only, it never came. I had the sensation of … You know how things happen in slow motion when you have an accident, but not really? Well, it really did go at half speed. It was like someone was holding me in their arms and set me down on foam pillows. Not a bruise or a bump showed up elsewhere. While the relief of not harming myself further soothed my mind, my stomach was already on to the utter otherworldliness of the event. It churned and sparked and went nuts."

David took a swig of his beer.

Emma was now in complete rapt attention. She loved a good story. "Enough with the beer. What happened next?"

"My arms were pulled straight in front of me, then a tugging on both hands lifted me gently from my precarious position. The electric shocks that were in my stomach now spread to the rest of me. I wanted to speak, but I didn't know what to say. I wanted to run, but couldn't make my feet work. I wanted to close my eyes and be asleep, but they would only pop open immediately.

"Only once my full attention was on the mirror did he reveal himself to me. I'd never met him or seen him before, but I recognized him instantly. Emma." David waited until her gaze locked on his before he continued. "It was Mark. It was your brother."

Emma jabbed him in the arm. "Why would you do that to me? That's just cruel."

"I'm not making this up. I thought you would want to know."

"You know how much I miss my brother & how I wish, more than anything, that he had had the chance to grow up." She once again buried her face in her knees.

"I didn't think this would hurt you. I never meant to do that. Hearing about him, I thought, would give you a bit of him, a glimpse into the fact that he is well & thriving in Heaven."

"Then what's he doing coming to you? Why wouldn't he come to me?"

"Because his message was for me."

"Huh?" Emma barely shifted her head to see his face. She would be able to tell whether he was lying. Had to be able to tell.

"He wasn't a child like when he died anymore. He appeared fully grown, happy & healthy. His apparition filled my being with a peace I've never before felt. It was wonderful. The moment felt suspended without time & simultaneously passed in a second. The eye contact was more than really intense. It was like he was seeing through me, into me." David got a far-off look to him, letting the visual ruminate in their minds.

"Mark said, 'Love is awesome & powerful. It must be patient.' And that was that. He was gone. My bathroom never felt more normal."

"Nice way to try to get to me, Mr. Storyteller. Why don't you keep that part of yourself to the professional." Emma stomped off to wander the nearby field.

Emma wrapped her arms around herself. She knew David thought he was telling the truth. His eyes, his body, his voice all proclaimed this fact, but it was obvious to her that just because he was convinced of it, didn't make it true. She had to admit that it didn't hurt to hear about Mark. It felt warm & wonderful.

"Are you shitin' me, man? You're such a BSer. No wonder you make money at this." Choppy used his uneasiness to good use as sarcasm.

"Whether you believe me or not doesn't make it any less real or true. It happened." David got up just in time to hear Emma scream and set out at a run in the direction of the sound.

Emma had a split second scare, but then was blanketed in the overwhelming comfort that comes from the Heavens. Her brother, Mark, held her in his arms and she knew the truth. And the truth of her immediate future and collapsed with a smile on her face and backflip of her heart.


Guest post created for August Thrills-n-Chills event by Gloria Schumann, author of Called Home-Two Hearts Answer
© 2011. All rights reserved.

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by Gloria Schumann
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Called Home-Two Hearts Answer
by Gloria Schumann
-romance, thriller

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  1. That was EXTREMELY good!!!
    I've lost siblings of my own,
    and this sure caught my attention.

    I like what Mark said about love. Beautiful :)

  2. Well I just got tinglies with the reading of the excerpt. Now I have to know what is going on. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway opportunity.


  3. This sounds like a great book! I am the last of 7 children so I know all about siblings! Love the house the house on the cover!


  4. A very deep storyline

  5. The excerpt of book is great!
    Thank you!


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