When You Live On An (Arctic) Island

Flickering fire lit the lamps and the open bonfire in the middle of the tribal house where the entire community gathered. A young man whose messy black hair perpetually fell into his eyes held an older model of camcorder on his shoulder, somber as he watched the people file in through the lens. It was the coldest night of the year with a thick cascade of snow falling silently from the heavens, brushing the hats and shoulders of each citizen, lingering even longer than the young man expected as the building offered little improvement in temperature from the frigid outdoors. The snow only disappeared from the privileged individuals who had earned a seat near to the central blaze, but the rest wore white flecks on their clothing, visually separating who was in control. It wasn’t something the cameraman liked to consider because his father and grandfather had taught him that every individual in a society was equal, even if they performed different tasks in the community. But they had never lived on this island in the vastness of a polar ocean. Here it was survival at its sharpest, often cutting ideals out of the equation in favor of the majority of the community still living by the time spring arrived. Each season had its own cruel beauty in a way outsiders could never imagine. No flowers pushed through topsoil to announce the arrival of a new time of year. The frost merely melted and it was possible to bury the dead from the long, dark winter with enough natural light to forego the torches until autumn. Summer was a blinding mass of sunshine and melting water, mud and mosquitos that created an entirely new risk. 

The leader of the town banged a gavel on the nearest bench reserved for the elites. The meeting had begun. 

Hours later, the young man shivered in his hut, wondering if he was a type of elite himself because he was equipped with the necessary electricity to power his camera. Records must be kept and the town leaders realized the logic of supplying him with what would accomplish the objective. 

After plugging the camera into the power source, the man fell to sleep rather quickly, spent by the cold. As he dreamed, his lips curved into a smile as he saw the graceful and brave young woman who had defied convention and lived on a rock in the ocean, riding above the standards of the town. She lived her own life, even if only inside his imagination. 

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Always, Always, Always

By the light of dawn, it became evident to me that I never stopped still mourning my first home: peace, green grass and rolling hills. It has blended with certain dreams and a few peculiar things take me back in the blink of an eye, the note of a song. Like being pulled out of my own world, I’m suddenly amid the optimistic crowd of people and cars with skyscrapers in the distance, laughing in a way that the joy reaches every inch of my body. It doesn’t flee like a shadow, forgotten as quickly as it arrived. It is a sunny spring day, just warm enough to chase away the chill of winter. Yet even winters here are spectacular because there is a candle in every window and the scent of fir trees in every room. Today I let the sun caress my skin and the wind sing through my hair, for I am home. 

Even as the song that transported me to my home ends, I can still smell the aroma of sweet tulips on a breeze. 

Out

You told me you need to get out of here. So you can have life, breath, control of your days again. I’m all too willing to sign up for the next adventure, but you really hit it out of the park on this one, taking me to your glass flat. Here I will stay, my hand tucked neatly, safely inside of yours. Here I will finish what was taken from me and here you won’t get found by those you wish to leave behind us. The only scary moment was when I asked you to stay; you thought I meant for a few months, but I meant forever. However, all of it was more than compensated for when you said yes. 

Adaptation – 

They are nothing if not adaptable… the way her eyes widened in the darkness and it doesn’t seem so hard to get stuck in the time period from which they cannot escape. It is their fondest wish but it has died on their lips, the words downing in the winds and the waterfalls and driving rain, never to surface again. Still they meet in their corners, away from everyone with whom they do not desire to share secrets. She is certain that the time capsule they uncovered is the sweetness that makes the bitterness palatable. With the option to raise one’s voice beyond the occasional northern lights, all have a better chance of surviving the unimaginable. 

Happy 2016! 

Okay, so it’s a couple of days since New Year’s, but since I’ve not blogged since 2015, I still want to wish you all a very happy 2016! I hope this is the year you find all the happiness and joy in the world! 

I’ve started editing my November 2015 NaNoWriMo novella, still undecided if I should keep its original title of Freedom. That, as some of you may know, is the title of the flash fiction series I wrote here on my blog in August that became the inspiration from the novella. Maybe one of my resolutions should be to learn how to title novels better. It’s never come naturally to me to find a title very early in the process. Only after spending some time with the characters and plot does something evolve in my imagination. My favorite part of the novella is the couple at the center of the action, once married spies Aidan and Tasha. I love to write about them, so I wouldn’t rule out any additional projects involving them. 

I like to let my goals develop as the year progresses, so I don’t have a list of ten resolutions, but one thing I do plan to do in 2016 is finish the mystery novel I started last June at JuNoWriMo. I had to put it aside, unfinished for other things, and I miss it. Once again, the characters are calling!

Today is a special day here in the U.S. because it’s the Masterpiece Theatre premiere of Downton Abbey! My favorite show is in its last season, but I’ll just say I know things about the finale that make parting much easier. Thanks to overseas friends, I know what an international feed is, but I won’t give any spoilers all season long! The best part about the domestic airing is my season pass to iTunes, which will allow me to download each weekly episode the following day and enjoy on my iPad. It makes me very grateful to the person who gave me an iTunes card for Christmas! 

I wish everyone a great day!

Merry Christmas! 

I wish a very merry Christmas to those who celebrate it. To me, some of the most joyful Christmas moments aren’t the big, splashy things but the quiet, hopeful moments. I love waking up early on winter mornings like today and watching the sun come up, rejoicing in the way the night gives way to day and the light fills everything. It’s just like the way God fills my heart with joy this time of year. As wonderful as Christmas is, it’s just the beginning of the journey that Jesus took to save us by living the perfect life on earth so that He could take the penalty for our sins on the cross and give us eternal life if only we will give Him our lives and hearts. 

I hope you enjoy all of the quiet moments of blessing that come your way. Thank you for your support for my blog and my writing with your likes, comments and the wonderful sense of community that I have found here. I wish you all joy!

Refuge: An Aidan and Tasha Holiday Drabble

Stopping at the library was nearly a revolutionary act; their handlers were too busy speaking with one another to closely monitor what the pair were doing in the front of the computer lab. Aidan had suggested to Tasha that he sit the front row while no one had been listening. As well as they knew each other by now, after a decade of marriage, a few lip read words were all they needed to communicate. Pretending to be strangers in public as commanded by their superiors, Tasha sat a row behind Aidan and paid him no attention, although the ease with which they logged into a messenger service was nearly laughable. 

Tasha longed to do the normal tasks one may perform on a computer, such as checking and replying to personal emails without encryption, downloading music or even ordering Christmas presents for Aidan as the chill in the air told her that the holidays were coming closer. She did some of the last task surreptitiously, arranging for the gifts to be sent to the safe house via Max’s credit card. He was a friendly authority who had given her permission to do so. Even agents deep undercover needed a little bit of joy. 

Aidan tapped on his keyboard and sighed. Why wasn’t Tasha responding to his message? He dared to turn around for a split second. What he saw put a smile on his face. Tasha’s eyes were intent on the screen and she appeared more relaxed than she had since they’d entered the safe house. He had no idea what she was actually doing, but the expression she wore was enough to lift his spirits. 

Busy? He wrote a quick message. You’re smiling. I like it. A lot. 

You’ll have to wait and see, she replied. Didn’t you notice the date? How cold it’s become? The lights on the houses? 

I see, he answered. I’d best prepare as well. 

You’re all the present I need, she told him before typing a profusion of heart emojis that made him silently laugh. 

You’re good for my ego. Please tell me more while there’s time. I feel like we’ve sneaked away from the high school dance to make out behind the gym or something. 

I like your imagination, Tasha started to give a detailed description of what was contained within her own imagination as her handler opened the door and gave them both a start. She quickly logged out of the messenger and stood up to follow the handler back to the armored car. Aidan would leave in five minutes as it was too dangerous for them to go at the same time. She ran a hand through her auburn hair, wondering when she’d be required to change it as a disguise. It was a change she dreaded because her hair was one of Aidan’s favorite parts of her appearance. She distracted herself by thinking of how nice it felt when he stroked her hair as they lay in bed at night, taking refuge in one another. 

The nights are cold, Tasha thought, but at least there was some comfort left for them. What she would do if they were separated was beyond the scope of her mental resources. Perhaps that was why they’d been allowed to remain together so long. Even though it seemed as if their superiors were heartless, everything they did was to protect the couple. They had only today. Tomorrow could be totally different. But tonight she would look forward to those unmonitored moments they had before drifting off to sleep. Aidan’s presence made her dream of better things, like Christmas morning or walking hand in hand on the beach. This assignment was tough, but it would not last forever.