The day of the move is hurtling toward me like you would not believe. Just last week I thought I would be here in the beautiful Outer Banks until mid-month or later. Then I get a text from the hubs that the 8th is confirmed! Excuse me while I experience a brief bout of hysterical laughter.
And it isn’t because there is stress or fear or anything like that in the slightest. I’m excited that the Lord has seen fit to bless us with the shortened time frame. I’m laughing because yet again I see how He wants to bless us when we don’t shy away from risks and change. And speaking as an introvert, that’s saying a lot!
The hubs and I have moved 6 times in the last 7 years, and it hasn’t always been easy nor at the same time. Most often he goes out first and then lays the groundwork for myself and the dogs to follow. That allows me to have a soft landing, if you think about it. The last two moves have been a little more complicated but only because of the fact he’s in one state and I’m in another with, sometimes, an entire country between.
And each move has a slightly different challenge for us both.
Another opportunity for growth.
Another bit of proof that He can be trusted in all things, and all we need to do is our due diligence. Prayer. Action. Investment of time. Whatever. Of course I’m a little nervous as to what my challenge will be in our new home, but I’m certain it will be EPIC.
Or maybe just a little cool. That’s okay too.
“One of who?”
Ezekial blinked, her ease of attitude setting him off course. The inky darkness behind her drew his focus as he scratched at the day’s stubble upon his face. “I don’t know what they call ’em.” A sudden pop and spark from the fire muffled his gruff admittance. “Forget it.” He stowed his helmet on the ground beside him with a crunch and shoved a searching fist into the inner pockets of his leather jacket. “Thanks for the fire.”
The girl nodded her reply — she couldn’t be more than eighteen — and watched him with an odd intensity. Waiting for something he didn’t understand. His skin crawled and his breath fought against the steady rhythm he demanded as he grabbed hold of his pouch of jerked meat and tugged it free.
“I never know until I find myself there.” Her gaze drifted to the quieting fire and she added another dry log.
“Been on the road a long time?”
A smile teased the corner of her mouth. “A while.”
He offered forward the pouch, not understanding the itching need to keep words alive between them. Perhaps it was the startling silence broken only by the whispers of nature and those things which didn’t make him shudder. The shrill whispers had faded the moment he stepped into the light of her fire. So much he almost couldn’t feel their scratching presence.
She accepted the offered jerky and tucked it into the side of her cheek, closing her eyes as she relished the tangy flavors of salt, meat, and pepper. “Longer than some, less than others.”
His chin dipped in an absent nod, the hair on the back of his neck standing at attention at the minute shift to her taut body. As the silence of the surrounding night crept in, he could feel how the whispers teased the shadows just behind him like the stinging of freezing rain. But there they remained, lurking and more quiet than they had ever been.
And he was so tired.
Her sapphire eyes rose, meeting his with a steady gaze that seemed to see in, through, beyond everything he had ever been or hidden. Her lips lifted in the hint of a smile. “You can rest. I’ll keep watch.”
But trusting anyone to watch over any part of his life gnawed at every aspect of his being. How many times had life taught him to keep his own council? The fire edge drew his focus as he fumbled with the pouch of jerky, his fingers refusing to do much more than tremble.
He shoved the pouch into his pocket. “Nah,” he said, his voice gruff. “I’ll be moving on here in a bit.”
Her focus didn’t retreat, though he clearly saw her eyes drift to some unknown thing beyond the blackness. Somehow that look drained any warmth from the roaring fire, suspecting that she saw…. She stood, arms at her sides, and said nothing as she made her way to the border of the firelight. A tightness shifted inside as he watched her with wide eyes–she knew.
A smile teased her lips upward a little higher the same moment she began to hum the same hauntingly familiar melody from a few moments before. Then she simply walked around the modest campside, just at the border of darkness and light, humming and smiling as her gaze shifted from the nothingness to the starry skies above. He couldn’t explain how that simple melody pulled at him, tugging memories aside to reveal the starving child huddled in a mass of rags and rot.
“Stop,” he hissed. He shuddered under the weight of that image, hunching forward and clawing at his eyes and ears. And then he felt it, a heat like scalding water, cascading over him from the inside out–he bolted to his feet, eyes wild.
She looked up, the melody fading as she reached out a small hand. Her eyes shone with tears. “Don’t be afraid,” she whispered. “Just rest, Ezekiel. Just for a moment.”
He stumbled backwards, terrified at how the sound of her voice shuddered through his soul. She was one of them! He swore and sprinted for the exit of the small, haunted clearing. He cared little for anything left behind, knowing that if he did not escape that melody and the whisper of his name he would be her slave.
He clapped his hands over his ears, his throat ragged as he continued to swear and threaten.
The ones that could control everything about a person with a single word: their name. They could make you do anything with just that one word. He would be her slave, forever. How many of those mindless thralls had he seen on the road? Their empty eyes and shallow smiles giving rise to a cold chill and propelling his steps faster through the brush and branches.
He stumbled to the motorcycle still hidding in the shadows and dragged it free, cursing his stupidity as he fumbled with the pedal. He nearly collided with a tree as he sped from the clearing and the hidden pathway to an unfathomable hell of mindless devotion.
“The Faithful,” he spat, scrubbing at his face with shaking hands. More like the dead to believe and follow fairy tales.
His gaze flickered to the sideview mirrors, barely making out a slender silhouette and a haunting melody of promise.
This past year has skipped and galloped by without mercy. Let’s review:
Next to nothing was accomplished, by me, on any of my large writing projects. On the other hand, I did start conceptualizing a prequel for Munwar Meek of my fantasy adventure series. In addition to that, I have discussed the continuation of Para’s prequel with the hubs numerous times and may actually be ready to pick that project up again in the coming months. Perhaps even for NaNoWriMo 2018!
While my writing languished by the wayside, I did create jewelry (earrings, bracelets, and necklaces–oh my!) and gift them to new friends here in the Outer Banks. I also repaired several pieces of jewelry. 😉 That turned into quite a fun challenge, actually. My wire-work skill has improved, thanks to practice, and I picked up a ‘thing-a-ma-jig’ to continue that progress.
I joined the Media Team for our new church home, which was a surprise to both myself and my husband. Hah! Being an introvert, I don’t volunteer for anything, but when there was seen an announcement in the bulletin that they were in dire need for help, I actually sent an email and signed up! It has been great fun to learn new programs and processes, and to see what the church process looks like behind the curtain, as it were.
All in all, our year in the Outer Banks has become a collection of fond memories (even considering the long illness of the hubs at the beginning of 2018). Not only did I get to reside on Roanoke Island — the very island where the lost colony disappeared! — we were able to meet some wonderfully warm and welcoming people and view some spectacular ocean views and sunsets.
I even experienced my first Hurricane! Well, actually, Hurricane Florence completely ignored us once she found out the hubs flew back from Oklahoma to rescue me. But it was still an experience to treasure. I haven’t ever needed to complete a “mandatory evacuation” before! While unnerving, at least now I know how to organize things for our home in Oklahoma in case we must evacuate due to a Tornado. 🙂
This next step in our life’s journey will be another state I haven’t seen (Oklahoma near Tulsa), and another opportunity for personal growth. Praise Jesus that moving is no longer as stressful as it was when we first started this trend of an annual move back in 2011.
Character builders, while challenging and oftentimes frustrating, can turn out to be the most captivating memories in our repertoire, yes?