Tuesday, March 8, 2022

New Writing Challenge!

Love at First Sight

Check out my new entry in the latest writing challenge on Vocal!

Click on the link below to read!


Sunday, December 19, 2021

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

It was a hot, humid day in the middle of August near the Texas border town of Brownsville. Sweat was pouring down the brow of Valaria's face as she moved some limbs off her driveway into her yard. They had fallen during the night from an old oak tree. She was late for school, but the branches had barely missed her car from behind. A few neighbors looked over at her, nodding and going along their way. There were plenty of stares but no help to aid her. She was used to that. It's hot, and life in this town moves rather slowly except for her. She was a go-getter with big ambitions and dreams of leaving this place for the big city. She had already planned out her life, as far as her work was concerned. She was working hard to make her dream a reality. She planned to transfer to Austin to finish her degree at the University of Texas.

First, she needed to finish all of her credits and be accepted into her program of study. She wasn't worried about it too much since she had the top grades at the community college she attended in town, even while working a full-time job at the local Bookstore as a barista. The only problem she had was leaving her family, but she planned to convince them to move in with her in Austin when the time was right.

Valaria arrived at school and ran into her class only ten minutes late, but the Teacher was not pleased and made it known in front of the other students. He reprimanded her and asked that she stay a few minutes afterward to talk with him. The rest of the class time sped by, and then she met with Mr. Morales. She was planning to receive a scolding, but he only wanted to talk to her about her plans. Mr. Morales knew people in the technology field in Austin, and he told her he was trying to find her an intern job that she could do while living there and working on her degree. He was also a family friend and had been a mentor to her since she was a young child. She often thought that she owed him for the love of technology since he always showed her things he was working on in his classroom.

After all her classes were over that day, she rushed to reach her work on time, and it never failed to be within minutes of being late for that too! She was always running and never slowing down. She liked it that way. Valaria was always on her toes, going from school, work, and meeting up with friends for fun. She was one type of student who never needed to study for a test; it just came easy for her.

At work, she was popular with the customers. She was a talkative Barista and loved to get to know everyone that came in. There were a lot of tourists and Rv'ers that traveled through her town headed to Harlingen. It was a popular area for RV'ers because the rent was cheap as well as the utilities. She lived in an area that the cost of living was probably the lowest in Texas. She loved the people, and the people loved her. If there were more opportunities in the town's technology field, she would be happy to stay, but there wasn't. She knew she had to leave.

Today at work, a stranger in town ordered a latte from her, and she struck up a conversation with him. He was tall, handsome, and had the biggest smile she had ever seen. He looked to be her age as well, maybe one or two years older. She found him interesting and even more so when she heard that he was from Austin. She told him her plans, and he thought that was a great plan for her to pursue. By the time he left, she felt she had made her first friend from Austin and made sure she took down his name and phone number. She spent so much time talking about herself that she didn't think to ask him what he did for a living or anything pertinent in his life. She suddenly felt so shallow and self-centered. It had all been about her. Well, she had his number and promised to call him when she finally arrived in Austin.

Valaria was closer to her dreams coming to fruition as the months went by since she had sent her application to the University. She was also getting ready to graduate in May, which was only a month away. Valaria was on pins and needles, waiting to find out if she was accepted. It seemed like an eternity. She held off on asking Mr. Morales to contact the school to help her find out sooner. She needed to work on her patience. She already had a place set up to live. It was a family friend's house that they rented out to students each year. She was so anxious to move. The month of April seemed to tick slowly on the clock, and she started to become a nervous wreck.

Then one day, she received a package wrapped in brown paper. It was small, and it came to her work address. She had no clue as to what could be in it, and there was no return address. She didn't want to open it at work if it was a prank joke from a friend to embarrass her! She decided to wait and bring it home with her to open. She got sidetracked when she was home, sat the box on her bench by the front door, and forgot all about it.

The following week flew by, and she still had not heard from the University. She was so frustrated and disappointed. She finally decided to ask Mr. Morales to help her find out. She approached him after class and explained the situation. She needed to find out because she had plans to move right after graduating and then start classes during the summer semester. He agreed to help and told her not to worry and wait it out.

She thought back over her life and realized worry never solved anything. It only made life more difficult. If things didn't work out, she had a job, a home, family, friends, and a good life. She had nothing to make her worry. What happens will happen no matter what. Reflecting on this calmed her soul, and she felt her worry dissolve; she felt free.

The following week, Mr. Morales told her he had contacted the University about the application she had sent in. Since they had her return address as the Bookstore and not her home address, they sent out her acceptance letter with a University of Texas t-shirt, and it would have been in a small box. He asked her if she had received one. She had and not opened it. It was still on the front door bench where she had left it. She had forgotten she changed her address on her application because their home mail didn't have a secure box. She didn't want to risk not getting it.

She went home and quickly found the box sitting where she left it unopened. She unwrapped it or, more like, ripped it to shreds, and there in the box was her letter, a t-shirt, and a handwritten note. The note read in the most beautiful cursive writing a personal message addressed to her.

Dear Valaria,

It was so lovely to have met you while traveling through your beautiful town. I enjoyed our talk and can't wait to see you here at the University. Hopefully, you remember me from the Bookstore while you served coffee. I work as a graduate student in the technology department, which you didn't know, and I should have told you. Hope to be friends while you are here.

Yours truly, Benjamin

Her dream was coming true, her ambition was now in focus, and her friends in a strange new town just grew by one even before she has arrived. How does the phrase go? Don't worry, be happy, and life is good!

Thursday, July 29, 2021

The twilight was illuminating in the distance while I faced west toward the water. It had a subtle glow with red streaks across the sky that slowly moved down into the horizon. I balanced myself on the large rock that stood in the center of a small pool of water. The tiny canals that circled the rock were dug earlier in the day by a group of kids. It was a beautiful night, one to remember.

Today was also the first anniversary of my best friend passing from this life to the next. I was here at the beach remembering her life and our life as best friends forever (BFF). We were two inseparable twins from different parents who thought we would both grow old together while celebrating all the marriage milestones to our future spouses, children, birthday parties, and everything in between. I was here to celebrate her and toast to her memory.

I sat down on the rock, reached into my shoulder bag, and pulled out a large bottle of red wine. It was her favorite. We would come to this beach a lot while growing up and when we were finally able to drink, we would buy the wine and sit on this ancient rock and talk about our plans in life. We both knew what we wanted and pledged not to do anything without each other in our life. We were sisters, not by blood, but by bond.

I raised my glass after pouring a full one and toasted out loud to Marigold Nevaeh Martin! People, even her parents, called her Mari except for me. I always said she was the flower in my life, and I called her by her given name, Marigold. We often joked that the flower smelled terrible, but the bloom was beautiful like her. She had flaming red hair, so it was a perfect name. My name, on the other hand, was not as unique. It was Caren. Always mispronounced and spelled with a k instead of a c, so Marigold renamed me. I became a flower and our friendship a garden. I was no longer called Caren by her, but instead, she renamed me, Violet.

As I sat on the rock and drank my first of several glasses of wine, my mind flooded with memories. We lived down the street from each other, only a few blocks from the beach in Seattle, Washington. We went to daycare as infants together, then all through school until we graduated from the same University. It was bizarre to some but natural for us. We even majored in the same field of criminal justice. The only difference is she became a police officer, and I became a corporate paralegal.

Marigold's middle name was Neveah, which is heaven spelled backward. It fit her perfectly, and it was symbolic of another difference we didn't share. As I sat on the rock and shared my thoughts with her, I knew where she was. You see, she believed in something more than what we see in this life, yet I didn't. Well…I didn't until that awful night.

Marigold had been on patrol one dark moonless night and spotted a stranded motorist on the freeway. She had made sure to secure the area with flares and her patrol car lights, but even with that, it didn't stop the speeding car from barreling toward them. In a flash of just mere seconds, she pushed a young mother who was the car's driver into a ditch and took the hit head-on. Marigold was gone instantly. She didn't suffer at all. I always knew she would practice what she preached, "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." At work and in her personal life, she was everyone's friend. She always treated people she arrested with respect. She disapproved of their crimes, but she wasn't there to be their judge and jury.

So I lifted high the last glass of red wine with my arm outstretched toward the horizon and toasted my BFF while the light of the moon silhouetted me. I know now that I will see her again, and that is what consoles me. That is what I know to be true.

Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."


Sunday, July 25, 2021

New Story posted on Vocal-media!

Photo credit: Carol Eliassen

I have several new stories posted on vocal.media. The new one is called "The Voice from the Deep!"  Check it out here! If you like it give it some LOVE with a "💗." Thanks and I look forward to writing more as time permits. 



Friday, July 16, 2021

George's Bakery - Chocolate Death Cake


Chocolate Death Cake

Check out my new short story George's Bakery - Chocolate Death Cake! I'm having fun with the challenges offered at this site. I'm doing the writing just for fun but this site is full of wonderful stories from so many other writers. You should check it out for reading material or posting your own stories.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

You can also find me on Vocal.media

Check out my new account page for ongoing short stories at vocal.media. The link for my account is: https://vocal.media/authors/carol-eliassen

You can also find some great stories by other writers in many different genres! I will still be posting to this page as well. 

If you are an inspiring author, you might want to give it a try. They have a free account as well as a paid account. The paid account gives you more opportunities, such as entering challenges/contests. It really can inspire you to be creative. 

Happy creating! 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

The Last Survivor

 Finding the Missing Link

My Mother's Locket

Mila ran to the pond facing her house and started to dig in the mud. It was wet, gooey, and had algae growing throughout the watery muck. Yet with her bare hands, no gloves on, she managed to dig a hole about 3 feet down and less than 1 foot across. It had to be here. She was sure of it.

Today was September 13, 2027, and the year before, 2026, had been brutal. It was more difficult than she ever remembered in her life. She compared it to her mother's stories of the 2020 covid 19 pandemic, but this was no comparison. Shortly after the pandemic in 2023, the New World Order had taken over every country. World War III was raging within three years. The aftermath had left everything in shambles, her life, her family, friends, pets, mostly all gone. She stayed in her bed for about six months crying on and off.

Her beautiful mother perished near the pond at their house that now laid in waste and muck. She was there one minute, then gone the next. Mila saw her disappear in the light and her clothes were left piled where she had once stood. Mila screamed for what seemed like an eternity, but there was no one around to hear or comfort her. She was all alone. All of her family members were gone. It was so surreal that everything happened in less than a blink of an eye.

Months went by, and she finally came out of her shell. She was lucky her family were survivalists who had prepared for that fateful day, not knowing it would be their last. Mila was grateful for the way her family planned out their lives. They took care of every detail from natural medicines, growing and canning their food to preparing for the worst-case scenario. Sadly, they didn't get to reap what they had sown. She began to believe after her months of crying that she was the lucky one. She had no idea, but she would find out soon enough.

No one in over ten months had stopped by her farm nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains close to Granite Falls, which is north of the metro area of Seattle. Mila and her family moved to this small 10-acre farm in 2021 after the 2020 pandemic. They wanted to become self-sufficient and not be controlled by the government. It worked. They labored, planned, and mainly stayed away from people. It was easy to do after the pandemic because of the government rules. Her family, however, did attend a nearby Church every Sunday. She would go occasionally, but it just wasn't her thing. Strange that no one from there had checked up on her in all this time.

Since she didn't tend to the crops in the short growing season, the fields were now bare. Fall was here, and winter would be soon. She barely had enough food to make it another three months. Desperation was setting in, and her home was in shambles. She needed to have hope, even though right then there was none. Maybe, finding what was lost would give her that.

Today she felt she had come to her senses and knew she needed to start planning her survival. First, she needed to find her mother's heart-shaped locket. It haunted her in her dreams as if calling for her to search. Mila had collected all her mother's clothing left on the ground, but she didn't see the locket. Her mother never took it off. It was a big part of who she was, and Mila was determined to find it now that she had come to her senses.

She reached down into the mud one last time with a spider running up her arm as she was pushing down. She wasn't scared of any itsy bitsy spider. Her heart leaped when she felt something like a thin chain, so she proceeded to pull it up to the top to get a closer look. It wouldn't budge, so she dug further down and scooped as much of it up in her hand as possible, and brought it to the surface. It was her mother's locket! She was so delighted that she couldn't control her happiness, so she began to sob. It was like holding her mother again.

She wasn't sure what was inside the heart-shaped locket. She thought it must be a picture of her mother and father. What else could it be? She took it to her water pump by the barn and pumped cool water over it. She cleaned and dried it with the bandana she carried around for her ever-flowing tears, then slowly opened it.

She was shocked there were no pictures but a bible passage that said, "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

She now knew her fate.

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