Winstons supernatural di.., p.1
WINSTON’S SUPERNATURAL DISASTER
WINSTON’S SUPERNATURAL DISASTER
C. R. Everett
This short story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, businesses, companies, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 by C.R. Everett
All rights reserved.
Discover other titles by C.R. Everett at this website.
Table of Contents
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PREVIEW – LOVE, CARRY MY BAGS
Winston’s Supernatural Disaster
“Are all the accommodations ready?” Jory asked. “The actuaries tell me that there will be an influx of at least 450 souls this go around. Hurricane Abigail is on a direct collision course with the Mid-Atlantic States. The first arrivals are expected tomorrow; and we’ll get most of them all at once, so we have to be ready.”
“Yes,” Azriel said. “All the preparations have been made. Since we already have the manifest for Hurricane Abigail, everyone’s relatives have been given advance notice. They are ready with open arms to greet them. Temporary quarters are ready for everyone until orientation is over, when the newly arrived souls will then move on to their chosen destinations.”
“Why do so many have to come at once?” Kathy, who was listening in, asked.
“When a great number of soul-body separations occur at once, it grabs and holds the world’s attention. It kick starts otherwise complacent beings into compassionate action, moves already effective leaders into greater leadership, and provides abundant opportunity for humankind to be kind. Nations need a periodic jolt to refocus on what is important: attending to others in their hour of need, setting examples of service above self, and the like,” Jory explained.
Azriel nodded and went to double check preparations in the orientation assembly area. When a large group like this came in all at once, it worked out well to have a joint reflective session to share experiences and have the catastrophic events that had just unfolded explained. That was Jory’s job. Jory had been and angelic sage for 500 years, no longer soul-fusing with the human form. Her centuries of prior physical incarnations gave her the full range of human experience. She connected and empathized with all.
Before dawn, the first arrivals came. The attendant angels and respective kin welcomed, greeted and showed them around. Some souls arrived quite disoriented and out of sorts, not knowing what hit them. It was a shock for disaster to strike with such ferocity and then be yanked from earthbound loved ones in an instant. “Everyone gather ‘round. Take a seat,” directed Jory. “You have arrived via Hurricane Abigail. There will be more souls coming. Fill in from the center so we’ll have room for everyone.”
The souls arrived in varied numbers. Singles, couples, groups of more than twenty, filed in. “Ok, I think most are here now. We’ll get started.” Jory projected her voice over the crowed. The crowd shushed, anticipating her words. “As you might know, Hurricane Abigail struck the coast of the United States. In one way or another, you are all here due to this natural disaster. Some of you drowned, some were crushed by debris, some suffered heart attacks. At least one of you suffered heartbreak due to your loved one passing suddenly in the storm, and you followed. Let me assure you”—Jory paused for effect and continued—“let me assure you that not one of you has died in vain. There is purpose in all that has happened to you. Purpose for either you or for those left behind on terra firma.”
“Excuse me,” Winston Lewis piped up from the back row, “I thought I heard a man say, as I was whisked away, say that God was punishing sinners for contrary lifestyles, and that is why we all died. But I see quite a variety of people here. Is this why we are here? Was the purpose of our untimely deaths, sin punishment?” Winston’s distress shown through his words.
“No, no, my good friend.” Jory sought to alleviate Winston’s pain, sending Azriel to give a comforting hug. “I hear this again and again at these orientation sessions. Your question holds two common misconceptions.” Jory spoke with the authority of an experienced lecturer. “Catastrophic events are neither untimely nor are they punishments. Let me repeat that. Catastrophic events are neither untimely nor punishments. Each and every one of you agreed that this is the way you would transition to the spiritual realm. It was part of your life plan that you and your Counselor drew up before your departure to the Earth sphere of existence.” A murmur of disbelief and objection hummed through the crowd. Jory continued. “I know you are all thinking this is a bit odd.” Jory carefully worded the understatement. “But over there on that table, copies of your individual life plans await your review once again. Your life plan will all come back to you when you re-open your book.” Winston and the others looked to the right where alphabetized volumes filled the tabletop. “Each of you will be assigned an advisor to help you review and evaluate the life you just left, ponder lessons learned, review your actions, and make notes on areas of improvement.”
Winston piped up again. “I still don’t understand how leaving our loved ones behind on Earth is purposeful. They are so pained; I can feel it. They didn’t deserve this.”
“I understand.” Jory answered, then addressed the group. “The hurricane and your departures were not punishments. I, also, have seen the self-proclaimed, self-serving, so called “Christians” point fingers, and say that those afflicted were chosen because they were evildoers. That is absolutely not the case. Faulty and shallow logic forge misguided statements of this nature. But, we forgive them for they know not what they do. Or say. Hurricane Abigail and all disasters provide character development opportunities; chances to show love, receive love, and sacrifice self in Jesus’ example. You made sacrifices so that others could live, grow, love, and develop their characters. They, in turn, lay down their lives for others. For example, one of your children will be adopted into a loving home with parents who can provide the medical care she needs for her leukemia.” George and Selma Stevens gasped in the back row. “I know.” With kindness, Jory looked right at them. “You worried that your daughter, Brooke, would be left without care, when in fact; you died so that she might live.” George knew that they did not have the means to get Brooke the best care she needed, despite Selma and his best efforts. There was purpose. “And Joel, your jewel of a wife who misses you terribly, will take a job. She will serve children in state care, now that she must support herself instead of relying on your income. In this role, she will positively touch numerous lives—lives which would have otherwise been neglected.” Joel sat in stunned amazement. “Joel, you and your wife gave your lives for others. You, with the foresight of your life plan, sacrificed your physical life so your wife could also, sacrifice her life as she knew it with you, to serve others.” Jory turned away from Joel and faced the crowd as a whole. “All of you have purposeful life stories in this same vein. Some are more obvious and direct and some more contorted, but they are all full of meaning.”
“I still cannot comprehend, why there must be suffering for good to occur,” Phyllis blurted out, clearly dejected over the situation at hand. Half of the gathering chimed in with a low roar of agreement.
“Yes.” Jory, again, patiently took in the comment then further explained. “Only the Creator is perfect. We live in an imperfect universe. This has been the nature of the human beast since the beginning. The Adam and Eve story exemplifies the principle everyone struggles with on a daily basis. Because of the fact that suffering, ill will,
“So, what you are saying is that there is light at the end of every dark passage.” Phyllis summarized Jory’s allocution.
“Definitely. There is always a bright side no matter how dark your trials may seem. The key is having the ability to see that bright side. It is like this.” Jory turned to the chalkboard behind where she stood and scratched out some lines in a shimmering, iridescent chalk, paused to examine the work, then turned back to the group. The lines resembled an illusory eye-teaser puzzle. “What do you see?”
“A colorful mess,” Hayden, seated three rows back, called out.
“A brilliant asymmetrical design.” Another voice in the congregation spoke up. Jory chalked over part of the pattern in a vivid, deep sky-blue.
“I see LOVE,” Phyllis said. The word stood out in capital letters.
“Exactly. Love shines through.” Jory reiterated the meaning.
“Oh, I see it now,” several mused.
“I see it too,” said a voice two seats in and four rows back.
Jory erased the blue. For everyone, the LOVE still shone through. “It’s so obvious once you get it. It is amazing that now you can’t see anything else. You,” Jory said knowingly, “wonder why you didn’t see it before: it’s so crystal clear. Over time, those you left behind who were unenlightened will see the love shine through the dun part of their lives too. You would not have seen that radiant, readily apparent love had it not been for the blue contrast. The storms of life impart needed eye-opening contrast.”
Winston felt as if he had been sitting through a sermon even though no one had fallen asleep. Instinctual truth, which had been dormant, awoke in the assemblage. Knowing acceptance permeated the congregants. Azriel’s fingers danced over the organ keys to a contemplative rendition of Amazing Grace. Winston wept. The stream down his face was not an effusion of sadness, but a release of disquietude. The truth will set you free, he thought. The truth will set us all free.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I have been writing since my elementary school days. I even made a lame attempt in high school to write a novel but didn’t have enough life experience behind me to make that project work. Then life and my “real” job (in finance of all things – not as far removed from creative writing as you might think) demanded all my time until about nine years ago when I made the time to start Love, Carry My Bags in spite of my busy schedule.
Today I am a stay-at-home mom and am able to pursue my true life purpose: make a difference through my written words.
Currently I reside in Utah, but grew up in Northern Illinois and have lived in a variety of other locations. I live with my husband, two kids, Shiba Inu, and cat. When I’m not writing, dinking with my website, connecting with my readers, or doing the mom thing, I’m cleaning up after the unruly pets. In my free time I like to read, usually while on a treadmill, bake, take walks and enjoy nature. Oh, and go to Starbucks.
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for a preview of
Love, Carry My Bags
C.R. Everett’s debut,
I Loved That About Her.
Hear the full story from Camryn’s point of view.
Camryn Johnson’s world is turned upside down when long lost love, Reese Dahlgren, re-enters her life at a pivotal point in her already challenging marriage. She faces an excruciating predicament: choose between a broken home for her daughter or a broken life for herself.
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(AN EXCERPT FROM LOVE, CARRY MY BAGS - CHAPTER 1)
“What we really are matters more than what other people think of us.”
Thirty-one years ago, Dead Creek ran through my back yard. A stench from neighboring Sauget, Illinois stung my nose, but I didn’t mind. Neither did the towering cottonwood trees which lined Falling Springs Road. Unaffected by toxic runoff, they thrived. The saplings, on the other hand, struggled.
I drove by pollution-spewing refineries and chemical plants on my way to Parks College. A dream come true. Moving into my own apartment was the dream, not earning my degree. College was a given, a milestone. I could be anything I wanted to be even though I had no idea what that was. I didn’t care if I ended up being a housewife. An education was an essential element in my quest for self-actualization.
My modest two-bedroom apartment overlooked the campus. The linoleum in the kitchen looked clean at first glance, but filth, ground in from prior tenants, remained. Two crammed carloads of stuff furnished my abode. I squeezed in the essentials—a twin mattress, clothes, television, pots and pans which I had been given for Christmas, a small dresser, a radio and a travel iron. Milk crates served as shelving, tables, baskets, and general storage, the finishing touch.
My parents could have paid for my schooling, but didn’t. Folks from Midwest America didn’t hand things to their children on silver platters. Since I graduated from the Harvard High School in Harvard, IL (“Milk Capital of the World”), I was a subset of those Midwestern American children and received things on plastic McDonald’s trays instead. The money I saved from part-time jobs wouldn’t last long. Until I found a roommate, alleviating costs, I enjoyed my own place, watching what I wanted on my four-inch black-and-white TV when I wanted, and fixing whatever my heart desired in the kitchen, without worrying about anyone else. Free at last. Camryn Johnson had arrived.
Parks’ cozy tree-covered campus sat a few miles southeast of the St. Louis arch. Rich history infused the red brick World War II era buildings. Cadet specters roamed the halls and populated the adjacent grass landing strip, taking off, one by one on their training missions. Parks is the only Jesuit aviation college in the world, its heritage probably held over from the Crusades, something that surely warmed Mother’s heart. At least she didn’t criticize my choice for higher education, which was the closest I’d get to praise.
Females represented just ten percent of the one thousand member, aviation-loving student body. Most course offerings centered around male-dominated aerospace engineering or private pilot curriculums. The men on campus felt shortchanged, and the women had a school to fish in.
I enjoyed travel; so not knowing my career goal in life, I chose the Bachelor of Science TTT program. Travel, Transportation, and Tourism—which had a disproportionate number of girls—was essentially a travel-focused business degree and would surely take me somewhere.
Some people accused me of selecting this particular venue of education for the male population factor, an adjunct circumstance, the last thing on my mind. In love with Reese, my high school sweetheart, I focused on commencing a life together with him even though I had not seen him in quite some time—nine months and two days, to be exact.
Paper, my canvass
Words, my paint<
My heart, my brush
Writer, I am
“The Bible says children should honor their mother and father,” Mother reminded me. She called the Bible ‘Life’s Instruction Book.’ Most confusing damn instruction book I’d ever set eyes on. And it didn’t explain what to do when your parents were divorced and had divergent belief systems. The Bible also said something about a servant being unable to serve two masters.
“Father’s not in on this.”
Didn’t matter. Mother’s interpretation of the Bible came straight from the mouth of God, of course, and only her ears were finely tuned enough to receive the correct message.
Whiskers nosed my hand, a silent show of solidarity.
“Things will not go well with you . . .” Mother continued the same lecture every time I resisted altar calls, repenting, mandatory daily devotions of her choosing, or refused to raise my hands during marathon praise-and-worship jam fests before fire-and-brimstone sermons. And when religious dogma didn’t work, she threatened, “If you don’t confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and witness, singing his name, ‘Wonderful, Counselor, Prince of Peace, The Almighty,’ accept him as your own and proclaim, ‘My God reigns over all the heavens and all the earth . . .’ I’ll take Whiskers away.”
Whiskers—my new puppy and closest friend up until moving to Harvard—was safe. We’d been truly saved. No more anxious nights home alone. No more being afraid someone would break into the house and hurt me. No more having my room purged of stuffed owls and frogs, toy witches and friendly pretend monsters because they were ‘evil.’
Mother’s jump from mainstream Protestantism to a cultish alternative was a hard horse pill to swallow. Healing after the divorce she insisted upon, she found solace in her new flavor of church, attending evening ‘singles club.’ My mother was in long-term recovery from a self-inflicted wound: a nervous breakdown due to years of suppressing her own wants and desires while constantly trying to please others. By the time I came around in her later childbearing years, Mother had had her fill of taking care of others and turned to taking care of herself, in any way she felt necessary, full-time.
Winston's Supernatural Disaster by C. R. Everett / Fantasy have rating 3.8 out of 5 / Based on19 votes