Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing excerpts of the angelic characters from a work in progress, THE DARKNESS WITHIN, Book Three by Angelica Hart and Zi.
ANGEL WINGS OF HOPE
Duplin County, North Carolina - the Gavreel and Barbelo story - CONTINUED
1 Peter 4:10 - As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Frank Schuler’s case worker had just settled him on the front porch of his farmhouse after a short stay in the hospital. Frank had broken his leg falling off the damn trestle while trying to hammer in some extra nails to keep it sturdy. Despite being an octogenarian, he was all about the prim and proper running of his hog farm, and did the work of a much younger man. The caseworker assured Frank, he’d be back in a week to check on him. In the meantime, Meals on Hogs, a local motorcycle club who delivered food to shut-ins would be by every day. “Yeah, but whose gonna slop my hogs?” he shouted as the van peeled away. “Damn blasted government workers. What do they care?”
Frank wasn’t the most courteous, appreciative or accepting individual. Cantankerous could have been his middle name. It wasn’t because of his age, or that he spent too much time alone. Nor was it because he never found love, never had kids, never found time for any real friends. Frank was simply born grumpy.
For generations, his family had been pig farmers. It was a built in livelihood, and Frank inwardly felt honored to be farming them hogs and despised those who looked down their spindly noses at him. They were the very ones who gobbled up bacon and pork like a heart attack was caused by carrots. If they didn’t watch it, that was exactly all they’d be eating. Nowadays, there was a ban on opening any new hog operations cause the snotty golf club didn’t like the stench of pigs drifting on the wind.
Frank was happy with his farm, not so happy with the broken leg and being unable to feed his pigs, or that he’d have to hire someone to help. He made a living, but not enough to hand out money like some freaking millionaire.
A noise sounded from near the pig pens, alarming Frank. He was supposed to stay off his leg, but his stock could be in trouble. Gathering his crutches, he managed to make his way across the yard, and saw a kid with a slop pail. “Whatcha doing there, boy?”
“Hey, Mr. Schuler, it’s me, Clyde. I live just over there.” He pointed southward. “Heard you broke your leg.”
“Like it’s any of your business.” He managed a few more steps closer. “You didn’t answer my question.”
Clyde looked at his pail as if it had the answer. “Your pigs were hungry.”
“So, you thought you go nosing around my pen and feed them? Yeah, right. How’dja know what they eat? Who told you I broke my leg? Why you really here? I ain’t got nothing worth stealing except them there pigs.” He eyed the scrawny kid with the scraped knees, mud crusted arms and black eye. “You’ve been in a fight?”
Blinking at the barrage of questions, Clyde scratched his temple, adding an extra mud smear. He shrugged. “Bobby Anderson said I smelled like a hog. I split his lip. Even steven! He’ll be round to help tomorrow.”
“This lady with gray, green, brown, blue…,” Clyde paused, squinted at a memory of eyes that kept reflecting a variety of colors, maybe it was the sun or something, “eyes. She told me ‘bout you.”
“Don’t you know your colors, boy?”
"I've seen angels in the stain glassed windows at my church. She looked like one of them. But she did not have a halo. So, I guess she wasn't."
"She have a name, boy?"
"Barbell or something like that."
"You are daft." Frank leaned toward his better leg. He was hurting and wanted to just sit down. “I don’t need no help. Git on home.”
“She told me you did. Told me where to find the food and what to do.” Clyde looked pointedly at Frank’s leg. “Looks like she was right. So, I’m staying.”
He was stunned by the boy’s audacity, and somewhat pleased. Still, Frank was a introverted, crusty old soul so suspicion was never far behind. “Just cause she told you I needed help, you’re helping?”
Clyde shrugged. “Well, yeah.”
What are you some kind of boy scout?”
Frank stared then shaking his head, shuffled away, confounded.
The next day, Clyde was back along with Bobby. The two worked together, feeding the pigs. A few days later, more scouts appeared. Clyde organized schedules, whereas, one boy stopped by each day to help. They got to know the man, laughed at his hog stories and years-gone-by tales. Their poor, modest community took note of the good-hearted boys. Now and then, a neighbor would stop by, just for chat, sometimes with a care package. They started to look out for each other as well, bonding with each other, helping out when help was needed.
During the nights, Gavreel wove in and out of dreams, especially Frank’s, calming spirit, bringing tranquility. During the dreams, Frank felt as if he were visiting with a friend. They'd do things together, play checkers, listened to talk radio, drink coffee. They'd chat, not that Frank remembered the chat, but the visitor brought peace to his soul, settled the grump-monster, which unbeknownst to Frank had been a clinging on demon. Gavreel slashed it away. Frank was free to be a man with moments of joy and a calm life.
Though Frank remained outwardly a curmudgeon, he’d sometimes whistled happily, now and then even muttered a thank you. Some swore he even smiled.
Frank died when the boyhood friends were seniors in high school, each of the boys volunteered as pallbearers. Unbeknownst to any of them, Frank left them each money in his will so they could go to college. They bettered themselves, came back and repaid the town in turn, bettering it.
A man from a neighboring town, while visiting a relative, noticed Main Street didn’t look as drab as it used to, that the people were friendly, kind and supportive. He brought that happier spirit back with him to his town, and when his neighbor had a heart attack, took up a collection to help with medical bills. From there, the good kept spreading.
Frank's grave stone read, We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give ~ Winston Churchill.
About the Story: The Darkness Within is a fast-paced supernatural thriller involving, kidnapping, romance, gypsies, and supernatural beings. The tale revolves around private detective Brie (Gabriella) Tyler's investigation of several missing young women believed to be runaways. Somehow, it connects to a past she cannot remember. While trying to find his missing niece, Jake Marlo, the owner of prestigious private detective agency, crosses path with Brie. Independent and feisty, Tyler resists Marlo's help and romantic attention. The two collide as heinous henchmen and supernatural forces threaten to destroy their lives.
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Angelica Hart and Zi ~ Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane
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