Hello, and welcome back. Here is this week’s section from Part Two of Soul Cages (PG-13).
L. M. May
Copyright © 2011 by L. M. May
Published by Osuna Publishing
This story is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, dialogue, and locales are either drawn from the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, and locales is entirely coincidental.
Part Two. Broken Masks
I hoped Dad would change his mind and come home at six, but he didn’t. Mom heated up frozen chicken casserole in the microwave. At six-fifteen we sat down to eat at the kitchen table.
Mom pushed the casserole noodles around on her plate instead of eating.
I took a deep breath. “Dad said he might run late this evening.”
Mom’s mouth quivered.
“Why?” Henry said.
“Dad said he needs to work late because of the software release coming up,” I said. “He said he needs to make up for lunch.”
Mom pushed her plate away.
“Why?” Henry said.
“Cause when people have a job, they have to work a certain number of hours each day. If you miss hours, you have to make the time up,” I said.
“Why?” Henry said with his mouth full.
“Don’t talk when you have food in your mouth,” Mom said. She shoved back her chair. “I’m going to go lie down for awhile. Henry, you can watch a show once you help Marian clear the table.” Mom’s voice was shaky.
Mom only got halfway down the hall before she started sniffling.
It made my head hurt. Mom had often cried when Dad ran late back in Alexandria, and I couldn’t blame her. There had been times Dad promised to take Mom out to a party or movie, and showed up too late. Clearly Dad was going back to his usual work habits.
So much for a new beginning.
I got Henry set up with a DVD on humpback whales, and then went to knock on Mom’s door.
“Come in,” Mom whispered. Her voice sounded husky from crying.
I turned the knob, bracing myself. I found Mom curled up on the bedspread. I turned on the lamp on Dad’s nightstand. “Would you like a cup of tea?”
Tears began to stream down Mom’s face as she sat up. “Marian, I was harsh with you earlier. I should have been more forgiving.” She wrung her hands together, and her diamond wedding band sparkled. “I want so much to make a new life here for us all. A more godly life.” She flung out her hands helplessly. “But I feel as if it’s slipping through my fingers.”
I didn’t know what to say.
“When I was a girl I dreamed of being a painter. But Uncle William explained that a business major would be much more practical—especially since my parents’ life insurance money was running out. He said I could do painting on the weekends. But then you and Henry were born, and there was no time.
“Oh, Marian.” Mom seized my right hand with chilled fingers. “Gena says they’d love for me to paint Biblical murals in the gathering area. I want us to lead a life closer to God’s will before it’s too late. I think the end times are upon us.”
I hid my consternation at Mom’s words.
Mom squeezed my hand. “I hate how people label Henry because he has Asperger’s. Telling me what he can and can’t do, even though he’s so bright.”
John’s earlier words echoed in my mind. I said, hesitating, “Aunt Letty gave me some of the best books on autism. Do you think you’d like to—”
“No,” Mom said, and let go of my hand. “It won’t be necessary. God is going to help us fix Henry’s affliction.”
I shivered at Mom’s usage of affliction. I’d hoped to persuade Mom to stop the healing attempts, but I’d have to wait until Mom was less agitated. Perhaps Andervender or Gena would do or say something that would change Mom’s feelings for them.
I felt compelled to say, “Sometimes no miracle comes. We ought to prepare ourselves in case it doesn’t.”
Mom shook her head. “God gives miracles to those who are worthy. We shall make ourselves worthy of his mercy.”
I didn’t like the way Mom looked at me, as if I were unclean.
“I want you to pray to God every night to forgive you for being unchaste and a liar. I’m sure you will be forgiven, if you only ask.” Mom smiled. “Well, I’m going to listen to the Gospel for an hour, then turn in early to bed. Don’t worry about the tea—I’ll get some if I need some.” She waved me away.
I shut the door as the reading of Revelation began to play. My stomach felt twisted into a tight knot.
I snuck into my bedroom, softly closed my door, and got out my cell phone. Then I hit the programmed number for Aunt Letty’s office in Charlotte back in North Carolina, and left a message for Letty to call me as soon as possible.
************** End of Part Two. 30. *****************
If you are reading this after January 27, 2014, you should be able to click here to go to the main information page of Soul Cages to find Part Two. 31.
Soul Cages is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Smashwords, iBookstore, Kobo, and other e-bookstores. A print edition is now available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and through independent bookstores either in stock or through order (ISBN-13 is 978-0615870465). Links can change over time, so click here to go to the main page for Soul Cages if any links don’t work.
See you next time, L.M.