Posts Tagged With: Love

Yeshua in Psalm 13

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I Dreamed of Yeshua


I’m never one to remember my dreams. In fact most mornings when I wake up, by the time I walk to the bathroom, whatever I had dreamed is already gone. But last night I dreamed of Yeshua.

2016 has started off really rough. My job is demanding technically, legally, emotionally and spiritually; most days I even drag myself home physically exhausted because all of my other capacities have been run dry. Since January, all Hell has broken loose at the housing properties and my office team (who are very supportive of each other) have been struggling with morale issues because everyone is under attack in some way. I’ve also been struggling personally with the patrilineal burdens I’ve inherited from the men in my life who have come before me. My struggles with personal identity, value and success (or lack thereof) have been loud and ugly…and it’s all the arguments going on inside.

Needless to say I’ve been fighting off or hiding from depression for the last couple of weeks. I can play at it for a while, being strong for everyone else, but I finally asked yesterday: “Who’s being strong for me?” Once that question was out of the box, there was no putting it back. And I fell to pieces.

I prayed. I pleaded for God to show a way forward. To allow me to answer a greater call. I demanded for Him to acknowledge and answer my dreams that have been laid in their grave.

What I didn’t know was that my wife was desperately praying for me at the same time. She pleaded with Jesus to meet me, somehow.

And then last night I fell asleep.


I found myself in a great white stone palace in a large room. The stone was almost like crystal, but even that description can’t do it justice. It felt very Greek, but was timeless.

The large room I found myself in was dark, backlit with blue and green light and there was a blue mist winding around the black tile floor.

I held a sword in my hand and knew at once I was under attack. The things coming at me were everywhere and they looked like rotting corpses, like zombies. Some were missing limbs but they could talk and were saying all kinds of horrible things. They were demonic, and they looked exhausted because they weren’t able to put up much of a fight when I began to fight back with my sword. Yet all the same I felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of them.

It was then I realized that someone else arrived and was helping me to fight them back. By the time the battle was almost over, my ally had easily slain most of the horde. I remained fighting one enemy, the captain. My ally did not intervene, but let me finish the fight as I cut off its appendages until it simply laid upon the floor unable to move.

“You’re done,” I said as I turned to walk away.

The demonic captain looked up at me with his gruesome face and exposed eyeballs and spoke: “Just do it already.”

So I cut off his head. I then realized I was covered in greasy guts. I turned to look at my ally, my helper.
He stepped out of the shadows and I immediately knew his face and I spoke his name in my heart: YESHUA. It was the name his mother would have called him. I knew him and I knew he knew me. Yet all I could utter from my lips was: “I’m a mess.”

Then Yeshua smiled; he was kind and spoke: “You ordered the Greece.”

I knew it was a joke, a play on words about the battle we had just come through, and yet there had to be a deeper meaning, a puzzle to solve. He helped me, but he didn’t do it for me. I had guts on me and the sword in my hand to prove that I had done battle in the heavenly realm alongside Yeshua my Messiah, against my enemies.


I woke up amazed, pondering the meaning of what he said and I’m still not sure but there are some clues in my life and the things I’ve been working on in my writing that might yet prove true.

My wife is a big time dreamer; she remembers her every dream each morning. And sometimes they are spiritually significant. This was the first time I had ever had a spiritually significant dream and I relayed it to my wife.

When I finished, she asked about the meaning of Yeshua’s words. I told her I wasn’t sure.

Then she asked: “What about Greek warriors, are they tough?”

I immediately could see scenes from the movie 300 in my mind with King Leonidas fighting with his fellow Spartan brothers against the hordes of invading Persian troops. I told her that historically the Spartans were among the toughest, hardest soldiers ever bred for war.
She then told me about how she pleaded with Jesus to meet me in my dark time of struggle. My wife is certain that who showed up was Jesus/Yeshua as his hardest, warrior self to help fight against the forces of darkness coming against me personally. Yet during the whole battle, I never doubted his love.

There are still so many pieces to put together regarding this dream. As for what he said to me: “You ordered the Greece.” I think it will take time to reveal the meaning, but perhaps some of the interlinear work I’ve been doing in the bible may be the key to unlocking my way forward.

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The Golden Pocket – part 8

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A full day’s ride by horse led me toward a clearing I recognized. The small woodcutter’s cabin stood exactly as I left it. It appeared as small as a shack against the surrounding towering cedars. I dismounted and led my horse down the dirt path toward it. My stomach flipped over and I wondered what my reception would be like.

At a distance I could see the front door open and two young men running toward me. The first to reach me was Eiver, strong and handsome.

“My lady,” he panted and bowed in half. “Are you in need of assistance?”

Escher stopped right behind him. “We would be delighted to afford you shelter and feed for your horse.”

I looked past them to the cabin, but Eshrun never appeared at the door. Glancing back at the two young men, I put on my best mask: a disarming smile. Down the path and inside the cabin they led me.

I immediately saw Eshrun sweeping and cleaning. He glanced at me once and then looked away back toward his duty. My confused heart sank into the sea of my own disappointment. I had come back for him and he would not even look at me.

Eiver and Escher seated me in the lone armed chair by the fire. I accepted.

Escher then kneeled beside my chair and asked: “My lady, may I ask your name?”
“A…” I stopped before finishing, realizing that they did not recognize me at all. My appearance had changed so drastically that I was a new person to them. “My name is Araina,” I said.

I looked over at Eshrun. No light of dawn upon him illuminated me as his betrothed. I was a mystery to them all.

“I’ve heard there’s an old woodcutter who lives here with his sons. May I speak to your father?” I said.

All of the young men looked at each other, none speaking.

“He passed away,” Eshrun spoke from the corner. “His grave is amongst the trees, if you are seeking his attention.”

Eiver and Escher chided their youngest brother, but he shrugged them away. I asked for a refreshment and they brought out a flagon of wine. Upon my insistence, there were four cups laid out and I offered to pour.

“I must confess,” I said, “I am alone in the world and seeking the other half of my heart. I’m looking for a husband to join me.”

Eiver and Escher lit up with puffed chests and shoulders stretched out like wings. Eshrun remained back in the corner.

I poured each cup of wine, handing the first two to the eldest sons. None of them saw the thing I dropped into the last cup, offering it to Eshrun.

Eshrun refused the cup. “I cannot partake, my lady.”

“Why not?” I asked.

His eyes traveled out through the window to the trees beyond. “I made a promise…to my father.”

Escher snickered. “Eshrun’s betrothed.”

“And what good is a commitment to a dead man?” I asked Eshrun.

His eyes looked at me, filled with tears. “It’s as good as to one living. I await my betrothed’s return.”

Eiver waved him off. “You’re waiting to marry a bear. Your promise was foolish.”

Eshrun glared at his brothers and looked away.

I nodded and handed Eshrun the cup once again. “You have already been chosen. Please drink to our good health before any more choices are determined.”

He received the cup. We all drained our wine. My eyes traveled over the faces of the young men and halted upon Eshrun. His face changed, confused. Holding out his hand, he spit out a small, golden half-circle. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the other half of the ring and he placed the two halves together perfectly.

“You’ve come for me,” he said. “I should have seen it in your eyes. The eyes never change.”

“But how could this be?” Eiver said.

“But you’re beautiful,” said Escher.

“She was always beautiful,” Eshrun said, taking my hands, kissing them and lacing them around his neck. The strength of his embrace around my frame felt safe. For the first time in seven years I sensed what it meant to be home.

Without a word but not without much puffing, Eiver and Escher arose and left. We never saw them again.


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The Golden Pocket – part 6

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Time passed without any conscience. My body lay curled in my bearskin before a hearth. The fire was strong and warm.

Furtive whispering voices argued behind me.

“How did she end up on our doorstep?”

“It doesn’t matter how. What matters is that she came to us for help.” This voice was mature, and even in its tone.

“Help indeed,” huffed the first voice, young, male and impatient. “We can’t even feed or protect ourselves. This winter will kill us all.”

“Look at her father! Her appearance is more animal than woman. The merciful duty would have been to leave her to the grip of winter.” This was a second young man’s voice.

Finally a third young man spoke up. “There’s no need to whisper. She’s awake.”

I sighed and arose, standing before four men: a father and three sons. Their dismay fell upon me in an overwhelming wave of despair. Their thin frames betrayed four meager lives shared in the lonely cabin. A quick observation clarified that a woman had not been present in their lives for a very long time. “I will go if you wish it, but let me speak first with your father alone,” I said.

The father nodded and waved his sons through the front door into the winter morning. I sat at the table opposite of the father.

“Please forgive my sons for they mean well. We are poor and cannot even feed ourselves. Our supplies as they are would hard-press one man to live through the winter,” said the father.

I nodded. “Are any of them married?”

“No. They have had a bad run of luck finding suitable brides.”

I nodded again. “I understand your difficult position. To take me in for the night must have laid an incredible sacrifice upon you. Please let me pay my way and stay with you for a few days.”

The father assessed me with his wizened eyes and he exhaled, shaking his head. “I doubt what you offer could make any difference. Unless you were able to pay for all of us to survive through this winter, there will be no hope. And if you could, I would marry any one of my three sons to you.”

My hand reached into my pocket, feeling the large amount of gold coins cached there. I piled them on the table and watched the eyes of the old man bulge.

“That would see us through three years,” he rasped.

He called in the boys, explaining to them the news of their deliverance and their collective countenance lifted high with grins upon each face. Their father introduced himself as Avram and his sons were Eiver, Escher, and the youngest Eshrun. Then to my surprise, he told them that one them must marry me and they would choose amongst themselves for the honor.

My face flushed and I felt the sting of shame. Their eyes traveled over me in distaste and I felt the shame of my appearance and my stink. All of the young men were handsome, but clearly I was not a bride for whom they hoped.

“I cannot marry a woman with a beard,” Eiver said.

“I will not marry a woman with talons for fingers,” said Escher.

Eshrun looked at my bearskin cape and my filthy green coat and my matted hair and my long wispy beard and my curled nails…and then he looked at my eyes and smiled. “I will marry you. You have saved us all and it would be my joyful duty to be your husband and honor my father.”

My heart cracked and tears streamed down my cheeks. I wanted to refuse for his sake. I wanted to walk away. It was then I heard the shining man’s words ring in my ears for a second time: You are worthy of love.

And I nodded my consent to Eshrun’s offer for my hand in marriage.


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The Golden Pocket – part 5

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Not far along, the winds picked up and the snow pummeled me on every side. Through the white winter void I could detect nothing. Every step through the snow gained additional weight and not long thereafter I strained to move at all. Lifting my eyes to the heavens, I whispered, “Help.” It was all that I could muster of my strength to say. My soul inwardly groaned the rest of my desperation.

It became apparent to me that I would die mere days before completing my task. My strength ebbed and I fell to my knees. My mind numbed over, joining the creeping unfeeling in my limbs. The strong desire to sleep overtook anything else; I could think of nothing other than rest.
I felt pressure beneath my arms and shoulders, as if being lifted up. I expected to see that vicious face of my blue-eyed creditor, smiling in triumph. Yet warmth entered me through my skin and radiated to my bones. This man’s eyes were so kind, full of compassion, gazing upon me in all of my wretchedness. I had never seen him before, nor did I think I would ever see him again once my eyes fell upon his shining white robes. His skin shone like the sun, and he warmed me in his embrace.

Opening my mouth, I tried to speak but he hushed me and I fell limp in his arms.

“Your prayers have been heard. Your many kindnesses are witnessed. It is in your hour of need I have been sent to you.” His voice hummed and soothed my aching spirit.

He carried me, but for how long I could not know. I wanted nothing else but to remain with him; I wished he would take me.

His laugh rose up through his chest as if responding to my thoughts, and he spoke in my ear. “This was not the plan for you. The thief comes to destroy, but I have seen your heart. I have admired your beauty. You must live, for I require it.”

He required me. No person before had ever said such lovely things. Immediately I felt ashamed of my haggard appearance. I brought this upon myself by making a deal with the cloven hoofed thief. Desperation will guide a woman to hard decisions, but now I realized my decision was wrong. I could have walked away, not responding. Knowing now who the thief really was, I understood that the only power he had over me was that which I gave him. The thief walked me to the gates of this devilish deal, but I made the decision…and that was my fault.

We entered a clearing where a small cabin stood alone among the trees. A thick gout of smoke rose from the chimney like a gray pillar fastening the sky to the earth. This sweet angel of my rescue laid me at the foot of the door.

He spoke to me one last time. “You will yet see your way through this my child. And before I depart, I will give you a gift of my own.” He kissed my forehead. “You are worthy of love.”

As I lay upon the snowy steps of the cabin, I watched him walk into the skirted tree line and vanish. My eyes closed, shutting out the glow of the white night.

I remembered something my father used to say: When snow falls, no bad men come out at night.


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Steadfast – part 10 finale

Steadfast is a serial short fiction piece.

To start from the beginning, go to part 1.

Steadfast Cover 25% shrink copy Steadfast Kindle Ebook.

Upon waking I discovered a curious and familiar face peering down at me.
“The Spartan?” I said.

The old man chuckled and patted my chest. “That’s right.”

“Am I down beneath the city?”

“No, you’re topside,” he said.

I glanced about at my surroundings. Sterile. Clean. It was like an infirmary but there were several other clocks in various states of repair on different beds.

“Confused?” he said.

I affirmed.

The Spartan sighed and sat next to my bedside. “There’ve been a few changes since your…sacrifice. The mob turned against Reverend Harquinn and she ended up in the flames. Your story spread like a city fire and eventually reached us beneath, where we all took heart from your example. We rose to the surface and took over the city without any bloodshed. That’s when we found you and began immediate repairs. You are valuable Ajax. There is none like you.” He placed his hand upon mine. “And that’s not all…” Then the Spartan rose and walked away and I closed my eyes, considering all I had lost and wishing they had melted me down.

“What else is there?” I said.

“There’s me,” spoke a sweet, feminine voice I didn’t recognize.

I opened my eyes and saw her sitting next to me. The woman of my dreams. My ballerina.


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Steadfast – part 9

Steadfast is a serial short fiction piece.

To start from the beginning, go to part 1.

Steadfast Cover 25% shrink copy Steadfast Kindle Ebook.

Harquinn stuck out a black-gloved bony finger, pointing at my love and me. “They should not be here. We’re cleansing the city. You know this Eunice. Both of those abominations were created by the war—a war that almost brought utter destruction upon us all.” Her eyes gleamed in the darkness, reflecting the fire from the lantern in her hand. Or did they reveal the fire from within? “Those things were made to cause death. So they must die.”

The crowd behind Harquinn jostled in stern agreement. A few voices cried empty epithets.

Eunice stuck out her small chin. “Purposes can change and people can change. You teach it. You preach it. And it’s in the good book. You should know this better than anyone–Reverend.”

The reverend’s lips twisted into an eldritch grin. Angry and ugly. “But they are not people. They are machines, mere things. Those two clocks were designed for obsolete purposes which bring nothing but chaos, and right now we need peace. They will go. Now.”

“No,” Eunice said.

“Then stay here and save them if you can.” Harquinn’s eyes gleamed again as she held up the lantern, its oily fire glowing inside.

I stepped forward with my hands outstretched. “Stop. I will go to spare them.”

Both women looked at me: one with sadness and the other with elation. Eunice didn’t stop me as I stepped through the door.

“You don’t have to do this Ajax,” she said.

I turned and touched her cheek. Then I glanced over at the ballerina on the table—I still didn’t know her name, but that didn’t matter. Finally, I looked at Harquinn’s hard gaze before turning again to Eunice. “I choose to do this.”

Eunice gave me as firm an embrace as her frail frame would allow. “There is no love greater than the man who lays down his life for his friends. You have a beautiful soul, Ajax.”

A wild scream startled us as Reverand Harquinn spit out in rage. The fire gleaming behind her eyes exploded in fury. The reverend pulled me through the door, pushed Eunice back into the house and then threw the lantern after her.

I turned to rush inside the house, but blue electric flashes of lightning ground me to a halt and I fell, subdued by a stun device. My arms and legs wouldn’t move, at first. I could see the flames growing inside the toy shop and smoke billowing out of the door, but there was no sign of Eunice attempting to flee. I strained, and slowly I was able to move in a numb fashion with little control over my functions. Crawling like a baby, I entered the growing furnace. I felt the penetrating and judging gaze of the reverend upon me.

“Go to your destruction then. There’s no afterlife for you.” Her words rang in my ears as the flames licked my pseudo-epidermis.

“Eunice!” I screamed but no reply came. I pushed myself up onto my feet and I could feel my skin begin to melt away. I called out again but there was still no answer. It was then I saw her, crumpled on the floor, encased in smoke and not moving. I lifted her over my shoulder and then did the same with my ballerina. I then staggered toward the front door through the flames.

I entered into the open air and laid down my burdens. Eunice was dead and my love was burned beyond repair. I caught the gaze of several in the crowd who removed their hoods, their eyes now mournful and sad. Where my skin fell away revealed the machine beneath. I, the monster, stood visible and on display.

Slowly, more and more hoods were removed to reveal the repentant faces. The ordinary folk who had no real idea what was happening. I felt sorry for them.

Then I saw Harquinn, her face registered confusion but then settled into stubborn rage.

I collapsed onto my hands and knees. My body was giving out from the strain and I had only moments left.

“Any last words tin man?” Harquinn’s voice rang through my ears.

I could no longer see as my functions slowed, but I had energy for one last act as I cried aloud: “I forgive you.”

I fell upon the pavement. My energy left me and my vision blurred to stark gray before settling upon dusk and then black. I was Ajax, and I was no more.

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Steadfast – part 8

Steadfast is a serial short fiction piece.

To start from the beginning, go to part 1.

Steadfast Cover 25% shrink copy Steadfast Kindle Ebook.

The night passed in a long and quiet space where my hands worked true, repairing my treasured find. She remained powered-down and plugged in for the fullness of that night as I worked thoughtfully and thoroughly upon her. The ballerina. My love. It occurred to me over the course of the long and lonely hours that she might never understand how I think or how I feel about her. Yet my eyes traveled over her broken body—a body I was trying to restore so I could fully engage the woman within it. And I sensed something different inside myself as I worked on her. It was as if her injuries caused me pain.

“It’s called empathy, Ajax,” Eunice said. She stood in the doorway, wearing her white nightgown and looking like an angel.

“Empathy?” I said.

She nodded. “Empathy is when you experience someone else’s feelings by observing their situation. Your friend is broken, so you feel broken for her.”

“How did you know I was experiencing empathy?” I said.

“You’re face gave it away. From the moment I saw you at the surplus market, I could see your face carried the weight of tremendous expression even while you were turned off. I bought you because of your face, and I was right about you Ajax. You’re special.”

I looked away from Eunice. My hands continued fussing with the gears and wires about the body of my broken beauty.

Eunice left the doorway and walked around the table looking at my work, nodding in approval. “And there’s more. You acted in compassion. When a person experiences empathy and then acts in the moment to assist their friend in alleviating the burden of pain, it’s called compassion. You are compassionate, Ajax, and I have never before seen empathy or compassion in any clock.” She then rested her frail hand, gnarled by age and arthritis, upon my arm. “Clocks were never designed to know these things. How do you know these things, Ajax?”

I shook my head because there was no logical answer.

“You know,” she said. Her eyes penetrated my core.

My hands stopped working and rested upon my love. I faced Eunice. “How can that be when I have no soul?”

“I would dare say, my dear boy, that you have been gifted with a soul. Set apart. You’re not an aberration, Ajax. You’re a creation,” she said. “I’ll stake my life on it.”

“Rev. Harquinn would disagree,” I said.

Three sharp raps upon the front door shattered the moment. Eunice opened it, revealing Harquinn’s stern visage on the other side. She was flanked by a crowd in black hoods. Her eyes traveled to me, to the ballerina on the table and then back to my owner. “Hello Eunice. We should talk.”

Eunice didn’t reply but simply crossed her arms.

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Steadfast – part 7

Steadfast is a serial short fiction piece.

To start from the beginning, go to part 1.

Steadfast Cover 25% shrink copy Steadfast Kindle Ebook.
“Here he is. Now he’s awake!”

Bright light flooded my eyes, and when they were able to focus upon the bearded man standing over me, confusion set in. “Where am I?”

“You’re onboard the Jonah, the finest fishing boat in all the bay. You’ve been caught in our net, my heavy friend.” He helped me sit up and disengage the netting from my legs.

“And you were completely on empty, so I hooked you up to my engine to give you a charge.”

My eyes traveled upon his jacket and cap, recognizing the insignia I said: “Captain?”

“Aye that’s it. Captain Sol, that’s me. Do you have a name, my fine metal lad?”


“It’s a good strong name,” Sol growled out. “Soldier?”

I shook my head. “Not anymore. Toymaker now.”

“By the wind! You’re Eunice’s boy gone missing. She’s been mad about your disappearance…feared the worst!” Sol’s eyes were round and wide.

“How do you know Eunice?”

“She’s one of my regular customers. Let’s get back to shore and get you back to where you belong. I’ve finished my catch for the day anyhow. Why did you fancy going for a dip in the bay?”

“I didn’t. It’s a long story.”

“Well we’ve got time, Ajax,” he said and blasted the boat’s booming horn while turning the helm, steering the Jonah toward the distant docks. “Captain Sol loves a good yarn, so start spinning one.”

The boat chugged along as I conveyed my story to an astonished Captain Sol, who interjected occasionally with savory comments about the reverend and the rats. Once we were in port, I helped him tie off the boat dockside.

I stepped off the Jonah wearing a fresh set of clothes, albeit fisherman gear, as gifted by Captain Sol who clapped me on the back. “Mercies are pouring out on you Ajax. Look who’s here already.”

I glanced over and saw Eunice––frail sweet Eunice. She dropped her basket as tears welled in her eyes. I promptly came to her side and embraced her.

“You were lost,” she said.

“And now I’m found,” I said.

She held up my hands and examined my damaged pseudo-epidermis. “My stars, you’re a mess. Let’s get you home.”

Night fell and I sat in the chair, looking out the window at the vacant storefront across the street. Eunice spent the better part of the day mending me all the while sharing her account of the store’s closure due to pressure and vandalism. The shopkeeper couldn’t keep a profit and continue to mend the store each time a window shattered or graffiti appeared on the door. So he packed up and left town.

I asked Eunice what happened to the ballerina, but she simply shook her head. There was just no way to know. Eventually, I helped her to bed, tucking the covers deftly around her frail frame. She smiled at me and whispered: “Good night.”

I responded in kind and then returned to my chair, staring out the front window and eyeing the sharp, black holes in the broken pane across the street. The urge to power down and recharge came on strong, but something stronger urged otherwise. I stood up and walked out the front door, knowing that Eunice would object. I was the wayward son, leaving once again too soon after returning from exile.

A twinge of guilt itched my core, but the inexplicable draw of curiosity drew me forth from the safety of the toy shop. The need to investigate felt…supernatural. Yet if I have no soul, as the reverend suggests, then how could I feel this way?

The night air foamed with fog, coating me with minute droplets as I wafted through it across the street and stood in front of the vacant storefront. It used to be beautiful and full of lovely clothes, and now it was broken and full of holes. Yet the boarded front door and the shattered window were accompanied by the word SOULLESS spray painted upon it multiple times. The dereliction was real. So much had happened in the time of my brief exit and all I could describe was a feeling of tremendous weight pulling me down. Sadness.

I walked along the curb to the building’s edge and peered down the alley. It was a complete void absorbing all light, making it impossible to see anything. Then I turned to leave but halted as the sound of rustling trash emanated from the void. Standing at the entry, I adjusted my eyesight to maximize my nighttime ocular abilities. Yet I was never meant to be a sniper, just a simple foot soldier. My sight was still limited.

Just walk away. All I needed to do was walk away. After everything I’ve been through only to make it back home again. Just walk, Ajax.

Instead I allowed myself to be sucked into the dark void of the alley, approaching the pile of garbage. Caution held me at a distance, but curiosity drew me nearer. A small, slender hand stuck out from the rest of the rubbish. It was delicate and feminine.

Could it be? Was she to be discarded as trash? Why not? I had been filched and then discarded as trash. I reached out and touched the hand, which in turn grasped mine. I heaved and pulled out the chassis of my ballerina. Although damaged, she was just as lovely as the moment I first saw her.

I gathered her into my arms and turned her head to face me. Her eyes opened. Her mouth could not speak, so she simply mouthed the words: thank you. I nodded and carried her away from the dump site and into the toy shop, where I laid her upon the work station. I arranged the tools I would need and then I caressed her lovely hair and kissed her forehead. “You’re safe now.”

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Steadfast – part 6

Steadfast is a serial short fiction piece.

To start from the beginning, go to part 1.

Steadfast Cover 25% shrink copy Steadfast Kindle Ebook.

I do not know how long I remained in the hole, the name for which the rats gave this place of imprisonment. And I could not smell the sea air except when the bulkhead opened, which only happened when I was led to the technicians with their poking and prodding, their incessant questioning and curious thinking. None of them could figure out how Eunice upgraded my skin and my emotional intelligence. The human technicians were far more interested in the upgrades than the clocks, who seemed to be quite happy as they were and yet they noticed one of their own imprisoned for no pure reason other than the human envy of advanced knowledge. Perhaps this place was not heaven-below-the-earth after all.

After what seemed like weeks, the technicians finally decided they were going to dismantle me the next day; they received approval from the Spartan. The hour of my obsolescence was upon me. I would face it tomorrow.

Walking back to the hole for the last time felt like hours passing, yet it was only 253 paces from the lab to the bulkhead. Only one guard escorted me as I had done nothing provocative during my imprisonment. In fact I’m quite sure some of the rats honored my company during these silent walks, though no words were ever spoken. I kept silent unless questioned. Always.

Tonight differed in the routine. My escort walked in front of me instead of behind, leading slowly and upon reaching the hole, he stopped and turned to face me. With one finger, he pointed down the end of the tunnel.

“Do you smell it?” he said.

I nodded. The seawater.

“Follow the smell. It won’t be long until you reach the outside.”

The guard then opened the bulkhead and stepped inside. “What they’re doing…it’s not right. Not right at all.”

I knew he was human, and he seemed to care for my well being more than his own. “But you’ll be punished.”

He nodded. “I’ll die, but I’m ready for it.”

“Hand me your gun,” I said and he gave it to me. “You’re not going to die.” I punched him in the face and he crumpled to the floor of the cell. His missing weapon and his facial injuries would hopefully absolve him. I dropped the gun and locked the bulkhead, running down the tunnel he indicated would exit to my freedom.

I ran toward the salty smell, and it grew stronger with each step. Each twist in the tunnel revealed an ever freshening odor of outside air. There were many twists, many turns and a few guesses at a few forks, but they seemed to be correct as the air grew fresher and saltier.

It was then I heard the sounds of pursuit behind me. My escape had been uncovered and the rats were on my trail. There were no voices but there was plenty of sloshing about in the gathered scum puddles. The lack of noise gave me pause for concern, knowing they would end my existence upon capture, and that could not happen. I needed to return–to Eunice–and to my dancer.

The next turn revealed my eagerly sought exit, but not without a serious problem. The opening to the sewer stood blocked by iron bars, no doubt installed by the rats to prevent entry or exit. Soldierly instincts welled up from within and the great fight was upon me, but not toward my pursuers. I turned to the bars and selected the one that seemed weakened by rust. My hands gripped the most corroded point and I pulled. Every ounce of my strength strained against the iron. Every gear within me ground against its neighbor. I was a soldier again, but I fought for my freedom…and my freedom was won upon the breaking of the iron. I bent the bar upwards with the last of my strength, for my energy was spent and my gears were in need of realignment and repair.

My pursuers rounded the corner and ran toward me, guns drawn, now shouting for my surrender. And without another thought I jumped and fell. Down. Down further. Falling yet again, but this time hopefully toward my return home.

The water was cold and welcoming as it enveloped me upon splashdown. It was only then I discovered my energy was expended completely. I could not swim and so I sank into the inky currents of the bay, surrendering myself to fate yet again.

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