Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Fiction -- "Six Lights Shining" begins

Bear joins the fun...

Bear decided "Friday Fiction", a weekly happening where many talented Christian writers share stories and snippets each Friday, looked like great fun. Plus it looks to be a great way to give and receive feedback and improve her writing. So she's going to dive in and start contributing each Friday, even though she doesn't feel she can match some of the outstanding writing done by others.

Shelly Ledfors is the hostess this particular week. So, to view other writers' contributions (or to join in the fun and add a link to a contribution of your own) be sure and drop by her website, "The Veil Thins".

Six Lights Shining

"You did what?" The exclamation pierced through the babble of voices and laughter in the cafeteria. At nearby tables conversations stopped and heads turned toward them.

"Shhh! Jeff. Ya better chill." Debbie glanced over her shoulder in mock furtiveness. "Brown's lookin' our way. "

Undeterred, Jeff reached a long arm across his macaroni and cheese, and grabbed the collar of Richard's shirt, pulling him forward across the table. "Are ya nuts?" The Styrofoam cup of Coke between them toppled, spilling the last few tablespoons of its contents. A brown, fizzling puddle flowed slowly across the white table top.

Wanda, noting that Mrs. Brown had come out of her casual lean against the wall, hissed, "Jeff! Deb's right. She's gonna think you're totally serious, and we'll all be in for it ... "

Jeff abruptly released his hold on Richard, shaking his head in exaggerated despair. "You're worried 'bout Brown? Don't ya see the hot water this kid's takin' us into? It's gonna affect us all. Not just him! The frowns of some cafeteria monitor are gonna be nothin' compared to what we're walkin' into. We're talking blood here -- real blood. And I for one don't wanna be in the middle of it."

Gradually, the buzz of conversation was picking up again at surrounding tables.

Dan, just arriving with his loaded tray, dropped into an empty folding chair. "Blood? Did I hear blood? Are we talking about Jesus, here?" he asked quietly.

Mrs. Brown had relaxed and begun a conversation with the perspiring dish worker, who was methodically pulling dirty dishes off the conveyor belt, scraping food scraps into a garbage can. But she was keeping a watchful eye on them still.

Jeff groaned. "Not even close. But maybe we're talkin' His disciples. No, not even that. This is worse. At least they could move to another city when things got hot. How we gonna move out of Castle High School?" He glared at Richard. "Why'd God stick me with a John the Baptist for a friend? What'd I do to deserve this?"

Richard blushed as the others laughed. He straightened the wadded collar of his shirt. "Aw, come on, Jeff! All I did was speak the truth."

"Ya sure did that all right, Kid. Fat's in the fire, now. " He looked at Richard, a hint of humor returning to his eyes. Jeff, a sophomore on the basketball team, took great joy in calling freshman Richard, the "kid."

Dan bowed his head, "Father, Thank you for this food You have set before me. Please lead our conversation and fellowship through the power of Your Spirit working in us. In Jesus' Name. Amen. "

Echoes of "Amen," went rapidly around the small table.

Dan looked up. "So what's it all about, people? Fill me in."

Carol dropped into the last empty chair, bowed her head, said, "Thanks for the food Father! Amen." Then looked up, eyes twinkling, and added, "Me too! I saw Jeff attacking Richard. Don't ya know that's frowned on? Did ya see the look on Brown's face? Beautiful!" She laughed.

"Oh yeah, Richard. Fill 'em in. They'll love this!" Jeff, mopped up Coke with a wadded paper napkin.

Richard looked over to Dan. "Well, it's no great disaster. I don't know what Jeff is so worried about. All I did was get into a bit of a debate over Evolution versus Creation with Linden in Bio."

Dan's fork-load of peas and carrots stopped halfway to his mouth. "Praise the Lord!"

"Praise the Lord? Are ya outta your mind?" Jeff rolled his eyes, tossing the soggy napkin onto the remains of his lunch. "I've lost my appetite."

"No kiddin', Dan. This could be like, really serious." Debbie ran a hand through her short blond hair, not noticing the chaos left behind. "Wait'll ya hear the rest of it. If it'd caused much more of a hassle, I coulda probably sold it as a story to Editorial Planning 7th period." Another freshman, Debbie's one desire in life was to become a writer. Being accepted onto the staff of the Castle News her first year was a dream come true for her.

"So. Tell me more." Dan's dark brown eyes gleamed with interest. "But I still bet I'm gonna end up praising the Lord." He was a junior and pastor's son, who was debating between going overseas in missions after he graduated, or becoming a pastor himself.

Richard looked down. "Wellll ... it did get kind of heavy, at that. Linden wasn't very pleased."

Wanda pushed her empty plate away, leaning back in her chair. "Don't ya think 'not pleased' is kinda an understatement? Better start at the beginning." She was a sophomore who loved sports of all kinds, as well as being a top student.

"Wellll . . ." Richard shot a hopeful look at Dan. "He was showing us all these charts that were supposed to be animals evolving into other animals over 'billions' of years. You know how it goes ... The flippers gradually changing to amphibian legs, and the monkey's skull gradually changing to more and more human forms ... "

Dan nodded, waiting.

"Well, anyway, he went through all that baloney and then assigned the class homework on it. Each of us was supposed to do research in the library, picking one branch of animals, and chart its evolutionary development over time. Due next week. One guy picked the kangaroo. So then it's his job to trace the origins of the kangaroo -- its evolutionary history know ... which animals came before the kangaroo in the evolutionary chain, and all that. Another guy picked the bat."

"And you?" prompted Carol through a mouthful of mashed potatoes, as Richard's words slowed. She swallowed quickly, preparing to shove in another bite, glancing up at the wall clock. "What'd you pick?" She was due soon at Varsity Band. The Band Director would be irritated if she was late, because as the section leader, she had to make sure all the flutes were in tune before practice began.

"Oh yeah, Kid. Tell her what ya picked, why don't ya? Explain it to her nice and easy, how you've paved the way for her to have a wonderful junior year..." Jeff crossed his arms, biceps bulging under his blue tee shirt, and looked sideways at Carol. "Ya do carry a handgun in that purse of yours, I hope?"

"Aw, come on, Jeff! It's not that bad! I just, kinda raised my hand, and said that I did not feel I could do the assignment on the basis he was assigning it. And Linden acted kinda put off, and wanted to know why not. So I told him respectfully that I did not believe Evolution was true -- that it's a fallacy. And that he's teaching it to us as if it's fact when it's not and it's never even been proven. Then I told him that, in all integrity, I could not do this assignment pretending that I actually believed man evolved from monkeys over eons, when the Bible clearly teaches man didn't evolve, but was created, right at the beginning, by the Hand of God."

"Which is when the classroom exploded and our lives exploded." Jeff raised his hands in frustration, then grabbed the wadded napkin and shot it into Richard's chest.

Richard caught it in mid-air as it bounced off his shirt, just before it landed in his milk. "Wellll ... things did get pretty lively, all right." He looked hopefully to Dan again for support. Encouraged by the beginning of a smile, he went on, "Debbie said, "Hallelujah!" ... "

"Oh that's right," cut in Jeff. "I'd forgotten that part. Way to go-o, Deb."

"And the rest of the class kinda got crazy for a few minutes. Most everyone laughed. Some hooted. One shouted, 'We got a Jesus freak! What do ya know. Right here in our class!' And most everyone laughed more. A few kept their mouths shut, and didn't comment one way or another."

"And Linden?" Dan leaned forward intently, propping his chin on his hand.

To be continued...

This is the beginning of a novel for teens that Bear started drafting years ago, and is working on rewriting and updating. If anyone out there has a lot of contact with teens and notices anything that seems outdated or could be modernized better, and has any suggestions (OR if anyone has any other suggestions or comments), please feel free to use the Comment link below the post to contribute (It's located to the right of "Posted by Bear at [time]"). Bear loves to hear from you!
Bear's news and free multi-media Christian resources: Bear's Writing Den


Sara Harricharan @ Fiction Fusion said...

Hmm, good beginning! A lot going on here, but I liked seeing all the characters for the first time and I'm curious to see where this will go. Welcome to Friday Fiction--SO glad you're joining us, it is terribly addictive, but such fun!

Catrina Bradley... said...

Sounds like a great beginning for your teen novel! Since you asked, I suggest you try to "show" more to give your characters' their personalities. For example, you told us Wanda was an athlete. Show that by her being dressed out for practice, or her muscles, or still being sweaty from working out. (Only because you asked. ;) )

I remember being in this situation in HS but knew that speaking out would just ruffle feathers, and I chose to roll my mental eyes and play along---most times. ;)

I can't wait to hear what Linden said!

Deb said...

I think it is great!!! keep it up!

Bear said...

Thanks! And thanks for your suggestion, Cat! Bear's always looking for "red ink" suggestions and ways to improve, and appreciates it much. :)

Rita's Random Ramblings said...

I can't wait to see this story unfold. Interesting characters that will grab the interest of teen readers. Hugs, Rita

Anonymous said...

Hi Bear. :) Fascinating already and I'm on my way to read the next installment, but just thought I'd make a few comments.

On the whole, the dialogue is good. Just try to tone it down a little. They don't need to say "gonna" and "wanna" EVERY time, although a few times is fine. And the "ya" for "you" makes it sound kind of like Happy Days. I really liked the way you slipped the "like"s in for the girl characters. Good job.

I'm heading over to installment 2 now... catch you later, dudette... :P

. said...

So wonderful to have a "teen" reading! Thanks MUCH! Sounds like good advice. (Bear got a big kick out of your "Happy Days" reference, immediately hearing the opening tune of that show playing in her mind.)

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