Fruitfulness

John 15:1-2 tells us:I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

I’ve found these two verses very thought provoking. Some time ago I was prompted in the spirit to devote a whole month to His Word and prayer. I needed to revaluate my time and priorities and I could only do this with His help. These words from Johns gospel often came up, even when I wasn’t actually meditating on them.

Pruning is often the hardest thing to deal with in the Christian walk; I know it is for me. It’s amazing though how at times it seems like a continual trimming, and sometimes it hurts. When areas of our lives no longer produce fruit, when a daily task no longer seems meaningful or a love for a mere diversion becomes a total time waster, we need to evaluate.

And evaluate I did. With Gods guidance, pruning and direction, my love for writing became prioritised and finally found direction. A renewed love for an old hobby replaced a diversion that now compliments my writing. There wasnt anything wrong with my diversion, I just needed to prioritise with Gods guidance.

Father, when you take me through times of pruning away the dead areas of my life, give me the strength to accept your changes. I know your changes in my life are always because you love me and because you have plans for my life that can only be fulfilled when I trust you and allow your pruning to take place. Amen.

穢 Chrissy Siggee

Scripture Verses used are from the King James Version of the Bible

MEMORY OF DREAD Part Three

a short murder mystery for the Christian reader – Part 3

Sunbeams danced through small clear sections of the stained glass window that stood tall at the front of the church. A young and pretty Cheryl Hoxley smiled warmly and introduced Brenda to a few of the women as they found their way to an empty pew.

Brenda returned her greetings quietly, it wasn’t because she felt awkward. In fact, it almost felt like visiting a long lost relative. Memories of her grandmother holding her tiny hand raced into her thoughts. She had been barely eight-years-old swinging her legs back and forth under a long bench at the rear of Kingsley Chapel with her cousins. There had been a simple wooden cross that hung behind a brass eagle lectern. This was back before her parents had divorced and she moved to the city with her mother.

Peter Hoxley handed Brenda an opened hymn book. Her eyes closed to the familiar tune from the pipe organ that began with vibrancy. Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.The words seemed to bounce off the ceiling and back down to her. I am weak but thou art mighty... Brenda allowed the words to shroud her like a hug.

Young Cheryls sweet voice was almost drowned out by a booming off-key male baritone. Brenda looked passed Cheryl. It was coming from the young police officer. His head was held high and his eyes closed.

‘Strong Deliv’rer, Strong Deliv’rer. Be Thou still my strength and shield…’ He sang with no care of who was watching or listening.

Following Cheryls lead, Brenda closed the hymn book and shut her eyes. The minister prayed a prayer of praise and thanksgiving before the congregation repeated his amen.

The service proceeded from Bible readings to prayers and then a solo by one of the choir members. Brenda couldn’t recall the hymn but the words were beautiful. The message the preacher gave was based on familiar Scripture. Ecclesiastes chapter three: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…”

When the service was over, Brenda followed the Hoxleys to the door where they briefly introduced her to Pastor Steve Knox, a pleasant middle-aged gentleman with greying thick hair and a toothy grin. He shook her hand and thanked her for coming, hoping she had enjoyed his sermon. She said she did and smiled as they left.

They descended the steps of the church to the car parking area. Before they got to the car, Hoxleys cell phone rang. He answered it and then turned to Cheryl and Brenda with an apologetic smile, walked over to a nearby tree and continued his call.

Cheryl opened the car door to allow Brenda into the back seat.

‘Sorry about that,’Cheryl said, as she settled into the front passenger seat. ‘It comes with the job, but he loves what he does…and he does it well,’ she added, just as Peter opened the door and got in.

He reached over and touched his wifes hand. ‘And, I have a very understanding wife,’ he finished with a boyish grin.

Turning back to Brenda, Hoxley turned sombre. ‘That was Inspector OMalley. He needs to see you first thing tomorrow at the station.’ He paused. ‘Sorry’. Then he looked at his wife and smiled again. ‘But now, how about lunch for you two special ladies?’

Brenda didnt ask why the inspector wanted to see her, but she did ask: ‘Officer Hoxley, would you mind if we drive pass my house? I just need to see it. I think…’

‘Please,’ he interrupted. ‘Call me Peter when Im not on duty, and of course we can do that. In fact, I think it may help you. Thats if Cheryl doesnt mind us taking a little detour.’

‘No. Thats fine,’ Cheryl replied with a warm smile.

It was a quiet ride to Brendas house. Peter slowed as he turned into her street. He pulled up in front of the gate and turned the engine off.

‘Thats strange,’ Brenda said softly. She looked over the leaf covered lawn and the rose garden by the gate. The dead dried up blooms created an unkempt appearance. ‘I wonder where Carlos is.’

‘Whos Carlos?’ Peter asked.

Brenda looked at him through a haze of interrupted thought. ‘The gardener. Carlos works every Sunday, rain or shine. No matter whats going on, he always shows.’

She looked at Peter then added, ‘his reliability is the only thing I liked about him. Charles hired him a couple of years ago. I didnt like him. He…’ Brenda froze and stared at a spot on the windscreen. She felt suddenly cold and nauseous.

‘Are you all right?’ Cheryl and Peter asked in unison.

‘Brenda?’ Peter turned in his seat to face her. ‘What is it? What about Carlos?’

Brenda suddenly snapped out of her trance. ‘We need to go. I need to get my jacket from the motel before we go to lunch. Its getting cool.’ She glanced at Peter, then to Cheryl. ‘If you dont mind.’

Brenda could feel Peter studying her before he turned and started the car.

Once they had turned out of the street Brenda apologized. ‘I remember the thing I couldnt stand most about Carlos. He smelled. No. He stunk…of garlic. Ive always hated the smell of garlic. I refused to have anything to do with hiring him. I left the interviews up to Charles. It was the same pungent odour I smelt the other day on the stairs…and thatnight.’ Brenda grimaced.

Peter braked gently, pulling to a stop in front of the motel. He looked over his shoulder. ‘Are you telling me you could smellCarlos in the house?’

Her eyes met Peters. ‘Yes. Yes, Im certain of it.’

A loud rap on the car window beside Brenda startled them all. It was Frank Davies, Brenda’s lawyer.

Brenda opened the window. ‘What is it, Frank?’

‘What is the meaning of this?’ He directed this question at Peter then turned back to Brenda. ‘Where have you been? Come on. I think you better get inside.’

Peter opened his door and came round to speak to Frank. ‘Excuse me, but Brendas bail doesnt include your twenty-four hour a day surveillance. You were only required to escort her to collect personal belongings from the house after her release and take her to the motel.’

Frank stepped back. ‘Oh…um…sorry. Im only trying to protect my client.’

‘Protect her from what?’

‘It doesnt matter.’ Frank apologized again and walked hastily to his Cadillac. He got in and drove off.

‘Hes an odd fellow,’ Peter said, as he assisted Brenda from the car. ‘Do you want me to come with you?’

‘No. I’m fine, thank you. I think the media have given up following me. I wont be long.’

She dashed into the motel and headed for her room to retrieve her jacket before returning to the waiting Hoxleys. She wasnt gone more than five minutes.

 

Peter took Cheryl and Brenda to a small restaurant. The waitress led them to a quiet table in the back, as Peter had requested. Brenda slipped into the booth first and then decided to use the opportunity to thank the couple for their hospitality and friendship.

‘I enjoyed your church service. Thank you,’ she said, and meant it. Small talk followed until their orders were taken.

‘Brenda?’ Peter’s voice was low and seriousness. ‘You were telling me about Carlos. What else can you tell me about him?’

‘Im sorry. As I said, I left all the employment details to Charles. I know that Carlos was recommended by Frank Davies…’

‘Your lawyer?’

‘Frank was Charles lawyer. He hired him to do the legal stuff in regard to his contracts. Frank seemed to just appear at the police station and took over my case.’

Brenda hadnt realized how hungry she was until she saw a server walk by, carrying hot plates brimming with food, but she still needed Peter to answer a few questions of her own before she could think about eating.

‘Peter, why do I need to go to the police station tomorrow? Does Frank know? Will I need him there?’

Their meals arrived at that moment and the next few minutes were spent enjoying the aroma and thepresentation of their meals.

Peterplaced his napkin on his lap and sighed. ‘I cant say much more right now but I can tell you that we have Carlos in custody. Apparently he was the person Sergeant McDougal chased the other day.’ He reached for Cheryls hand, then Brendas. ‘My only suggestion in regard to Frank Davies is we should help you find another lawyer.’

Peter bowed his head and gave thanks.

穢 Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Did you miss: Memory of Dread – Part One Memory of Dread – Part Two

Sudden Storm

Birds Silent

Crickets pause

– just stillness

 

A distant rumble

drip, drip, drip.

Leaves dance puddles form

 

Refreshing, soaking

Splash, splash, splash.

Fading light gloomy

 

Dark clouds melt

Soft breeze stirs

– sounds return

 

穢 Chrissy Siggee

PIRATES, HIDDEN TREASURE AND …

Fourteen-year-old Electra sat perched on the edge of her chair facing the small group that sat cross legged on her bed.

‘It happened a long time ago,’ she began, ‘but it seems like yesterdayprobably because Ive told the story so often. The only reason why I tell the story is because its why my family is the way it is. You see, we are a family with roots. Oh, you think your familys has roots too? Okay, let me explain what REAL ancestry means.’

Electra put the empty popcorn bowl on the floor before continuing.

‘In 1801, my great, great, great, great grandfather, built this house. He had been a pirate ever since he ran away to sea and became a captains cabin boy. The ship was called the Black Raven its captains name was..’

‘Electra! Will you please stop telling that tale.’

‘Aw刑ad. Why not? It sure beats the real story.’

‘Theres nothing wrong with our familys history, or your family home. And, dont forget the reason why you were named Electra.’

Sandy, one of the girls at the pyjama party, bounced off the bed. ‘Tell us, Mr Chapman. We really want to know about your house and your family.’

The other girls joined in the pleading.

Electra stood and took the freshly made popcorn from her father, pointed the bowl toward her chair where she had just been sitting, and motioned him to take over the narration.

‘Electra was right about the year. Thats when the house was built, but thats where the truth of her story finishes.’ He waited for Sandy and his daughter to join the other girls on the bed. Electra passed the popcorn round before he continued.

‘Basically, my father bought this house to save it from being bulldozed. The locals wanted it demolished for safety reasons. My father made an offer, bought it and renovated it. Its been our family home since I was a boy. There are a few rooms that have never been restored but its stable.’

Sandy stared at nothing in particular. ‘You mean those rooms could be haunted?’

Electra burst out laughing. ‘You must be kidding.’

‘Please continue,’ one of the girls requested, her eyes focusing on Electras father and ignoring his daughters outburst.

‘No, the house is not hauntednot that I know of. The rooms have just never been needed. Theres no great mystery, only the family who my dad bought it from. They lost all their fortune and the house was left empty for years.’

Sandy looked puzzled. ‘Is that it? Electra, I think its a great story. Tell us Mr Chapman how did Electra get her name.’

‘Its not all that interesting,’ Electra commented casually, wriggled back against the bed board and stuffed popcorn into her mouth.

Her father paused and took a moment to continue. ‘Electras mother was beautiful. She had red hair’

‘That explains your hair,’ Sandy teased.

Electra pushed Sandy playfully off the bed, causing Sandy to squeal and the others to laugh.

‘She died in child birth’ he continued unperturbed. A hush filled the room before he continued. ‘I didnt know what I would do or how I would bring up our little girl on my own. I brought her back here to my family home where my parents helped until they passed away. Not only was Electra born with red hair but she looked like she had a shock that caused her hair to frizz. Her grandmother named her. Over time her hair lost its frizz but the name stuck. Her hair still reminds me of her mother.’

He stood and left the room, closing the door quietly behind him.

The girls remained speechless. Electra climbed off the bed and placed the popcorn on her desk before anyone spoke.

Sandy followed Electra and stood behind her, hesitating before speaking. ‘Youve never told me the real story, Electra. Why wouldn’t anyone like the true story about your family and this house?’

Electra turned, her eyes glistened with tears. ‘I wish I knew my mother but I do know a lot about her. Dad and my grandparents made sure I knew everything about her. Every birthday I tell my pirate story so I dont get sad. I guess I didnt realize, until today, just how sad my dad gets.’

The girls gathered around their friend for a group hug. ‘Your family sounds wonderful,’ Sandy exclaimed. ‘Your family home is beautiful. Why dont we ask your dad to show us around?’

Electra smiled and wiped her eyes. ‘Thats sounds like a great idea. Maybe well find some pirate ghosts or some lost treasure,’ she added with a giggle. She took Sandy by the hand and led the girls from her room in search of an adventure.

穢 Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.