Short Stories…Emily’s Story
Here is the first story submitted. It is written by Emily who is a 17 year old homeschooler. Beautifully done. I am posting each of the stories. Comments are welcome as long as they be constructive comments. Thank you Emily.
Take Me Home
I quietly shut the door behind me and skipped silently away from the house. The yelling eminating from my house gradually became more and more distant as I made my way to the street. At last, I couldn’t hear it at all. I dusted my hands off and smiled. It did not take me long to reach my destination – Mr. and Mrs. Gallagher lived just a couple of streets away.
Since last year when they had so kindly offered me an open invititation, I had become a frequent visitor. I came as often as I was able – about twice a week. Reaching their door, I knocked.
Mrs. Gallagher let me in. “Hello Abbey,” she said cheerfully. “How nice to see you.” Her youthful energy and never-ending joy smiled out of her. She seemed more like 30 than 50.
“Hello Mrs. Gallagher,” I said, following her to the kitchen. It was bright and matched her I-love-being-alive personality.
“Have a brownie,” she said.
“Thanks,” I said, sitting down at the breakfast nook and helping myself to a piece of chocolate heaven. Mrs. Gallagher made the best brownies.
“Here’s some iced tea,” Mrs. Gallagher said. “I put mint in it too.”
Iced tea with mint was my favorite.
The front door opened and a familiar voice said, “I’m home!” Mr. Gallagher walked in. “Hello Leigh,” he said, coming over to kiss her on the cheek. He saw me out of the corner of his eye. “Hello Abbey!” he smiled, his face crinkling and eyes sparkling.
“Hello Mr. Gallagher,” I said. I loved pretty much everything about him – from his smile, to his dark grey hair, to his unassuming manner, to the obvious affection he still had for his wife after thirty years of marriage.
He came over and took a brownie. “How are you doing?”
“Doin’ fine, thank-you,” I smiled.
“Guess what I got today?” he asked mysteriously.
He pulled out a CD from his jacket. “The newest Celtic Thunder album!”
“Sweet!” I said, eyes widening. I hadn’t expected to hear these songs for a while.
“And,” he said, pulling out another CD, “I got one for you too.”
I jumped up and hugged him. “Thanks!”
He laughed. “Here, I’ll put it on.”
While he unwrapped the CD and slid it into the CD player, I helped Mrs. Gallagher make dinner. It was spaghetti night and it was my job to make the french bread. As I buttered it and sprinkled it with my special ingredients, I tried to memorize that moment for forever – the late afternoon sunlight pouring into the kitchen, my favorite music playing, my favorite people around me.
No one really understood why I liked Celtic Thunder, except the Gallaghers. Most everyone thought I was strange for listening to all of their songs, drinking my tea from a Celtic Thunder mug, wearing my Celtic Thunder t-shirt half the time, and having a Celtic Thunder pin on my jacket. Those things more reminded me of the Gallaghers than of Celtic Thunder, as all had been gifts from them. The reason I first liked Celtic Thunder though, was because their songs meant something. Each one reached deeper into me than anything or anyone else ever had before. Some meant more than others, but each one meant something. Desperado, The Old Man, Caledonia, Take Me Home, Steal Away, Broken Things… each described a part of me.
After dinner, which was quite spectacular as always, I helped Mr. Gallagher organize the choir music. He directed a choir over at Mullaghbouy and they had just had a performance. After every performance, everyone gives in their music so it won’t get lost. With a hundred people in the choir and eight songs for each member, it was quite the mess. I liked being able to help him.
“How have you been Abbey?” Mr. Gallagher asked.
I didn’t answer right away. I was in the middle of finding all of the “Before The Throne of God Above” booklets.
“Did something happen today?” he asked.
I nodded. “Mum and Dad got in another fight,” I said softly.
“Is that why you came over here?” he asked.
“Do you feel better now?” he asked.
I looked up and smiled. “Yes.”
“Good,” Mr. Gallagher said.
Right at that moment I felt just like I knew I should feel. Just like seventeen year old Abbey Warren. Not a marriage counselor, not 25, not a parent. Just a teenager.
Mr. Gallagher had turned on the playlist of all the Celtic Thunder songs on his computer. A song came on that I didn’t listen to much.
“…They’re showing pictures on the television
Women and children dying in the street
And we’re still at it in our own place
Still tryin’ to reach the future through the past…”
Something inside of me broke, like crusty dirt being broken up. I turned my attention back to sorting music, but an idea was forming in my head.
The next song was one of my favorites – Brothers in Arms. For some reason, the words hit me differently that night and I stopped sorting to listen.
“These mist covered moutains are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands and always will be…
…There are so many different worlds, so many different suns
We have just one world, but we live in different ones.
Now the sun’s gone away and the moon’s riding high
Let me bid you farewell – every man as to die.
But it’s written in the starlight, every line on your palm –
We’re fools to make war on our brothers in arms.”
“Are you okay?” Mr. Gallagher asked. “Abbey?”
I sighed and said, “That song just made me think of something.”
“What?” he asked.
“Well, all of the wars and all of the killing and dying and hatred…” I began. “Everyone knows about the big wars, but no one ever thinks about all of the little wars that happen between so many people every day,” I said. “And all of the lives that are destroyed that way – that’s just as senseless.”
Mr. Gallagher nodded. “You mean like your family?”
I nodded. “Yes, exactly.”
We didn’t talk any more about it, but I knew that he understood. This realization was rather small, but I felt like it was more the beginning of a realization than a whole idea. I needed to think about it more.
Mr. Gallagher walked me home as we didn’t finish until after dark. He gave me a sideways hug when we reached my driveway.
“Thanks for everything,” I said, clutching my CD in my hand.
“You’re quite welcome,” Mr. Gallagher said. “Have a good night.”
“Thank-you,” I said.
When I walked inside, the television was on and my mother sat in her chair, chips and salsa in hand. I went to my room and got my pajamas on. Coming out, I saw my father in his room, absorbed in his computer. I sighed and felt glad that at least they were avoiding each other and not fighting. Still, I could feel the tension vibrating through the house.
I brushed my teeth, turned on my new CD, curled up in my bed, and held onto my Irish teddy bear, Ryan. My older brothers thought me insanely immature for sleeping with a teddy bear and too much of a “typical teenager” for listening to Celtic Thunder. I didn’t care – these things reminded me of people that loved me. I fell asleep to “A Bird Without Wings.”
“I get so lonely when you’re away
I count every moment, I wait every day
Until you’re home again and hug me so tight
That’s when I know everything is all right…”
The next day, my Dad was at work so things were relatively calm, except for the occasional outburst from my mother. Around lunch time, a package arrived from the post office. It was addressed to me from the postmaster. I took it up to my room and opened it on my bed. Inside was a piece of paper and a letter. The paper apologized for late delivery and suggested I contact the sender and give them my full address. The letter had nothing but my name – Abigail Marie Warren – and my town. No sender, no address. The stamp was faded and the postmark even more faded, but I eventually made out what looked like August 1890.
“Well, it couldn’t be 1890,” I reasoned. I carefully opened the envelope and pulled out the letter. My heart skipped a beat as I read the date on the yellowed paper.
August 15th, 1890
I held my breath as I read the rest of the letter, written in elegent flowing script.
Do not be alarmed at receiving this letter. Soon you will understand everything. I want to explain this in person – could you meet me on Moy Bridge at seven tonight? You may bring anyone you wish. I have something important to tell you – something you’ll like, I think.
I read it through five times. The name sounded vaguely familiar and a wild idea came over me. I hurried into my parents’ room and pulled out a dusty book from under their bed. I opened it up to middle section. My family tree going back through my grandparents was displayed. I flipped back a page to find my great-great-grandparents.
Brandon Warren – Elsie Cartwheel, married 1870.
1849 – 1923 1853 – 1930
But how could that be possible? I sat there, book in my lap for several minutes, mulling it over in my head. “How can I meet you? Aren’t you dead?” I whispered. There was nothing for it – I had to talk to the Gallaghers about this. My mother was keen on us eating dinner together that night, so I went over after dinner – around 6:00. It cut close to my appointment, but Moy Bridge was nearby. It didn’t take me long to explain everything to them– I didn’t really know enough for there to be much explaining to do.
I sipped Irish Breakfast Tea from my Celtic Thunder mug. The Gallaghers had bought me two – one for their house and one for my house.
Mr. Gallagher raised an eyebrow as he read over my letter. “Hmm…” he said.
Mrs. Gallagher laughed. “Well, this certainly doesn’t happen every day!”
“It seems to be an honest enough letter. Moy Bridge is too close to town for it to be really dangerous and suggesting that you bring someone with you sounds good,” Mr. Gallagher said. “I don’t know about this Brandon Warren business or about it being from 1890. I’m sure that’s just some foolishness that he’ll clear up when we get there.”
“So, you’ll take me?” I said.
“Of course,” Mr. Gallagher laughed.
We reached Moy Bridge just after seven. A man stood there waiting for us. He wore a long dress coat and a top hat. I could see a gold watch chain coming out of his vest pocket. For some reason, he seemed distantly familiar.
“Hello,” Mr. Gallagher said, putting his hand out.
“Hello sir,” the man said, bowing slightly and shaking Mr. Gallagher’s hand. “You must be Mr. Gallagher.”
Mr. Gallagher laughed. “Yes, how did you know that?”
The man cleared his throat, “No matter. I am, of course, Brandon Warren,” he said. “Perhaps you know that I am related to you, Abbey?”
“I’m your great-great-grandfather,” Mr. Warren went on. “You are probably confused, if not in disbelief.” He laughed good-naturedly. “Indeed if I were you, I wouldn’t believe it either.”
I stared at him.
“The thing is, I’m a bit of an inventor and I built myself what you might call a… um… Time Defyer.”
“A Time Defyer?” Mr. Gallagher laughed. “Where is it?”
“Just a short walk from here – up the hill. I didn’t want to bring it too close to town,” Mr. Warren said. “But, I can travel anywhere I want to in time. There are a couple of odd restrictions on it though. First of all, I can’t travel before the time I invented it – May 6, 1887. The other thing is, that I must send a letter on before me. The whole thing works rather curiously. First I send on the letter with a special letter written to the postmaster to be handed down to each successive postmaster until it is finally time. Obviously, I can’t visit you until the letter has been delivered, but you, in your own time are receiving the letter, therefore I can travel to see you. To be honest with you, I don’t really understand it, but it’s the only way I can figure it.”
I nodded, not really understanding it either.
“Why did you want to come visit her?” Mr. Gallagher asked. I could tell he didn’t really believe Mr. Warren.
“I was visiting an earlier time – 1998 and I decided to drop in on my future relatives. I didn’t really go into see them though, for I could sense immediately the tension that hangs over that house. I saw a girl though – six years old. She was hiding in the back of an old truck and she had the biggest, saddest eyes I’d ever seen.” Mr. Warren looked at me sadly.
I stepped backwards. “You were that man?” I breathed. The memory came rushing over me and I could see him standing there, clear as anything, staring at me helplessly.
Mr. Gallagher looked at me. “You were that girl?”
“Yes,” Mr. Warren and I said, simultaneously.
“I wanted to help somehow and I eventually came up with a way in which you can come back with me,” Mr. Warren said. “You can come and live with us in the late 19th century. A bit different from what you’re used to, but you’ll have a family that loves you and parents that love each other and everything you need.”
I tilted my head. Was this for real?
“I thought you and your friend, Mr. Gallagher, might want to take a trip with me to 1890 in my Time Defyer to check it out. I’ve tested it – and as long as I have someone from a certain time period with me, I can always return to that time – the exact time we left,” Mr. Warren said.
I looked at Mr. Gallagher.
Mr. Gallagher tilted his head and rubbed the back of his neck. “Sure,” he said, finally. “Let’s go check out your machine.”
It wasn’t very far away – just out of sight from the town. The Time Defyer looked sort of like a buggy, only with strange gears and sort of a smoky fog coming from the engine when Mr. Warren turned it on. Mr. Gallagher climbed up first and then helped me in. Mr. Warren ran around it, pulling levers and such and then jumping in next to me. It rumbled and jumbled and then my heart pounded and I felt wind rushing, rushing, rushing over me. I held onto Mr. Gallagher’s arm and turned my face away from the sharpness.
The wind stopped. My heart slowly calmed down. I looked up. We were sitting in a room that was very hot and humid.
“Sorry, no air conditioning,” Mr. Warren said, climbing out. He helped me down. I looked around the room. There were bookshelves lining ever wall filled with thick books. A large table in the middle of the room was covered in notebooks with sribbling on them. “Come with me,” he said.
I stayed close to Mr. Gallagher who followed Mr. Warren. He led us upstairs to the main floor. I could hear children laughing, sceaming gleefully, and running. Mr. Warren took us into a parlor where a lady, I supposed to be his wife, was sitting.
“Elsie, this is the girl I told you of,” Mr. Warren said.
“Hello,” Mrs. Warren said, coming over in the most elegent way I’d ever seen anyone move across a room. “I’m so glad to meet you.”
“I’m glad to meet you too,” I said. “This is my friend, Mr. Gallagher.”
Mrs. Warren curtsied. “So pleased,” she said. She rang a bell and a servant seemed to appear out of nowhere. “Bring some tea,” she said.
We all sat down in the parlor.
“Now, I understand this must be very strange for you,” Mrs. Warren said. “But my husband and I have talked this over for a while. You must be so unhappy living in that family.”
I looked at her, feeling the truth of her statement too deeply.
“If you come live with us, your family won’t even know you were ever there. It would be like you were actually born in this time, with us as parents. No one would know – there would be no hard feelings or confusion,” Mrs. Warren said.
I studied the room. It was pretty, especially with sun coming in, though it was hot. Very hot. I couldn’t imagine how Mrs. Warren managed to keep from melting in all of those layers of clothes, pretty though they were. The tea came and we each had a cup. The china tea cups were blue and white and ever so dainty.
“Of course, we understand if you’d rather not. I know it could be hard adjusting,” Mrs. Warren said. “But we want to be a family to you – the way a family ought to be.”
“Perhaps you could show her the room she could have, if she did stay,” Mr. Warren suggested.
“Oh yes,” Mrs. Warren said.
I followed her upstairs while Mr. Warren and Mr. Gallagher stayed downstairs. She opened a door that led to a sunny bedroom. The window was open and the white curtains fluttered in the light breeze. A blue and brown quilt covered the wrought iron bed.
“Feather blanket, feather pillows,” Mrs. Warren said. She opened the wardrobe door to reveal a whole set of beautiful clothes. My own family being poor, I had only two or three decent outfits. “They’re not new – my sister gave them to me. Her daughter outgrew them last year, but I think they’d fit you.”
“They’re very nice,” I said.
A girl ran into the room. She had wavy blond hair and the bluest of blue eyes that I’d ever seen. She couldn’t have been a day over eight. “Hello! You must be Abbey!” she said. She ran over and hugged me. “I like you.”
I laughed and hugged her back, suddenly wanting to cry.
“This is Marie. Do you want to meet the rest of the family?” Mrs. Warren asked.
We walked downstairs and outside. Their son, Mark, was in the stable. He was a bit older than me – maybe nineteen.
“Mark, this is the girl we told you about,” Mrs. Warren said.
“Hello,” Mark said, bowing slightly and laughing. “Nice to meet you.”
“It’s nice to meet you too,” I said.
“Are you going to stay?” Marie asked, bouncing up and down.
“I don’t know yet,” I said.
Mark smiled. “You must feel a bit awkward,” he said. “C’mon, you want to go for a ride?”
“A ride?” I asked.
“On the horse,” he said.
“I don’t know how,” I said.
“I’ll take you,” Mark said.
“Okay,” I said, slowly. I walked over and he helped me up and then climbed up behind me.
“Be careful,” Mrs. Warren said.
“I will,” Mark said. He trotted the horse out of the stable and then as we got into the fields behind their house, he picked up speed to a gallop. The wind blew my hair around and made me feel as if I was flying. Mark held onto me until we finally stopped.
“Was that fun?” he asked, laughing.
“Yes,” I said, trying to catch my breath.
“You want to know something weird?” Mark said, as he helped me down off the horse.
“What?” I asked.
“I’m your great-grandfather,” Mark said.
I stared at him. “Yeah, that’s weird.” I sat down on the grass. We were near a lake and the breeze coming off of it cooled me down.
“My parents really want you stay,” Mark said. “My sister really wants you to stay, and I want you to stay too.”
“Thanks,” I said, looking down.
“My parents won’t tell you this, but there’s something you really ought to know,” Mark said.
“What?” I asked.
“My Dad went farther into the future than 2010 – he went into 2033 too,” Mark said.
“And?” I prodded.
“A lot of wonderful things happen in those 23 years,” Mark said.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, you’re family never gets any better,” Mark said, “But other things happen,” he paused, “You get married to this great guy who loves you, and you become a great mother,” he paused again.
I realized I was holding my breath.
“Other things happen too,” he said slowly, “You never are able to help your own family out, which does hurt you, but you do help many, many children who grow up in families like yours. You give them hope and a reason to keep trying.”
I pulled my kenes up to my chest and stared across the water. I liked this family. I liked how I felt here. My own family seemed like a dream now – a distant nightmare that was fading.
“You tell them about Christ,” he went on. “They listen to you because you understand them and know the pain they’re feeling.”
“Why are you telling me this?” I asked.
“From everything my Dad has told me, I really like you Abbey – I’d love to have you for a sister,” he said, “But, I think there are some people who need you more than we do.”
I nodded. “Thank-you,” I said softly. It was dusk now. It was amazing how quickly the sun set. One minute everything was an orange glow, the next everything was covered in dreamy moonlight.
“What do you think?” Mark asked.
I closed my eyes and thought of how insatiably lonely I had been in my childhood. I thought of so many nights when I’d cried myself to sleep, longing for a real family. I thought of the Gallaghers and how much they meant to me. I thought of my chance to seamlessly place myself in a family that really loved me. A Celtic Thunder song played over in my head.
lets steal away,
no reason left to stay.
For me and you,
lets start anew,
and darling steal away.
Lets steal away,
and chase our dreams,
and hope they never find us.
The dreary days,
the empty nights,
we’ll leave them all behind us.
let’s steal away,
no reason left to stay.
For me and you,
lets start anew,
and darling steal away.
We’ll leave with just,
and we’ll make a new begining.
We have to choose,
to win, or lose,
and it’s time we started winning.
“Abbey?” Mark said, softly.
I looked at him. “My family never gets better?” I asked.
He shook his head.
A tear rolled down my cheek.
“Now I know why Mother and Dad wanted you to stay with us,” Mark sighed. “I’m sorry Abbey, I shouldn’t have told you.”
“No,” I shook my head slowly, “No, you were right to tell me. Thank-you.”
“We should go back,” Mark said.
I walked over to the horse and he helped me up again. This time I sat in the back and held onto him. I buried my face into his back as we galloped back to the stable. I wanted to stay here. I liked my great-grandfather, and my great-great-aunt, and my great-great-grandparents. This is where I belonged. When we walked into the house, I could tell that Mr. Warren had told Mr. Gallagher what Mark had told me.
“Perhaps you’d like to have a few minutes with your friend before deciding?” Mrs. Warren asked me, smiling.
They left us in the study, with the doors closed.
Mr. Gallagher took both my hands in his and looked me straight in the eye. “You know I want you to be happy, Abbey.”
“If you want to stay, I would be happy knowing that you were in a good family. I would sleep better at night knowing you were safe and loved and taken care of,” Mr. Gallagher said.
“I don’t want to stay,” I said.
“What?” Mr. Gallagher said. “Why?”
“I like these people,” I said. “They’re very kind to me and I will not deny how much I would like to be in a family like this.” I paused. “But God put me in the family I’m in for a reason – I know there’s something He has for me to do, that only a family like mine could prepare me for.”
Mr. Gallagher smiled, sadly.
“And I am happy,” I said. “I have people who love me.”
Mr. Gallagher gave me a hug. “Are you really sure Abbey?”
“You’re doing the right thing,” he said, his face crinkling up in a smile.
We came out of the study and I explained my decision to them, though it was very hard, especially with Marie so intent on me staying. But eventually they understood and Mr. Warren took us back home in his Time Defyer.
I gave him a hug before he went back home. “Thanks for everything,” I said.
He smiled. “Love you,” he said. Running around his Time Defyer, he got it going and then jumped in. And then he was gone.
Mr. Gallagher and I stood there for a minute, wondering at it.
At last, Mr. Gallagher turned to me and said, “C’mon Abbey, let’s go home.” He put his arm around me and we walked to his house.
It took a lot of explaining, but eventually we got the story out to Mrs. Gallagher, who actually believed us. She made us some tea and said she was glad I had decided to stay.
“Who would have made our French Bread?” she asked.
Mr. Gallagher turned Celtic Thunder on for me and we all sat there for a couple hours – glad to be together, glad to be in 2010, glad to know we had done the right thing. When “The Island” and “Brothers in Arms” played I remembered the night before – it seeemd so far away now.
“Mr. Gallagher,” I said.
“Yes?” he said.
“Remember last night when I said nobody notices or cares about all of the lives destroyed by the small wars between people?”
“I remember,” Mr. Gallagher said.
“I was wrong,” I said. “God knows and He cares.”
“Mhmm,” Mr. Gallagher said.
“And I care,” I said.
“Yes, I know,” Mr. Gallagher smiled at me.
When I got home, my parents were fighting again. Somehow it didn’t bother me. I walked in and up to my room as if nothing were going on. Lying in my bed that night, I held onto Ryan the Bear and suddenly felt very thankful for my life. Someday, I was going to help people like me. I couldn’t wait.
Lyrics of the Celtic Thunder songs were borrowed for the sake of the story. There is no intent to infringe on copy writes owned by Celtic Thunder. In fact, it is a complement to Celtic Thunder’s ability to touch hearts with their music and how their music helps a lonely little girl in a fictional work. The young writer really, really does like Ryan though…:-) That part is true…;-) , just in case Celtic Thunder sees this…:-)
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