Teddy bear, teddy bear
Teddy bear, teddy bear
Touch the ground.
Ana smiled listening to her nieces chanting the same song, she and Marishka had chatted when they had jumped roped as children. She could still see her and Marishka trying to skip rope, Marishka always did a wonderful job, but Ana always tripped over her feet. It had taken Ana a long time to master jumping rope but she had done it.
“Auntie Ana, watch us!” Sonya and Sasha shouted us. They were identical in every way but Ana could tell differences in them too. Sasha was a little more outgoing than Sonya, she was the first one to try something new, and she was more excited about school than Sonya. Sonya was a little more on the timid side, but when you got them together, the girls were inseparable, and they were more prone to get into mischief together.
Ana marveled over the way Sasha and Sonya communicated.
Ana was thankful she was still here to watch her nieces play. She had nearly lost her life, someone was trying to kill her and they were not going to stop until they succeeded in killing her or until they were caught.
Ana prayed it was the later.
She wanted the people responsible for this behind bars, where they belonged. And her Grandfather he deserved the death penalty. Ana hated wishing death on a family member, but if he didn’t die, he would kill them Ana had no doubt about that, and he had made it clear that he was not going to give up until they were dead.
“Auntie Ana, did you see us jump rope?”
“Yes I did you guys were great.”
“When you feel better will you jump rope with us?”
“Aunties legs don’t always work right, remember? That’s why I use a cane.”
“I bet if you tried really hard you could. Mommy says that if we put our minds to it we can do anything.” Sasha said. She was always the encourager.
“I think your Mommy is right, maybe when my arm is better I will try. Your Mommy and I used to jump rope when we were little.”
“You and Mommy were little?”
“Yes we sure were.”
Lord thank you for giving me more time with my nieces, keep us safe. I know these monsters will come back and try to hurt us, so Lord please let them be caught. I want to feel safe again. I want to be able to go home and I want to be able to let the girls come over. I cannot get on with my life if I have to hide away forever. I still have deadlines to meet, and signings to go to, I am afraid though Lord, afraid of going out and being shot, or someone else getting hurt because of the evil men who are out to get me.
Ana enjoyed the time with her nieces, she loved every second with them, but she also knew she could not stay with Vania for the rest of her life. She had to move on, she had to get back to living. She had so much going on but she knew she had to at least take the time to heal, and to let some of this blow over.
Somehow she knew this was not something that would simply blow over. Her Grandfather would be sure of that. She knew that just when she thought she was safe, he would hire his goons to come after her, and she might not be so lucky.
I can’t keep living in fear Lord, and I am afraid, so very afraid. I know what they are capable of.
“Auntie will you play tea party with us, if it doesn’t hurt your owie arm.”
“I think that is something I could handle, but you girls will have to pour the tea.”
Ana smiled at her nieces, and found herself going back to when her and Vania were so little. They had seen a lot by then, but they had also experienced a lot of joy.
Life was good despite all we went through. Their parents made sure of that, even in the scariest of moments they were comforted by their parents loved, and until they were older they had been pretty sheltered. It wasn’t until Ana was fourteen and poisoned that they truly learned the darker side of the family.
Ana prayed her nieces would be protected from the darker side, the monster that was their great grandfather. He did not deserve the pleasure of even knowing these precious children existed but she knew that he knew and that made it dangerous for them.
It wouldn’t take much for Ana to give up hope and faith if she let herself get trapped in the negative things that happened around her, but looking at her nieces, she knew that the Lord’s hand was still in their lives, and that she had a lot to be thankful for.
Her grandfather was not going to destroy her faith, she knew that was what he wanted. He hated anything that brought those he was against was comfort. Her grandfather was evil personified.
Lord help me to forgive him I know that is what I am supposed to do, but it is so hard. I know that he finds pleasure only in hurting others and that alone Lord is enough to break my heart.
“Auntie Ana I am very happy you are here to play with us.”
“That makes me happy too.”
“I hope your owie gets better soon, I don’t like hospitals I hope you don’t have to go back.”
“I have to go to my doctors, to get the stiches out, but I should be okay after that.”
“Sometimes our doctor gives us stickers, will yours give you stickers too?”
“No because I am a big girl.”
“Well maybe they can give you stickers and you can give them to us.”
Ana couldn’t help but to inwardly laugh, she did not want to do so loudly because she did not want to hurt her nieces feelings.
“How about when I go to the Stationary store I buy you some stickers.”
“Oh boy! Really?”
“Yes really. Maybe Mommy will even let you come with us, I know a couple of little girls who might like a new baby doll.”
“Oh boy we would like that.” Sasha was squealing as she spoke. Ana remembered how much Jasmine had loved dolls when she had first been adopted. It had been one thing that comforted her when she was frightened, and Ana had more than her share growing up.
“We will ask your Mom okay? “
“Okay I hope she lets us go. I want a new dolly and new clothes for my dolly.”
Ana was not sure how Vania would feel about the girls going anywhere with Ana, or Ana going anywhere for that matter, but she would do everything in her power to keep them safe. She did not want the girls to feel the fear they were fearing, she did not want them to know how dangerous things were. They were only little girls they deserved to have fun, not live hidden away in fear.
The fact was though Ana knew they had things to fear, the reality was there were real monsters on the loose and some of those monsters were their own flesh and blood. Sasha and Sonya were just little girls they deserved a chance to be just that.
I want to protect my nieces, but I also do not want us to have to live in fear. I cannot help but fear responsible for some of the danger we see, perhaps if I didn’t write the things I wrote, I would not be chased after like this.
Somehow Ana knew that was not the full truth either. He was hunting them long before she wrote.
I don’t want to spend my life hidden in the shadows, and I don’t want my family to have to do so either. I mean we have a lot of living to do, and we shouldn’t have to do it in hiding. I had enough hiding when I was a child, when Vania was a child. Vania’s children deserve so much better and if I am ever blessed with children they deserve so much better too.
“Auntie Ana are you okay?”
“Yes girls I am good. I’m sorry I was thinking.”
“Grown-ups think a lot don’t they? Mommy gets quiet when she thinks too. Sometimes she looks sad. Are you sad Aunt Ana?”
“No I am very happy, because I am here with my favorite nieces.”
“You’re silly Auntie we are your only nieces.”
Ana found herself smiling once again, at the precious girls she loved so much. Her nieces were so much alike, identical in almost every way but they both definitely were individuals with separate likes and dislikes.
Ana reached for her cell phone as it rang. In the darkness it was hard, and the hour was late. She had no idea who would be calling this late, but maybe Vania needed something. Maybe she had called to say she was going to be late. Maybe she didn’t want to wake up the girls so she didn’t call the house.
Somehow Ana doubted it, and the number on the caller id, said unknown.
Ana let voicemail take it.
A few seconds later she checked her messages wondering what the caller wanted.
Don’t think you can hide forever. We won’t be paid until we finish the job, and this is one job we are going to take pleasure in finishing.
Why did this voice sound familiar? It wasn’t her grandfather, but somewhere she knew that voice.
Ana threw the cell phone on her bed, using her good arm. She was not about to let these people scare her to death. Yet she was scared, and she had reason to be scared.
A few second later a text message came through.
How did they get my number?
You are going to have to go home eventually, you can’t always hide out, and your cop sister isn’t always going to be able to protect you. Your whole family is going to die.
Lord why are they doing this? Why are they trying to scare me like this? Why are they threatening my family? I just want to keep us all safe, and yet I feel more exposed now more than ever?
Ana looked at the phone, like it was full of poison, and the truth was the words were poison. She really was in danger, and so was her family.
Maybe I should stop writing, just go away somewhere and forget all of this?
Somehow Ana knew that running away from the problems was not her answer, and if she ran away, she may leave her family in even more danger. She could not do that. She would never forgive herself if her family was hurt because of her.
Lord why is this happening? I just want to go on with my life, not be threatened like this, and if something happens to Vania or anyone I will not be able to forgive myself. Lord protect us all.
Ana dialed the police station, wanting to get in touch with Vania, wanting to tell her about the threats, but at the same time she did not want to worry Vania, but if there was a real danger she had to let Vania know. She could not risk her nieces safety.
Lord I am scared here, scared of the monsters who hide in the shadows. I wish I had not found out some of the things I found out, but I did, and now my family is paying for it. I know they say it is not my fault, and maybe it isn’t but I can’t help but feel it is.
“Vania is there any way you can put a trap and trace on my cell phone, so next time I am called, if they threatened you guys can at least get the number they are calling from and go from there.”
“That may work but if it’s a throw away phone we are out of luck, and usually criminals like this use throw away phones. But I am going to keep an officer on the house, so you guys will be safe. If anything else happens call me. If I am on a call they will give me the message. I am going to make sure you guys are safe though okay. They are not going to get a chance to go through with their threats. Ana we will catch them.”
“I hope so Vania.”
“Me too, but I have faith in my men and women.”
“I do too Vania. I know you are a dang good cop just like Mom was like Dad was.”
“You know what they say, like Mother, like daughter.”
Ana turned to her Bible after getting off the phone with Vania. Knowing that her sister had someone watching the house, and they were going to keep an eye on things, brought Ana a measure of comfort.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba,[g] Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs —heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Present Suffering and Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
More Than Conquerors
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died —more than that, who was raised to life —is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.