“Ana are you okay?” Mom asked, wheeling herself to the table where I was sitting with my laptop open.
“Yeah I guess. I need to get to work, but this is getting dangerous. I don’t want to put you and Dad in danger because of what I am doing. I should be getting back to my house.”
“You know Vania said that is not good idea. You should listen to your sister.”
“I know Mom. I just want to get back to my life, and let you and Dad get back to yours.”
“Sweetie, you know we are more than glad to have you home.”
“I know. But you have your hands full with worrying about Aunt Anna, making sure Mechela does what she’s supposed to.”
“Mechela’s not difficult.”
“I know she’s not Mom, but lately she seems kind of sad.”
“I think she’s afraid to admit it, but she misses her Mom.”
“I know we all do. But she should be coming home soon.”
“I know and she’s living her dream, travelling the world, and writing about it.”
“And a few years ago she thought her life was over for the chair. I am glad she followed your lead Mom, and realized that didn’t have to be the end.”
“Ana that was all God.”
“I know Mom, but God used you.”
“I am glad he did. Now I will let you get back to your book.”
“Thanks Mom, but I am not getting much done right now.”
“I’m sorry sweetie.”
“It’s not your fault. On this one I just don’t know where to begin. And I cannot help but fear what’s going to happen when and if this book gets out there.”
“Ana you said you felt this was right, does it not feel right anymore?”
“It’s not that Mom. I think I need to let his true colors come out, but I am afraid of retaliation on you guys. And I want to talk about what Sasha went through, but I cannot do that. If I let anyone outside of this house no she was still alive, I may as well pull the trigger myself. It would be the same thing.”
“Ana I think you can tell the story, without using Sasha in it. Vania already gave you permission to talk about what happened to her. I know that wasn’t easy for her, but she feels passionately about you telling this story too.”
“I guess I better just start it, because if I don’t I might lose the contract, and I would not want to do that. I have to keep the bills paid somehow.”
“Ana I know you have a good amount of money saved from your last books, more than some will ever see in a lifetime, but you are right you need to fulfill your contract.”
“For letting me stay here, for doing all you do for us.”
After staring at the same blank page for over an hour. I took my Bible and began reading.
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
Trials and Temptations
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
Listening and Doing
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Reading the word gave me the boost I needed. The Lord had let the creative juices flowing, and as my fingers flew across the keyboard I knew this was a story I needed to tell. I needed to show the world that good always outweighed evil that even though bad things happened it did not matter because the good Lord was always there. If anyone does the leaving we do, we are the ones who strayed. I wanted to show that even though tragedy happens, we can overcome, but more than anything I wanted my grandparents evil to come to light on these pages, so no one would ever again be duped by his lies.
As I was writing, I got an email alert, and opened the message. It was from Anna I downloaded a couple of pictures from the email, and then read the message. Something seemed a little odd though. I couldn’t put my fingers on it, but something wasn’t right.
Ana I hope you are doing okay. I love travelling, but there is so much sadness in this world, some of the things I see are just heartbreaking.
The first couple of sentences seemed normal, but as the email went on, I started wondering what was going on.
I hope everyone is doing well. I am doing okay, but I cannot shake the feeling that someone is following me. I guess I am always going to feel like that, like someone is lurking in the shadows, but I will be okay. I just have to stop being paranoid.
I read on.
Tell Mechela I love her and miss her. I know it is hard for her, to have me away. I hope she is not giving your Mom or Dad any trouble. I know she has been through a lot, but tell her I promise to be back before her graduation. I am having a hard time believing my little girl will be graduating, she has overcome so much.
Send everyone my love, and I love you Ana.
Love your Auntie Anna.
I shut down the computer, wondering what I found so odd about this email. Asking myself if someone really could be following my sister. I knew if my grandfather wanted something he would go anywhere to get it. If he wanted Anna, he would stop at nothing. I knew he was not happy when she and Vania escaped, because ultimately that had led to his capture and a harsher sentence. He would never see the light of day if everyone had their way. He would be stuck in a prison cell, where he belonged. He deserved that and so much more.
Lord whatever is going on with Aunt Anna keep her safe. I don’t know if our family could take another tragedy. I don’t know if I could take another tragedy. I need to focus on this book Lord, I have a deadline, but I am worried about my aunt. I don’t know if my worry is justified or not, but I just wish things were different. I wish we didn’t have to worry about these kind of things, but Lord I know you are with me and you are with Aunt Anna. Take this fear from me Lord, and help me to write this book without feeling retribution.
“Ana what’s wrong?”
“Nothing Vania, the email I got from Aunt Anna, just seemed a little strange. She said she felt like someone was following her.”
“Let’s just hope it’s her imagination. We cannot do much when she is across the world from us.”
“I know Vania, that’s what scares me.”
“Ana I think everything will be okay.”
“Thanks Vania. I guess I needed to hear that.”
“How’s the book coming?” Vania asked changing the subject.
“It’s coming along, better than it was. I think the Lord gave me the boost I needed after I spent some time in the word and in prayer.”
“Good I can’t wait to read the finished project.”
“Thank you for letting me tell your story in here.”
“If it helps someone Ana, then I am more than happy to do it, but you are the one writing the book. You are the one with that gift.”
“Vania you have your gifts as well. I read some of your poetry when you were in high school, you weren’t bad.”
“I wasn’t exceptional either Ana, I wasn’t the one with that call. I felt the calling to be an officer. I guess I knew this was what I would be doing from a very young age.”
“I know Vania, I remember well. I don’t know why you waited so long to tell Mom and Dad.”
“Ana I was young and scared when I told them, now that I am older. I realize I probably should have said something when I knew that this was what I wanted to do. I mean I knew they would support me in any decision, but we had spent so long running. Mom and Dad were so worn down, we all were. I did not want to give them something else to worry about before I absolutely had to. I actually knew I was going to be an officer the day you were poisoned. I was determined that no one would have to watch their sister go through what you did.”
“I didn’t know what was when you decided. Thank you for telling me.”
“You’re welcome Ana, you deserve to know. You have always inspired me. Look how far you have come, for a while we questioned if you would survive, I am so glad you did.”
“So Am I Vania.”