Sometimes, You Gotta Just Go With God

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“What does that mean, Enn?”

Yeah, I know…

“Sometimes, you gotta just go with God; what exactly are you saying?”

Well, see, that’s the thing. I don’t exactly know.

“What do you mean, ‘I don’t exactly know?’ What am I about to read here?”

I can’t rightly answer that question. But, I can tell you this: there are seasons when the Spirit moves in me and I recognize it’s time to sit down at the keyboard. Usually, I’ll turn on some inspiring music and wait for Him to put words into my heart. Tonight is no different. He’s moving, and I’m trying to listen.

One of my favorite songs is “Hymn of Praise” by William McDowell, featuring Julia McMillian and Daniel Johnson on lead vocals. Man, whenever I hear this powerful worship song, I can’t help but to fall in line with the Holy Spirit. Tonight, this song is on heavy repeat…even as I write. As I listen to the praises of God’s people, I’m trying to see the words forming in my heart. This special message is for someone tonight.

You’ve been trying so hard to make things work out in your favor, doing everything you think is right. You’ve been working hard, taking care of your responsibilities and doing everything by the book. Yet, for every step you take, it seems like something or someone pulls you two steps backward. When’s it going to be your time to catch a break, for once?

God sees you. He heard that prayer of desperation, last night. He knows exactly where you are and precisely what you’re going through right this moment, as you read these impossible words. Yeah…He sees you. He sees your struggles.

Mark 9:23-24 records a powerful exchange between Jesus and a father. “Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!'”

That last verse is personal to me, because I know what it feels like to struggle with unbelief strapped to weak hope. But Jesus doesn’t say, “If you wait until your emotions line up with your head-belief, then I’ll act.” No. He simply tells us to believe. You may not feel it emotionally. It may not make any sense to you. It’s a leap of faith.

Tonight, I need you to believe, even if you don’t feel it in your bones. Just trust in God and know that He’s got you exactly where he wants you. Maybe it’s time to leave that job. Maybe it’s time to be brave and put yourself out there. Maybe it’s time to ask for help. Maybe it’s your time to pursue you calling. You’ve been struggling so hard. Believe. He is with you, and knows where you are.

 

*Always*

CHAPTER 3 – The Deep Blue Darkness

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“Paraclete’s Promise: The Fantastic Fantasies Of Timothy” has received great feedback from many people who have read through it! Still, I want this story–and the message within–to reach out far and wide. My hope and prayer is, sharing chapters 1,2 and 3 will leave you wanting more. The book is available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Apple, and Xulon Press Bookstore. Enjoy the tale, friends.


The Deep Blue Darkness

“I am with you, Tim. I’ll be right beside you, through and through. I promise,” someone whispered.

The blue light seemed to fade into a hazy, ominous darkness. There was a chill in the air. The open space of the box didn’t feel so confining anymore.

“Tim,” a voice rang in his left ear, startling him. “Is everything okay in there, buddy?  My equipment suddenly went dark and I lost my bearings for a second. When I came out, the pod lights were switched off. Did you fall asleep again?”

Tim jerked, dropping a hard-cover book onto the floor. It struck, with a heavy metallic sound. He instinctively reached for and depressed a tiny red button on a device tucked snug inside his ear. As he did so, recollection petrified his movement.

What the heck’s a com-link, and why do I know how to use it? he thought.

“Tim are you there,” said the voice over the com-link speaker.

“Ah, yeah…Jonah. I copy. Everything’s alright up here. I must’ve blinked for a second. Sorry about that.”

Who is Jonah, he wondered, as he released the button. There was a split second of static interference, before Jonah’s voice streamed through the receiver speaker.

“You’d better not be up there sleeping! Keep watch so that you don’t fall into trouble. I’m headed back into the cave to resume the search.”

Pressing the red button again, Tim responded, “Copy that, Jonah; headed back in.”

Tim slowly leaned back in his captain’s chair, allowing his eyes to adjust to the limited blue light of his surroundings. As he listened to the squeak of the soft leather and the hiss of the chair’s hydraulic cylinder, his finger stroked the tiny com-link and marveled at what his eyes began to register. He was no longer inside the box.

An enormous cluster panel of buttons, control switches, knobs and gadgets of all sorts stood before him. His legs seemed to be drawn underneath the panel, as if he were seated at a table. Two leather-clad steering wheels extended out of the control panel: one directly in front of him and another off to his right. Beyond the control panel, and enveloping the area, the space seemed to be made of a see-through glass or metal. He could see through the walls, floor, and ceiling.

“Wow,” he whispered. “That’s not see-through glass. Those are screens; monitors, everywhere.  What is this place?”

Tim gently pushed away from the panel, freeing his legs. The chair’s stainless steel wheels whispered as they rolled out from underneath the control deck. He shuffled his boot clad feet across the smooth floor, tracking a slow, 360-degree spin. The apparently seamless monitors provided a crystal clear view of blue darkness around, above, and below the room. Miscellaneous beeps and flashes of multicolored dim strobes resonated from surrounding instrument panels that seemed to float in empty space. The deep blue beyond the panels was scary, but exciting at the same time. There were strange creatures mulling about outside the room.

“No, not flying,” he whispered. “They’re swimming. I’m underwater. Those are fish I see.”

They were indeed. Strange fish, with wobbly stalks pointing out from the tops of their oblong heads, swam around in groups. At the tip of the stalks, he could see small illuminated bulbs dangling in front of huge, dull gray eyes. Tim recalled a Discovery Channel program on deep sea life, remembering that certain species of fish thrived deep in the ocean where normal fish could never survive.

“I’m at the bottom of the ocean. This is amazing!”

Tim flipped a toggle-switch on the control panel, next to the steering wheel. The ocean lit up a bright yellow as overhead lighting attached somewhere to the roof of the pod exploded into a brilliant display. Schools of weird fish scrambled. Glancing into the floor monitors underneath his feet, he watched a huge spotted leopard-shark swim gracefully through the beam of light shining from the pod’s undercarriage lighting. Reaching toward his left ear again, Tim depressed the red button on the com-link.

“Hey Jonah,” he said. “You might want to keep an eye out for the big guy, just south of home base. He’s not too shy of foreigners.”

There was a static crackle in his left ear and then, “Roger that buddy. Soon as he’s out of the area, I’m heading in, Roger?”

That means Okey-dokey, Tim thought. “Roger that.”

As Tim sat, slowly taking in the overwhelming sights and sounds of his immediate surroundings, he barely registered a distance voice somewhere deep within the recesses of his mind. It spoke as a tiny whisper, but quickly exploded into a booming voice resounding in his heart.

Adventure is everywhere. Yours has just begun.

Tim doubled over in the chair, gripping his head with both hands. His mind suddenly flooded with images; memories of a life and events he hadn’t seen before this moment. It was as if his brain had begun to download a large cache of information. Tim clamped his eyes shut, and saw a ceremony fast forward in his mind.

Here was Jonah, silhouetted, standing beside him, shaking the hand of the president of the United States of America. The much taller president had to stoop down to one knee, as he pinned a large metal of commendation onto Jonah’s crisp blue uniform. As the president stood, 9-year-old Jonah looked up toward his smiling face and snapped off a professional salute. The president looked down at him and flashed a quick salute of his own, then turned toward Tim to salute him as well.

“On behalf of a grateful nation, I would like to recognize these two young brave explorers as national heroes,” the president said as he spoke into a podium microphone. “Godspeed, young sirs. May your journey to the deepest parts of the Bermuda Triangle prove to be successful in solving the world’s energy crisis.”

Behind his closed eyes, Tim saw a bright flash of white light, as the memory of the ceremony was replaced. He was now standing on the deck of the S.S. Jolly Roger, looking up into the clear blue sky over the ocean. To his right, he heard Jonah running through a last minute checklist of supplies already stored inside the mini pod submarine the two of them were about to board. The same pod he found himself in now.

“Any last requests before we get this expedition started, buddy?” Jonah had asked.

“Nope. I’m as ready as I can be. I’m just taking in one last look at the sun before we go under for a few days.” Tim had replied.

His mind blacked out; the memories vanishing just as quickly as they began. As Tim slowly opened his eyes, he saw the book lying against the floor monitors. It was his old Fire Bible, but the book seemed twice as thick as he remembered and was encased in a protective metal shell. Tim picked the book up, and set it on top of the control panel, off to his left. He focused on the instrument panel of the pod, and remembered where he was and what he was doing here. He punched a few numbers on a key pad cluster, and glanced toward his left. The monitor wall next to him zoomed in 500X normal magnification. Tim could now see subterranean mountains beyond the pod. To the left, he could make out a hole in the side of the underwater mountain that climbed over the pod.

“That’s the cave Jonah’s in. He’s searching for the treasure box of the last pirates of Camoon. That’s what we’re down here looking for. That treasure could be an energy source, and we’re the only team in the whole world able to find it.”

To the right of the pod, Tim could see nothing, but dark blue.

“That’s the open ocean. That leads the way out.”

Looking up through the ceiling monitors, Tim smiled at the darkness above the pod’s roof. There was nothing, but the bright yellow glow of the lights. He could see microscopic things floating in the path of the beams. Static sounded over the com-link.

“Hey Tim, you might want to jump into your suit and come down here. You’re not gonna believe what I just found!”

Tim spun his chair, leaped out and jogged four steps toward the monitor-covered door of the pod’s control room. The door automatically retracted into the wall as he approached. Once through the door, he sprinted toward the back of the pod. He was not surprised to find this section of the mini pod a dull metallic gray, as he ran down the narrow hallway. Storage cabinets, a small two-person sleeping quarter, and a tiny kitchenette lined the left side of the pod. To his right, he ran past an engine compartment that banged and clanked with the inner workings of the pod’s propulsion system. A bank of gauges and smaller television monitors lined the wall, beyond the engine compartment. Mini 60W light bulbs ran the length of the ceiling, every 30 feet. The hallway was damp and cool, but the air was fresh, as he ran toward the pod’s armory in the tail-end of the craft. He pressed the red button on the com-link.

“Talk to me Jonah, whatcha got?”

“The jackpot I think! This thing is…wait…wait a minute.”

Tim stopped in front of a locker, pressing his hand against his ear. He held his breath and waited for Jonah to continue.

“Wait. Something’s down here; something big.”

Static sounded over the com-link. Tim pressed the red button again, as he looked through the monitors and stared off toward the distant mountain side.

“Jonah? J-Man come back, I didn’t catch that last part. You said something’s down there?”

No answer. Tim fought panic, as a few seconds of silence became one minute of dead air space.

“Jonah, are you there, buddy?” A cold shiver began to climb his back as he again waited for some answer from Jonah. Tim stood staring at the monitor. His hand gripped tight around the zoom toggle wheel. A dull ache began to throb in his forearm. Suddenly, static pierced the silence.

“Up!”

More static.

“It’s coming your way; Buckle up!” Jonah screamed into the com-link. Tim’s heartbeat kicked into high speed and his body suddenly chilled over. He pressed the red button on the com-link again.

“Jonah, what was that? I didn’t hear your message, Jonah. Please repeat!”

“Tim can you hear me! It must have seen the lights!” More static, and then, “Strap in and shut off the lights! It’s headed your way!”

“Oh no,” Tim whispered. He turned and darted back toward the control room. Suddenly, there was a loud bump from the front end of the pod. Tim lost his footing as the weight of the under-sea vehicle shifted under his feet. His face slammed into a locker and he crumpled to the floor.

Static filled his left ear just as alarms began to wail all around him. Pulsing red lights flashed in unison with the alarms.

“Tim, I repeat: the beast has left the cave, and is headed your way. You have to shut down the pod lights!”

Tim shook the stars from his vision and shot a glance toward the front of the pod.  He had to get to the light switch before that…thing…circled back again. He jumped to his feet, still feeling the effects of the blow, and centered himself. Pressing the red button on the com-link, he bolted for the front of the pod and yelled into the com-link’s mini speaker.

“Roger that, Jonah! I’m on my way up front! What is that thing?”

“Thank the Lord, you’re okay. I don’t know what it is. I didn’t get a good look at it, from the cave.”

The crash had strewn equipment all over the pod. Tim jumped and evaded loose boxes on the floor and sparking cables, hanging from the ceiling as he ran. Just as he made it back into the control room, he took a flying leap and landed, chest first, onto the control panel. His right hand thumbed the toggle switch to the off position as he collided with the controls. The lights on the roof and below the belly of the pod died instantly.

At first there was a wave of bubbles and a shove of water as the force of the creature’s abrupt stop shoved the pod back gently. When the bubbles cleared, Tim found himself staring at a thing that looked, oddly enough, like a gigantic Blue crocodile with no appendages. The creature waded slowly and effortlessly in front of the pod as if waiting for something to happen. Its eyes, one on each side of its head, seemed to glow a bright yellow in the darkness of the ocean. Tim saw jagged, horns protruding from the monster’s snout, traveling back and over its head.

He lay still across the control panel, convinced that the monster could somehow see him through the thick quadruple-reinforced steel shell of the pod. Static shrieked in his left ear, sending a chill up his spine.

Jonah whispered, as if he were in hiding. “Don’t touch anything, Tim. It’s staring right at the outer hull of the control room. Are you good?”

“Jonah, I wanna go home right now,” Tim whispered.

“I think it knows you’re in there,” Jonah said.

Tim remained motionless as the crocodile-thing slowly moved toward the right side of the pod. It swam close, almost touching the metal hull with its snakelike body slithering through the ocean. His eyes, trained on the monster, paced the creature as it circled around the back end of the pod. He saw that the horns across its head grew increasingly larger as they drew across its back, until the tail itself was nothing more than a huge sharp horn. Tim slowly inched his way off of the control panel and stood on shaky feet. Watching the floor monitors, he saw the creature swim underneath toward the front end again.

Radio static sounded over the com-link in Tim’s left ear.

“Mother of pearl, that’s a big sucker.” Jonah whispered. “I guess now we know why no one’s ever returned with Camoon’s treasure. Are you okay up there?”

“Fine; I don’t think it sees me, but don’t want to make any sudden moves yet.”

The creature circled the pod again in the same pattern as before, and centered toward the front again. Its mouth opened wide, revealing a double row of sharp points on the top and bottom. Despite the darkness of the deep blue sea, the monster’s teeth seemed to glow a magnificent yellow, just like its eyes. A wave of terror gripped Tim, as he suddenly imagined the monster ripping through the metal walls of the pod with those teeth. The creature’s yellow forked tongue appeared from the black abyss of its open mouth and began jerking fiercely.Tim pressed the com-link button on his ear piece.

“It’s trying to lure me out,” he whispered. “It does know I’m inside.”

The mouth snapped shut, as one of the weird light-bulb stick fish swam too close to the jerking tongue. The creature moved with lightning speed for its size. It made an about-face and disappeared into the darkness of the open ocean.

Paraclete’s Promise: The Fantastic Fantasies of Timothy (Chapters 1 and 2)

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Chapters 1 and 2 introduce us to Timothy, his…charming personality and the start of his fantastic fantasies. I look forward to introducing the book to the world, later this year.

CHAPTER 1

Tim stood in the hallway, in front of a large closet-door mounted mirror. His hazel eyes inspected blooming auburn color in the caramel complexion of his cheeks; a stark contrast to his favorite navy blue Transformers T-shirt, and frayed blue jeans. His tiny fingers combed through his black unkempt natural curls, Dad had just trimmed two days ago. He checked out the slouch of his 9 year-old stance, and flipped an index finger underneath his nose, absently wiping the damp finger across a pant leg.

“I’m not sick,” he mumbled. “It’s just a stupid cold. I don’t know why I can’t go outside.”

“You’re not going outside, because I said so, kiddo.” Dad replied as he walked toward the front door. “You had a slight fever this morning. That means rest and indoor activity for you, buddy; understand?” He ruffled Tim’s hair as he passed by.The front doorbell rang twice.

“Yeah,” Tim grumbled.

“I’m sorry, what was that?” Dad pronounced, as he swung open the door. “Care to repeat?”

Tim drug his feet over to the living room couch, picked up his orange-cover Fire Bible from the arm rest, tossed it across the room, and pressed his face into the soft seat cushions. He smashed a throw pillow over the back of his head, and screamed.

“Yes sir!” His voice muffled beneath the couch cushions.

Dad was already talking to the guests standing on the porch, instructing them to walk a delivery around to the side of the house. As he closed the front door and started back toward the kitchen, Tim sprang up from the couch and peaked through the bay window curtains to catch a glimpse of the visitors. Outside, snow fell from the slate gray sky in huge flakes, blanketing everything in wintery white. A blue and white delivery truck was parked in the driveway, with the front of the truck facing the street. Tim watched two men walk up a metal ramp lowered from the back of the truck. They reappeared moments later, slowly carrying a huge white cardboard box down the ramp, then up the driveway toward the side door.

“What is that?” He whispered, as he walked toward the kitchen.

Dad stood at the side door stoop, watching as the two men carefully carried the box through the propped storm door, and down the basement steps. He flashed a wink, and two-thumbs up, at Tim.

“We’re back in business now, buddy.” Dad said. Tim reasoned that Dad was going to be occupied for a while. This would be the perfect opportunity to get into some video game playing time. Last night, Mom made him shut it off, just as he was about to begin a new level. She had told him he spent too much time on the game.

“Dad, since you’re gonna be busy, is it alright if I play the game for a little while?” He asked. A little smirk creased the corners of his mouth. As Dad descended the basement steps, he called up,

“Sure buddy. No, wait a minute. Uh…we’d better ask Mom once she’s back from the grocery store. She thinks you should spend a little more time doing other things besides mining blocks and killing exploding Crappers.”

“They’re ‘Creepers’ Dad! I don’t spend that much time-”

“Tim, you’re not getting me busted, son. As soon as Mom’s home, you can check with the boss.” Tim heard the delivery men laughing. “Why don’t you get a jump on the next chapter we’ll be reading tonight, in second Corinthians?”

Tim stomped back into the living room, and spied his Fire Bible lying on the floor, next to the television table. He kicked the book across the cream Berber-carpeted floor, flopped down on the couch, and gazed through the bay-window. The sounds of plastic ripping and tools clanking together resonated from the basement. Then he heard an awful sound like metal scraping across the concrete floor. Dad yelled up the steps.

“Buddy, if you don’t want to read, why don’t you play with your toys?”

Tim clenched his teeth and shook his fists at the living room floor.

I don’t wanna read the stupid bible, or play with dumb toys he thought.

He huffed, and rested his chin on top of his hands, folded neatly across the back of the couch. Tim watched snow cover 12th Street in an awesome sheet of white fluff. His ears burned and his stuffy nose dripped, as he watched his brother, Kyle, and twin-sisters, Alicia and Asia, streak through the front yard, throwing snowballs at one another.

“Kyle’s outnumbered,” he said. “I should be out there with him.” His eyelids grew heavy. ***************************************************************  

Tim opened his eyes to see Mom kneeling over him. Her warm fingers were gently massaging his brow.

“Hi, sweetheart.” Mom said. “You’re still a little warm. Are you feeling any better?”

Tim sat up on the couch and stretched wide. He had fallen asleep while watching the snowball fight. Suddenly, he remembered Dad telling him to ask Mom about playing the video game. Faking a horsed cough, he sighed.

“Hi, Momma. Yeah, I guess I’m feeling better. My throat’s a little scratchy and I’m a bit tired.” He whined.

Mom wrapped her arms around him and squeezed tight.

“Oh, Momma’s little man is definitely sick. How about you stay put, and I’ll get you a blanket, okay?”

She kissed his forehead, before walking toward the bathroom. A wicked smile glistened across Tim’s freckled face, as he lie back lacing his fingers behind his head. Mom returned carrying a small plastic medicine cup half full of pink medicine that always reminded him of liquid bubble gum.

“Here honey,” she said handing over the cup and a small Afghan blanket. “Drink this and rest for a while. I’ll be in the kitchen putting the groceries away, if you need me.”

It was now or never. Tim quickly swallowed the pink medicine, and called out to Mom as she turned the corner, into the kitchen.

“Momma, Dad told me to ask you if I could play the game for a while. So, can I, please?”

Mom peered around the corner; one raised eyebrow, a sideways smirk lit across her face, and a hand rested on her hip.

“You must think I came down with the rain, Mister Smith. I was on to your little ploy from the beginning. Since you have enough strength to concentrate on your game-play, you’ve got enough strength to walk right into this kitchen and help put the groceries away. Hop to it, skinny-minny.”

Skinny-Minny; he hated being called that. Tim huffed and launched the blanket across the living room. It came to rest over the bible. Jumping from the couch, he defiantly folded his arms and stomped into the kitchen, grumbling under his breath.

“Hey! What’s with all the racket up there?” Dad called from the basement.

“Tim is about to help put away the groceries. I don’t think he’s in the mood to cooperate, Daddy!” Mom yelled down the basement steps.

“Tim, do you want me to come up there?”

Judging by the tone of his voice, Dad must have been standing at the bottom of the steps poised to race up. He was probably waiting for Mom to give the word. Best to drop the attitude.

“No sir, I’m fine. I was just about to help her put the food away.” Tim cut a sour glare at Mom, who stood before him smiling.

“Alright, mister.” Dad said, “You behave yourself, up there. I’m going have something for you to play with, shortly. In the meantime, be my big guy and help Mom out.”

Tim pouted all the way through the boring tasks of gently stacking eggs in the refrigerator, stacking canned goods inside the low cupboard, gathering up the discarded plastic bags, and depositing them in the storage bin. Mom made small talk, but Tim had decided to ignore her. It wasn’t fair that she wouldn’t let him play the game.

“Hmm, not talking to me, eh?” Mom said. “That’s fine. You and your attitude should be able to keep each other company in your room; definitely no video game time for you, Timothy Jonathan Smith.”

“What?!” Tim yelled.

“Don’t you back sass me, mister. Off you go, now. Make sure to pick up, and refold, that blanket in the living room, please. And pick up your bible as well.”

As Tim tromped through the kitchen, Dad intercepted, yanking him off his feet, and hoisting him in the air above his head. Tim squealed in frustration, as Dad hugged his little body and spun around the kitchen. Tim didn’t know whether to yell in anger, or laugh at how dizzy Dad’s spinning made him.

“Hey!” Mom yelled. “You two knuckleheads take that foolishness out of my kitchen. Your son’s going to spend some quiet time in his room.”

Dad set Tim on his feet. The whole kitchen seemed to spin around him. He reached out to steady himself, when Dad caught a loose arm, helping him regain a sense of balance. A few seconds passed before his eyes adjusted. Tim scowled at Dad.

“Whoa! If looks could kill, I’d be in serious trouble, Momma,” Dad chuckled. “What’s with the lemon face, buddy? Your attitude earned you a ticket on the ‘time-out trail’ again? We just read in Proverbs 29:11 this morning, ‘fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.’”

Mom whispered, “I think the T-Y-L-E-N-O-L he swallowed, is making him a bit S-L-E-E-P-Y and C-R-A-N-K-Y.”

“I can spell, you know.” Tim said. “The bubble-gum stuff isn’t making me tired, and Dad, I don’t even know what that poor verb means!”

Mom and Dad laughed. Dad reached into the snack cupboard, and pulled out a juice box and small bag of potato chips.

“Here buddy,” he said, shoving the snacks into Tim’s hands. “I’ll give you a pass on the trail today. The proverb means you have to learn to control your temper. Foolish people allow their anger to control them. When that happens, trouble usually follows.”

Tim rolled his eyes, and sighed. Dad always had a bible scripture ready to recite.

“Okay, I can see you’re not in the mood to listen. Tell ya what: the new dryer is installed. Why don’t you go on downstairs and check out the box I had the guys leave, by the steps. Maybe you can make something happen with it.”

“I don’t want to-” Tim started to protest. He was quickly interrupted by Mom.

“Timothy, I’ve had just about enough attitude from you, mister. You can either go to your room and sulk, or you can go to the basement and play with the box. Either way, you will not continue to traipse through this house, pouty-faced over your video game! Are we clear, Mister Smith?”

Tim glowered at Mom.

“Better do what Mom says,” Dad said. “Go on downstairs and let that imagination, between your ears, take over for a while. Who knows? You just might have a bit of fun.”

Tim gazed into Dad’s brown eyes, reassuring smile and shiny bald head, like a chocolate milkdud. He remembered watching the delivery men haul the box toward the side door, through the snow. It did appear to be a pretty nice sized box. He sighed then slowly walked toward the basement steps.

“Wait,” Mom said, walking into the living room.

She reappeared carrying the Afghan blanket and his Fire bible. As Tim mounted the first few steps, she draped the blanket over his shoulders like a cape, and handed the bible to him.

“Here ya go. You might need these down there. Have fun.”

“It’s just a dumb box,” Tim mumbled. “How much fun can I have with it?”

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CHAPTER 2

Tim walked down the tile basement steps determined to completely ignore the dumb box. Instead, he planned to walk straight to the toy chest. Better yet, he decided to destroy the stupid box, using Dad’s tools. He just needed to reach the toolbox inside the laundry room.

“Go play with a stupid box. What am I gonna do with it,” he complained, “Rip it to pieces.”

After the last step, Tim rounded the corner leading toward the laundry/utility room. Standing there, blocking the path of the basement hallway, sat the white cardboard box. He had only seen it from a distance before but, up close, the thing was humungous!

“Wow! Hey, Dad this thing is huge,” he yelled. “Can I cut a hole in it? I might need a window for my…fort…or something.”

Ideas and possibilities began to flood his mind, and suddenly destroying it seemed like a bad idea.

Dad shouted down the steps, “No buddy; no holes. We can use it for garbage later, this week.  That won’t stop you from playing with it, right?”

“No, I guess not. I can tip it over and make…” An idea clicked as quickly as a flash, and he was off to collect supplies and equipment.

Tim squeezed between the box and the narrow sheet-rock basement wall, and darted for the wooden toy chest at the far end of the hallway. Tossing the lid open freed the familiar smell of cedar. Secretly, he loved the smell of the old chest. It was filled with all sorts of toys he and Kyle played with. He rummaged through the chest, randomly inspecting an action figure here, a stuffed animal there. A variety of things were at his disposal. What would he need to make a trip through the depths of a newly discovered and uncharted cave?

No, not a cave, he thought. It’s my new race car, so I’ll need a few fix-it guys to put the wheels and stuff together.

While rummaging, he happened upon a red tyrannosaurus, and several action figures of interest.  One was a plastic ocean diver, with one pull-off, retractable flipper still attached. The futuristic diver was equipped with a removable utility belt and a flattened inflatable yellow plastic air-tank draped across his back. It was a present for Kyle’s 9th birthday. A few years ago, he had given it to Tim. The second action figure was a limited edition metal spaceman, Dad bought for Tim’s 5th birthday. He paused for a moment to press the buttons on the spaceman’s wrist computer, and smiled as miscellaneous lights buzzed on the action figure’s suit.

“Cool. Your lights still work Abe.” He said. “I guess you can come, too.”

The third action figure was a big-game hunter, Tim had bought with his own allowance money, two years ago. He remembered how proud he’d been, paying for it himself. There had been so many adventures the little hunter had shared with him, and so many nights the hunter had been tucked under his pillow while sleeping.

“Nimrod,” he whispered. A wide grin stretched across his cheeks, as he stared at the hunter. “I almost forgot about you, buddy. How about you take one more big adventure, with me?”

Tim set the dinosaur and three action figures on a shelf, before continuing his search through the toy chest. He found a lion-tamer’s bullwhip: a souvenir from a visit to the circus. Deep down at the bottom of the chest, his fingers wrapped around a battery powered light saber, Mom had bought for Kyle a few years ago. Flipping the toggle switch activated the toy. The plastic, round tipped blade flashed then hummed a bright indigo blue.

“Wow! The sounds still work, on this thing. Better take it with me, just in case I might need to fight off monsters, or something.”

Leaving the toy chest, Tim turned and walked through the dark utility room passing by the new dryer and the washing machine, and headed straight for the linen closet where mom kept the winter comforters and Dad’s special-occasion winter hats. He held the light saber overhead, illuminating the dark closet as he searched for the perfect comforter. As he waved the toy left to right, he thumbed through the neatly stacked linens.

“The force is strong with me.” he said. Tim yanked on a large green and brown comforter usually found on his parents’ bed. He dragged it across the basement floor, out the utility room, back into the hallway toward the box. One swift kick at the bottom, toppled the huge box. The open lid landed just before Tim, spilling miscellaneous wrappings to the ground. Inside, he discovered big rectangular pieces of packing foam and a large wad of bubble wrap.

These might come in handy later he thought.

Setting the light saber aside, he grabbed the comforter with both hands. In one quick yank, the comforter flew into the air and settled down over the big box. He ran back into the utility room, over to the low shelf where Dad kept all sorts of paint cans. Mustering all of his strength, he picked up one of the cans by the metal loop handle and dragged it back to the comforter-covered box. He walked the can to the back of the box and set it down on top of a corner of the comforter just as Dad came down the stairs, carrying Tim’s Fire Bible, he’d intentionally left on a step.

“What are you…ah, I see,” Dad said. “Making a little hideout huh?”

“Yep,” Tim beamed. “I just need one more can to hold down the roof so it won’t blow away when the storm comes.”

“Oh, yeah we wouldn’t want the roof to disappear would we?” Dad said. “I don’t think your insurance claim would cover imaginary disasters. I see your roof doubles as a front door too. That’s pretty good thinking, kid. I won’t tell Mom that you’ve got her clean comforter on the basement floor.”

“Thanks Dad,” Tim said as a yawn escaped his parted lips. “Can you help me carry another can over here?”

“Sure buddy. Where are we gonna put it; on the other side, at the corner?”

“Yeah, I was thinking about maybe using something for the-” Tim started, but was interrupted by another yawn.

“Sure you’re not getting sleepy buddy?” Dad asked.

“Dad I can’t sleep now! I’ve got stuff to do here.”

Dad shook his head and raised his free hand feigning retreat.

“Alright, why don’t you go back in the closet and grab one of the spare pillows. You may need a seat in there. I’ll just toss this inside, in case you need a little light reading on your trip.”

“Yeah, the pillow’s a good idea, Dad.” Tim said.

Dad started for the stairs.

“Okay buddy, I’ll leave you to it then. You need any help, just yell. I always knew you were gonna do something great, kid. It’s your destiny.”

He was half way up the staircase, when Tim yelled.

“Dad! Can you cut the light off up there please?”

“Sure buddy.” Everything was just about set. The lights flicked off, surrounding Tim in the darkness of the basement. He stood motionless allowing his vision time to adjust, before reaching for the light saber on the floor. Thumbing the button, the basement was illuminated in a soft indigo-blue. Tim walked through the darkened basement toward the toy chest, back through the utility room to the linen closet. Opening the closet door, four different hats, each its own unique color with a silk band around the crown, hung from cap hangers screwed into the door. Each hat wore its own see-through plastic bag. Dad once told Tim the Fedoras, as the hats were called, needed to be protected from dust.

“Probably shouldn’t touch these.” Tim whispered.

He reached up the door and tipped the brim of the hat on the lowest hanger: a caramel brown Fedora with a chocolate colored silk band. Setting the light saber down, Tim pulled the smooth felt hat out of its thin plastic covering, and hid the bag between two blankets.

“Wow, this is so sweet.” he snickered. “Every explorer needs a cool hat.”

He closed the closet door, picked up the light saber and walked back to the box. He set the large hat over his head. It sank low over his ears. Tim picked up the small bag of potato chips and the juice box, while holding the light saber under his arm. He crawled into the box and set aside the snacks and the light saber, right next to the bible. Next he hauled the packing foam and bubble wrap to the back of the box. He then crawled out to gather his passengers: the diver, the spaceman, the hunter and the red T-Rex. With just enough room inside to maneuver between the front and back of the box, he decided to organize everything.

“This is great, Nimrod! You guys need to sit in the back just in case of an emergency.”

Tim pushed the dinosaur and action figures between two packing foam blocks near the rear of the box, before sitting on the pillow.

“Well, I guess I need to eat before takeoff. You guys check the ship back there for any broken pieces. I’m just gonna have a snack and then we’ll be off.”

Tim sat, ate chips, and drank the juice while staring into the blue light of the light saber. The light reminded him of the night light mom used to turn on at bedtime. He was afraid of the dark once.

Not anymore. I’m a big kid now, playing in the dark. Nothing to be afraid of he thought.

As he ate and drank, Tim flipped the little bible open to the spot where his Spongebob book marker had been set in second Corinthians, chapter 13. By the blue light of the light saber, he absently read through verse 13:14.

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the presence and fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

Tim barely noticed another yawn slip through his lips as his eyes slowly glided toward the soothing glow of the blue light. The blue light was nice. The blue light was…somehow warm. The blue light…the light…