I hope this letter gets to you. Let me tell you about my day. I sewed up a deep wound today and this is how it went:
“Please hold still,” I told the patient nervously, knowing that he did not understand what I said. “If you keep moving this will not heal…”
“He does not care to heal.” The words came from an elder who stood behind me, watching me closely. The man wore a mask, as did the young man I operated on, and so far, he has been the only one to speak to me in English. “He only wants to fight once more before he dies.” The man on the table jumped as the needle pressed into his skin, jerking the needle from my hand. “To die on this table will endanger his life in Paradise, to have you touch him has made him unclean, that is why he cannot die. If he dies here he will certainly go to hell.”
“I’m doing the best I can,” I told the man, holding the needle close to ripped flesh, “but if he keeps moving he will certainly die here.”
At this point the man on the table passed out. Maybe from fear of eternal damnation, maybe from the loss of blood. The elder must have thought he died because he hit me with the butt of his rifle and I suddenly heard words from outside the room.
I hate to be telling you this, but I have to tell someone.
I have found myself in the middle of a holy war, although nothing about it seems holy. I knew where I was going before I came here, but I did not tell you the truth. I apologize for that. I told you I would be living in Jerusalem, but that is not where I went. Instead I went to a small town near the Jordan River because they needed doctors.
I am still at the school house, just like I said in my last letter. Remember, I told you about the children who were learning English here and Bible scripture, well that part was true, but there are no longer children here. Now only a small, rubble-filled building remains. The village has been abandoned.
Before the militants came, we had transformed one room of the school into a hospital and many people were receiving medicine. But now it’s a bunker for the Muslims.
Don’t be mad, I’m so sorry.
We heard the explosions days ago and that’s when the talk about going back to Jerusalem started. I wanted to leave so bad and come home to you and the kids, but it all happened so quickly. Before we had a chance to pack we were taken hostage.
We are now trapped and the leader — I can’t spell his name — killed Steven and Matthew. He cut their heads off while they were still alive. I started crying because they were the only men with us and they beat me.
Now there’s only three women in our group and we are all Christian. It seems our captors have no conscience about what they do to us. One minute they do not want to look at us, then their hands are all over us doing terrible things. Patricia has been internally wounded and won’t stop bleeding. I have tried all I can. I’m afraid she will die soon. I am the only surgeon left and I think I will be kept alive, but I do not know for how long.
I’m sure this will be my last letter to you, my love, I want you to know that I am not afraid to die. I feel that I am doing God’s work even when I sew together the enemy’s wounds. I can feel mother’s presence all the time and dying would be better than living now.
I don’t want you to worry because by the time you get this letter I will either be saved or dead. Please, give the children my love and tell them that I am with the angels. Tell them I am with grandma. Will you do that?
For now, I just am trying to think of momma and how we used to stay up late and sew quilts for the homeless. Momma always told me I had the hands of a surgeon. When I graduated and began work at the hospital, she told me I could change the world with God’s guidance. Even now, I believe that is true.
Please dearest Michael, do not mourn me for too long. Your love is so strong and it has been my greatest strength here. Promise me that you will show another your wonderful love.
Yours forever and ever,
This will be a diary of sorts. One story after another. I'll put up a story and leave it for a while, then take it down. If you like what you read, please give buy my book "Thadd's Twelve." Also, whatever you do, please return again. Thank you.
The following stories were written by Thadd Presley.
Thadd Presley's Fiction Weekly
"Wow, look at all these paintings," Milli exclaimed, looking at the walls, "are you an artist?" Her intrigue was easily perceived by Roger. He didn't even have to look up to know that she was impressed.
As she floated around the room, admiring what she considered art, he leaned slightly forward turning a knob on the television. Static from the screen lit the room.
"And this room, wow, it's bigger than my whole apartment." She stopped and turned toward Roger. "You look like an artist."
Silence filled the air as she waited for a response. Only the flickering television lit the room. "What are you watching," she asked quietly, walking closer to him.
The chair he sat in was obviously very expensive and looked comfortable. It was large enough for two people to sit together. She smiled, not knowing what to do with herself. The atmosphere was strange. She felt slightly ignored.
At the bowling alley, he had asked her to his home and she wanted to go; but, now that she was here, watching him stare at the static, it didn't seem safe. Even the paintings were beginning to take on a dangerous aura, threatening her with twisted faces and dark eyes.
Suddenly figured appeared on the screen and music filled the room. “come with us, to the Mighty Boosh, come with us...”
"Oh," she points to the television, giggling as she remembered some of the characters from the show, "I love this."
Roger only stared at the screen, his eyes half-closed.
"I like the way these guys make up all those songs," she says happily, trying once again to get some response out of him. She sang, “Calm a lamma down, calma lamma deep ...”
In a normal situation, she would have sat down by now, but not here, not with this guy.
Maybe he hadn't ever seen the show before and didn't know how the words.
Tonight was the first time she had seen Roger at the bowling alley. He seemed cool, drinking a soda, taking in the scene. He was dressed in ragged blue jeans and he carried a backpack that looked hand-made. She immediately wanted to meet him and it only took her ten minutes before they were sitting at a table together. They enjoyed each others company, at least she enjoyed it. After talking casually for a few drinks, he told her he was an artist and if she would like to see some of his paintings. She couldn't believe he asked her back to his place so quickly. Guys usually took longer to make a move.
"Would you like to see my place, it's near here?"
It seemed like a fun idea, then; but now, after seeing these pictures and his silence, it had began to make her miserable. Why did he even invite me here, she wondered.
"Are you going to talk to me?" She asked boldly.
She was thinking about a cab fair home, when he looked at her. "I have to paint you," he said.
She felt numbness come over her. His eyes were so powerful; so beautifully piercing, they looked fake.
He stood up, quickly, and turned toward her. He reached out and touched her face. She almost dodged his hand, but somehow stood her ground. He did not grab her, like she thought he would do. Instead, he only brushed her face lightly along her jaw. She felt an electric shock glide down her spine. Her knees actually felt weak..
"So, you like my art," he asked, walking towards a closet door.
"Yes, very much, did you..."
“I was only...”
"May I paint you?" He asked, cutting her off, again becoming that interesting guy from the bowling alley. "I wanted to paint a beautiful face for a week and no one has inspired me until now."
"No way," she answered, "I hate the way I look."
"Everybody hates the way they look," he assured, walking to the closet and retrieving a canvas.
She watched in panic as a knife fell, bouncing off of his shoe and skidding halfway across the floor, glistening in the flickering light of the television. It was closer to her than it was him.
"No way," she said, seeing how sharp the knife looked. Her heart was pounding.
"I'll do a good job. I'll do my best," he promised and locked the canvas onto the easle. Carefully he removed a few brushes and tubes of paint from a box. In another minute he was rubbing a brush into yellow paint and mixed it with red, making a pale pink spot on the palette.
The knife was still on the floor.
So, he is really going to paint me, she thought, suddenly flattered. "Well, OK. I'll let you." She agreed, feeling she had no choice. "But what should I do?"
"All you have to do is ..."
"...BE STILL..." the preacher shouted into the microphone, causing Millie to jump.
She heard laughter around her and embarrassment heated her face. She realized that she'd fallen in a pretty deep sleep during the sermon.
The preacher continued:
"And He arose, and rebuked the wind and said unto the sea, Peace, BE STILL, And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. That passage is the gospel of Mark chapter four verse thirty-nine," he told the congregation. "I tell you, little children of God, when you are in trouble or in need, all you have to do is ask Jesus to handle it and BE STILL," he shouted again. "God is with you."
Millie was willing herself to disappear, hoping that this was the dream. Then, she remembered her dream and the reason she had it.
After seeing Roger at the bowling alley last night, she didn't have the nerve to talk to him. So, she promised herself that next Saturday she would walk right up to him. No matter what.