Little Red Robin Hood

Darkness is a funny thing. It moves. You may be perfectly still in an empty room with no light pouring in, and the black moves before your eyes. And without your knowledge, Little Red Robin Hood moves too. She dances wildly in the black, not afraid of what moves beside her, behind her, within her. She is, however, very different in comparison to the dark. Granted, she is not a normal girl. She takes no enjoyment in dresses, curly hair, shoes and makeup. Her endeavors include much less savory skills, ones you cannot learn in a classroom.

She takes her leave at dusk, the only splash of color is her red cloak and hood. Wisps of dark hair spill out from under the scarlet covering, a mess of small braids and tangles. She has beads woven into strands. These are to shield from certain evils that prowl in the black shadows. As a more direct form of protection, she carries two blades. Each has a name for either hand.

In her left she holds “Saas,” which means “blood;” and in her right hand she grasps “Ai’as,” meaning “oath.” It is a dead language, but each word is engraved on the blade of the knife it belongs to.

“Death goes on”

I once read in a book a quote that I hold to be truth now. “Life goes on,” what nonsense a thought, of course it doesn’t. It’s death that goes on; Ian is dead now and will be dead tomorrow and next year and forever.” (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Shaffer and Barrows) Is that not a truth? Death is what is certain in this life, and who can escape it but God. I lost a dear friend this week, he took his own life, and in that moment he made his choice his only certainty was that he would die. It is an awful gut wrenching thought that someone would feel that helpless. I can rightly say that for most people, death is not the only certainty, life does not go on, death does, but after death, there is life. It’s a roundabout we travel continuously. What a notion, think on it.

Run

This is a dream I had once that I have embellished.

I am running again; this time through a large house. It’s obvious no one has lived here in a long time. Boards are broken and strewn on the floor. It has that old wood smell that clings to everything, even the air. The thick red Berber carpet on the stairs has mold growing in the corners and sides. The house had belonged to some rich grandfather before he died and it went to waste. Now I’m just running for my life from two massive thugs who aren’t in this for the fun and games. I speed down the moldy staircase, taking the steps in threes. Reaching the front door, I resist the urge to spin around at the sound of Jason and Curt hurling their bodies down the stairs at me. Once outside on the front porch I look around for an exit, an escape, anything. A gun clicks. Shifting my eyes I see Jaz, or as the rest of the world call her, Jasmine Livingston, my walking nightmare with all her pencil skirts and up-do buns and at this moment a 44 Magnum revolver in her perfectly manicured hand. The gun’s barrel is staring me in the face. However, she isn’t going to shoot me. I had figured that out the last time I encountered this mad woman. I’m too valuable.

Last time I saw this woman I wasn’t running. I was strapped down to an examination table, trapped with a gun pressed against my temple. She was explaining the procedures that I would endure; all of the surgeries and physical restructuring.

“You really should stop these running games Experiment Leto,” she smirks, her condescending tone working its way to my ears. “You have nowhere to hide. You are a fugitive, an expensive possession with an even bigger prize on your head, and might I add, a large giveaway with those eyes,” her comment about my eyes triggers a memory, but I push it away hastily, trying to focus on my exit route.

I hear her two thugs making their way to the other side of the porch, their weight causing the old boards to creak. The woods are just a few yards from the end of the porch. If I can just reach the thick foliage I can bolt. These guys are fast but I am a much slighter build. With one last glance behind me, I quickly shift my weight and shoulder into Jaz’s chest. Bolting to the opposite end of the porch I vault off the railing and down three feet onto the grass.

“Hurry you idiots!” Jaz shouts, her annoyance punctures each word. Without another glance I run for the tree line. In seconds I’m crashing through branches and briers. Scrapes appearing on my face and arms, but I don’t dare slow down. Once I get far enough that I don’t hear them I will slow down, but for now, I run.

-Renlaw

Life?

Tell me, what is important in a person’s life? Is it their job? A family perhaps? Success or fame? Maybe even just getting through the four years of high school? Everyone understands that life itself is important. It is fleeting and can vanish in an instant. But what is important within that life? If it is as short as we claim it to be then why bother. There is a humorous saying, “why take life seriously, no one gets out alive any way.”

If only that were true.We do get out alive. Maybe not in body but our soul is to forever live on. The hard part to swallow is what category of “life after death” do you fall under? There is the glorious eternal life of joy and perfection, or you can forever be separated from a holy and perfect God. Who doesn’t want to follow a leader that is perfect in every way?

The best part of all of this is that the choice is yours. God has chosen to give you life in paradise after death, but if you don’t want it you just say “no.” However, as I said before, God is perfect so He cannot overlook our sinful nature. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” God, being holy, cannot even look on sin, let alone live among it. Okay, so what’s the big deal? Well in Romans 6:23 God says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus? Yes Jesus. If it weren’t for Him there would be no gift. He was able to come to earth as a man and as God, completely perfect and holy and He died on a cross (Romans 5:8 “But God proved His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!”) His perfect self took all the sin we have committed and will ever commit and He took it to death with Him. But He didn’t stay dead. Because Christ lived a perfect sinless life, He was able to conquer even death. And so, “If you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved,” Romans 10:9. “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13. He loves us, all of us. None of this is something you have to do. It is simply saying “Yes God, I believe You.” God takes care of the rest. Paul said in Philippians 1:21 “For me, living is Christ and dying is gain.” Life is Christ. We would be nothing without Him, and death? Death becomes a joy when you have Christ, you go to paradise. Who doesn’t want that?

Life is Christ.

-Renlaw

Voice

I hear your voice on the wind
And I hear you call out my name

The net sinks down into the water and when it is pulled back up, silver fish gleam in the fading sunlight, flopping to and fro, and gasping for air. I marvel at it for what seems like the hundredth time, even though I have been watching this skill for no more than two weeks.
At first it seemed like a silly game they played, but the settlers are earnest in their undertakings. Every morning, at first light, the men from the settlement will wander out from their homes, taking boxes and nets with them, bags with lunches, and an array of other tools they use for their trade. Then they all make their way to the shore, get into their boats, and float out to the open water. Throughout the day they will set nets and traps and put out their fishing lines. They sing tunes and laugh with each other across the waters that separate them.
It seems to me that all of the men, both young and old alike, partake in this trade. The women will stay home to raise children, bake breads, do laundry and prepare meals for when the men return. Some of the families even tend farms that cover the fields around the settlement. All of them move like one body each day; all except for one. I followed him one day when I noticed he did not join the men on the main shore. He seems lighter skinned than the others. He has a cloth covering one eye, and a jagged scar that peaks out underneath the covering. When he goes out each day, he travels through the brush and over some of the small cliffs, to reach a hidden cove. Here he fishes from the shore. He has no boat, but he brings his net and pole and basket each day, and fishes until the sun is ready to set. I follow him every day now. I watch his movements, and the tactics he uses to lure the fish into their trap.
The first day I saw this settlement, I was scouting. It is my chosen job in our colony. There are many other high standing jobs I had qualified for, but as a scouter I could see beyond our closed off city. My duty was to look for other settled areas we could build, for we are always expanding in numbers. I was to also look out for trouble. Anything that was too close to our city that could pose a threat. It is a quite job most of the time. The biggest threat we have had was when a mother whale swam too close to the Island our city is built on, and sprayed water over some of the members of the Skein. The Skein is our authority. They make the decisions and rules for us to abide by, and by us I mean the flock, my people.
I stretch my wings out and prepare to take off again. I have already spent far too much time away from the city and people will begin to wonder what has happened. People are always wondering.
“I will return tomorrow,” I say, just like every evening. I know he cannot hear me, but it makes me feel as though somehow I am connected to this settlement. That somehow I owe them for the service they do not know they give me.
My feathers ruffle in the strong wind that brushes the top of the cliff I have perched on. As my bare feet hit the ground in a run, my wings stretch out and catch the breeze, lifting me up into the sky. Apart from singing, flying is my favorite thing to do. I close my eyes and let the wind guide me from side to side. I am meant to have a partner, but after much complaining the Skein has agreed to allow me search time alone. Most of the other flock members are loyal to a fault when it comes to the Skein. They talk nonstop about how the Skein has our best interest in mind, the Skein will someday find a perfect settlement for us; the Skein would never let us down. But the Skein is just another authority. When I am flying alone, coasting from one air current to the next, I am free.

-Renlaw