Tag Archives: homeless

HOLIDAY PLANS!

geralt candle lite evening May love and joy be with you and yours during the Holiday Season! –aya walksfar
In the spirit of #Christmas and the upcoming #holidays, I asked the members of the Special Crimes Team about their plans for the day.
–Lieutenant Williams and his wife, Dr. Irene Nelson will be playing Santa and Mrs. Claus at a hospital ward for children.
boy child xmas petra k.
–Sergeant Nita Slowater and her fiancée, Dawn Samira, plan to help Grandma Merlie Greene host a family and coven get together during the holidays. They will be celebrating Winter Solstice on December 21 with drumming and chanting with Grandma Greene’s coven. On December 25, they will open presents and have Christmas dinner with family and friends who follow the traditions of Christianity. And finally, on December 26 they will begin the Kwanzaa celebrations, an African American tradition.
–Detective Frederick Albert: politely declined to share his plans.
–Detective Maizie O’Hara: will visit her #family and extended family where there will be a lot of singing, eating and gift giving starting on Christmas Eve (her and her girlfriends will be up all night wrapping last minute presents and eating cookies and waiting for Santa) and everyone will wander back to their own homes on the evening of December 25.
–Officer Juan Rodriquez: will visit his brother who is currently serving time for murder in Walla Walla.
–Officer Driscoll Mulder: will be hosting a Christmas Day feast for homeless gay and lesbian youths, “and any other homies who wanna show up” at his house.
–Ronald Arneau: will spend a quiet day with his mother.
fuzzy xmas tree
What are your plans for Christmas Day? Would love to hear.
Be sure to fill those stockings with BOOKS!
EIGHT of my EBOOKS on SALE at Amazon for 99 cents and two are FREE! Visit me at http://www.amazon.com/Aya-tsi-scuceblu-Walksfar/e/B00CMVAKKK

Though we are all hyper-aware of the needs of others during the holiday seasons, many food banks and other helping organizations that receive many donations of food, volunteer hours and other necessary items during the holidays, often limp along barely able to keep their doors open to needy people during the rest of the year. So, please, give during the holiday season, but don’t forget to give during the rest of the year, too. Thank you.
Christmas tree and boy photo courtesy of: Petr Kratochvil, http://www.all-free-downloads.com
Candle lite evening photo courtesy of: Geralt, http://www.all-free-downloads.com
Christmas tree with lights photo courtesy of: Anna Langova, http://www.all-free-downloads.com

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THE GIFT (A #CHRISTMAS STORY)

old dog

THE GIFT

By Aya Walksfar

Sixty-eight-year old Marybelle Brown pushed the rattling grocery cart filled with plastic bags of aluminum cans through the square next to the #Seattle Aquarium. That summer vendors had hawked sparkling necklaces and handmade toys and flamboyant scarves. Now it lay beneath the full moon, deserted except for a few pigeons huddled on a low wall near the water. Moving slowly so she wouldn’t disturb their rest, she made her way over and leaned against the cold concrete. She’d always loved Puget Sound. The gentle lap of the waves soothed her.

After a few minutes, she turned her cart and headed across the empty space. In the center stood a twelve-foot tall #Christmas tree. Red and green lights twinkled amid the plastic ornaments and glittering tinsel. Marybelle gazed up at it, at the star blazing white on the top. At last, she sighed in contentment and moved on.

fuzzy xmas tree

Today had been a wonderful Christmas Eve. She’d found three partially eaten cheeseburgers in one of McDonald’s trashcans. They were stashed in the ragged canvas shoulder bag along with French fries from a dumpster and two, whole pieces of cod from Ivar’s trash. A smile sat lightly on her cracked and chapped lips. Tonight she would feast! She patted the side of the shoulder bag and felt the bottle of Starbucks mocha and the bottle of Arrowhead water that a kind man had given to her with a smile and a Merry Christmas. Yes, tonight she would feast.

She bent her head back and gazed upward. Stars flung across the black heavens. Some people likened the stars to diamonds on black velvet, but she knew better. The stars were all the souls who had gone ahead, smiling down on those they’d left behind. Someday when it was time for her to leave this bent and painful body, she’d fly up there and be with them. Her momma and granny would be waiting. She wondered if the critters she had nursed would be there. Of course, they would! Her granny had told her that the souls of animals always went to the Bright Place because they lived as God intended.

She shuffled along. Time to get to her spot under the viaduct. Thick blackberry bushes hid the hole she’d dug out up against where the concrete met the earth. It had taken her a long time to make a roomy depression in that hard ground with a broken shovel. Hidden at the far back of the hole were all of her most precious belongings, safe from discovery by others, safe from the rain.

She crossed the quiet street and the cart jarred over the trolley tracks. Where cars parked during the day was mostly deserted now and filled with deeper shadows. The fat round concrete pillars that held up the overhead roadway too often hid bad things. She veered away, cornering her eye so she could keep watch while she passed.

As Marybelle came abreast of one spot of darkness a darker shadow moved within it. Her heart leaped into her throat. Her chest constricted with panic and squeezed the breath from her lungs. There! Who’s there? Her feet froze as her mind shouted, “Run!”

Just as her feet started to move, a whimper floated out of that darkness. The loneliness in that small sound dragged at her heart. “Leave, Marybelle. You can’t help whoever it is.”

In spite of herself, her hands left the cart and her feet shuffled toward the darkness. Her heart galloped like a crazed horse. “ Oh, Lord, I feel like my heart’s gonna bust.”

As she drew closer, a stray beam of moonlight shone against the pillar. Crumpled at the base of that cylinder of concrete lay a black dog. It lifted forlorn eyes to her face. The very tip of its tail tapped the ground twice then stopped like that was all the energy the poor thing had.

In her mind the years fell away and she once again saw her momma open the door of their tiny apartment. “Oh, Marybelle, you can’t help every critter you see,” her momma’s gentle hands tending to Marybelle’s latest rescue belied her words. Momma and granny had always tried to save the animals she dragged home–starved and beaten and broken.

She edged closer and the dog cringed, trying to melt into the ground. She knew the feeling. Carefully, she lowered herself to her achy knees. Never looking directly at the dog, she held out a hand. “It’s alright. I know just how you feel.” The dog’s body relaxed and it stretched its black nose toward her hand. “That’s it, little one. Come on over to Marybelle.”

She slid her shoulder bag to the ground then dug around until her hand touched the wrapping of one of the half-eaten burgers. Eyes still averted, she held a small bite on the palm of her outstretched hand. The dog sniffed the air and gave an anxious whine. “I know. It’s scary, but honestly, this is for you.”

The cold seeped through the three pairs of thin pants and chilled her arthritic knees. Still, she knelt there, hand out in offering. The dog stretched its neck toward the food. It crept one step, two steps. Now Marybelle could see the ribs jutting out under the patchy hide.

“Poor thing,” she crooned.

The dog trembled as it came close enough to snatch the food. It took the rest of the burger for the poor thing to creep close enough for Marybelle to put her arms around it. The dog was big, bigger than her German Shepherd had been. She felt the resistance of its stiff body, but kept humming and stroking one hand down its thin side. At last, the tension drained from it and it nestled against her chest.

After a while, she gave its sharp nose a kiss. “Gotta git up, little girl. My knees don’t like this kneeling.” She pulled a ragged wool scarf from around her neck and made the dog a soft collar and leash.

At her hideaway, Marybelle laid out the sleeping bag that a young, white girl had given her that past fall. She never carried this precious gift for fear of it being taken from her. But every night since early fall she’d blessed that child, and wished her well as she fell asleep. The dog immediately curled up on one side, the shivers wracking its body subsiding.

She sat next to the dog and lit the stub of a candle she’d found and saved for a special occasion. This surely was a most special occasion. “We’re safe here, Dog. With all the blackberry bushes around us and being way up under here, no one wants to crawl this far back.” She draped the two blankets she had scrounged from a Goodwill donation box around her shoulders and over Dog’s back.

From her handbag, she took the food and set it on the sleeping bag in front of them. She filled her dented quart pot with the bottled water and set it in front of Dog. She raised her head and drank deeply as Marybelle opened the bottle of Starbucks Mocha Coffee drink. She tapped the bottle against the pot rim. “Here’s to our friendship, Dog.”

Carefully, she divided the hamburgers, the fries, the fish: half for her, half for dog. Dog quickly ate her half, but sat politely, not begging for Marybelle’s food. She took all but one piece of the fish and laid it in front of the gray muzzle. “Merry Christmas, Dog.”

Dog cocked her head and fixed her clouded eyes on the old woman. “Go on, Dog. An old woman like me don’t need so much food. Probably would make me sick to eat all of that. This piece of fish’ll do me just fine.”

Feast over she stuffed the trash in the paper bag and set it to one side. She lay down and Dog cuddled against her chest. With the blankets spread over the two of them and the sleeping bag zipped she draped a sleep heavy arm over the old dog’s side. “This has been a lovely Christmas Eve, Dog. Thank you.”

Singing woke Marybelle. Beautiful singing that called to her. She opened her eyes and got to her feet. Dog leaned her head against Marybelle’s leg. A bridge lay before them. Dog looked up with cataract whitened eyes and whined. She took a step toward the bridge and twisted her gray muzzle over her shoulder as if to say, “Come on.”

The bridge shone like a golden light lit it from within. Marybelle shivered. Fear rose up and wrapped chains around her legs. Dog padded back to her side. She pushed her cold black nose against the palm of Marybelle’s hand and gazed up at her. “Oh, Dog, I know you wanna go that way, but I…I can’t.”

Dog sat next to Marybelle’s leg and sighed. She rubbed the old dog’s grizzled fur and knelt in front of her. Staring into the dog’s dimmed eyes, she cradled the gray muzzle between her knarled and arthritis twisted hands. “I know you want to go that way. And…and it’s probably a good place, Dog. But, I…” she inhaled a deep breath and let it ease from her. “I know it’s a good place, Dog. I can feel it; like I know you can, too. But, I don’t deserve to go there.”

Dog flicked out a warm wet tongue and licked the tears that traced the lines of Marybelle’s weathered face. She pressed her face against Dog’s then kissed her muzzle and stood up. She took a half step away from Dog.

Courage gathered like a tattered garment, she looked into Dog’s eyes. “I can’t go there, Dog. I haven’t been a good person. There’s things…” she glanced away and swallowed the lump in her throat. When she looked back, she blinked away the tears. “There’s things I’ve done; things I’ve said that were wrong. I’ve…I’ve hurt people. Over there,” she raised a thin arm and waved toward the shining bridge. “Over there is for good people, people like you, Dog. Go on. You deserve to be there.” She turned and moved away from the dog.

She’d only gone a few steps before she felt the cold nose against her dangling hand. She squatted next to the dog. “Oh, Dog.” She buried her face in the brittle black fur. When she lifted her face, she hugged the dog and stood. “Looks like you aren’t going to go, if I don’t.” Heart pounding, she gave a slight nod as if confirming her own decision. “I’ll go with you, Dog, because you deserve to be over there.”

Dog pressed tight against her leg as they walked onto the glowing bridge. The golden light enveloped them, warmed them.

Halfway across the bridge Marybelle stopped and gazed over the railing. Below, a broad, placid river flowed. As they drew nearer to the far side, a beautiful meadow ablaze with blue and yellow and orange flowers rolled out as far as she could see. Her eyes rounded.

When they reached the end of the bridge, a melodic voice spoke. “I see you’ve helped her to Cross, Dog. I knew you could. Well done.”

Marybelle raised her eyes and gazed into the milk chocolate face and dark chocolate eyes. “Momma?”

The woman spread her arms and Marybelle ran into them.

The End

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PHOTO CREDITS: Old dog–Anne Lowe    Christmas tree–Anna Langova  (all-free-download.com)

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THE REST OF THE STORY

After you have watched this video, read below for the rest of the story.  @greatcaesarband (via @Upworthy) http://t.co/1N0E5hLV8r

THE REST OF THE #STORY

This heart breaking video celebrates love and hope in the face of violence and despair.

But a video can only tell so much; here is the rest of the story:

#Interracial couple: What you don’t see on the video is that the young black man was castrated then lynched. His girlfriend was forced to watch while this occurred then she was brutally gang-raped and beaten. She was found in time by a neighbor who rushed her to the hospital. When her parents came to the hospital she told them what happened. Her mother ran from the room crying, disgusted that her daughter had lain with a black boy; her father told her not to come home; that she deserved what had happened to her.

#Gay couple: During the attack on the boy in the locker room, someone shouted that the teacher had come in. The boys dispersed with a warning that should the gay boy report them, they would ‘finish what we started somewhere where we won’t be interrupted, fag!’

#Lesbian couple: Lisa finally got the courage to tell her parents that she is lesbian. Her girlfriend, Jackie, came with her for support. After Lisa was kicked out of her home for being lesbian, Jackie’s mom refused to let her stay even overnight as she didn’t want to get involved in a dispute between the girl and her parents. Jackie promised to meet Lisa the next day at the McDonald’s on Broadway. Lisa never showed. What Jackie didn’t realize was the night before Lisa had been beaten and raped. She huddled for the rest of the night in a cardboard box in an alley, shaking. Ashamed of being raped, Lisa couldn’t face Jackie so she hitchhiked to another city. On the streets without money or skills and being underage, Lisa was forced to become a prostitute in order to earn enough money to buy food and sometimes, for a place to sleep.

I don’t know if this video portrayed actual people, or if the couples were representations of what happens all too frequently. The scenarios I have shared have occurred again and again throughout the United States to many interracial, gay and lesbian couples. No one state has a monopoly on hate.

I wish I could say this type of thing no longer happens, but I would be lying. Every day violence driven by hate happens. Every day violence against women happens.

Every day dozens young girls like Lisa sell their bodies for food and shelter. This isn’t happening overseas in economically depressed countries or countries that are ruled by religious fanatics. It is happening here in the United States.

Will you be part of the solution, or part of the problem?

Leave a comment, or visit Aya’s facebook page and engage in conversation. http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar

COMING FEBRUARY 21, 2014, STREET HARVEST, Book 2, Special Crimes Team.

STREET HARVEST:

What do the bodies of two young children have in common with the murders of two adult men?

Eleanor Hasting, a black bookstore owner and child advocate, knows these killings are linked. How can she convince Lieutenant Michael Williams, head of the Special Crimes Team? Someone is abducting street children and their bodies are showing up manually strangled and sexually abused.

Psychic, and member of Missing Children’s Rescue, Jaimie Wolfwalker is prepared to do whatever it takes to locate and rescue the missing street children. The law be damned.  Jaimie’s attitude and methods place her on a collision course with Sergeant Nita Slowater, second-in-command of the Special Crimes Team.

Four dedicated people struggle to come to terms with each other in their desperate search for clues. Every day brings more missing children, more young bodies. Can they stop the monsters before more children disappear?

http://www.amazon.com/author/ayawalksfar

http://www.twitter.com/AyaWalksfar

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