Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

JOHN ALDEN ... A SHORT STORY
Friday, January 18, 2019 by LYNNE BASHAM TAGAWA

PLEASE WELCOME

LYNNE BASHAM  TAGAWA

author of the Shenandoah road

TO

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY

 

 

He was choking, his hands scrabbling against the weight, pressing him down. John Alden twisted and fought, but he could not move. He was being buried alive.

To one side, shiny bone peeked under decayed tatters of flesh; hair—an unexpected red-gold color—surely not an Indian’s—straggled across the brow of the dead man. Then more bones, naked and shiny, poking up from the soil.

No! No!

John opened his eyes. Slowly, the blackened underside of the Mayflower’s deck came into focus. He grabbed at the thin blanket twisted around him and unloosed its hold. He sat up in the hammock, sweating despite the chill.

The nightmare had returned.

 

What did it mean? Would he die in this godforsaken place? Or was it so cursed after all? He’d seen many go to their deaths in peace, drifting away, their skins pale and parchment-like, until their faces lit up with a sudden realization of—what?

Heaven? He’d been taught the Scriptures as a child and knew heaven to be real. But he’d left all that behind when he’d chosen a life at sea. Sometimes, he caught himself praying during fierce storms—praying for mercy to escape what seemed like certain death. But then, when the sea calmed again, he forgot his prayers.

Priscilla had what these others had—that peaceful countenance.

Oh Lord, don’t let her die too!

When and how he’d first noticed her he couldn’t quite discern. By the time the voyagers had disembarked, his heart had followed her, that was certain. What chance had a landless cooper like himself with such a one?

And yet, here he was, turning over in his mind the thought of staying, of casting his lot in with the men and women on shore. He was already helping them—nursing the sick here on board, making occasional repairs. They could use able-bodied men right now.

Why, they were even having trouble burying the dead. Yes, he’d speak to the captain today. Ask if he might offer his services for the time being. He didn’t want to anger Captain Jones, so he wouldn’t speak of staying. Not yet, anyway.

Would he fit in? And would Priscilla ever look his direction?

Oh Lord, grant me what these others have.

 

ABOUT THE SHENANDOAH ROAD

John Russell’s heart aches from the loss of his wife, but the Shenandoah Valley frontiersman needs to marry again for his daughter’s sake. At first, he believes he has found the right young woman, despite their differences in background, but his faith falters when time reveals she isn’t quite what she seemed. Can he truly love her? And what about his own failings?

Unlike her disgraced sister, Abigail Williams obeys the Commandments. At least, she thinks herself a Christian until a buckskin-clad newcomer courts her. He treats her kindly but also introduces her to a sermon by the controversial preacher, George Whitefield. Her self-righteousness is shattered, and she wonders about their relationship. If she confesses her lack of faith, will John continue to love her?

“Lynne Tagawa transports readers into the faith and hope, and sorrows and fears of 18th-century colonial America. While other books feature the raw grit of frontier colonial life, this book goes deeper and reveals the heart.” —Douglas Bond, author of numerous books, including War in the Wasteland and Hostage Lands.

“The Shenandoah Road is an authentic and engaging journey back to the challenges of settling in the Shenandoah Valley” —Laura Hilton, author of Firestorm (Whitaker House, 2018)

Raw, realistic, and historically packed, this story will make you think. If you enjoy stories with deep theological themes, you will enjoy this.” —Amber Schamel, author of Solve by Christmas, winner of the 2018 Christian Indie Award

ABOUT LYNNE BASHAM TAGAWA

Lynne Tagawa, author of Sam Houston’s Republic and A Twisted Strand, lives in Texas with her husband. She is the mother of four grown sons and grandmother of three. She has written a Texas history curriculum in narrative form, Sam Houston’s Republic, and The Shenandoah Road, a story of the Great Awakening.

For more information about the author and The Shenandoah Road, go to Lynne’s website:

https://www.lynnetagawa.com/

 

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