Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sample Saturday: The Zion Trail #2

Welcome to Sample Saturday. This excerpt is from my forthcoming novel, The Zion Trail, which is set in 1843. Lije and his siblings are trying to get through a lunch (or dinner, as it was called at that time) without their parents. Pa has been attacked and beaten, and Ma is nursing him. Nobody feels much like eating. The scene's beginning is here, FYI.

Sarah should take charge, I thought. She's the eldest. But I was the eldest son, and the role of leader seemed to be thrust upon my head. The weight seemed heavier than I could bear. I needed help, and I didn't know where to get any. My burdened shoulders slumped as I considered the matter.

Pa always turned to prayer when he had a difficulty. Would that same action assist me? There was no doubt in my mind that I couldn't do anything about relieving the minds of my brother and sisters without some scrap of inspiration from heaven.

I took a moment and looked at my hands clenched in my lap. I folded them together and thought a prayer, a plea for counsel. Gradually my mind cleared of turmoil and the words of a hymn came to me in startling clarity. Was I supposed to sing?

I hesitated a moment more. My voice had only recently finished changing. At least I hoped it had finished. I didn't want to squawk and frighten Mary Eliza with an untempered voice.

The little one stared at me, her face a rain cloud. I had to do something.

I cleared my throat and hummed a pitch, then began to sing “Rock of Ages.” By the time I got through the line “from Thy riven side which flowed,” I realized Sarah had joined me with her sweet soprano. A few bars into the second verse, John joined in. As we sang the final phrases of the final verse, Mary Eliza attempted to keep up, and calm had been restored to our hearts by the sweet harmony and comforting words. We'd even got through the part about death without cringing.

While we sat basking in the peace of the quiet moments after the end of our singing, I thought a prayer of gratitude. Surprisingly, the strains of the hymn had thrust aside the ill will in my heart toward Sarah. In that moment, I knew Pa would heal and eventually take leadership of our family off my shoulders. That assurance was a great solace to me. Maybe I didn't have to worry about Hans Stiles and his stupidity in attacking Pa. Maybe I could put the burden on God, and go about the task of farming and learning more about the new religion I had so quickly taken to heart.


Thank you for visiting. The Zion Trail will be published soon as an ebook, and after that, in print. To keep up-to-date on when The Zion Trail will be published, along with other new releases, and to learn of special offers and sales, click here to join my Readers mail list. In your inbox, you will also receive instructions on how to download a free ebook of my last novel, Gone for a Soldier.

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