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A Video of my Artwork...

Here is some of my interests and artwork.  I'm still plugging away and striving to compose and Epic Novel.  Here are some of the inspirational sketches and Photoshop things I've done that help me imagine my "world".

TNA: CHAPTER 3: Stewart's Letter

David DeLane Snow

“Even then men learned from these two, magic by which …evil was the price… they sold their souls.”
The Koran
Baqarah  II:102

  All that week Jacob had had no memorable dreams.  In fact, the weeks collected into a month, and before he knew it the holidays had rolled past as well.  Then another year came and went.  Before he knew it, eight years had flown by since Jacob had his first dream of the red-haired woman.  It was strange, because it seemed he only dreamt on the night of his wedding anniversary, and then it was always a replay of the drowning woman.  Jacob had tried to realize that he was sleeping, and in doing so change the course of events in his dream, but never could; only to wake up in a pale cold-frantic sweat.  

    Then, on a beautiful day in April, about a week after he and Arlene celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary, an even stranger event occurred that seemed to echo his previous experiences.
   After another exhausting day of work Jacob came home to his wife and family of pets; by now four hamsters and two finches had been added to their little zoo.  They went through their usual evening meal and television watching and finally bedtime.
   Later, as Jacob was lying in bed reading the novelization of Jaws, he could hear his wife’s heavy shallow-breathing.  She was on her side facing away from him as his eyes followed the curves of her half covered body.  Seeing her beautiful form asleep next to him set his mind at ease, thinking how lucky he was to have such a wonderful life.  Though her black-lace teddy was more than enticing, something drew Jacob’s thoughts back to his reading.
   Thumbing back to where he had left off, his eyes scanned through the paragraphs searching for; his thoughts wondered.  A slight distraction in his attention made Jacob look over the edge of the paperback novel to the pictures on the wall across from him.  They began to smear and drip as if they were melting like candle wax.  Suddenly the corner edges of the bedroom itself faded away as a tarnished, yellow sky eroded into view.

 Jacob felt himself lift out from under the covers of his bed and begin to float toward the ceiling.  His tie-dyed night-shirt morphed into a baby-blue tuxedo with multiple ruffles at the collar and cuffs.  It was just the kind of outfit he hated most.  Again the puff of clouds came, as he landed on the huge bolder in the middle of a calm sea.  So too did the beautiful woman appear; dressed in an Indian Sari of various colored layers.  Then, Jacob noticed for the first time, the distinctive fin of a great white shark cutting through the surface of the still waters as the skies began to boil overhead.
   Reading Jaws was just the catalyst Jacob needed as he suddenly realized that he had been dreaming all along.  He had been trying for a week to do so, and in fact had not even been able to recall a single dream in all that time. Yet, the sound of the howling winds brought him back into his present reality of horror, for the clouds continued to boil overhead as the fierce lightening began.  The red-haired woman screamed as a violent gust threatened to blow her over.  It was in that moment that Jacob reached out and grabbed her hand at the wrist.

  Instead of pulling her back onto the platform rock, they both now stood in the middle of a clearing, in a green rain-forest.  The midday sun shone through as shafts of hazed light filtered onto the floor of the open glen, and the quiet sound of exotic birds could be heard off in the distance.  The realism of everything around him overwhelmed Jacob’s senses.  He noticed that he was now dressed in a more traditional tuxedo, with no ruffles.  The woman’s sari was light blue and her hair was now a soft, jet black with no veil.  She appeared neither distressed nor confused by their new surroundings.  Actually she seemed quite at ease with herself and totally unaware that there had even been a change of location.
  She looked at Jacob as if it was the first time she had ever laid eyes on him, and suddenly dropped to her knees bowing her head saying, “My lord what would you ask of me?”  Her words carried a heavy accent, Russian maybe?
   Stunned by her remark, Jacob asked, “Excuse me?”
   Looking up with a slight smile she asked again in a slower, softer tone,
“How may I serve you my lord?”
   Again, Jacob reached out offering his hand, as she slowly accepted it, he asked, “Stand up for one, where am I?”
  The woman averted her eyes from his and found herself looking at Jacob’s highly polished leather shoes instead; she asked, not quite understanding him, “My lord?”
   Motioning with his open palms to their surroundings and looking about the forest, Jacob rephrased his question, “Where are we?”
  Still averting her eyes away from his she answered, “The woods of Uruk, my lord.”
   Getting a little annoyed with her reverence, he admonished her politely, “It’s alright, you don’t have to call me that, my name is Jacob.”
   Looking him in the eyes for the first time she eagerly offered, “I am Miriam, my -- Jacob.”
   His eyes widened with recognition, but he smiled back at her for using his name and for not looking so scared of him.  Actively looking about at his new surroundings, Jacob slowly took a step in her direction; Miriam suddenly became startled and began to kneel again.
  Jacob quickly injected, “You don’t have to bow down to me either, what place is this?”  While pointing to the ground.
  She smiled, and tried not sound as if his questions were silly, but answered, “Place?  Eriduah, the Great Lands; the middle earth beneath the heavens.  I thought you were one of the gods, for you do not appear to be one of the Fair Ones from the West.”
   Wondering what her original language could be, Jacob was trying to place her accent, “Fair Ones, who are they?”
   Realizing that the stranger before her was indeed out of his element, she tried to educate him a bit, “They were fair at one time but proved false in their friendship among my people, my lor -- Jacob.”
  Frustrated, and trying to grasp exactly why this dream was going the way it
was, Jacob started to explain when he first met her, “We were stand -- never mind.”  Then decided on another approach, “Why are you here, in the woods I mean.”
  As if the volume had gradually been turned up in response to his question the soft gurgling sound of a running stream could be heard.  Jacob only now noticed the banks of a river, through the tree trunks on his left.  Miriam pointed in the direction of the river and said, as if it should have been obvious her visitor, “I come here every evening to fetch water for my household.”
   “Ah, I see.”  He conceded by blushing a little.
   Then Miriam continued with a more detailed explanation, “Tonight I lingered in heavy thoughts and prayer, and then you appeared.  At first I thought you were a Fair One, or the Guardian himself, but you carried no flaming sword --.”
   At that point Jacob shook his head and interrupted, “I’m sorry, Miriam I
am at a loss here.  What do you mean, Guardian?”
  She took a deep calming breath, and began an almost memorized answer, “It is all but a legend now.  I am the last of the Scroll Keepers of Eriduah.  Years ago my grandmother’s grandmother, Lilith met a Guardian atop a great hill in the distant lands of the white cranes.  With a flaming sword in hand he forbade any to near the Great Twisted-Tree, nor partake of its blessed fruit and spring, save his kinsman alone.  My fore bearers wrote the tale of meeting that Guardian, and from that day till this have all the firstborn daughters in my linage so carried it.  I am the last to protect its words.  Yet, am I grieved with shame as I have no husbandman of my own nor a daughter by which to deliver those scrolls unto.”  With that she looked a more than a little upset.
   An older woman with no children, Jacob understood now but pressed on, “You said you were praying, for what exactly?”

  At that precise moment a horrible buzzing, like a gigantic swarm of bees sounded and a tremendous earthquake rumbled everything awake.  Jacob sat up with a start noticing Arlene quietly rising from off the edge of her side of the bed to silence the alarm clock.  Smiling back at him she sleepily said, “Sorry.  Good morning, didn‘t mean to wake you up on your day off.  It‘s Saturday and I have to go in today.  I’m glad you weren’t having one of those weird dreams again.”
  Then, later, over breakfast and coffee, Jacob filled her in on his latest ‘weird’ dream.  Arlene was at least grateful not to have been beaten awake to hear it.  With the kitchen cleaned up they both started their morning routines and became lost in the responsibilities of the day.

   A few hours later Jacob entered his upstairs apartment.  After being unleashed, Franklin eagerly began lapping up water after their long morning walk.  Jacob tossed a pile of mail, which he had retrieved from the box, onto the dining room table.  As he headed to make a cup of freshly brewed coffee for himself one envelope caught his attention.  Among the scattered credit card bills from Exxon, Target and their rent-reminder, was a curious letter with a Texas address on it.  Having lived his entire life in Oklahoma, Jacob had no idea who in the world would be writing him from Texas.  Just as he had begun reading the hand scripted letter, his wife came in through the front door.
   Arlene was a Nursery worker at the Church of Christ a few blocks away.  Today was their congregation’s regularly scheduled Saturday morning cleaning day, and she was in charge of over seeing things for an upcoming event.  Even though Jacob did not attend religious services anywhere he did not discourage his wife’s desire to worship or be active as she saw fit.  They had a mutual understanding that sooner or later one of them would eventually see the other’s light.  Their love for one another was enough.  “God” was another conversation altogether and best left for others to battle over.
   After Arlene’s arrival home they exchanged kisses and brief news about their respective morning activities.  She then poured herself a Diet Dr. Pepper and sat down in the tan recliner by the window.  Setting his coffee aside he showed his wife the curious envelope, “Hey, babe listen to this.”  Then unfolding the one page letter Jacob read it aloud.

Dear Jacob,                                                                   April 22, 1991
   I wish there was a better way of introducing myself than in a letter, but maybe we could work towards a more personal meeting later.  
   My name is Stewart Moran Townsend, and I believe that you are Jacob Lee Townsend, my younger brother.  We were separated when we were very young boys.  After years of searching through genealogical and public records I am happy to say all my efforts have paid off.
   You were born on May 13, 1963 in the small town of Ballinger, Texas.  Our parents were divorced when I was eight and you were five years old, 
in the summer of 1969.  Our mother, Lucy Sarah Price won custody of us, but soon afterwards became homeless.  We were taken away from her and placed in the Buckner’s Children Home in Dallas, Texas.  Our father, Robert Tracy Townsend remarried, moved to another part of the state and lost contact with Lucy.
   Six months after our placement, due to an “administrative mix up” you were transfer to the Westview Boys Home in Hollis, Oklahoma, and lived in the Sweetwater cottages for three years.  Four days after your transferee, dad was able to locate me and regain custody.  We lost contact with you because of the sealed court records.
   Just yesterday I came across the best lead yet, and only after years of researching various documents, do I now believe that I have finally been able to locate you once again.  Please reply to this letter if this is in fact you, and that this information validates your understanding.  I do not wish to lose you to another nine years of searching.

My deepest love,
Your brother,  Stewart

   Jacob’s face went blank for a moment.  After he finished reading the letter to Arlene, whose eyes were now huge beneath her raised brows, Jacob sounded skeptical, “Wow, what am I suppose to make of that?  It looks like someone has gone to an awful lot of trouble to see if they know me.  Is this a joke or what?”
   Cautiously trying to dispel her husband’s suspicion, Arlene said, “Sounded like he knows quite a bit about you already, dear.  It couldn’t hurt to write him back and at least ask some questions.  Maybe he is who he says he is.  Remember I told you, you would find them someday? God works miracles you know.”
   Unable to discount the letter in his hand, Jacob smirked off Arlene’s invocation of Deity with, “Yeah… well.”
   Then, with a big smile on her face for making points in her own favor, she headed down the short hallway to the bedroom, and changed into more comfortable clothes, leaving Jacob standing there rereading the letter from Stewart, thinking, “Miracle, hum?”

TNA Chapter 2-5: THE DREAMER

Chapter Two:
The Dreamer
By David DeLane Snow

   Jacob tried hard to get on with his life, which meant everything revolved around making Arlene happy.  He found work in a local tuxedo rental shop measuring and doing inventory, for the very peers he should have graduated with.  After a few months of putting in long hours, he made his way into upper management; just to scratch out a meager living for them both.  They rented a one bedroom apartment on the not-so-good part of town, drove a  ten year old Ford Mustang, with its rusted floor-board; saw cheap movies when they could, and ate rice and beans - a lot.  Though money was tight, at least they had each other and that was all that really seemed to matter.

     On their first wedding anniversary, when she was twenty and he was nineteen, the nightmares began.  They seemed like memories at first, but fastly progressed into something far stranger.  Jacob’s disturbing dreams had begun to keep Arlene awake, leaving her exhausted and feeling inept to help her husband cope with them. The following six nights, Jacob found himself waking up screaming in a sweat-drenched bed.  On the seventh night, as he lay embracing his wife, Jacob once again drifted off into what had become a familiar terror-filled landscape.

   Drifting away from his reassuringly soft pillow, Jacob found himself fighting the fatigue of the day.  Dressed in a powder-blue tuxedo, he saw himself floating against the backdrop of a yellowish parchment-colored sky.  Just as a wisp of purplish, creamy black clouds began to populate the scene, Jacob felt himself slowing down to a soft landing.  He was standing on a huge moss covered stone, that barely broke the surface of a calm ocean by three feet.
  The air was heavy with the taste of salt and the stench of rotting fish.  As his eyes searched the horizon, the skies turned a royal sapphire, eerily giving everything a hazed-bluish tint.  Then, out of that clouding-blue sky, a beautiful woman appeared.  She was dark skinned, in her mid-thirties, with waist-length bright red hair.  The woman wore a layering of wrap-around cloth, like that of a sari from India.  Though her head was covered, Jacob could still see her unveiled face, and the detail of a small mole on her neck, just beneath her chin.
   After she landed on the rock where he stood, they both faced one another and she began telling him about things that made no sense.  She spoke passionately of a twisted-tree on a distant hill, pointed out a flock of white cranes flying overhead, and observed the brewing of a massive storm cloud in the east.
   Suddenly the heavens boiled with rolling thunder and brilliant displays of lightning as that very storm approached.  The bolts scampered on the water’s surface all around them as Jacob crossed his arms and seemed indifferent to their threats.  He felt detached, like an unconcerned observer only.  Yet, the woman flew into a state of sheer panic as the violent winds shoved her over the edge of the great rock.  She struggled to regain her footing on top as Jacob simply watched her slide deeper into the crashing waves that lapped over the massive stone.  Like a movie whose outcome was predetermined; he did nothing. It was her fate to die.
   Moments later all he saw of the woman was a fear-stricken face, haloed in a fan of bright red hair, mingled with a curtain of silent bubbles.  She slowly sank beneath the surface of the calming waters, leaving Jacob once again standing all alone.  The stench of dead fish filled the air as a strange feeling began to gnaw into Jacob’s waking thoughts; that something very serendipitous was yet to come.  Then he looked out onto the horizon and saw an enormous square ship with no sails.

   Suddenly, Arlene woke up to thrashing arms and the sound of a horrible scream.  Sitting up with a start, blocking her husband's flying arm, she yelled his name several times.  As his eyes popped open Arlene asked, "Wet dreams would be one thing, Jacob, but this waking up screaming is too much!  It's been going on a week now.  Enough's enough!  What's wrong?"
   Jacob slowly lay back down into his damp pillow.  It was then he realized that he had never seen Arlene look so distressed before, she was always the consummate image of patience, and this outburst worried him.
 The distant gaze of his glazed eyes told Arlene that her husband was trying hard to recall his quickly-fading dream.
   "There was -- this girl.  She -”
   "Okay."  Arlene’s blue eyes were focused on her husband's face as she nodded, waiting for him to continue.
   "She -- she was drowning.  There was a huge rock jutting up out of the waves, like a raised platform, and I just stood there watching her go under.  She was screaming for help.  Pleading for me to do something, anything, and I - I just stood there watching and did nothing!"  Arlene felt his damp, trembling arm in the cold air-conditioned darkness.
   "It's ok, it was just a dream.  It's over now."  She told Jacob, as she rubbed his shoulder reassuringly, feeling a little upset with herself for snapping at him like she had.  As he gradually sat up again, Arlene thought he had returned to the bedroom's comforting moonlit surroundings.  She shot a quick glance behind his shoulder to the radio alarm clock, whose red numbers announced 3:21 A.M.
   Glancing back, Arlene was startled by how her husband’s face was contorted with a mixture of emotions.  Jacob’s twitching eyes were huge as if he had just witnessed the electrocution of some convicted criminal.  His curled lip and trembling chin betrayed her husband’s churning desire to vomit.  Reluctant to act, but sensing that something was definitely wrong, Arlene edged closer with, “Jacob, what’s the matter?”
   Turning to face his now staring wife, Jacob’s voice cracked a little, in a sluggish creepy tone, "She wasn't alone, Arlene.  There   were   others, as far as the eye could see.  There were - bloated bodies floating everywhere, as if the ocean was covered in them.  Even the coast was lined with pale green, bleached bodies everywhere!"  Jacob's breaking voice and tearing eyes were now mirrored in that of Arlene's frozen face.  “The stench was unbearable, yet it was all somehow -- deserved.” She leaned forward and drew him closer to herself as he broke down and sobbed uncontrollably in her arms.

   After a few moments, Jacob was able to regain his composure.  Feeling more awake, he shook off the effects of the dream-world and said, “I know it sounds silly, but it seemed so real. I mean, it was like I was right there watching it first hand.”
   Then, as if the answer was there all along, Arlene simply asked, “Why don’t you try to help her the next time you have the dream?”
   Shocked by the fact that he had not thought of it, Jacob sounded stunned, “What?”
   “Yeah, why don’t you reach out and take her hand and see what happens.”
   “You can do that?  I mean, you can change your dreams?”
   “Sometimes. Hey, it’s worth a try.”  Smiling, that she had finally been able to break through, and give him something pleasant to ponder, Arlene quickly added that they get some more rest before the alarm sounded.  Tomorrow would have its own set of problems, and they needed all the rest they could get.

   A few hours later the alarm rang.  They got out of bed and did their usual morning routine of personal hygiene and breakfast.  Coffee was the order of the day for Jacob, struggling to come to life, as Arlene rummaged up pancakes and sausage.  By 7:30 Jacob was out the door and headed off to work.  Arlene began her day by taking their dog, a silver-haired terrier named, Franklin, for his morning walk in the nearby park, next to a beautiful over growth; it was really just an undeveloped three acres of woodlands, but it was a nice venture outdoors.
   Afterwards, Arlene cleaned up the apartment and fed their small zoo; a lonely beta in a ten gallon aquarium, a parakeet named Samwise, and two ferrets: Luke and Leia.  Jacob never had any pets of his own growing up and so Arlene wanted to share a little of what she had as a child.  Shopping was next on her to-do list as well, that and making a few gossip phone calls to her best friend, Nita, about the goings on at church.

   At The Men’s Tailor, Jacob had begun his own routine of opening the store for business by readying the cash register’s tills then redressing a mannequin in the window front.  By 8:00 A.M. the doors were unlocked just as one of the salesman, James Zero, arrived.  James was a little younger than Jacob.  He came from a well-established family in town, but thought of himself as a hippie, even though disco was well in fashion those days.  He sported a ponytail, earrings, and a spiked watch-band.
  After the other staff arrived and they had their morning meeting-chats with coffee and donuts a few customers had begun to pick up their orders.  A woman came in complaining that her husband-to-be had noticed his buttons were loose, and demanded a refund.  James quickly gathered supplies and mended them, threw in some cufflinks as a gift and cut the price in half, sending the bride-to-be off with a smile.  Admiring his style, Jacob pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose and complimented James on his deed as he headed for a rear storeroom.
   About that time a few other customers came and went with their garments.  It turned out to be just another regular uneventful day.  Jacob had forgotten all about his restless night and was glad things were going well.  It was the height of prom season again, and the measuring and refits were in full swing with no time to think of sleepless nights.  As the day wound down, Sarah, Jordan and James left for home as Jacob was eager to lock up and leave too.  Just then a man came up; Jacob waved the others along letting them know he would take care of the last customer of the day.

  The man was a well-dressed African-American, in his mid-thirties. Though his clothes were casual, something about them told Jacob they were out of style by a few decades.  He wore a tweed golf cap half cocked on his head, and one hand in his pocket.  After introducing himself as Allen Carter he asked, with a broad smile, “Evening sir, I’m here to pick up Dale Hines.”
   Jacob shook his head, “Sorry, there’s no Dale here.”
   Disappointed, the man glanced down the street with an odd look then answered, “Damn.  Chris said to pick him up after work.”  Then, half to himself, looking at his watch, he said, “We’re suppose to leave for overseas tonight, sorry mister.”
   Jacob stood there watching as the man turned away and began walking down the side walk.  Then about fifteen paces away the man called to Jacob saying, “Don’t let her die, mister, don’t let her die.”
  Jacob asked, as the man turned away and kept walking, “Who?  Don’t let who die?”
  “You know.”
  Quickly locking the shop’s front door, Jacob turned back around suddenly noticing that the man was nowhere to be seen.  Biting his nails, Jacob thought it odd that he had disappeared so easily, but just assumed he had turned down a side street.
   Getting in his own car, Jacob headed home across town to his wife and waiting zoo, glad to have another day over and that much closer to the weekend.  Even his night went smooth, and for the first time in a long time there were no dreams to interrupt his sleep.
   The next day Jacob was awakened by his alarm clock, and thrilled to have had yet another night of uninterrupted sleep.  They went through their mundane activities and work with no reflections of nightmares.

  Six weeks passed then, something odd happened in the middle of Jacob‘s routine at work.  A man in his mid to late twenties came into the shop, to get out of the heavy downpour of rain.  He began meandering about, frequently checking his watch and looking out the large rain-washed windows.  His dry clothes looked out of style by a few decades; thin belt, tie and suede jacket.  When asked if he needed assistance he only mentioned that he was waiting on a friend named Christopher.  Later, Jacob looked up just in time to see the man, standing in between a family group and a display rack, turn back to him and smile a nodding good-bye before he went outside.  Jacob could have sworn that the man walked right through the wall without even opening the door.  Suddenly the next moment he was outside talking to the same man wearing the tweed golf cap that Jacob had met a few weeks earlier.  They chatted for a moment as Jacob handed a receipt to a woman paying her grandson’s bill.
  The older woman, noticing who Jacob was staring at, replied, “Oh, I’m so sorry, that gentleman told me to tell you to save Miriam, and -- to give her the key in order to read it?”
   A cold chill ran up Jacob’s spine as the hairs at the base of his neck unexpectedly stood on end.  He quickly ran to the front of the store and went outside.  Looking down both directions of the side walk for the two men, Jacob froze in his tracks.  They were nowhere to be seen.  Just as the older woman and her grandson left the shop, Jacob asked her what the man’s name was, but she only stared at him strangely as if she remembered nothing of their previous conversation.

   Jacob thought he had had enough issues in his past to handle without adding more to his life by having people think he was crazy too.  Later that evening, he went home as usual and decided not to say anything to his wife about seeing the two men.   Arlene was not home; and according to a note she had gone out shopping, so Jacob eased himself into his recliner and turned on the television.  He needed a good distraction, and a show on PBS about the History of Rome was good enough.
  The episode vanished with an electric flash.  Just as Jacob felt the need to cover his ears, they were silenced by the aftermath of a thunderous roar.  His blinding view softened into the surroundings of his own dimly lit, cluttered car garage.  As they grew accustomed to the dark once again, Jacob’s horrified eyes widened at the sight of his brutally beaten, naked wife.  Arlene lay in an unmoving bloody heap in the middle of the concrete floor.   He began to run to his wife’s dead body when all of a sudden she sat up, and turned around, facing him.  He saw the blade of a sword sticking out of her chest.  Blood ran down both corners of her mouth, her dead eyes were solid black.  Staring up at him, she said in a gurgling voice, “To know your family you must save Miriam, don’t let Miriam die.  Don’t let her die, Jacob.”

   Everything burned away with yet another brilliant flash of lightning and the sound of his living room windows violently rattling.  Jacob suddenly realized that he had been dreaming all along when a thought came to him, “we don’t have a car garage.”  His awakened thoughts whirled in his aching head as he sat up with a start.  His clothes were drenched with sweat.
   Sitting up in his oversized recliner was Jacob’s silver-haired Terrier looking up at him.  The dog’s head was cocked to one side, questioning his master’s abrupt movement.  As Jacob began to lower his foot-rest, Franklin leapt down with a bark into a pointing stance staring at the front door’s clicking knob.  A moment later Jacob found himself just as excited as his pet to see his grocery-laden wife enter the apartment.  He quickly moved to help place her treasures on the dining room table, and hurriedly embraced her, half picking her up off the ground.
   Arlene’s startled exhale returned her husband’s eager kiss and greeting.
   “Wow!  So what was that for?”
   “Just missing my best girl.  Let’s blow this place for a movie and dinner out?”
   “Are you crazy?  It’s raining cats and dogs outside.  I almost got washed away on the freeway coming home.  Let’s just make it a cozy one in tonight instead, alright? Look, got some wine coolers.”  Taking off her raincoat, Arlene put her purse strap down, over the back of the chair, and headed for the kitchen to make supper.
   Pushing them aside, Jacob found himself looking out the blinds and seeing his apartment complex’s parking lot awash in a flash flood.  “Man!  You weren’t kidding; it’s coming down in sheets out there.”  Startled by a flash of lightning, Jacob jumped back a from the window’s reflection to see Allen Carter staring back at him.  Another flash shook everything and the image was gone.
   Turning to see his wife hard at work putting the groceries away, Jacob announced, “Hey, dear, I need to tell you something…” Then, after he had told her everything from the dreams to seeing the two vanishing men he asked her, “Am I going crazy, Arlene?”
   To which she answered with a grave hesitation in her voice, “No, Jacob.  I’ve seen the same two men.  Once at church, and then again at the store following me tonight.  I thought I was the one going crazy -- I‘m sorry I didn’t say anything to you about it.  I don’t know what it means, but I don’t see how we can both be going crazy at the same time.”

   Over dinner their conversations turned to other matters that seemed more important and less fantastic.  Bills that needed to be paid, the dog’s vaccinations were due, and the car’s need of new tires; they were all better topics than strange dreams and silly ghost stories.  As the night wound down to its normal routine again, they headed for bed to conclude another exhausting day.

Salvation again... answered.

I had asked this question, and trying to keep in "context" got a really good answer last night from someone else; simplistically given in John 3:16 " "whosoever" ". Therefore; Paul was right. I guess I'm 'trying too hard' to find the trees in the forest.
Though Peter was talking to a specific "group" his message that Jesus would 'forgive' even those who murdered him could be extended; according to Paul, to even those who had nothing to do with those events, and 'forgiveness' would even cover your personal faults. Like John said, "whosoever" BELIEVES, and acts upon such belief not to continue rebelling against would find that "forgiveness" they so seek.
I am not a "perfect" man by any means; yet... I have re-claimed the Blood of Jesus Christ as having been the payment in full of a debt I could never pay off. Being no different that I was before, just "forgiven" it will be a daily struggle not to fall back and continue to aggravate that "clean slate" I have been Graciously giving; and I am by no means - 'better than anyone else'. Just the opposite. Humbled to watch the details of my personal life before a world stage.

TNA Chapter 1-5: THE AWAKENING...

Chapter One:
BY David DeLane Snow

   The slap was loud and unwarranted as the sting from the woman’s hand immediately began to show its welting print on the young boy’s cheek. The boy was no more than six years old.  He tried to rub his right ear, but the woman continued to violently shake him by the shoulders while screaming at him.  She was angry about having been prematurely awakened.  The frightened child did his best not to cry out because he knew that always angered her even more.
   Just as she raised her hand for a second blow, another boy jumped in between them both.  The nine year old shoved the younger to the ground making him skid to a fall a few steps away.  The older boy shouted, “Leave him alone!  Run little brother, I’ll hold her off.”  With that the thin blond-haired boy on the ground scrambled to get away, but not before catching a glimpse of her beating his rescuer.  The tall dark haired hero then fell to the floor and curled up as the angry woman began furiously kicking him in the back and ribs, shouting, “So you think you can handle this instead - alright!”
  Crouched behind his nearby bed the younger boy could only watch in silent horror as the beating continued until the woman grew tired, then quitting on her own accord.

   Jacob woke up wide eyed and breathing heavily from his dream.  Its realism was disturbing as he sat up on the side of his bed rubbing his ear, and the sleep from his eyes.  His sleeping wife rolled over and continued to lay undisturbed.  Jacob seemed to have suppressed so much in his life; amazed by how a single nightmare could have resurrected a host of unremembered emotions - long thought forgotten.  But, the haunting vision of those two boys -- his mind strained to put their faces back into focus.  He almost knew their names, but the attempt to recall them was futile.
   The phone rang.
   “Hello?  Morn’, James.  Yeah, go ahead and order three black and four baby blue ones, they seem to sell a lot.  Alright, yeah, I’ll see you at regular time tomorrow. Bye.”   Then, just like that with the phone returned to its cradle it was gone again; his dream and any concept of its recollection.

   Jacob had always thought that it was his fate in life not to have a family history, because he had been in and out of orphanages and foster homes for most of his life.  He had no memory of his mother, and only the vaguest flashes of a brother and father watching Star Trek in a dimly-lit living room.  Yet those nearly forgotten happy thoughts were overshadowed by layers of darker experiences.
  The first foster dad that Jacob ever remembered was an alcoholic bum who lay about the house in boxers barking out orders to him and his three other abused foster-siblings.  By his second family, Jacob had decided to be a loner among four foster sisters who showed him no interest whatsoever.
  Creepiest of all was his third foster home, which had luckily only been a three week stay with an elderly couple.  They smoked constantly, had a million cats, smelled of Ben Gay, and saw his teenage years as a sign of their own coming deaths.  Their mantra was, “I remember when we used to do such and such, we’ll be long dead and buried before you’ll even recall our names.”  Ironically, years later he never could remember the pronunciation of their Austrian names.
   Three days after Jacob’s sixteenth birthday, he was finally adopted into his fairy tale family.  Even though his new parents, Patricia and Charles Douglas, belonged to an ultra conservative “thou shalt not” religious group, they at least loved him.  They were caring and accepted him with all his flaws, such as still being afraid of the dark, a bit reclusive, and a chronic nail bitter.  They had two other sons who accepted Jacob into their family as if he had been raised among them the entire time; Marcus and Mich.  In appearance they could have been twins, but were as different as night and day.  One was a rock-n-roller and the other a sci-fi nerd; Jacob himself fell somewhere in between the two.
   It was during the time he lived with the Douglas family that Jacob began dating a red-headed girl named Arlene Stapleton.  She didn’t have a father, but lived with her mother and grandmother across town.  After meeting her, Jacob would peddle his ten-speed bike over to her home and spend his every waking moment visiting with her; whenever he could steal away the chance.

   One day, before his senior prom, after Jacob return home from one of his best visits with Arlene, everything changed.  The entire evening had been marred by one of the worst thunderstorms he would ever remember.  Leaning his bike against the wall of the leaking car port, Jacob arrived home soaking wet.  Standing just outside the back door fumbling with his house keys, he could hear the seventh ring of the kitchen phone.  Entering as fast as he could hoping to catch the ringing before it stopped he nearly slipped.
   Jacob almost yelled into the receiver, “Hello?”  The A/C had been left on, yet the conversation turned his spine colder than his dripping clothes.
   “Hello, Jacob?” Came the familiar voice in an awkward tone.
   “This is pastor Conner.  I’ve got some bad news for you son.”
   “I’m so, sorry to be the one to inform you, and like this over the phone; we‘ve been trying to reach you all afternoon.  Jacob, everyone in your family was involved in a really bad car accident.  They - they didn’t make it.”
   “Make it?”
   “They’re all dead Jacob. We’re here at the…”
   Just like that he was all alone again. Hollow and numb did not begin to describe the emptiness that had swallowed him whole. His entire family had been killed by a drunk driver and now he was alone.

   Nothing was the same after that.
   He didn’t graduate, moved into a friend’s house, and gave up on God, the church, and the whole world.  Had it not been for the love and support of Arlene’s friendship, Jacob would have ended it all that day.
   Yet, through it all, Arlene was there for him.  The funerals, studying for his GED and job searches.  She became a constant presence for him, and continually reassured Jacob that he would find his own place in life; and God willing one day even the family of his good memories.  Jacob had found his lifeline in her, for Arlene had become his only solace and a reason for getting up in the morning.  A few months later they were married in the very park where they first met, on his way to school.