But he was a good person…


From time to time, I write flash fiction–whenever it flashes in my mind. Here’s my latest piece.


Rocko Smith III was born a fortunate man.

One could even say born with a silver spoon in his hand.

But he was a good person.

He didn’t squander or waste.

Instead he did his best posthaste.

Unlike others in his class.

He didn’t party hard and fast.

He worked hard and did good deeds.

He truly was a good person but…

One bad choice he made.

Or should I say one good choice he didn’t make.

But he was a good person…

The car circled the public square for the third time. The Christmas lights sparkled and blinked merrily but Rocko wasn’t there for the decorations. His gaze went past the bright lights and peered into the shadows.

He tapped the driver’s shoulder. “Pull over, Jives.”

“My name’s not Jives, Rocko.”

“I know that but can’t you humor me just once, Martin? I always wanted a driver named Jives.”

“If it makes you happy, I suppose you can. Just tonight since it’s Christmas Eve.”

“That’s a deal, Jives.” He opened his door and picked up the package off the seat.

“Be back in a few.”

“Take as long as you need, Boss.”

“My name’s not boss.”

I know but I always wanted to say that.”

“Fair enough…Jives.”

Rocko chuckled as he made his way toward the alley. With his back turned to the merry lights, the night turned dark. And cold. He shivered glad to have his warm coat and gloves.

He walked into the alley. He saw his target. “Hi.”

“I’m not doing nothing wrong.”

“I know that.  I just wanted to give you a Christmas gift.”

“I don’t need no charity.”

“I’m sure you don’t but still I’d like to give you this gift.” He reached the box toward the man.


“Because I’ve been so fortu—”

Blinding lights came toward them.

Rocko stood in a line—a very long line. It went as far as the eye could see and he was at the end of the line. In front of him stood a man in tattered clothes. Rocko still had on his warm coat and gloves. “Hey buddy, where are we? What’s going on? How did I get here?”

The man turned.

“You’re the man from the alley.”

“And you’re the man that was in my alley.”

“What happened? Why are we here?”

“Guess that runaway truck got both of us.”

“You mean I’m dead.”

“It seems to be so.”

“But I was just trying to do something nice for someone on Christmas Eve.”

“Hey don’t blame me. I didn’t ask you to come in my alley.”

“No. No. Of course not. That’s not what I meant at all. I’m just surprised. So then what’s this line?”

“My guess is that it’s the judging line.”

“What’s that?”

“You know it’s where God decides if you go to heaven or hell.”

“I don’t believe in God.”

“Believe or not, I think you’re about to meet your maker.”

“You really think God’s at the end of this line?”

“No, we’re at the end of the line. He is at the beginning of the line. Of course, He is the Alpha and the Omega.”

“You sound like you know what you’re talking about.”

He shrugged. “I used to go to church a long time ago. Of course, I started making bad choices that ended up with me being in that alley. First it was alcohol. Then it was drugs. Then I needed more money to get the drugs and ended up in prison. And then the alley.”

“So things aren’t looking good for you, huh?”

“I guess you could say that. But I made the choices so I gotta face the consequences. Got no one to blame but myself.”

“Sorry about that buddy.”

“It is what it is. How about you? How are you feeling about the whole thing?”

“It’s true I didn’t believe in God but I am…was a good person. For the most part I tried to do the right thing. I was kind to the people in my life, I donated lots of money to charities. And not just money but my time as well. I think I’ll be OK.”

“Sounds like it.”

And then it was their turn.

A man sat on a large golden throne. But not just any man, the Son of Man but also the Son of God. He wore a robe of white so bright it glowed. To his left was brightness and warmth that beckoned all. To his left darkness and death.

The man from the alley fell on his face.

“Stand up, Stanley.”

He lifted his head. “I can’t. I’m not worthy to approach you, Lord.”

“I know you Stanley and you know me. Please stand up. Fear not, you have been made righteous through my blood.”

As Stanley stood, his tattered clothes turned into a glowing white robe. “But I’m not worthy. I’ve done so many bad things. Made so many mistakes.”

“And yet I know you, Stanley.”

Rocko breathed a sigh of relief. It was going to be OK. If someone like Stanley got to go to heaven, surely he would. After all, he was a good person. A really good person.

“Please go to the left, Stanley. There are people waiting for you. People who love you.”

It was his turn. He walked up to the throne with a confident smile.

The man stared at his for several long moments. Then with a booming voice, “Who approaches my throne?”

Gone was the kind loving voice, in its place was a cold angry voice. Something was wrong. Stanley had knelt so Rocko knelt. “It’s me. Rocko Smith III, Lord.”

“You dare to call me Lord. I do not know you.”

“True but I was a really good person.”

“I do not know you and you do not know me.”

“But I want to know you. Now.”

“Did you not have chances when you were alive?”

“Well, sure I had chances but I didn’t think you were real. Everyone said you were a myth. Obviously, I was wrong about that and I’m sorry. But I was a really good person. I worked hard. I was nice to people. I gave money to…”

“Your good deeds are like filthy rags. They mean nothing to me. Please go to the right.”

He looked to his right and only saw darkness awaiting him. “That can’t be right. You let Stanley, the drug addict into heaven. That’s where I belong. In the light. In heaven.”

“I never knew you.” His voice was heavy with sorrow.

“It’s not fair.” Invisible hands pulled him toward the darkness. “But I was a really good pers…”


So what did you think? BTW, don’t forget to scroll down and leave a comment to be in the drawing for BEAST by Chawna Schroeder. Thanks!

God Bless & Good Reading.

Jesus Loves Me!


Here’s a short story that’s sure to make you smile!




On Sunday, I learned about Jesus. We sang Jesus loves me, and then… My Sunday School teacher told us that Jesus loves good little girls and boys. I wanted Jesus to love me but…

On Monday, I found a big black bug.  I threw it on my little sister just so I could watch her scream. I thought it was funny. I don’t think Jesus liked that.

On Tuesday, Mom asked me to take out the garbage. I said okay, but I forgot.  I remembered when I saw my Mom take it out herself.  I don’t think Jesus liked that.

On Wednesday, I went to play baseball.  I had so much fun but I didn’t go home for dinner. When I got home, my Dad was so worried. I don’t think Jesus liked that.

On Thursday, my little brother wanted to play with me, but I told him to stop bothering me because I was playing with my friends.  He went away but he was sad.  I don’t think Jesus liked that.

On Friday, I failed my spelling test because I was too busy playing with my friends to study.  Mrs. Noodles told me she was so disappointed because she knew I could do better.  I don’t think Jesus liked that.

On Saturday, I couldn’t do anything right. Everyone was mad at me. Mom was mad because Mrs. Noodles called about my spelling test. Dad was mad because I didn’t finish my chores. My brother was mad because I broke his favorite truck. My sister was mad because I was breathing too loudly.

I knew Jesus couldn’t love me because I wasn’t a good little boy.

On Sunday, I wouldn’t get out of bed. My sister called for me to come down and watch cartoons.  I said no!         My brother called for me to come down and play.  I said no!                                                                                             My Dad called for me to come down to take a walk.  I said no!                                                                                         My Mom called me to come down to eat pancakes.  I said no!

Then, my Mom and Dad came up. My Mom felt my head. My Dad asked me what was wrong. I told them Jesus didn’t love me. Jesus loved good little boys and I was just too bad.

Then, Mom and Dad smiled at each other and then at me.

Daddy reached for the Bible on my nightstand. He flipped through the pages and then said, “In Romans 5:8 it says… but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners.”

Mom asked, “Do you know what that means?”

I shook my head. 

“It means God loves you even when you don’t do the right thing. God doesn’t stop loving you because you make a mistake.”


 “Really,” Dad said.

 And then I smiled. “Do you mean that Jesus loves me when I’m good and when I’m bad? Jesus loves me no matter how many mistakes I make.”

Mommy and Daddy both nodded yes so I jumped out of bed. I watched cartoons. I played baseball with my brother and my dad. I ate my pancakes. And then we went to church.

In Sunday School, we sang Jesus loves me. I sang louder than anybody else.



What about you? Ever have a week when you can’t seem to do anything right? Do you sometimes forget God loves you?




Flash Fiction Friday!

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It’s been a while since I wrote a flash fiction piece so here it is. In case you don’t know what flash fiction is…it’s a very, very short story but still has a beginning, a middle and an end. Usually the word count hovers below 1000 words but can be even shorter. A few creative people have even managed to write a complete story in a sentence or two. Not being quite that creative, it took me a few more sentences but here it is…




Lillian Duncan



Life. A precious thing.

Most of us live our lives the best we can and then we die. We merrily dance our way through childhood, suffer through adolescence, then create the life we want or simply follow the path of least resistance.

Either way, we experience love and heartbreak, laughter and tears, victories and tragedies and, of course, life and death along the way.

But a few forego normality so that others can have it.

Her fingers hovered over the keyboard, unsure what to write next. As she reread the words, she wondered if she was talking about the deceased or herself.

This obituary changed everything. This death changed everything. This man changed everything. She wiped away the tears, determined to finish what she’d started.

Her fingers moved back to the keyboard.

Life. A precious thing but an honorable death is just as precious.

She nodded. Good. Very good. He would have liked her words or at least she wanted to believe that was the case. Truth be told, he probably wouldn’t have. Never one to be the center of attention, he liked staying in the background. Staying in the background is what allowed him to be so very good at his job.

But this was his day and she would celebrate his life and mourn his death.

Taking a deep breath, she hit enter. Then slowly she stood up and walked out of the room, knowing she would never return.

Time to stop following the path of least resistance.

With a smile, she walked out of the room and into a new life.

the end!

YOUR TURN: I hope a lot more questions popped up as you read it. Who was the man? What was his connection to her? Why did he die? Why did it affect her so? What’s she going to go do now? Answer any or all the  questions or even a different one that the story brought to your mind and then share it with us.


The Ceremony of the Blessed Vessel–THE END!


“So now that you have your Gift, it is time to talk about the Blessed Vessel.”

Rose thought that was exactly what they’d been doing. She had her Blessed Vessel in front of her, didn’t she?

With a knowing smile, Princess Lilianna asked, “You didn’t think The Creator’s Gift was the Blessed Vessel, did you?”

Around the room, girls nodded and a few giggled.

“Not to fear. That’s a very common mistake. In fact, I suppose we rather trick you into believing that, just so we can tell you it’s not. The Creator’s Gift is filled with good things the Creator has given you but it is not the Blessed Vessel. And even though your Gift is decorated with those things you love, it is not all that the Gift contains.”

The things they loved? Rose’s gaze drifted back to Bells and her Gift. Did that mean Bells loved nothing but Bells?

“The Gift contains many things you will need on your One True Journey.”

What sort of things?

“Courage. Compassion. To name only two. But other things as well for you to discover along your journey. But as with the paths, you make the choice to use them or not. The Creator’s Gift and your Blessed Vessel are linked together. Use the two together correctly, and they will help you complete your One True Journey to its final destination. Squander them and they will lead to pain and sorrow. And, perhaps, even worse emptiness.”

Oh, she would use them correctly. Rose was sure of that. She didn’t want pain or sorrow or emptiness. She wanted nothing more than to complete her One True Journey to become a Princess.

Even if she didn’t understand how—quite yet.

“When you treat the Blessed Vessel with the respect it is due and use the Creator’s Gifts, you will discover the path for your One True Journey that will lead to the destination we all should strive for.”

“But be careful. It is so easy to squander your Blessed Vessel. Many will want to help you to do just that. Once squandered it is so very hard to stay on the path of you One True Journey. But once again I must remind you the Creator can repair the damage if you allow it to be so. Never forget that.”

“Your Blessed Vessel is yours and yours alone. But once you find your own true love, you may share it with him. But take heed. True love is not easy nor quick as many would have you believe. So take care of where you allow your feet to fall. Not just tonight but in all the days and nights that will follow.”

Princess Lilianna looked over at Princess Michella. “And now a word of warning about those pesky Knights-in-Training that you shall meet tonight at the Ball. Even though you have known many of them all your life, it will not be the same after this Ceremony of the Blessed Vessel. Do not allow them to lure you from your One True Journey with their pretty words or their empty promises.”

Still confused, Rose looked over at Veronique who was looking at her. She shrugged. Rose had no idea what the Blessed Vessel was. Apparently what she held in her hand was the Creator’s Gift, not the Blessed Vessel. Both were meant to help her complete her One True Journey, but she wasn’t quite sure how.

“But this is the Ceremony of the Blessed Vessel. My dear children, each of you are so very special to the Creator. He has created the One True Journey for each of you that will lead to a special happiness that can only be found by completing it.” She paused. Her beauty shone through. Why had Rose ever thought her ugly? Again, it seemed as if her gaze met every girl in the room.

Then another beautiful smile as she said, “And if you haven’t figured it out quite yet, let me be the first to tell you that you are the Blessed Vessel.”



The Ceremony of the Blessed Vessel–Part VII


With shaking hands, Rose picked up her gift—her Blessed Vessel.

Never had she seen anything more beautiful. And it belonged to her and only to her. The wooden chest was carved with such intricacy and care, it brought tears to her eyes.

It was divided into three sections.

The first section showed a herd of horses. Oh, how she loved horses!

Of course everyone loved to ride horses, but her love went far beyond that. She loved to take care of them, keep them safe and comfortable. One day she would love to have a haven for horses that were no longer wanted because they weren’t perfect anymore.

The more Rose gazed at the horses, they seemed to actually be moving. One horse was in the midst of galloping. Another reared back, fierce and proud. A colt leaned against its mother for comfort.

So beautiful!

On the other end of the chest was a garden of roses, pink, red, and yellow with green leaves surrounding them, no doubt to symbolize her love for growing living things. Her mother often teased her that it must have been why she’d named her Rose, so deep was her love for growing things.

She’d even given Rose a small section in her own garden this year.

In the center of each rose was a tiny but perfect gem that matched the colors of the petal. But the most beautiful were just like the dress she wore—no color and all colors. They shimmered as if the sunlight fell upon them.

The Creator did know her. Her Blessed Vessel showed the things she loved the most in this world.

Between the herd of horses and the rose garden was a smooth section of wood, beautiful but empty. Why had the carver put nothing in the center? Not that it was unpleasant but it gave a feeling of not quite being finished.

Rose ran a finger across the empty space. A tingle of excitement coursed through her.

Veronique whispered in her ear, “Oh, my gift is so beautiful. Look, I have books of every sort.”

And indeed she did. Both sides of Veronique’s vessel was filled with books with only a small space between the books, much smaller than Rose’s empty space. Books and nothing more.

How fitting.

Veronique loved books more than anyone Rose had ever known.

“What do you suppose it might mean?” Veronique looked anxious. “Why do I only have books and nothing else?”

“I suppose it might mean that you might become a Scholar of some sort.”

“I would love that.” As Veronique spoke, she ran her fingers lovingly on the books carved into her gift. “Think about it. Spending all day reading and learning all sorts of interesting things. How wonderful would that be?”

“Perhaps, you might become a Scribe.”

Veronique’s eyes widened. “A Scribe? That would be more than I could ever hope or dream for. What does your gift show?”

“Horses and flowers.”

Veronique laughed. “Oh, the Creator seems to know each of us very well.”

“It seems to be so.”

They both turned to Bells. “Show us what you have.”

Bells pouted. “Nothing nearly as useful as your books, Veronique. Nor as beautiful as your horses and garden, Rose.” She held it out for the others to see.

“Very curious, indeed.” Rose finally said.

Bells’ box consisted mostly of the blank space in the middle. On each side was a narrow section filled with bells. All sorts of bells—big ones; little ones; pretty ones; and some no so pretty.

Veronique looked up from the box, concern filled her eyes. “Most unusual. But still very pretty. Mine only has one thing as well. Books.”

“But you love books. I don’t like bells. Unless you’re talking about me, of course. Then I like them.” Bells shook her head, her blonde curls went every which way. “It doesn’t matter. I can’t wait until we get to the Ball tonight. That’s where the real fun will begin.”

After a few more moments, Princess Lilianna spoke again. “The Creator’s Gifts are things of beauty, no?”

Why did she keep calling it the Creator’s Gift instead of the Blessed Vessel? Wasn’t this supposed to be the Ceremony of the Blessed Vessel?

“Is there anyone here who thinks they may have received the wrong Gift? It has been known to happen from time to time.”

Rose looked at Bells. Would she say something? Bells looked at her and shook her head with a smile. Apparently not. Each girl looked down the row they sat in to see if someone had received the wrong Blessed Vessel.

No one came forward.

“Wonderful then.” Her gaze swept around the room. “As you may have noticed each of your Gifts has a space where nothing can be seen as of yet. The empty space waits for the paths you will choose as you take your One True Journey.”

Rose stared down, now understanding. Excitement flowed through her. Her One True Journey awaited her. She could create in the empty space whatever she wanted.

A glance at Veronique’s gift made her understand even more. The tiny empty space must signify that Veronique would have a much shorter journey to her final destination than Rose.

As Rose gazed upon Bells’, she wondered what all that empty space could mean. A sense of foreboding passed over her for her friend.

“So now that you have your Gift, it is time to talk about the Blessed Vessel.”

Rose thought that was exactly what they’d been doing. She had her Blessed Vessel in front of her, didn’t she?

With a knowing smile, Princess Lilianna asked, “You didn’t think The Creator’s Gift was the Blessed Vessel, did you?”


One more to go….would love to hear any comments so far! Thanks for sticking with me and the story.



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Princess Lilianna was talking about destination again. What destination? Whatever could that mean?

“And if you are especially blessed, along the way you will find your one true love to share the rest of the journey with you.”

That definitely didn’t sound like the destination was about finding her one true love. Rose was more confused than ever. If finding her one true love wasn’t the point of her One True Journey, then what was?

“No matter whether you are the King’s own daughter or the daughter of a poor farmer, each of you must take your own Journey. Your feet must trod the path. No one else can take your journey for you. And let me assure you, there will be many surprises along the way, some pleasant and some not.”

“There will be many paths to choose from as you take your journey. So many that at times you might become confused, afraid to take the next step. But worry not, my sweet children. Unlike a maze, there are many paths that will lead you to your final destination. And, in fact, some of you will believe you’ve completed your One True Journey only to discover there is still more to come.”

At your young age you may feel the need to rush through the journey, but I tell you, rush not. Enjoy each path and where it leads. Enjoy what you have while you have it and then when the next phase of your Journey continues, enjoy that as well.”

Rose had no idea what any of this meant. And she really didn’t care. What she wanted was to learn how she could become a Princess. That’s all she cared about—becoming a Princess. Not about paths and journeys and destinations. She just wanted to know what she needed to do to become a Princess. That’s the only thing she cared about.

“The time has come to talk about the Blessed Vessel.”


“Your Blessed Vessel is needed to complete your One True Journey. Take care not to let the Blessed Vessel be damaged or broken.”

Damaged? Broken? Rose shuddered at the thought. That didn’t sound good at all. Girls around the room leaned forward, eager to hear more.

“Sadly…” Princess Lilianna said nothing for a few moments. “Sadly, a few Blessed Vessels will become damaged. Not to worry, this does not have to affect your One True Journey. Only your steps can take off your path, lead you astray. Therefore take care of where you allow your feet to fall.”

“But should your Blessed Vessel become damaged, the Creator has the power to repair it. Never forget that.”

That was good to know—even if Rose didn’t exactly understand what it meant.

“As you soon will discover, there are many paths to choose on you One True Journey. Each of you come before me this day as a Princess-in Training.”

Finally! The good part.

“There is no one path that leads to becoming a Princess.”

No one path? That couldn’t be true, could it? There had to be one path. That was the path Rose would take but she had to know how to get there.

“There is not one path because all paths lead there. A Princess is not what you do, but who you are. And our choices make us who we are. That is why you must take care where you let your feet fall.”

Rose knew those words must be very important, but not sure why. Maybe Veronique or Bells would be able to explain it to her later. Or maybe her mother could.

“For now, instead of focusing on becoming a Princess, you must pick the path and begin your One True Journey. Perhaps the path of a Teacher or a Healer. The choices are limitless. That choice is yours to make. Remember one path is not better than another, only different.”

The little old lady smiled her sweet but enigmatic smile. “But no matter how many times I say that at the Ceremony of the Blessed Vessel, no one quite believes me. So I will tell you this about the Princess Path.”

Getting close to the end! Just a few more episodes.


The Ceremony of the Blessed Vessel-Part IV


One knight stepped forward. “It is my pleasure to announce Princess Lilianna. The Princess-Of-All-Princesses. The most beautiful Princess in all the Kingdom. The most wise Princess in all the Kingdom. And above all, the kindest in all the Kingdom.”

How could kindness be more important than beauty? What a silly thing to say. Rose leaned forward in anticipation of her first glimpse.

The curtain separated and out stepped….there must be a mistake.

This simply could not be!

Rose stared, not believing her eyes. Instead of the beautiful princess she’d expected out stepped a wrinkled and bent-over old lady. She reminded Rose of a gnarled old tree that no longer bore fruit or even leaves.

This had to be a joke.

Everyone knew the Princess-of-all-Princesses was the most beautiful in all the kingdom. This was not beauty. In fact, it was quite the opposite—almost repulsive.

The knights each took an arm and helped the old woman to the stage and then gently lifted her onto the throne as if she was the most precious of cargo.

Rose heard the whispers around her. No doubt asking exactly what was wondering herself. Once the ugly old lady was seated on the throne, Princess Michella motioned for them to sit.

Rose looked around, still waiting for something miraculous to happen.

But it didn’t.

Instead the musicians lead the procession out of the Great Hall.

Princess Lilianna, if it indeed was her, looked around the room. Her gaze met Rose’s for just a moment before it moved on to the next girl and the next and the next.

Finally, the old lady giggled then looked at them. “I have a feeling I’m not exactly what you expected. All your life you’ve been told I’m the most beautiful in all the kingdom. And yet this is what you see.”

She touched her shoulders. “And perhaps I was at one time. I will let others be the judge of that. But physical beauty is fleeting. Much better is the beauty that comes from our Creator which each of us have within us. And much like a rose, we must nurture it if it is to flourish.”

The little old lady clasped her hands to her heart, her eyes moved heavenward. As did Rose’s. It was the custom to look heavenward when speaking of or to the Creator.

“Oh Good and Holy Creator, you have outdone yourself with this group. So beautiful. Help these dear children to continue to grow in beauty. Real beauty. The beauty that comes only from you. The Kingdom, myself included, is so grateful for this so very special group of Princesses-In-Training. Thank you and may you guide my words today as you guide their feet as they begin their One True Journey. ”

Each word warmed Rose’s heart and filled her with such a feeling of love and acceptance. Never had she felt so special.

When Rose looked back. The old lady was still there, but no longer repulsive in the least. In fact, Rose could see the beauty that all in the Kingdom spoke of. The wonder of the Creator shone from her in every way. The kindness in her eyes shared the love of the Creator with each that met her gaze.

Surely, Princess Lilianna was the most beautiful in all the Kingdom.

“Ah—my favorite day of the year. The Ceremony of the Blessed Vessel. As you know, each year all the thirteen-year-old maidens in the Kingdom gather for this very special day. It is the day you begin your One True Journey. And a very special journey it will be.”

Special indeed. Rose’s journey would end when she found her one true love and became his Princess.

“In a moment each of you shall receive a gift from the Creator.”

Rose tingled with excitement. Finally. Her own Blessed Vessel.

Princess Michella chimed in. “Just as all the Knights-In-Training are receiving theirs as well. Of course, their Gift from the Creator is much different than yours, and surely not as beautiful.” She clapped her hands. “Then tonight will be the Ball. Oh, so much fun. A night you will never forget.”

Princess Lilianna smiled with indulgence.

Princess Michella looked horrified. “Oh, please forgive me.”

“Nothing to forgive, my child. Enthusiasm is a good thing.”

“Still it’s a time for listening, not speaking. Well, speaking for you, not for me.” Princess Michella shook her head as if confused. “Please continue.”

“First we must talk about your One True Journey. From the moment we are born each of us begin our journey but now it’s time to begin your One True Journey. Some of you already know your path or at least believe you know the path of your One True Journey. Others do not.”

There could only be one path for Rose. To become a Princess.

“Each path is different but the destination is the same. And remember, no matter the path, each is noble. However what is not noble is a journey with no destination.”

Destination? This was the first Rose had heard of this. What could it mean? She’d always thought her One True Journey was about finding her one true love. But now she wasn’t so sure.

“Sadly, some will ignore their One True Journey the Creator has planned for you. Instead they will choose to take a journey with no destination. It may seem easier at times, but it is not noble. It will not bring you happiness nor will it strengthen the Kingdom. And make no mistake, each of us was born to strengthen the Kingdom. The Kingdom needs each of us to complete our One True Journey if it is to remain strong.”

The One True Journey was about making the Kingdom strong? Rose hadn’t known that. She’d always thought it was about finding happiness—and that meant finding her one true love.

But Princess Lilianna’s words seemed to be saying something different than Rose had ever thought.

“Every young woman in the kingdom receives a Creator’s Gift in her thirteenth year and so shall each of you. Each gift is different than any that have come before or will come after. How that can be? No one knows except for The Creator himself, of course. As you will soon see, the Creator knows much about you.”

Impossible. Surely, the Creator didn’t know Rose. She shuddered at the thought. It was terrifying to think about, actually. It was only yesterday that she’d hit her little brother in a fit of anger. A very wrong thing to do.

Surely, she hadn’t pleased the Creator. Maybe she wouldn’t get a gift or it wouldn’t be as nice as everybody else’s. She promised she would do better next time. Be kinder to everyone, especially her baby brother.

“Today each of you begin your One True Journey. Just as the Creator’s Gift is the same and yet different, so will your One True Journey be. Each journey is different but the destination is the same.”


The Ceremony of the Blessed Vessel–Part II


As Rose made her way to the castle, many girls walked ahead in groups of two or three. Could they all be Princesses-in-Training? Surely not. She knew there would be many, but she hadn’t known it would be this many.

Her gaze searched for someone familiar.

Far ahead, she thought she saw Veronique. She tried to scurry to catch up, but the gown and her new slippers made it impossible to run. Instead, she continued on in a more sedate, ladylike way.

Perhaps that was the point of the gowns and the shoes? To turn her from the tomboy her mother always was calling her into a Princess.

As she made her way into the Great Hall, the sight was astounding. So many girls and from so many different parts of the Kingdom. The hair styles and dress styles made that obvious to all.

It was as if every girl in the Kingdom was there.

Perhaps they were? She hadn’t thought every girl in the Kingdom had the opportunity to become a princess, just as she had. But it seemed as if that was exactly the case.

“Rose. Rose.” A voice called.

A moment later Bells came bounding over to her. How did she run like that in her slippers? Rose could barely walk in hers.


“That’s Princess-in-Training Isabella to you, my dear.” She curtsied and then winked at her.

Rose returned it with her own curtsy. “Oh, I’m so sorry, My dear Princess-in-Training Isabella. And how does this day find you?”

The two girls dissolved into giggles as they hugged each other. “This is going to be so much fun. Don’t you think, Rose?”

“I’m not sure if fun is the point, Bells.”

“Of course it is. Life is all about having fun. What else could be the point?” Before she could answer Bells grabbed her hand and they wove their way through the throngs of chattering, excited girls.

Veronique smiled and waved at them. When they arrived at the spot where Veronique sat, there was only one seat available.

“You sit here, Bells. I’ll find another spot.”

“No. No. No. What’s the fun in that? We’ll all sit together.” Bells tapped the girl sitting beside Veronique. “Do you mind? We need to sit together.”

“I’m sorr—”

“No need to be sorry, my dear girl. Just go find another seat and all will be forgiven.”

Rose was fairly sure that wasn’t what the girl meant when she’d say sorry. Nevertheless, the girl gave up her seat and wandered off to find another.

Rose gratefully slid into the seat. Her feet were already hurting from the new slippers. However would she be able to dance at the Ball? She gritted her teeth. She’d find a way that was for sure.

Bells sat down as well.

Veronique motioned around her. “Can you believe this? I had no idea there would be so many of us.”

“Nor did I. It seems as if every thirteen-year-old girl from the Kingdom is here.”

“Indeed it does.” Bells agreed.

Rose rolled her eyes.

“You aren’t happy about that?” Veronique asked.

“Not particularly. I thought we were special, but what’s so special if everyone gets to be a princess-in-training?”

Before Veronique could answer, a loud gong reverberated throughout the Great Hall bringing instant silence from the giggling girls.

All eyes looked to the front.

There stood a beautiful princess. Her hair was black as coal and her skin looked as if it were made from ivory porcelain. Her eyes were as blue as the sky itself.

This must be the Princess-Of-All-Princesses.

It was said the Princess-of-all-Princesses was the most beautiful of all in the Kingdom. Surely there could be none more beautiful than the one who stood in front of them.

“I am Princess Michella.”

Not the Princess-of-all-Princesses. Gasps could be heard all around the room, including Rose’s. How could there be someone with more beauty?

It was hard to imagine.

“Before Princess Lilianna comes to share her wisdom, I’m here to take care of the more mundane details for this very special day as well as to explain a bit more about what it means to be a Princess-In-Training.” She grinned. “Or as we like to call you, a PIT.”



I don’t know about you, but I love fairy tales. As a speech pathologist, I know fairy tales can be valuable to teach a variety of language concepts. As a writer, I know fairy tales can teach us how to be better writers. But as a reader, I just like them.

They’re fun and touch an emotional chord within us. After all, almost every girl wants to be a Princess, right?

So having said that, I’ve wanted to write a fairy tale for quite some time. I know what I wanted to accomplish with it, but I’ll let you figure that out on your own. I’d love to hear your comments. I’ll post the story in parts so here’s PART ONE…

ONCE UPON A TIME in a kingdom far, far away there was a girl named Rose. More than anything in the world Rose wanted to become a Princess…

The Ceremony of the  Blessed Vessel

Finally! Finally! Finally!

The day had arrived. After today Rose would no longer be considered a child. The time had come to begin her One True Journey to find her one true love. Or at least that’s what she assumed the journey was about.

What else could it be about?

It was hard to know. Whenever she tried to talk to others about it, they would simply smile and tell her to wait for her time. Well, her time was now.

Soon she would get the answers.

And then she would become a Princess and live happily ever after with her one true love. They would live in a wonderful castle with their beautiful children. How many children?

She sighed…time to stop daydreaming and get on with the day. And a very busy day it would be. First the Ceremony of the Blessed Vessel, then the Games, and finally that night the Ball.

Oh, perhaps she would meet her one true love that very night. How exciting that would be!

Rose stared at the gown waiting for her. It seemed as if the gown had been here forever; but, in fact, she’d only received it on her thirteenth birthday, a scant few months earlier.

As she slipped the gown over her head, her skin tingled as the silk touched her. As much as she’d longed to try it on before, it was forbidden. Had she not followed the rules, something bad would have happened. Like not becoming a princess and that’s what she wanted most in life.

She had no idea how anyone would know if it was done in the secrecy of her own room. But know they did and so she’d followed the rule. Rose had already heard of two such girls in who had done just that.

She shuddered. More than anything she wanted to be a princess. If she didn’t succeed in becoming a Princess, then…then…well she didn’t even want to think the words. It was simply too awful to think about.

Instead, Rose stared at the mirror. That couldn’t be her, could it?

The gown was so beautiful—so perfect. The fitted bodice narrowed at the waist and then flared out in a swirl of pleats.

Surely this would be the most beautiful of all the gowns at the Ball.

The color was hard to describe. It was no color and it was all colors. It shimmered as the late morning sunlight made its way into her window. As if it wasn’t a dress at all but a cloud in the sky. Or perhaps the rippling blue water of the lake. No—a star.

Oh surely she would meet her one true love that very night! And he would see her in this beautiful gown and fall madly in love.

She slipped her feet into the matching glass slippers. Then swirled around and around watching the glimmers and shimmers of the gown. And then…she lost her footing and tumbled to the floor.

“Oh my.” She stared at the mirror once again. Instead of seeing a Princess, all she saw was herself sprawled out on the floor. Perhaps becoming a Princess wouldn’t be as easy as she thought.

Just wearing the shoes seemed to be a problem.

But as her mother often said, “Worthwhile endeavors were never easy but that didn’t mean they should be avoided.”

And Rose had no intention of avoiding it. She didn’t care how hard it was, she wanted to be a Princess—and one she would become!

Rose didn’t know all that she needed to know to become a princess because again it was forbidden to discuss the Journey before the Blessed Vessel Ceremony. The only thing her mother, a Princess in her own right, would ever tell her was that as difficult as it had been, it was well worth it.

But today at The Ceremony of the Blessed Vessel, she would learn.

Finally! Later would be the Ball. Surely it would be the most wonderful night of her life! Well it would be if she met her one true love there. But what if no one asked her to dance?

That’s a good place to stop. More of the adventures of Rose in a few days!

Spring Will Always Bring a Smile


Here’s a flash fiction piece from author, Mary L. Ball

Spring Will Always Bring a Smile

Lisa rested on a bench in the center of Gold Memorial, staring at a grass-covered mound. She glanced around at the new flowers that bloomed and noticed the buds upon the lilac trees, the signs of a changing season were all around. As the Birds sang a melody in the distance, Lisa didn’t smile. Spring was here, and she didn’t care.

As a man approached and stood beside her. He gazed at Lisa and spoke with a cracked, aged voice, “a loved one.”

Lisa hated the intrusion, but despite her mood, she tried to be polite. “Yes, very much loved.” She looked at the elderly man, something in his eyes made her speak again. In a voice barely audible, words laced with despair. “Rob was my only love; we didn’t have but a few years together.”

The older man gazed at Lisa and saw the hurt in her eyes. “I know what you mean; my Polly was my mate for over forty years.”

Lisa looked at the man. “It must be hard to have someone around that long of a time a time, and lose them.”

The man smiled at Lisa, shaking his head. “Yes, but we had good years together. I thank God- for all those years.”

A prick of anger moved over Lisa, in a sarcastic tone she rushed a reply. “If God wanted us to be happy, why take away our loved ones.”

The grey-haired man looked away and spoke as if he were talking to the wind. “God does want us to be happy, but everyone has to face loss, a time to weep, and a time to laugh.”

Lisa stood up; noticing the man now carried a smile on his face.

She shook her head in disbelief. “I don’t want to accept that.”

The man stepped closer to Lisa and gently touched her hand. “Would Rob want you to be bitter, to turn away from the world?”

Something in the way the man spoke opened her heart and brought back a memory of a conversation with Rob. Lisa recalled a time when he asked her to promise him that she would never let anything take away her beautiful smile. Lisa glanced at the old man nervously, realizing her replying. “He would want me to go on without him.”

The older man begun to speak about the seasons, “you know spring is supposed to be a fresh beginning. It brings forth an unmarked life,” his voice continued, words broken by time.”In the winter, things are dead, then comes the spring, and with it, a brand-new start. We can’t go back to the past. We must move forward into the unused time within the year, and the wonder of a renewed life. Nevertheless, we will forever remember the winters. Our purpose though, has invariably been to go on, just as the world constantly moves. In our hearts, we will faithfully hold the love, and memories, but we need to live.”

He turned his head toward Lisa and grinned, “by going on with our lives, we bring honor to the ones that were lost. It’s a way to show respect for what they represented.”

As the man slipped his hand away, Lisa closed her eyes and wiped a tear from her cheek. She raised her head up and saw that the old man was gone.

Lisa gazed in all directions. Her eyes caught sight of a young woman walking passed. “Excuse me, where did the old man who was carrying an umbrella go?”

The lady eyed Lisa with a puzzled expression, lines formed around her mouth; sluggishly she moved her head back and forth. “I don’t believe anyone else has been on this path for at least an hour.”

Lisa felt her face grow red, “Thanks.” Quickly, she rushed to the car.

Seated in her vehicle, Lisa exhaled a breath and took one last look at the spot she cherished and smiled. At that moment, she thought she heard a quiet soothing voice, “Lisa, that’s the smile I fell in love with.”


Mary L. Ball is an inspirational fiction author and lives in North Carolina. Her novels include, Escape to Big Fork Lake, Stone of Destiny, Postmarked Ever After, Christmas at Angel ranch and Redemption in Big Fork Lake.  She is also a contributing author of 21 Stories of Faith.    

Readers can 

​visit her author page at:


Oooh! Did it send a chill up your spine?