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Hi all! I'm writting sort of an online book, and wondered if any of you would be interested in reading it? I'll post chapter 1 and see what you guys think. This is my first attempt at writting, so please go easy on me! It is a "the end of the world as we know it" kind of book. Let me know what you think! Thanks!

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Joy slammed on the brakes as the guy in front of her swerved. What was this all about? Her little four year old in the back started crying.

 

“Victoria, are you ok?” Joy called back, looking at her through the rearview mirror.

 

“Yes, a little bit ok” Victoria answered.

 

Her crying slowed to a whimper as Joy looked in the mirror again to make sure no one was behind her. There wasn’t. The guy in front of her had continued on his way as a family of ducks finished crossing the highway behind him.

 

Joy thought of laying on the horn, but with the way things were going lately, she thought she better not. She turned down the music on the radio and pulled over. Her heart was pumping so hard she was sure Victoria could hear it loud and clear.

 

“What are we doing Mommy?” Victoria asked with tears still in her eyes.

 

“Mommy just needs to relax a little bit before we keep going, ok?” Joy said, trying to sound as normal as she could.

 

This was the closest she had come to having an accident. And of course it would have been her fault, as she would have been the one hitting from behind. Or maybe not. She knew there were exceptions to the rule, but she wasn’t sure what those were.

 

Joy turned in her seat to face Victoria as best as she could, and reached out her hand to place it on Victoria's knee. She put her little hand on Joy's.

 

“Do you want to pray Victoria? And thank Jesus for helping us to not hit that car in front of us?” Joy asked, still a little shaken.

 

She nodded her head and closed her eyes tightly.

 

“Thank you Jesus for helping Mommy not to hit the car and the guy and the ducks. Amen.” She opened her eyes as Joy gave her hand a squeeze.

 

“Amen” Joy said. “You saw the ducks?” She asked her as she turned back around.

 

“Yeah! There was a mommy duck and four baby ducks!” Victoria said excitedly.

 

Joy smiled at her through the mirror, as her heart seemed to regain it’s normal pace again.

 

She carefully pulled back into the highway, looking for stray ducks along the way.

 

 

She pulled into the underground garage of our apartment complex a few minutes later. As she was parking, she saw a man in a green shirt and khaki pants coming towards them.

 

“Daddy!” Victoria squealed.

 

Joy's husband opened the side door to the minivan and yelled a big “Boo!”.

 

Victoria giggled “Hi Daddy! I like you Daddy!”

 

In a muffled voice, Dave tried to say something. Joy got out of the van and hugged his waist from behind.

 

“What are you trying to say?”

 

He pried himself from Victoria’s arms and said “Hi honey, welcome home” then leaned in towards her for a kiss. He pulled back and looked straight into her eyes.

 

“You’ll want to go home right away. I’ll bring the food up. Your Mom called and left a message.”

 

“Really? What did she say?” Joy asked wondering why he would want her to get the message right away since it wasn’t unusual for her Mom to call and leave them a silly message.

 

He looked at Victoria. “You better go hear it for yourself. I’ll bring Victoria and the food up.”

 

“Ok” Joy said as she leaned in for one more kiss before heading upstairs.

 

“Bye Mommy!”

 

“Bye, Sweetie! I’ll see you upstairs, ok?”

 

“Ok!” Both her Sweeties answered together.

 

As she walked to the entrance of the door she could hear Victoria giggling. He must have been tickling her again. She wondered what her Mom wanted? It wasn’t unusual at all for her to call. What was unusual was for Dave to be so worried about it.

 

Joy was the youngest of three sisters. Her parents had devoted their life to their work, Missions. She had been born and raised in Mexico, six years after her middle sister, Marie, had been born in Brazil where they worked a few years and eight years younger than her oldest sister, Ann. It was funny. Her oldest sister Ann had been born in the States, but married a Mexican guy and now lived in Mexico with her husband and two teenage kids, Leslie and Allen. Joy was born in Mexico and was married to an American and lived in the USA. All the way up north, no less. Minnesota. She sure did love it here, though, even if it did get bellow zero in the winter and they got mosquitoes that could carry people away as take-out food. Well, almost anyway.

 

She reached their floor and went into their apartment. They had lived there for three years now. The longest they had lived anywhere in their entire married life, almost eight years. Dave was a caretaker at the apartment complex, which was a blessing and curse at the same time. He liked the work, but was treated very unfairly. Often he would come home only until after he put in a good 10 to 12 hour day, and of course, his salary didn’t reflect that. He got along well with the residents, who always spoke highly of him, but was starting to have problems with his boss, the manager, again. It seamed as if he never did enough in her eyes. Joy sure wished he could just quit.

 

She hung her purse up and locked the door behind herself. With as many robberies as they had experienced in the last couple of weeks in the building, one could never be too careful. She looked around the apartment. Ah! There it was. Funny you can never find a cordless phone when you need one.

 

Joy pressed the remote message button.

 

“Beeeep. You have one new message. To hear incoming message press two.”

 

She pressed two.

 

“Beeeep. First message:”

 

The male voice turned into her Mom’s voice.

 

“Hi hon, it’s me. Can you call me as soon as you get home? REAL QUICK, ok? Pronto. Rápido. It’s urgent. Love you! Talk to you soon. Bye!”

 

The male voice came back.

 

“Thursday, June 2, 3:32 p.m. End of incoming message. To repeat incoming message press 1. To…”

 

Joy hung up. She quickly dialed her Mom and Dad’s phone number. Fortunately they had one of those phones that were hooked up through the Internet. This way, she could call within her area code, even though they were in the middle Mexico. She looked at her watch as their phone started ringing. 4:45 p.m. If she put the headset on she could start supper while she talked.

 

Their phone was still ringing. She quickly put one the headset, just before someone picked up the phone.

 

“¿Bueno? Hello?” It was her Dad.

 

“Hi Pa!” Joy said, “How are ya?”

 

“Good, Joy! How are you doing? Hang on a second let me get Mom."

 

Joy could see him in her mind's eye getting up and going into the hallway of their home.

 

“Liz? Joy’s on the phone! Just a second Joy”

 

Her Mom came on the phone. “Hi honey! How are ya doing?”

 

Joy pulled out stuff from the fridge for supper. “Umm, good. How are you? What’s so urgent?”

 

“Are you sitting down?” Liz asked.

 

“No, I’m cutting tomatoes. Should I be?”

 

“YES!” Both her parents said together. “And leave the knife behind” Ed chuckled.

 

“Ok…” Joy sat down at the dinning room table “What’s up?”

 

“Well,” Mom said, “Uncle James died today, honey.”

 

“What???” Joy said as the door to our apartment opened and Victoria came running in.

 

“Hi Mommy!” She said.

 

Dave took one look at Joy and motioned for her to go to their room to finish the call.

 

“We’ll put away the food,” he whispered.

 

Joy went and sat on their bed after closing the door.

 

“What?” She said again.

 

“Uncle James died last night,” Ed said “you know how sick he was…”

 

“Yeah, but I thought he had at least a year left!”

 

Uncle James was Liz’s only adopted brother. Her Mother had died when she was six weeks old, and the neighbors had taken her in when her Father couldn’t care for her plus three other children. They had adopted her four years later, but she still stayed in contact with her birth family even to this day.

 

“Yeah, I know honey,” Liz said. Joy could tell she was about to cry.

 

“How are you doing Mom?” she asked.

 

“Oh, as well as can be expected, I guess. It’s just a shock to us too, you know. I was hoping to see him this summer”.

 

“When is the funeral going to be?” Joy asked wondering if it was too soon for her to ask.

 

“Well, it’ll be next Friday. A week from tomorrow. That way it will give us a chance to get up there to be there for it.” Ed replied.

 

“You’re coming up? Really?”

 

“Well, sure honey! He was my only brother!” Liz said. “Plus, I get to see my pretty little red head!” Joy could tell she was trying to smile through her tears.

 

“Are you coming up too, Dad?” she asked.

 

“Yeah,” Joy could hear him getting up again, “Aunt Linda is going to pay our way up there. But she wants us to drive up. She said that she can pay for the gas and hotels, and then we can have a vehicle while we are there. Apperantly her kids are in on this, too.”

 

“Wow. That’s great! I wonder if Dave can get some time off of work? Maybe he could go up to the funeral too.” Joy wondered out loud.

 

“Well, you better see if he can” Ed said “‘cause Ann and Marie are going too”.

 

“What?!?” Joy said. She wasn’t terribly surprised about Ann. Her Uncle and Aunt had flown her up to visit before. But Marie? She was in Africa! She was going to pay for her to come for the funeral too?

 

“Yeah, apparently they want the whole family to be there. There’s not many of us, so they want to make sure everyone is there.” Liz said.

 

“And get this. They are going to fly Roger and the kids and Juan over too,” Ed said with wonder in his voice.

 

Joy couldn’t believe it. Juan and the ‘kids’ that her Dad was referring to were her sister Ann’s family. Roger was her sister Marie’s fiancé. That was a real shocker, as he was from Africa. Good thing he had his papers in order. They'd all get to meet him now! Marie had lived in Africa for almost 10 years. She was a missionary and had remained single despite many offers to be married. Most were not serious since the men were Muslim, and had at least one or two wives already. Roger had stolen her heart. He was a Christian missionary to his own people, and no wife! Joy had spoken to him on the phone several times, and from what she knew, he was a really nice guy.

 

“This is going to be one expensive trip!” Joy said.

 

“Yeah, no kidding, mister!” Liz said. “They are even going to pay for all of us, and their kids too, I suppose, to stay at the Buena Vista in Duluth. For the whole week!”

 

“In Duluth? Is that where he wanted to be buried? I would have thought in Grand Rapids.” Joy said.

 

“No,” Ed said, “He’ll be buried next to your grandparents. Apparently he had everything figured out. I had no idea he was that organized. It’ll be as close to a family reunion as you can get.”

 

“What do you mean, Ed? Just because there are so many people in your family it doesn’t make mine any less of one!” Liz said jokingly. The joke of the family. Only one sibling on Liz's side, seven on Ed's. Joy could hear her Dad laughing. Well, at least they aren’t so broken hearted that she'd have to worry about them, Joy thought.

 

“Have you talked to Marie?” Joy asked.

 

“Yep. They are going to be coming. So are Ann and her family. So I sure hope you can get Dave to take the week off,” Ed said.

 

They talked a bit more about the logistics of the trip. They would be arriving in the Twin Cities on Wednesday, and then everyone would go up to Duluth on Thursday to be there for the funeral on Friday. Ann and Juan would drive up with them, but in their own minivan. Roger and Marie would fly in at their earliest convenience. Joy made a mental note to write things down that she wanted them to bring from Mexico. With two minivans they’d have a ton of space!

 

 

They hung up the phone and she went into the dinning room. Dave was just hanging up on the cell phone.

 

“I just ordered pizza” he said, “It doesn’t look like the kind of time for you to cook”.

 

“Thanks hon,” Joy said as she sat next to him at the table.

 

“What’s up?” He asked.

 

She told him everything. He was doubtful he could get the time off but said that he’d try.

They talked for a while about Uncle James, until the pizza arrived. After supper they played with Victoria for a while and then put her to bed. After reading the Bible, singing and praying, she was finally ready to go to sleep.

 

Finally, Dave and Joy could talk openly. He expressed his growing fear of loosing his job. He had been working at the apartments for almost two years, and recently it seemed as though they were just “out to get him”. They decided to watch the news. They weren’t sure what was more depressing, the news, or his job situation, or Uncle James dying.

 

 

The news was getting worse every night. Oh, the newscasters were great. They had fun doing their job and you could tell. But tonight, for a split second as the main anchor-man told of the dollar dropping yet again, the price of crude oil going up, and the tensions with China rising, you could tell. Things were probably worse than they were letting on. Dave and Joy had always thought that if they would tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, people really would need all of God’s help. So after the news they held hands and asked for it. This country was needing as much help as it could get!

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Wow! You caught my interest from the very beginning! When is the second chapter coming out? I can't wait!

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Thanks, Quilty! I'm glad you like it. If there is anything in the book that you guys think I can improve on, please let me know! Thanks again!

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