#BlogBattle: Prophet – Week 20 – The Question Remains

🙂 Happy Tuesday!! Time for #Blogbattle

#BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge using a single word for inspiration.  Hosted by the talented Rachael Ritchey.  Feel free to join in, or click here to read all the stories and vote for your favorites.

This week’s word:  Prophet

Another continuation, this story just won’t let me go 😐   Here are the first two parts if you’d like to read them, Believe in your Dreams and Safe in the Storm or start with the summary.

Summary:  Nicole has taken over the Bed & Breakfast Inn for Carol, who is off to travel Europe.  Nicole finds herself alone at the Inn during a raging blizzard, with one of the regular customers, Anthony Thompson.  Over breakfast, he shares with Nicole how his wife died, and how he feels her presence at the Inn so strongly that it’s as if they can communicate with each other.  He explains to Nicole that his wife told him she was the special person that could help him move on with his life.  Nicole is just about to freak out, not knowing what to think of this guy, when Tucker, the maintenance guy, and his dog Cody comes in to check on her.  Tucker assures Nicole that Anthony is not a bad guy, and that there’s more to his story.  Tucker suggests she let Anthony tell her about it from the beginning.

The Question Remains

Anthony is about to start telling his story when Nicole says, “Hold that thought for a moment, I need some coffee.” She begins to untangle herself from the warm afghan, but then Anthony puts his hand up and says, “Don’t move, I got it.” He’s up and moving before she can protest.  He comes back not only with her mug of coffee but a tray filled with cream, sugar and the thermal coffee carafe.

Nicole says, “Um…you know you are a guest here, I should have gotten that.”

“Yes, but the guests do get access to the kitchen, plus you are all comfy on the couch, I didn’t want you to get up…besides, you’re in charge of lunch and treats later.”

“I feel so guilty not doing anything right now, Carol stayed so busy all the time.” Nicole says with a hint of regret in her voice.

“Have you looked outside the window lately?  There’s nothing going on anywhere in this storm, I don’t think she’ll mind you keeping your only guest company.” Anthony says with a warm smile.

Anthony takes a sip of coffee then opens his mouth to start talking when the phone rings.

“Sorry, “ Nicole apologizes, she had brought in the cordless phone earlier so she could answer any calls.  She looks at the caller ID and says with a smile “It’s Carol.”

“Uh-oh you’re in trouble.”  Anthony teases.  She puts her finger up to her lips and says “Shush.” As she playfully glares at him.

“Hi Carol, how’s Paris?” Nicole answers in her most cheerful voice.

“Nicole…how are you, how’s the weather?” Carol asks with concern.

“It’s a blizzard out here, two of the guests are going to call once the storm let’s up, but Anthony Thompson made it in before the storm…we’re just sitting here by the fire drinking coffee…just talking.” Nicole says.

“Oh that’s wonderful Nicole, that Anthony is such a nice, nice man…easy on the eyes too…but I don’t have to tell you that.  Did my nephew check up on you, because if he didn’t I’m going to…”

Nicole cuts her off by saying, “Yes, Carol…he did.  He came in this morning with Cody.  He left Cody with me, and went back to his house.”

“Wonderful, just wonderful.  I knew you would have no problems.  Nathan and I are having a splendid time, in Italy.  We’ll be in Paris in a couple of days.”  Carol let’s out a little squeak of excitement like a teenage girl and says, “I simply cannot wait!!  You know where to reach me if you need to, better run, will talk soon…Arrivederci.”

“Arrivederci.” Nicole echoes with a smile and disconnects the call.

“I take it Carol is in Italy?”  Anthony says with a chuckle.

“Yes…having a splendid time.  So…you were about to say” Nicole gestures with her arm for Anthony to proceed.  She unfolds her legs and stretches them out and rests her feet on the coffee table.

“Right.  From the beginning.”  He takes a deep breath and begins his story.

“My wife Tara, had a very interesting childhood.  She was raised in a very dogmatic religion.  Her parents were completely devoted, and held high positions in the organization.  When Tara was about 10 years old, her grandmother became ill.  She was very close to her, so one day she was worrying about what was going to happen, so she took a walk in the woods by her house.  She said she always felt closest to God when she was surrounded by nature, and she would find herself talking to Him, and that is what she did on this day.  When she stopped to rest for a minute, she sat down and closed her eyes, and it was then that she saw a vision.  She saw her grandmother lying on her bed, and these beautiful angels were all gathered around while her grandmother slept.  Tara said she saw a calm, joyful look on her grandmother’s face, and she said she felt the same way once the vision disappeared.  Sadly, her grandmother passed away the next day. She didn’t tell her parent’s about the vision until a couple of weeks later.  When she did tell her mom about it, her mom was so excited and began dancing around and laughing, saying, ‘do you know what this means?  Tara, you’re the one.’  She picked Tara up and sat her on her lap.  Tara’s mom looked her right in the eye, and as serious as can be told her that she was the prophet they talked about in the church, the one they were waiting for.”

Nicole questions with eyes wide in disbelief, “She was 10?  Who says that to a kid?”

“Exactly. The church also believed that she was the prophet. Tara stopped telling her parents about the visions, and without anymore visions, the church conveniently explained the whole prophet idea away.  It was all very confusing to Tara, but from that point on she started to disagree with a lot of the teaching.  By the time she was a teenager, she refused to go to that church with her parents.  They were too immersed in it, and could not believe their only daughter was turning her back on her faith, so they made arrangements for her to live with her aunt.  She never told me the name of the church or what type of religion it was…that’s just how Tara was, she didn’t talk bad about anyone.  She had such a beautiful spirit, she loved everybody, and when you were around her you could feel that love and positive energy radiating from her.  In spite of what she dealt with as a child, she was very spiritual, and had a strong faith in God.  She did continue to have visions and dreams, and sometimes she would tell me about them.  It wasn’t spooky or psychic, and she never claimed to be clairvoyant or a prophet, she would always say that it was her strong intuition.  So being the type of person she was, when she appeared to me after she had died, I didn’t think anything of it, it seemed so natural.”

“Wow, Anthony, she sounded like a remarkable woman.” Nicole says with genuine admiration.

“Yes. Yes, she was.”  He says with a bittersweet smile.

“So…is she still here?” Nicole asks with hesitation.

Anthony pauses for a moment, and says, “No, she is not…but I’m OK with that.”

“I have so many questions, but one question still remains…why me?  I’m nothing special.” Nicole says quietly, and looks away.

“Nicole, I find that hard to believe.  Why don’t I help you with lunch, and we can continue talking, and we’ll find the answers together.  After all, this is just the beginning.”  Anthony says as he takes her by the hand, and leads her into the kitchen.

© 2015 Carrie Ann

#BlogBattle: Dream – Week 18 – Believe in your Dreams

🙂 Happy Tuesday!! Time for #Blogbattle

#BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge using a single word for inspiration.  Hosted by the talented Rachael Ritchey.  This weeks word:  Dream

Believe In Your Dreams

“Carol I want to thank you for this opportunity, it’s truly a dream come true.” Nicole says as she clasps her hands over her heart.

“Oh stop,” brushing the comment away with a flick of her wrist.  “I should be thanking you for helping me fulfill my dream to travel Europe.  If it weren’t for you agreeing to manage our Bed and Breakfast Inn, we would never be able to take such a trip.”

With a deep sigh and a look of longing, Carol says, “Three months in Europe and I finally get to shop in Paris!!  Well I’m off to finish packing.  I sure hope we get out of here before the blizzard hits.” Carol places her hands on Nicole’s shoulders and says, “After working with you for the past month, I have no doubt you are going to do just fine here.  Enjoy yourself…we’ll be in touch.”  With a quick hug, Carol is gone.

Nicole smiles to herself, still in awe that the dream of running a Bed and Breakfast Inn has come to fruition.  She looks over the reservations to see who will be arriving in the next couple of days.  She notices that there will be two new guests, and one that has been a regular for several years now, always the same time of year. Carol has created profiles for all her returning guests, including their preferences and any other information she finds useful.  Nicole looks up Anthony Thompson.  There isn’t much in his profile.  Just that he travels alone and pretty much keeps to himself.  Carol notes that there were some odd occurrences during his stays: light bulbs needing to be replaced, clocks stopping in his room, and objects of his, once a book, and another time a sweater, were left out in the main areas, even though he said he didn’t leave his room.  That’s odd.  Nicole dismisses her ambiguity and continues to prepare for her guests.

Two days later, Anthony Thompson walks in, dressed for the weather in a ski jacket and wool hat.  He isn’t overly friendly, as he checks in with the least amount of pleasantries necessary.  Nicole doesn’t take it personally, and maintains her friendly demeanor.  “So good to see you Mr. Thompson, my name is Nicole, I’m the new manager here.  It seems you made it in before the storm hit.”

“Yes, it does seem that way,” he says with little emotion, as he signs for the room.

“Can I prepare a light dinner for you this evening…and will you be requiring your usual breakfast in the morning, pancakes, eggs and sausage?

“Dinner no…breakfast yes, please.”  He says as he gathers his belongings.

“Well your room is all ready for you, breakfast will be served at 8 a.m.  Have a good night, Mr. Thompson.”

With barely a smile he replies, “Thank you…and, Anthony is fine…Mr. Thompson is my father.”  He turns and heads toward his room.

The next morning Nicole wakes up to a raging blizzard.  It was predicted, so she’s not that surprised.  Before she heads to the kitchen to begin breakfast, she checks the phone for any messages, and turns off the automated greeting.  There are two messages.  Sure enough both of the new guests had to take lodging elsewhere, couldn’t make it in due to the storm.  They will call and make arrangements for another day to arrive once the storm is over.

She turns the radio on quietly the song “Just the Way You Are” plays in the background as she begins to make breakfast.  Just then, Anthony enters the kitchen.  He pauses for a moment, briefly listening to the music, but he then quickly says good morning, and grabs a cup of coffee. Nicole looks up and notices he looks different this morning, almost like a weight has been lifted off him.  He is a handsome man, actually very handsome, something she hadn’t noticed yesterday.

“Good Morning, breakfast will be ready soon, you can have a seat in the dining area. I’m sorry but the newspaper hasn’t arrived, if you hadn’t noticed there’s a blizzard out there.” Nicole says with a smile.

Anthony takes a seat at the table, as Nicole serves the food.  She is about to go back in the kitchen when he asks, “Nicole, would you join me?”

Taken aback and surprised he even knows her name, she says, “Sure, let me get a cup of coffee.”

As she sits down, he actually smiles at her and says, “First…the food is absolutely delicious. Second, I did notice the blizzard, therefore I may need to stay a few extra days.”

“Actually that will be fine, the other guests won’t make it in for another couple of days.  Did you sleep ok last night?” Nicole inquires.

“Actually I did.”  He says with a look of surprised satisfaction on his face. “Since I’ll be the only one staying here for a couple of days, can I talk to you about something?”

“Sure, go ahead.” Nicole replies.

“Please understand, I don’t mean to scare you, and I hope you won’t think I’m insane.” Anthony reluctantly says.

Trying not to sound suspicious, she slowly says, “Ok.”

“Ok,” he mimics, then takes a deep breath. “My wife died 5 years ago.  We loved staying here, she loved the snow and loved to ski even more.  I don’t enjoy skiing as much as she did, but I did love to see her happy.” He says with pure admiration in his eyes.  “Well, we went skiing just after a big storm had hit, one much like this one.  We were told of the risks of going out so soon after the storm; but she wanted to go ahead anyway.  While we were out there, she went out ahead of me, and she got caught up in an avalanche.  As dreadful as that sounds, thankfully she was found and taken to the hospital, but there were complications from the fall and being buried in the snow for a period of time, that she passed away a few days later in the hospital.

“Oh, Anthony I am so sorry.” Nicole says as she lays her hand on his arm.

He nods his head solemnly, and quietly says “Thank you.”  Then continues his story.  “So, ever since then, I come back to this place, because it seems that she is still here.  She absolutely loved this place.  Whenever I am here, my dreams of her are so much more vivid, it’s almost like we are sitting down and having a conversation.  Each year she would encourage me to continue to pursue my dreams, to live my life and not to be sad, she always reminded me of our most happy times.  But last night it was different.  This time she told me that it was time to move on, for the both of us.  She explained that her time was up, and that she would no longer be able to appear to me in such vivid detail.  It was only until I accomplished my career goals, and until I would meet that special person that could help me move on.”  Anthony hesitated for a moment, looks directly at Nicole and says, “I think that person is you Nicole.”

Nicole shakes her head in disbelief not sure she heard him correctly, but then inquires, “Why would you think that?”

Because she told me when I heard the song “Just the Way You Are”, that special person would be standing right in front of me.

© 2015 Carrie Ann