The Gifts of Faith - The Quest (Ch. 16)

Nathaniel emptied his pockets and changed into running clothes
Nathaniel emptied his pockets and changed into running clothes | Source

When Nathaniel hung up the phone he emptied his pockets and changed into running clothes. After the draining conversation he’d had with his dad, he needed to burn off his anger and clear his head.

Until this moment he’d forgotten all about Julie’s ring, but there it was sitting on the nightstand with his keys and the loose change he’d pulled out of his pocket. For the first time since Faith handed him the tiny bauble, he felt a connection.

What stories do you have to tell, Mom? What was your life like? How did you feel when you discovered you were pregnant? Did you resent me? Or did you learn to love me?

So many questions ran through his mind.

Nathaniel finished tying his running shoes and headed out the door.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The girls had just finished dinner and were cleaning up the kitchen when the phone rang.

“That was Nathaniel, Sarah. He’s offered to come by this weekend and help us with the gardens.”

“Oh, good; we could really use the help. The way orders have been coming in lately I was worried we might not be able to keep up.” Sarah dried the last plate and put it away. “It’s a beautiful evening, Faith. What do you say we go out back and enjoy the breeze?”

“Sounds heavenly. I’ll grab a bottle of wine and the glasses. C’mon, Lily! Let’s go outside.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nathaniel's thoughts carried him down the dirt road and deep into his emotions
Nathaniel's thoughts carried him down the dirt road and deep into his emotions | Source

Nathaniel was running on automatic pilot. He had no direction in mind, but his thoughts carried him down the dirt road and deep into his emotions.

The events of the day played through his mind. What started out as an obscure attempt at a lunch date turned into a revelation that completely blew his mind. Then the confrontation with his dad… well, today would be a day he’d never forget.

I don’t know if I should be angry or grateful. I should have learned about my mother from Dad, not a stranger. Faith had no idea I didn't know who my mother was, but Dad sure did. What the hell? And why wasn't I more persistent when I was growing up? Do you have no balls, Nathaniel? Were you that afraid of your father? Oh, wait a minute. He’s not my father! Yet, he married my mom and gave me a name. That says something, doesn't it?

By the time he rounded the bend for home, Nathaniel felt a bit better, but was confused as to how to deal with his dad.

I think I’ll just let things rest for a while; give us both time to cool down. Maybe Faith knows more than she told me at lunch today. We’ll see what this weekend brings.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dirt Road in Georgia by Brent Cobb

Lily was a character to watch
Lily was a character to watch | Source

Faith and Sarah sat in silence enjoying the cool breeze and watching Lily chase lightning bugs. Lily was such a character to watch; she was the epitome of life without a care.

Faith spoke first. “Sarah, when I gave Nathaniel Julie’s ring, the vermin I first saw in his soul faded. In fact, by the time we got back to the shop, it was pretty much gone. Then I couldn’t see his soul at all, but all during lunch your rainbow gave off a dim pulse. Did you feel anything?”

“Not that I recall. But then, I’m still not used to Hope’s rainbow. I’m not aware of it when you say you see it. I don’t guess I’ll know what I’m supposed to do with it until I can harness it and put its powers to use.

“During lunch I figured I’d let you do all the talking, for once. I will admit, though, I didn’t mind simply looking at Nathaniel. He’s pretty hot – and quite the charmer.”

Faith rose, called Lily and said over her shoulder, “Yeah, well, we’ll get to know him a little better this weekend. C’mon. It’s getting late. It’s been a strange day. I’m going to chill with a book then call it a night.”

“Yep, right behind you friend.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nathaniel wore his Georgia Bulldogs baseball cap

Nathaniel arrived Saturday morning with a box of fresh pastries, looking mighty fine in his jeans, tank top, and Georgia Bulldogs baseball cap. Sarah had just started the coffee pot when he arrived.

“You’re just in time, Nathaniel. I’m brewing a fresh pot of coffee. Faith’s out in the barn loadin’ up the wheelbarrows with tools. Just set those on the table. I’ll let Faith know you’re here.”

With that Sarah went out the back door. She grinned to herself when she noticed Lily didn’t follow. She was too busy weaving a figure eight between Nathaniel’s legs.

That’s a good sign, Sarah thought to herself. You can always trust a cat to let you know who you can trust.

Over breakfast, Nathaniel confessed to the girls, “I have to admit I don’t know much about gardening. My old man, as you know, is a contractor. I’m afraid I don’t know much about anything that doesn’t involve a hammer and a saw.”

Faith was humored by Nathaniel’s remark and was quite pleased that she now saw a pale blue glow in place of his previously worm-infested soul. “That’s okay, Nathaniel. It’s not really that hard. Sarah and I have done the cultivating. That’s the hard part. We’ll show you how to harvest the varieties that are ready. We like to transfer them to pots rather than cut them. That way, when we take them to the shop they’re still in soil, alive and well. You’re in good hands; we’ll show you the ropes. We’re just grateful you’ve offered to help.”

When they’d had their fill of coffee and pastries, Faith filled a jug full of water and added some tea bags, then they headed out to the gardens. This was the perfect time. The sun was just coming up over the horizon and the ground was damp with dew – perfect pickin’s for pulling up the harvest without doing damage. Of course, Lily followed to play with the frogs that would soon be seeking daytime shelter.

Nathaniel worked the Birdfoot Violet beds
Nathaniel worked the Birdfoot Violet beds | Source
Faith took on the Hepatica beds
Faith took on the Hepatica beds | Source
And Sarah took on the Rue Anemone
And Sarah took on the Rue Anemone | Source

Did you know?

The color blue has a calming effect. It evokes feelings of trust, dependability, and security. Light blue is associated with tranquility, healing, and understanding.

To learn more about the meaning of colors, read this:

Color Meaning


Faith set the jug on the porch to let the sun do its thing in transforming water to tea. Afterwards, she led Nathaniel to the Birdfoot Violet beds and showed him how to gently pull the plants from the ground using a hand trowel to keep the root ball in tact and place them in a pot. She then moved on to Hepatica while Sarah claimed the Rue Anemone.

The trio worked until noon and made great progress. By then it was time to take a break and replenish their bodies with some nutritional fuel.

“Sarah, I’m going to step over here and pick some peaches. Nathaniel, if you’ll grab the jug of tea and take it into the house, that’d be great. Sarah, there’s some tuna salad in the fridge. I’d appreciate it if you’d make us some sandwiches and I’ll be right in to broil up some peaches.”

When Faith entered the kitchen she was quite impressed. Nathaniel had squeezed and removed the tea bags, added some sugar, and filled glasses with ice before pouring the southern beverage into tall glasses. Sarah was busy toasting bread and layering it with lettuce, tomatoes, and tuna salad.

Faith pitted and cut the fresh peaches in half, added a bit of brown sugar to the wells and put them under the broiler.

Hmmm. This feels like home.

When lunch was served, the threesome attacked it with a vengeance. They didn’t realize what an appetite they’d built up.

Half-way through, Nathaniel piped up with, “So this is where my mom grew up.” He absent-mindedly fingered the tiny ring he’d placed in the coin pocket of his jeans as he spoke. “It feels comfortable here. It feels like home.”

Faith realized Nathaniel’s soul was shining a bright blue. It was apparent he was feeling at peace - perhaps for the first time in his life.

“Faith, I know we still have a lot of work to do, but after lunch would you mind showing me where you found my mom’s ring?”

“Not at all. Are you sure you’re up for it?”

Nathaniel took a gulp of his tea before responding. “Yeah, I think it may help me make sense of all this.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Faith led the way to the spot she’d found Julie’s ring. As they approached the site she noticed Nathaniel was trembling. Sweat was collecting on his brow.

“Are you okay, Nathaniel? Maybe now’s not the time to show you where I found the ring.” Faith was a little more than concerned as Nathaniel’s face turned ghostly pale.

“Gotta. Do it. N…” Before he could finish speaking, the world went black, his knees gave way and he fell crashing to the ground.

“Oh my God! Nathaniel!” the girls cried in unison as they rushed to his side.



Shauna L Bowling

Refining, Defining, or Rhyming

All Rights Reserved

Willie and Ray have Georgia on their minds

© 2014 Shauna L Bowling

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Comments 50 comments

DJ Anderson 2 years ago

Sha, this is truly a nice read. It hit home, with me having Southern roots.

Nathaniel is going to dig after the truth until he finds it.

Every motion is brought to life and every emotion is lying just below the surface. A very pleasant read with just the right amount of intrigue.

DJ.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Thanx for being the first to comment, DJ. This chapter is pretty mellow. I was going to save the passing out thing for the next one but thought I needed to add a bit of a hanger.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Sha - now you are speed writing. Two chapters in one week. Good going. Interesting reading as I come out of the garden from some light clean up. Have a good weekend.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Arghhhhh! Wrote my ever-so-meaningful-comment.....and then a glitch knocked me off line! Only for you will I come back to the drawing table and repeat!

I am enthralled by your gentle reminder to us all that we can never truly know our own emotional & mental reaction to particular incidents. Your readers will remember a time and place when their own response left them shocked and in disbelief.....I'm loving this story, Sha. Great work....


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Yeah, Mike. I guess it's feast or famine with me. It took well over a month between chapters 14 and 15. Here I am 3 days after posting 15. I had an idea and had to go with it. This time the idea came sooner and is kind of on the mild side, but not every chapter needs to be filled with suspense. Well, maybe just a little......


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Paula, I've had those glitches happen to me and invariably they're after I've left a long, detailed comment. I really appreciate you coming back. That says a lot.

I'm trying to have Nathaniel look at the Julie/Haywood thing with an open mind. I know my first reaction was the same as Nathaniel's - to be extremely pissed off and fly off the handle. But we all have reasons for doing (or not doing) the things we do in life. Sometimes we need to step outside ourselves and put the shoe on the other foot.

I'm impressed that you picked up on that. But then again, it's you, she who often helps me see things from a different point of view. I love you for that my friend!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Sha,

Your story feeds the reader on many levels...from heart, soul and even our tummies with your descriptive and nurturing narrative.

The characters are well developed, realistic and memorable. Your timing is spot on...loving how you end the chapters with the perfect degree of suspense.

Voted UP and UABI and sharing. Love, hugs and keep going, mar


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Mar, I almost ended this chapter with a subtle hint of suspense, but thought better of it. For those who haven't been following the story, subtle wouldn't have been effective.

I'm trying to make these characters be everyday people (with the exception of having supernatural capabilities). We all eat. We work. We have normal conversations that aren't grammatically correct and we don't use big words where they wouldn't normally be spoken. One thing I can't stand is reading dialog that doesn't contain contractions. Who says "I cannot go there" unless they're being emphatic? I want my characters to be people the readers can relate to. I strive to make the story and the conversations flow as if you and I were having them.

Your comment tells me I'm succeeding.

Thank you so much for your response my dear friend!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

"down a dirt road and deep into his emotions".....there is the gem of this chapter. That is a beautiful metaphor my friend. You blew me away with that one line. :)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Bill, when I wrote that line, you were in my mind. Somehow I knew you'd clasp onto that phrase more than the rest of the story.

I'm pleased that something captured your interest in the first ten seconds, because that line certainly wasn't within that time-frame, unless you speed read.

I must admit, I was quite pleased with that line.

I learn as I write, my friend.


Ghost32 2 years ago

Aha! Nate's down! Cliff hanger!

See, that's what you get when you switch Soul from worm infestation to clean blue flame. No good deed goes unpunished, and all that. For Nate, this must be about as "easy" (coming face to face with this 'n' that) as going to the dentist used to be for me when I had teeth....

You've set yourself up nicely now. Whatever Nate finds next, it's got to be worthy of his blacking out in this chapter. More challenge for Sha!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Ghost, I'm not sure Nathaniel is being punished. In fact, well, I won't get into it or there won't be any need to read the next chapter. It's swirling around in my head and hopefully will find its way to screen before too long.

It pleases me that you like this chapter. I was afraid it might be a tad too tame for you. :-)


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

Well Sha how excited I was to see that I didn't have to wait any longer for part 16.The story is developing wonderfully and while I am excited to see how it will follow I also do not want it to end. I have formed a great bonding with your characters and I think this is the sign of a very well written story. Great work Sha and enjoy your weekend. Lots of love from Wales.

Eddy.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Eddy, it will be quite a while before this story comes to an end. There's still a lot more coming. I'm glad you're enjoying it. Don't get spoiled tho. Writing two chapters in one week was a fluke. Ha ha!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

Wonderful story! and one of my favorite videos. Shauna your style of writing is so refreshing, I like how you use southern dialog , it puts the reader right there. I can't wait to see what happened to Nathaniel and why? See ya next time...


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Hey, Ruby! Yep, you'll just have to wait and see what happened to Nathaniel. Do you have any guesses?


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

Maybe he is a diabetic and having hypoglycemia symptoms or maybe it's something more exciting, like love sickness..lol..


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Creative hypotheses, Ruby, but not even close. LOL That's a good thing. I certainly don't want this story to become predictable.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 years ago from South Africa

I love the suspense in this chapter, Sha. Your writing style is unique and engrossing. Interesting to read that Nataniel's sensitive side was not completely destroyed by his father. He is still perceptive and able to see the good in the soul of the man who had given him without any expectations a name and raised him into adulthood.

Voted up and yaoba :)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Martie, when Nathaniel first came on the scene Faith thought he was evil. I want to show that he's far from it. Although Haywood is a cold SOB, there's some good in him as well and Nathaniel is man enough to see that.

My writing style is unique? Wow, that's a pretty awesome compliment my friend! Thank you so much. I'll be smiling for the rest of the day!


CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

I went back to read Chap 15 then back here again and OMG Sha, it's just getting better and absolutely thrilling. We'll see what the next chapter brings bravewarrior.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Chris, you've giggled my heart. (I just made that up, but rest assured, it's a good thing) So glad you like it!


Barbara cook 2 years ago

Nathan is more introspective than I thought. He is interested in the search for identity but approaching it more carefully than going off on the deep end now that he got his anger issue out of the way. I hope he will always respect the man who raised him and gave honor to his Mother. I think Nathan will become an exemplary man.

Give us some mor fat to chew. We're all hungry for intrigue and you are so good at creating the yarn.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Mom, Nathaniel is someone I think my readers will come to love and appreciate. There's more to him that even he doesn't yet know. We'll all find out together.

Thank you for your awesome comment!


Chris Rome 2 years ago

I've not only read the chapter but all the responses this time round. And I see you talk about "feast or famine". Funny, I was just thinking the same about myself.

Great stuff, all this. I've come to like Nathaniel, but it wouldn't bother me if he takes a turn somewhere. He reminds me a bit of Angel (in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, however mad the comparison...)

I think we may need a few reasons to kick out next session. Bring H on, we'll take him ;-)

Great stuff !


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Chris, I've never seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so I can't relate to Nathaniel reminding you of Angel. As far as Haywood... we'll just have to see how big a part he plays in this story. I'm sure we'll see him from time to time, as we will Hal.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

I like how you've brought together the ring with what's happened in this chapter. You've grown so much as a writer throughout the course of this book.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, Flourish. That means a lot coming from such an impeccable writer as yourself. The ring definitely plays an important role in the story. You'll see in subsequent chapters.


Anna Haven profile image

Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

Why the blackout? What happens now? To me, Nathaniel is troubled, complex, appealing and possibly shaping up to be a hero? You have really ramped up the intrigue and I am waiting to find out what happens next.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Anna, you have grasped everything I've striven for in Nathaniel's character. That tells me I'm on the right track. Now, you'll just have to wait. (insert smiley face here)


btrbell profile image

btrbell 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

Well, while I'm a little late to this party, I'm sure glad I got here! I know I said this before but it just keeps getting better! "His thoughts carried him down the dirt road and deep into his emotions" Prefect line and sentiment!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, Randi. That line just popped into my head as I was picturing Nathaniel heading out to calm himself down.

Don't ever worry about being late to the party. That's the beauty of the written word; it's here for eternity (hopefully)!


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Wow what a great finale: Before he could finish speaking, the world went black, his knees gave way and he fell crashing to the ground. What a great ending of a chapter.

I loved reading: You can always trust a cat to let you know who you can trust. This made me smile. Well done.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

I'm glad this chapter grabbed you, Nadine. It's true about cats. I've had cats all my life. They either cotton to visitors right away or hide. I pay attention to their signals.

Thank you for giving me your feedback. That's what I'm looking for in posting these chapters as I write them.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

Where have I been? This was great. I haven't read the other 15 chapters but I'm drawn in anyway. You know I'll have to go back now and get all the dirt so I can continue! I loved it.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Yeah, Mary. I'd say you have some catching up to do! I hope you make it through. I'd love to hear your take on my fictional story so far.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Oh, it does get better! Thanks, Sha.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

My thanks to you, Deb!


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Shauna, I love your story, more with each chapter, it is such a good mystery when we don't know where we are going.

Voted up, UABI and shared.

Blessings and Hugs dear friend.

Shyron


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

I'm glad you're enjoying this, Shyron. Thank you so much for reading, commenting, and sharing!


Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

Jo_Goldsmith11 2 years ago

I do hope you will publish this in a hard cover book! So that I may enjoy reading this over and over again! :-) Really enjoy reading this saga and the photos are beautiful! The song you chose is spot on. And wonderful idea to share the meaning of colors! Awesome, useful, and Up +++ it goes. Shared as well. Looking forward to reading more and soon. :-)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Jo, my intention is to publish this in hard cover form. That is, if I ever get it finished! I'm glad you're enjoying this. I started writing the next chapter over a week ago, but life got in the way. I hope to get back to it soon.


JennC 20 months ago

I can't wait until its finished. Im reading it over again from beginibg to end. KUDOS Shauna!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 20 months ago from Central Florida Author

Jenn, for someone who normally doesn't read this genre, that's a HUGE compliment! You've given me the drive to move on and finish this story. Look for it at your local bookstore because you've reached the end of the online sneak peek.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 14 months ago from USA

So how is that book coming along?


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 14 months ago from Central Florida Author

Flourish, I'm ashamed to say it's kind of stalled a bit. I started chapter 17 and wasn't completely satisfied with it, so I put it to rest for a while. Now that I'm working full time again, my time for reading and writing is slim. It will be finished one day. I'm just waiting for Faith, Sarah, and Nathaniel to whisper in my ear.


Anna Haven profile image

Anna Haven 10 months ago from Scotland

I'm looking forward to reading it too. :)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 10 months ago from Central Florida Author

Anna, I really need to get back to The Gifts of Faith. I've let it go for far too long. Shit happened in my life that kept my muse at arm's length. Now all is good. I feel her niggling her way back in. However, I won't publish any more chapters here, otherwise there'd be no reason for readers to buy.

I don't know how much of this story you've read; I've published the first 16 chapters here. HP has un-featured several of the chapters due to lack of activity. I don't understand that mindset. Let our previously published hubs stay that way. How can traffic increase if the links aren't available?


Anna Haven profile image

Anna Haven 10 months ago from Scotland

Hi

I've read all of them I think. I'll keep an eye out for Faith's literary debut on Amazon.

Funnily enough I've been on fixing the ones of mine that they had unfeatured...


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 10 months ago from Central Florida Author

Anna, I refuse to fix what they unfeatured due to engagement. Most of them have well over 50 comments. If HP would leave the links live, they'll gain traffic. Everything has its season. If our posts are worthy when posted, they should have a permanent place in the search engines. Period.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

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