ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

When Angels Sing: Chapter Nine

Updated on August 4, 2016

The Background Continues

What shaped Sheila, the protagonist in my very first novel, “The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday to Today?” How did she become, as an adult, a loving time-traveler who cares so deeply for the environment and for her fellow man?

That is our goal in this series of short stories, to fill in the gaps and leave you with a better understanding of this remarkable woman.

So let’s continue. The year is 1970 and the twelve-year old Sheila has just raced into the kitchen to discuss something of grave importance with her parents, Sam and Heather.

Where apple pies bake on a beautiful fall day
Where apple pies bake on a beautiful fall day | Source

The Smell of Freshly-baked Apple Pie

It being September in Olympia, it was only natural and not at all surprising that Heather should be baking an apple pie that fine, sunny, sparkling morning when the twelve-year old cherub known as Sheila crashed through the screen door, breathless from a long run. In fact, the apple pie was completed and sitting on the counter to cool when lovely Sheila, she of the midnight hair and jade eyes, poured a glass of goat’s milk and faced her parents.

“Mother, Father, did you know the Socorro Elf Owl is now extinct?”

Sam looked at Heather for clarification, for obviously he was drastically and hopelessly in over his head regarding elf owls, despite his multiple Phds and IQ off the charts. Unfortunately for Sam, Heather was likewise stumped, as they say, and she returned his look of cluelessness.

“And what, pray tell, Sheila, is an elf owl, and who is Socorro?” her mother asked.

The stunningly beautiful twelve-year old took a drink of the ice-cold milk and then proceeded.

“Socorro is not a who, Mother, it is a place, in Mexico to be exact, the natural habitat for the Socorro Elf Owl, the tiniest owl in the world. It is so tiny, Mother, that it lives in abandoned woodpecker holes, and during migration it flies all the way to Arizona and New Mexico. Or rather it once did because it was just announced that the Socorro Elf Owl is no longer. It is extinct, dead, without life, defunct, as it were, never to be seen again in our lifetime.”

Sam could wait no longer, so he cut a piece of the enticing apple pie and took his first bite. The look of rapture that crossed his face was worthy of a painting being created in its honor. He chewed and looked thoughtful, not an easy combination of activities.

“That’s horrible,” he said after swallowing. “And why is the Socorro Elf Owl now extinct, Sheila?”

Sheila had her own swallow to navigate before speaking, having followed her father to the counter to cut a piece of perfection for herself.

“Loss of habitat, Father, or so says the National Geographic magazine I just read, and in truth I have no reason to doubt the veracity of that article or that organization. It is, after all, their job to keep track of these things. Anyway, it seems that Mexicans are cutting down more and more of the forests, in Mexico of course, so that they might farm, and that loss of forest meant loss of habitat, and by extension the loss of the poor Elf Owl. It is no longer, one of thousands of species which have gone the way of the Dodo Bird, never to be enjoyed again. I find it incredibly sad, don’t you?”

Sam and Heather both agreed that it was, indeed, sad. Tragic, in fact, but they felt the need to push their caring daughter a bit, to test her conviction, so to speak. Heather took the reins.

“Sheila, darling, what would you do for the poor farmers of Mexico? They have families to feed and farming is how they feed those families. If those forests were saved so that the elf owl could live, then families would go hungry and suffer. We can’t have that, can we?”

The child Sheila as an adult
The child Sheila as an adult | Source

Growing up Quickly

She really was a lovely young woman, this twelve-year old Sheila, transitioning from child to woman in the blink of her parents’ eyes, curves and mounds pushing against her clothes, the childhood softness redefined, looking more and more like her mother daily. At that moment, the moment of her mother’s testing inquiry, the sun shone through the kitchen window and Sheila was illuminated, a vision more beautiful than any painting by any of the world’s greats.

“That’s the problem, isn’t it, Mother?” Sheila said. “Of course the Mexicans must farm. That’s all they know to do in order to survive, so they cut down forests and, by natural selection, some would say, the elf owl waves goodbye and is no longer. What of it, others will say? It is only one species, there are still millions, and progress is progress, after all.

“But Mother, Father, therein is the problem….progress! There is no stopping progress. The population in the United States, right now, in 1970, is a little over two-hundred and three million. By the year 2016, the year this country will be in environmental crisis, the population will be over three-hundred and twenty million, and believe it or not, the population of the world will be over seven billion. Yes, Mother, Father, seven billion!

“Those seven billion will need food, and many will turn to farming, especially in poor countries, and industrialized nations will rape the earth for natural resources, and more forests will be cut down, and more rivers polluted, and more animals will become extinct, and more, and more, and when will it end? Mother? Father? When will it end?” And then the child named Sheila wailed in sorrow and frustration and ran from the kitchen.

“Should I go to her?” Sam asked Heather.

“Leave her be for now, Sam. There is nothing we can say at this moment to make it better. She needs to feel it all. She needs to shed tears and be in pain if she is to fulfill her purpose in life. The earth of the future desperately needs our Sheila. It just doesn’t know it yet but we know it, and we must prepare our daughter, as best we can, for the battle ahead.

By the banks of the creek
By the banks of the creek | Source

By the Bank of the Creek

There sat the young woman named Sheila, in quiet repose, the tears and wailing having ended, a look of peace on her flawless face as she looked into her cupped hands. There, in those hands, was a ladybug.

“We will make the world understand, Delilah,” she said to the bug, and miracle of miracles, the bug listened intently and seemed to nod its head in agreement.

“We must make them understand, Delilah, because if we don’t, heaven help us all.”

The bug nodded its head once again as a small tear slid down its cheek.

“Don’t worry, Delilah. I know what I must do.”

And What We Must Do

Is stop for this week. I’ll be back next week with another installment of this prequel. Thanks for riding along on this whimsical look at the future….the past….and the present.

2016 William D. Holland #greatestunknownauthor

OMG, how egotistical of him….the greatest unknown author…is he serious….has he lost his mind….is he ready for the padded room?

Nah, he’s just billybuc being billybuc!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 9 months ago from New York, New York

      Love that hashtag and seriously made me smile more than you know this morning. That said cannot wait to see how Sheila will get her message across now. Happy Thursday, Bill and hoping today is a much better day for you now.

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 9 months ago from Northern Ireland

      Poor Sheila, there will be more sorrow ahead of her and poor mother and father trying to prepare her for it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! It will be a good day. Surgery then home tomorrow, thanks God!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great point, Meg. You are ahead of me and right on!

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 9 months ago from Missouri

      Bill, how can you be the World's Greatest Unknown Author when WE know of you !? And you are great, make no mistake! Great story line and we are waiting with bated breath for the next installment involving Shiela.

      Take care buddy! Mike

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 9 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Can't wait to say..."I knew him when he was first unknown..." ;)

      Dear Bill, I am loving that I'm caught up...as fleetingly as this will last - in this story of the power of love.

      Signing off with smiles, hugs, and love, Maria

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Still, MIke, try and keep it to yourself, please. LOL It sounds like my cover is blown, buddy! LOL

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, you are a doll, and I mean that with great respect and affection. Thank you!

      love,

      bill

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 9 months ago

      You are quickly changing the unknown author to the known author, Bill, my friend, and you deserve it. Strangely enough, Mr. B and I were just discussing Sheila's dilemma this week. Not about the Socorro elf owl, but how "progress" has led to certain animal extinction. Poor lovely little Sheila, we feel her pain.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 9 months ago

      Her task is enormous, isn't it?

    • norlawrence profile image

      Norma Lawrence 9 months ago from California

      Very good. Enjoyed the article. Thank you

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 9 months ago from Oklahoma

      Having fun reading this one. Keep them coming.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 9 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This chapter is interesting as a story, but it also brings up some very important points about the state of our planet. Thanks, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, it is a huge dilemma for sure, one I'm not sure we will solve in our lifetime...or beyond for that matter...and that's just a bit sad.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Some would say impossible, Pop!

      Thanks as always.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Norlawrence!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Bill, I just love this story.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 9 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Sheila is too much sensitive, tender and lovely. She worries so much for those birds, animals and even bugs and wants to save all of them. And, here we are doing nothing. I feel very sorry for Sheila.

      And, I think you are not an unknown author for all of us here on HP. You will definitely become popular all over very soon.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Larry! I'm having fun writing it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That was my goal all along, Alicia. It is meant to be a metaphor, so thank you for mentioning that.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And Eric, I love that you love it. Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M. I will keep working hard and hope for the best.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 9 months ago from london

      Interesting take projecting the past into the future. Not so far off, Bro. Not so far off. Hope Bev is better.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 9 months ago from USA

      We can learn so much about people by the way they care about animals.

    • profile image

      1st deal 9 months ago

    • norlawrence profile image

      Norma Lawrence 9 months ago from California

      Enjoyed your article very much. Thank you

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      True words, Flourish! True words indeed! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you 1st deal!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you norlawrence! I appreciate it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Not so far off indeed, Manatita. Thanks, my friend. Bev is restless and feeling better, thank you!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 9 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I'm late for the party. I was downloading the new windows 10 when my computer crashed, why I don't know. It's been in the laptop hospital for over a week, but all is well now. I'm enjoying your story as it unfolds. Sheila is special. I like that she talks to the ladybug, one of my favorite critters.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 9 months ago from The Caribbean

      Sheila and her parents are a perfect parent-child match. What if all adults could be so nurturing of the gifts within the children? A great story on many levels!

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      rdsparrowriter 9 months ago

      I hope that Sheila will be able to make everything better :) She's special and unique :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I had problems with Windows 10 and eventually uninstalled it and went back to XP. Now my life is much easier again. :)

      Thank you! Delilah the ladybug thanks you as well.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Wouldn't that be wonderful if that were so, Dora? What a world that would be!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sparrow, Sheila has a great task to perform and I, too, hope she can handle it.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 9 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      You always leave me wanting to read more and this time wishing for apple pie.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 9 months ago from london

      Second time or third time here. Noted again your comment about Bev. 'restless' and feeling better?' Do you mean it as in 'she's raring to go?'

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 9 months ago from Wales

      Don't have too much of a shock Billy I know I keep blowing hot and cold. I am determined that I will find time to balance my writing and my job which is full time and very demanding but the pull of writing is stronger than ever now and I have to make it work. I loved this story and cannot wait for the next chapter. We can indeed learn so much about people through their manner with animals. A truly delightful treat xx

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 9 months ago

      Oh my friend, was I waiting for this worry free Sheila's conclusive moment "I know what I must do?!" The whole world is waiting for her "doing" - as it does for everyone of ours. For simple reason , because we are told "Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." The 'sin' in this case plainly means ''missing the true goal and skope of life." ( Weird , isn't it ?)

      Have a blessed and enjoyable weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm so glad, Rasma! Thank you for always being here.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That is exactly what I mean, Manatita. Or we could say "chomping at the bit." LOL

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, my dear friend, so wonderful to see you pop up. I see you've written something new. I'll be there shortly. Now that Bev is home from the hospital, perhaps I'll catch up soon. Hugs across the Pond to you and congrats on the wedding.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, you always find the meaning in my words....so effortlessly that it becomes apparent you practice what you preach.

      blessings on this warm weekend!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 9 months ago from Dubai

      Sheila is out to save Mother Nature and she has a tough task ahead. Wonder where this journey is going to lead Sheila.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 9 months ago

      Mr. profesor Sir, you have installed the meaning in your words for to be discovered by us and leave your page by certain acknowledgment of understanding the message and in this case a purpse of being here on the mission. Young Sheila demonstrates perfectly normal 'model' as every single person should know what "I must do", namely why I am here and what is my purpose, my role (Each and everyone he/she/it MUST know what "I must do."). "Every life matters" when a person discovers given talent, develop it and multiply it before departure - which in no case should be " empty handed."

      ( Bill dear my life is so simply to live because a little I know what is right I just do it. Is there anything strange to make a full stop at each and evry stop sign even if it is somewhere in the middle of nowhere perhaps at three am. when no one is around ?!)

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 9 months ago from United Kingdom

      Told you I'd catch you later. :)

      So the seeds of Sheila's future have been planted. Now it's up to her and her parents to nurture them. So, Bill, do we stop here and pick it up again in her early 30s?

      I gotta ask this. You mention that Sheila is looking more like her mother. Did you mean Heather or Sheila's birth mother? And if you are referring to her birth mother, when did the narrator see her? Also, who is the narrator?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ahh, Vellur, all is revealed in the original novel.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, I do not find that strange at all. Lessons are learned throughout life, in different places, at different times....but the lessons will never be learned if we are not open to learning.

      blessings always, and thanks

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      All good questions, Zulma. I wish I had good answers for you. LOL This is how I write....I play with a story until it makes sense to me....so you are being treated to my play. Your questions help me to focus when the time for focus arrives.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 9 months ago from United Kingdom

      So, you just spit it out now and put the pieces together later; like a jigsaw puzzle. I get it. I do something similar only in my head.

      Ideas are always bubbling in the back of my mind whether I'm crocheting, washing dishes or playing a video game. Just 'cause I'm not sat down in front of the computer typing away, it doesn't mean I'm not working on a story. I'm always working on something. Only when the time is right can I write and lose myself in my creation. If I try to force it before time...well, it just doesn't work.

      I'm enjoying this work in progress. I curious to see what direction it will take.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 9 months ago from sunny Florida

      So much truth is found in these entries....

      And I am blessed to read the writings of this author who brings insight and thoughts to ponder before me.

      Angels are once again on the way ps

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      One of the reasons I put it on HP was to get the reactions, Zulma. I trust writers like you enough to know I'll get honest feedback, and for that I am always grateful.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very kind, PS! Thank you my friend, and hugs coming your way from sunny Olympia.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 9 months ago from Central Florida

      I think this is the first we've really seen of how deep Sheila's concern for the earth is. Although by the time you brought us to the side of the creek, where her sobs had subsided, I could feel the deep sobs that wrenched her heart along the way.

      How will she solve the dilemma before her and the future of our planet? Hmmmm.....

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Change comes slowly, Sha, as you well know. I'm afraid Sheila will just be the catalyst. It will be up to her daughter and granddaughter to effect real change.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 9 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Be grateful for the parks, national parks, and every piece of land dedicated to nature. It will always be a fight, a fight worth fighting for the betterment of all!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I couldn't agree more, Deb! We have to protect them at all cost.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 9 months ago from Shelton

      One of the commentators called this an article.. what??? anyways no one is really this creative without an amazing storytelling talent.. and that you have.. in spades my friend

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Frank! I grew up listening to storytellers...some of it must have rubbed off.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 9 months ago from Florida

      So very sad that Shelia has to endure all the know of the future.

      Delightful story you tell here, and it is always about love at the end; love of people, love of nature, and animals. Whatever the chapter is about; you can unfailingly feel the love. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That is one of my goals, Missy, and I'm so happy you saw it...but of course, you would!

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 8 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      This is an awesome hub, and it leaves us with some profound questions. we have 7 billion living on this earth, all cramped in and using up valuable farming land for housing so that the farmers have to cut down more and more valuable forests that the planet can't afford to lose! Can we afford to continue?

      It might sound like Science fiction but I honestly think that it's the main reason that some of the world's richest people are seriously exploring how to set up colonies on Mars and beyond. Maybe they did listen to Sheila?

      Great stuff here

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      All valid questions, Lawrence. Unfortunately, this kind of massive change literally takes decades, so the answers you seek may come too late. Let's hope not!

      Thanks as always, my friend.

      bill

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 8 months ago from Texas

      Interesting look at what humanity does to the world it lives in. This tale of Sheila is sort of apocalyptic yet hopeful, too.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, it is apocalyptic for sure, but always with a touch of hope to keep us going. Nice insight...you read my thoughts when I wrote this, and the book that spawned it.

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      rdsparrowriter 7 months ago

      Hi Sir Billy I really hope Sheila will find a way to save humanity as well as mother nature :) It is very descriptive and interesting :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sparrow! It's very nice to see you again.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      As delightful as ever - the story, not you - well, ok, you too! A tear from a ladybug (I presume that's what we Brits call a ladybird), whatever next!

      A serious subject with a light-hearted approach; well done, indeed. It's not easy to do such a thing and pull it off.

      Have a Saturday full of surprises, bill!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ann! Ladybug by any other name.....I guess it's the same as a ladybird....I really don't know. Now you have me curious....but no time for curiosity...must get outside and work before the rains arrive once more.

      Have a dry Sunday, my friend!

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      A dry Sunday it has been. A ladybird for us is a red winged insect with black spots. I think it's the same.

      Watching Guy Martin (of motorbike fame) on the tv; awesome! A complete nutter with a speed fetish but compulsive viewing!

      Ann :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, you are too funny! Yes, same bug, one of my favorites. Motorbike? I do love speed...or at least I did as a youngser with my Porsche. :)

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 7 months ago from SW England

      Now we're showing off! Porsche eh? I love the old 911 - great G force. But then I'm a little speedy.

      Ann:)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It doesn't surprise me at all, Ann. Showing off? I was single and had nothing else to do with my wages. I sure wasn't going to save them. LOL

      bill

    Click to Rate This Article