Monday, May 4, 2015

Elijah Marshall Comes to Call

* I know I'm supposed to be working on my WIP, which is why that stands for "work-in-progress," but I have had a hard week, and was just relaxing when the doorbell rings.

I open the door to find a rangy young man standing there, scruffy hat in hand, running his fingers through unruly black hair.

Me: Hello. How can I help you?

Him: Are you Mom?

Me: (squinting at him) Do I know you?

Him: (a slight look of disappointment crosses his face) Um, I, I guess we haven't met in the flesh, ma'am. (He sticks out his hand, then realizes there's a barrier between us, as I haven't opened the screen door yet. He pulls his hand back, then awkwardly lets it fall to his side.) My name is Elijah Marshall.

Me: Elijah? You're Lije Marshall?

Lije: The same, ma'am. My cousin Julia says her boys call you "Mom."

Me: (feeling more than a little flustered at my inability to recognize my character, and wondering a bit under what circumstances they chat) I'm sorry, Lije. I should have known you right off. (I open the screen door and wave him inside) Please come in. May I offer you a refreshment?

Lije: I could do with a drop of water, ma'am, er Mom.

Me: Sit down, please. I'll get it directly.

(Lije sits and looks for a place to set his hat. He ends up putting it on one knee as I leave the room to pump, er, retrieve a glass of water from the fridge)

Me: (entering the room) Here you are. You sure you won't take a bowl of ice cream?

Lije: No ma'am. Mom. (He downs the water and hands back the glass) Thank you. I'm in a bit of a hurry. Hans Stiles is looking for me.

Me: (answering reflectively). Hans Stiles. I renamed him, then?

Lije: Yes. That didn't improve his nature, though. He's still a bully.

Me: I'm sure that's causing you trouble.

Lije: Ah, yes ma'am. Mom. (hotly) He beat up my father! Now he aims to do the same thing to me.

Me: Are you afraid of him?

Lije: Cautious, Mom. Cautious. He has plenty of friends. We don't, now.

Me: You've lost friends?

Lije: You know we have. Folks hereabouts don't like Mormons. You'd think they hadn't known my folks for all those years.

Me: Indeed. In my time, there's a great threat to Christianity itself. Folks of faith need to put their past suspicions to rest and band together for the survival of us all. (waving my hand) Never mind that. Do you have a purpose in visiting me, Lije?

Lije: I do. (He looks around the room. I can tell he's hesitating) I understand you have picked a young lady for me to, ah, hmm, court.

Me: (trying to hide my smile at his nervousness) That's right. Do you have concerns?

Lije: Not about the young lady, Mom. I believe you've chosen wisely in the past, so I'll trust your judgement. My, um, concern is that you're not writing down the words fast enough to bring her nigh.

Me: (sighing) That's so. I was called for jury duty. (Lije has a puzzled look on his face. I remember that only men served on juries in his time) Never mind that. Another matter took time to resolve.

Lije: But you are anxious to continue? Writing down the account of my life, I mean.

Me: Yes, my dear, I am. I expect that by the time I tell my readers of your visit, I will have written a fair amount.

Lije: Your readers? You communicate with them? (His eyes grow huge)

Me: Yes, Lije. The wonders of my world far exceed your understanding. I won't try to explain a "blog" to you. (I stand) I think I'd better get to work on those words right now. Thank you for the visit.

Lije: (rising to his feet) Thank you. I appreciate your work, Mom. We all do.

Me: (thinking how sweet he is) Thank you for the reminder.

Lije goes out the door and down the ramp. As he turns the corner into the road, a mist covers him, and he is lost to view.

Copyright © 2015 Marsha Ward

*This is a work of fiction. I don't really talk to time-traveling characters from my novels. I do like them a lot, though, and am glad they pass under the rainbow from time to time to visit me in my own time and place. To order autographed copies of my novels, Gone for a Soldier, The Man from Shenandoah, Ride to Raton, Trail of Storms, and Spinster's Folly, visit or Westward Books.

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