Wednesday, 22 January 2014

WEP-challenge for 22nd January 2014 - New Beginnings

Welcome to WEP's Blogfest for January [=Write-Edit-Publish, formerly 'Romantic Friday Writers'] Challenge for Wednesday 22nd January 2014 - 'New Beginnings':

'It's the uncertainty...'

It was a cold, icy morning in January with new snow blanketing the rural landscape after an unusually warm autumn and snowless Christmas. A woman dressed in winter boots, knitted hat and drab grey woolen overcoat, stepped out of a small blue car parked by the stone wall around the country church. She held a large brown envelope under her arm, as she knocked on the church door. The door was opened by a tall slender woman dressed in a black kaftan.

'How do you do, mrs Bly? Please come in. I'm Kristell Karlsson, assistent pastor. We spoke on the phone. I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter. Would you like a cup of tea or coffee while we talk?'

'Yes, tea please,' replied mrs Bly, trying to catch her breath as she briskly followed pastor Karlsson to a smaller meeting room behind the sacristy. The two woman sat at a large and elegant wooden dining-room table decorated with lace doilies and a vase filled with dried flowers. Pastor Karlsson poured tea into two china cups and asked whether mrs Bly took sugar, and lemon or milk.

'How long has your daughter, Karla, been missing?'

'Since the day before yesterday.'

'And you've reported it to the police?'

'Yes. They've asked me all kinds of questions. They even want me to give them samples of fabric with her blood, disgarded bandages or stained sheets from a scraped knee. Just in case. It's not easy to find. That's not the sort of thing you save.'

'I see. Well, I hope they won't need them. They probably ask everybody that routinely. What do you have there?' asked Kristell, changing the subject by pointing at Sonja Bly's thick envelope.'

Mrs Bly opened the envelope and took out a poster with the photographic portrait of a smiling nine year old girl, with the caption, 'Have you seen our daughter, Karla?' above the photo image. 'Would it be alright if I posted one of these on the bulletin board here at church for people to see?'

'Yes, of course.  What an excellent idea. Did the police suggest this?'

'No, it was my own idea. I've been putting these up everywhere. I hope it helps. I'm thinking that maybe someone has seen her. And now that it's turned so cold, we may be running out of time. We need to find her fast.'

'Is there anything else I can do to help? I could write something in the weekly bulletin and say something in church on Sunday, unless she returns before then. There is still hope. She may even come home today.'

'That's what the police say. But so far we have not found a trace of her anywhere. And no one has claimed to have kidnapped her. No demands for ransom.'

'Is there anything else?'

'Yes. Please pray for Karla. It is so cold now. If she is out wandering about in the woods, she could freeze to death. After two search parties, no sign of her has been found.'

'Would you like to pray with me now?' asked Kristell gently. 

Sonja Bly took a sip of tea, put the cup down on the flaming birch table and then covered her face with her hands, 'Yes, let's pray. Prayer maybe the only thing we can do for her now.'

Before the prayer, Kristell Karlsson found a box of paper tissues and gave it to Sonja Bly, who had begun to weep.

Kristell held both of Sonja's hands and prayed for Karla's safe return.

She's only nine years old,' said Sonja and thought: Nine years old! Karla's not a toddler anymore, but what comfort is that? Nine years old is still very, very young. 

Sonja was grateful that Karla was small for her age and looked younger than her actual nine years. She remembered with horror newspaper articles about young girls who mature physically too early and look like they are about eighteen when they only are eleven, twelve or thirteen. 

'Thank you for your time, pastor,' said Sonja Bly as she rose from the table to leave.

'What are you going to do now?'

'I've got an appointment with a local radio station. The police are coming home to us this afternoon to discuss our next course of action.'

'Take this card, Sonja. It's the number to my privat mobil phone for unusual situations like this. I keep this phone in a special pocket near my heart. Call me anytime. If I don't answer, leave a text message.'

'Thank you pastor.'

'Call me Kristell.'


Word count according to WordCalc: 784

This text is fictional! Any resemblance to events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidencial.

Best wishes,

First Commenter:

Duck and Wheel With String


Lin said...

Happy New Year, Anna!!

Yolanda Renée said...

How truly sad for Sonja! This is the beginning of a horrible nightmare for her but I would love to know how it ends, you said it was part of a longer story. Thanks Anna, for your good thoughts!

Lisa said...

This is SO not the way I'd want to start a new year, losing my daughter. This was poignant and sad. So much unsaid behind what was voiced. Came by from WEP...

Grace said...

How sad but I hope for the little girl to be found sometime, someday ~ Happy New Year to you Anna ~

Unknown said...

Dear Lin,
Happy New Year to you too!

Dear Yolanda,
Thank you so much for stopping by, when you have enough problems of your own. Hope you get good help and pain relief for your dislocated jaw. That must have hurt!

Yes my story begins as a horrible nightmare; a parent's nightmare. I hope that I never have to experience this first hand.

Thank you for wanting to know what happens next. I wrote this as a rough draft for a subplot or parallel plot to a main plot with a slightly brighter outlook. But I don't know if they will work together.

I had been reading a lot about plotting and really working with rough ideas. I really did not want to have to refine this that much. But I had to correct spelling etc before posting it on my blog. It is still just a rough idea that can be changed. It might even get to live a life of its own without the other plot line.

Dear Lisa,
Thank you for reading. Yes, isn't it horrible?

But in the middle of all this grief and sorrow, I've stumbled upon a likable character in the assistant minister, Kristell Karlsson, who might have amateur-sleuth potential. Anyway I hope that she can help Sonja Bly.

I was thinking of giving this a happy ending, but I'm not sure exactly HOW I am going to do it. The odds are against little Karla, unless she has been able to take shelter somewhere.

I really liked your story with all the lovely youthful optimistic dialogue. What a bright, sunny, flirty story! This is the kind of story I need right now -- like a vitamin C tablett.

It is cold, icy, snowy, dark and depressing here in Sweden at this time of year. I have been struggling with such simple things as getting out of bed on time in the morning and helping my daughter get to school on time. Everything seems to take such a great physical and emotional effort! It's a marathon run to put clothes on and get through breakfast.

Wish I could magically transport myself (like Harry Potter and his friends) to Florida for a few hours (and return before Elisabet gets home from school). But here, reality leaves me no such options.

Thank you all for commenting!
Best wishes & hugs from

Unknown said...

Dear Grace,
Thank you for your kind thoughts. Yes, I am determined to write a happy end for this little girl.
Best wishes,

D.G. Hudson said...

I'm a little late coming by, but wanted to read your post.

Anything with children at risk always grips my heart, as a parent, that is the greatest fear. Sounds interesting, hope we see more.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Hi Anna,

What a terrible way to start the year for poor Sonja, I hope her daughter comes back soon. The risk is the same whatever her degree of physical maturity - ghastly news about5 5-6 year olds being abused on my TV lately.
Your story felt very realistic, and of course, as parents we can all relate immediately to Sonja's anxiety. Well done.
Wish you a very happy and succeeful 2014.

Denise Covey said...

Hello Anna. I don't know what happened earlier. I've been by a couple of times and couldn't comment.

What a poignant story, and as it's part of a bigger story, you must share more with us when you can.

It's as they say, every parents' nightmare to have their child go missing. I do hope there's a happy ending, although I know it's not always the case in real life.

Thank you for sharing with WEP Anna. You have received some good feedback.


Jen said...

Hi Anna,
I'm a little late this go round. Really great story here. Very emotional yet hopeful. I'm interested to know more. What becomes of Karla? The characters here are lovely and believable. Well done!

Happy New Year,

dolorah said...

Sad, evocative. A good beginning for a story set up with lots of potential for growth. Well done Anna.


Tanya. said...

Hi Anna...happy new year to you and your family. As usual such a wonderfully descriptive and heartfelt piece you have written. It leaves me with a catch at the back of my throat wondering what could be happening to that poor little girl. I hope that you continue this story on at some point and we can share it through to the end with you. xx

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Anna,

I finally made it over. HAPPY 2014. I wish you and your family a happy, healthy, and exciting year.

This is such a sad story and a horrible beginning for poor Sonja. Tragic.

There's excellent tension and terrific chemistry. I like the pastor. She seems caring and sweet. But I can't help getting the feeling she is more. As if she has some physic power.

Well done, Anna. I would definitely continue with this story.

All the best!


Unknown said...

28 January 2014

Dear D.G. Hudson,
Thanks for your encouragement. I'll be back with more from this story; but it might take some time.

Dear Nilanjana,
Thanks for reading this sad snippet. I want to give this story a happy ending and at the same time show the anguish that parents can suffer when their children go missing. It will be a kind of balancing act between extreme sorrow and the joy that comes from wittnessing a miracle.

Love your poem!

Dear Denise,

Sorry you had technical trouble leaving a comment earlier. I'm just happy to get visitors!

Thanks for your encouragement. As always, it is great fun to be a part of your blogfests.

I know that in real life, stories about lost children do not always end happily, but somehow, I want to write a happpy ending to this one.

Yes, I have received many kind words about this post. Just what I need to keep at it!

Dear Jen,
I'm glad you find my characters believeable. That's what I am aiming for. I really hope that I can do something thought-provoking and entertaining with this theme. And I want the character, Karla, to not only survive, but to live happily and to thrive.

Dear Donna,
Thank you for your kind words. It means a lot to me if you like what I write.

Dear Tanya,
Thanks so much for reading my story! Of course, I will let you read my story if I complete it.

Dear Michael,
Thank you so much for reading my story. You have hit the nail on the head when it comes to the character of the pastor. I almost made her a POV-character, but decided to let there be a aura of mystery surrounding her. Yes, she does have special psychic powers. Thanks to you, I am going to see to it that she gets the development that she deserves.

Thanks once again to everyone who took the time to write.

All the best,

Trisha said...

This writing piece definitely ends at the point where the reader really wants to read on to find out what happened!

Nice work.

Sally said...

Hi Anna, a very tragic piece. Maybe the 'happiness'in the story will come as a friendship with the pastor whatever the outcome for the poor little girl. I like the bit about keeping the card close to her heart - there's a little hint there maybe of something a bit psychic?

Unknown said...

January 31st,2014
Dear Trisha,
Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I am interested in timing and the importance letting a story unfold in a way that keeps the reader interested. I am happy if you think that this excerpt ended at the right moment.
Thanks for your encouraging words. I need them to keep going!

Dear Sally,
You are so perceptive! Yes, the pastor is a person who wants to help Sonja. But I am hoping that this story will only be 'nearly tragic', but notfully tragic. I know that in real life most children who go missing do not return. And children who are abducted are often murdered soon after they are kidnapped. Ian Macuen has written a novel about a couple who loose their three year old daughter in a grocery store and she never returns to them.
But I don'twant to write that kind of a story.

I've hinted at the pastor's special psychic abilities. It's the mobile phone that the pastor carries in a special pocket near her heart. She is wearing the black kaftan when she meets Sonja because she has scheduled a christening soon after her meeting with Sonja Bly.

By the way, what would an assistent pastor be called in let's say the Anglican church? A vicar? This story is set in Sweden (I'm writing a Swedish language version parallell to this English one.) and it is a Lutheran church (formerly, the Swedish State Church. I'd like to sneak in a little cultural history in this story.)

Thank you so much for your kind words about my story. It warms the heart and helps me keep on track.
Dispite the odds, I am determined to write a happy ending, and that means that the little girl, Karla, comes home alive and well.

Best wishes for 2014!

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