Prison is better than divorce…

Two weeks Later…

Alice was looking as though she had been given a black eye….

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“How are you fine, Alice. How can you be fine? You do know you’re in jail, right? You’ve got no anime, no decent food and you don’t have the pleasure of my amazing company!” Vance sermonized to her, “Have you become someone’s….I mean did you drop soap in the shower?” Vance was angry on her behalf, unable to understand how she could be at peace in prison. This ‘peace’ stuff Alice had been talking about was the outcome of cult membership, not rational thinking people. It occurred to him that Alice had gone into prison a Furry and been converted to a Hippie, or worse. He allowed himself a moment to grieve the loss of his friend’s sanity, clearly prison life had pushed her over the edge. “Vance come and see me soon, okay, I can’t explain it properly on the phone but I need to tell you about the court hearing,” Alice chirped. How could she be so cheerful in prison and furthermore how did her court case appear so quickly? She had only been sentenced to two years in prison with community service to be completed upon release. The family certainly hadn’t fared so well, refused bail and still awaiting trial the newspapers had been having a field day with that story.

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With the money bestowed upon them, Allen had moved Katrya and Anichka to a new area hoping to make a fresh start. He’d written to express both his thanks and a renewed vow of protecting her. After spending the first couple of nights at Mystic Floors (Katrya had insisted on naming it based from the show Vampire Diaries) he returned to the city. Allen was not looking forward to the prospect of this, meeting with his wife, Nina. She’d been absolutely furious, more-so because of the tense political time in her career. She attempted to deter Allen until after the campaign – cold as ever. Nina was concerned about family values and being respected in a predominantly white area, she couldn’t be seen to be airing her dirty laundry. “I’ve known about your little Russian bride for years, do you think I’m stupid? I allowed it, it kept you happy and provided me with the illusion of decent family values,” Nina spat towards him in disgust. Allen knew her career was everything to her, but how little she respected him as a human being sliced into his chest like a pizza-cutter. Overcome with sadness, he merely packed his things. He was unable to muster the emotion to become angry; “I’m sure you will find a way to spin it… maybe use the elaborate amounts of money you spend on trying to look younger to hire a Fixer!” It was the only retort he could think of that would hurt her to within a measurable amount of the pain she’d caused him. Allen turned his face from her, she wouldn’t get the satisfaction of seeing how bitter and broken she had made him. Callous parsimonious old hag, he thought as he slammed the door shut for the last time.

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He was some forty miles away from Mystic Floors when he received a call from Katrya. She was panicked and it was making her broken English hard to understand; “Allen is man sniffing at house, stink dog. I am scare, Allen. When is you come? I know not what do.” Allen smirked her guttural language was so incredibly alluring to him and he had to focus to reassure her, telling her to hide in the basement and lock the door. When he arrived, he saw that the man was still loitering in the driveway. Allen rushed toward him, channeling his inner White Knight, demanding that he explain himself. “Hey hey no need to get all excited, I tried to tell your friend in there I’m friendly. I was just bringing this over like what I was told. Look mate I don’t mean to be funny, but I’ve got other things to do besides play hide and fudgin’ seek, just take this would ‘ya,” he pointed toward the van with a stoic countenance as he opened the back up, pulling out a very large parcel.

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Allen wished he’d spent more time ‘working out’ as he dragged the parcel inside, calling out to Katrya and Anichka to come back upstairs. Tearing it apart revealed an incredibly generous offering, a hamper full of food supplies with a giant unicorn plushie inside. Anicka screamed as if Christmas had fast-forwarded four months and grabbed it, immediately seeking to acquaint herself with her new possession. “Is very kind. What is catch?” Katrya stated with persistent cynical-ism as she delved through the products offering some criticisms of their shopping selections. She gasped as her hands wrapped themselves around something unexpected, bringing out a gun with an attached memo reading it; “wvelcome to neighbourhood, come to house on vweeken’ we have party plan and you are guest of horror. Guest of horror, Allen? Is this filth?” Allen chuckled correcting her as he said; “It’s honour,” his amusement was short lived as he viewed the name and address of the venue. He was sure he recognised the name and the various scenarios of the party began to run though his mind. What exactly was their agenda…

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Author’s reflections – hope (This may not necessarily be linked with the story but if you happen to see a connection, then great)

What is it that you hope for in your life and the lives of those you care bout? What is it in life that gives you a sense of fulfillment?  What do you strive towards in your daily living? Is it dreams of health, wealth and prosperity, a comfortable retirement in the English Cotswolds or perhaps a coastal location? For the younger among us, maybe it’s a college education or the latest piece of technology, a partner to enjoy life with or just for the struggles that you face in life to be at an end?

I’ve always struggled with hope. On a good day I tried not to think about it and on a bad day the hope that I had was actually a crushing negative reality of telling myself I’d never have the things I desired. As I get older I realised that whilst the things I want will bring me comfort, they may not ultimately be good for me and they may not align with God’s will for my life. Having a nice little holiday retreat or retirement location is a result of a selfish desire on my part. I’m starting to see that I’m perhaps placing value and worth in the wrong things. The things that society tells us to expect rather than the things that are of value to God.  For example, having a new laptop would be fantastic but if all I use it for is playing games selfishly and putting my hope in them, it leaves a devastating effect. I used to spend about 16hrs of every day playing a game called Archeage as I believed that my lot in life was to be a failure and an outcast.  Therefore, might aswell accept the inevitable and do something I enjoyed. Due to my hope and fulfillment being in this game it became a constant source of disappointment.  I became a very angry person and it was directed towards the world and others.  I could see everything wrong with this game, how it exploited its customers and how it was ultimately unsatisfying because I’d made a false idol from it.

I was reading today in Luke 17 of when Jesus met the ten lepers and something that struck me was them asking Jesus for mercy only.  It seems to imply they were looking only to their immediate needs.  I’m not sure whether they expected Jesus to deliver them from their situations; “ 13 and they raised their voices and called out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”  They followed Jesus’ instructions through faith, trust and hope. If they had of checked themselves they may have seen that they hadn’t yet been healed, as it states; “”1When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were [miraculously] healed and made clean.”” We don’t know what they were hoping for but it appears it wasn’t to be healed. They were perhaps asking for clothes or food but Jesus was able to restore their position in society and give them back hope. For modern readers, we may value and place hope in materialistic things such as laptops and holiday homes. It poses the question for me;  Would God have me hoping for things that are of more worth and value, such as faith and trust rather than materialistic needs. Have we become like lepers only focused on our immediate needs?