Anna's Alcove

Let's do life together!

Tag: creative writing (page 1 of 2)


Smoke rises into the sky
Flames that had once shot high
Smolder and grumble
In scattered piles and rumble.
As ashes float through the air
Hinting at what had been there
A house and a home, one family
All gone as the darkness descends uncannily
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City at Night

Neons glaringly bright
Streetlights scare off the night
Movement never ending
Roads and alleys turning, bending
Triumph and success
Mixed with poverty and mess
In a huge metropolis, never ending.
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The Hidden Stream

Bubbling and rippling, curving and dipping
Small fish and minnows, eating and flipping
Over rocks and through reeds
Brown cattails and short weeds.
Liquid laughter dance
That is meant to entrance
Any tired passerby, guaranteed
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Boating Trip

Oars dip deep, push, ripples flow gently away
In ever growing circles, splashing on the shores of the bay
Canoes and sailboats, a family boating trip.
Siblings race, some attempt to flip
Others into the wet. Laughter rings out.
As the attack is foiled, with a splash and a shout.
Soon a whistle sounds,
And heads turn around
As aromas drift across the lake of grilled trout.
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Would Anyone Notice?

A wooden giant falls in the forest and no one’s around
Crashing swiftly down and down, does it create sound?
Tearing through limbs of a neighboring tree
Would it disturb the tranquility?
Flattening underbrush, cutting through air
Would anyone even begin to care
That another great pillar of life, a tree
Had fallen with no one around to see?
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Snowball Fight

Balls of snow and ice, formed with care
Explode unexpectedly as they fly through the air
Bundled up children running and rolling
Behind trees and snowdrifts, passerby strolling
Through a danger zone and completely unaware
A shock and spatter of snow shoots through air
Finds the one opening in between the layers
Whooping, laughing, the small and young players
Run away, proud that they never missed
The shivering businessman behind them, shaking his fist.
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Flower Garden

Bright faces peek through petals and leaves
As water tumbles, bubbles and weaves
From a long, green snake coiled under delicate
Petals that display beauty that is so intricate.
Golden rays that tickle and cajole
Small beginnings out of a hole
Invitations to use your noses 
To stop and smell the roses.
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What Faith Can Do – Part 1

Night blanketed the little farm, a scattering of stars twinkling brightly around the moon, which was just a small sliver in the dark sky. The white, two-story farmhouse stood on a hill amidst a clump of oaks and maples, their leaves fluttering in the breeze. Owls hooted occasionally in the darkness, while ten horses stirred in their sleep. The house was dark except for a few lights that shone through the downstairs windows. Inside, there was a small woodstove, which stood in the corner of the living room, facing an old, brown couch and a cushiony leather chair. A desk sat in the corner next to the woodstove, with the family computer sitting in its own little nook. The kitchen and dining room share the entire back of the house. A long, Amish-made table took up most of the space in the dining room, while the kitchen had a marble island in the middle of the floor and long counters to match. Upstairs were three large bedrooms where everyone was sound asleep. Everyone, that is, except the parents, who were downstairs in the hallway. They were trying to keep their voices down so as not to wake their two daughters, but their loud whispers drifted up the stairs, breaking the silence.   

Emma woke with a start. A large, stuffed, brown teddy bear fell from her bed as she glanced swiftly around the room. She squinted into the darkness and noticed that nothing seemed to have changed since she went to bed earlier that night. Her faded blue dollhouse stood quietly in the far corner, her basket full of old dolls she never played with sitting beside it on the floor. Pictures and paintings of horses covered her walls and several small trophies stood proudly on the shelf by her door, glinting in the moonlight. A scuffed riding helmet hung on the end of her bed where she had tossed it last night and her Bible lay open on her night table.

Being 13-years-old, she wasn’t afraid of the dark anymore, yet, she had a funny feeling that something wasn’t quite right. Her long, chestnut-colored hair hung down her back in a tangled mess as she strained to hear what had startled her from her sleep. Leaning farther and farther over the end of her bed, struggling to catch any unusual sounds in the quiet house, Emma’s grip suddenly slipped and she tumbled head over heels onto the carpeted floor. She winced as her small, golden cross necklace dug into her neck.

As she picked herself up and straightened her over-sized T-shirt that she wore, Emma crept to the door. Cracking it open and peering out, she noticed a light on downstairs. Just as she was about to step out of her room to investigate, the sound of her parents talking in hushed voices made her instinctively shrink back into her room. Slowly inching from behind her door, Emma tiptoed to the banister and crouched at the top of the stairs. She held her breath when she saw her parents in the entryway below, facing each other. Her dad was a tall, well-built man with a mop of curly brown hair that always looked wind-blown. Her mom, on the other hand, only came up to his shoulder and had long, curly blonde hair, which she tied back in a single braid. Emma had always known her parents had a strong relationship in the way that they openly showed their affection for each other in a simple kiss or a hug. Yet, just the week before, she had come in from feeding the horses and was picking at the knots in her work boots when she overheard her parents talking in the kitchen. She had peeked around the corner and only their silhouettes were visible in the darkened room. Words like “debt” “losing money” and “have to sell” made Emma realized that this was a conversation she should not be listening to and she quickly whirled around and ran upstairs.

Now, crouching at the top of the stairs, Emma’s mind wandered back to that conversation in the kitchen. She bit her lip as her dad shook his head in reply to something her mom said, took his denim jacket from the coat rack, and walked out the door, shutting it firmly behind him. Sighing, her mom turned and disappeared down the hallway to the kitchen.

“What’s going on?”

Emma turned and saw Sophia, her eight-year-old sister, standing in the hallway, wearing a similar oversized T-shirt and rubbing her bleary eyes. Her tangled blonde curls hung haphazardly down her back as she knelt beside Emma.

“It’s nothing,” Emma said, smiling unconvincingly. “Go back to bed, Sophia.”

Sophia shook her head. “You’re a horrible liar. I heard the door slam.”

Emma sighed, knowing her sister could read her face like a book, “I think Dad just went outside to check on the horses. If anything was wrong, they would tell us… right?” she said, as if she was trying to convince herself as well as her sister.

“Yeah, I guess,” Sophia yawned and arched her back like a cat. “Why did Dad make us stay out so long training this afternoon? There’s no way we’re gonna be ready for the rodeo this weekend. My legs hurt, my arms are killing me, and I’m tired.”

Emma smiled and tousled her sister’s hair, “Oh, quit your whining.” Sophia stuck out her tongue and ducked out from under her sister’s hand.

“Stop it…”

Just then their mom walked back into view. Emma raised her finger to her lips and both girls watched as she open the front door. Stepping out on the front porch, she stood there for a few minutes peering out into the night toward the barn.

Sophia’s cocked her head and looked at her sister with quizzical blue eyes, “So, where did you say Dad went again?”

“I really don’t know,” Emma said. She yawned really big. “I’m sure he’ll be back later tonight or in the morning.” She stood up, pulling her sister to her feet. “Come on, let’s go back to bed. You can sleep with me if you want to.” Sophia nodded, a yawn taking over her ability to speak. Both girls tiptoed back to Emma’s room and crawled under the covers. Sophia curled up on her side, as if she was trying to make herself as small as possible. Emma snuggled close to her sister and put her arm around her. It didn’t take long before both girls were fast asleep.

(To be continued…)

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What Faith Can Do – Part 2

Early the next morning, Emma and Sophia blearily stumbled downstairs. Neither of the girls spent much time getting ready for the day. They normally grabbed new clothes from their drawers or closet, ran their hands through their hair instead of brushing it and pulled on their faded sneakers.

Slipping out the back door, the sisters slowly meandered across the yard toward the barn. Weatherworn fences surrounded five corrals where the horses grazed during the day. A long, wide, dirt path ran between the corrals, which led to a large, traditional red barn with white trim framing the doors and the windows. A rooster-shaped weathercock perched on the roof, swinging gently back and forth in the summer breeze. 

Sophia walked ahead of her sister, kicking at the occasional weed that had managed to grow despite the constant trampling of feet and hooves. Emma squinted up at the clear blue sky, the sun just peeking over the horizon. She glanced back at their white, two-story farmhouse. A big front porch wrapped around the outside and a hanging wooden bench swung in one corner. Several cushioned wicker chairs were clustered on one side and a few potted plants framed the porch steps. Lost in thought, Emma followed her sister through the heavy sliding door at the front of the barn and nearly ran into her when Sophia suddenly stopped short.

While the girls couldn’t see anyone when they first walked in, they distinctly heard a voice coming from one of the end stalls, faint, distant, and hard to make out. Slowly, carefully, the two girls tiptoed down toward the section of the barn where the voice was coming from. Emma paused by the stall of a tall, dark chocolate mare and jumped slightly when the voice came from inside. The sisters peeked over the top of the stall door and both their eyes widened as they realized it was their dad who was sitting on a pile of fresh hay, with his hat lying at his feet. His curly hair had bits of straw sticking out at awkward angles.

“I feel like such a failure, Lord,” he choked out. “I thought this was what you wanted me to do with my life. I know that You have everything under control and that you have my life already planned out, but right now You feel so far away.”

Sophia glanced at her sister, a quizzical look in her eye. Emma gave her a warning look and the sisters pressed closer to the stall door to hear better.

Emma peeked over the door and saw a piece of paper lying next to his feet. She could just make out the words “to sell” and “prices” written at the top. Biting her lip and trying not to panic, she grabbed her sister’s arm and pulled her out of the barn.


Emma shook her head warningly and didn’t stop walking until Sophia dug her heels into the dirt outside.

“Ouch! Let go! What’s up with you? I thought we were going to feed the horses.”

Glancing back at the barn, an uneasy feeling crept into Emma’s stomach. She motioned for Sophia to lean in closer, so they wouldn’t be overheard and said, “Dad’s in there.”

“So?” Sophia glared at her sister. Emma looked at her, uncertain how much she should tell her about what she had seen.

Just then the girls heard their mom calling from the back door, “Emma! Sophia! Come here when you get a minute!”  

“Coming!” They called in unison. Emma breathed a sigh of relief and they headed toward the back door. Just before they got there, Sophia nudged her sister’s arm.

“Hey, did Mom’s voice sound funny to you?”

Emma looked down at her sister, “What do you mean?”

Sophia shrugged,  “I dunno. She just didn’t sound like Mom, you know?”

“I guess…” Entering the kitchen and closing the door behind them, the girls scanned the room. “Mom?” Emma called out.

“In here,” came her voice from another part of the house.

They followed their mom’s voice into the living room. She was sitting at the computer with a bankbook open in her hand. She set it down on the desk and leaned back in the chair, gently massaging her forehead.

Emma’s stomach tightened a little when she saw her mom’s face. She was always smiling and didn’t seem to worry about anything, but today she looked worn out and stressed.

“Sit down, girls.”

Sophia glanced at her sister with an I-told-you-so look and plopped down in the big chair. Emma bit her lip again and sat down on the couch, curling her legs under her, folding and unfolding her hands in her lap.

Half an hour later, Sophia had stormed up to her room, ranting about how life wasn’t fair, while Emma still sat on the couch, where her mom had joined her. Leaning her head on her mom’s shoulder, Emma asked, “So, how many of the horses is Dad planning to sell?”

“We’re not sure yet. He was going to make a list of the horses that we have and figure out which ones will help us keep the farm without having to lose them all. But we’ll most likely have to try and sell over half of them.”

Emma’s mind drifted back to the sheet of paper she had seen lying at her dad’s feet in the barn that morning. “How long have dad and you known we were possibly gonna lose the farm?”

“Since last week.” Her mom sighed and looked down at Emma. “Now, I know how Sophia feels about all this, but you were awfully quiet while I was talking. Is there anything you want to talk about?”

Emma lifted her head and shrugged. “I guess not. I’d better get started on my chores.” She stood up and headed toward the kitchen. Running her hands through her hair, she shoved her baseball cap onto her head and headed out the door, shutting it behind her. She walked out to the first corral and leaned on the fence, staring up at the fluffy, cotton ball clouds that filled the sky. She weaved her cross necklace in and around her fingers.

“Father God, help me. Why is this happening to our family? Why us?!  I know it’s not Mom or Dad’s fault that we can’t afford to keep all of our horses and I don’t want to lose hope, but…” She squeezed her eyes shut and took a deep breath, trying to hold back tears. A gentle breeze blew through the field and lifted her hair gently off her shoulders, caressing her flushed cheeks. All of a sudden, she remembered a verse that she had memorized back in Sunday school when she was a little girl:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths – Proverbs 3:5-6.

She opened her watery eyes and smiled up at the sky, “I know. You’re in charge. Not me. Not Mom. Not Dad. I get it.” She sighed. “Help us to be strong. We can’t do this alone.”

 (To be continued…)

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What Faith Can Do – Part 3

The air was filled with the sounds of bulls snorting and cowboys hollering back and forth to each other. Dust and flies filled the air as Emma, Sophia, and their parents made their way through the huge barn where all the contestants’ horses were kept. Sophia kept pointing out different horses that caught her eye, talking on and on about what breed was her favorite, what she would name each of them if she owned them, and her dreams of managing a huge farm of her own when she got older. Their mom and dad chuckled and Emma smirked as they jostled their way through the crowd.

“There’s Tobi.” Emma smiled as a cream-colored palomino horse poked its head over the stall door. She rubbed his nose and kissed his cheek. “You ready to win?” Tobi shook his head, snorted, and nibbled at her sleeve. Emma turned to her parents. “You guys don’t have to wait around anymore. I can take it from here.”

Her mom smiled and gave her a hug. “Ok, sweetie. Good luck out there.” She squeezed Emma’s shoulder. She then followed Sophia to where Pixie, her paint horse, was kept. Their dad patted Tobi on the neck and grinned at Emma.

“Now, are you sure you can handle the pressure out there?”

She cocked an eyebrow at him, “Really, Dad? I think I’ve been doing this long enough that I can handle just about anything that happens out there.”

He batted her cowgirl hat down over her eyes playfully. “Sure you can. Just be careful out there and…”

“I know, I know. Don’t tighten up on the reigns too much, let Tobi do his thing, stick close to the barrels, and all that fun stuff.”

After finally sending her dad off to join the rest of her family, she turned and lifted Tobi’s saddle off the rack. Tightening up the straps and slipping the bit into the horse’s mouth, she shook the drool off her fingers and led Tobi out to join the rest of the riders in the arena for the warm-up. Concentrating on keeping an even pace around the loop, Emma passed by the judges’ table and almost did a double take. On the second time around the arena, she looked over at the sign that was hanging off the front of the table. It read: Barrel Racing Grand Prize – $25,000. A grin spread across her face. Here was an answer to all of their problems! All she had to do was win the prize money and then her parents wouldn’t have to give up any of their horses, much less lose the farm. 

“What do you have that goofy grin on your face for?” Sophia came trotting up on her white horse that looked as if it had been splashed with large splotches of dark chocolate syrup. Pixie snorted and stretched her neck forward, trying to go faster than Sophia was letting her.

Emma slowed Tobi down to a walk and leaned close to her sister, “Did you catch that sign back there on the judge’s table? They don’t normally have big money prizes like that!”

“Yeah, just imagine all the cool things we can buy if we win it!” Sophia’s eyes sparkled like sapphires. “You know that black saddle I’ve had my eyes on? The one with the silver designs on it?” She squeaked with excitement.

Emma shook her head. “I think it would be a good idea to give it to Mom and Dad… No, hear me out,” she said when Sophia’s face darkened. “If we give them the prize money, then we won’t have to give up any of our horses or the farm. Mom only told us a small part about what’s really going on.”

“Yeah, and we know how that went.”

“You don’t understand. It’s more serious than just losing a few horses.” Emma let out her breath and the sisters made an entire loop around the arena while Emma told Sophia all that she had overheard that day she caught her parents talking in the kitchen. Sophia’s eyes widened and when Emma was done, she didn’t have a smart comment to make, which was unusual.

Emma sighed and straightened her shoulders as the sisters followed the rest of the riders into the waiting area. Sophia reached out her hand. Emma grabbed it and squeezed, trying to give her an encouraging smile. Sophia returned it with a smile of her own and turned Pixie to join her group. 

(To be continued…)

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