A scream echoes outside my window. Slowly all the houses’ lights turn off. My house is next. Fear grips my side as I start shaking my head. I didn’t think this would actually happen. I thought the warnings were just pranks.
(Three months before)
I was a normal high school student. Well, perhaps normal isn’t the best word. I walked down the narrow hallways, pushing my way through the crowd. I wasn’t popular, I didn’t do many activities, and I wasn’t in any clicks. I went to school and went home. Almost.
I did take theater, and I did have one friend by the name of Caleb Dallas. Caleb wasn’t a friend really. He was in theater with me, and his locker was next to mine. The first day of high school, he came up and pulled my hair. Ever since then, he pulls my braids and calls me Raven. My hair isn’t really black, you understand, just a bit on the dark side.
As I walked down the hallway on this particular day, I heard screaming near the board where our parts in the spring play where being posted. I didn’t have to wonder which part I’d gotten for long. Morgan Lee came storming down the hallway in all her pompous fury.
“Raven,” she hissed through clenched teeth as she stopped a nose length in front of me. I gripped my books tighter. Here was the most important girl in all high school talking to me! And she called me Raven! “You know I wanted that part,” her top lip curled.
“What part?” I asked, I could feel my cheeks heating up and my hands sweating.
“You just got the part of Snow White in the spring play,” Morgan almost screamed. “And Caleb Dallas is playing Prince Charming.”
I froze. I actually got the part? I stared into Morgan’s fair face. She wouldn’t have made a good Snow White anyway.
“What do you have to say for yourself?” Morgan hissed.
“Nothing,” I groaned under my breath as I heard the heavy tread of Caleb and his voice. Not again. This couldn’t happen every time! “She doesn’t have to say anything. She fits the part better then you anyway,” Caleb announced.
Caleb stopped behind me. I didn’t want to turn around or to even acknowledge he was there! I bit my bottom lip before pulling myself up to my full hight and asking,
“So, Morgan, what part did you get?”
Morgan’s eyes flashed as she spit out, “The evil queen.”
“Best part,” I agreed. “You get to poison me and take your revenge.” I turned heel and walked to my locker, wishing Caleb wouldn’t follow.
“You sure protected yourself, Riley,” Caleb said sarcastically, once we reached our lockers.
“You don’t have to protect me every time,” I snapped back, before biting my lip. That was no way to talk. My Savior never would have said that.
“I thought you appreciated it,” Caleb leaned back and raised an eyebrow.
“I do,” I said meekly. “I’m sorry for snapping at you.”
“It’s fine,” Caleb shrugged. “You know nothing will go as planned though.” I looked up into Caleb’s fair face.
“Why not?” I asked. I could see no reason for it not to go as planned.
“For one, Morgan will never let this rest.”
I snorted. “I wouldn’t worry about Morgan, Caleb,” I laughed. “She’s all bark and no bite. Don’t worry.”
“You haven’t gone to school with Morgan since first grade!” Caleb retorted. “I know her better then you do. You really have to watch your back now.”
I rolled my head and shrugged my shoulders. “Caleb, you worry to much. Morgan isn’t any reason this should change. She has the second best part in the whole play.”
“Morgan was never happy with second best,” Caleb remarked. “Besides, you’ll be the talk of the school. Especially after the play.”
“I see no reason to worry,” I repeated myself. “See you tomorrow.”
“Raven!” Caleb called after me as I walked down the hall. “Watch your back, or I’ll have to do it for you!”
Yeah right, I thought as a walked out of the bustling school. I made a dash for my car and slipped inside. I had only gotten my license a few months before. Morgan has enough to do besides making life miserable for me.
How I was wrong! It seemed she would critique every move I made in theater now. Every time I would sit down, she’d walk by and spill my water. Life couldn’t get worse, or so I thought.I looked down the hallway, my jaw moving in anger. I couldn’t believe she would stoop to it…again. I just needed some peace. Peace—ah, what a sweet idea…
“What?” I spun around and knocked my head on the locker-door. “Awe,” I moaned.
“Riley, are you all right?” Caleb asked in concern. I rubbed the future goose-egg on my forehead.
“I was until I hit my head,” I moaned. I had told the truth…almost.
“You should never do lying for a business. You’re really bad at it,” Caleb remarked casually. “What’s wrong?”
“My life,” I said, shutting the locker-door. “I just wish I could trade lives with someone.”
“Don’t wish anything lightly,” Caleb remarked. “Coming to theater in a bit?”
“Do I have a choice?”
“Well, I think that note thinks you do.”
I snatched the note up that I must have dropped when I hit my head. I laughed nervously as I stuck it into my notebook. “Oh, it’s noting—I mean nothing.”
“I told you that you don’t lie well,” Caleb pushed.
“Fine, Mr. Insistent, you can read the note,” I handed the note to Caleb beefier he began read the fine hand writing.
Raven, don’t show up this time. You’ll be in trouble, and life will make you wish you had died young. And…the poison apple might not be fake.
“No wonder you want to trade lives with someone,” Caleb whistled softly. “Keep your chin up, Raven,” Caleb smiled kindly. “Things will get better. Do what you’re always talking about. Pray to your God. I’m sure He’ll hear you.”
He was right! I hadn’t prayed; in fact, I hadn’t even been reading my Bible of late. I tried to shrug it off. Everyone has a life, right? I supposed God did too…But my conscience prickled under that assumption.
“You’re Riley Conners, right?” I turned to see a girl walking behind me. It was a few days after the last note, and I was not in the mood to talk.
“Yeah, and who are you?” I asked, looking steadily ahead.
The girl skipped a bit before looking at me. “I’m Allison Landers.”
“That’s nice,” I mumbled. Didn’t I look busy? I watched the gravel crunch under my feet. Allison walked beside me in silence for a bit.
“I feel for you.”
“What?” I looked at Allison like she had two heads. “Why?”
“You aren’t as good an actor as you thought,” Allison’s grin flashed in her freckled face. “But I’ll give you credit; you put up with more than I would. See you later!” Allison waved before she dashed toward a car that had pulled up.
Weird kid, I thought to myself before climbing into my car. There was a note on the chair. I grimaced before reading it.
Raven, wanna meet up later?
Phew! It was from Caleb. I still didn’t want to hang out but… bing! Went my phone. That also was Caleb wondering if I wanted to hangout. Why not? I answered that I would before driving home.
I walked up to the front door to see a note stuck on it. Raven, you’re done. You will feel my wrath tonight.
I looked behind me to see if anyone was there. No, they weren’t. I unlocked the door and walked in; wondering why I couldn’t be a normal teenager. Mom was in the kitchen, getting my after-school snack like usual.
“Tough day?” Mom asked sympathetically.
“Talk about it,” I said, grabbing the cookies and milk. My snack wasn’t usually cookies, but I think Mom was spoiling me today. “Caleb’s coming over in a minute.”
“You mean Caleb Dallas? All right, just remember you aren’t to invite him to dinner.”
I nodded before rushing up stairs, and throwing my backpack onto the floor. The front door opened and Mom called,
“Send him up,” I said walking into the hall where we kept a little sitting area. Caleb ran up the stairs, and plopped onto a couch. “I’m tired of theater.” He grinned mischievously.
“Why?” I asked, sitting across from him.
“I have like two lines this time,” He looked at me in disgust.
“But you have one of the best parts,” I reminded.
“Yeah—“ Caleb was cut off. We both looked at each other as we heard a scream.
It sounded muffled, like it was from outside. Together, we rushed over to the window, and pushed it open. A scream echoed outside my window again. Slowly all the houses’ lights turned off. My house is next. I thought, wondering what was going on. Fear griped my side as I started shaking my head. I didn’t think this would actually happen! I thought the warnings were just pranks!
Morgan couldn’t be behind this! I thought. Caleb turned to me, his eyes wide. “Riley, I think it’s time to pray to your God.”
My heart suddenly stopped. I look at Caleb with tears in my eyes. I knelt down right there, my heart about to burst.
“Heavenly Father, I am so sorry for not talking to…For not delighting in my faith in You! I got carried away in the trials and forgot You! Please, if this is anything that is of the other world, of the spiritual world, will You send them away? And replace them with Your angels in their place instead.
“Help Caleb to learn about you…to put his faith in You! For You are gracious and faithful. In Your Son’s Name, amen.”
When I opened my eyes the house was dark, but I could see Caleb was next to me on his knees as well. “Amen,” Caleb agreed, before opening his eyes. The wind blew the curtains at the window as we sat there, looking out at the setting sun. The ringing of the phone seemed to ruin the scene, but nothing can be perfect, right?
We both started when Mom rushed up the stairs. “Caleb? Riley? That was the neighbor. A truck hit the power lines, so we might be without power for a little while.”
“Okay, Mom,” I said, feeling a bit silly. “Thanks.”
“Boy, do I feel stupid,” Caleb ran a hand through his hair after Mom left. “But, maybe could you tell me a little more about your God and Jesus?”
“Sure,” I smiled, before grabbing my Bible.
(Three months later)
Caleb is now a new Christian, going to church, and learning more about Christ. The spring play went off without a hiccup, even the poison apple was sweet. Yes, I’ve gotten some compliments about acting, but I’ve learned at least one thing from this adventure. Never stop praying.
We get caught up in life, and forget what is important. We forget the only way to keep us from going crazy in this life is to “pray without ceasing” as the Apostle Paul tells us. Pray in faith, and great things just might happen.