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A Dim Reflection: A Light for Christ trilogy, #2

A Dim Reflection: A Light for Christ trilogy, #2

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A Dim Reflection: A Light for Christ trilogy, #2

Panjangnya:
384 pages
5 hours
Dirilis:
May 20, 2017
ISBN:
9781541341173
Format:
Buku

Deskripsi

William Caverly can't seem to understand the unsettling feeling that has been nagging him for far too long.

Memories of a baby sister are forever haunting his waking hours, and as he sleeps at night, he is repeatedly awakened by nightmares, confusing ones that he'd rather forget.

He had been told that his baby sister died. He had seen her little body laid to rest beside their mother. But that didn't explain the dim remembrance that he had of an event that happened not too long after that.

Charlotte Porter's days are full and busy as she diligently teaches her young art students at her mother's boarding school, and tries desperately to stay away from an annoying suitor.

Painting has been her passion and dream ever since she could hold a brush, but lately she has begun to question her mission and calling in life.

What is her real purpose? And why does she know so little about her father, who supposedly died before she was born?

William thinks he's discovered the hidden link that has kept him from his sister for over fifteen years.

But then she's kid-napped, leaving William no choice except to find her and get her back.

Once and for all.

  • Series: A Light for Christ Collection (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: ACI Christian Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1541341171
  • ISBN-13: 978-1541341173
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
Dirilis:
May 20, 2017
ISBN:
9781541341173
Format:
Buku

Tentang penulis


Pratinjau Buku

A Dim Reflection - Aleigha C. Israel

Scriptures

Dedication

To the Scott family,

the Atkerson family, the Lorincz family, the Carpenter family, & the Faske family.

Your illustration of faith in difficult circumstances is an encouragement to many.

Keep your confidence in the Lord. He alone will sustain you and give you the strength to journey on!

In loving memory of

Mr. Mark Carpenter

I didn’t have to know you for very long to see that you fit the description of a perfect soldier and light for Christ. We take heart in knowing you are rejoicing before the feet of our Savior forever in eternity.

We’ll never forget you!

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Acknowledgments

FIRST AND FOREMOST, I must acknowledge my Heavenly Father, the One who has made all this possible.

I can’t imagine writing a book without Your help and guidance! I don’t want to imagine it, because it wouldn’t be a book worth reading. When I grew anxious or distressed about future decisions, You brought scriptures to mind that ceased all my anxieties. When my mind dug its heels into the ground and ceased to go another step, You were there to give me fresh ideas. Thank you, Father!

Daddy. This past year has taught me a lot about not taking for granted the people the Lord has put into our lives. A father is one of those people we often take for granted, because as children, we’ve never been without one. Being on the sidelines and watching families lose the precious leaders of their homes has impacted me greatly. I pray that I will never again take for granted such a precious part of my life. Thank you for everything you do! For taking the time to talk with me about my stories. For showing a real interest in what I do. And for being the best Daddy any girl could ever ask for. I love you Daddy!

Mama. I can’t begin to describe the feelings evoked with that two-syllable word. You are my example, my counselor and my best friend! I can’t thank you enough for the countless hours you have spent reading over A Dim Reflection, offering words of advice, and then doing it all over again! There has never been a time when I needed you and you weren’t there. I don’t want to imagine a world without you in it. I love you, mama!

My precious siblings. Hannah, Claire, Aidan, Owen and Lucy. Y’all are the greatest siblings anyone could ever ask for! Every one of you adds a bright spot in my life and has helped me with my writing even more than I can say. Whether it was taking up the slack while I was busy writing, reading the story as I went, which gave me a reason to write more, (I couldn’t leave you hanging now, could I?) or offering words of advice for the final product. I couldn’t ask for better sisters and brothers! I love you all!

Nana and Papa. I can’t thank you enough for all that you do! Your words of advice and interest in my stories are something I’ll always be thankful for. Papa, thank you for your consent in using your painting of the eagle on the back cover. It added a beautiful and personal touch. I love you both!

Omie and Grandpa. You are both such a blessing in my life! Thank you for always taking the time to ask about my books and showing a true interest in my life. Grandpa, thank you for letting me use your painting of the snowy mountains for the back cover. It added the perfect touch! I love you, Omie and Grandpa!

Aunt Leisha. Thank you for designing yet again the perfect cover for my story! We’re told time and time again not to judge a book by its cover, but we all know how well people take that advice. I can’t thank you enough for all that you do for me! I love you!

Lindsay. I don’t want to imagine what my book would be like if it didn’t fall into your hands before it went off to print. With your editing and advice, you take my story and turn it into a masterpiece! Your interior design always takes my breath away. Thank you so much for everything!

My proofreaders. My family: Daddy, Mama, Hannah, Claire and Aidan. And friends: Sarah, Amy, Emily, Paul and Mrs. Carter. Your help has blessed me more than I can ever say! You catch things I’ve never noticed and save me the embarrassment of having terrible typos in my stories. A Dim Reflection wouldn’t have been the same without you. Thank you so much!

Emily. Thank you so much for taking the time to sketch the maps for A Dim Reflection! It added so much, and you did such a wonderful job. Thank you!

My readers. Thank you for taking the time to read my stories. People like you cause me to do what I love, and love what I do! Your words of encouragement and advice inspire and bless me more than I can ever say. Thank you!

A Note to my Readers

I HAD SUCH FUN WRITING A Dim Reflection! As each character grew, so did the place for them in my heart. I sometimes wonder if God feels about us, the same way authors do about the characters in their story. We think of a character, we design them according to our plans, and then we help them to blossom into the character we’ve created them to be. I have the hardest time dealing with the deaths of characters in my story, so much so that I have avoided some of them all together. My characters, in a way, become my children. And it pains me to inflict pain upon them. But you can’t always skirt around the sad parts of life. If you did, it wouldn’t be real life. So, just as God allows His children to go through grief and pain, through the sorrow and heartache of losing a loved one, characters in a story must go through those things as well. It helps them grow. (And as one proofreader pointed out, "reading about it helps us grow too!) It’s also necessary in order to proceed through the next chapters of the story. It hurts to write it because you know the character is hurting, and because you’ve fallen in love with the characters as well. But you do it because you know that things will work out better in the end. I wonder if God sometimes thinks the same way about us. He’s saddened to see us going through the grief and pain of losing someone we love, or going through the motions of life, even though we are aching inside. But He does it anyway, saying, I know it’s hard, but this is necessary in order to go on with the next chapter of your life. To grow you into the person I’ve created you to be." And He does it to give us a future and a hope.

Thank you for taking the time to read A Dim Reflection. And may you be truly blessed and encouraged by the story that lies within these pages. 

Laus deo!

Aleigha

One

MISS CHARLOTTE?

No response.

Miss Charlotte? came a young feminine voice again, louder this time.

Still no response from sixteen-year-old Charlotte, who was deeply enthralled in her work. Her head was bowed in concentration and her hand holding the paintbrush was poised lightly upon its canvas surface.

Miss Charlotte! the voice came much louder this time, directly behind her head.

Charlotte’s body tensed in alarm and with one quick motion, she painted an ugly smudge across her sunset. Now look what you’ve made me do, Silvia! Charlotte cried out in dismay. She tried to blot the ugly streak, but to no avail.

Silvia’s chin trembled and her hazel-colored eyes filled with tears.

Charlotte sighed heavily. The day was not going in her favor at all. First, her run-in with Charles. Oh, how he irked her. He had an awful habit of sticking his hands in and out of his pockets when he was nervous. And when she ran into him accidently this morning—she doubted it was accidental on his part–he must have been very nervous. It took all that was in her not to laugh out loud right then and there.

He was quite a gentleman though. And she couldn’t truly find fault in him.

But Charlotte had no interest in Charles. She didn’t even want to think of life outside of her students and her painting. Not yet anyway.

Silvia’s soft crying brought Charlotte back to the present.

I apologize for my rudeness to you a minute ago. She put her arm around ten-year-old Silvia’s slight waist, and drew her close. Could you possibly find it in your heart to forgive me?

Silvy nodded and wiped away her tears with the edge of her maroon uniform. It was hard to stay angry at Charlotte for very long.

Now, Charlotte said, setting aside her painting supplies and giving her full attention to her little student. What was it you needed?

Silvia withdrew her sketchbook and handed it hesitantly to Charlotte.

I’m having trouble with my people, she responded, referring to her portraits.

As Charlotte flipped open the small black book, she couldn’t help but smile. She tucked a golden strand of hair behind her ear as she glanced at Silvia. Maybe you should give more of your attention to the eyes and lips instead of their noses and ears, and make the nose just a little smaller next time, Charlotte critiqued, giving the picture one last scan. But beyond that, you did quite a marvelous job.

She handed the book back to Silvia and was rewarded with a bright smile. Thanks, teacher! Silvia replied happily, as she skipped lightly out of Charlotte’s studio, her shiny black curls bouncing as she went.

Charlotte’s heart did a little flip every time she heard one of her students refer to her as teacher. She was in truth their art teacher, and she mustn’t forget she could be a big influence in these young girls’ lives.

Painting taught patience and had always been Charlotte’s passion.

When they had moved to Chasahburough when Charlotte was three, there had been an opportunity for her mother to start a girls’ boarding school, a dream that was never fulfilled until then. Charlotte had grown up with lots of other girls her age, but none of them saw joy in painting like she did, until all the girls had left and a new group of girls had come to live at Mrs. Porter’s School for Girls.

Silvy had been one of those girls. With her extraordinary gift in artwork and the fact she saw the world through an artist’s eyes, Charlotte had quickly taken an interest in her. But with fourteen other students, Charlotte tried hard not to show partiality; that is, not in front of the others.

However, she had to admit, she was a little harder on Silvia than the rest of the girls, but only because she saw so much potential in the young child.

Charlotte glanced toward the door as the bell sounded for afternoon studies. She had only an hour before art class. She set to work finishing her lesson for the day.

Hmmm, let’s see, she began, chewing upon the end of her pencil. Sarah needs help with shading, and Eliza can’t seem to grasp the art of aerial perspective. Charlotte exhaled loudly, slumping in her chair. She just couldn’t meet each of their needs in the short hour they had together. A bright smile lit her face as a thought came to mind. Yes, that’s what I’ll do! she exclaimed joyously, pushing back her chair. I will take them on an outing to the meadow!

Would that solve her problem though?

Charlotte shrugged lightly as she stood up and stepped away from her art desk. Maybe not, but it would be such fun for the girls.

Charlotte set aside her books and supplies, took off her stained apron, and closed the studio door securely behind her. She just needed to ask permission from her mother, who no doubt would agree wholeheartedly to the plan.

Oh, how excited my little students are going to be! Charlotte whispered happily when

permission was granted.

And she thought of little else over the course of the next hour.

RACHEL PORTER STOOD rigid and silent before her bedroom window.

She watched with pride as her daughter Charlotte led the group of excited girls over to the meadow beyond the school. A quiet smile lay upon her lips as she thought of Charlotte’s adventurous spirit.

Charlotte had even been so bold as to climb to the top of one of the highest mountains in Chasahburough to find the perfect setting for a sketch, much to Rachel’s dismay.

But that had been when Charlotte was only eleven, and Rachel had since then learned not to grow anxious about her daring adventures. As long as Charlotte didn’t instill her mountain climbing interest into her pupils, she didn’t see much need to be concerned.

Rachel walked over to the rocking chair by the fire and picked up a sample she’d been working on. She sat down, skillfully threading her needle with bright green thread and hummed softly as she worked on a pattern of pale pink rosebuds with bright green leaves.

A short while later, she lifted her head from her work as she heard a horse coming down the school entrance.

With a glance out her window she knew at once who it was. With trembling hands, she put her embroidery down and slowly descended the stairs.

Rachel pressed her hands against the bodice of her dress, willing her heart rate to slow. Why did she still suffer this anxiety when she saw that familiar uniform? With a silent plea for strength, she opened the door and transformed into a relaxed, gentle, and carefree woman.

May I help you, Constable Walker? Rachel inquired, opening the door just wide enough for him to step in.

I can’t stay, Mrs. Porter, he said, looking her up and down with one sweep of his gaze. Nor would I want to stay if I could, he thought inwardly. Mrs. Porter continues to confuse me the more and more I get to know her. It’s most unsettling. I have only come to report of a missing slave from Mr. Thrutworst’s plantation. He paused, glancing discreetly past her and into the spacious school. He hesitated a moment too long.

If I see anything suspicious I won’t hesitate to inform you of the matter. Her tone was brisk, and with a nod to the constable, she shut the door firmly behind her.

Leaning against the door for support, she turned and pressed her forehead gently against the cold wood and listened, almost without breathing, to the fading footsteps.

Why, oh why, could she not just erase the past from her memory?

It wasn’t wrong, Rachel justified within herself. I was merely saving a life, a life that would have been full of pain had I not interfered.

And as she looked out the window and watched the retreating figure of the constable, she left it at that.

I’LL TAKE CARE OF THE dishes, Stephen offered, giving William an anxious look. You look terrible, he observed, noting William’s pale face and strained expression.

William smiled halfheartedly, biting back a response. He pushed his chair away from the table and walked over to the sink.

William heard Stephen’s chair scrape against the hard wood floor and he stiffened slightly as he felt Stephen’s presence behind him.

No, really, Stephen insisted. "I’ll take care of everything, Your Highness, just please go and get some rest."

William looked at Stephen and decided there was no point in arguing. And since he was beginning to feel quite ill, he merely nodded his consent. He stopped at the doorframe, turned around, and called Stephen’s name.

Stephen glanced up from the pile of dishes.

Please do away with ‘Your Highness,’ William begged, looking Stephen in the eye.

Stephen nodded slowly. Uh, Yes, Your High— he caught himself mid-word. I mean, certainly...William...sir.

Stephen shook his head slightly as William disappeared into the bedroom. Well, that’s going to take some getting used to.

LOOK HERE GIRLS, CHARLOTTE instructed, making a sweeping motion towards a pretty patch of bright blue flowers. Notice how these cornflowers have many different shades of blue just in a single flower.

Her class huddled around the flowers and let out exclamations of delight at the pretty sight.

They’ve just bloomed, haven’t they teacher! declared a little girl with bright red hair, freckles and glasses.

Yes, Camilla, they have. Charlotte smiled, patting her gently upon the back.

Now, everyone take out your drawing pads and pencils and work on sketching this patch of cornflowers, Charlotte instructed. And remember the proper shading techniques I showed you in yesterday’s lesson.

WILLIAM? A FAINT VOICE called out in the distance.

William looked around wildly, but couldn’t tell which direction the voice was coming from. She sounded distressed, as if in dire need of help.

If only he could find her, but it seemed a dim hope. He could see nothing in front of him for the fog was too thick.

William! the voice was getting louder now.

William began running faster than he’d ever run before.

But why was he running? Why did he care so much about this woman he had never even met?

That was just the thing. He felt as if he knew exactly who the damsel was, and it was up to him and him alone to save her.

Save her from what? He was unsure of the answer.

William, help! the voice cried out again.

William stopped at a fork in the path and listened carefully to everything around him.

Was that running water he heard? A stream! It must be a river of some sort! As quickly as he could, he began running towards the sound, but nothing could be seen in front of him. His foot caught on something and sent him flying. Water surrounded him as he plunged beneath the icy waves.

He was being pulled under by the current!

He fought against the cruel waters but to no avail.

Everything went out of focus, and the world seemed to grow even darker than the blackness he was engulfed in, deeper and deeper and deeper beneath the torrent of the angry abyss.

Two

WILLIAM SAT STRAIGHT up in bed, breathing heavily, his heart beating faster than ever. Cold sweat trickled down his forehead and he shivered despite the humid, oppressive heat of the night.

He couldn’t count the times he’d been awakened by that same nightmare. What was bothering him so deeply that it would occur night after night? What did the dream mean?

He slung his legs over the side of the bed and walked the short distance to the front porch. Once outside, his heart rate began to slow and his breathing eased. But his mind was still racing. What was going on with him? He hadn’t felt too well before bed, and now he’d been plagued with that confusing dream again.

He leaned heavily against the wooden porch pillar and gazed absently up at the moon shining softly in the sky. The crickets chirped loudly, as if in competition with the running water of the creek. The smell of saltwater filled the air despite the fact they were several miles away from the ocean.

William sat down upon the porch steps and rested his back against the railing. Without noticing, his thoughts drifted back to the night of his little sister’s death. He was six at the time, and his little sister, only three days old. His mother, Queen Isabelle, had been very ill before the baby was born, and she died only hours after giving birth to her little daughter.

William found it strange, even then, that his little sister had so quickly followed her mother in death. The baby girl had been pronounced healthy by their family physician and looked as bright and strong as any baby he had ever seen; granted, William had only seen a few in his six years.

But she had died so suddenly.

Even more perplexing than that was the baby’s cry he’d heard the night after his little sister’s death. He was sure he had just been imagining things. When he’d crept out of his bedroom and into his mother’s now vacant room, he thought he had seen a shadow slip out of the low bedroom window and into the starry night.

But there wasn’t much a six-year-old boy could do, despite being a prince, so with a confused and troubled mind, he had tiptoed softly back to bed and crawled under the heavy covers, shivering with fright and wishing with all his might that morning would come quickly.

William sighed as he looked up at the stars twinkling in the sky. How he wished all his questions could be answered and life could be free from sorrow and confusion. I should be thankful I am safe and well, William thought to himself. I should be rejoicing in the fact God has shown mercy upon me and saved my soul from hell.

He was truly thankful; more thankful than words could express. He had given the Lord no reason to have shown partiality to him. The Lord had snatched him from the life he was leading and put him on the right path–a path that was now being led by the One True Light.

That wasn’t to say he didn’t miss some things back at the castle–his sweet grandmother, for one. His heart longed to see her, if only for a moment, and visit with her or at least make sure she was safe and being taken care of.  His heart ached far more than he dared to admit, even to himself. But it wasn’t safe to go back to the castle. Not yet. There was no telling what his father might do to him. How he might react.

And there were things he missed just a little from his life as a prince. The parties and grand balls, for instance. They would last for hours upon hours, well into the night. He had never lacked for a partner, though he knew ladies only flocked around him because of his title.

To be honest, he used to care more about his outward appearance than his inward one. He had been born with the gentle features and smooth complexion of his mother. His sandy blonde hair was cropped close to his head, his jaw, strong and pronounced. He hadn’t grown a beard, much to his father’s disapproval. But his clean, shaven face had always glowed with health and still did, even with the stress he’d been through the last few months. But his faith in the Lord had gotten him through, and William was thankful the Lord had showered His mercy upon him.

William’s eyes grew heavy, his body relaxing against the wooden railing. And with the soft gentle breeze caressing his cheek, he drifted into a much-needed sleep.

KING RAYMOND CLIMBED the castle staircase slowly, one hand clutching tightly to the railing and the other holding fast to an object securely wrapped in a cream-colored cloth. He stepped slowly upon the last step and breathed heavily from the exertion. He had never fully recovered from the poison that had almost killed him a few months ago. Before, he had been healthy and full of energy. Not anymore. He could scarcely feed himself without tiring.

He walked past a statue of an armed guard and paused before the wide window overlooking the palace courtyard. He could almost hear his son’s laughter and his exuberant voice as he rode his pony or caught fireflies well into the night. He could see him now, his little legs running as fast as they could carry him to tell his Mother and Father all the wonderful things he’d discovered.

Do tell him to come in, my dear, his wife would implore him as the night would start to grow cold.

Let him have his fun, he would always reply. He won’t be this little much longer.

And he had been right. William had grown into a young man, quicker than he could blink an eye. And a handsome young man at that.

Raymond sighed as he turned away from the window and walked through the low corridor to his bedroom, stopping every few feet to catch his breath. William had wasted all his years of instruction and study, all for nothing. He had given up his life for a worthless maid. Why would he do such a thing? King Raymond couldn’t begin to fathom the answer. The covered package in his hands seemed to burn holes through his palms as he walked toward his bedroom, his heart hardening within him.

He was a fool, he muttered as he pushed open the door to his bedroom and walked inside, collapsing into a nearby chair. A good-for-nothing fool.

CHARLOTTE WALKED BRISKLY up the stairs to her small studio, which sat in the West Wing of the boarding school. She picked this room for this specific purpose the moment she laid eyes on it. She knew no other room would do.

The giant window overlooked the beautiful Chasahburough Mountains and the surrounding lush, green valley. The window brought in much-needed natural light that she enjoyed.

The smell of wet paint lingered in the air. Charlotte loved that smell. But others, specifically Charles, didn’t share that opinion. Charlotte stepped into the room and closed the door behind her. She needed peace and quiet while she graded papers for her mother. She placed the stack of papers in front of her and set to work. After a good thirty-five minutes, during which she finished most of the stack, she put the papers away and grabbed her apron from its hook on the wall. "Now for some real enjoyment!"

She knotted a paint-stained apron around her slight waist and poured a small bit of blue paint onto her palette, thoroughly coating a thick-point paintbrush.

No sooner than she had begun, however, a quick knock upon the door half startled her out of her deep concentration.

Mama? Charlotte implored, her eyes filling with concern, Is something wrong?

Mrs. Porter walked slowly into the room, forcing a smile. No, dear, nothing is terribly wrong, but I’m not feeling well, and my head is aching again. I’m going to retire early tonight.

Oh, I’m sorry you’re not feeling well, Mother, Charlotte sympathized. She gently patted her mother’s arm and offered to tuck the girls in tonight. "You mustn’t worry about a

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