Dearest John:

This a short excerpt (Chapter 2, actually) of a novella I wrote, but did not publish, about ten years ago. The story is what I imagine could become of us if we continue down the path we now tread. Tyranny has been subtly stalking us for many years but is now charging full speed, and with rabid determination. As with the woman in my story, we lovers of freedom and liberty may be left wondering if perhaps it would have been better had we not awoken from our slumber. In my opinion, that would only be true if we die in our sleep. JMHO

Dearest John:

woman and lighthouseThe woman stood alone, the sparkling sand cool on her bare feet, watching the ship approach. While her heart yearned that it be real, she knew it could not be. It appeared ancient, though its white sails stood in sharp contrast to the dawn sky. The sun was rising and it caused the sails to glow as though they were lighted by florescent tubes; pristine blue waters shimmered in its glow. The lighthouse at the tip of the isle, she knew to be real, though she wondered if its purpose had changed. She thought it to be a guardhouse these days, and below it she assumed were barracks where the men were kept. She could hear them singing in the deep of night; always the same song; always low and reverent in tone. She prayed that was where they’d taken John. She prayed he was still alive. She prayed for Amazing Grace.

The fence which divided the island was tall and electrified; generators ran day and night to supply power to the island. The women on this side were allowed to roam free, and ventured often to the fence in hopes they might glimpse, even for a moment, one of the men they listened to each night. They saw no sign of life and agreed among themselves the men were never allowed outside.

A tear slipped down her cheek; the gown she wore rustled in the breeze, and the worn piece of paper she held in her hand fluttered, as well. She looked down at it, wondering would her husband’s eyes ever read the words she’d written upon it:

Dearest John: I awoke as the last of them was leaving. He turned and saw me staring, and I wonder had I not stirred and lifted my head, if they would they have left me there, to find you gone when later I opened my eyes. I have not been  nor have I been harmed nor mistreated in any way. We are kept in comfortable rooms on this island. There are men on the other side. We hear them singing at night. I pray you are there. I pray you are safe. I know you are still alive. I can feel you. Were you gone, I would know. If this note finds its way to you, please, know I love you. They asked me one day if I would die for you. I said yes, and they laughed. but I will if it comes to that. The guard is coming now! I must go!

P.S. – I am not afraid.


  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    Beautiful . . . both are not afraid

  2. ghosterb said

    Very nice my friend, I like it a lot!

  3. Morning said

    driving emotions.
    a fabulous continuity,
    Thanks for sharing…

  4. zongrik said

    Interesting trend -> second poem in a story this week.

    • It just seemed appropriate, and it fit the prompt so well. I’m still pondering a novel based on these poems.
      Thanks for the comments!

  5. Kay Salady said

    What imagination! Always a pleasure to read your writing, Charles.

  6. Mom said

    another good one Charlie, keep on keeping on

  7. terri0729 said

    I loved this one Charles! Very moving. Blessings, Terri

  8. you make everyone smile.
    what a fantastic sequel..

    well penned.


  9. Emotions exquisitely expressed of a woman despartely hoping that she and the one she loves will be reunited once again. Extra praise for the story / poem combination.
    Outstanding, Charles.

  10. Ina said

    This is so very romantic, it reminded me of the tv series Angélique somehow , beautiful!

  11. Go for it, write your novel now that you have a thread going there. Sounds mysterious and that’s a good start.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Rosie! It’s been a few years since I’ve written a novel, and my fingers are starting to itch. Might dive in any day now. Trying to wait till we get back from our mini vacation to Phoenix, though. We will see!
      I’m thinking the “Dearest Wife:”–in its poem form–will be the prologue.
      Thanks for the visit!

  12. Just beautiful. Thank you for leading me through a wonderful visual journey! Happy you directed me here. 🙂

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Kellie. In case you haven’t noticed the other comments, You may have inspired a novel with your postcard prompt. I’m strongly leaning toward it!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Janrae Mendoza said

    I love this, the emotion drawn in the piece is exquisite in its own way …

  14. This is so sweet…

  15. part of big project, oh?

    well done.

    a novel could have poetry in it, correct?

    excellent work.

    • I woould probably use the poems as prologues. I’ve even gone as far as possibly two novels; Dearest Wife:, followed by Dearest John:. These things usually rattle around in my mind for awhile and then demand to be released. Yes! Very big project!
      Thanks for the encouragement and compliment!

  16. Very nice! You’ve hit all the right notes!

  17. Stafford said

    Both the background story and the poem are so intriguing… and are begging for background explanation!

    • Stafford: Did you read Dearest Wife? It gives a slight hint about what’s going on. You might have to wait for the novel though. More and more, I think it is about to happen. Publish in early spring perhaps? I could use a good agent of anyone out there knows of one that might be interested.
      Thanks for the visit and wonderful comments!

  18. mish said

    You’ve written a novel ? That’s awesome ! Can I purchase a copy … and please don’t tell me on e-books … my techno ‘tard brain is still playing catch-up !

    Beautifully crafted Charles … and the tone is just right !

    • Thank you for the comment/compliment, Mish!
      Yes, I’ve actually written about a dozen novels. Only two published though, and the links are below. Quite exciting little stories! The first one, Devil’s Dust, I describe as “sex, drugs, murder and mayhem”, and the other, Shelter; well… just read the back of the book, and tell me you don’t want to read it.
      Signed copies of both books avalable here —> Texas Trading PostThe Devil’s Dust

  19. thingy said

    Indeed. This is the start of a fantastic story. I hope there will be more. Very powerful.

    • I may continue the series in poem form. It seems to have life to it.
      Thanks for the encouraging comments!

  20. Really captured me. Great character building. Thanks for sharing your work and journey.


  21. manicddaily said

    Good use of prompt! Reminds (in reverse) of Tosca.

    • I’m not an opera kind of guy (you probably knew that) but I see what you mean by the reverse Tosca reference.
      I appreciate the the comments!

  22. Miss Kitten said

    Absolutely captivating. You really captured the spirit of the challenge so well.

    Here’s my humble entry:

    • Thanks, Miss Kitten! I’m glad you like it.
      I’d aready read your entry and enjoyed it. I was only having fun with the comment about it being “wordy”.
      I appreciate your visit and comments!

      • Miss Kitten said

        No worries. It was a “wordy” piece after all. 🙂

      • Just want you to know I did not intend to be critical. It was a fun entry to read!

  23. yes, there is a novel, or Novella, in the making here. DO IT!!


    • Thanks for the visit and the encouragement, Stu. A novel is definitely rumbling around in my ol’ brain!

  24. creative and beautiful…
    a jump start for a longer story indeed.


  25. kez said

    thanks for this it was beautiful … I haven;t even attempted one yet but I will …would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for all your support and comments on my blog …Thank you x

    • I will be watching for yours.
      You are quite welcome for the comments and support. I like to think “encouragement” is my middle name.
      Thank you for your comments and compliments, too!

  26. A sad one indeed…being deprived of love, breaks the heart. I hope they re-unite. Nicely done!


  27. Nicely done!

  28. Courage — amazing grace 🙂

  29. A.B. Thomas said

    A strong piece weaved fantastically into such a vividly described setting!

  30. Chimnese said

    What beautiful words you’ve written Charles.

  31. cheri said

    well my friend you have done it again:)…PERFECT!
    …there’s nothing really i can add to all the encouraging and insightful comments you have already received, except this
    YOU ARE AWESOME!!!! and the world is Blessed because you WRITE!!

  32. Janrae Mendoza said

    I like this one! The words are well written… ❤

  33. I love this. You too see the ship approaching like I do. Some see it leaving. I love how each person views this image so differently

    • Paintings are like poetry–the viewer/reader is able to see it as they wish.
      Thanks for the visit and comments, Sarah. Very much appreciated!

  34. Very intriguing. I couldn’t stop reading and I wanted it to keep going. Well done 🙂

  35. stunning…


  36. Intriguing letter from a strong love! Nice job. 🙂

  37. lolamouse said

    Very intriguing and romantic but not overly sentimental. Great read!

  38. I can definitely see how this piece was inspired by the picture. You certainly leave yourself open to continuing this story. Well done!

    • Yes it was inspired by the picture, but was also a follow up to my post titled, Dearest wife.
      Thanks for the visit and comments!

  39. I loved the drama in this one. It’s heartrending to know that from the awful circumstance they are in, they still give hope for the other with just a fraction of luck that they’ll each receive the others postcard. Lovely stuff!

    • Hey! Lena: Thanks for taking the time to read both of these. The second one was kind of accidental. The Bluebell prompt was simply too perfect to let slide by.
      So glad you enjoyed them, and I appreciate the great comments!

  40. Wonderful! Deep and moving!
    This tastes like a snippet of a much larger story… seems there’s something hanging out in the periphery— or, maybe that’s just me wishing there was a bigger story 🙂

    • I am strongly considering this and it prequel, Dearest Wife:, as fodder for a novel.
      Thanks for the great comments!

  41. Reblogged this on Marbles In My Pocket ~ The Official Blog of Charles L. Mashburn ~ Poems, Short Stories, and random thoughts from the author of "Be Still… and know that I am God".

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