Dearest John

This is part eight of the continuing saga, The Last Grain of Sand, which I began via a prompt at Bluebell Books’ Short Story Slam several weeks ago. The seven previous parts are available by clicking on the links at the bottom of this post. This new segment is being posted to Bluebell Books’ Short Story Slam, Week 19, and it’s titled Dearest John. I hope you enjoy this newest segment in the adventure!

Dearest John:

Anna knelt beneath the tree, praying silently. Birds fluttered then nestled into the dead limbs above her. It was dusk, nearly dark, and as she prayed, she could hear the waves lapping gently on the rocks of the nearby Pacific shore.  

She opened her eyes as a beacon swept over her, illuminating the compound yard, the rocks, and sea beyond the fence; the pristine blue waters shimmered in its glow.

The lighthouse at the tip of the island, she knew to be real, though its purpose had changed. It was a guardhouse these days, and below it were barracks where the men were kept. At night they could be heard singing—always the same song—their voices low and reverent in tone. She prayed it was where they’d taken John. She prayed he was still alive.

The fence dividing the island was tall. Solar generators ran during the day 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 during the day.

A tear slipped down Anna’s cheek, and the worn piece of paper she held in her hand fluttered in a sudden gust of wind. She looked down at it, wondering would her husband’s eyes ever fall upon the words she’d written:

Dearest John:

I awoke as the last of them was leaving my room, and he turned and saw me staring at him. I suppose if I’d remained still, they would have left me there, but I can’t be sure. I don’t know if they found what they were looking for, but if they did, they knew exactly where to look, for they were stealth during their search. It was not them who awakened me; I awoke with a sense of dread from a bad dream. I dreamed that you were… gone.

I was not harmed, and they’ve not mistreated me, although I suppose being held in this camp is harm and mistreatment. The rooms are comfortable, we are allowed to roam freely, and conversation is not monitored; not that I have detected, at any rate.

There are men on the other side; we can hear them singing softly at night. I pray you are there and safe. I sense that’s where you are; I can feel you.

If this note finds its way to you, please, know I love you. The person in charge here asked me if I would die for you. I said yes, and she laughed. I will if it comes to that.

I love you!


P.S.  I am not afraid

Anna heard soft footsteps, and when she stood and turned, a young guard was striding purposefully toward her, the brown suit she wore nearly invisible in the settling night.

The young woman placed a finger to her lips and whispered, “Be quiet. I want to help you.”

Copyright © 2012 C. Mashburn

Previous parts of this story:

Part one: The Last Grain of Sand

Part two: Hope

Part three: Like a Fairy Tale

Part four: Then There Were Three

Part five: Cinnamon

Part six: L. Aliens in the Morning

Part seven: Dearest Wife

Part nine: L. Angel

Part ten: The Books

Part eleven: Play Money



  1. dswan2 said

    Wonderful, Charles, what are you going to do with the finished product?
    I’m glad you listed the other parts so we can read them! And thanks for visiting m page as well!

    • Thank you, Donna! I am seriously contemplating taking these segments and using them as a dated lead-in to a novel. I’ve been thinking about it for a few months; I’d love to do it, but not sure if I can commit at this time. Leaaning toward, “yes I can!”

  2. Well, this was a short story. My imagination couldn’t stretch as much as yours. Your saw a complete life, scene everything like a mini movie.

    • I know people don’t have a lot of spare time these days, so I like to keep my blog posts short, Leah.
      There are seven other segments to this story, as well, and I am thinking of turning the idea into a novel.
      Thank you for stopping by to read and leave the nice comment!

  3. ~L said

    you know… I have a feeling you touch many lives a day!!! Every time I read.. my heart is touched!!!!


  4. elizena said

    You did it again Charles! This is awesome! Yes, I’m so glad that his wife is alive and well. Now I’m sitting here like a loony crying out of sheer happiness. Both husband and wife are two halves of a whole and seem to read each other’s thoughts. When I read ‘P.S. I’m not afraid,’ I cried. That she would die for the one she loved made me happy and sad at the same time and now I’m not sure whether to feel joy or suspicion at this young female guard who claims to want to help her. Hopefully they will find each other soon.
    Wow at the emotions I felt in reading this; sadness, joy, hope, faith, acceptance and overwhelming love. I can’t wait to read the next chapter. Waiting with bated breath!! Blessings.

    • Thank you, Elizena! You appear to be the number one fan of this ongoing story! You are certainly the most vocal!
      Comments such as yours are what keep me writing. Well, that and the fact I couldn’t stop even if I tried.
      But what a blessing to recieve wonderful comments like yours!
      Thank you very much!

      • elizena said

        I’m waiting for the book Charles. LOL!! This is one of those stories that grabs you from the very beginning and draws you in until you become part of the story yourself. You are so gifted and I’m blessed to be able to read your work. Blessings again. Praying you have an awesome weekend.

      • Thank you very much, ELizena! You geet the second made-my-day button of the day!
        I will be posting another segment of the story in just a few minutes!

  5. Wander said

    I very much liked this and I will get back to the other seven parts. Thank you for the short you offered up!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this segment, and I hope the others are to your liking, as well!
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

  6. Wander said

    sorry it is late and I liked your story, here is what I posted from the same prompt,

  7. good job Charles…you’re onto something.

  8. terri0729 said

    Oh the intrigue is killing me, lol!!! Another nice addition Charlie!! loved it, Terri

    • Thak you, Terri. It looks like I am going to have to offer the next installment without a prompt, since Kellie thinks she needs a vacation!

      • terri0729 said

        LOL! I know, whatever will we do without our Free Write Friday fix?! guess we will just have to suffer while she’s out having fun 🙂

      • L, from untitled moments, was saying something about it on FB, but I never did understand if she was going to try and do a FWF for Kellie, or what was going on. Oh, well, I guess I’ll live!

  9. kez said

    gripping stuff ….thank you x

  10. Taylor said

    amazing one, well done.

  11. Your story journey continues….I wonder what happened…who the people are…and will it all end…yet I am not anxious for it to end. It would be a great book…and even with that I wonder if it will become one…you are the master of the cliff hanger.

    • Thank you, Susie. Your comment about not wanting it to end is an extreme compliment! I made that statement as I drew near the end of Steven King’s latest novel! I do want to turn this into a novel, and may make a firm decision soon.
      Thanks for the awesome comment!

  12. sherry mashburn said

    Great chapter. The story becomes more intriging as it progresses

  13. angie said

    what a great story thanks for visiting me at and I enjoyed my visit here as well

  14. This is certainly an attention grabber! I am into it and hope you really find the time to do more with it! God bless.

    • Thank you, Belva! I keep waffling on it. I want to do it, but hven’t committed yet.
      I appreciate your encourgement very much!

  15. Haven’t been to see you for a while, Charles, but it’s great to be back and I will definitely have a look at the other installments of this when I can spare the time! Really touched by this, and even before I knew it was an ongoing story my mind was trying to help me with various beginnings and ends to it! *smile*

    • Why not? Where ya been? When ya coming back?
      Glad you stopped by CC! Thanks for the great comment!

  16. I ‘ve been a bit behind on my comments, repiles and writing due to out of state company. I love having guests but afterwards feel like I have missed so many great stories. This is, by far, one that almost got by me, Charles. I like the fact that you have them all listed at the end of your story here and at “The Books” story.
    I will be back to continue the series. I love it. I am always left anxious to read more. This is the how I like a story to unfold; leaving me with the desire to read more. Incredible writing …

    • Thank you, Isadora! Isn’t it just awful how life gets in the way of important things–you know, like commenting on my stories!!
      I always appreciate hearing from you!

  17. Mikael said


    • Okay… now you left ME hangin! That ain’t right! A *smile*, then “poof” you’re gone? Leave me here thinking, “Uh-oh! She doesn’t like this part! The *smile* was a sarcastic you’re-an-idiot-Mr. Mashburn smile, and you won’t ever visit my blog again!! Dang! I hate it when this happens!
      And, what about “Dearest Wife”? How come you didn’t say anything about that one?? OMGosh! I’m freakin out ovah heah! Okay okay okay… she just got tired and went to sleep. Did my writing put her to sleep? This ain’t right! I said that already.
      (heavy sigh) (more of a moan, actually)

  18. Kirsten said

    PS I’m not afraid. I like how they both said this to each other in their letters.

    So is Lilly going to end up his wife and is Ben going to be with Chase? Are they separating the men from the women on purpose?

    Thank you for this great read, Charles 🙂

  19. Kirsten said

    LOL!!! I know what you mean. Half the time when I’m writing a story I’m just as surprised as the characters when things happen!

    • That’s what I’m talkin bout! I don’t do outlines or even think ahead, because when I do, the characters just change their minds and do it their way!

  20. I love this Charlie!!! :] :] :] x xx

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Please leave a comment! We love hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: