Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Green (10/22/09)
TITLE: The Picnic
By Mary McLeary
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Ann Cocktail sat on the sturdy low branch close behind her charge, Joy Ferguson. They had been in the back yard of the duplex for a little over an hour while Joy, the four year old, pretended to be Dale Evans and the tree branch a big white stallion. Her little red boots and matching hat made Joy an appealing sight.
To little Joy, Ann was the best playmate in the world. She went anywhere Joy went and stayed as long as Joy stayed. It had never occurred to the child that no one else saw Ann.
Ann Cocktail was a beautiful creature with flowing hair and emerald green eyes. On this glorious spring day, Ann blended in nicely with the vibrant green colors of the season. The grass was a limey green and the trees were beginning to leaf out.
Joy, who had tired of playing cowgirl, threw her left leg up to begin her dismount, lost her balance and tumbled backward. It would have hurt had she hit the ground, but Ann Cocktail swooped off her perch, landed lightly and caught the child just before she hit the rocky earth. Joy was unharmed and unimpressed. Ann Cocktail always guarded Joy’s safety.
“Joy, time to get ready for the picnic”, called Joy’s mother.
“Mama, who will be at the picnic”?
“People from our church. You’ll know most of them.” Her mom replied.
Joy headed inside, but turned back long enough to yell, “Hurry up Ann. We’re going on a picnic.”
Joy’s mother grinned and thought, “What an imagination.”
Later, Joy and her mom and dad arrived at the park. A pavilion had been reserved for their group. A large number of children gathered at the swing set, and the adults placed generous amounts of delicious smelling food on the picnic tables.
The atmosphere was relaxed and laughter filled the air. Soon the group gathered around the tables and Joy’s father was asked to say the blessing.
While the mortals ate, Ann Cocktail hovered nearby with the other guardian angels. Not all the children had one, only those whose parents prayed daily for their special protection.
Ann, never far from Joy, was aware that Charles Hammond had asked to take Joy with him to get something from his car. Charles had gone to church with the Fergusons for years and Joy had known him all her life. Ella Ferguson naively agreed. Only Ann Cocktail saw the dark aura his soul emitted, and she followed the two.
Dusk was falling through the trees of the park as Joy walked hand in hand with Charles to his car. He opened the door to the back seat and sat inside. He held out his arms to Joy and said,
“Come here a minute and sit in my lap.”
Joy obeyed, and Charles turned her to face him. Ann watched closely.
“How old are you now, Joy?” Charles asked quietly.
“I’m four years old, but I’ll be five on my birthday.”
“What do you want for your birthday”? Charles murmured.
Before Joy could think of what she wanted, she felt Charles run his fingers from her knee up to just beneath the pant leg of her shorts and something in her tummy dipped.
“I’ve always thought you were pretty little thing, Joy. I really like you.” Now his fingers were too close to her private place and she wanted out of the car. Mr. Hammond was looking at her strangely and holding her tightly.
“I’m just going to shut the door for a few minutes and then we’ll go back to the picnic, but you won’t need to tell anybody about our private time.” With the confidence born of perversion, Charles reached for the top of the car door to pull in shut.
Just before the door closed, Joy looked frantically outside and her little face lit up. “Ann Cocktail, I want out!!”
Before Charles could move his hand from the door, Joy was lifted from his lap, placed safely outside the car and the heavy door was slammed. His fingers were soundly smashed. Joy fled to her mommy and soon the story was told.
With a child’s resilience, Joy soon forgot the incident, and as she grew up she also forgot about Ann Cocktail. But Joy’s mom and dad continued to pray for Joy’s safety from evil, illness and accident. Ann Cocktail later took the name Renjin Relavay and became the guardian angel for Joy’s granddaughter, Laney.
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