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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)

TITLE: A Promise Fulfilled
By Elizabeth Baize
04/09/07


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“Finally, Guapo!” The young man led his soaking horse into a cave overlooking the Rio Grande. After fighting through wind and rain, a musty shelter had never looked better to Clay Dixon.

Within a few minutes, the storm had moved south over Mexico, and Clay prepared to head for home. Just as he was reaching for Guapo’s rein, something on a rocky ledge caught his attention.

He gingerly closed his fingers over the object and drew it toward himself. He was holding a Bible! It had obviously been untouched for decades, but the dry heat of the desert had preserved its worn pages.

Turning to the flyleaf, Clay held the book toward the light in order to decipher the faded ink. Carefully inscribed were the initials LMJ and JM.

His heart leaped with excitement as he read the date, 1920. Would the passage of sixty years erase any hope of tracing the owner of this treasure?

Clay gently thumbed through the pages searching for more clues, and a single envelope rewarded his efforts. “To: Johnnie McNealy From: Laura,” Clay read.

Anticipating more clues within the letter itself, he started to rip off the aged covering, but something stopped him. “No Guapo, I’ve never opened someone else’s mail, and I’d rather not start now. Let’s head for home, and tell Dad and Mom.”

***************************************

“A Bible!?” Mrs. Dixon faced her son in astonishment. She carefully examined the flyleaf. “These initials don’t belong to a Dixon, and this ranch has been in the family since before 1920.”

Clay’s dad broke in, “Wait! Mr. Jones, the previous owner of the McIntyre place, did sell my father a strip of property. That Bible sure could have belonged to a Jones.”

“Maybe Laura Jones?” Clay pulled the letter from his pocket.

“No son, I remember when the Joneses moved to Redford, and there wasn’t a Laura in the bunch.”

“Dad! There’s a small assisted living home in Redford. I’ll call them in the morning. Maybe they have heard of her.”

***************************************
Clay took a deep breath and dialed the number. “Yes, this is Clay Dixon and I was wondering if a Laura Jones resides there. ………. No?

Well, have you ever heard of a Mr. Johnnie McNealy? ………… Miss Johnnie! If it’s okay, I’ll probably be over after awhile to visit her.”

Clay hung up the phone feeling like someone had thrown him a curve ball. A Mrs. Johnnie Anderson, known as Miss Johnnie, resided at the home. He picked up the Bible and slipped the sealed envelope into his pocket.

***************************************
“Hello, Miss Johnnie. My name is Clay. Does this Bible possibly mean anything to you?” The old woman’s hands began to shake violently. “I’m sorry, Miss Johnnie. I didn’t mean to upset you.”

The woman could not speak as she opened the flyleaf. Finally she raised her head as tears trickled down her cheeks. “Clay, I can’t imagine where you found this. Please tell me everything.”

Clay related his story, and then turned toward Miss Johnnie expectantly. “So you are Johnnie McNealy, but who was LMJ?”

The old woman rested her hand on the Bible. “Laura Marie Jones was my dearest friend. She was often ill and only lived to be fifteen.

In spite of pain, Laura was always brimming with joy and love for her Lord. When I asked her how she could be happy, she replied, ‘When Jesus lives in my heart, how can I be sad?’

That day, I accepted the Lord as my Savior, and Laura inscribed my initials in her Bible. As she wrote, I remember her exact words, ‘Johnnie, when I am gone, you shall have my Bible.’

Once, Laura told me that she climbed down to the shelters to spend time with her Lord, but that these excursions were becoming difficult. One evening, she returned home with barely enough strength to walk.

She must have left her Bible safe in the cave. The next morning, Laura quietly went to be with her Savior, but I am thankful that God gave me such a friend.

So you see Clay, the Lord used you to fulfill Laura’s promise to me. Doesn’t our Father work in mysterious ways?”

Clay paused at the receptionist’s desk and slipped the sealed envelope from his pocket. “I know that Miss Johnnie has had a big day, but when you feel it is appropriate, would you give her this letter? Just tell her it is a little extra bonus from the Lord.”


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This article has been read 876 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Germain 04/13/07
Very sweet...but of course I want to know what was in the letter. :0)
Sara Harricharan 04/13/07
Awww! This was a sweet and very enjoyable read. I loved reading about a 'mysterious' bible and I felt sad for Laura to die so young, but glad to see her legacy continuing in a wonderful gift to a dear friend. Great writing! ^_^
Joanne Sher 04/16/07
Neat detail and very intriguing. I enjoyed this mystery!
Jacquelyn Horne04/17/07
How neat! Wonderful story.
Cassie Memmer04/18/07
Nice story! A very sweet, poignant mystery. I can only imagine what treasure the letter held! What a wonderful gift for the aged woman. Good job!
Kate Grey04/19/07
This is a very enjoyable and interesting story. I really liked your Miss Johnnie, and I enjoyed how more details lead to more questions, even as some of the previously-raised questions get answered. I hope the Dixons and Miss Johnnie become fast friends. :)