The Teacher’s Gifting

Withstanding White Lady Road
Withstanding White Lady Road
December 20, 2016
The Lost Village
The Lost Village
December 20, 2016

The Teacher’s Gifting

As a child, JaElle had been somewhat of a prodigy. She was a spunky little girl who was full of joy, laughter and questions. She was also the baby of her siblings. Being the youngest of 2 sisters and 1 brother she was quite spoiled, but within reason. The “life of the party”, she was known for her impersonations and making her family, and others, roll with laughter. On the surface, Jaelle looked and interacted like a normal child, and to be fair she was. But there was also something very special about her. JaElle was also born with a gifting that, in the beginning, only her father truly understood. Even she didn’t understand it. She knew she was different in that regard, even early on. She was said to have been born with a veil over her face. An old wives’ tale says that babies born with a veil, have psychic abilities and may have prophetic abilities. As a baby, JaElle was very asthmatic. There were several times where her parents rushed her to the hospital because she would be turning blue from a lack of oxygen.

When JaElle was around 8 months old, her mom took her in for a routine check-up. There was a point when one of the nurses was holding her to take her to the baby scale, which confused JaElle. Although her mom was following behind the nurse, she cried out, “Momma, don’t leave me!” The fact that she spoke, the fact that she could, the fact that she knew exactly what she was saying, along with the fact that she was so young made everyone in the doctor’s office stop and take another look. ‘Hey,’ said the nurse carrying her, “You’re too young to be talking like that!’”Her mom, laughing, said, “Oh, she’s been talking like that for a while now. It’s ok, honey, mommy is right here behind you.” The nurse stood there for a moment looking at JaElle like she still couldn’t believe what she’d heard. Her mom held back since this happened a lot. JaElle was different, but it was in a good way, amazing people everywhere she went. And it didn’t help that she was a super cutie!

As she grew older, JaElle’s gifting developed even more, in different, unexplainable ways. The best way she could explain it, she often compared it (jokingly) to Peter Parker’s spidey-senses. And this was true. It was like she could sense danger before it happened. Because she was so young when she realized she was not like the other kids, she was a bullied from time to time. But most of the time she avoided it because her gifting steered her clear of any trouble. Most of the time. At 3 she pretty much saved her sister’s life. It happened on a Saturday morning. Earlier that week there was a trip planned, by one of her aunts, to take her, her sister and a few of their cousins to a nearby park. There was a lake at this park and it was the middle of the summer, so naturally there would be swimming. JaElle’s mom was quite nervous about the trip since JaElle had not been around water and because she was so young. It was only natural that she was very protective of her little one. JaElle’s sister was 7 at the time so she wasn’t as worried about her, but there was also another factor that made their mom nervous. One of her sister’s had adopted a little girl, through an agency. Unfortunately, the play cousin had issues that she hid from all of the grown-ups, and most of the kids. But she couldn’t hide it from JaElle. She picked up on her darkness shortly after she met her.

One thing that JaElle learned, early on, was to let her mom or dad know whenever she got “that feeling”. About the 2nd time she was around her play cousin, she got “that feeling” and it was strong. So strong it almost made JaElle sick to her stomach. There was a pure evilness about her play cousin that JaElle, being only 3 couldn’t explain, but because she was so in tune with her gifting, she knew to stay clear of her, without making it obvious. Her sister, on the other hand was absolutely enamored by their play cousin. There was even a time when they were all in a candy store and the play cousin began stealing candy like it was okay. When JaElle asked her if she was gonna pay for all the candy she was stuffing in her pockets, she scowled at her, and said,”Mind your own business little girl”. When her sister seemed to give thought to swiping a handful, too, JaElle had to use her go to line, “Ooohh, if you do, I’ma tell Momma!” And because her sister knew that she really would tell on her, she refrained from joining the antics of her play cousin.

There were several instances of this type of activity. She remembered hearing her mom and dad talking and referring to the play cousin as “bad seed”. It was the first time that JaElle heard this term, but it stuck with her throughout her life. So the fact that her Aunt M. suggested that her play cousin come along, made JaElle’s mom very nervous. Especially since there would be water involved. Her play cousin’s mom, her Aunt B. wasn’t exactly thrilled about her taking the trip, either, because after she adopted her, she began to discover that the sweet little girl that she’d adopted was no sweet little girl at all. In fact, she’d had several run-ins with teachers, the law, store owners, fast food establishments, you name it. It was like everywhere her bad seed went, there were eventually going to be issues. It was a given, but her Aunt B. kept it away from the family. Call it pride, embarrassment, privacy, or ignorance…but not telling the family wasn’t the best idea. Especially since she was left alone with kids she was older than. She was 10 when she was adopted, which made it that much more difficult for her Aunt B. to deal with once she started acting out.

There was another time when she, her sister and JaElle went to the store to get some candy and on the way they went through a wooded area. This would have been fine, but because the play cousin was unpredictable and you could never tell what she was going do next. She grabbed JaElle’s hand and took off like a rabbit. Being much older and larger than JaElle, when she yanked her arm, it not only hurt, but caused JaElle to fall. Her play cousin, not even phased that she was screaming and crying, continued to run, dragging JaElle for quite a ways before her sister caught them and made her stop. It was the only time JaElle had seen her sister stand up to her play cousin. And for good reason. She wasn’t badly hurt, but the idea that her play cousin thought the whole thing was funny really angered the sisters. This had been a couple of months ago, but their mom was still a little mad at their Aunt B., somehow blaming her for the whole incident. Family is funny that way.

So the fact that she wouldn’t quit talking about the park trip really got on JaElle’s nerves. They lived right behind JaElle, so she was over at her house more than she was at her own. The night before the trip, their play cousin stayed for a sleep over. JaElle barely slept that night, tossing and turning and waking up several times in the middle of the night. Not being able to put her finger on exactly what it was about her play cousin, other than she was a disobedient child, who seemed determined to do just the opposite of what the grown-ups said to do…ALL the time.

Morning came and it was time to prepare to leave. Aunt M. had phoned and would be there to pick them up within the hour. It was as if their mom had a sense that something wasn’t quite right with the whole “day at the park trip”, too. Conveniently, while their play cousin was taking a shower, their mom pulled them both aside and said, “Listen to me, both of you. I want you guys to enjoy yourselves with your cousins. Play and have fun and listen to your Aunt M., but I’m not comfortable with y’all getting in that lake.” “Yes, Ma’am,” responded JaElle, who felt a little bit better that their mom had expressed her true feelings, finally. But her sister just continued to look blankly, as though she didn’t hear what her mom had said. She had a tendency to do that from time to time, which also annoyed JaElle. “Now your dad and I have discussed it quite a few times and we agree, we are allowing y’all to wear your bathing suits, but we don’t want y’all anywhere near the lake.” Speaking to her sister she said, “Make sure you hold JaElle’s hand and keep up with her.” This clearly aggravated her sister who felt like anytime she had to hold JaElle’s hand, it made her look like a little kid instead of a big sister. She did realize, though, that she’d have no choice in the matter. And it wasn’t too late for their mom to pull the plug on the whole trip. “Yes, ma’am,” she responded after way too much silence. JaElle knew that her sister would do everything she could to keep up with their play cousin. Especially, in front of the other cousins, she was sure to act like she was older than she actually was.

The three of them were ready to for a day of fun by the time their Aunt M. rolled up in a huge rented van. She’d already picked up the other cousins, snacks and everything else they would need on this trip. It would be a total of 5 kiddos and 1 adult, with her play cousin and her big sister being the oldest at 9 and 7, so it seemed like a reasonable ratio for an outing of such magnitude. So after their Aunt M. spoke with their mom and her Aunt B. who walked over once Aunt M. arrived, the girls loaded the van to leave for the park. But not before JaElle’s mom reminded her and her big sister of what she’d said earlier that morning. After hugging and kissing them both, the were off.

The trip took nearly 3 hours to reach the park, but only because, again, you had a van full of girls. Normally the trip should have taken an hour, max, but Aunt M. kept stopping because every so often, she had to pull over to a rest station or one of those Stop-N-Git Stores because someone had to use the restroom. Plus there were a couple of times that JaElle sensed her Aunt M. had no idea where she was… and she was right. After some time, they passed a sign that said Lake Park – 1 mile ahead, and JaElle woke her big sister up to tell her the good news. She had fallen asleep a while ago, as did their 2 Cousins, but their play cousin remained wide awake the whole trip…and eerily quiet.
Feeling creeped out by her, and the fact that she remained awake for the whole trip, made JaElle feel even more uneasy now that she was so far away from her mom. She even pretended to be asleep for a lot of the trip because she didn’t want her play cousin to realize she was awake and maybe come sit with her.

“Alright girls, we’re pulling into Lake Park, make sure you have your overnight bags and personal belongings before I park and we get out.” Her Aunt M. was also a very bossy lady. She figured she probably was eating this outing up because she could be in charge and boss her, her cousins and their play cousin around all day. One of the cousins along for the trip was her Aunt M.’s daughter, which made the two of them first cousins. The first cousin and JaElle were very close in age and JaElle acted like a big sister to her from time to time, when they hung out together. For the better part of her childhood the first cousin lived with JaElle’s GiGi (her mom’s mom who refused to be called Grandma) so JaElle hung out with her first cousin a lot. In ways, they were more like sisters than first cousins, so they were really cool with each other. Growing up, one of JaElle’s absolute favorites was ol’ Bugs Bunny. She would often go around saying “Eh? What’s Up Doc?!” even to random strangers. Thankfully, back then kids could do that. She thought that Bugs was the cleverest bunny she’d ever seen. She often mimicked his antics, which got her tons of laughs from her family members.

There was a time where she and her first cousin were hanging out with her dad and he’d given them both silver dollar pieces. Back then, this was a really big deal, especially for kids their ages. To this day, JaElle can’t tell the story without laughing hysterically, but the 3 of them had gone out for ice cream on a hot summer day. During that ice cream social, JaElle’s dad had handed the 2 girls each a 50-Cent piece. You would have thought he’d handed them a $100 dollar bill. After some time they’d made it back to the car and sitting in the back seat, JaElle looked over at her first cousin and whispered, “Hey girl, I just threw my 50-Cent piece out the window.” “Nuh-unnn, no way!” replied her bewildered first cousin, “You did?!” “Yep!” replied JaElle, “I didn’t want that old thing. I don’t even think it was real anyway!” As her first cousin dug her 50-Cent piece out her pocket, with sticky ice cream hands, she looked at it and back at JaElle and said, “It ain’t?!” “Girl, naw…” replied JaElle fighting back laughter. Her first cousin drew her arm back as far as she could and said with the evidence of ice cream all over her face, “Well, I don’t want mine, either, then!” and with that she threw her 50-Cent piece as hard as she could out of the back window. The moment she did, JaElle reached under her thigh, where she’d hidden her 50-Cent piece, and pulled it out saying, “Ha! I didn’t really throw mine out!” Her dad, who was driving and listening to the radio only heard that last bit of what was going on, and now her first cousin was crying hysterically. Pulling over, JaElle’s dad said, “What in the world’s going on back there?” JaElle, hoping she wasn’t in trouble, told her dad what had happened. Her dad, who also happened to be her biggest fan, calmed the situation down by digging in his pocket and giving her first cousin another 50-Cent piece. “Now you might want to hold on to that one,” he advised her first cousin and she did, well into adulthood. For years, JaElle and her dad told that story and they both cracked up every time they did. Apparently her dad was overheard telling her mom later that night and they both laughed for a while before falling asleep. After some time, even her first cousin thought it was funny. It was kind of scary, but JaElle had that type of influence on people early on and she still does.

So now they were all off-boarding the van and JaElle, being in a foreign place, immediately reached out to grab her big sister’s hand. It was just before noon when they arrived and being the ever prepared Aunt M., she’d stopped along the way, and grabbed a couple of buckets of KFC. Nothing like KFC on a road trip. So they checked into the 5-star hotel,  made it to their room and hopped on to the 2 king-size beds. The room had a wonderful view to the lake and her first cousin was the first one to notice it. With a piece of chicken in her hand and a mouth full of it, she pointed and said, “Ooohhh! Loook!”The scene was like something from one of those fairy tale movies. The water. The people on the beach building sand castles. The people in the water playing and swimming. Hard to believe that within the next few hours one of the six would succumb to a hidden nightmare here in Lake Park. In broad open daylight. Soon the magical majestic aura of this place would take on a whole different look and feel.

Now with the excitement at an all-time high, and both buckets of KFC gone, the girls all dressed out in bikinis and prepared for the lake. At this point, as JaElle had predicted, the play cousin had gotten on everyones’ nerves. She had been extra crabby today and the happier and more excited all the others became, the more negative she became. This was typical of her, a very cynical being normally, but today she was turned up a few notches. So from now JaElle, with the ever imaginative mind, re-named her as the cynical cousin because it definitely fit her better than the former play cousin. Come to think of it, she’d always been the opposite of her title as play cousin. Who named her that anyways? After thinking about it for a few moments, JaElle realized that she’d done the naming herself that to make it a point to emphasize that she was not of her and her big sister’s blood-line.

As they made their way to the lake, it was revealed to JaElle exactly what her cynical cousin’s issue was with her and her big sister. She was deeply jealous of not only their relationship, but also the fact that they were a part of a whole family. JaElle would find out in later years that she had issues that stemmed from years of abuse from her family and God knows who else. It was sad that the agency hadn’t disclosed all of the details of her past to her Aunt B. So her cynical cousin had issues that ran deep and dark. So rather than being free out here on the lake running wild, she should have been on a very skilled shrink’s couch to figure out what was really going on in those minds of hers. Yes, minds… No wonder it took JaElle a while to figure out exactly what her deal was. She presented several personalities due to her past abuse that was too severe to even share with her adoptive mom. Apparently.

JaElle was snapped back to reality, when her big sister ran by, knocking over part of her and first cousin’s sand castle. “Heeyyy!!!” both JaElle and her first cousin were angry. Then JaElle’s “Spidey-Sense-Tingly-Thingy” crept up on her like a cool eerie chill. Her Aunt B. had briefed all 5 of them not to get into the water without telling her, so she could keep an eye on them. And if they did get into the water to all stay together. What the heck? JaElle felt as though her Aunt M. must’ve been trying to win the coolest aunt in the world award, since she was so nonchalant about them getting into the water. But the ever-obedient-child, JaElle only heard the voice of her mom…”Stay back from the water and hold your sister’s hand.” Their mom was probably the most laid back of all 10 of her siblings (a laundry list of aunts and uncles). But she was quite fierce if you crossed her. Those who didn’t know this, did it only once and if they survived, they never did it again. The others who had heard, never crossed her, because they believed what they heard about crossing her. Not a wise move.

So it terrified JaElle when she looked and saw her cynical cousin luring her big sister to the edge of the lake and beckoning her to follow her deeper into the calm deep blue water. She could tell that her big sister wanted to follow their cynical cousin, but was hesitant, probably by whole idea of crossing their mom by being disobedient. At any rate, JaElle took the moment to hop up and run as fast as she could to grab her big sister’s hand, hoping to snatch her back from the apparent trance their cynical cousin had her under. Running in her direction and praying that she’d make it to her big sister in time, JaElle screamed her name causing the few people in the area, who heard her over the splish-splashing fun everyone else was having, to freeze in their spots. Someone screaming and running in that setting always caught the attention of others. As she continued to scream and run towards her big sister, she made it to her just as she stepped one foot into the icy water, and grabbed her hand with both of hers. It was as though she had gone deaf in those last few seconds because her big sister never responded to her voice. The yanking of her arm finally caused her to spin around.  Like someone waking up from a very bad nightmare in the middle of the night with only the night light burning, her big sister looked down at her and back out to the water at their cynical cousin, who never stopped moving. “Remember what Momma said. We are not allowed to get into the water!” Listening now and nodding slowly, her big sister didn’t fight her as they stood there holding hands.

At this point the lake was filled with families who were all busy with enjoying the beautiful sunshine and nice little breezes that swooped through every now and then. Now everyone was stopping to see what all of the commotion was about. Squinting, Aunt M. was now on her way too. Running as fast as her small ankles would allow her, but she was carrying more weight than recommended by her doctor and now felt every ounce of it. The cynical cousin, meanwhile, was backing further and further into the ice-cold water as though someone or something was calling her out there. She finally stopped as others started calling to her, mostly from fear and trying to convince her to stop and come back. Finally she stopped backing up and just stood there silent for a few moments as she faced everyone on the lake’s shore. This was an easygoing lake and everyone, before now, had stayed in the shallow parts, with water no higher than their knees at any point. The water was now around the waist of the cynical cousin as she stood there, silent, just looking creepy. At this point, JaElle remembers her Aunt M. standing near them screaming and crying for someone to help, call help, please help. She was totally losing it. And then finally it happened. That part in the movies where people go, “Nooooo! Go back! Go Back!”  The cynical cousin turned around and went further out. JaElle felt like she was watching a movie. Except this was real and she was about to pass out from the excitement of the whole ordeal. At this point a few people jumped in and swam to go get her, when all of the sudden the water began to take on a life of its own. It seemed as if something caused it to start swirling, whipping and stirring and then the cynical cousin began to scream. Everyone there that day witnessed her being snatched under the water, seemingly by something that grabbed her by the ankles. Something much larger that anyone there had ever seen. It was crazy because three minutes ago, the water was totally calm, icy-cold, but very calm. And now, it, or something, snatched the cynical cousin under one last time and JaElle never saw her again.

It was very hard for JaElle to understand her cynical cousin’s death. It was as though the world lost sound at the point her cynical cousin was seemingly snatched under that icy-cold water, never to be seen again. The truth of the matter was that her body was found several hours later, bloated and deformed. Hardly recognizable after being out in those waters for so long. It was believed that she had been caught in a strong undercurrent. Even so, for those who saw the horrible death happen that day, many were convinced that it was more than just a strong undercurrent that caused her to go under. She was a great swimmer, which was probably why she thought she could disobey the rules of the grown-ups, namely her Aunt M., and go wandering out into that icy-cold water. She’d been disobedient quite a few times before, but it seems this time, it caught up to her.

A few years later, JaElle was in middle school and she, her mom, dad, and big sis were taking a well-deserved Dizzy World Trip! Her dad, a fellow known for joking around and having a good ol’ time, especially at the expense of others. He was responsible for naming the trip and a few other things, to include other people, places and things. He was quite a character and everyone knew it. Heck, even he knew it. So after talking about it for months, the day finally came for the Dizzy World Trip. JaElle and her big sister were beside themselves with excitement. Needless to say, they hadn’t been on any trips too far away from home since that dreadful day a few years back when JaElle’s insight saved her big sister’s life. If not for her, her big sister would’ve surely followed their cynical cousin to her death, as well.

It was a Friday afternoon, and the girls were out of school, but their parents weren’t off until noon. They double checked all of their bags, since they would be gone until Sunday. It wasn’t long before their mom arrived, took a shower, and she too, was excited and ready to go. Then their dad arrived and said, “I’m right as rain! I’ll take a bath once we get to where we’re going!” After their dad finished with his shower, because their mom wasn’t hearing the “taking a bath once we get where we’re going” nonsense. This was funny to the girls. Their dad wore the pants in their relationship, but their mom definitely told him when to put them on. So after some last minute checks, JaElle’s family was on the road. Since this was a time before Siri, MapQuest, Google, Cell Phones, and the Internet, everything had to be planned out just right.

It was a much simpler time. A time where there were hardly any distractions and you had to be in the moment of what was happening. It was a time where families like JaElle’s had discussions about what was going on at the moment it was going on. Of course, back then, there were the stories that had happened eons ago, that were brought up during road trips. Like the time JaElle made a fool out of her cousin and pretended to have thrown her 50-Cent piece out of the window. And then like a dummy, her cousin threw hers out, as far and as hard as she could! They all must’ve laughed for a couple of miles, at least, at that historic family moment. Yeah, life was much simpler then, and it was good.

Back then it was also, par for the course, to stop at rest stops along the way to any destination that was a million miles away. It was very common, but you also had to be very careful, for the obvious reason that if you were traveling, and your license plate would give that clue away faster than anything else, you were probably loaded with cash. Even if you had it hidden, you had it and there would always be people hanging around to relieve you of it, if you weren’t careful. The real funny thing about JaElle’s dad with all of his playfulness and at time, downright comical genius antics, when it came to his family, he’d kill you without hesitation for getting out of line with any one or all of them. And this was a known fact, especially in their town. But out here on the road, it was during a time when you could openly carry a firearm. And he did just that. Being a person that named and nicknamed everything, he called his piece the GATT. One could only assume that this was in reference to the Gatling gun which is a machine gun that consists of multiple barrels revolving around a central axis and is capable of being fired at a rapid rate. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler of the Union Army first used the gun at the siege of Petersburg, Virginia in 1864-1865. Very much similar to the Golden Manual Machine Gun in that Denzel movie, The Magnificent Seven. The gun is named for its inventor, Richard Jordan Gatling, a physician. Gatling neatly divided his sympathies during the Civil War. While trying to sell machine guns to the Union, he was an active member of the Order of American Knights, a secret group of Confederate sympathizers and saboteurs.

The conservatism of the Union army chief of ordinance and the unreliability of early models of the gun frustrated efforts to sell it to the U.S. Army. But Gatling soon improved on the original six-barrel, .58 caliber version of the gun, which fired 350 rounds a minute, by designing a ten-barrel, .30 caliber model, which fired 400 rounds a minute. The U.S. Army adopted the Gatling gun in 1866, and it remained standard until it was replaced in the early twentieth century by the Maxim single-barrel machine gun. Her dad’s piece was nowhere as intricate, or large as the one described, but it was quite impressive nonetheless. Where most really nice pieces were nickleplated back then, her dad’s was goldplated, with all types of designs inscribed along it’s barrel and it’s ivory handle. It was actually hand crafted just for him, to his liking, since he liked rare expensive things. So did JaElle’s mom, but she could wear most of her expensive rare things.

Her dad wore his GATT, a.k.a. the Persuader, (because according to her dad it could persuade anyone to do anything you wanted them to), proudly, especially in public faraway places like rest stops. Just in case anybody just so happened to get-it-twisted. Or, in other words, think they could step to him or his beautiful wife or daughters. Once glance at his GATT and I’m sure it persuaded countless folks to reconsider any foolish thoughts they may have been having to run up on him or his Family. So as they pulled up to their first rest stop, their mom and dad allowed the girls to lead the way. As they followed closely behind them, that ol’ glistening GATT set the tone: “Mess with me or my family and you’re going to get dealt with, with quickness!” JaElle had actually heard her dad say those words countless times, even around their home. And she knew he meant every word of it! Nevertheless, their dad stood around outside the women’s rest room and waited for his queen and  2 princesses. As he’d done countless times before, he walked them back to the car and proceeded to go back to the men’s restroom. This caused a rest stop break to take forever, but it was the safest way for them to conduct their business in a completely strange area. On that day, there would be no reason for her dad to pull or fire his GATT, and her mom was always thankful for that. But the time was coming, at their next stop, when popping off a couple of rounds just might be necessary.

The rest of the road trip was pleasant. JaElle, having slept most of the way to one of the hotel’s a few miles outside of Dizzy World, woke up just in time to see the beautiful green trees and shrubs that were all over the area. At first she thought she was in Dizzy World, but quickly realized they still weren’t quite there. It was her parents’ voices that woke her up. It was comical how somehow, on these road trips, her dad would always end up lost. Lost and never admitting he was lost was hilarious, except to her mom who would always get aggravated with her dad for not stopping and asking for directions. Back then, there were only fold-up paper maps that could be more confusing than just winging-it and heading in the direction you wanted to end up. Her dad was NOT a readin’ or writin’ man. Although she’d heard him say that more than a few times, as well, she really didn’t understand what that meant until she became older. She’d been reading and writing from a very young age and at some point her dad began to tell her that someday she’d become a very good teacher. She’d always dreamed about becoming a super model and then an airline stewardess. There were times when they’d have talks and he’d agree with her, although he knew she’d become that teacher, regardless.

So now she was wide awake, pretending to be asleep, fighting back laughter and blowing her cover. Her dad would always get so defensive about being lost. She only figured that maybe it made him seem vulnerable, or maybe even a little helpless. She wasn’t sure either, but her mom knew just how much to press her dad. For some reason, it was giggly-fun while it was happening, but hilariously funny later around the dinner table. So sure enough, mom would finally convince him to stop at a filling station, and ask. And sure enough, he’d come back to car with his head hanging down and mumble something about being turned around. Her mom, being a smarty-pants every chance she could, would always say, “What was that, Honey? Can you “turn around” and speak up?” Normally, at that point, they’d all get a good laugh. Ah, family, gotta love ‘em!

After a couple hours of traveling, which should have been only 30 minutes, they pulled up to the hotel. This place and the rates seemed a little off, but after traveling for so long, anyplace would suffice. As long as it had a bed or two. Personally, JaElle found the hotel kind of creepy. There was something about the well manicured grass, the perfectly shaped shrubs, the huge smiles on every employees face, that just seemed overdone. Fake. Walking into the front lobby up, to the check-in desk, JaElle tried to call upon her Spidey-Senses to no avail. She knew that her gifting didn’t work that way, especially when it was forced. JaElle knew this, but would try to sometimes make her gifting work based on how she was feeling. But there was something about this place. It was like painting over an old wooden chair with new paint. Gorgeous upon first glance, but further inspection would prove otherwise.

Since she didn’t want to cause any kind of scene, especially at the check-in desk, she decided to wait and see. Maybe her Spidey-Senses would kick in later, or maybe not at all. Time would tell. The hotel was designed so that its doors opened to a very narrow balcony. They left a lot of their belongings in the car, so as to conserve energy for the Dizzy World Theme Park tomorrow. Climbing the stairs, because their parents despised elevators, they finally made it to the 6th floor. Even traveling lightly, the steps were quite tedious. Opening the door to their room, her big sister ran and jumped on to one of the huge king size beds. “Me and JaElle are gonna take this one!” “Now, now,” said, their mom who was heading over to sit on the other bed. Their dad bolted for the restroom and JaElle just stood there. Silently holding her bags. Staring around the room. Her dad came out of the restroom and noticed that she had not put down her stuff or joined her big sister.

“JaElle?” Her dad had seen that look before and now her mom and big sister tuned in to see her just standing there. Staring. What made this even the more strange was  JaElle had begun to whisper something in audible. “What’s that Honey?” She continued to mumble and whisper until finally she spoke loud and clear, “We can’t stay here, not tonight.” It was no mistaking what she had said at this point. Her dad now a bit bewildered, leaned down and hugged his little girl. “Honey, are you sure? Are you picking up something in the room?” Before she answered, JaElle looked around the room slowly. “Yes.” Her mom spoke out, “Are you serious? Just like that, we’re going to go look for another hotel?” “Now hold on a minute Honey. Nobody said anything about leaving, just yet.” JaElle’s whole body was tingling and she said it again, “I’m sorry guys, we have to leave.” That she never changed her tone, convinced her dad that they’d better get moving, ASAP. So he hustled everyone up, grabbed all of their belongings, and made a mad dash for the front desk with his family.

To this day, JaElle has no clue what her mom or dad said to the lady at the front desk, but they ended up with keys to another one on the opposite side of the building. Thankfully, the hotel had plenty of rooms and the next room was even more fabulous. Now they all crashed on the two king-sized beds. It would be later on, sometime after midnight, when JaElle and her family would be awakened by loud noises, coming from across the way, in front of their room. Peering through their blinds, they all felt a little silly, but wanted to know what the heck was going on. It didn’t take long to figure it out. At least part of it. One of the rooms, across from them, had been violently broken into. The door had been knocked completely off the hinges and lay dented against the balcony rail. The windows had been shattered, so thick glass was everywhere. Police tape was up, blocking would be travelers from either end of the balcony. They all stared in complete silence for a very long time at the huge blemish that now was part of the hotel.

Pulling into the hotel earlier, none of them noticed the two thugs that were standing across the street, hanging out at the bus stop. But the thugs noticed them and their out of state license plates. Their plan was to watch what room the travelers checked into, wait until after midnight, and give a good ol’ welcome to town surprise party. Only the party would consist of at least robbing them blind and God only knows what else since these two crack-heads were both wanted felons. But neither of them stuck around to see the Travelers check out of that particular room and choose another one on the opposite side of the building. Thanks to a little girl named JaElle, who was born with a special gifting. A gifting that just may have saved the lives of her family, and her precious life tonight, too.

Bentley Bryant
Bentley Bryant
Hello Readers, I am originally from a small town in South GA where everyone loves a good story. I now reside in AZ with my Wife and our 2 daughters, who are very supportive of my efforts here on WereWoofs. Being a movie buff (along with spending a number of years in the Military and Prison System, as a Senior Correctional Officer) I've seen and experienced, a lot of things that I equate to a good story. Writing about these various events, and adding a bit of mystery, comedy, suspense, horror and intrigue comes natural. I'm not sure if I have a specific 'genre,' but for now, it seems, most of my stories will be suspenseful and spooky, with elements of real life events that I have personally experienced. It is my hope that you enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoy writing them. HappySpookyReading! Bentley Bryant

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