The Girl on the Island

A young girl stood on a beach, watching the water lick at and swirl around her bare feet. But instead of glimpsing her obscured reflection in the undulating ripples, she beheld visions of sorrows she had experienced and outcomes she wished had been different.

The sea foam receded as her thoughts deepened, and she didn’t notice the rectangular object that was wedged in the sand alongside her until she stumbled over it.The Girl on the Island

The object clanked open, revealing a small sack and a damp piece of parchment. She snatched up the items before the waves enveloped them again.

Weighing the rusty, dented box in her hand, she scanned the ocean and the bridge to the mainland for any sign of ships or travelers. The container was much too heavy to have floated, and she wondered how long it had lain there and who had lost it. She examined it for identifying markings, but couldn’t find any, so she tossed it back into the water. Then she untied the sack. Inside were some kind of pellets—perhaps seeds.

She unfolded the parchment, expecting whatever message it might have contained to have washed away. To her surprise, however, the ink was smeared but legible. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Brianna Storm Hilvety
Brianna was born with a rumble in her veins. She finds the tap of a keyboard to be soothing like the pitter-patter of rain. She has been a writer for a decade, a freelance editor for a few years, and a bibliophile from the moment she pronounced her first syllable. Proudly a Silver Member of The Christian PEN, she serves on their team as graphics coordinator. She exudes her passion for speculative fiction and helping young writers by being on the staff of Castle Gate Press and Kingdom Pen magazine. When she isn’t poring over words, she may be spotted shooting her Canon, riding The Breeze (an all-terrain vehicle), or romping with her dog, Zookie. Purple is her signature color, and she refuses to recognize all other claims to it.

For the Sake of Her Crumble

The world was ripe for exploitation. Limitless opportunities to profit from, secrets to uncover and sell, systems to squeeze the lifeblood from and ultimately destroy. Infinite wealth practically begged to be carried off from less worthy masters and put to more practical uses, and Bertram Cadwell intended to take full advantage of that.

Just not this morning. This morning he was having tea with his mother.hercrumble

Bertram rang the antiquated brass doorbell a second time and promptly shoved his hands back into the pockets of his gray overcoat. The spring air still had a nip to it in the shadows cast by the tightly packed but orderly houses of Harden Street. The neighborhood was quiet and unobtrusive, yet he still felt exposed standing alone in the empty lane. He rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet impatiently. Do get on with it, Mother; I know you’re in there. [Read more…]

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Sierra Ret is a homeschool student who spent nearly her entire childhood with her nose buried in a book, and consequently decided she wanted to write one of her own (preferably filled with dwarves and elves). Actually getting her thoughts down on paper regularly has proven to be a far greater challenge than she first thought, but Kingdom Pen was kind enough to step in and give her some much-needed deadlines by honouring her with a temporary spot on their writing team. When not hermiting behind a laptop screen, Sierra enjoys gallivanting across Canada and adventuring near her home in rural Ontario with her family. Currently her chief fantasies include making a living as a travel blogger and someday moving to New Zealand. But above all, her chief aim is to live a passionate and meaningful life for the glory of God.

BONDAGE

By Tessa Just   

Swish, crackle, swish. The sound of straw being moved filled the longhouse. Fifteen-year-old Katrina blinked as a burst of sun lit the gloomy interior. A tall boy grinned down at her through the hole in the roof and teasingly dropped a few strands of straw onto her golden hair.

She glared up at him. “You’d have been sorry if I’d been cooking your meal,” she scolded. “Can’t you give me some warning next time?”bondagess

Lang laughed good-naturedly. “I told you that Miksa and I were replacing the thatch today. You should have chosen to do something outside.” He turned to the boy behind him. “Can you bring up the fresh straw, Miksa?”

“Yes, master.”

Katrina and Lang winced. How they hated that title. The two siblings had offered friendship to Miksa on more than one occasion, but he refused it. Katrina gazed up into Lang’s troubled brown eyes. He leaned down toward her.

“Meet me in our secret place tonight,” he whispered. He glanced over his shoulder. “I need to talk.”

Katrina nodded and returned to her spinning. [Read more…]

A Girl Named Avery

By Jess Hessler

I wasnt too excited about visiting Gramps. After his last stroke, the doctor decided to keep him for a couple weeks to monitor the after effects. Gramps couldnt talk or do much. He would just lay in the white bed while the various machines groaned and hissed periodically.a_girl_named_avery

Mom glanced at me from the drivers seat. Honey, I know you dont like hospitals, but Grandpa is all alone. You can at least visit him.

I shrugged and turned on the radio. Mom sighed, and we rode the rest of the way without conversation.

Grandma passed away a few months ago. The doctor said the stress and grief might have caused Gramps stroke. He missed her and had not gotten over his sorrow. Supposedly only time heals wounds like that. I wasn’t sure there was enough time in the world to get over the loss of a loved one. When Grandma died, I sobbed on my bed for hours, feeling cold and dreary like the icicles outside my window. After that day, something seemed to plug my emotions. I couldnt cry anymore. I went through the motionshigh school, homework, and sports. The funeral passed, and winter melted into spring. Then summer came. [Read more…]

Healing

By Greta Dornbirer

On my thirteenth birthday I met my true love. I invited my entire class, maybe one hundred kids in all, to my birthday party. I thought it would be fun if everyone brought their favorite book to discuss. That was my mistake. The popular kids never read books—either they were too stupid or they didn’t consider it “cool.” The bullies, who my mom made me invite, were definitely too stupid to read, and they thought that everyone else had to be just as dumb. So they stole kids’ books at school, including mine.healing

The normal kids tried to stay out of the bullies’ way. Many of them didn’t like to read because they were scared of what the bullies would do to them. One time the bullies forced a kid who had been reading Robinson Crusoe to flush his book down the toilet. Of course that clogged the toilet, and the poor kid got doused with disgusting water.

I was one of the odd kids—or the nerds, as the bullies dubbed us. My best friend Neal was a nerd too, except he was a science nerd, not a book nerd like me.

Neal showed up at my party with his favorite book on how to blow things up. I hoped he wasn’t planning on demonstrating what he’d learned from the book. Next came Chealsie, a known theater nerd. She brought a book on how to act well. Then I waited…and waited…and waited for the other kids to arrive. But they never did. [Read more…]

Blinded by Conviction

By Jackson Graham

1657 – Port Bristol, England

Those men attack ships and take their money—and kill the crew…” blindedbyconviction

Jade dove behind the trunk, stopping his ears against the horror. These brutes killed sailors and innocents alike. He squeezed his eyes shut, willing himself to disappear. Minutes earlier, savage freebooters had barged into his family’s home, demanding money in their drunken stupor. At his father’s flat refusal, the buccaneers drew their cutlasses. Muffled cries rang out. Then silence.

Boots thudded as the men staggered throughout the house, searching for valuables. One pirate flung open the lid of the trunk, further concealing the trembling child, and rummaged through an unrewarding collection of blankets. Another wrenched the family coin chest from its poorly hidden position by the hearth and raised it high. As the footsteps faded, the boy waited, then he backed out of his hiding place. Jade shuddered in relief—and despair—and raced to the door, averting his gaze from the bodies of his family. [Read more…]

Never Alone

By Hannah Whatley

“What are we going to do, Jack?”

The question came from an eight-year-old boy, who by now had nearly forgotten his name. Once in a while he remembered that his mother had called him Sky. For comfort, little Sky leaned against his dog, Jack, a Whippet who was taller than his human friend when they sat together, as they did now. On that bright summer’s day, the two of nevealonepinterestthem sat on the burning hot sand of an isolated beach, watching the waves lap peacefully against the shore. Sky, however, felt neither bright nor peaceful. The little one had been on the run for three months, evading the clutches of an abusive father—whose only name for his son was “Boy” and only touch was a stinging backhand—and the cold social workers, who only wished to hide him away in a children’s mental institution.

The boy had escaped during a late March night, quietly sliding the bathroom window up and tumbling out with only the clothes on his back and a small sack of things he thought he might need: his toothbrush, three packs of Goldfish, a clean pair of socks, and a tattered picture of his mother. [Read more…]

The Rebel and the Princess: A True Story of Two KeePers

Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful Princess in the kingdom of Indiandia. Her parents taught her all that it meant to be a princess and prepared her to one day meet and marry a prince from a nearby land. They warned her about rebellious men who would seek to dethrone her future rule and tarnish the kingdom, and so the beautiful Princess vigilantly guarded her heart.

rebelandtheprincessOne day while on a stroll through the kingdom, the Princess happened upon a peculiar sight: a Rebel who acted like a knight. How strange! He looked just like the kind of man her parents had cautioned her about. But he was…different.

Occasionally the Princess would venture out of the palace to observe the Rebel as he tried to stir up the populace in surrounding towns. To her amazement, he did not speak against the kingdom, or in favor of rebellion. On the contrary, he strove to spur the people toward loyalty.

The Princess had to know more…

She followed the Rebel to an enclave on the edge of the kingdom where he resided. Although she wore a disguise, the Rebel suspected her true identity from the moment they met.

Unfortunately, the Rebel’s enclave was slowly being taken over by enemies of the kingdom. Together the Princess and the Rebel fought to maintain the purity of the haven, but it was a lost cause.

The Rebel was soon called elsewhere, and he left the enclave for good. The Rebel and the Princess parted ways… [Read more…]

With Their Faces Toward Destruction

By Timothy Young

After I had been stricken for many days, I laid down in the shadow of a rock and fell into a restless sleep. I had slept here before, but it had been some time ago.facestowarddestruction

As I slept, I dreamt of a fair country, or it seemed fair at first. Then I realized that something was wrong with my vision. From the high perch through which I viewed this fair-looking country, I saw two armies approaching one another. From one teamed hordes of evil: dragons, goblins, giants, and loathsome men corrupted by outside forces, but also their own innate evil. Above their camp floated pennons of all colors, some as black as the heart of their leader, others red like the blood that these fiends were intent on shedding, some of purple and other rich colors alluding to nobility and wealth, and even a host of white banners that resembled the other camp’s banner—except these were stained with filth or torn and shredded.

The other camp displayed a single white banner, so pure that it seemed as if it were freshly bleached, even though it had been there from ages past.

I began to make comparisons of numbers, but the numbers were such as to defy computation, and I decided to take a closer look. My eyes were drawn to the side that had but one banner, as they appeared smaller in number, and I wished to know how they encouraged themselves. [Read more…]

Learning

“What is it like—saying goodbye?”

Her eyes misted as her mind tumbled backward, down spiral staircases and through doors—some which were locked, some open, a few dark, and yet others inviting.The winds of change were blowing behind her. The winds that pushed her forward—the winds that sometimes made her forget.learningstory

“It came very quickly—faster than anyone could have convinced us it would,” she said, pressing her steepled fingers into the bridge of her nose. Her eyes closed slowly, and a smile spread across her face. “It was beautifully heart-wrenching in the best sort of way… like the last day of Kindergarten when you believe for a day that you’re not a child anymore because your best friend told you boys have cooties and your mom told you to act more grown up after bullying your sister off the swing set yesterday—but really you still are a child, you just don’t know it. You cry because you think you’ve lost something that you’ll never find again—and in some ways you have, but—“

Her fingers wandered across the table, pausing as she drew in a deep breath and opened her eyes, “Then you realize that it’s not so hopelessly dark and scary that you can’t go on. Which you do, because that’s what people do—what we must do.”

“Do you remember all of them, then? All of your goodbyes?”

She sighed. “I do.” And she did. She remembered imagining her tears filling mason jars and, with trembling hands, placing them on shelves etched by sweet remembrance and colored by time’s sometimes-gentle aging. [Read more…]

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If you’ve ever emailed us at KP, you’ve probably “met” Sarah—a passionate storyteller with a huge heart that loves Jesus and everyone she meets. Sarah grew up in Georgia with her mom, dad, and little sister, Merry, where she attends the University of Georgia, majoring in International Affairs and Agriculture Communication. When she graduates, Sarah wants to help people all over the world succeed in the agriculture industry and tell the all-important story of the farmer. She joined the Kingdom Pen Team as Secretary in September 2013 and now serves as the Director of Community Happiness. Sarah has been homeschooled, private-schooled, and graduated from Madison County High School in May 2015. She attended Summit in July 2015. She’ll read pretty much anything (if she had to pick, though, her favorite author would be Frank Peretti) and has tried her hand at pretty much every kind of writing out there, though she likes writing fiction and poetry best. But because writing bios is a struggle, if you really want to get to know Sarah, shove some words in her general direction via the Forum, on one of the many social medias down below, or through the KP e-mail: kingdompenmag@gmail.com.