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…]

Profile photo of Sarah Spradlin
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.

A Blade of Grass

It was his very first spring; he was a young sprout and that day started out perfectly…

Blade looked up at the breathtaking sky. Beautiful, hardly a cloud covering its perfect canvas. “Isn’t it a nice day?” he asked his brother, Root who stood tall by his side.

“Yeah, sure,” Root replied in his usual disinterested drawl.bladeofgrasspinterest

A ladybug passed Blade’s line of sight, and he watched it land on a lovely, tall stalked dandelion.

His roots tingled with excitement. It was Dandy. She had sprouted the same day as him, and he had loved her ever since she was a bud.

As the fat bug tickled the golden flower’s face, she laughed, and as that joyful melody rang out, Blade couldn’t help but smile.

Then it happened. She glanced his way. “Hi!” she said looking down at him.

 What do I do? She’s talking to me! Blade thought in a panic.

“You’re Bean, right?” she asked.

He glanced around then looked back at her. Maybe she’s talking to someone else. Bean? There aren’t any Bean’s around here. “Are you talking to m-me?” He stuttered.

abog4

She giggled as the lady bug crawled down her stalk. “Yes, silly. I don’t think anyone else around here has got a name like that.”

“No, I guess not.” Blade wanted to tell her that his name wasn’t Bean, it was Blade, but the way she said it made him wish that it was.

“Not that I don’t like that name,” she continued, “It’s cute.”

Some of the other weeds and grass in between them snorted in amusement and Blade blushed slightly.

“Thanks, I guess. Uh… your name is Dandy, right?” Blade asked, trying to pretend like he wasn’t sure.

Dandy nodded happily, making her short petals bounce up and down. “It’s not the most original name for a dandelion, but I think it’s pretty.” She said.  [Read more…]

Profile photo of Hannah Carmichael
Hannah Carmichael has been writing short stories since she was seven and has been drawing ever since she first discovered that pencils aren’t food. She hopes to become a published author and illustrator. She is currently working on editing the sequel to her first work in progress along with planning her next.
Hannah was fully homeschooled from square one and currently floats in that odd void between graduation and college.
Her main goal is to write for the Lord and bring hope into the darkness that is our world through her words and artistic creations.

Honor Before Prejudice

By Jackson E. Graham

Scotland, Early 1298. One mile south of Neidpath Castle. honorbeforeprejudice

Failbhe (FAL-uh-vuh) Fraser rode on horseback through the small fishing town of Peebles. The sun cast joy upon all who walked under its rays, a temporary break in the usually dreary Scottish weather. The River Tweed’s flowing waters roared in the distance. Failbhe was a fit man of twenty—a Scottish knight from Neidpath Castle. Brown hair flowed down to his shoulders, and penetrating eyes of emerald scanned the surroundings. Woven in his family’s colors, his woolen shirt was partially obscured by the thick, dark cloak he wore. He headed for Traquair House to deliver a message to the Laird. The main road—no more than a dirt path—carved a straight line through the town, with houses and shops cast to each side. Townsfolk walked to and fro absentmindedly, going about their business. The weathered wood structures reminded Failbhe of the tool sheds dotting the courtyard of Neidpath Castle. Traveling incessantly since sunrise, his legs tired of the monotony of riding in the saddle. Failbhe’s gaze fell upon a large wooden sign reading “Tavern Murray,” hanging above the entrance to one of the buildings. Failbhe paused. It was not a place he would choose to visit, but thirst resolved the matter. He cautiously entered the tavern, keeping an eye out for troublemakers.

Failbhe pushed open the ramshackle door and blinked a couple of times to adjust his eyes to the dim light. Numerous lanterns hung from the ceiling, candles sputtering. Twenty mismatched tables crowded the room. Smelling the heavy odor of fish in the room, Failbhe wrinkled his nose. The customers were regular townsfolk, mostly fishermen, farmers, and tradesmen. A loud laugh exploded from one sitting near where Failbhe stood, and he instinctively put several feet in between the man and himself. As he settled down uncomfortably on one of the rather hard stools, a large man with a stained apron approached.

“What can I get for you this fine afternoon?” the man asked. A scraggly beard clung to his haggard face. Failbhe glanced at him. [Read more…]

Only A King

By Emma Travis

He loved his kingdom.  Every earthly ruler who had ever taken up the scepter had looked to the stunning beauty of his dominion and yearned for it in their hearts.  The crown upon his head was not taken lightly, nor considered a mere decoration.  To the king, it was a seal.  A promise and a binding oath.  His people would be safe.  He would lead them in every attack, be the last to leave in every retreat. onlyakingpost

The thousands, millions of lives that looked to him for guidance were struck every time they laid sparkling eyes on their king.  He wasn’t haughty.  Nor was he arrogant.  Without a word nor any sound, he made it overwhelmingly clear that he loved his people.  In his heart, he felt the zealous and passionate love that could be found in a new father, looking down at his newborn child.  None could describe the depth or strength of a father’s love.  A king’s love.

 

He was looking out over the land visible from his palace, a castle beyond anything that mortal men had ever dreamt of before its ancient construction.  Towers stretched upwards as if they would pierce the sky itself.  Banners were waving on a gentle wind, the colors easily visible: a lion, regal and fierce, embroidered in white and gold.  Fields of wheat, waving like liquid sunshine, were rippling far below, contrasted to the vibrant forests just beyond them.  He looked silently upon the land unparalleled in its beauty, but grief, not peace, was in his heart.

He knew that the prince from the east was causing pain among his people again.  The bold, defiant knight had defected from the king’s household and tried to overthrow him.  He had little known then that this king was not to be overthrown, but the fact was now widely recognized with fear and trembling after observing the prince’s fortunes.  The knight had been defied and defeated by the king himself and banished forthwith from the kingdom of his origin.  More than seven-hundred of the king’s lower knights had defected with him and had established themselves in the neighboring territory to the east.  Raids and terrorizing attacks had been constantly coming in waves against his dear people.  More counterattacks had been issued, and the prince’s forces were always pushed back.  Always. [Read more…]

The Way The World Ends

By Grace Li

 

Lilian tightened her grip on her littlebrother’s sticky, chubby hand, dragging him through the afternoon street of Whitechapel. If only he could walk faster! grumbled Lilian as she thought about her friend Betty’s birthday party this evening. Of course her parents would have to let her go; at sixteen she could legally work if she wanted to. She deserved this party for taking Ronny to visit their aunt today and helping Auntie waste all her sugar ration on cakes The_Way_the_World_Ends_for him. Now, if they got home early, she’d have time to tidy herself up, and maybe mum would even lend her a dress for the party.

Her brother suddenly huddled closer to her as a wheezing old man reeking with alcohol stared at them; they got a lot of weird looks on the streets now, like all children staying in London after the government-issued evacuation. Most of Ronny’s friends had gone to the countryside for refuge, but their parents balked at handing him over to strangers. “Yer mum and dad don’t care nothin’ ‘bout yer safety, lass? They’re just keepin’ yer lil brother here for the Jerry bombs!” the old man croaked after them.

“Don’t listen to him, Ronny. He doesn’t know anything,” whispered Lilian as she hugged her brother to her side. She could not stand against his worried, puppy look no matter how much he annoyed her just moments ago.

“Will the Jerrys really get us?” asked Ronny, still distressed over the old man’s comment. [Read more…]

The Day Santa Wore Carhartts

By Rosey Mucklestone

 

Hey Robby,

Mind being the Santa for a day?

I have family in town a day and can’t make it to work.

The costume is in my locker.Santa Carhartts Pinterest

Thanks buddy.

You’re the best,

Harry

 

 

Rob stared aghast at the note left for him.

Emma looked up from her desk and blinked at Rob with her dinner-plate eyes.

“Is anything wrong?” she asked, “I didn’t think you’d mind.” Rob mumbled under his breath and stalked over to Harry’s locker. His nimble fingers slid the lock in place and the door practically burst open, smacking him in the nose. He groaned and leaned his head against the wall for a second, then, taking a deep breath he picked up the main piece of the costume.

“I hope today doesn’t turn out to be busy,” he muttered, holding the enormous Santa suit up to his lean frame.

“Oh, no!” said Emma brightly, “This looks like it’ll be the busiest day this week!”

 

“Great, Em. Thanks.” I’ve prepared myself to substitute for a lot of jobs, but I never thought I’d have to be a Santa. [Read more…]

A Prisoner’s Escape

By Rosey Mucklestone

I’ve been betrayed. Turned over to the enemy by my own niece. It’s infuriating, but I’ve mostly gotten over my bitterness on that. I need to focus on getting out of this mess she’s got me into.

My plan has been working well since I’ve gotten here, though I’m not sure when to make my move. I sigh, looking out the window to the rest of the free world. A world that I’ll soon be a part of again if all goes well.

Prisoner's Escape Pinterest

I’d better check all my assets before they come back. Everything should be in place and I must be alert. The time for action could be soon and I can’t be caught off guard by these fiends surrounding me.

My first escape step is right below me. I fiddle with the window latch as inconspicuously as possible. I never know who might be watching. I’d worked the window latch loose the other day and it seems no one has noticed and fixed it. Perfect. My first step is a go.

Walking over to the closet, I glance in at the tied-sheet rope I’ve been making. I know it’s cliché, but there’s a reason a lot of people use it. It works, and a quick escape is more important to me than a creative one. The rope looks long enough, but I add another pillowcase to the end, just for good measure. [Read more…]

Story Of The Seed

By Katherine Flournoy

I was a small, round, smooth, brown seed with a rough, sturdy cap at the top, and a hardy stem. The tree to which I belonged was a great tree, with leaves that spread their lush, verdant emerald veil between me and the bright blue of the sky, and reached out with gnarled, spreading arms as if to touch the stars. I always went in awe of this tree, for to my small perception and narrow minded adoration it seemed the greatest embodiment of power and majesty in all the confines of our forest, and our lands. My tree— or rather our tree, for I was the smallest of the many seeds that drew nourishment from its branches— was set upon the outskirts of a vast forest.

Story of the Seed Slider - edited

 

I was frightened of that forest. It was dark and close and full of half shadows and whispered rumors of evil, and the deeper one looked into its closely woven branches the blacker it became. But upon the other side, my tree overlooked a broad, lush meadow. Through this meadow was cut a great highroad. Broad was this path, and long, and smooth with the traffic of passing feet and wagons and horses. It was my hourly delight when I was but a young seed to peep down through the rustling green curtains of my tree and watch those that went to and fro upon this highroad. The strange beings who walked there fascinated me, and indeed I used to wonder, in an idle moment, what their life was, but I loved my tree, and wished never to leave it. Then I was young and naive, and knew not truly what was the life and lot of a seed. But I would learn, and learn it to my sorrow.

The night of the storm is black yet vivid to my memory still. I believe it always will be. For it was that night that I truly became a seed, and tasted first the bitterness of our lot.

[Read more…]

Hero Of The Empire

I wasn’t the hero. But I had to act like one.

The squadron leader watched helplessly as the over-sized Malaesian fleet ripped through their carefully planned formation.  Moving quickly, she gave orders over the comm even as she grasped her ship’s controls.  As she turned, her squadron turned with her, cycling around in a tight spin to join up with the other ships in their group.  She quickly focused in on the situation. Their group was barely holding up their side of the battle; for the fifth time already, the alien squadrons had broken up their formation.  They had lost one valuable ships already and several more were severely damaged.  And with so few ships, every ship counted.  She looked forward to where the rest of their group was and gritted her teeth as she moved her ship forward to join them.

Hero of the Empire - editLieutenant Corson’s voice came crackling in over the comm.  “Change of strategy,” he said as she glanced outside to see his ship cycling back around toward the Malaesian mass.  There was a wave of static.  “They’re ripping us apart.  We need to regroup.”  She brought her squadron around to meet up with the others as Corson’s squadron raced to try to meet up as well.  “We need–”  There was a note of hesitation in his voice.  “We need to-”  Suddenly, his voice broke off.  Horrified, she looked up to see, across the black void of space, the mass of Malaesian ships slam into his small squadron.  Shots were ringing out as she watched dismayed.  If Corson–the Hero of the Empire was killed…  If the plan utterly failed…  

Corson didn’t know what he was doing.

And if he didn’t do anything now, everyone would be massacred.

She paused for a moment, on the brink of making a decision, before resolving herself.  She had to save his face.  “New orders from Lieutenant Corson,” she barked out over the static-filled comm.  “We need to regroup behind the rest of the other fleets.  We can’t lose any more men.  We need…  We need to retreat.”

[Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf started reading when he was four, started writing fiction when he was six and hasn’t stopped doing either ever since. After growing up with seven younger siblings, he eventually found himself graduated and attending Patrick Henry College, where he plans on majoring in literature with a minor in pedagogy (it’s a fancy Greek word for education).
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels that have worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as fun as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. Plans for obtaining those impossible goals include listening to a lot of Hans Zimmer, ignoring college work so that he can find time to write, and avoiding coffee at all costs.

I, Sherwood (Short Story)

Creative, emotional, and thought provoking, I, Sherwood is an excellent short story with strong writing quality, imagery, and soulful questioning. Braden Russell comes through with an original take on the story of Robin Hood, told from a new pair of eyes.

[Read more…]