Butterflies

Wilburta Arrowood--Writing books you can trust.


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Prologue to For the Love of a Child


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Love of a Child    Margaret Ceradsky stared at the shaft of sunlight which illuminate the lid of her daughter's casket. How dare God be so cheerful on this day.
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   Margaret watched the preacher's eyebrows lift and fall as he spoke. His hands fluttered back and forth, and she heard the fluctuations of his voice, but the impact of his words was lost on her. What could he possible say to ease her agony? Had he ever lost an only child? Had he sat day after day and watched his beautiful daughter waste away? Could he even begin to guess how Margaret hated Andrew Bartimus?
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    Margaret blinked when she realized the preacher had paused a moment for prayer. Tears no longer flowed from her eyes, for the ducts had dried long ago. Over a year ago to be exact. She remembered the day her beautiful Angela had come home and said, "Mom, we have to talk."
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    Margaret tried to listen to the preacher, but she couldn't concentrate. She counted all the potted plants at the front of the room.
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    Margaret glanced across the chapel aisle and saw Angela's doctor sitting in a pew, eyes focused on the preacher, who continued to drone on about God's love and forgiveness.
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   Rage raced through Margaret. What did Angela need to be forgiven for? She was only twenty-three, and there she lay in that white, satin-lined box with pink gladiolus and baby's breath draped across the lid.
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   A secret delight ran through her at the thought of one Andrew Bartimus burning in hell for all eternity.
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   Twenty-nine plants. She tried to concentrate on the preacher's words. Margaret's hands ground into one another. The whole universe seemed at peace, almost joyful, and she resented it. She swallowed the bile that rose in her throat. Dust particles danced in the sunbeam that had shifted to the floor.
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   The preacher said something about repentance and eternal joy.
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Margaret was positive Andy would never repent, and she could, at will, call up a visual image of huge buckets of Satan's red pulsating jewels raining down on Andrew's dark head. His hair singed and smoked, and the skin on his ears blistered, broke and oozed fluid. His lips were cracked, and he lifted his hands in silent plea for a sip of water. Margaret held the sweat-covered pitcher of ice water just beyond his reach and smiled before she told him, "Burn in hell for all eternity, you fiend."
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   God would never forgive Andrew Bartimus, and Margaret didn't intend to even try. Somewhere out there Andrew continued to live his life and do his evil deeds, but her Angela, her once beautiful Angela, lay here in a metal box soon to be shut away from the light of day forever.
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   Yes, Margaret promised, you will burn in hell, Andrew Bartimus, but first I'm going to find you and make you pay in this life for what you've done. I WILL find you, and you will wish you could die.

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