The Faith of Fire

A COLLABORATIVE NOVEL BEING WRITTEN AT

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EXPLORE THE MYSTERIES OF GRIEF
AND FAITH

Faith is tested as a family is torn by a tragic fiery accident that takes Lizbeth. With the loss of wife and mother, Paul and Cara struggle to deal with their grief. Paul, a professed Agnostic, channels his grief to his company, leaving 14-year-old Cara to deal with hers alone. Nana Beth, a prayerful grandmother, believes that God has a plan to heal their hearts. When cunning Mya moves in and removes all traces of Lizbeth, Cara’s anger opens Paul’s eyes to his error. A trip to a rustic, remote cabin in the Sierra Nevada mountains to rebuild their relationship begins a harrowing adventure. A forest fire, a lost dog named Rudy, the faithful vision of a search and rescue volunteer, the prayers of the faithful, and the acceptance of God bring joy back to a grieving family.

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CHAPTER ONE

The Highway Patrol Dodge Charger pulled to the curb in front of the modern prairie-style home in the quiet cul-de-sac of Menlo Park. Lieutenant Walters gazed across the manicured lawn at the sculpted yews lining the walkway to the front door, where he could see the lowering sun filtering through the home’s large glass windows.

As he made his way from the Charger up the driveway, he noticed the hybrid car parked inside the garage next to an empty spot where a second vehicle should be. Noting a dark oil stain on the concrete, Lieutenant Walters felt sad that it was ironic the stain would be there as a perpetual reminder.

He walked to the front door, took a deep breath, and thought how much he hated this part of his job. “Let me do anything other than ring this doorbell and face this family,” he thought.  It fell upon him to be the liaison for the department in cases like this.  He reached toward the doorbell and pressed.

A melodic chime played inside.  The officer waited.  A few seconds later, a young girl came around a corner into the hallway and foyer.  She became a shadow in the fading sunlight filtering through the home from behind her.  As she neared the door, she looked at him with a quizzical face as she slightly opened the door.

Cara Rose, 14, was at that awkward stage of growth.  Not a child any longer, yet not quite a woman.  She had grown to her 5’5″ height but still carried a bit of childish fullness around her face.  She had a natural glow and deep blue eyes that highlighted her strawberry blonde hair.  Today, it was falling around her face in soft waves.

“Hi, may I help you?” Cara asked as she peered up into the Lieutenant’s solemn face.

“Is your father home?” he inquired.
 
“He is up in his office running on his treadmill,” she replied as she turned and yelled, “Dad, there is a police officer here to see you.”
 
Lieutenant Walters let a tiny grin appear as he thought of his children when they were about that age.  Why, of course, wasn’t yelling their form of communication through the house? 
 
Another shadow appeared at the base of the stairway and turned toward them in the hallway.  Paul Rose, a sweaty, 6’0″, mid-30’s deeply tanned man with a close-cut manicured dark beard, was wearing running shorts and an athletic tee that showed off muscular arms, chest, and legs. As Cara stepped aside, he reached to open the door further.
 
“Hello, Sir.  How may I help you?” 
 
“Mr. Rose, may I come inside?”
 
“Of course, what is this about? Has there been an alarm at my company?”
 
Lieutenant Walters made his way into the foyer.  He looked past Paul and Cara at the sky’s brilliant pink and purple hues forming across the horizon from the setting sun.  They beheld a beauty that he didn’t feel at the moment.  He lowered his head and exhaled.
 
“Officer, is this something that Cara needs to hear?” asked Paul as concern began to spread across his face as he realized Cara was still standing nearby.  His heart began to beat faster as he thought of Lizbeth, his wife, who was out running errands.
 
“I’d prefer if she didn’t hear it from me,” Walters exhaled quietly.  He looked at Cara, whose eyes had grown wide.  
 
Paul turned to Cara and said, “I think I left the treadmill program running.  Would you go up and turn it off?”
 
Cara looked between the two men, then back at Paul. “Dad, what’s going on?  Are you in trouble?”
 
“Cara, I need you to go turn off the treadmill. I’m sure it is just a response to an alarm at BioTech.  Please, just do as I asked, sweetheart.”
 
Cara turned toward the staircase and began to ascend slowly.  The Lieutenant extended a hand toward the great room when she was out of sight and silently steered Paul toward the sofa.
 
“Please sit down.” Paul sank into the cushions as a dread slowly filled him at what the officer was about to share.  This was more than an alarm alert at his business.
 
Lieutenant Walters had learned that there was never any good way to deliver this type of news, and it had to be straightforward and to the point. 
 
“Mr. Rose, there has been a tragic accident on the 101.  There was a collision and fire. I’m sorry, Mr. Rose, but your wife’s vehicle was involved, and she didn’t make it.”

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The Faith of Fire

A COLLABORATIVE NOVEL BEING WRITTEN AT

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