I just saw the movie "Signs" again the other day with Mel Gibson, written and directed by M. Night
Shyamalan. It is a very good suspense thriller as well as an inspirational movie. In it the main character, played by Mel Gibson, is a pastor who has turned away from God because of the freak accident nature of his wife's death. He is bitter and angry at being left to parent his two young children alone. Then suddenly strange things start happening and in addition to questioning God's love, he now questions everything he knows about reality when he comes to terms with the fact that the earth is about to be invaded by hostile aliens.
I saw the movie several years ago in the theater and one day it made me wonder (the common element for every original book idea)...how would the Amish react if crop circles started showing up in Lancaster County, PA? What if they saw strange lights in the sky and began having weird, paranormal experiences? What would they do if someone appeared in their midst who by all accounts appeared and behaved Amish in every way except for their strange eyes and abilities? Would they be shunned? Would they be given shelter if they had no where else to turn? How would the community react if an Amish family took them in?
Now there's a story idea! I remember thinking. So here below is an excerpt, from my book, In Plain Sight, which answers the above questions in a rather unusal way. So if you have been hankering for something completely different in Amish fiction, read the excerpt below and let me know what you think. If you want to read the entire book it is available either thru this blog (autographed) or Amazon. It is available in paperback or for all e-readers.
After all the necessary morning chores were done, her father and sisters got the buggy ready and helped to load it with all the food they would be contributing to the day’s barn raising. The beef brisket and noodles had been prepared the night before and were now cool enough to pack. Rebecca was really looking forward to the barn raising. Despite the fact it was a lot of hard work, it was a break in the routine and a welcome chance to visit with a lot of other families, catch up on news, and sometimes even meet new people. Rebecca was approaching the age when Amish girls were courted as future brides but still had not met the one she felt her heart was waiting for. Many of her closest friends were already serious and planning their simple weddings but she had mixed emotions about it all. She still felt too young and couldn’t imagine being a wife and a mother in the next year or so despite all her experience in helping to bring up her younger siblings. Her heart longed to experience new things while at the same time feeling reluctant to leave her familiar life. Sometimes if felt like a little bird was beating its wings inside the cage of her breast, itching to take flight, while at other times it seemed content to just nest.
They arrived at the barn site around 6:00 a.m. with a full day’s work ahead of them. Ruth, Rebecca, Hannah, and her other sisters, Miriam and Mary unloaded and carried the baskets of freshly baked breads, pies and containers of beef brisket, potato salad, fruit salad and jars of corn, hot pepper, and spicy tomato relishes to the long tables already set up under large shade trees. They greeted their neighbors and set to slicing and squashing lemons for the gallons of lemonade they would need as the day wore on while others prepared sweet tea. Brethren wearing nail aprons and brandishing wooden boxes of hand tools were streaming to the site, laughing and talking with one another as the sun began to spread its warm rays over the undulating farmland. At least 150 families had come to help build the recently married Abram and Mary Zook’s new barn and it has to be framed and roofed all in one day.
Although Rebecca was busy tending to the food and her siblings she had the strangest feeling of being watched. It grew so strong she had to stop what she was doing and look around to see who it was. Her sisters gawked at her; wondering what was bothering her so much. Rebecca turned in a 360 degree circle looking for what or whom it might be. She noticed nothing. The women and girls were all busy with their chores and chattering away while the men and boys were busy pounding nails and fitting beams together but the nagging feeling just wouldn’t go away. Then a low buzzing began in her ears; like a bothersome Bumblebee, growing louder and more alarming with each moment. She stared at her mother in mounting alarm, hoping she would notice the panic in her daughter’s eyes but Rebecca could say nothing. She had been rendered mute. Then just as suddenly as it had begun the humming stopped and she found her eyes riveted upon the face of a young Amish man she had never seen before. He was brown haired and attired like everyone else but his eyes were shiny silver and fixed upon hers. Then the humming hit her body full force as they stared at one another. The world about her began to rotate slowly as she continued to stare at him, unable to tear her gaze away from those incredible eyes; then she blacked out cold, falling where she stood as if struck by lightning.
From the blackness in her mind came the sound of faint voices calling her name. Rebecca came to and found her mother and sisters bending over her with looks of concern on their faces.
“Ach! Are you all right, Rebecca?” whispered her mother, wiping her face with a cool wet cloth. “Are you feeling sick?”
Rebecca sat up with their help, not remembering that she had fainted at all. “I’m okay,” she murmured, rubbing her eyes. They helped her stand to her feet and waited while she looked around. The work on the barn continued at a pace; unaffected by her little fainting spell.
“Do you feel good enough to continue?” her mother asked, caressing her pale cheek. Rebecca nodded; not wanting to make any more of a scene than she already had. She looked over at the barn to see if she could spot the young man with the silver eyes again but could not distinguish him from any of the other men working.
“Yes, I’ll be fine,” she assured them, embarrassed that she had caused a scene. She returned to the table and basket of lemons but kept stealing glances over at the barn. Once or twice she heard whispered snippets of conversation which ended abruptly as soon as she was in earshot but she managed to catch a few words here and there such as “cows” and “disappeared” which set her heart to thumping furiously. Soon she became too distracted with meal prep and serving to think any more about the young man with the strange eyes…until a break was called for lunch.