is the sister of the soul."
~~John O'Donohue's Anam Cara
As some of you know, I adopted a dog on October
28th. Leo is proving to be a loving and lovable pet
for me and excellent playmate and brother for Danika, the
dog I've had for ten years. However, he is a bit of
a handful and needs a lot of monitoring due to his
neutering incision. So... not exactly an ideal time
for me to write a newsletter. Therefore, in lieu of
a proper newsletter, I'm posting the opening of my human
trafficking story, "Chrysalis." The entire story
isn't yet finished (regretfully) but it's getting ever
closer. I hope, very soon, I can post a link to the
entire thing. Until then, I hope you enjoy this
glimpse which includes the introduction of a couple of new
characters who I really love. Until next time...
A Peek Into "Chrysalis"
Wednesday, January 6th, 2016
Emma beamed at Gayle as she entered Dr. Amber-Marie Sayer's
"Good afternoon, Gayle! How's your day been going?"
The receptionist smiled at Emma but her gaze was locked on
the man who stood behind her.
"Very well. You've brought a guest today?"
Emma nodded and waved to Joshua.
"Gayle, this is my friend, Joshua Davidson."
Gayle smiled warmly at the visitor.
"Joshua! Emma's mentioned you so often but... you seem
so familiar to me now that I see you..."
Joshua took the woman's proffered hand in both of his.
"Peter and I came with Emma the first time she visited this
office," he explained. "And you probably saw me at St.
Genesius' last Christmas revue. It's wonderful to see
you again, Gayle."
"Ah. Yes. That must be it," Gayle agreed though
she wasn't convinced. She turned to Emma. "Are
you all right, honey? Amber-Marie and I were worried
when you called and asked for an emergency appointment."
Emma patted the other woman's hand.
"I'm just fine. Truly. But... I do have
something I need to tell you both so I'm really grateful
that you could sneak me in at the end of the day."
"It's no problem at all," Gayle assured. "I'll let
Amber-Marie know you're here."
"Too late. Already know. Joshua!"
The psychiatrist stepped out from her office and embraced
Emma then squeezed Joshua's hands.
"Emma mentioned last session that you were still in
town! I had hoped you'd come visit. It's not
every day we have a member of the Trinity join us.
Well, not in the flesh. Just kidding, of course!"
Emma suppressed a giggle. Though warm and sympathetic,
Dr. Sayer was always dignified... except when she went into
theatre geek mode.
Joshua responded with a smile.
"It's a pleasure to be here, Amber-Marie."
Gayle cast a sidelong glance at the fellow. She was
surprised he hadn't addressed her friend as Dr. Sayer.
"Well, come on into my office. And Gayle, too?" the
doctor checked with Emma.
With that, Gayle forwarded the phone to voicemail and joined
the other three in her boss' office.
Once everyone was seated, Emma began to speak.
"The truth is... it's not really a session that I was hoping
for. Gayle, Dr. Sayer... there's something Joshua
wants you to know. And... and it's really important."
Dr. Sayer blinked and looked at Joshua.
"What's going on? Is it something with the theatre?"
Joshua shook his head.
"No, Amber-Marie. It's not about the theatre and the
truth is... I'm not an actor."
Amber-Marie shook her head.
"But... you are! I saw you in Superstar. You're
a phenomenal actor! And singer, too! And I'm
sure you can dance... Jesus just doesn't really dance."
"Oh, trust me, I dance often. But, you're right, I
don't dance in Superstar. Well, except for twirling
Emma hugged his arm.
Gayle gripped the arms of her chair.
"Amber-Marie just said Jesus doesn't dance... and you
answered in the first person. It... it was just a
role," she reminded.
Joshua calmly shook his head.
"No. That's why I'm here actually. It wasn't
just a role. Not for me." The carpenter devoted
his attention to the doctor. He had to get through to
her first. "That... Amber-Marie, you responded so
strongly because that was really me up there. Do you
Amber-Marie jolted. With tear-filled eyes, she turned
to her patient.
"Emma... Emma, he... he's not well."
Joshua cast a tender look on the two stunned women.
"I try not to do it this way... I know it's alarming... but,
right now, we don't have a lot of time. So..."
Emma bowed her head as Joshua pulled up the lengthy sleeves
of his sweater and revealed scars and holes through his
"Oh, God!" Gayle cried.
Amber-Marie began drawing in quick, shallow breaths.
Next, Joshua lifted the corner of his sweater to reveal a
healed gash on his side. He gave a wavering smile.
"I'd take off my boots to... to show you my ankles but I've
been wearing them all day so I don't think that would be
The scientist coming out in her, Amber-Marie shook her head.
"But... but I saw you shirtless! That wasn't there!"
Gayle stared at her.
"I mean during the scourging! And the
Crucifixion! It wasn't there! And... and your
"The scars aren't always visible. I hide them
sometimes, so I can go about my business without drawing
attention. But I need you both to know because I have
work for you. Emma, could you please step outside for
a moment?" Joshua requested.
"I want her to stay," Amber-Marie countered. "Please."
"What I have to say is personal... about both of you,"
"It's okay," Gayle agreed as the doctor nodded.
Joshua patted Emma's shoulder, indicating for her to
stay. Then he knelt in front of Amber-Marie and took
her hands in his. In spite of her shock, the woman
didn't fight him or pull away. She only stared into
his gentle eyes... after noticing that the scars on his
wrists had disappeared.
"Amber-Marie, that night during your freshman year... when
you sat in that police station... waiting to file your
report, you told me that you would do everything you could
to ensure other survivors didn't feel the lonesomeness and
undeserved shame you felt."
The doctor's head lurched forward, her brow resting on her
and Joshua's hands.
"Yes..." she whispered.
"Dear heart, you've done so much. Emma here is a
testament to that."
With tears streaming down her cheeks, Emma nodded and patted
the woman's shoulder while Gayle gently stroked her back and
peered at Joshua.
"So much..." Emma echoed.
Joshua released one of Amber-Marie's hands, kissed her hair,
and then took one of Gayle's hands.
"You were behind your computer, typing up files,
Gayle. You saw Amber-Marie and you showed her the
first bit of warmth and understanding that she had felt all
night. You asked yourself how you'd want your daughter
treated. And you acted accordingly. You gave her
your own sweater and a cup of chamomile. You let her
cry on your shoulder. But you didn't stop there.
You truly stepped in as a second mother, cheering
Amber-Marie on as she got her bachelor's degree and then her
master's and, finally, her doctorate."
Joshua tilted his head towards the door.
"I can remember when you first hung the sign outside this
office. Gayle, you were snapping pictures. So
proud! Amber-Marie, you were vexed because you
couldn't get it straight."
Amber-Marie used her free hand to swipe at her tears and
"I... I guess I needed a carpenter." She sighed.
"It... it was really you all... all along."
"Yes," Joshua answered, releasing her hand only so he could
caress her face.
"Now... now we know why Emma always speaks of you as if...
as if you are above reproach. You are," Gayle
At once, the two women moved from their chairs and embraced
the still-kneeling Joshua.
"Is there room for me?" Emma checked.
Amber-Marie lifted her head from Joshua's shoulder and
Beaming, Emma made room for herself in their group hug.
After enjoying the closeness for a few moments, Amber-Marie
let out a deep breath and squeezed Joshua's hands.
"I... I prayed last night that... that you would hold me
especially close. This isn't the answer I was
expecting. It... it's better."
Emma and Gayle both noticed that there was a trace of
sadness in Joshua's smile.
"I'm glad you think so. You're going to be just fine,
"Is something going on?" Gayle checked. "I mean...
beyond the Lord God Incarnate being here?"
Joshua smirked then rested his other hand over the doctor's
Amber-Marie sniffled before meeting her old friend's gaze.
"Paul told me last night that... that he'd fallen for a
co-worker and he... he moved out. He wants a divorce."
"Sweetheart!" Gayle cried, circling an arm around the
younger woman's shoulders.
"Oh, Dr. Sayer... I'm so sor..."
Amber-Marie shook her head at Emma and managed a smile.
"After this," she waved to Joshua, "we're done with the Dr.
stuff. Just Amber-Marie."
Emma returned her smile.
"I am sorry, Amber-Marie."
"Thank you. I... I suggested counseling, naturally,
but... but he's not interested. I... I know I work a
lot but that's why the office has always closed at
5:00. So... so I'd be home when he was and we'd have
time together but... he kept working longer and longer
hours... so he said."
Joshua gave her a fierce hug.
"Paul has made a very poor choice... a series of poor
choices, really. You and I both know that you put your
heart and soul into your marriage, Amber-Marie. Don't
you carry around his guilt."
Amber-Marie smiled as she heard the words she so often spoke
to her patients.
"I won't," she vowed. "And now... now I'll have more
time for this work you have for me."
"And I'll give it everything I've got," Gayle added.
"But... I would be curious to know what it is."
"It's amazing," Emma opined.
"It's difficult work but the rewards... they will be
amazing," Joshua averred. "I've bought an old
building, formerly a hotel, not far from here. With a
lot of dedicated work from some of my angels and my humans,
it's been turned into an apartment building... of
sorts. Emma, Peter... everyone from St. Genesius' has
been helping with this project. Within a month, we
want to make it available as a safe house for victims of
Gayle clucked her tongue and shook her head.
"Such a heinous, awful thing... But it does me good to
hear about this effort, Josh... Jes..."
"Joshua is fine," he assured. "And thank you.
After much discussion, we've decided to name it the
"Like a butterfly... And... and a court for the King
of all kings. Perfect." Amber-Marie
praised. "I'll do anything to be part of this,
"I'm so glad to hear you say that. So... the Chrysalis
has five floors. The main floor will house various
services: a health clinic, counseling rooms, a gym, a
library, a rec room. The other floors are made up as
apartments with a few common rooms and one houses a very
large dining room. One entire floor are the Friends...
those would be the people affiliated with St. Genesius' who
came to know me... a group you two now belong to.
They've agreed to help me with staffing the safe house,
getting it ready for our guests, cooking, etc. Because
they'll all come in contact with survivors, I'd like them to
have some basic counseling training. I could think of
no better people to provide it than you, Amber-Marie and
Gayle. That's why I asked Emma to set this up.
So I could make this request," Joshua finished.
Amber-Marie nodded eagerly.
"Of course I'll help! You know I've only worked with a
handful of trafficking survivors but..."
"But I also know all the papers you've read, all of the
seminars you've gone to," Joshua finished. "I know the
passion you have. Both of you."
Gayle returned Joshua's encouraging smile.
"I do care about this, Joshua. Deeply. But you
know I don't have the training, the education that
"No. You don't. But you have years of experience
at tending to those who sat tearfully and nervously in your
waiting room, Gayle."
Amber-Marie hugged her friend and kissed her cheek.
"You know we've had people call and ask if they could meet
with you. And you've gone to many of the same
"I know you can do this, Gayle. My sessions with Dr...
with Amber-Marie have been so helpful but so have my visits
with you," Emma stressed.
Gayle moved to hug Emma.
"Thank you, Emma. It feels good to hear that.
So..." She reclaimed her seat and looked to
Joshua. "What's next?"
"Well, if you're interested, Emma and I would love to take
you to the Chrysalis Court right now for a tour," Joshua
After a quick glance at each other, Gayle and Amber-Marie
both turned back to Emma and Joshua and eagerly nodded.
When they all stood, Joshua received another round of
hugs. He held onto Amber-Marie for a few extra
"If you want, we can stop by your apartment, grab some
things, and you can stay with us," he whispered.
The psychiatrist let out a ragged sigh, thinking of how she
had passed a lonely night in a bedroom that no longer seemed
like her own.
"I'd like that a lot," she murmured.
Joshua smiled reassuringly, kissed her cheek, and, after
Gayle had locked up the office, the four departed to start
their mission together.
Saturday, February 6th, 2016
Joshua stood in the doorway of the Chrysalis Court's dining
room. He surveyed the faces of those clustered around
the three large tables and mentally reviewed the progress
they'd made. At last, their month of preparation was
over. That Wednesday, the last of their painting had
been completed and, only hours before, the final pieces of
furniture had been moved into the apartments. Earlier
in the day, Amber-Marie and Gayle had finished leading one
last session of therapeutic role-playing, giving each of the
Friends a chance to practice how they would react and what
they would say in response to behaviors and admissions they
might see and hear from their clientele. The pantries
were filled as were two rooms that were being used as
no-charge stores. Stanley and Behnam had brought over
all the books that were being removed from their library's
inventory while Vincent had scavenged the Tunnels library
for duplicates and turned up several dozen. Mick and
Beth had donated exercise equipment while Josef had gifted
the Chrysalis with security cameras, all of which Logan had
dutifully tested and retested. The youngest vampire
had also gladly parted with his older game systems and five
computers, citing that he no longer had the time for
marathon gaming or pointless tinkering. Logan had set
up the game systems, with carefully selected games, in the
rec rooms and the computers were housed in the
library. Andrew and JenniAnn had brought along some of
the plants from Willowveil's greenhouse, transplanting them
into the greenhouse in the Chrysalis' courtyard which had
been cleaned and landscaped. It would be a touch of
spring in the dead of winter, a comfort to those who sought
As early as the next day, the group would be ready to
welcome and serve those who came to their door.
Joshua beamed at the room's many inhabitants. Nick,
Reuel, Eleora, Cody, Zaila, Freya, Michael, Azrael, and
Elazer were no longer gathered together at one section of a
table. Now they were interspersed among the Friends,
enjoying easy and friendly banter. Thandie and her
girls had also become fast friends with the others with the
former growing especially close to Maryam, Emma, and
Amber-Marie. Anika could often be found with Shelby,
Jacob, and Liam while Nya could spend long hours gleefully
singing and playing with Aiyla and the house pets. At
that moment, Zizi sat with Belle, Omar, and Manny at a tiny
table of their very own, giggling and hanging all over each
other as was their wont.
Together, they reminded Joshua of another devoted band...
those who had followed him all over Galilee and
beyond. Though the mission he had given to the two
groups differed, Joshua was confident that the Chrysalis
group would be as successful as his earliest
disciples. After all, both missions had been rooted in
love and the Friends had plenty of that.
Spotting his son, Yosef rose from his place beside Maryam
and joined Joshua.
"Everyone is here now. Except Josef, of course.
Were you speaking to him?"
"His efforts in Atlanta were successful. The raid's
over and the FBI is scouring the place for files and more
evidence as we speak. The traffickers will all be held
accountable and the victims will receive services... if they
Yosef pulled Joshua into his arms and kissed his cheeks.
Joshua returned his father's hug and kisses and managed a
"You are thinking of the others," Yosef guessed.
Joshua nodded. He brightened when he saw his mother
approaching. She immediately encircled him in her
"You have news?"
"Josef and his partners have brought down a trafficking ring
in Atlanta," Joshua conveyed.
"I am so glad," Maryam replied as she stroked his
hair. "So he will be back soon?"
"Well..." Joshua heaved a sigh. "As soon as he
can be but not as soon as he intended. The victims...
most of them are teenagers and young women. A handful
of men. The shelter is well-equipped to see to their
needs but there's a little girl. She's taken to
Yosef stared down at his hands, tears welling in his
eyes. Maryam's closed briefly before she looked
directly into her son's eyes.
"And so he is staying longer?" she guessed.
"He... he looks like her daddy who died when she was three
and I couldn't tell him over the phone but... there's a
reason for that."
Yosef's head shot up.
"You meant for them to meet surely?"
"Yes but I... I meant for them to meet months ago before...
before she'd suffered so. But people wouldn't listen
to the Spirit's pleas and..." Joshua shook his head.
"They are together now," Maryam reminded. "Josef can
help her now, my own.
"Yes. And he will. He'll stay there for a few
more days then commute as needed, I'm sure. But he's
sending us help in the meantime. They'll arrive around
7:00 tomorrow morning.."
"They?" Yosef prodded.
Joshua's smiled stretched across his face.
"Isolde and Marco."
A pale faced girl with raven-colored hair trembled as she
sat on a motel room bed in San Francisco.
"Please... please, sir... I... I don't want to do
this. That ma-man out-outside... he's forcing me
Silent, the man in the room only pulled his shirt over his
head and unzipped his jeans.
"I know ya've got to have a good heart in ya. Please,
just let me go and..."
Her pleas were rewarded by a hard slap across the face.
"Shut up. Now." The man sat on the bed and
reached for the waistline of the girl's jeans. "I like
my girls quiet when I..."
The man didn't notice that the girl's eyes had began to glow
blue and fangs were protruding from her upper gums. He
only noticed that something was awry when he found himself
hurled onto the floor and pinned there.
"AH!" the man bellowed when he looked up at the transformed
girl. In spite of her slight form, he wasn't able to
move an inch.
"I gave ya a fair chance," she growled. "I appealed to
your sense of decency and kindness only to find both sorely
lacking. For Christ's sake, man! I look all of
fifteen years old! Like them young, do ya?
The man groaned when her knee jammed into his groin.
The girl grinned.
"If only you knew how old I am... I've seen your like
before. You're goin' to go away for a while now.
My detestable pimp outside? He's really my best mate
and he's just out in that hallway with a couple of
cops. So we'll see to that. But when they
finally let your sorry arse go, remember my face as it is
right now every time you even think about hurtin' a little
one. Or anyone. Do you understand me?"
Whimpering, the man nodded.
"Very good. Because if ya don't... I will find
you. And next time, I won't restrain myself.
Now... let's see if we can't get ya some lovely silver
The man still didn't move even when the girl rose and went
to the door, allowing two uniformed officers into the
room. A third man stood just behind them.
"A demon! She's a demon!" the john screamed, pointing
once the men had heaved him off the floor.
"Right, buddy. Anything you say..."one of the cops
replied. "So here we go... You have the right to
After they left, the third man closed the door and hugged
"You okay, Isolde?"
"Ah, yeah. Same old ting. How many more have we
got on the list?"
"Never mind the list. Josef called. Change of
"Marco! Never mind the list!" Isolde cried.
"We've got at least two dozen names of perps who are right
here in this motel!"
"I know, I know. But Josef has others from FS working
on that. He's held up in Atlanta and..."
"Is he all right?"
"Yeah, he's fine. Just helping with recovery."
"Their bust was successful!"
Marco smiled and nodded. He loved it when Isolde's
face shone as it did in that moment.
"A pretty big one. Which is why he needs us to go to
"Oh right. That other group he's partnering with..."
"Yeah. He booked us the last flight outta town so we
need to skedaddle."
"Skedaddle..." Isolde repeated. "I love that
Marco chuckled and shook his head.
"Sometimes I have a very, very hard time believing that
you're over 500 years old."
"No respect for your elders!"
"You're only a year older than me, Isolde."
"A year's a year! And my birthday's next week.
You better have gotten me something."
"I always do. A man knows better than to forget his
Isolde smiled and gave Marco a peck on the cheek.
Hand in hand, the two vampires left the motel, returned to
Josef's apartment where they'd been staying, packed up their
things, and began the journey to Manhattan.
Back at the Chrysalis Court, dinner was finished and dessert
was being dished out. Once everyone had their cobbler
and ice cream, Joshua moved to the head of the tables.
Nick tapped on his glass and a hush fell over the room.
Joshua smiled at the crowd and began to speak.
"Before we part for the night, I wanted to take this
opportunity to thank you all for being a part of this.
The love, devotion, passion, and compassion that I've seen
from you all this month... the Father and I couldn't be more
pleased. We love you all so much and I... I've
treasured this time together." Joshua wiped at a tear
that was tickling his beard. "The days ahead will
bring challenges but I ask you all to continue to lean on
each other... and me. Remember, we're all in this
together and while we need to take care of our guests, we
also need to watch out for each other. Eating,
sleeping, confiding in each other... those are needs.
Don't be afraid to indulge in them. Trust me, there
will be times I'll need to eat, sleep, and talk, too.
Not at the same time, of course. Not even I can do
The group laughed.
"My point is that there are a lot of us. I know we'll
be able to keep up with all our work without anyone making
themselves sick. I'd also like to keep up with our
weekly Bible studies because I think we'll need that.
Nick, Azrael, Zaila, Reuel, Elazer, Freya, Michael, and
several others who will be coming and going have all agreed
to take turns monitoring the other floors so we can do
The Friends cheered and those who were near enough clapped
Nick and the angels on their backs and squeezed and patted
"I want you to know, too, that it's okay to feel sad or
angry or frustrated," Joshua continued. "You're going
to hear some tough, tough things. It's normal to have
emotional reactions. Please, please don't hold it all
in. Finally, remember that my door is always
open. Any time, day or night. And even when you
decide not to come to me... I'm still there and so is our
Father. I'm so proud of you all and I love you so
In an overlapping chorus, the others replied.
"We love you, too, Joshua!"
"Love ya, Josh!"
"I love you, my own."
Joshua blew them kisses and then, after John had shoved a
dish of cobbler into his hands, he made the rounds hugging
each and every one of them. With each embrace and
kiss, Joshua prayed for his children.
Andrew stared up at the ceiling, absently twirling a strand
of JenniAnn's hair as she slept. Once he noticed, he
startled and stilled his left hand.
"It's okay. It wasn't pulling. Just kinda...
The angel of death smiled and rolled his head to the side.
"Mmm hmm. You're nervous."
Sitting up, JenniAnn took Andrew's fidgety hand and brought
it to her lips.
"Sorry. I didn't realize what I was doing."
"It's okay. I knew you had that tic before I declared
my undying love and affection so I can't rightly complain
Andrew chuckled as he, too, moved to sit up.
"So what's the deal?" JenniAnn questioned.
"I was thinking about how... how now you're going to be
directly exposed to some of what I see out there during
assignments. You'll hear things and... and, well,
you'll know that I've stood by while similar..."
Andrew was muted when JenniAnn kissed him. He sighed
when she then rested her head beneath his chin and softly
stroked his chest.
"My feelings won't change, my love. I know about free
will. I know about the rules angels need to
follow. And further... I know that Joshua stands by,
too. And sometimes that can be very, very hard to
understand. But I know at least something of how hard
it is for him. I saw him when Emma was
struggling. I saw the toll it took. And I've
seen the aftereffects in you for years now. I can't be
angry at you, Andrew. Well, not about that. Some
other things... socks not quite making their way to the
hamper and the like..."
The angel of death laughed and shook his head. He
tightened his arms around the woman and kissed her shoulder.
JenniAnn moved so she could look into Andrew's eyes.
After a few moments, she frowned.
"There's something else..."
"Sometimes I think you've developed the ability to read my
"No. Just to read you... nothing specific."
"Good. If you could read my mind, I'm not sure what
we'd talk about. Your mind, I guess."
JenniAnn laughed and scrunched up her nose.
"Frightening thought! But seriously..."
"Seriously... I got to wondering about how long I have
before it really sinks in for Belle what exactly Daddy does
when I'm not at home. Will... will she ever get mad at
me for just standing around?"
JenniAnn's own face clouded. It was easy enough to
account for her own emotions... the emotions of a grown
woman not filled up with puberty hormones. Her face
flushed as she recalled a few thoughtless exchanges she'd
had with Andrew as a teenager and young adult. And
Belle was definitely spirited! That much was
obvious. And not shy. And very emotional.
It seemed to her that it truly was a matter not if Belle
would ever get so angry at her Daddy... but when.
"It's so hard to say... I maintained my naivete for
quite a while. Belle may not have that option.
When it does happen, I just hope I do right by you
both. I love you both so much... It... it'd feel
like being torn in two and..."
JenniAnn traced the contours of Andrew's face.
"Maybe it'll just be a matter of taking turns sitting with
us, Laja. Sometimes that's the best comfort, you
know. Just having you near," Andrew counseled.
JenniAnn gave him a sad, sweet smile.
"I really hope so. No matter what, I know that, in
time, Belle would come around. She could never stay
mad at her 'pitty Daddy' for too long."
Smiling, Andrew buried his face in her hair.
"Thanks. That helps. Now maybe for some sleep?"
"I think so."
The two got into their favorite sleeping position, her head
resting on his shoulder with her hand over his heart and his
hands joined at her hip, and drifted to sleep.
To be continued...
This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye who truly cared
about the world and people around him. May we all make
a difference like he did.
Credits: The photographs used on this page
are from Touched by an Angel and
owned by CBS Productions, Caroline
Productions, and Moon Water Productions.
They are not being used to seek profit.)