Love in the Land of Dragons

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 10 (v.1)

Submitted: May 20, 2015

Reads: 291

Comments: 12

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Submitted: May 20, 2015

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Chapter Ten

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As the gibbous cloud that had momentarily obscured the sun began to dissipate, a single ray of sunshine illuminated the hilltop where Elizabeth Ander comforted Carlton Chambers in a sympathetic embrace. Elizabeth wondered if it was a sign from God, a blessing if you will, of their nascent relationship.

Chambers sat up and reached out to gently hold Elizabeth’s head in his hands. She stared into his compelling blue eyes and as he boyishly smiled, Elizabeth could feel her heart throb in anticipation. Chambers then tenderly placed a kiss upon her forehead and, as usual, Elizabeth felt her face flush.

“What are you doing here, Miss Ander?” Chambers suddenly asked, to Elizabeth’s bewilderment.

“Uh, you asked me.”

Chamber’s chuckled, “I mean what are you doing here in China, besides volunteering to be a missionary?”

“I still don’t understand.” Elizabeth was still confused by his inquiry.

“Well,” Chambers began to explain, “the one true thing I’ve discovered is most foreigners who do make that long journey here are either running away or running towards something. So which is it for you?”

Elizabeth now understood what he was asking.

“I..I guess I’m…I’m doing both,” Elizabeth had to sadly admit.

“Then tell me all about it,” Chambers soothingly requested, “tell me why a sweet and lovely farm girl from Nebraska suddenly decides to travel thousands of miles across an immense ocean to such a strange land.”

Elizabeth then softly sighed and began to tell him her story. About the tragic death of her fiancé, Seth. How long after his funeral and burial, everything in their small town, from the local movie theater where Seth would take her every Saturday night, to the local diner where they would have lunch or dinner, reminded her of him.

“I couldn’t even take a walk in the park," Elizabeth sadly explained, "because it would bring back memories of Seth and I walking hand in hand, or go to the lake where he had taught me how to fish. Months afterward, my family and many of the townsfolk told me I had to move on with my life but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. At least as long as I remained in that town. The memories were just too painful. So I had to go away. Far, far away.”

“And so you did,” Chambers replied in understanding, “it seems we’ve both lost loved ones in tragic circumstances. Those memories are painful but I believe they're intended to be. We can move on but we can’t ever really forget. And we shouldn’t forget, because it was true love that we both had. My love for Marie. Your love for Seth. True love is very rare. It may not seem apparent to you now, Elizabeth, but we were both so very lucky to find someone that most people for their entire lives never find. Someone whom they can wholeheartedly love and someone who will wholeheartedly love them in return.

Elizabeth nodded her head, as the tears began to flow down her cheeks. Chambers retrieved a handkerchief from his coat pocket and gently wiped those tears away.

The Chinese people strongly believe in destiny. They believe that when we are born we are chosen to follow a pre-determined path in life. That while we travel down that path, we may take many detours and back roads, but eventually we always return to our destiny.

For me, I resisted my destiny of following my father into our family business. Instead, I took a side route. Joined the Air Corp to fight in a war. Met a beautiful woman who became my wife. Became a barnstormer which all ended in tragedy. So I realized that no matter what I did or where I went, my destiny awaited. But if I was to follow my path, like you, I had to go far, far away to do so. And like you, I’m also running away and towards something at the same time. And I believe you’re following your destiny too; by ending up here in China.”

Elizabeth had never thought of it that way but inherently knew Chambers was right. Maybe it was destiny that had brought her here, compelled her to volunteer to become a missionary, and just maybe brought this sweet and understanding man, who now sat before her, into her life.

Meanwhile, as the sun began to set and she contemplated all that he had just said, her pensive thoughts were suddenly interrupted by Chambers himself.

“It’s getting dark. We’ve got to go!” he barked, as he quickly got up.

“What’s the hurry?” Elizabeth wondered.

“I promised Father John I’d have you back at the Sanctuary before nightfall!”

Elizabeth laughed, “Well, I know his title is ‘Father’but he’s not my father, so I think it’ll be alright if you got me home a little later than promised.”

“You don’t understand, Miss Ander,” Chambers replied, very sternly to Elizabeth’s surprise, “we both have to get back as fast as possible. Please help me gather up all this picnic stuff.”

Elizabeth nodded and helped Chambers fold the blanket and stow the glasses and wine bottle back into the basket. Then she hastily followed him back down the hill to the waiting Roadster.

Carelessly throwing all the items into the rumble seat, Chambers held the door open for Elizabeth to crawl into the passenger seat, while he came around to the driver’s side, flipped on the battery switch, adjusted the choke, then quickly cranked the automobile until the motor started.

Swiftly jumping into the driver’s side, Chamber’s released the hand brake and shifted into gear as the Roadster roared back up the road that would lead back to the Sanctuary. Elizabeth held onto the overhead strap as they sailed over the rutted road. Chambers had turned on the automobile’s headlights and Elizabeth could see the concerned look on his handsome face in the soft glow of the instrument panel.

They rode along in silence until Elizabeth suddenly noticed some lights up ahead. As they steadily approched, it appeared that someone had set a couple of bonfires on both sides of the road, as well as a wooden gate to block the path ahead. She also noted several figures carrying rifles at the ready; their shadows, cast from the light of the intense fires, stretched ominously across the road. Abruptly, Chambers shut off the Roadster’s headlights, plunging them into total darkness; only the faint glow of the firelight  remained.

“What is it?” Elizabeth asked.

“Roadblock,” Chambers curtly replied.

“Is it Sergeant Kiang’s men?” Elizabeth asked, figuring if it was they should recognize Chambers and let them through without incident.

“No, not Kiang’s men,” Chamber’s answered, and for the first time she noted the subtle nervousness in his answer. Elizabeth’s own edginess became apparent when Chambers reached into his shoulder holster and placed the silver gun between them on the bench seat.

“Then who are they?” Elizabeth anxiously asked, apprehensive to hear his answer.

“Rebels,” Chambers quickly answered, “so listen to me very carefully, Elizabeth. I want you to sit low in the seat and hang on to the strap. Don’t glance up. Stay down until I tell you it’s alright. You understand?!”

His serious tone made her even more tense, but she nodded her head and slid down in her seat keeping her line of sight just below the dashboard.

As they approached Elizabeth could hear someone shouting "HALT!!!"

Just then Chambers shifted the Roadster into high gear and jammed down on the accelerator.

“Hang on, this may get tricky!”

Elizabeth felt herself pushed back into the seat as the Roadster roared onward towards the road block. Suddenly there was a loud crash, as Elizabeth could see the wooden road block splinter into a dozens pieces, cracking the glass as it smashed headlong into the windshield.

The Roadster sped on, as more loud and angry shouts from the Rebels could be heard. Then the horrifying sounds of gunfire ensued. Elizabeth let out a scream when a bullet pierced the Roadster’s rear window, causing it to shatter into a million sharp pieces of glass that rained down upon her. Another bullet took out the rearview mirror before making a neat hole through the front windshield. More gunfire erupted, as the Roadster took a few more hits; the bullets making pinging sounds as they ricocheted off the car’s metal body.

Chambers kept his foot down on the accelerator until the sounds of the shouting and gunfire faded in the distance behind them. Soon they reached the road that led directly up to the Sanctuary and Chambers brought the Roadster to an abrupt stop in front of the main house. He then noticed there were two kerosene lamps lit on the front porch.

“Looks like the Good Father left the lights on for us,” Chambers laughed in relief, as he glanced over to Elizabeth, who was still sitting low and staring blankly ahead.

“You can sit back up, Elizabeth,” Chambers said, “we’re safe now.”

However, Elizabeth slowly turned and looked up at Chambers.

“I don’t think I can sit up,” she softly replied, with a pained look upon her face that made Chambers realize something was wrong. Very wrong.

“What is it, Elizabeth?!” he asked, as he jumped out of the driver’s side and rushed around to the passenger’s side and jerked open the door.

Elizabeth caustiously sat up, then with Chamber’s help stepped out of the car only to suddenly collapse into his arms.

As he steadied her, his hand on her lower back suddenly felt moist and when he took a look he saw that his hand was covered in blood, making him immediately realize Elizabeth had been shot.


© Copyright 2019 Nikki Evans. All rights reserved.

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