Friday, December 7, 2012

End Season 1

Yep, sorry fans. Real life is starting to pick up steam, and my energy for fiction writing is about used up. I'd wanted to write a serial with lots of characters for years, and this has been really fun. I really like the premise I came up with, and I enjoy every single character. But I doubt any soap opera writer is expected to write five days a week for a whole year. Eight months was all I had. This seems like a good place in the story to take a break anyway.

I'm gonna use that time to focus even more on my family, my work and my ministry with the kids at church. Maybe I'll even write a song or two if time allows. 

This has been really good for my writing skills. I have no writing plans for the future, though. I may get that urge to create again someday when things calm down again. It might be Bold Traveler, but it might be something else instead.

Huge thanks to my readers who encouraged me and even gave me good ideas, especially my wife Tara. And thanks to Facebook for helping me get a few readers without any effort at all. It's been fun, y'all.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012


"She's still in a lot of pain, but her healing thus far has been pretty incredible." It was nearly lunchtime on Thursday and Jason had missed breakfast. He felt dead on his feet after his exhausting night. He had sat in the waiting room of a Damascus hospital with a representative of the American State Department for hours, waiting for Michelle to be admitted and to hear about her condition. Now a British physician was finally ending their wait. "I expect we can probably release her in about three days."

"Three days!" Jason said. "That's great. I thought you were gonna say three weeks."

"Michelle sustained a lot of internal bleeding but has no broken bones and no infections since she had no open wounds. She's a pretty tough lady to take a beating like that and come out so well."

The man from the State Department continued staring at his tablet computer. He had spent the previous half hour telling Jason what would happen to the men who had kept Michelle at their house. They would probably be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. "Doc," he said, "she was under treatment by this Doctor Tlass that was involved with her kidnapping. He took care of her almost a day and a night. Do you think he actually helped her?"

"It's possible actually. He may have provided therapy to help her body rest and heal, which she wouldn't have had if she'd stayed out in the elements another night."

"Yeah, well there's no tellin' what those two had planned for her once she was well. Looked like they were set up to keep her there long-term. We found handcuffs."

Jason thought about Peter and wondered what the last two days had all meant. He planned to call Dave as soon as it was morning in New York.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Three men ran to them before they got to Asu's yard. "Hold it, son," one of them said. "Put her on the ground. Right now...that's it."

A second kneeled over her. "Michelle Owens?"


"Hey girl, we've been lookin' all over for you. How you doin'?" He examined her superficially as other people brought a stretcher.

"Not so good."

"I know, I know, we're gonna get you to a hospital, ok?"

"What's your name, son?" said the first man to Jason in a half-threatening tone.


"Jason Huston?" The man had assumed a stance that made Jason feel like he'd be tackled if he took a step.


"You got a problem with me, son?"


"You're lookin' at me like I'm one of the bad guys or somethin'. Come on, you're gonna ride with us while Michelle rides in the ambulance, ok?"

Jason wished they could've gone with Peter and Rani instead, but he was thankful this nightmare was over. Andy was gonna be the happiest man on Earth.

Friday, November 30, 2012


"Go, go, go!" they heard Peter shouting at the others. The team came spilling out of the house, minus two Syrian kidnappers, and ran to their vehicles. Peter gave Jason a thumbs-up sign as he ran. Jason suddenly realized that he and Michelle were being left behind for the Syrian and American authorities to deal with. He'd probably never see or hear from Peter or Rani again.

Tires squealed, and within seconds they saw, between the houses, the two black vans roaring away. Not two seconds later, they heard another vehicle approaching at high speed from the other direction. As it passed them, they saw that it was a black sedan. It must have been chasing after the vans--maybe someone from the State Department? he wondered. Whether his new friends were caught or got away, he'd probably never know. The media weren't likely to catch wind of it if they were caught. And Jason had decided he wouldn't give them up for anything. He might not agree with their methods, but he liked them as people, and they helped him find Michelle.

Then he realized she probably would've been found within a few minutes anyway, as other vehicles arrived and more men in black were suddenly on the scene. "Jason, what's goin' on?" Michelle asked, grimacing with pain.

"Um...I'm not sure. I think the cops are here to find you. I'm gonna take you back over there, ok?" He lifted her in his arms and carried her back to the house.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Then she saw Asu and his father, being taken into the house instead of out. What was happening? The men were searching...for her! If only she had stayed in the house. She tried again to call out, but her strength was gone. She laid prostrate in the grassless yard and groaned as loudly as she could. If no one noticed her in the half darkness, Asu might find her later and she might never escape.

She heard someone with an American accent say that the cops would be there in seconds along with officials from the State Department, so they needed to get out of there right away. So if these weren't cops, who were they?

With her head on the ground, she could see someone with pale skin in Asu's yard, wearing a long coat. The other men were apparently in the house. She cried out to him, focusing all her energy on that one person, praying he would hear. She saw him turn, and then he ran to her.

"Michelle!" The voice was very familiar. "Guys, over here!" He turned her onto her back and gathered her into his arms, the first physical contact they'd had in two years of traveling the world together.

"Hey, Jason," she said, smiling feebly. "Did you get your story yet?"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Michelle had never been so cold, except perhaps on the previous night, which she'd spent unconscious in the open desert after being thrown from a car. It was probably around forty degrees Fahrenheit, but she was still wearing the short-sleeved shirt, skirt and sandals she'd arrived in and had no protection from the wind except the house she had crawled behind. She had managed to get two houses away before the cold and the increasing pain forced her to take a break. Part of her wished she could simply go to sleep again until the daytime sun warmed her. She hoped she could get a little further away and find help before her captors found out she'd escaped.

A dog barked and roused her. She had dozed off, after all. She looked to the east and saw orange hues at the horizon. Soon she would be found. Soon this would finally all be over.

She heard a leaf crushed underfoot and looked back toward Asu's house. Several men dressed in black were walking carefully around it. Must be the Syrian version of a SWAT team--they'd found her! Asu had known her name, which meant he was connected somehow to the men who stole her luggage. But now she wasn't in the house, and they could deny having ever laid eyes on her. She tried calling out, but she didn't have the energy to muster enough volume to be heard from that distance. In desperation she began crawling back toward the house from which she'd come. The pain across her body was growing again, causing her to grunt with each movement. She prayed she wouldn't be too late.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Jason drove the ancient city's highways for twenty minutes. At a half hour before dawn, they passed the downtown area. It sparkled as impressively as any American city of two million people. It didn't look quite like his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, but the downtown area wasn't so different from Columbus, either. The Barada River glistened beautifully in the middle of town, reminding him of the Scioto back home.

Finally the radio crackled again with Peter's voice. "Alright, Rani, they've fessed up. These guys were treating an injured woman at the house, and she meets Michelle's description. But they're genuinely surprised that she wasn't there when we got there. Either somebody stole her during the night or she left."

"She couldn't have gotten very far in her condition," Jason said to Rani.

Rani apparently agreed, as he told Peter: "We'd better go back."

"Roger that," Peter said. "See you back at the house."

"What will they do with the two men?" Jason asked.

"Take this exit," Rani said. "We're not in the business of taking prisoners or meting out punishment. We'll leave them at the house. We don't have to worry about them calling the police. They may seem like nice guys who wanted to help Michelle, but they both have criminal records. And keeping Michelle at their house instead of taking her to the hospital would get them in big trouble with the police. Probably they intended to keep her there."

Jason hoped the two men hadn't already done something horrible to Michelle.