In just a few hours, 2018 will end and 2019 will begin. Whether you go out with friends, countdown in front of New Year's Rockin' Eve in your own living room, or go to bed early, the new year will come at the stroke of midnight. Are you ready for what it holds?
In The Chronicle of the Three: Eden Sword (the final installment in the trilogy) Zoe is struggling to celebrate as her destiny weighs on her. Thankfully, she's got Daniel with her. Below is an excerpt from New Year's Eve in Torch Creek.
“Cute,” Anna said, reaching toward the dangling charm and mouthing it’s inscription as she read it. She looked at Zoe with an open mouth, seeming like she about to comment or question further, when the barista announced the ball drop would be starting in just a few minutes at the courthouse steps.
Josh grabbed his jacket as he stood up. “We better go so we can get a good view,” he said.
“You two coming?” Kyle asked.
“You three go on ahead,” Daniel said as he linked his fingers with Zoe’s.
“We get it, the lovebirds want to be alone,” Anna giggled. “Happy New Year you two!”
“Happy New Year,” Zoe replied. Her voice barely made it over the noise of the exiting patrons to elicit a small wink and wave from Anna as she stepped outside.
“Still want that coffee?” Daniel asked.
Zoe leaned close, placing a sweet kiss on his lips.
“What was that for?”
“For being you.”
Daniel responded with his own soft kiss. “I’m gonna forgive how cheesy this moment is because I like you so much.”
“I’m not cheesy, I’m adorable,” Zoe giggled as she pulled him to his feet. “Now, let’s get that coffee and go ring in the New Year.”
A few minutes later Zoe was sipping her latte, still smiling, her arm linked with Daniel’s while they walked toward the crowd waiting at the courthouse. They were already counting down the final seconds of the year as a glittering disco ball was slowly being lowered.
Zoe, like always, could smell it first. The ash and blood tickled her nose. She surveyed the street and swore she saw glowing eyes scattered amongst the spectators. When she blinked, they were all gone.
A scream echoed. She jerked her head and the image of Maggie lying on the curb from her previous vision replaced the happy throng.
Another blink and reality blurred again. She watched Daniel being dragged into the alleyway. “No,” she whispered, and the specter was gone. The street was full again and she was clinging to Daniel’s arm.
“You okay?” Daniel whispered.
Another scream distracted Zoe. She peered ahead through the still chanting and cheering partiers who slowly faded to reveal Claire lying bleeding on the courthouse steps and Michael dying beside her.
“This isn’t real.”
“What isn’t?” Daniel asked, grabbing Zoe’s arms and maneuvering her to look him in the eye. “Zoe, what’s going on?”
“He ruins everything. He’s going to take everything away from me, destroy every moment of happiness.” Happy-New-Year’s were shouted as fireworks whizzed and then boomed overhead, but none of that could subdue Zoe’s fear. It trembled inside her, shaking the oxygen out of her lungs.
“Zo, Abaddon isn’t here,” Daniel said. His stare was intense, pushing his eyebrows tighter together. His eyes darted back and forth, searching for something in hers. His lips were parted like a word had been on the tip of his tongue ready to spring out but got lost.
Zoe wanted to tell him she was fine. She wanted to lie and say she was just tired. It would only be a half-lie. Half or whole, it wouldn’t find its way out. Neither would the tears that she could feel, heavy things waiting behind her eyes. She blinked hoping to release them but it didn’t work. The fear rumbled again. “He’s always here,” she whispered.
Daniel hugged her. His cheek rested against the top of her head. “You have to fight him, Zo.”
Her latte dropped to the ground spilling open. “I’m tired of fighting,” Zoe said, “I’m not some soldier, I’m not a warrior.”
“We are all warriors,” Daniel replied. “We may not feel like it but we are. Descendant, bloodline, prophecy—none of it matters. We all fight the darkness every day.”
Zoe pulled back until she was free from his embrace. “This isn’t some normal situation, some small daily tragedy. This is for the whole world, life and death,” she scorned.
Daniel’s face softened but his eyes remained fierce. “Those are always the stakes,” he said. “It’s always life and death. Most people are just never aware of that fact.”
Zoe watched the bright colors that lit the black canvas above them. “I want that ignorance back,” she said.
“That’s not going to happen,” Daniel said stepping behind her, resting his hands on her shoulders. His thumbs circled against her tense muscles. “But I don’t think ignorance is what you need back—I think it’s faith.”
“Easy for you to say. I’m the Daughter, I’m the one who has to carry the sword. I’m the one who will walk into Hell alone.” She turned out of his touch to look directly at his face.
“You aren’t alone, you will never be alone,” he said as he took her hand.
“Faith seems like a luxury. Something for people who can’t see the truth. I mean, it feels like the Maker has forgotten about us—about me. He hasn’t exactly been making Himself known.” Her tears grew even heavier and finally began to tip over her long lashes.
“This girl I know once told me the Maker was a big enough boy to handle us being mad at Him. Maybe the problem isn’t that He hasn’t shown up, but that you’ve just stopped seeing Him.” Daniel reached his hands to her cheeks, brushing tears away with his fingers. “Maybe you need to open your eyes.”
“It’s that easy?” she asked, hopeful.
A wistful smile pricked at the corners of Daniel’s lips. “Or that hard,” he said.
What does 2019 hold for you? Are you eager to jump into the New Year like it is a long awaited adventure? Or are you weighed down by fear and struggle? May you find some extra faith to strengthen you. The Maker is there, He has a plan and purpose for you and He hasn't left you. May you see Him.
I say it all the time around here (because I 100% believe it's true and want you to believe it too) but to start off your New Year, no matter what it looks like from where you are standing today, remember...
You are powerful, chosen, loved and never alone.
PS: Follow me on Facebook for weekly #LiveChosen content and lots of support and encouragement throughout the new year.