CTR Stories

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"...Choose only entertainment and media that uplift you. Good entertainment will help you to have good thoughts and make righteous choices...Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable."
For The Strength of Youth

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Most Recent Stories
Little Miss Liberty
    Steven O'Dell
The Christmas Dog
    Steven O'Dell
Barnaby and the Zilligong
    Steven O'Dell
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The Greatest Christmas Gift Ever
    Steven O'Dell

Most Recent Chapters
The Visitor--an inspirational short story series
    Ch. 58 -- On Wings of Angels
The Visitor--an inspirational short story series
    Ch. 61 The Music Within
The Visitor--an inspirational short story series
    Ch. 60 -- Lamb and Lyon
The Visitor--an inspirational short story series
    Ch. 59 I Hate Christmas
The Visitor--an inspirational short story series
    Ch. 44 The Wisdom of the Wise
Submitted by Steven ODell on 24 July 2007 - 12:43am. |

I have a weird relationship with our apartment manager. Apparently his job description reads in total, “You will get free rent and collect checks from other poor suckers each month.” It is like pulling teeth to get him to take responsibility for anything around here, unless it is near his own building, right next door. I assume this falls within the imaginary crayon line that he has drawn to set the boundaries of his work duties.

When the power went out recently and everyone else in the neighborhood got it back except us, we called to inform him and his response was that we should personally call the local power company or have one of the other tenants look into it. WHAT?!!! I thought the manager was supposed to take the lead in this responsibility. I thought that to take things like this into my own hands would be to overstep my authority and perhaps assume liabilities I do not want. Silly me. Evidently we are enthusiastically encouraged to provide our own materials, tools and know-how to fix anything around here that needs repair. The concept is all so new to me that my head is still spinning from sheer delight.

I have developed a theory I am anxious to test, though. Next time I need him, I will call him and say something like the following:

“Hey, dude! Yeah, we’ve got an emergency over here. I think you’d better come quick, man. The flames are getting pretty high and I’m not sure I can contain them much longer. Oh, and by the way…bring a toilet plunger and a drain snake when you come, okay? Thanks, man.”

Whether this will work or not is up for debate, but it can’t be any worse than the present state of affairs.

Submitted by Steven ODell on 24 July 2007 - 12:00am. | |

With the way the world slips a bit here and a bit there, almost imperceptibly at times, I thought this might be how we would be seeing things as 'normal' in the near future, were it not for modern prophets and revelation.

July Morning--Steven O'Dell (C)2007

This morning I was greeted by the gentle chirping of police dogs and the melodious hum of helicopters. On occasion I can hear the soft barking of a pistol in the near distance. I would never have guessed in a million years life could be like this—so magnificent and awe-inspiring. And the voices that I heard...they must be angels from on high...instructing one to sit on the curb and just chill and enjoy life with one's hands above one's head, praising God for all the blessings of life and awaiting the assistance that is sure to rapidly come. Only one thing more could have made it entirely perfect—the woodpecker rat-a-tat-tat of tiny machine guns in the tree branches. I count my blessings nevertheless.

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Submitted by Raymond L. Step... on 10 March 2007 - 5:50pm. | | |

Howl came around in front of them, interrupting their fixation on the scene below. “You have already been in one dangerous situation down there, and I saw others that you narrowly missed, and, luckily were unaware of. You can see from here, some of the obstacles you face. There are many more you can’t see. But, I must warn you; up here, although we can only see from one ridge to the next, and things look quite safe, this can be very misleading. One danger in particular; we might run into the domeheads. Those guys are mean and nasty, and with their ugly round heads, they look just like the rocks, almost invisible until they open their
big toothy mouths to scream. It’s so loud, most animals freeze in their tracks until the domeheads catch them.”

All the others looked to Slayer for advice. “Are they fast?” He asked.

“No, not very, they rely on their scream. Other animals can’t tell which direction it comes from, because it seems to bounce around off the rocks.”

Slayer thought for a minute or two, then, almost like he was struck by lightning, he straightened, his head came up, and he turned to face the members of the patrol. “O.K., this is what we’ll do. At the first sound of a domie’s scream, Howl will answer with one of his loudest howls. Buzzy, you and Swoop have the best eyesight, so get as high as you can. Swoop, if you can, get in the air. They should poke their heads up to see what’s making the noise. If you let us know where they are, I think we can get them on the run. Dragon, if you can get your fire going, it will really throw a scare into them; in any case, make all the noise you can, and run towards them. They’re not expecting that.”

“Hey, Slayer,” said Howl, “That’s a good plan. I’ve never heard of anyone standing up to the domies.”

“O.K.,” said Slayer, “Let’s get moving. Howl, I don’t like to ask anyone to go in the front, but you know the area
best, and can find the trails easier, can you take the lead?”

“Sure, no problem; besides, I’ve heard the domies never come at you head-on; but wait to catch you off-guard, either from the side or behind. We all need to beware all the time.”

As the journey progressed, all were amazed at how well Howl could find really good trails where none were apparent to them.

Swoop could see Buzzy’s flight feathers beginning to grow, so he coached him on the aspects and techniques of flying. It was really comical to watch Buzzy hopping down the trail, trying to imitate Swoop’s long powerful wingbeats with his stubby little wings; but it was definitely strengthening his flight muscles. His legs seemed longer and stronger too. He could now jump over some of the smaller boulders.

Howl knew lots of little springs and rivulets that he led them to so they could quench their thirst. He also found a small pond, where they dined on fish, newts and
large insects of all kinds, including dragonflies. Howl and Dragon even managed to catch a few small rodents.

They continued their journey, but hadn’t been going long, when the thing they had been dreading happened. A shrill, ear-piercing scream seeming to come from all directions at once, put their nerves to the test. Practice and planning really paid off now.

Immediately, Howl let out with one of his loudest and longest cries. Dragon started whuffing and snorting, Slayer was on his hind legs, collar flaring and mouth wide; Buzzy and Swoop were high amid some boulders, and Swoop was quickly airborne.

The domies must have been surprised, for their screaming stopped. They poked their heads up to see what they had missed in their scouting. Buzzy’s sharp eyes immediately caught the movement. “Over there,” he pointed, “there’s only three of them.”

Howl kept up his fearsome serenade, which must have disoriented the domies, for as they charged out from behind the boulders, two of them ran into each other. One fell to the ground stunned; he recovered, and the two kept coming. Dragon got so excited his fire started, and burst from his wide open jaws in a searing tongue of flame, catching one of the attackers straight on. It turned the front of him black, and must have temporarily blinded him. As he

staggered around, black-grey-black-grey, he managed to trip his partner in crime. Swoop had managed to grasp a large rock that Buzzy was lifting up with all his strength; and flying over the scene, dropped it squarely on the head of the domie that was just gathering his senses from the first rush. That would be one less domie to worry about in the land.

The only whole domie left began to get to his feet to resume the charge. As he raised his eyes, the first thing he spied was Slayer, splendid and tall, powerful hind legs pumping, collar flared to the max, and the biggest mouth the domehead had ever seen coming straight at him. He just couldn’t help himself. With a scream, this one of pure fright, he turned, and as fast as his stubby legs could move, began to flee. Black and grey was just getting his vision back, and when he saw his partner in head-long flight, quickly followed. They spread the word fast. This was one patrol you better leave alone.
“They’ll hurt ya.”

As the fighters regrouped, congratulating each other with nudges, grins and cuffs. They noticed Howl was not among them. Immediately they were back on their guard. They heard some gurgling noises close by, and went to
investigate. As they rounded a large boulder, they saw Howl rolling on the ground. At first they were fearful that another domie had gotten by their defense, but soon realized that Howl was laughing. “Boy,” he said, “that was great. I’ve never heard of domies being beaten so soundly. Hehehe, did you see old Blackface (and thus he would be known forever)? He didn’t know what happened. And Slayer, you almost scared my tail off. What a bombing mission Buzzy and Swoop pulled off! Boy, I don’t think domies will mess with this patrol again. But there are other fearsome things we have to watch for. I think we better get moving on.”

Off they went, Howl once again taking the point.

After some time, they noticed the boulder-strewn landscape began to give way to a different makeup; one of more solid rock cliffs breaking up a cleaner surface of grass and soil. The trail was readily visible ahead, so they took turns in the lead. They could see that the trail disappeared over a large ridge way up ahead in the distance, but still had no real concern over their direction of travel.

They became so relaxed, and joyful, they were almost complacent, as they journeyed happily along.

Suddenly Howl’s ears perked up, he stopped dead in his tracks, and looked in all directions. “I’ve never been in this part of the land before, and I don’t recognize the sound, but it seems to be coming from everywhere.”

“Is that it?” Dragon had looked behind them. There was a huge mass inching, it seemed, along the trail in their direction.

“A cave wole.” Announced Howl.

“Shall I try to get my fire going, and fry it?” said Dragon, as he started to whuff and snort.

“Don’t bother,” said Howl. “It looks a lot closer because of its size, but we can easily keep ahead of it. Besides it’s scales are like armor, I don’t think your fire could touch it, but we must stay out of its reach or we’re goners.”

“Well lets get going then,” said Slayer.

Before long they all heard the sound that had Howl upset. A deep muted roar, it didn’t let up at all, it hardly even changed pitch. None of the group could give a name to it but they all unknowingly began to slow down. So much so, in fact, that the wole had gained a good deal of ground on them. As Dragon looked back, he was surprised, and called the groups attention to it. Now they could make
out the huge, scaly body, shaped like a common slug. It was of such immense size that it was unbelievable. Then Buzzy, with his sharp eyes, pointed out the dark, comparatively small eyes that seemed to stare at the little group.

Finally the thing that really got them on the move again, was when the monster opened its gaping maw. It was big enough to swallow all of them and a half dozen domeheads at the same time. Most of its food came from the huge fungi growth, deep in the damp caves that it inhabited.

Occasionally it ventured forth to try for succulent sheep or goats on the slopes. Spotting the patrol with its unusually sharp eyes, the wole set out in pursuit. Slow and determined, its goal was to trap the group, who unknowingly was being herded in that direction.

The going was quite easy across the wide mountain valley, the trail was level and smooth. Occasionally they walked (or hopped) two or three abreast. It could have been quiet pleasant, and they would have liked to stop and roll in the cool grass and fragrant flowers, but the constant threat form behind, and the increasing dreadful roar apparently from all around them, prevented any relaxation of mind or body.

On they went, increasing the distance between themselves and the wole. As they drew closer to the ridge, the roaring sound became louder and louder. It almost seemed to shake the ground. The air was getting damp too. Small droplets of moisture, ran down beaks and noses. They noticed spots of moss growing everywhere, and the trail was getting slippery. Still the sound grew louder, the wole kept following.

The mountain was so steep now and the slope so slick, they didn’t dare to leave the trail. It seemed the trail had really been climbing, it would be a long way down if one of them were to slip. On they went, fearing what came behind and not knowing what came ahead.

Submitted by Raymond L. Step... on 5 March 2007 - 12:53pm. | |

I could hardly believe how windy it was today
Much too windy to let the children go out to play
Limbs of the big ol' trees were waving left and right
Yes, for man or beast, it was really quite a sight

Most people think the wind controls branches of the trees
But I'd like to provide you a little insight if you please
The trees are really quite intelligent and devious you know
They learn self preservation the very minute they begin to grow

In times of drought they can get downright mean
Woe to the critter who against the trunk doth lean
It's during those desperate times they conjure up the wind
Waving limbs and branches lure the dogs, their water to lend

But one dogs full load, to the tree is just a trickle
Trees need many more to get them out of this pickle
A good shady spot with a wide sturdy trunk, an offered invitation
I've seen two or three waiting in line, give that tree an ovation

But things sometimes get really tough for the trees
Some turn extremely mean, you can't tell which by their leaves
But I saw the proof, I knew what happened, I could hear the tones
When a big st. bernard lifted his leg, the tree sucked him dry, leaving only
a hairy bag of bones

So before you wander in the woods during a drought
Make sure your bladder's empty enough to get you all the way out

Submitted by Raymond L. Step... on 27 February 2007 - 2:10pm. | | | |

“Cayce, Cayce, help me!”

Cayce could see his friend tearing down the road toward him. McConnell was yelling at the top of his lungs, arms flailing as if trying to swim through the hot, high desert air. His right hand kept dropping down to tug back up his sagging sweat pants.

“Quick, Cayce, you’ve got to hide me. My sisters are going to make me do the dishes. I’d die before I let them make me do a girl’s job.”

“Calm down, Mac, you’re working yourself into a rash.” Although nearly a year younger, Cayce was a full fifteen inches taller than his best friend. Where do you want to hide, in the hut we made in the plum bushes?”

Mac mopped his sweat-streaked face with his grimy red T-shirt. He looked up at Cayce with a hurt look. “Are you trying to get me dish-pan hands? You know the first place they always look for me is at your house. Cayce! They’re going to make me do the dishes!”

“Hey, I know. Dad told me of a place. It’s called Little Grand Canyon. It’s up in the foothills. Your sisters won’t come up there. There’s lizards, snakes, mice, dirt and all sorts of things to scare girls.”

“Yeah, Cayce, that sounds perfect. Hurry, let’s go.”

“We’ve got to follow the old dry ditch bed, so we don’t get lost. Dad said Little Grand is about four miles up. Your sisters will never be able to get that far. We have to go through a place Dad called the swimming hole.” Cayce thought Mac’s sisters, and all girls were scared of things like that.

Cayce glanced back, Mac’s legs were almost a blur as he tried to keep up to his own longer stride. The two blocks to the ditch bank seemed like a mile. They climbed the steep bank and were about to drop down into the deep bed.

“McConnell!” bellowed two loud voices. The sisters were hot on their trail.

Cayce was amazed at the power of those short legs as they reacted to the yell from below. They propelled his friend almost completely over the stream bed. Mac scraped his knee on a big rock and landed headfirst in a huge green sagebrush. Cayce watched helplessly as his friend immediately broke out in a fit of sneezing. The dusty aromatic scent of the sage was overpowering.

“Come on, Mac. We’ve got to out-run them now,” said Cayce.

He helped Mac back out of the brush. Cayce could see that Mac was bleeding slightly from a dozen brush scratches, and limping noticeably.

“Hey, Cayce, slow down. I don’t want to lose sight of you.” Cayce paled as Mac’s pleading voice triggered guilt in him.

“I’ll check on your sisters while you catch up.” Cayce was amazed. Girls shouldn’t be able to run so fast. “Mac, we can’t outrun them. They’re too fast! They have already reached the ditch bank!”

“Yeow! They’ll grab me by the toes and drag me all the way home. I’ll be dead by the time they get me there.” Mac was so intent on looking back for his sisters to come into view, he didn’t see the big pile of dead cedars. Cayce had to cover his eyes as Mac ran headlong into them. Now Mac was covered with more scratches and cuts. There was blood showing on both arms, and all over his face.

Cayce thought that even Mac’s sisters would feel sorry for him if they could see him now.

“Mac, do you think we should go back?” He looked at his friend, who was sweat-streaked, dirty, bloody, with one leg of his old sweats torn completely off. Cayce was really worried that his friend couldn’t keep up this pace.

“Cayce, get down here in the ditch. What are you waiting for? They’re not going to get me this time.”

“You’ve said that before, Mac.” A familiar determined scowl formed on Mac’s face. Cayce had to pinch himself not to show a grin.

“How far do we have to go?” McConnell now had a worried look on his face.

Cayce pointed far ahead at some big trees . “Those trees are where the swimming hole used to be. Little Grand is about three times that far.” Cayce was sure of the directions his dad had given him.

“Way over there?” Mac’s voice had become hushed. “And we have to cross that big open space? Oh boy, I’m dead.” He could hear the girls closing in on them now. He sat down and rested his elbows on his knees, his chin in his hands.

“Cayce! Look!” Mac gestured at the base of a huge squaw-berry bush. A large yellow and black blow snake was stretched out, sunning itself in the warmth. “My sisters won’t dare go close to that. We can hide around on the other side until they go by.”

“Okay, we better hurry,” said Cayce. Quickly they scampered around the thick bush.

It was only a matter of seconds until they heard the girls go huffing and puffing by. “Hurry up Larcy. We’re going to lose them. I’ll teach that lazy little rascal to run from us,” Cayce could see Mac shudder at the sound of Kate’s voice.

“He’ll do dishes every day for a week,” declared Larcy.

Cayce could feel Mac’s fist tighten on his arm as their pursuers raced by. To his total amazement, they glanced at the snake, but paid no other attention to it, even though Kate’s foot came within inches of the head. Weren’t the girls afraid of the snake? Then Cayce had another thought. Maybe girls weren’t so different after all. Maybe doing dishes wasn’t just a girl’s job.

Cayce offered Mac a possible solution. “Let them get out of sight, then we’ll double back. Maybe you’ll have time to finish the dishes by the time they return.”

This time the scowl that rolled over Mac’s face could have curdled milk. “I guess so. It would be better than having my toes pulled off.”

Shoulders drooping, the two friends headed back to
town. Cayce put his long arm around Mac’s shoulders. “I’ll help you with the dishes.”

A bright smile returned to Mac’s face.

The dishes were quickly finished. “That really wasn’t too bad,” said Mac. “It sure beat being dragged by my toes. But all these scratches sure burned in the dishwater. Hey, here come my sisters. They sure are sweaty and dirty. Let’s get in front of the TV and pretend we’ve been here all the time.”

“Yeah,” said Cayce, “let’s see how long it takes them to notice the dishes. It must have been someone else they’ve been chasing, huh? Hey, look, Kate’s got that snake around her wrist like a bracelet. She’s awesome. I didn’t know girls could be like boys.”

Submitted by Raymond L. Step... on 26 February 2007 - 4:35pm. |

It's cold outside and I have a plastic straw
They should outlaw plastic until after the thaw
I have a three quart cooler which I fill with water and ice
A straw down the neck of this cooler makes drinking quite nice

Have you ever noticed in time of need or great stress
The very thing you need to fix it has left you in a mess
Most of the time it's broken, or maybe it's just lost
You dearly need a replacement, no matter what the cost

I was eating jalapeno chips, a taste I truly love
But the heat exuded by those chips, hotter than the sun above
I reach back for my cooler, my mouth needs help a bit
A little bump on the tip of that straw completely shattered it

My mouth aflame, it's hard to breathe, what a pickle
I tilt the jug, put spout to my lips, immediately felt a trickle
Ice water runs down my neck, but my mouth is still on fire
How quickly I found myself in the straits called dire

My truck careening down the road, others dodging madly
Making attempts to soak up the cold, succeeding very badly
Simultaneously I do my deep-breathing first aid try
It could eventually cool of my poor oral cavity by and by

Eventually I regain my composure, even smile at passersby
So when you hear the merits of plastic, be wary of a lie
My solution to the problem to which I've been alluding
Was very simple, you see, I've a length of surgical tubing

Submitted by Raymond L. Step... on 26 February 2007 - 4:28pm. |

The trooper saw me speeding
And weaving just a touch
Driving a little erratic
But really not too much
I saw the flashing lights behind
I heard the siren's wail
At first I didn't pay much mind
But my attention was soon centered
My foot came down hard on the brake
The squad car couldn't stop
We soon ended up, he on the bottom, me on top
we two only cuts and bruises had
Me in handcuffs, he shaking his head
As we waited for transportation
Finally he raised his eyes to me
And this is the question he asked
Are you drunk? What possessed you to drive so?
I looked right back, and in all honesty replied
I've not had a single drink sir, A little smile I tried
The simple explanation is, I broke my shoelace
It was an extra long lace I had on
Somehow it became wrapped in the throttle linkage
Every time I raised my foot, my car became a rocket
The swerving you saw was my feeble attempts
To try to free my foot by hand
I couldn't see when my head was down
But I corrected As soon as could be
At long last the shoelace finally broke
I only braked so hard when my foot came down free
That was why you ran into me
See, that's the culprit, that darn shoelace

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Submitted by Melanie Goldmund on 16 January 2007 - 2:11am. | | | |

"But, dad, I hate peas," Oriana moaned, moving the little green legumes around her plate with a reluctant fork.

Ezekiel sighed in exasperation. "How do you expect to grow up to be a big strong geologist if you don't eat your peas?"

"Well, dad, if that's the secret to growing big, then it's obvious that Ingo Schmidt never--"

"Oriana," her father warned.

Oriana changed her tact slightly. "He's the best geologist on board the ship, dad, but according to his size and your legume theory, then his upbringing must have been entirely pea-less."

Her father didn't answer, just gave her The Look.

"So I don't see what eating peas has got to do with geology."

"It has to do with eating the food that's grown on this ship and available for consumption," Ezekiel growled. "Legumes provide protein, so if we grow peas, and peas are on the menu, you eat peas, understood?"

He raised his voice on the last word so suddenly and so loudly that Oriana was startled into jerking her fork. Two peas flew off her plate and landed on the floor.

"Sorry, dad," Oriana whispered.

"Pick them up," Ezekiel said. "We don't waste food, no matter how small it is."

Under her father's stern gaze, Oriana leaned down to retrieve the peas, hoping to find them without mashing them into the carpet. She had barely located them, however, when something black and furry moved into her vision, inspected the peas with a quivering nose, and ate them both. Rosie the cat then glanced up at her with shiny, hopeful eyes.

Silently rejoicing at the unexpected help, Oriana pulled herself back up to a sitting position and glanced sneakily at her father, then launched two more peas over the edge of the table. She could see Rosie moving happily to intercept them, and hastily flicked a few more in the cat's direction.

She was just about to scrape her fork again when Ezekiel looked at her abruptly, and she froze, trying as hard as she could to look innocent.

"Oriana, if you want to go up to the geology lab this evening, I suggest you get on with it," Ezekiel said.

"Yes, dad," Oriana replied dutifully, wondering why her father always scheduled her favourite outings for the days that peas were on the menu. She'd been born on board the ship and had never seen a real planet. All the gardens and farms were as familiar to her as her own quarters, so any new rocks or clumps of metal that the scientists gathered from comets or asteroids or other objects in space were exciting and mysterious. Reminded of the lab, Oriana began to think of all the wonderful things she could do to peas with the equipment available there.

"Dad," she asked, trying to distract him. "Do you think we'll ever find a real planet, one that we can land the ship on?"

Ezekiel sighed. "Yes, I do, but the real question is when, Oriana, and for that question, I don't have an answer. All I can say is, eventually we will, and now get back to those peas."

Oriana sighed. The cat was still at her leg, waiting with much more patience than Oriana could ever achieve. Eventually, her father glanced away and Oriana sent a little avalanche of peas off the side of her plate to land at her feet. Stabbing one pea on her fork, Oriana lifted it to her lips, pretended to eat it, then dropped her hand to her side and gave it a little shake. The food had barely hit the floor before Rosie pounced on it.

There were about ten peas left. Oriana moved her fork around them in different patterns, shooting them to the cat one at a time. She'd worked her way down to the last one when Ezekiel suddenly stood up. "Oriana Schaefer, are you throwing those peas on the floor?"

"Dad!" was all Oriana could exclaim. "I--uh--you can look! There aren't any peas on the floor!"

Ezekiel came around the table and glanced down, his face simply radiating suspicion. But Oriana was right, there was not a single green ball on the floor. Rosie, however, came out from under the table and gave Ezekiel her best begging look. After a moment, Oriana saw the mistrust fade from her father's face, to be replaced by sheer fondness as he regarded the family pet. Sighing mentally in relief, Oriana slumped back in her chair.

"There's still one left on your plate, Oriana," Ezekiel observed, sitting down again. Oriana moved the pea to the back of her mouth as quickly as she could and swallowed it without chewing or even tasting it. "All done, dad! Let's get down to the lab!"

As they stood up, Oriana congratulated herself mentally on her successful strategy until Ezekiel said, "We will have peas again to-morrow, my protein-deprived daughter, and while we eat, that cat will stay in the other room."

The End

Submitted by Melanie Goldmund on 14 December 2006 - 2:29am. | |

This is a story that I originally wrote for the Christmas party in my ward in the year 2004. It was supposed to be read out loud while people called spontaneously out of the audience acted it out in silence. I've made it less choppy and more literary.

This is a work of fiction. It is meant to be light-hearted entertainment. It is not meant to be a true or accurate representation of the pre-existence or any angel. Any resemblance to the real pre-existence or real angels is purely coincidental.

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