As Shining Star so eloquently proclaimed, 'Nothing is impossible if you believe. If you believe the impossible, the impossible will become possible.'
|Product dimensions:||5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.53(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Frank J. Ling was a simple and humble man, yet he was multifaceted and uniquely talented. He believed in honesty, loyalty, and justice.
A man of integrity and compassion, Frank held dear to his heart that everyone deserves a chance to succeed in life. He also believed that with the support of God, family, community, and friends, anything is possible.
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An Incredible Incident
It was another typical day in the typical school in the typical city where Louis Lee lived his typical life.
Louis was not a troublemaker in his sixth grade class. He was a good kid with sharp intelligence, who tried his best to stay away from trouble. But, for some reason, trouble didn't want to stay away from him.
He was of medium height for a child his age. His hair was black and very shiny.
His dad once joked, "Louis, your hair is so bright and shiny that I bet I could see my reflection in it!"
But the feature that stood out most about Louis's appearance was his eyes. They were dark brown in color, but changed to a light tan hue whenever Louis was excited or in deep concentration.
He often liked to sit quietly and daydream about going on exciting adventures to exotic locations or to other planets. Sports didn't appeal to him as much as it did to his friends, but it wasn't due to Louis not being good at sports — he was actually quite competent. What bothered him was how everyone became so entirely obsessed with winning. Arguments broke out over who was a better athlete. Parents attending junior league baseball games argued with coaches about the team's poor performance. The coaches argued with the umpires about the calls they made.
"What happened to the idea of just playing for fun?" he often wondered.
Louis decided that if this was what sports was all about, he'd rather have some peace and quiet and get his exercise by riding his bicycle.
When he had time to himself, he would sometimes skip his favorite television programs and spend hours gazing into his thirty gallon tank of tropical fish. He also thoroughly enjoyed peering through his telescope at night to catch glimpses of Saturn's amazing rings or various constellations in the dark, night sky.
His parents were quite proud of him because he assembled the high-powered optical instrument himself. Louis ordered the parts over the Internet with his own money. It took him over a month to assemble it, but he persisted until the project was finished.
Louis would get embarrassed whenever his parents made a big fuss over this to their relatives or friends.
"Oh, it wasn't that hard to do," he would explain. "It just took a lot of time, is all," he said modestly.
Of all his eclectic hobbies and interests, his favorite activity was reading books. He felt bored with school and the predictability of each day's events. But when he read, it was a different story, so to speak.
By immersing himself in reading, he was able to vicariously experience fantastic adventures and exciting places outside of his mundane surroundings.
Louis had the unusual ability to retain and remember practically everything he read, which came in handy when he took tests at school. His grades were acceptable, but not nearly as high as one would expect. This often puzzled his parents because Louis was obviously brighter than the grades he brought home. In any event, they thought it was just a phase he was going through. Eventually, they hoped, he would do better.
Reading was essential to his healthy state of mind. It was a way to escape his drab and dreary life. Nothing ever changed and nothing interesting ever happened; at least that was the way he perceived his reality.
Everything was typical in the life of Louis except for one exception — bullies. A group of boys liked to tease and make fun of kids they didn't feel were "okay."
Unfortunately for Louis, he was one of those they deemed "not okay." They would make fun of his glasses or the sweater he always wore to school.
"Hey, Louis, where did you get that sweater? At the used clothes store?" the kids would yell and laugh.
Louis wore the sweater not only because he truly enjoyed it, but also because his mother had made a big occasion out of it on his tenth birthday.
She presented it in a beautiful rosewood box and said in a very low and serious voice on that day, "This sweater has been in my family for generations. Whoever wears the sweater is protected from harm. No one outside our family knows this great secret. I'll tell you how this sweater appeared just as my mother told me."
"Aw, Mom, you're always making up stories," Louis said
"The stories I tell you are always true," Louis's mom said with hurt in her voice.
"Sorry Mom. Its just that the things you tell me are so outrageous, it's hard to believe," Louis apologized.
"There are many things that are hard to believe in but they are true, just the same. You cannot always depend on what you see, Louis. Your eyes can fool you. The things that are invisible are often even more real than those that are visible."
Louis didn't quite understand what his mom was saying but sensed what she said was very true.
"One day," he thought to himself. "I'll know what she means."
Louis's mother became very serious and said in an intense voice, "Do you pledge your solemn word to me that you will always guard this sweater?"
"Mom, if it's that important to you, I give you my word."
Her eyes took on a far away look as she recalled the story told to her many years ago.
"When my great, great grandmother was just a little girl in China, she would often play and explore the woods just beyond her small town village. One day, she noticed a strand of yarn sticking out from underneath a boulder. She was a very curious little girl, so she went to inspect it further."
"The strand of yarn was beautiful and was in many different colors. She couldn't lift the large rock to release it. After she pulled on the strand as hard as she could, it came loose but the strand was connected to a sleeve. She pulled on the sleeve, but the rock held it tight."
"She ran home and asked her brothers and sisters to help. They saw the huge boulder and tried to lift it off the ground, but it was too heavy."
'Why don't we just try to roll it to one side?' she suggested.
"After much effort and determination, they moved it just enough for her to pull the entire object out. It turned out to be a very beautiful sweater."
"They took it home and everyone was quite excited at the interesting find. They all took turns trying it on. After several days of inspecting the garment, they noticed several strange properties about it."
"The sweater was able to fit the largest brother or the smallest sister. It changed its shape to accommodate each sibling's size. The second property was its ability to protect the wearer from harm. This was discovered accidentally by her younger brother while playing hide-and-seek in the woods. He thought he had found the perfect place to hide — a cave. What he didn't know was the cave was also the home of a bear. Of course, the bear felt that his territory was violated and attacked him. Miraculously, the bear did not injure him because each blow inflicted by the angry animal merely grazed him. Little brother ran to tell the others of his amazing discovery. They didn't believe him, of course, but were totally convinced when they followed him back to the cave to see a live demonstration."
His mother finished her narration and said very seriously to him, "You must believe what I am saying to you. You are to be the next caretaker of the sweater. You must guard it carefully. The time will come when you will know what to do with it. I now give it to you, Louis. Take good care of it and it will take good care of you."
"Thanks Mom. It's really a nice sweater. I like it a lot."
Though Louis was doubtful about the so-called powers of his sweater, he really enjoyed wearing the sweater. It was unusual and very beautiful to look at. He always wore it to school because it fit so well and, for some reason, gave him a sense of security.
His sweater was a brilliant sky blue color with multi-colored sewn into the fabric. If viewed at just the right angle, the sweater seemed to shimmer. On each arm of the sweater was the design of a small dog-like creature. Louis asked her mother why they were there. She smiled and said "I don't know. Maybe it's a picture of the creatures that once owned it."
He wondered why she made up such stories to him. After all, he was almost a teenager! He wasn't a baby anymore. In the end, he just accepted the fact that she had a very vivid imagination. But in spite of this "fault" of hers, he still loved her dearly. Besides, his mother really enjoyed telling tales and, for the most part, the stories seemed harmless enough.
* * *
Louis lived in the small city of Marystown, located on the tranquil coast. The climate rarely fluctuated and was usually mild and sunny. Living near the ocean provided Louis with hours of enjoyment. He loved going to the beach to watch the waves crashing onto the shore. The sight and rhythmic sounds of the waves were soothing and mysterious to him. The sea breeze blowing across his face and hair could set him at peace no matter how difficult a day he might have had.
Louis wondered about the things that everyone else took for granted. He spent a great deal of time pondering why things were the way they were.
Why did the waves come into the shore? Who or what was pushing the waves and making them move?
Today would have been a perfect day to go to the beach, but he was in school. He sat annoyed in his chair, wishing he had the power to make time go faster.
Louis looked out the window and watched the seagulls with envy, as they glided effortlessly over the ocean. He often wished he could be one of them. He wanted to sail in the blue sky and experience the freedom of soaring. The seagulls seemed so carefree and joyful. He thought they were very lucky because they didn't seem to have a care in the world. They never had to go to school or do homework. What a great life they must have!
Yesterday, the weatherwoman on tv said Marystown was going to have an unusual "heat wave." Louis couldn't imagine what a wave of heat looked liked. Maybe it was a big red wave that came in like the ocean waves. Or maybe a heat wave was a big hand in the sky that waved back and forth. Why couldn't the weather people just say it was hot? If it were snowing outside, would that mean they were having a snow wave? Louis had an active imagination but, unfortunately, this often distracted him during class.
While he was daydreaming about the weather, he realized his teacher, Mrs. Applebee, had just finished explaining the math homework. Since he wasn't paying attention, he'd have to ask her about it later. He wasn't looking forward to it. Mrs. Applebee often gave him lectures about his inattention in class.
He could imagine what she was going to say, "Now, Louis, how many times do I have to remind you that school is for learning and not for daydreaming? If you need to dream, you should do it while you're at home in your bed."
Louis couldn't afford to have a "problem letter" sent to his parents. He had already been warned earlier in the week about not paying attention. It would be terrible if his parents were called into a parent-teacher conference about this.
The school bell sounded and everyone was dismissed for lunch. Was it really only three hours since he arrived at school? It felt like eternity.
Louis left the classroom and headed into the schoolyard with his lunch. The bullies saw him and decided that it was time to pick on him again.
"Hey guys, let's sneak up on Louis and grab that stupid sweater of his," laughed Gus.
Gus was the biggest boy in the sixth grade and also the meanest. He believed size was all you needed to push people around and practically everyone seemed to accept this point. He weighed about twice as much as anyone else in his class.
When he picked on his classmates, he would threaten them and warn, "If you tell on me, I'll beat you up like scrambled eggs!" Suffice it to say, no one told on him.
Gus was also a very sly bully. He wouldn't pick on anyone if he thought teachers were close by. He didn't want to get caught in the act.
Louis walked to the opposite side of the schoolyard. He was about to sit down to eat his lunch but stopped when he noticed the bench was covered with new paint. A sign above it read, "wet paint." He moved to another bench, unaware that he was being followed.
Gus and his friends came up to him and said, "Hey, are you trying to avoid us or something?"
"No, just trying to avoid the wet paint," Louis said. "But now that you mention it, I guess avoiding you wouldn't be a bad idea either," he joked.
The kids laughed at the remark Louis made except for Gus, of course. Louis was virtually the only one in school who refused to show any fear toward him. But this made Louis a particularly important target for Gus. Gus wanted everyone to fear him.
"Why did you tie your sweater around your waist?" Gus asked.
"It's too hot to wear it today."
"Well, if it's too hot to wear your sweater, then maybe you don't need it!"
Gus lunged, and grabbed the sweater. Louis quickly moved away before Gus could pull it off.
"Hey! Why did you do that for?" shouted Louis.
"Because I felt like it, that's why. You want to fight about it?"
Gus was looking for an excuse to start a fight with Louis for a long time. He wanted to put Louis in his place for talking back disrespectfully. He couldn't let Louis get away with that because other kids might start challenging him too.
A crowd quickly gathered around the two of them. Nothing draws a crowd faster in a schoolyard than a fight. The two boys stared each other down. They were breathing heavily, preparing for battle. Gus moved in closer. Louis lifted his fists, ready to ward off or return the oncoming blows. Gus reared back and punched Louis in the stomach. There was a loud crack and Gus pulled his hand back in pain.
Louis looked down at his stomach and was shocked that he didn't feel a thing when Gus's fist made contact with him.
"Ow! My hand! You dirty cheater! You hid a book under your shirt, didn't you?" accused Gus.
"I don't know what you're talking about. I didn't hide anything anywhere. See? Nothing there except me." Louis lifted his shirt to show his bare stomach.
"Come on, Gus! Hit him! Are you weak or something?" teased his friends.
"I don't know what sort of trick you did, but this time, I'm aiming for your head. Let's see you block this one!"
Louis raised his arms to defend himself and heard the sound of another loud crack as Gus threw a punch at his face. Once again, Gus writhed in pain as he held onto his throbbing hand.
Louis stood there, unharmed as before. A look of fear crossed the faces of all the children watching this odd spectacle.
"Louis must have some sort of powers or something," said one of the kids.
"Yeah, maybe he isn't human ..." said another.
The children started to draw back.
"How did you do that?" asked the bewildered bully.
The crowd parted and a familiar figure walked through.
"Okay, what's going on here? Break it up," said Mr. Rodgers, the teacher in charge of yard duty.
"We weren't doing anything, Mr. Rodgers. We were just talking."
"You don't lie very well, Gus. I saw the fight from across the yard. Louis, are you all right?"
"Yes Sir. Nothing happened. I'm okay."
"I want everyone to go back to lunch and forget about this. If I catch either one of you fighting again, I'll send the both of you to the principal's office for detention. Is that clear?"
"Yes, Mr. Rodgers."
"Yes Sir," said Gus.
But Gus wasn't about to leave things alone. As soon as Mr. Rodgers was far away enough, Gus reached over, grabbed Louis's sweater and threw it into a garbage can nearby.
"There, that will teach you not to mess with me again," he said as he stomped away.
Louis was amazed that he had come out of the incident without a scratch. He didn't understand why.
"Must be my lucky day," he said to no one in particular.
Louis went to retrieve his sweater from the trash can. As he approached the can, it began to shake and rattle. He lifted the cover and a sudden flash of light went off inside. Puzzled, Louis reached in for his sweater. He was about to grab it when the sweater suddenly disappeared right before his eyes.
He jumped back in surprise. "What the ...!" Louis said in amazement. "I don't believe it! What's going on? Where did it go?"
He reached in again.
"It's got to be down there somewhere!"
He was about to climb into the can when the school bell signaled the end of lunch period. The children assembled in the yard, ready to go back to their classes.
"What do you think you're doing?" shouted Mr. Rodgers as he walked toward Louis.
"I lost something in there, Mr. Rodgers."
Mr. Rodgers peeked inside. "The can is empty. I don't know what you were thinking, but it's filthy in there. Come on. You have to go to class now."
Louis would have to investigate after school.
"I promised to take care of that sweater and I'll get it back no matter what it takes," Louis thought to himself.
This typical day was turning into the most untypical day for Louis. He would later learn that it would be a day he would never forget.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Louis in the Land of Tetra"
Copyright © 2018 Frank J. Ling.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: An Incredible Incident, 1,
Chapter 2: An Alternative Approach, 12,
Chapter 3: The Spectacular Strategy, 21,
Chapter 4: A Questionable Quandary, 33,
Chapter 5: A Unique Utopia, 41,
Chapter 6: The Peculiar Procurer, 53,
Chapter 7: Understanding the Unseen, 63,
Chapter 8: The Precarious Predicament, 75,
Chapter 9: The Conclusive Conflict, 90,
Chapter 10: The Desperate Decision, 107,
Chapter 11: An Ominous Occurrence, 123,
Chapter 12: Menacing Marauders, 146,
Chapter 13: The Perplexing Portal, 165,
Chapter 14: The Courageous Confrontation, 193,
Chapter 15: A Salient Solution, 226,
Chapter 16: Return to Residence, 234,
Chapter 17: Reflections of Recollections, 241,