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Joshua David Ling

Cyclone Jones: The Long Summer

(Episode 1 of The Guardians of Atlanta Series)

1 – The Prophecy

Reed Jones was a farmer, just North of Atlanta
His wife laid sick in bed. Just picture it, can’t ya?
A baby in her womb, a storm raging outside
The lightning locked them in.
The storm poured from the skies.

The wind and rain battered their tiny Georgia town.
The hales and gales tore power-lines down.
The back window had been knocked out by flying debris,
And there was no help that either of them could see.

Emily- (Reed’s Wife) Her complexion was shoddy.
Nausea, pain, and cold racked all of her body.
She moaned and cried and prayed it was just the flu.
But Reed Jones had no clue what to do.

He set a candle on the nightstand,
And tucked in his ailing wife,
And slammed his knees down to the floor,
To beg God for her life.

“PLEASE! Lord! Please God, save my wife and child!”

The wind started blowing, and there came something wild.
The wind, it calmed, the rain, it stopped,
But what came was a storm indeed.
Light crinkled at the edges of the walls,
Golden as ripening wheat.
And fading in as the room became light-
Was a figure about 8 feet tall.
His stature not only dwarfed the Jones’s,
But seemed to stretch their walls.

He wore a tan leather duster,
With black pants, shirt, and boots beneath.
The duster looked dirty and worn,
And tassels hung from the sleeves.
On top of his head was a black cowboy hat,
Obscuring his eyes and nose.
A smirk on his lips, surrounded by a goatee,
Stood frozen in a wry pose.

Before the figure opened that mouth,
Reed Jones stared blankly and knew,
He was in the presence of an angel,
And there was NOTHING he could do.
The voice was richer than honey,
And brighter than those flecks of gold light.
Deeper than the deepest part of the Chattahoochee,
And it spoke a prophecy that night.

“Reed Jones, good and faithful servant,
Your wife will be saved from death’s dark current.
Your daughter as well, but she’ll be born with power.
All weather before her eyes will cower.
And with God’s help, she will withstand great adversity.
She will lose everything, but she will learn this homily:
If Christ is with us, who can be against us?
Your daughter, Reed Jones, will stand for justice!”

And just like that, the angel was gone,
Before Reed could say a word.
He jumped back up to his precious wife,
By love and worry he was spurred.
But his wife lay there asleep and warm,
Her color now rosy red,
And her breathing was as calm and relaxed as the baby,
That laid within her in that bed.
Reed Jones cried with utter relief
As the sky above turned red too,
Praising God Almighty in Heaven,
For there was nothing he could do.

A few weeks after that, Emily birthed from brittle bones,
A daughter with brown hair, and they named her Cyrus Jones.

2 – The Headband

Five years later in Alpharetta,
The Joneses’ home and town,
At Canaan Baptist Church,
Sunday School had come in from the playground.
It was time for the parents to come and pick up,
All of their young kids.
Reed rolled into pickup Cyrus,
And was met with a hug and a kiss.
But then her spastic, little girl demeanor,
Turned sour in a flash.
Her chin jutted out in a frown,
And into a complaint, she did splash.

“Can you believe it, Daddy?”
Five-year-old Cyrus whined,
“They said our angel’s not in the Bible!
But I told them you saw him shine!”

Reed sighed and thought about how to explain
Why they couldn’t just go spreading that tale.
But anyway he thought to explain it,
Turned out to be a big fat fail.

“And Ezekiel’s even a book in the Bible!”

“Yes, but that one was a prophet.
And I told you The Angel didn’t tell me his name,
Cyrus, you should probably drop it.
Just because we call him that-
Because I have a feeling that that’s his name,
Doesn’t mean you should go telling everyone about it,
They’ll think it’s just a game.

Just because I know what I saw,
Doesn’t mean it makes sense.
And it doesn’t matter if other people believe it
You don’t have to be so intense.”

Cyrus’s tiny mind,
Was going a mile a minute.
She suddenly reached up and touched her hair,
And felt no headband in it.

Little Cyrus, full of fright,
Screamed and cried and moaned.

“Daddy, it’s my favorite headband.
We just can’t go home!”

“Cyrus, you’ve lost these things before,
they always turn up again!”

Just then a little head peeked ’round-
The Sunday school doorway’s bend.
The little boy hunched his back,
and his mom behind him said:

”I think Connor has something for you, Cyrus.
And he won’t ever take it again.”

The little boy inched his way
toward the prissy girl.
He held out the missing headband.
Cyrus took it and twirled.

“Yeehaw!” she exclaimed As
she spun around.
“But why’d you take it, Connor?
Tell me! Tell me now!”

“You were playing with all the kids-
And I just felt left out.
I was too scared to talk to you,
So I took your headband out.”

“All you had to do was ask-
If I would be your friend!”

Connor asked that very day,
And their friendship had no end.

3 – The Baseball Game

The old blue back-door swung open,
Into the Joneses’ farmhouse.
Cyrus looked into the kitchen,
There was no one about.
Lightning flashed and thunder roared,
As her soaked and shivering form-
Stepped inside and dripped to the floor,
Hoping to get warm.

“Cyrus?” Came a voice from the other room.
“Is that you, darlin’?” he said

A dirty-looking man walked in from the kitchen
With a Braves cap on his head.
He wore a red flannel shirt
with blue overalls on top.
And the car part he’d been carrying
He quickly did drop.
For the sight of his daughter crying
Was alarming indeed.
He hugged his crying tweenage girl,
As they slipped down to their knees.

“Cyrus what’s the matter?
I thought you were at Connor’s game!”

At the game’s mention,
The weather grew less tame.
As Cyrus coughed and spluttered,
The rain grew more intense.
Reed took her aside into the living room,
And quietly let her vent.
Once she had released
The bulk of her inner turmoil,
She looked up at her Dad,
And anger at herself roiled.

“Dad, I ruined the game!
I was sitting in the dugout,
next to Connor like Coach McFarland lets me,
and I tried…” She began to pout.
“It was stupid but I tried to hold his hand.
And as soon as I did,
he had to go get ready to bat
and…” Cyrus closed her eyelids.
I couldn’t help it! I started crying…”

Cyrus lost it again.
Reed stroked his daughter’s hair,
“They lost the game when
It was called due to weather,
They were in the 9th down by 4.
But they had the bases loaded and Connor on deck,”
Now Reed saw what she was crying for.

“And the rain was your fault, Cyrus?”
“Are you kidding? Of course, it was!”
Reed took a moment to process it all,
And they relaxed during that pause.
“I’m sorry, Cyrus. But you can’t let
This keep you from living your life.
I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again,
You don’t have to keep secrets and lie.
You can tell Connor
About your gift, if you want.”

“There’s no way he’d believe me, Daddy!
That was always her response.
Why did God give me this gift?!
Why’d he send that stupid Angel to you?”

Reed saw the pain in his daughter’s face,
But even then he knew,
He had to balance his firmness
And comfort in his reply.

“God made you the way he made you.
He gave you control over the sky.
And it won’t do nothin’ but hurt you to be
cursin’ his messenger on high.
I know things are hard for you.
Harder than most girls in fact.
But it will get better, Cyrus.
God’s Angel promised us that.”

Cyrus sighed and curled up
Into her Daddy’s arms,
And the raindrops lightened into a sprinkle
As they stayed safe and warm,
Inside their beautiful farmhouse,
And there was no more need for talk.
Just the tapping of the rain,
And the ticking of the clock.

4 – Telling Connor

The boat shifted, creaked, and bobbed,
In the wind on Lake Lanier.
But Connor and Cyrus both enjoyed it.
They didn’t have any fear.

Connor loved to sit and fish,
And Cyrus loved the spray.
And they loved to be with one another,
On any given day.

The baseball game was two years ago,
Cyrus was now 15.
She felt much more confident in herself,
And she was bursting at the seams,
To tell Connor her one secret.
Her best friend had to know!
And she figured now was the best time as any,
She took deep breathes as they rowed.

The spot they settled on the lake,
Was hidden among the trees.
A great spot for catching catfish.
But they were tossed about by the breeze.

It wasn’t a very great day to fish,
But they enjoyed it anyway.
The overcast sky and high winds,
Made their canoe rock and sway.

“Connor?”
Cyrus began to speak,
“I have something to tell you.”

“Fish ain’t bitin’ anyway.
Go ahead Cy! What’s new?”

“It’s a story about when I was born.
That only me and my parents know.
But it’s time that I told my best friend,
About Zeke’s visit years ago.”

“Zeke?” Connor said with a laugh.
“That boy on the wrestling team?”

“No, stupid! Not him! My guardian Angel!”
She screamed.

“What?” Connor said with amazement,
And turned his full attention to her.

“My parents were both in the farmhouse,
And Momma was sick and sore.
Daddy prayed and asked God to save her,
And to have mercy and save me.
Then an angel appeared to my Dad,
And the Angel told him about me.
He said I would control the weather,
As far as I can see.
And that I would know love and loss,
But through it, I would see.”

“Whoa! That’s a good one, Cyrus!
Your stories have been getting good!”

“It’s not a story! It really happened!”
Cyrus’ anger soared.

“When I control the weather, It’s like my body quakes!
I feel a release when I let the rain go,
And then I feel-“

“Tap the brakes!
Cyrus, I really want to believe you,
But I just heard you say this:
Your Guardian Angel made you make it rain,
And somehow it feels like bliss.
It sounds like you’re just using the bathroom.”

“The feeling is very close!”
Connor couldn’t help but laugh,

And Cyrus said: “THIS AIN’T A JOKE!”

Suddenly a lightning bolt shattered the clouds,
and struck a tree on the bank,
Connor stared at the burning tree,
And his mind went completely blank.

“Now do you believe me, Connor?”

“Yes, Cyrus. I do.”

And that is the tale of how Cyrus Jones
told Connor Murdock, Of her powers, in that canoe.
He had many questions still to ask,
But Cyrus was elated to find,
It didn’t change their friendship one bit,
Or the path of Connor’s mind.
If anything they grew closer
Once Cyrus took the step
To lay her soul before her soulmate
And trust God for the rest.

5 – Home Is Where The Heart Remains

Fast Forward on through time
To several years later,
Cyrus was in college at UGA
And celebration was in the air.
The night before the last day of school,
Cyrus had a party invite.
She would meet her friend Cindy at a club called Top Dawg
And they would party into the night.
Cyrus didn’t do clubs very often,
But Cindy had been close to her,
At least in recent weeks.
But she still wasn’t quite sure.
Regardless, she got dressed to the nines,
And put on her best leather boots.
And as she walked into that club called Top Dawg,
She felt her senses uproot.

The music was so very loud,
Her heart muscles struggled to beat.
She couldn’t see Cindy anywhere,
The darkness was so complete.
Then as her ears adjusted to the sounds,
She heard a million cuss words.
She quickly decided that this place,
Was simply for the birds.
A drunken man grabbed her by the arm,
and said to her: “Let’s dance!”
Cyrus angrily wrenched her arm away,
And the man fell in a drunken trance.

She left Top Dawg as quickly as she came,
And a tear rolled down her cheek.
The feeling that she had of being misplaced
Had finally reached it’s peak.
The hope of Summer hovered over her,
And the thought of returning home.
To a place, where she was understood.
Where she’d never be alone.

Fast forward about twelve hours later,
Cyrus was in class, zoning out with a blank stare.
Summer break just a few minutes away,
She stared at that clock for what seemed like days.
And even in that crazy little town of Athens,
The pressure was too much on a girl who raised chickens, horses, cows, and crops.
That bell rang, and there were no more stops.

The quicker she’d get there, the quicker she’d be,
Back among the pine, creeks, and peachtrees.
No matter what happened, no matter what changed,
One thing never did. ‘Cause home is where the heart remains.

And as she went home she saw her world a’changin.
Every time she stepped out, construction was a blazin’.
It was amazing! All the shops and malls
and offices and streets. Cyrus: “Man, they got gall!”
Cyrus thought every time her mind would drift
when the winds of progress would shift.
they’d leave a bigger mess than ever before
the South been slowly dyin’ since the Civil War.

The quicker she’d get there, the quicker she’d be,
back among the pine, creeks, and peachtrees.
No matter what happened, no matter what changed,
one thing never did. ‘Cause home is where the heart remains.

And Even though the borders of the Jones’s home
were surrounded by the aforementioned stores and chrome,
their 20 acres of land were glorious.
Cyrus ran inside feeling victorious.
The minute she opened the door to her home
she knew that she was no longer alone.
All of everything she felt had melted away
in the arms of her parents, tonight she’d stay.

Country roads, take her home
To a place where she belongs.
Alpharetta; that’s her hometown.
Take her home, country roads.

6 – Progress Is Knocking

Dinner time came for the happy Jones family,
They sat down to enjoy their meal,
But something cold still lingered in the air,
And all three of them could feel,
The relentless spirit now climbing their steps-
A monotonous drone in his heart,
And soon that drone would collide with their happiness,
And trouble truly start.

Progress moves can’t be stopped.
Trees cut down and then they’re chopped.
Progress will never be dropped-
’Til this whole culture is swapped.

During dinner time with the Jones,
A knock came to the door and everyone froze.
Father Reed went to the door to open.
On the other side, was a man who was hopin’
To take their farm, take their land, And turn it into a strip mall.
He reached out to shake Reed’s hand- But he wasn’t gettin’ no “Howdy y’all?.”
In fact, he wasn’t even gettin’ a “No, sir.”
But against this man, nothing would deter,

“My name is Phillip Keller.”

“Don’t worry Phil, I know you.
You’ve been sending your vultures
Off and on since 2002.”

“Well, you’ll be happy to know,
The offer tripled in price.”

“It doesn’t matter, now get off our porch.”

“Gee, aren’t you nice?
I’m telling you, you’re sitting on a goldmine!
This land is a big-budget deal!”

“Didn’t you hear me? I said, get gone!
You should know the drill!”

Reed closed the door sharply,
And Phillip Keller smiled,

His plans for their land
Going longer than miles.
He took one more glance
At their yard and said:
“Looks like Mr. nice guy
Is finally dead.”
Reed Jones had said no.
There was nothing he could do.
He slammed the door on-
his corvette and stewed.
But still, Phillip plotted,
but still, Phillip planned-
To one day put an end
to this Southern strand.

He then drove off but inside Reed was asked
By his wife Emily “Who was it that passed-
By our door during dinner?” She happily chimed.

“Phillip Keller himself!
Guess what he wanted this time?”

“Is he still coming around?”
Cyrus asked in dismay
“Him and his cronies come by every day.
At least that’s how it feels most of the time.”

“That’s enough about that then.
Would y’all like some wine?”

And as the Jones’s enjoyed their dinner,
And Phillip Keller drove away,
The drone in Phillip Keller’s heart,
Droned louder with wild decay.

Progress moves can’t be stopped.
Trees cut down and then they’re chopped.
Progress will never be dropped-
’Til this whole culture is swapped.

7 – Small-Town Romance

As Phillip Keller’s corvette headed back to 400,
And the Joneses began dinner and sat there and wondered-
Why Phillip Keller wanted their land so badly,
A different sports car pulled up and Cyrus squealed gladly.
The black Trans-Am with so much love and work put inside it,
Ferried her favorite person in the world. Oh man, was she excited!

“I’m sorry Mom and Dad, I forgot,
Connor wanted to take me out!”

“No problem, sweetie. See you soon!”

“Thanks!” Cyrus said with a shout.
She ran out
Without a single doubt.

This is what love songs are really singin’ ’bout.
There’s never any hate, and never any doubt.
This is the person that you’re meant for. It’s not by chance.
It’s nothing but a small, small-town romance.

Years ago when Cyrus was young A boy came to her Sunday school class.
He stole her headband to get her attention. He said “Sorry” and they became friends fast.
Love stories like this come only in small towns
Where people don’t leave each other, they stick around.
And even one day their parents knew they’d find
both of them married; they were that entwined.

This is what love songs really mean at the heart.
It begins the second you meet, right from the very start.
You’re best friends forever, even at first glance.
It’s nothing but a small, small-town romance.

So that night when Connor came in his Trans Am
He picked up Cyrus and drove somewhere grand.
He planned on taking her to Stone Mountain;
But a gas leak kept all of that from happenin’.
So instead he drove to a much smaller place,
A little neighborhood that survived by God’s grace.
A cul-de-sac on top of a large mound:
And you could see all of Atlanta from on top lookin’ down.
They had a picnic right there with fried chicken and sweet tea,
But then all of a sudden Connor said: ”Cyrus, will you marry me?”

Even down the road, when you’re talkin’ ’bout forever
You really can’t remember a time, you were never together.
So it’s really not hard, to maintain that stance.
It’s nothing but a small, small-town romance.

8 – Electric Shock

When they arrived back, the stars shined brightly, unconcealed.
They stared through the black, at something gleaming in the nearby field.
Cyrus went to check it out, but it floated up off the ground.
Connor gave a shout,and Cyrus ran at the sound.
The chase began, they ran and ran,
But Cyrus fell and gave a yell.
Connor turned back, and jumped in the way,
But that shiny machine… took his life away.

With one electric shock,
his heart began to slow to a stop.
Cyrus held him for a few,
and he told her “I love you.”
Connor slipped away, and a storm came that day.
But from Cyrus’s eyes alone,
came the thunder’s loud groans.
And the raindrops wailed and bemoaned…
Cyrus Jones, who was all alone.

This may seem quick but I tell it that way,
To make you feel what Cyrus felt that day.
The adversity the angel promised of her,
was beginning, All in a blur.
And that’s how life tends to go.
It doesn’t dawdle. It’s not slow.
Make sure you’re ready like Connor was.
That’s the end of this poem, and now we pause.

“But wait!” I hear you saying!
“This tale cannot be done!
What happens to Cyrus and the Jones’s home now-
That this evil has begun?”
Fear not! I say to you, my friend.
The story coming shall be told
To you straight away-
In the…

Next Episode…..

Crusader:
The White Knight

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