Tag Archives: creative writing

Angelique–God’s Messenger

She came among us.

A group of ex-pats, on assignment in Paris, we met each day at a sidewalk cafe near Montmartre to commiserate, and she came among us.

At first, we didn’t notice.

“I’ll have the foie gras,” my friend said. “I’ll have the croque-monsieur,” my other friend said.

“I’ll have the jambon-beurre,” I said. “I don’t have much time, today,” I said.

“Come on,” they said. “A French meal is a cultural experience.”.

We laughed. They said this every day. Three-hour lunches were not uncommon. I would often sit and watch the afternoon light soften into postcard Paris evenings.

“Alms,” she said, her voice soft, barely audible above the noise of traffic and street musicians.

My friends did not hear, or pretended not to hear. They continued their tales of exploits and conquests, stories not yet written, not yet published.

“Alms, she said again, closer.

I lost the train of conversation as I watched her slowly shuffle over the cobblestone, her cup held out, rattling the few coins she had collected, her cane tapping out of rhythm.

“Votre nourriture, les messieurs.” A waiter placed our food on the table and hurried away.


“Allez-vous en,” my friend said, “Go away.”

“Je ne parle pas français,” my other friend said, as if not speaking french would relieve us of guilt.

The woman looked up. She looked at me.  She was old and bent, crippled, and dirty.

“Homeless,” my friend said.

“Smelly,” my other friend said.

Our eyes met. Suddenly, I could not tell how old she was.

“What is your name?” I asked, not sure why.

“Angelique,” she said. Her eyes sparkled. “It means…God’s messenger.” Her voice was light, airy, tinged with a french accent, but with no hint of age.

“Do you have a  message for me?”

“Oui,” she said.

“What is it?” I asked, feeling this moment held deep meaning.

She kept my gaze, then her eyes traveled down over my Columbia shirt and pants and she looked at the cobblestones. It was as if the full moon had set. I could no longer see her eyes.

“Alms,” she said softly. “L’aumône pour les pauvres.”

The moment was gone.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, maybe some great insight from deity, delivered through Angelique, God’s messenger. Perhaps an answer to the perplexing question of what I should really do with my life. I don’t know. I did not receive the grand message I was hoping for.

Gypsy beggar.
Amidst the plenty of Paris, an old woman begs for alms.

The old woman held out her cup, expectantly.

I took a coin from my pocket and dropped it in. It clinked against  the other coins. She looked up again.

“Merci beaucoup,” she said. “Dieu vous protège.” Once again, her eyes were bright, blue. I nodded and she ambled away, clinking and tapping.

“I think Paris should do a better job with the homeless population,” my friend said.

“I agree,” my other friend said.

“Alms,” I heard her softly say. “L’aumône pour les pauvres.”

The Eiffel Tower
A vintage rainy day in Paris.

Addae’s Birthday Gift

Addae opened his eyes. Dim light was filtering through shutters but the sun was not yet up. His little sister, Echo, was sleeping quietly on a mat beside him. He could hear noise outside. Momma and Lale, Addae’s older sister, were preparing the morning meal. Poppa would already be out gleaning grain in the fields, but would return in time to eat before catching a tro tro into the city for work.

Addea jumped up and ran from the hut. He loved to run. He would run everywhere. This morning was no exception. He looked at the sky. It was pink.

He ran faster.

He would wash himself at the village well and race back before the sun touched his hut. Addae’s name meant Morning Sun. Momma said he earned that name by making her wait all night for delivery.

Addae arrived at the well only to find that Raziya and her mother were already there. Raziyah was two months older than Addae. She was fast, for a girl, but Addae would never concede that  she could out run him. He must have slept too long.

“Greetings, Addae.” Raziya’s mother smiled at him.

Addae bowed his head. “Good morning, Auntie. Hope you slept well.”  Addae was still breathing hard, making it difficult to speak the greeting. Raziya smiled. Addae frowned.

Raziya’s mother drew a pitcher of water from the well and poured it in a bucket. “Does the morning sun withhold its smile from our humble village?”  Raziya held the bucket for her mother.

“No, Auntie.” Addae grimaced.

“That is not much better. Come closer, Addae.”

Addae approached Raziya’s mother. Raziya scowled.

“Today is an important day. You must look your best.”

Addae nodded.

“Bow your head.”

Addae obeyed.

Raziya’s mother poured cool water over Addae’s head and torso. He sputtered, scrubbing his head, then his chest with his hands. He wiped the water and sleep from his eyes and smiled for the first time. Raziya and her mother smiled back.

“I thank  you for your kindness.”

Raziya watched Addae as her mother once again dipped the pitcher in the well. Addae looked up as morning rays touched tree tops.” He must hurry, he thought.  “God’s blessings, Auntie.”

“God’s blessings, Addae.”

Addae sprinted from the well, down a dusty path. He wove between huts with great speed. When he rounded a corner and came upon his own hut, he stopped, abruptly. Something  was different.

He looked to the sky. In spite of not being first to the well he had raced the sun and had won. Morning rays had not yet touched his hut.

“Momma?  Poppa?” he called.

No one answered.

The charcoal fire was burning, serpentine smoke snaking in the gentle morning breeze, and there were cakes on the fire. The clay oven was lit and bread was baking, but neither Momma, Lale or Echo were close by.

Addae entered the hut.

Momma? Lale? Echo?

He heard something outside and ran out of the hut.


Addae jumped. Momma, Poppa, Lale and Echo were all there smiling and laughing as the morning sun washed over them.  Addae laughed too.

“Greetings, my son, and birthday wishes,” Poppa said.

“Greetings, Poppa, and thank you,” Addae replied.

“We have a gift for you.”

“A gift?” He could see no gift.

“For your birthday,” Echo said, as Poppa drew a bundle wrapped in brown paper from behind his back. Addae’s eyes grew big and Poppa laughed. The paper crinkled as Addae took the package from Poppa.

“What is it?” Addae asked.

“You must open it, brother,” Lale said.

“Your sister speaks truth,” Momma laughed. “Open it.”

Addae beamed then tore into the package. When the paper fell away, he held up a brilliant blue, long sleeved polo shirt with three stripes on it and the word, Adidas.

“Put it on,” Momma said.

“It is Adidas,” Poppa said. “It will make you fast.”

“Addaedas,” Echo said. “like you.”

Addae put the shirt on over his naked chest and they all laughed. It was much too big.

“He will grow into it,” Lale said.

“He will grow out of it,” Momma said.

Poppa smiled. “Run, Addae. Run, before the morning sun climbs too high.”

Behind the scenes

The boy in the photograph was very proud of his  Adidas shirt. He told us it made him fast. He received it for his birthday. His parents bought it at a store in Accra which sold used clothing donated from the United States. In Lubumbashi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I saw one child with a Los Angeles Lakers jersey . I live near Lone Peak High School in Cedar Hills, Utah and was surprised to see a boy in Sierra Leone wearing a Lone Peak High School jersey.

I have been to Africa many times. It is a continent of contrasts not free from turmoil or strife. Yet, in my travels throughout the continent, I have been blessed by many people of kindness, faith and love. The story above is based on a visit to the village of Yamoransah, Ghana. There I met a family I grew to admire in a very short period of time. Their lives are much different from my own. Yet, we share a common desire, to see our children grow up in the light of the morning sun.

African Adidas
While his little sister shyly watches, this African boy stands proud in his Adidas.


The Bonneville Salt Flats are Dying


Tire tracks on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Tire tracks mar the salt near the Bonneville Speedway. Drive at your own risk.

It seemed like I’d been walking for hours. I couldn’t tell. I lost track of time, long ago. There were signs that others had been here before me, tracks in the salt, but I was alone.

I thought I heard something and stopped to listen. Were my ears playing tricks on me, inventing sounds in the stillness that weren’t there? I couldn’t tell.

My pounding heart was the only sound. All else was stillness. Oppressive, silence.

I was alone.

I began again, and the muffled shuffle of my shoes in the salt beat eighth notes to the sixteenth notes of my heart.

I was thirsty. I needed water.

The Sun glistens on water covering the Bonneville Salt Flats.
The setting sun glistens on the water covering the Bonneville Salt Flats.

I had run out . Yet, I could see it on the surface of the salt, shimmering, teasing, taunting. The closer I got the farther it seemed to be.

If I could  just make it to the mountains.

Bonneville Salt Flats reflections.
Water covering the Bonneville Salt Flats forms a near perfect mirror.

Splashes, suddenly. The sound was refreshing. My steps disturbed a sea of glass. The mirage had not retreated. It was real. The surface stretched for miles. My footsteps sent expanding ripples across the glassy mirror, distorting the sky below me.

Bonneville Salt Flats under water.
A thin sheet of water covers the Bonneville Salt Flats at certain times of the year.

I took two more steps and stumbled. The salt gave way to mud beneath it and my shoes remained behind. I fell to my knees and my pants sucked up water, wet coolness, rising slowly up my thighs. I watched the khaki darken with curiosity, as if my clothes were trying to suck waning life back into my body.

Water covering miles and miles of the Bonneville Salt Flats is only a few inches deep.
Shallow water covers miles and miles of the Bonneville Salt Flats at certain times of the year.

Somewhere inside my head I sensed, maybe even knew, I should not drink this water. It renewed these salt plains. But it was so blue, so clear, and the need was so great. My lips were cracked and my tongue was dry.

I could not resist.

Salt Flats mountain reflections.
A distant rocky mountain reflects on water covering the Bonneville Salt Flats.

I cupped my hands and scooped up the water.  It felt cool on my skin, wet. I opened my mouth and slurped it in. Again, in my head, I knew. I should not have done this.

I was consumed by greed and the reaction was violent. I sputtered and spit. My throat burned. When the brine reached my stomach I retched.

A distant rocky mountain reflects on water covering the Bonneville Salt Flats.
It can be difficult to determine where the earth ends and the sky begins in the perfect reflections of the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Falling forward, my body pushed a large wave across the glass and I broke the surface. The water was not deep. Just enough to cover my face. Salt surrounded me and I looked upon my body, reflecting through the glassy side of a mirror.

When these waters withdraw, others will find evidence that I have been, preserved by salt.

The Bonneville Speedway on the Bonneville Salt Flats used to be thirteen miles long. Now it is only seven. It is not known if the cause of the shrinking salt is due to the depletion of the aquifer as a result of nearby mining, or, from seasonal heavy rains. Nevertheless, the land speed records which have been set in years past must now be accomplished in  shorter distances, as time may be running out on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

My Novel Book Trailer, Death Comes At Night

For all my friends out in the blogosphere, here is the release of my novel book trailer, Death Comes At Night. Check it out.

I’d love to get your feedback.

Death Comes At Night is a suspense/thriller novel guaranteed to get your heart racing and keep you up at night reading. Death Comes At Night, the novel, is available for purchase on Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com or directly from the publisher, Black Rose Writing. For more information email, DeathcomesatnightNovel@gmail.com.

Death Comes at Night Cemetery Reading
James Dalrymple takes a moment to read Death Comes at Night, in the Cemetery.

Nate Cummings as Daniel Monson.
McKenna Cullimore as the Woman
James Dalrymple as the Author

Richard Porter, Camera, Sound, Osmo
Anders Piiparinen, Osmo and Grip
Sterling Elliott, Production Assistant
Meagan Piiparinen, Hair and Makeup
James Dalrymple, Writer, Director, Editor, Composer
Special thanks to Don Wadley for use of his farm.

We shot this video on one of the coldest nights of the year. I had intended to use rain in the video; however, the temperature was near 32ºƒ and McKenna was freezing. And, because this was a volunteer effort, I lost the rain.  The cold temperatures did work in our favor as you can see their breath.

Everyone on the crew did a great job. Hopefully, this trailer tweaks your interest enough to buy the book. If it does, let me what you think.


Death Comes At Night Book Trailer — James Dalrymple

I am an author and filmmaker and have written a thriller novel called, Death Comes At Night, published by BlackRose Writing. I am putting together a book trailer for the book. The book trailer script is: dcan-trailer_v-2 The storyboard for the trailer is: dcan-storyboard For more information about the book or the author, contact: DeathComesAtNightNovel@gmail.com. […]

Click on this link via Death Comes At Night Book Trailer — James Dalrymple

to access the script and storyboard links on my other site. Thanks.


I watched the ripple spread out, a circle moving away from the moment in every direction.

I can not change what happened.

Another drop struck the surface and the impact was breathtaking. The whole bowed beneath the one as an elastic crator absorbed the  energy.

In a fluid moment  heat was exchanged. Light.


A replica of the original, a perfect sphere, hung, momentarily, above the body, then joined the whole in perfect union as the whole rose and consumed the one. Ripples rushed out to herald the moment, which, now, was indistinguishable from other moments.

What ever sense of identity the one possessed, it was drowned in the act of coming together. The one was now whole.


Another drop. Another rush. Another ripple. Concentric circles colliding amidst moments of climax.

I can not see the end, the ripples. Their size grows and the moment of conception is lost among the waves.

As I drift beneath the surface I wonder if my moment of impact made a difference.

Raindrops and ripples.
Raindrops and ripples.

My Dad, PTSD and Memorial Day

“Get Down. GET DOWN.”

I was 8 years old and my Dad was screaming, “Get Down. Get Down.” I dropped to the floor in our kitchen, frightened by the desperate fear in his shouting.

He jumped out of his easy chair and crashed into our black and white TV. The TV smashed into the wall putting a huge dent in the plaster and my Dad collapsed to the floor.

My Mom came running, “Don, what’s the matter? Are you O.k?”

My Dad jumped up, shouting, “Lookout, in-coming.” He grabbed my Mom and pulled her to the floor. She started to cry. I started to cry. My little brother started to cry.

My Dad was shouting orders. I could hear the gunfire in his words and see the fear in his eyes. I cowered in a corner.

Moments before, my Dad had been sleeping restlessly in his easy chair.  Sometimes, when he had one beer too many, his dreams would carry over into our world. I was afraid when he drank because he never looked like himself. His eyebrows raised and his eyes were hard.

In our kitchen, amidst the shouting, the war played out again. My Mom tried to calm him and eventually the battle would pass and he would sleep, in his chair.

I didn’t understand.

I hadn’t seen war.

My buddies and I watched Combat on TV and played army in the vacant lot down the street.

My Dad fought in World War II and never talked about it with me.

Once, when a friend of his came over and they were drinking, I heard him tell about driving a convoy truck over the mountains in Burma. They were attacked and the steering wheel of the truck came off. He saw me watching and made me leave the room.

Another time I remember hearing him say his transport ship was hit by a German torpedo in the Mediterranean.

I don’t know what happened, but I knew it was bad, because he would scream and shout and swear and give orders in his dreams. He drank too much and I was afraid when he did. My Mom said he was different after the war.

Today I understand more about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I can see how the horrors of war continue to rage in the hearts and minds of returning soldiers. My Dad fought it the rest of his life. He died in 1986.

Sometimes, in my dreams I still see him. The last time, he was on the back of a train pulling out of a station. He waved to me. His smile was kind and loving. His face was soft and his eyebrows weren’t raised. I waved back.

I knew my Dad loved me. I knew he worked hard to build a life for his family, one where we would not have to experience the horrors he did. I didn’t know him before the war. But, I can see how the ghosts of war haunted him.

Today, I honor my Dad. I honor his sacrifice. I respect his service. I value his training and I treasure his love. So much of who and what I am, I owe to my Dad and so many others who made and make the  mortal sacrifices required to bless their family’s lives.

God Speed, Dad.

Donald Lockwood Dalrymple, March 13, 1914 – January 30, 1986.
Donald Lockwood Dalrymple, March 13, 1914 – January 30, 1986.



Moroccan Mint Tea

Women on the Bou Regreg River.
A moment on the banks of the Bou Regreg River in Rabat, Morocco, across from the old city of Salé.

“When did we grow so old?”

Fatima scowled as she handed a steaming cup of mint tea to her sister. Jamila accepted the tea as Fatima settled her bones on the river bulkhead.

“I am not so old as you, sister,” Jamila said, sipping her tea. The tea fragrance carried them back to fall harvest in their mountain  village. As young girls, Fatima and Jamila had worked long hours in their father’s fields.

Now, fall was gone and the damp winters of Rabat pained Fatima’s arthritis. They sat in silence, sipping their tea as the green black waters of Bou Regreg sludged past.

“I do not know why we still come here,” Jamila said.

“Because our husbands do not like it,” Fatima replied and they laughed. There are few satisfying rebellions for a Muslim woman and Fatima and Jamila practiced them often.

“What did the doctor say?” Jamila ventured.

“Youssef is too stubborn to tell me,” Fatima said. She savored a sip of tea. “But I know.”



“How do you know this?” Jamila realized when she asked the question that she shouldn’t have asked the question. Her cheeks colored and Fatima laughed.

“You are too modest, little sister.”

A gusty breeze fluttered the silks of Jamila’s hijab and she drew the scarf tight under her chin. “Mamma had a remedy for such things,” Jamila said, not looking at her sister.

“I know,” Fatima said. “I have been mixing the herbs with his breakfast meal for weeks.

“You have?” Jamila looked up at her sister, eyes wide.

“What our men don’t know…,” and the sisters giggled as girls.

“Has it helped?” Jamila asked and the women laughed again.

“Shush,” Fatima said. “The Imam will see us laughing.”

“As will the All-Seeing-Eye.”

Bou Regreg River.
The Bou Regreg river divides the sister cities of Rabat and Salé, Morocco.

Fatima shivered in the moist river air as the culture of silence settled on the women. She sipped her tea as a lone seagull squawked above.

“How does Saïd at University?”

“Good. Good. He’ll be home in another month.” Jamila watched a fisherman rowing a worn wooden boat against the current. “And how is Asmae and the babies?”

“The babies are noisy, and hungry,” Fatima smiled. “I love having them here. Asmae says that Hakim wants her to come home.”

“It is too soon.”

“That is what I tell her.”

“She must rest, and feed her little ones.”

“So says the Prophet.”

Jamila took a sip of her mint tea and frowned. “My tea grows cold.”

“As do my old bones.”

Hassan Tower Minaret.
Built of red sandstone in the 10th century, Hassan Tower in Rabat, Morocco, was intended to be the tallest minaret in the world

Fatima and Jamila both twisted their bodies and stood up as old women. When the  Adhan call to prayer echoed across the river they looked up to the minaret.

“The Muezzin is in good voice today.”

“He always sounds good on those days when we aren’t required to be there.” The sisters exchanged guilty smirks.

“Next Friday?”

“Until then.”

“You bring the tea.”

They smiled and embraced.

“Allāhu Akbar.”

“Allāhu Akbar.”

The mournful Muezzin’s call echoed across the cobblestones as the sisters plodded toward home.

Rabat, Morocco cobblestones.
Cobblestones, replaced through the centuries, still provide the foundation for streets in the ancient quarter of Rabat, Morocco.

Desert Ghosts

The air was dry–bone-dust drifting on a desert draft. A storm was coming, you just couldn’t see it yet.

I could hear an engine–distant but closing. The angry sound broke a stillness the desert was reluctant to give up.

Desert dirt road.
Arizona highway? Just a dirt road in the desert.

A Border Patrol agent looked like he was cruising main on Saturday night, one hand on the wheel and one arm out the window–low and slow, The mud caked SUV stopped rolling and a red dust cloud wafted across the sun.

“What you boys doin’ out here?”

Grit ground in my teeth and I spat. “Taking pictures.” I held up my camera.

“Nice night for it,” he said. The sun was setting, but it wasn’t night yet. “Best be careful.”

The way he said it, I wondered if I should call my attorney. I nodded, not agreeing, just nodding.

Marana sunset.
Arizona sunset near Marana, Arizona.

“Ghosts,” he said, shaking his head like I knew what he was talking about, “don’t leave no tracks.”  He looked  down at the dirt and I couldn’t see his eyes. “They like to cross the border after dark.”

He continued to study the sandy ground for a long moment. Then he looked up. Our eyes met.

“Watch yourselves,”  he said.

A coyote howled in the distance.

“Ghosts,” he said again. He tipped his hat and the SUV lurched forward. Tire tracks appeared where tires used to be and a new dust cloud buried their trail.

As the SUV disappeared into the desert, the sun touched a mountain and set the sky on fire.  Quiet fell on falling dust.

Arizona Sunset.
Sunset near Marana, Arizona.

My friend came out of the brush with his camera and tripod.

“What was that about?”

I thought I knew, but I wasn’t sure. I could hear movement in the brush. Footsteps, maybe.

“Ghosts.”  I Pressed the cable release on my camera. The mirror popped up and the shutter opened. The sound was louder than I remembered.  “They like to cross the border after dark.”

Lightning flashed on the horizon. The sound of a distant jet called from above. The coyote howled again.

Moon rise.
A crescent moon rises after sunset over the Arizona desert.

We stayed there taking pictures until long after the light was gone.


Death Comes at Night – Great Halloween Read

Death Comes at Night Cemetery Reading
The author takes a moment to read Death Comes at Night, in the Cemetery.

While outside the norm of my usual posts, I wanted you all to know it’s not too late to get your copy of my novel, Death Comes at Night.

It makes a great Halloween read, especially at night.

Death Comes at Night is available for Kindle on Amazon:


For Nook on Barnes & Noble:


Death Comes at Night is available in paperback, or as an e-book. It is also available at Apple’s iBooks, and on the publisher’s website:

Black Rose Writing



Here’s an excerpt from chapter 1:

“In there,” she said.

Daniel shivered.

“What is it? What’s in there?”

She didn’t answer. She turned back to stare inside.

Now I must be crazy.

Daniel Monson had never really done anything crazy in his life. He lived a normal life, a perfect life, sort of.

Good things don’t last.

Shut up.

Go home.

What are you doing here?

Against his better judgment, Daniel stepped around the woman, into the barn.

The light was blinding. He had stepped out of the blackness into a light much darker.

There she was.

The black cocktail dress was torn from her shoulder revealing pearl white skin. A trickle of blood dripped from the corner or her ruby lips. Her arms were above her head as if she were lounging. Her legs were skewed and her black dress was pushed too far up her hips. She had the bluest eyes he had ever seen. She was staring up at him, pleading. He shouldn’t be here. He shouldn’t see this. Who did this?


He couldn’t run. His arms and legs felt very heavy. He hadn’t realized it, but his teeth were chattering.

So cold. So very cold.

He heard footsteps.


He turned to look at the woman in the doorframe. She was bleeding on the floor of the barn.