|Literary Masters, Inc.
Publicists for Short Stories, Books, Poems and Songs
Long Island, New York 11971
|REVIEW STORE: Did you enjoy Karen's short story? Please tell her so. We know she will
appreciate your feedback. CLICK HERE to write a review of "A Measure of Heaven".
NEW REVIEWS: To have the imagination of a child again. They seem to adjust and have their
dreams to protect and make a rough time bearable. This is a touching and emotional story.
Sometimes our fantasy dreams keep us safe in adulthood and give us an escape. Our age though,
prevents us telling anyone. Wonderful writing.*****__Carol Hawks
Karen, This is a very touching and strongly-written piece. I love stories about young people finding
themselves -- it's such an awkward time in life. That awkwardness is compounded even more when
those who are supposed to support you try to tear you down. Great personal triumph here in the
escape. Well done*****__Leo Durant
Karen, An excellent story. You made us know and understand this young girl in such a short time
and them made us care about her, her wonderful horse, and her fantastic dreams. Thank
The moment I saw the name Karen Vanderlaan I knew I was in for a treat. Karen writes with a
magic pen. Her imagination is awe inspiring and stems from her love of children and horses which is
prevalent. As I read the story it never occurred to me that the child might be dreaming. One is left
to wonder what happens to her and to her sister. A surprise ending with a little mystery - the
hallmark of a great writer.*****__Marcia Miller-Twiford
Oh, what a wonderful story. Makes me want to get out into the countryside. Taste some fresh air
and ride a hundred horses. I have never seen a horse up close. I'd probably be scared to death.
Noting like this on the streets of Georgetown. But I can dream. And so I will . . . just like a twelve
year old. Thank you for a moment of bliss.***** __Su Chang
This Website just gets better and better with the addition of every new author. Karen Vanderlaan is
no exception. "A Measure of Heaven" is a wonderful story written with
grace, style, compassion and obviously much personal experience. Thank you Karen for
the transparency in your storytelling. It is easy to see how much you love children and especially
horses.*****__Captain Apple Jack
A powerful story of youth is one dictated in this piece, where imagination releases one confined to a
hard life, and to let imagination fly you far, far away is to let your soul soar
in the night sky. ****__Melissa R. Mendelson
| By Karen C. Vanderlaan
Thursday, November 15, 2014
Rated "G" by the Author.
A twelve year old takes a magical ride.
She was cold and needed to potty. So badly that she didn't think she could possibly get up off her
cot in the barn isle without wetting herself. And, it was so dark. The seconds ticked by like
forever. She finally hoisted her shivering body off the wobbly cot and ran for the barn door
grabbing for the roll of toilet paper but dropping it in her haste. The horses in the barnyard
startled and snorted in surprise. Relief came quickly.
Back on her cot, listening to the breathing of her brother and sisters, sleep finally found her again.
"Time to get up."
She jumped up, smoothed the cover up to the pillow grabbed her clothes and ran to the front of
the barn. Her older sister, already washing at the spigot, was pink and shivering from the cold.
"Lets Go, breakfast is almost ready." She wet the washrag and began the teeth chattering chore.
Skinny little sister ran naked up to wash, fear on her face at the prospect of her punishment for
being late. The girl's heart melted at the sight of her baby sister, she loved her so. She threw her
shirt over the thin body and shot her an understanding smile.
She had been twelve now for only a month, the same amount of time she had been living in this
foreign place. In her past, she had slept in a warm bed. In her past, her toilet flushed. In her past,
she had sat around a table in the early morn to have bacon and eggs, swinging her legs under a
table with her family. In her past, no-one got beat for no reason. In her past, she had been tucked
in by her father…
Out to dig fence post holes she has to get it done. Each hole must be two feet deep it's marked on
the handle of the shovel. The pickaxe helps with rocks. She feels defeated by the hole but her
tears don't make it easier.
Bone tired she settles into her cot and wraps her hands behind her head. Ritually, she rocks side
to side as quietly as she can. It works, no-one yells at her. Maybe they are all asleep already.
A gentle nudging causes her to open a sleepy eye. Gentle is not much a part of her life. This is
strange. Another nudge and both eyes are open as she rolls over. Two velvet nostrils in front of
her face blew warm breath, heating her cheeks.
Sub-consciously she thought, "The horses are out!" She jumped up and reached for a shock of
mane to grab in order to lead him back out of the barn. The horse nudged her pushing her to his
shoulder. She tugged on his mane, harder this time, "Come on, you need to get out before you
make a mess and I get in trouble." Another nudge, more persistent sends her up against his
warm, sleek …weird shoulder.
Suddenly wide-awake she knows that something is very, very different about this horse. From
his back, magnificent wings are folded above him. Only in her wild imaginings has she seen such
an astonishing creature. He nudged her again. Finally understanding, she deftly leapt onto his
back. He turned, then, and silently glided out of the barn window.
"Whew, she thought, I was afraid I had left the door unlatched and would get whipped."
It was the only unhappy thought she had that night. And they flew. Up and through the clouds he
soared, determined, as if on a mission. Her body reveled in the familiar feel
of equine muscles rippling beneath her flesh. She knew no fear.
"Time to get up."
Wash, eat, work, it all went by quickly as thoughts of equine magic and flight filled her soul. Even
the cutting remarks and degradation by her mother's 'significant other' were embedded less
deeply into her psyche than usual.
Riding her pony after dinner brought back the surge of freedom from the previous night's
adventure as, in full gallop, she just let go and raised her hands and face to the sky. She and her
pony were as one as her twelve year old troubles seemed far away.
Each night he came, nuzzling her to swing aboard. They pressed onward progressing in their
venture. They flew past Cassiopeia, Orion, and the big and little bears. Flew through the middle
of Pegasus and jumped into the Milky Way. She named him Astrolabe, a way to measure the
heavens. The two would fly ever upward and onward searching, on a quest. To him she could tell
her secrets and all of everything that her heart could hold. She could tell how she felt like nothing,
or maybe even less. She could tell how she just could never, ever seem to be good enough. And
Astrolabe flew on.
On a fateful night, their destination close at hand, the night sky opened up to a glorious light.
Blinded by its brightness, Astrolabe jerked and tumbled earthward. Separated, Astrolabe
recovered and went on.
She jerked with a start upon that old army cot and lay for a moment in shock. Astrolabe never
came again. His mission was complete. It wasn't yet her time.
©2014 Karen C. Vandfelaan[All Rights Reserved]