Special Gathering Stories

Books and articles written for and by the mentally challenged community

Archive for Reading for persons with Autism Spectrum

The Elder Son–Chapter 9

by E. Williams

This book began on June 24.  You may want to start there to begin reading.

I thought Janet would get angry and start an argument when Dad told her she couldn’t date Gary any longer.  She’d been doing a lot of that lately.  This time she just smiled and said, “Okay, Dad.  Whatever you say.”

I didn’t like the look on her face.  I thought she was planning to sneak out like she had done before, but I hoped I was wrong. 

I don’t think Dad ever even thought that Janet wouldn’t follow his rules.  I was the one who worried.  I left my bedroom door open and I tried to stay awake.  If Janet wanted to sneak out, maybe I could stop her by saying that I would call Dad unless she went back to bed.

It was nearly one o’clock when I heard her tip-top through the hall and down the stairs.  I jumped out of bed and followed her.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“I’m going out,” she said.  “And it’s none of your business where.  Go back to bed, and don’t you dare call Dad or Mom.”

“I don’t want you to get into trouble,” I said.  “I love you, Janet.  Mom and Dad love you, too.”

“If they loved me they’d let me go with Gary.  They’d let me do my own thing instead of making me follow their old, out-of-date rules.”

“Please go back to bed, Janet!  I’ll have to call Dad if you don’t.”

“You’ll be sorry if you do,” Janet said.  “Now get out of my way before you get hurt.”

I tried to keep Janet from opening the door, but she shoved me out of the way.  I fell into a table and knocked over a lamp.  It broke with a loud crashing noise.  Dad opened his door and came running down the stairs.

“What’s going on?  What’s the matter, Nina?  Are you hurt?”

My arm was cut and bleeding, but I shook my head.  “I’m all right.  It’s Janet, Dad!  She just ran out of the house.”


The Elder Son–Chapter 8

Mary Beth didn’t answer me right away.  I knew how she felt.  She didn’t like to tell on Janet, yet she thought I needed to know.

There are stories around school about Gary,” she said finally. “they say he’s doing drugs and drinking.  I don’t know if they’re true or not.  I didn’t tell my mom.”

“Janet would never take drugs,”  I said firmly.  I was half mad at Mary Beth for even thinking such a terrible thing.  “She’s just going through a hard time of growing up, but she’s got way too much sense to use drugs.”

“I’m sure you’re right.  I’m sorry I said anything about it.”

I tried to study, but the thought of Janet using drugs kept getting between me and my school books all day long.  Should I say anything to Mom and Dad?  They were already so troubled about Janet that it didn’t seem fair to add to their worries.  Tears kept coming to my eyes all day.  I kept trying to wink them away so no one would see.

I waited to see if Mary Beth’s mother would tell Mom and Dad about seeing Janet and Gary in a crowd of kids being thrown out of a store for being rude and noisy.  When nothing happened, I asked Mary Beth about it.

“My mother decided to talk to Janet herself,”  Mary Beth said.  “She saw her after school yesterday.  Janet said she was sorry, and she’d never do anything like that again.”

I hoped Janet was telling the truth, but I wasn’t sure.  When I got home I cried a little at the thought that I really couldn’t trust my own sister.

Should I tell Mom and Dad the whole story?  Sometimes I thought yes, and sometimes I thought no.  I finally decided to wait a while and pray very hard for Janet.

It was a few months later that Gary got put out of school for smoking marijuana in the boys’ locker room.

“That’s it,” Dad told Janet.  “I’ve worried about that boy for some time.  You can’t date him any more.”

“Do you turn your back on your friends just because they get into trouble?” Janet asked.  “That doesn’t sound like a Christian to me.”

“The pastor and the youth director have tried to reach Gary over and over,” Dad said.  “The whole church has prayed for him.  I’ve tried to talk to him myself.  Our home will be open to him any time he wants to come here for help.  But he won’t be allowed to date my sixteen-year-old daughter.”

Chapter 7–The Elder Son

I thought that Janet really meant what she said.  I always checked to see if she were in school, and she didn’t miss a day.  She stayed at home and studied every night, and she showed Dad her homework that she had done every day.  She did her work around the house and seemed to be her old self except for one thing.

She still wasn’t friendly to me and I still didn’t know why.  I missed having her for my best friend.  She drove to school and back with Gary in his car instead of walking with me.

Since Janet didn’t seem to want to be with me any more, I began to spend more time with Mary Beth Jones.  She was in my youth group at church and I had always like her.

“I saw Janet last night,” she told me one morning.  “My dad had to work late, and I went with Mom to pick him up.  It was around 11 o’clock.  Janet was with Gary and a crowd of other kids and they’d just been thrown out of a store for being rude and noisy.  The police were there.”

“It couldn’t have have been Janet,” I said.  “She’s grounded.  She can’t go out at night.”

“It was Janet.  I don’t like to be a tattletale, Nina, but I thought you should know.  Mom saw her, too; and I think she’s going to say something to your folks.”

“Janet sneaking out at night!  I can’t believe she would do that!  What in the world is the matter with her?”

“Nina, did you ever think…”  Mary Beth stopped and shook her head.

“Did you ever think, what?  If you have any ideas you need to tell me, Mary Beth,” I pressured her.

The Elder Son–Chapter 6

By E. Williams

This book began on June 24.  Click here to start reading at the beginning.

“Have you signed any excuses for Janet to stay home from school because she was sick?”  Dad asked Mom.  She shook her head.

He turned to the phone.  “Janet hasn’t been sick,” he said.  “I’ll see if I can find out what’s going on.”

As soon as Janet came in from her date with Gary, Dad called her into the living room.  He told her what the principal had said.

“I don’t believe that would skip school and sign your mother’s name to an excuse, Janet.”  Dad said.  “And your grades have dropped and you’re not doing your homework.  What’s the matter, honey?  You know if you’ve got problems, you can always come to your Mom or me.”

Janet thought for a minute.  She look angry, and I wondered if she would tell Dad to mind his own business.  That’s what she always said to me lately when I would try to find out why she had changed so much.

Instead, she smiled at him.  “I’m sorry, Dad.  I just got so tired ot school lately.  All my classes are boring, and the kids are all so silly and childish.  But I’ll do better, I promise.”

“You’ll be punished for this, Janet.  You know what you did was wrong.  You’ll be grounded for three weeks, and you will spend two hours every night studying until you get your grades back up.  I’ll be here to see that you do.”

“Where did you go when you stayed away from school?”  Mom’s face was worried and she was frowning.

“Oh, here and there,” Janet said.  “I just hung out with some of the other kids.  Don’t worry, Mom. I won’t do it again.”

The Elder Son–Chapter 5

By E. Williams

This book began on June 24, to begin at Chapter 1, click here.

Janet and I had always been good students.  I tried hard in school because I knew it would please Mom and Dad.  The Bible said that whatever you do, you should do with all your might.  I wanted to please Jesus, too.

It was the rule that homework had to be done right after dinner, before Janet and I could do anything else.  We had done it together on the dining room table.  This worked out very well for me, because If I had questions, I could ask Janet.  She would always know the answers.

But now it seemed that Janet didn’t have much homework.  She said she had done it in school, or her teachers didn’t give any.  She made a face if I asked her for help, and she spent most of her time in her room with the door locked.  I couldn’t talk to her.  It seemed as if she didn’t like me any more.

The principal of the school called Dad one night.  “I’m sorry to bother you at home,” he said.  “I’m worried about Janet.  I’ve sent several notes home asking you to come in and talk to me, but you’ve never answered.”

“I haven’t gotten any notes,”  Dad said.  He sounded puzzled.  “Is something wrong?”

“Janet’s grades have dropped.  She’s not turning in her homework and when I try to talk to her, she won’t give me any answers.  She was supposed to make up the work she missed when she was sick, but she hasn’t done it.”

“Janet hasn’t been sick,”  Dad said.  “She’s been in school every day this year.”

“She’s been out six days in the last three weeks. The teacher said that she’s always brought a note from home signed by her mother.”


The Elder Son–Chapter 3

I couldn’t believe Janet would smoke a cigarette.  I had never heard Mom or Day say we couldn’t smoke.  It was just taken for granted that it was a thing a Christian boy or girl wouldn’t do.

Janet didn’t even seem sorry or ashamed.  “It’s no big deal,” she said.  “I just wanted to try one and see what it was like.”

“Where did you get cigarettes?  You can’t buy them until you’re older.”

“Gary gave them to me.”

Gary was the son of old friends of Mom and Dad who went to our church.  He had belonged to our youth group until the last year or so.  He told everyone that since he was working part time to buy a car he didn’t have time for church parties any more.

He had always been Janet’s special friend.  Now that she was sixteen, she would be allowed to date him for school affairs, although she would have a strict curfew, a time when she would have to be home at night.

“But Janet!”  I said.  “Gary knows that’s against the law!  Besides, you know it isn’t good for you.”

“Mind your own business, Nina!  And another thing, I wish you’d knock before you come into my room.  I’m getting older and I need a little place where I can be alone.  And don’t you dare tell Mom or Dad about this or you’ll be sorry.”

I stared at her, trying to find a reason for her mean words.  This wasn’t Janet.

“I wouldn’t ever tell on you,”  I said slowly.  “You know that.  I’m sorry.  I’ll knock the next time.”

I went down to the kitchen.  My feelings were hurt and I couldn’t help crying a little.  Mom noticed at once, of course.

Circle of Chalk–Chapter 12

I rushed up to Betty and gave her a hug.  “Oh, Betty!  You angel!  I don’t know how to thank you.  You are so sweet to do this for me.”

“You my friend,” Betty said simply.

“Hey, Leah, is that your retard?” a boy asked me.

“This is Betty,” I said, loud enough for everyone to hear, “and she is the best friend I ever had.”

“I agree with that,” Miss Haynes said.  I hadn’t known she was watching.  She most have seen the whole thing.  “Go on to class, all of you.  I’ll see about getting Betty a ride home.”

I went to class all right, but I can’t say I paid much attention to the lesson.  My mind was busy taking a good look at myself, and I wasn’t very proud of what I saw.  I had been a selfish snob.  I had judged Betty without trying to get to know her.

I decided to offer to help with the special class in Sunday school.  If there were more kids like Betty there, I wanted to meet them.  Richy had said last night that he was going to volunteer to help with Special Olympics, and maybe I would do that, too.

I didn’t know if all my good resolutions would last.  I would probably be mean and selfish again and again.  God would have to send more lessons to me.

But I would never again draw a circle of chalk around myself and my own little group.  I knew now that God had many children who might differ in looks, personality and intelligence.  But if they loved Jesus, they were all beautiful inside.  I didn’t want to miss the blessing of knowing them.

The End