Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday's Fiction Times 4

Yep! The title says it all. A friend suggested I blog about my newest book, but, as you are about to find out, there isn't one new book; there are four works in progress (WIP's).

Now, before y'all go to reading, there's something I want you to keep in mind; none of these have been edited, and they are works in progress, which means, what you read today might not show up in the final product.

So, without further adieu,  here's something for you faithful folks to read.

*****
Wild Heart number 3
As the last notes of the verse sounded in the tiny cubical, she met Colbey's gaze and knew it was over; Mr. Saunders had passed.
Colbey closed the unseeing eyes, folded the lifeless hands over the silent chest, and helped Katie spread a sheet over the body before speaking.
Touching a hand to her shoulder, he said, "It's nearly dawn, and we both have been here since yesterday morning.  Come have coffee with me before I take you home."
"I don't think that is a good idea," she said, an all to familiar ache squeezing her heart.
Rubbing a tired hand across his eyes, Colbey sighed.
"No, I guess it isn't."
"There should be some coffee in the lounge, though, and Mrs. Pemberton brought in some homemade doughnuts last night."
Colbey looked in to her eyes, and Katie knew what he was unable to ask. She mustered up a smile for him and nodded; she would never mention the invitation, again.
The lounge was quiet, the coffee hot, and there was a couple of doughnuts left in the box. Leaning back in an old, overstuffed chair, Katie took a long drink of coffee, allowing it to warm the inside of her mouth before swallowing. What she had to tell Colbey was not going to be easy, especially after the night they had had, but it needed to be said.
"Colbey?"
When he looked up, she took a deep breath and just blurted it out.
"I'm leaving New York."
There was a dazed look in his eyes, and it took him a full minute to realize she was serious.
He sat his coffee cup down with such force that some of the dark liquid splashed out on to the table, but he paid no attention.
"Leaving? But...but why? I thought... Well, I thought you liked it here ."
"I do like it here, but it's time for me to go home. The folks are having a time of it, what with the drought and the economy like it is. I've... I've learned a lot, and I've enjoyed it, but it's time for me to leave."
For a moment, Colbey's mouth moved, but no sound came out. Katie's heart ached at the desperation on his face, but there was nothing she could do about it; he had made his choice and they both had to live with it.
"I leave on tomorrow morning's train. I know it's sudden, but..."
"Sudden? You're right, it's sudden! I mean, sure an extra pair of hands would help out at home, but your folks would never hold it against you, if you stayed. You know that!"
"Yes, I know."
"Then, why, Katie?"
"You know why, Colbey."
Just like that, the truth, wrong as it was, lay between them. And, as if she could be conjured up by thoughts alone, the door to the lounge banged open and, Camille Lockhart stormed through the portal like a whirlwind.

*****

Trace and Adison's story

Tightening his embrace until she leaned back against him, Trace enjoyed the feel of her in his arms.  Her scent, a mix between sunblock and grape soda, wafted around him, and he felt like this moment would last a lifetime.

In silence, he and the woman he loved watched  as brilliant shades of every color in the rainbow began exploding above them. When there came a pause in the show of fire works, he pulled loose the tie that held her braid in place, and then ran his fingers through her silky hair until his hands were tangled in it.

Leaning forward, he nuzzled her ear and whispered, "I've been waiting to be alone with you all day."

"Me, too," she said, and he could hear the smile in her voice.

"I love you," he whispered.

She did not answer right away, but sat still in his arms, watching the display above.

When the last shower of stars faded in the night sky, he felt her turn her head until her lips brushed his ear.

So soft he almost missed it, she said, "I love you, too."

He tried to hold on to her, but even as his arms tightened, her warm body faded until he felt nothing.

"Adison!  Adison!  Where are you, baby?"

Her face was so vivid in his mind's eye, the feel of her had been so real, but he could no longer see her on the river bank.  Then, he knew; she was not at the river; she was just ahead of him, guiding him as he ran toward safety.

No! No! This wasn't right!

But, he could not deny what his eyes told him; she was there, urging him one way and then another, as bullets rained all around.

He heard her voice then, that distinct alto that was hers alone, and it was reassuring him that she would show him the way out.

In the end, she had done as she had promised; gotten him out.

All of a sudden, his eyes flew open, and he tried to sit up.  Knifing pain coarsed through his head, and he fell back against the pillow. It took all his concentration to keep from passing out. It was several minutes before he could focus once more on his surroundings.

He lay flat on his back, looking up at the ceiling. He was in the hospital, he knew, and all around him were sounds of a busy day: a woman's voice calling for a Jill to report to the nurse's station, an AT&T commercial playing on a nearby television, and nearer still, the sound of someone quietly weeping.

Something lay over his nose and mouth, and if he crossed his eyes, he could just see the out line of an oxygen mask.  He tried to lift a hand to remove it, but his hands would not obey.

Why did he feel so weighted down?

It came back to him, then, what his sister had said to him in one of those odd, lucid moments he had before the dreams came.

A spinal cord injury, she had said.

But, what exactly did that mean, and why the oxygen mask?  Was he still unable to breathe on his own?

Taking an experimental breath, he ran his tongue along the inside of his mouth and felt no foreign objects there.  His chest felt a little tight, but other than that he was definitely breathing on his own.

Thank you God.


*****
A Place Called Home
"You did what?"
"Ah, Krissy, don't be angry. It's for your own good."
"Says who?"
"Says me."
"You might be ten minutes older than me, but that don't make you my boss!"
"Don't shout, Krissy. Please."
Guilt and sorrow, swift and sure pierced Kristi's heart.
"I'm sorry, Kial. I didn't mean to shout. It's just that...well, you surprised me so. Now, why don't you let me get that tonic the doctor left for you."
"I don't want any medicine; I want you to sit down and hear me out."
"But, this is insane! I can't leave you and go on a fool-hearty trip like that! Why, what would I do if I get there and your perfect plan backfires? What if he decides he didn't want a wife after all? I'd be out on the streets, worse off than I am now."
"Sit down and listen...please, Krissy?"
Dropping in to the straight backed chair near the bed, Kristi sighed.
"Okay, I'm listening."
"It's a good idea, Siss," he said.
Kristi saw the earnestness in his blue eys so like their father's. Kial was pale with dark circles beneath his eyes. It was evident he had lost sleep, all because of this crazy idea of his.
But, marry a man she didn't even know? On the otherside of the country?
"Mr. Quade needs a wife. He says he is a Christian, so you wouldn't be mistreated. He has a prosperous ranch, so you wouldn't have to go without. He needs a woman to keep house and take care of his daughter, and you can do all of that. I know you're a good cook, you always wanted a home of your own, and you managed to hold on to this old place despite yankee troops and four years of war."
Kristi wondered what he would think of her housekeeping abilities, if he knew just how she had managed to hold on to the old homeplace. But, he did not know...would never know. The man he planned on giving her to did not know either, but he would find out, sooner or later. She could not allow that to happen. It was her secret, hers, God's and the yankee captain's with the steel gray eyes.

*****

Found

Thankful the rain had stopped, Britney concentrated on the ground beneath her and tried not to think about the stealthy noises she kept hearing ahead of her. The way was slippery, but there were enough tree roots to brace herself against as she struggled upward. The very real possibility that she was heading in to danger, made her feel sick to her stomach, but what choice did she have except to go on? Maybe, the noise ahead had been a rabbit, or a dog or cat.

Probably not; a dog would have barked...unless..."

Oh, Lord,, please don't let there be any cujos out here!

No matter what lay ahead, it was better to face a living thing from whom she might be abel to escape than the dark waters of the stream below that absolutely terrified her. She had not always been afraid of water, but ever since that long ago day when her world had turned upside down, she could not bare the thought of being in water above her knees. Her lack of sight only made it worse.

Pausing against a pine tree, she stood to her feet and listened. There was the sound of the rain as it moved off in to the distance, the breeze as it rustled the trees, but she heard nothing more. The way the wind in the trees sounded, she knew she was nearing the edge of the tree line, simply because there was no rustling ahead of her, only behind. She reached out a foot to check the ground immediately ahead. Realizing it was too steep to walk, she got down on her knees again and went forward, hoping to find a place where she could rest.

After several moments of crawling in the wet grass and mud, her left hand brushed against an outcropping of rock that for a few feet was straight up and down before leveling off. With her right foot braced against the sloping ground, she hoisted her left knee up and using it for leverage, pulled her other leg up on to the rock ledge. Then, she froze, fear running like ice water through her veins.

All at once, she knew she was not alone. The rock beneath her hands was dry and warm to the touch, whereas everything else was soaking wet from the rain.

Someone was there;she could hear him breathe.

Squeezing her eyes shut, she kept her head down. The sting of tears made her feel helpless, something she prided herself on not being.

The woman was a mess; Trey could see that right off. The only thing she wore that was not covered in mud was her backpack.

Funny, her backpack looked like the one that he had bought for...

Leaning to the side, he reached out and adjusted the backpack, looking for the monogram he knew would be there. Sure enough, there it was.

How on earth had she gotten here?

"P…Please, don't hurt me. I…I didn't s…see a thing."

The pleading in her voice tore at his heart. She still didn't know who he was. But, there was no forgetting that red hair or the slope of her cheek. In what felt like another lifetime, Trey had known this woman as well as he had known himself.

He watched as she scrubbed her palms on her jeans, then shoved her wet hair behind her shoulders. At sight of her face, his breath caught in his throat. It was her, all right, Britney, his ex-wife, the one to whom he owed so much.

A splattering of mud ran down her left cheek, and her nose was running. Tears were gathering in the corners of her eyes, and there were bits of leaves and twigs trapped in the mane of her hair. Something was different, though, something about her eyes. They were still a vivid green, big and clear, still rimmed by lashes other women only dreamed of having. But, for some reason, she would not meet his gaze. It felt like she saw him, but there was no recognition, no emotion at all. A shaft of afternoon sunlight fell across her face, right in to her eyes, but she did not react. Her pupils did not contract, she did not blink or turn away.

Reality, cold and painful slammed in to him then; she was blind.

*****


So, which was your favorite? Any questions? Suggestions? Comments? Come on, y'all, let's talk!

Have a fabulous weekend, and be sure to come back next Friday, for sure. I'm reviewing a new book, interviewing the author, and you are going to love it! Until Monday, remember that when you have time on your hands, put them together and pray. More good things are wrought by prayer, than this world dreams of. BTW, that quote came off an old shirt I used to wear. :)

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