Return To Evergreen

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If you like critiquing writing, feel free to comment on the first chapter of  a half-finished manuscript of mine- ‘Return to Evergreen’. (working title).

CHAPTER 1

Why am I doing this? What’s it going to prove-that I’m a masochist? I’m a liar already. Why did I lie to Gabe when I said I was going to a bookseller’s convention? He seemed so trusting too. But I have to know if I can take living in this town again after…Alex.

The deep blue, September sky was shrouded by a hazy fog that hid most of the evening sun’s rays and cast a shadow over the neighborhood homes and the gently sloping mountain ridge behind them. She stood staring bewilderedly up at the two-story wooden frame house ten feet in front of her. Except for a few golden and scarlet colored leaves being rustled by a soft wind, the sidewalk leading to the front porch was free of debris.

Why had she come here today? What possible reason could there be? From that devastating moment onward, all previous happy memories had been wrenched out of her soul and exchanged for the pain and loss that ensued. It was as though joy became a foreign concept to her –some ethereal feeling from another time or dimension that she could never hope to reach.

Slowly, methodically she retrieved the key from her pants pocket and climbed the concrete porch steps. As she reached for the weather worn screen door, a piercing scream echoed in her memory. Suddenly, before touching the handle, her hand froze in mid-air. Peering through the glass of the front door she saw another door beyond, near the back of the house. It was painted dark blue with a large football stenciled on it. How could she have imagined she would be willing or able to cross the threshold and relive such agony? Wasn’t the aftermath enough to have to endure?

At that instant she heard a car door shut in the distance. Turning around she saw that her old friend and former neighbor was approaching. Descending the porch steps she met up with Lillie Coffey, a plump woman in her fifties with a dark shag haircut and deep brown, luminous eyes. “Hi Lillie. It’s been so long…too long. You’re looking well.” She gazed beyond to Lillie’s driveway and noticed a dark blue van with green and yellow lettering on the side. “That’s a beautiful vehicle. It’s about time you got a new one for your business.”

“Yea. Well it’s mostly used to taxi my grandkids around to parks and different places. I take them on my day off from the café.” Looking slightly hesitant Lillie continued, “Come on and give me a hug Keokee. It really has been a long time.” After they warmly embraced, she asked, “So are you all moving back?”

Feeling transparent, Keokee replied, “Uh, it’s not definite yet but probably. I guess you heard that Gabe may be taking over as pastor at the church. He feels like it’s meant to be,” she finished with her voice trailing off as she averted her friend’s gaze.

“What about you? Do you think it is? Or do you want to come back?”, Lillie spoke earnestly.

Deliberately avoiding her gaze, Keokee faintly shook her head and replied with false cheerfulness, “There’s a reason for everything. Every day there’s a new opportunity around each corner. Makena says she wants to leave Lenoir. Says the school’s too big and the kids are too snobby for her. So that’s a positive I guess. How’s all your kids doing?”

“Pretty well I guess. Aubrie seems to be having things the hardest right now. She’s still trying to get over the divorce.” she shrugged. “The others are about the same.” There was a tense silence and then she quietly asked, “Will you be moving back here or somewhere else?”

The heaviness in Keokee’s chest increased as her mouth became dry. Attempting to speak, she had to clear her throat before answering, “Not here. Since the Henderson family moved out of it, Gabe is in the process of renting it out to some of his kin people from Cracker’s Neck. Their house was hit by the tornado that came through there last month. I came by here to…to just make sure everything was in fair shape. Of course, I guess you know his friend Marvin has been looking after the place since…,” she stopped in mid-sentence, a look of utter anguish displayed on her face. Quickly she glanced back at the house and then waved her hand nervously in Lillie’s direction as she rushed to her parked car. “Why? Why did I come here today?” she muttered to herself as she pulled out of the cul-de-sac too fast and almost hit a mail box.

Lillie Coffey, still rooted to the front yard, stared after her in disbelief. In the distance she heard the cranking of an engine and then a moment later her oldest son Landon pulled up in a riding lawn mower. “Mom, who was that peeling out of here like a maniac?”

“It was Keokee. She’s coming back home.”

“Home? Really?”

“To Evergreen Gap.”

Thanks for reading. Comments and critiques are welcome!

P. S. Hopefully I’ll have an update on ‘Alley Rose’ next time.

Moving Mountains-A Healing Traveler’s Journey

Despite the fact that I rarely read Christian non-fiction books, I recently discovered one I was excited to buy. Written by Savannah Williamson, it’s entitled ‘Moving Mountains- Winning Tough Spiritual Battles’. Her story is a compelling read that describes the perils of depression, addiction, anger, and suicidal tendencies-among other issues.

From the age of 13, Savannah lived in a dark and lonely place-depression her constant companion. Yet, much more than a chronicling of her troubled past life,  ‘Moving Mountains’ is a hopeful, candid, practical, and joyful guide that can inspire anyone who’s found themselves in the grips of despair.

Excerpt from ‘Moving Mountains-Winning Tough Spiritual Battles’

“Sometimes we just can’t figure out why we are going through what we are going through, and we think God has cursed us or is punishing us. I can’t give you the answer in your situation, only God can. But I can say that in my life, my stormy seasons have always been for my good. Not a tear was wasted. It is my hope that as you see how hopeless some of the situations I’ve been in seemed, and how God brought good out of them and turned them around every time, that you can find some hope for you too.”

Williamson, Savannah. Moving Mountains: Winning Tough Spiritual Battles . Kindle Edition.  Find it here@Amazon.

Now for a short summary of my writing progress on my  WIP  ‘Alley Rose’.  Family issues and obligations have complicated my writing plan once again. Thankfully, I have been able to make some revisions which were needed.  Many writers revise when their draft is completed but somehow that doesn’t fully work for me.  Most writers probably end up doing four or more revisions of their books before publishing.

Here’s a small excerpt from ‘Alley Rose’:

“Hey. My name’s Kate. Kate Marie Lewis. What’s yours?” From several feet away the girl stood in the back alley smiling, revealing large white teeth. “I just moved in the house right down there,” she said as she pointed up the alley toward the last house on the left.

“Uh…umm.” Savannah struggled to answer her as she threw a stick into the yard for Rufus to catch. “I’m ..Savannah Sullivan.”
The dog returned with the stick as the girl approached him, reaching out to take it from his mouth. Instead of releasing the stick he backed away from her and started growling with it still between his teeth.

“Okay. Okay. Your dog doesn’t have to go all ape on me. I was only trying to play with him. Is that your cat laying up there on that rusty old car?”
Savannah glanced over at the ancient, corroding chevy inside the lean-to garage connected to their small weather-worn wooden house.

When she saw the silky black coat and golden copper eyes she said, “That’s Panther. He was here when we first moved here. I don’t think he belongs to anybody. Everybody calls him an alley cat.”

“Well I got a cat named Amber. She’s real pretty. We’ve been keeping her in the house but Mom says she has to go outside soon. I’m twelve years old now. I had a birthday party last month.”

As the girl continued to talk about the party, Savannah observed her tall form, pale olive skin and long coarse dark hair, held back by a plastic headband. She noticed that the strange girl was almost the opposite in appearance to her own image. And that didn’t exclude the clothes. Kate wore a blue jumper dress with a flower design blouse and flip-flops. In contrast, she had on pedal-pushers, a worn t-shirt, and old tennis shoes.

Despite their differences Savannah soon discovered they had one huge thing in common.

 

Would you like to win a paperback copy of my non-fiction book for middle-grade youth ‘How To Be Really Street Smart’?  If so, then join my TLB e-mail list by June and you’ll have a chance to become the winner. Check it out here@Amazon.