Jen’s Secret #ShortStory #Series

I hope y’all are ready for another installment of our short story series. I need to think of a title for it, but for now let just call it “Jen’s Secret”. If you missed Part 1, you can check it out here

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My legs feel like lead. I struggle to pull myself from the deep sleep I so desperately needed. Surviving on four hours a night is catching up to me big time. A spring from the thin sleeper sofa mattress juts into my hip, but still, I don’t want to get up. What I wouldn’t give for five more minutes of peace.

I gingerly disentangle myself from Sienna, her moist skin sticking to mine as I slide my arm out from under her. Why do children sweat so much when they sleep? She sighs, and rolls over towards her sister, automatically seeking the comfort of another warm body. My youngest has always been needy. I’m pretty sure it’s my fault. Ever since she was born, things have been tough. Working odd jobs and keeping crazy hours doesn’t allow me to spend much time with her. I may not have a college degree, but I work with kids every day and I know how important it is for them to have a secure attachment and a routine.

I also know how important it is for them to have a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs.

Which is why I’m tiptoeing around my converted garage apartment, trying to get ready for my overnight shift at Wal-Mart, without waking up my kids. I stub my toe on the metal bar at the bottom of the bed and puff out a breath of air from the pain, stifling a groan. I’m inspecting my foot for damage when I hear a soft whisper, “Ma? You OK?”

Theresa’s face is illuminated by a halo of warmth from Mrs. Posada’s back porch light. She’s half sitting up, resting on her elbows, a look of concern etched across her pretty face. I reassure her, “I’m fine, baby. Go back to sleep.”

“I told you to get a night-light.”

She had, because she’s the kind of little girl who thinks far too much about practical things. “I know. I’ll pick one up from work tonight.”

“And some wood glue for my project?”

Shoot! I’d forgotten she was supposed to build one of the California missions. “Yeah, that too.”

“Thanks.”

“Sleep, missy.”

She settles back onto the bed, but a few seconds later, she announces, “Mrs. Stevenson said that a chronic lack of sleep increases a person’s risk for heart attack, stroke and a lot of other illnesses.”

I finish pulling a navy blue polo shirt over my head, my shoulders slumping. My daughter shouldn’t be concerning herself with things like that, and obviously her teacher, Mrs. Stevenson, doesn’t have kids of her own. Otherwise, she would know that a lack of sleep is part of the parental job description. “I’m healthy as a horse. Now, Go. To. Sleep.”

She’s silent, so that’s a start. I finish getting ready, then kiss each child on her forehead. Theresa’s only pretending to be asleep, so I pat her cheek, and she looks up at me solemnly. She’s so serious, this kid. I tap her nose, “Tomorrow’s Saturday. I promise I’ll sleep in. OK?”

“OK.”

I grab the monitor and set the alarm on my way out. Like clockwork, Mrs. Posada opens her back door, and takes the monitor. She hands me a travel mug of coffee, “You’re sure you don’t want to borrow my car?” she asks, her lilting accent rolling the R’s.

“No, thanks.” Just the thought of getting behind the wheel of a car makes my throat dry.

“You know I would at least give you a ride to the bus…but the girls.”

“I know, Mrs. Posada. You watching them is more than enough. Listen, I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Be careful!”

I smile and head down the long drive way towards the street. If I time it just right, I’ll get to the bus stop moments before the bus arrives, decreasing the time I have to sit and wait. Hopefully, no one will harass me tonight, and I can get to work without incident.

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Even as I stock the shelves, I can’t stop thinking about Mrs. Posada’s offer to drive her car occasionally. It’s not the first time Mrs. Posada has made such an offer. She even said I could buy her deceased husband’s car, on time, when we first moved in. It would be so much safer than walking the streets at all hours of the night and early morning.  I don’t mind catching the bus in the daytime with the girls. By myself at night is another question. But, I can’t drive again. The thought of it is terrifying.

My pulse increases and my hands shake as I line up packages of Oreos. I can’t believe I even allowed myself to go there while I’m at work. I concentrate on filling the shelves in front of me, hoping to calm myself.

“Hey, you all right?”

I look over my shoulder at Jared, one of my co-workers. “I’m fine,” the lie slips out haltingly.

He glances at my trembling hands, then looks aways when he sees me noticing. “You need a minute?”

“Yeah.”

I expect him to walk away and leave me alone. Instead, he gestures for me to follow him. I glance at my cart full of go-backs, then at the aisle void of people. I guess I’ve got a minute to see what he’s up to.

I follow him to the warehouse area at the back of the store, past towers of metal shelves, boxes and pallets wrapped in shrink-wrap. He turns down a narrow passage way, which leads to a door. When he opens it, I see an office of sorts. There’s a beat up old desk, along with a smattering of chairs.

“You can chill here for a while. If anybody asks, I’ll tell them you’re picking up some stuff from the warehouse.”

I sink onto one of the chairs. “Thanks.”

“You cool?”

I nod, and put my hands under my thighs.

He exits without another word, and for the first time in months, I’m alone. Tears well up in my chest and leak from my eyes. I’m so tired. My chest and face heat from the effort of holding it all in. Finally, I give up and let it all out, my body hiccupping from the force of my sobs.

I don’t know if I can do this anymore. Should I turn myself in? What will happen to my kids if I do? I have to pull it together. That little boy is dead, and there’s nothing I can do to bring him back. There’s a mother out there. Someone like me, who loved that child with all her heart. And she’ll never hold him again. Never see him grow up. Never know what animal ran him over and kept driving…Never see justice served.

What kind of person does that? What kind of person am I?

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Whoa. Look, I’ma be honest and say even I didn’t see that coming! I know this installment may not seem all that inspirational, but stick with me and it will be. What do you think about Jen’s secret so far? Did you see that coming? Does it fit with what you thought of Jen and her story after the first installment of this short story series?

 

© Faith Simone 2018

 

 

 

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Tuesday Morning #RandomActsofKindness #ShortStory

I thought I’d do something a little different today and share a short story!  I hope you find it entertaining, as well as inspirational. 

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21 cents. That’s exactly how much money…um change, I have in my bank account. The relief I feel at the fact that I’m not in the negative is short lived as I push the button on the side of my phone that makes the screen go black. Thank God for free wi-fi hot spots, or I wouldn’t even have been able to get online. My phone’s been cut off for over a week. I stuff it in my pocket as the bus pulls to a stop in front of me, sending a whoosh of hot air and exhaust fumes my way. I force a smile at Jerry, the kind, always joking bus driver as I climb the steps and slide my pass through the card reader at the top of the stairs.

“G’morning, Jen. Did you hear the one about the donuts?” he booms, with a grin as I clear the final step.

I pause next to his seat. “No, but I guess I’m about to.”

“A pile of donuts went out to the club last night. A fight broke out and when the dust settled, one of them was detained by the police . The cops asked him what happened to his buddies and the donut says, ‘ I do-nut remember a thing!'”

I shake my head and walk away as Jerry bellows with laughter. He’s so corny, I can’t help but chuckle despite how juvenile his jokes are. He did succeed in making me forget about my problems, if only for a second, and I think that was his goal.

I find a window seat and sink down into it as I stare out at the storefronts whizzing by. Most of them are still closed, as night slowly gives way to dawn. It’s gray and dreary, due to the fog rolling in off of the Pacific, which perfectly matches my mood. I try not to nod off, but after being on my feet for the last eight hours stocking shelves at Wal-Mart, I can’t help myself. I never fall asleep on anybody’s bus but Jerry’s. I know he’ll look out for me, so I let my eyes drift shut, succumbing to the bone weary tiredness that only working two full-time jobs can bring.

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I feel something hit my shoulder and jerk awake, my breath catching as my eyelids stick together each time I blink. The woman who shook me retracts her arm and gestures with her head towards the front of the bus. I catch Jerry’s eye in his rear view mirror, offering a smile. He winks and nods, acknowledging my thanks. I gather my purse, an unnecessary accouterment if there ever was one, and hustle down the steps of the exit doors at the rear of the bus. Wind and salt air hit me in the face. The sun is rising over the ocean and I would love the luxury of having enough time to lean over the guard rails lining the cliff, to just take in all that beauty. But I can’t, I have responsibilities that trump admiring the divinity of an ocean sunrise on a foggy morning.

I speed walk the five blocks home, grateful that one perk of getting off work from my second job at 5 AM is that there are no men loitering around waiting to harass me. I guess they’re all somewhere sleeping it off at this hour. I stop in front of a Spanish style adobe house, two stories, with plants and flowers overflowing from the windows and hedges. Two benches flank the front door, and I sit down on one of them. I do this every day. Take a moment to breathe before I step into another role in the full roster of people I have to be in order to survive.

The minute’s up, so I drag to my feet, head up the long driveway, through the huge patio area, around the pool to the converted garage apartment I’ve rented for the last three years. The owner, Mrs. Posada, is a widow who was forced to turn her guest house into a source of income after she learned that her husband left her swimming in debt. It was the only way she could save her home, and I’ve never been so happy for someone else’s misfortune. She’s the reason I’m able to work the hours I do without going insane. She looks in on my girls, and it gives me, if not peace of mind, asylum from constant worry.

I close the door softly behind me. I don’t know why I bother, I’ll have to wake them up in a minute anyway. But those few seconds when I see the three of them all tangled up together on the pull-out sofa bed are what keep me going. Jasmine, my middle girl, sleeps with reckless abandon, arms akimbo, mouth wide open, drooling and snoring softly. Teresa, my oldest, sleeps on her side, her arm draped protectively over her sisters. And my baby, Sienna, sleeps on her stomach, butt in the air, exactly the way she has since she was born.

My heart aches with the love I have for them, but also the shame I feel for what I cannot give them. They deserve so much more than what I have to offer. I shake my head and squeeze my eyes shut to stop the tears from starting. I don’t have the luxury of crying.  I skirt the bed where my sleeping angels rest (they’re only angels when they’re asleep, any mother will tell you that), and step into the kitchen to see what I can make them for breakfast. The pantry holds a few canned goods, some hot dog buns and a box of rice. My shoulders sink. I thought we had a canister of oatmeal to tide us over until I get paid in a couple of days. I check the fridge, knowing that I won’t find much there, either. A chunk of moldy cheese, and a jar of salsa.

I’m a failure as a mother. What kind of person can’t plan ahead enough to make sure they have enough money to feed their kids? It doesn’t matter that I’ve been juggling bills so much that I lost track of an automated draft that came out of my checking account to keep the lights on. Or that the payroll department at the daycare where I work during the day miscalculated my hours, shorting my last paycheck an entire day’s wages; which caused me to incur overdraft fees that ate up my meager funds even though they issued me a check to make up the difference the next day. Or that Sienna caught a bug at pre-school which meant I had to take her to the doctor and pay out-of-pocket for expensive antibiotics.  A responsible person would have a savings account for times like these. How I’m supposed to save when I have to use every penny to survive, I’ll never know.

No time for pity or anger at the fact that I didn’t make these kids by myself, and therefore shouldn’t be taking care of them alone, either. I think fast and decide to toast the hot dog buns and cook some canned peaches on the stove with sugar to make a sort of jelly. Jasmine will complain and I’ll snap at her, even though I won’t mean to. Sienna will refuse to eat at all, and Teresa will not only eat it, but will compliment me on my cooking and clean up, too. No 10-year-old should be that accommodating, but I keep telling myself I’ll worry about that later.

I’ve just turned the flame on under the peaches when I hear Mrs. Posada’s lilting accent over the intercom. The girls stir, rubbing their eyes and yawning as I press my ear to the antiquated intercom. I press the talk button and yell, “What was that, Mrs. Posada?”

Her response comes back crackling through the speaker, “I said, my grandchildren spent the night and I made too much food for breakfast. I saw you just got home. You and the girls come on over.”

The tears I’ve been holding back all morning finally spill over. I’m weak with relief and gratitude. I wipe my eyes and take a deep breath. “We’ll be right up.”

People like Jerry and Mrs. Posada will never know how much their random acts of small kindnesses can make the biggest difference in the lives of those they touch.

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My goal with this little story is to cause everyone who reads it to think about the ways that they can make a difference through simple acts of kindness. You never know what the people you see in passing are going through, nor the impact you can make in their lives. 

Also, we may be seeing a little more of Jen and her girls in the future. Stay tuned!

 

 

© Faith Simone 2018

Author Spotlight: Emerald Barnes!!!

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Every once in a while you come across a person with such a sweet spirit that it’s recognizable immediately, even across the internet. The author I present to you today is one of those people! I hope you enjoy getting to know her. 🙂 


 

What’s your name or pen name?

My name is Emerald Barnes, and it’s my real name. I didn’t think a pen name was necessary given the unusual name my parents had given me.

What are your genres?

I write in the young adult category mainly, but the sub-genres vary. One is thriller, another is romantic suspense, and my latest books are Christian romance.

What have you written?

I’ve written Piercing Through the Darkness, a YA thriller novella, Read Me Dead, a YA romantic suspense, Entertaining Angels, a YA Christian romance, and Before We Say I Do, a Christian romance short story and follow-up to Entertaining Angels.

When did you begin your writing career?

My actual career began in 2011 when I first published my novella, Piercing Through the Darkness, but I started writing a long time ago, back in high school (2004). I finished up high school and went through college, finally self-publishing in 2011, two years after graduating college.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How do you make time to write?

Well, I work from home, but I’m not a full-time author yet. (I have high hopes I will be one day.) I try to schedule in a little bit of writing time each day, whether it’s a few hundred words or a thousand. I just know that I have to write something to make this my full-time career.

What’s your writing process? (Number of days you write per week, a.m. or p.m., specific music you play while writing, or anything else that you feel is a vital part of your creative process.)

I’m going to be honest. I don’t have too much of a process. I kind of pants my way through writing really, being a master procrastinator and just generally busy. But, as far as my little process goes, I tend to write mid-day or at night. Usually, I’m sitting in my recliner, listening to my nieces and nephews play with cartoons on. If I listen to music, it’s a mix I’ve specifically made to set the mood of the story I’m working on, but that’s basically it as for my writing process. I write what I can, when I can, and go from there.

Do you keep a journal? If so, for how long? Do you find it helpful for your professional writing?

No, I’m not big on journaling unless I’m stuck and need to refresh my mind a bit. I do suggest journaling in situations like that because it’s very helpful for me. I start writing until I come up with a conclusion for my novel.

What’s your inspiration?

My inspiration is the fact that I get to help someone with something in their lives, be it purely for finding entertainment in my book or for actually getting a look deeper into their soul. When I hear stories about how my writing has helped someone connect to something they felt was missing in their lives or that I helped open their eyes, it fuels me. It’s what keeps me going. Knowing that I’ve somehow helped inspire them inspires me.

What kind of legacy do you expect your writing to leave?

I hope that the legacy I leave behind with my writing is that teens and women will learn to love themselves and overcome whatever obstacle is holding them back. My Entertaining Angels series is just about that. It’s stories to help heal, and I hope that I’ve accomplished that in some way.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?   

I get asked this quite often, and it varies because there are so many pieces of advice I could give, but for this year, it’s dream big. Don’t get crushed by feeling overwhelmed and saddened by the fact that it doesn’t feel like your dreams will be reached. Instead, I say dream big! Don’t ever give up because you never know when your big break will happen.

What’s on your bookshelf or in your e-reader library?

Oh such a big question! I have a couple of hundred paperbacks and hardbacks and over 2,000 ebooks! But, what mostly decorates my library is Christian fiction, most of the popular YA series and books out there, some autographed books from my friends and favorite Indies, and a few thriller and mysteries. I have a few contemporary romance novels and new adult novels, too.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on book two in the Entertaining Angels series called Delivered by Angels.

Before We Say I Do CoverLatest release and book blurb?

My latest release is Before We Say I Do, the follow-up short story to Entertaining Angels.

Following the best-selling first book of the series, Entertaining Angels, comes Before We Say I Do, An Entertaining Angels Short Story.

Chase Sanders and Madison Andrews are about to declare their love for one another in the most sacred of ways. Everything has been going perfectly, especially when an old friend returns to town to stand by Chase’s side on their big day. But is Zach there to see their union, or is he concealing the truth of why he’s actually back in town?

Chase has lived perfectly fine without his father around, but now that his father is divorcing again, he is seeking forgiveness. Chase can’t look at his father, let alone forgive him.

Before Chase and Mads can say “I Do,” Chase must first learn to let go of the past before the dark forces that haunt his nightmares come to life.

*This is a short story and isn’t a prequel to Entertaining Angels. In order to understand it, you’ll need to read Entertaining Angels first.*

Tell us about your main character? What actress or actor would you cast to play him or her in a movie about your book?

My main character is Madison Andrews. She’s a bit overweight, but she’s beautiful. She soon learns that she is with the help of Zach and Chase. If I had to choose an actor to play her, it would probably be Nikki Blonsky. I think she fits the bill perfectly of how I would picture my Mads.

How can we purchase your work?

You can purchase most of them through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

Piercing Through the Darkness

Read Me Dead

Entertaining Angels

Before We Say I Do

How can we stay in touch with you?

There are many ways you can stay in touch with me, and I’d love to see you on each of them!

Website

Blog

Inspiration Blog

Facebook

Twitter

TSU

Goodreads

Google +

Amazon Author Page

Emerald says: Thanks for having me on your blog! I enjoyed the interview, and I hope you all do, too!


Author Bio:em

Emerald Barnes graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women. She resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it.

She mainly writes suspense/thrillers in the YA genre, but she dabbles in other genres and her books are enjoyed by all ages! She’s constantly working on new novels and has more ideas than she knows what to do with. She blogs which takes up more of her time than she anticipates but loves it so very much! She’s also a volunteer at the World Literary Cafe which is amazing, and she is a crazy grammar nazi who proofreads novels!

She’s an auntie to three beautiful nieces and two handsome nephews who take up the other half of her time, but she couldn’t imagine spending her time in any other way!

She’s a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.


 

Faith Simone says: I like the way Emerald thinks! This is my favorite line in the whole interview: “I hope that the legacy I leave behind with my writing is that teens and women will learn to love themselves and overcome whatever obstacle is holding them back.” I have a heart for women/teen girl who struggle with self-esteem and other issues, too. Been there, done that AND got through it. 

 

 

Guest Blogger: W.K. Tucker (Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are)

It’s been a while since I read a short story that made me laugh, feel nostalgic, hold my breath in anticipation and gasp out loud. Well, now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever had a short story cause that kind of reaction in me. If you’ve got a few minutes to simply lose yourself in a fantastic story, keep reading.

Come out, Come Out, Wherever You Are by W.K. Tucker*

“There’s something in Mrs. Treadway’s root cellar,” I said to Mama’s back. “Something gruntin’ and groanin’ like an old hog.”

Her paring knife stopped circling the tater in her hand. She turned around and looked at me, frown lines gouging furrows in the skin between her eyes. “April May Clark, didn’t I tell you to stay away from there and not be botherin’ that poor woman?” She jabbed the shiny blade in my general direction. “She’s got enough on her shoulders without you snoopin’ around, asking your silly questions. What with her husband up and leaving, and Jesse joining the Army right after. I don’t know how she runs that place by herself…course, truth be told, Jesse wasn’t much help anyway.”

“I ain’t said nothing to her.” I bit into the pear I’d picked out of the scrawny tree out behind Mrs. Treadway’s outhouse. Juice ran down my chin and I wiped it off with the back of my hand. “She didn’t even see me.”

Mama pointed the knife at the half-eaten pear in my hand. “Where’d you get that then?”

I sighed great big. “Off her tree, but she didn’t see me. I didn’t go nowhere near her house. But you know that old root cellar way out behind her garden…something’s in there. I heard it. And there’s a new lock on the door and—”

“April May, how many times have I got to tell you to quit making stuff up—”

“I ain’t making it up, Mama.”

“Or imagining it or telling stories, whatever you want to call it.”

I didn’t know why Mama just didn’t say I was lying—though I wasn’t, not this time. But she put stuff nicer than Daddy; he always said I was plain out lying. And most of the time I guess I was ‘cause the things I thought, well, they wasn’t always so.

“Go outside and play and let me finish supper,” Mama said. “And don’t you go telling your brother and sisters this foolishness when they get off the school bus.” She turned around to the sink. Another go-round of the knife on the tater. “And for heaven’s sake, don’t say nothing to your daddy either.”

“Mama, there really was…I mean…”

“April May!”

I stomped across the cracked, green linoleum and pushed open the backdoor screen, letting it thump shut behind me.

Sometime I got so mad. Why wouldn’t she believe me? Jeeze…

I clomped around in the back yard, every once in a while kicking the big piles of leaves Zack had raked up the evening before, scattering them all back out again. He’d be mad at me when he got home from school, but I didn’t care ‘cause I was mad too. Mama didn’t believe me, and this time I knew I’d heard something. And it didn’t matter if I told Daddy and Zack and Evie and Nora, none of them would go look in that root cellar and see I wasn’t telling no story.

What was in there? It’d sounded kind of like a pig, but maybe it was a dog and maybe it was starving. Maybe that was why it’d sounded so funny. Yeah, it was a dog, alright. I just knew it was.

I liked dogs. They licked your face and grinned and wagged their tails. But we didn’t have no dog ‘cause Daddy didn’t like dogs. But maybe if I got that dog out of the root cellar and he saw how hungry it was—probably its ribs was sticking out—he’d feel sorry for it and we could keep it.

But the root cellar had a padlock on the door with a keyhole in it and I didn’t have no key. How could I open it without going and asking Mrs. Treadway for the key? Mama would call that “bothering her”.

A picture jumped into my mind of Daddy sawing off a lock like that one. Last year, Grandpa had died and Daddy couldn’t find the key that fit the lock on the metal box Grandpa had kept under his bed with his important papers in it, so he’d used the hacksaw we kept in the barn to cut through it.

And I knew just exactly where it was.

It wouldn’t be very long before Zack and Evie and Nora got home, and Daddy a little while after. I didn’t have much time.

I ran into the barn, grabbed the saw off a big, rusty nail driven into the wall, and raced out the open back door and into the woods. I’d get that dog out. I’d show everybody I wasn’t lying.

In just a little while I was back at Mrs. Treadway’s place. Staying just inside the woods, I circled around the house, down the length of the garden that was now just a bunch of weeds and dying plants, all the vegetables picked and canned and stored away for winter. I stayed hidden in the edge of the woods until I was right behind the root cellar.

It wasn’t much more than a knee-high bump with a door and frame set into the grassy top of it. And just like I’d remembered, locked up tight. I didn’t hear no noise, but between the door and frame, I saw light.

And that made me see it was starting to get dark.

Better hurry. I was gonna be in trouble now for sure.

I hunkered down beside the door and starting sawing. And that’s when it started up again.

I stopped sawing long enough to say: “It’s okay, doggie. I’m gonna get you out of there and take you home with me.”

I thought that’d calm it down, but it only seemed to make it worse. Jeeze, it started carrying on awful, and now thumps and bangs joined the gruntin’ and groanin’. If it got much louder, Mrs. Treadway might hear it and it would bother her.

I put everything I had into dragging and pushing the saw blade against the lock, while around me night settled in.

Mama and Daddy was gonna be real mad at me for being out after dark. But maybe when they saw the poor, hungry dog…

With a loud clatter, the lock gave way. I pulled it out of its hasp and opened the heavy, wood door, settling it against the ground as quietly as I could. Light and a jumble of noises raced up the stairs and smacked me in the face.

I had to hush it before Mrs. Treadway heard and got bothered. “I’m coming, doggie.”

I clomped down the steps and into a root cellar that was mostly just a big hole in the ground. And in about the center of the dirt-room was a chair with a man tied in it. Not a dog. A man! He had a rag stuffed in his mouth, and jeeze, was he ever dirty and smelly.

He yelled behind the rag, shook his head from side to side. Then his wild eyes met mine and I knew who he was: Jesse, Mrs. Treadway’s son.

“Ohmygod, ohmygod…” I dropped the saw. “What…why?”

I stepped forward and pulled the wad of cloth out of his mouth.

“Help me,” Jesse said, his voice a raspy whisper. “Mama. She’ll come…”

I stumbled around to the back of the chair and tore at the rope tied around his wrists. Somehow, I managed to loosen it enough that he was able to pull his hands out. Then he leaned over and untied the loops around his ankles.

His legs trembling, he stood up. He braced a hand against the wall, then looked down at me. “Thank you…ah…you’re April May, ain’t you, Dave and Libby’s youngest?”

I nodded my head, “Y—yes.”

“Thank God you found me. I thought I was gonna die in here.”

“How did you…” I swallowed hard. “…get here?”

“Mama. She went crazy. Killed Daddy and put me in here.” He smiled. “If you hadn’t of come along—”

“Dear Lord above, what have you done, child?”

I sucked in a startled breath and turned toward the stairs. Mrs. Treadway stood halfway down the steps, a shotgun cradled to her breast.

I had bothered her and now she was going to kill me.

With a scream that didn’t even sound like it could come from a real, live person, Jesse Treadway pushed me aside and made for his mama. In his hand I saw the gleam of the saw.

“No, Jesse,” Mrs. Treadway said, backing up the steps. “You don’t know what you’re doing. No, son. Stop!”

I didn’t even see her try to raise the shotgun. Tears running down her cheeks, she stopped on the top step, and closed her eyes as Jesse took her down. “You bitch, bitch, bitch!” He screeched.

I heard gurgling sounds and tearing sounds. He was sawing on his mama like I had the lock. And if I didn’t get out of there, when he finished with her, he’d start on me.

Slowly, quietly, I climbed the steps. At the top I eased around Jesse who was still screaming, and his mama. She wasn’t screaming, though; her throat gaped open like a big red mouth.

When my sneakers hit the grass, I took off running. And as the woods closed around me, I heard Jesse Treadway call out: “April May…come out, come out, wherever you are…or I’m coming for you…” Then he laughed, but it wasn’t no nice laugh. It was a mean, lowdown, dirty laugh, so awful it made me wet my britches.

I had to get home. I had to warn Mama and Daddy and Zack and Evie and Nora. I had to tell them Jesse was coming and he was gonna kill me and them too.

Please, God, make them believe me. Please!

“Come out, come out, wherever you are…”

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Bio: I grew up in the hills of Western Arkansas, a shy country girl who could barely speak to a stranger. But I loved books. Every night before turning off her bedside lamp and going to sleep, my mother read; and I knew that for my hard-working mother to crack open a “pocketbook” and steal a little time of much-needed sleep from between its pages, reading must be a glorious thing. I couldn’t wait to be able to decipher all those squiggly letters for myself. Continue reading here.

Faith Simone says:

I’ll give you a few minutes to blink and come on back from those woods with April May. I warned you that you’d lose yourself in this fantastic story. It’s a wonderful play on the boy who cried wolf and I loved every second of it!

Did this story bring back memories of your own childhood adventures? Are you as concerned about April May’s fate as I am? Maybe if we raise enough sand W.K. will tell us what happens next! 

Click here to check out W.K. Tucker’s blog and books!

*This story is featured in it’s entirety with permission from the author.

 

Lovenia Leapart is in Our Author Spotlight!

Author Lovenia Leopart
Author Lovenia Leopart

What’s your name or pen name? 

Laura Lynn Monk (romance) Lovenia Leapart (Fiction)

What are your genres?

Romance & Fiction

What have you written? 

 Marked by Temptation (romance) and Girls Don’t Play Guitar, available for pre-order.

51GgXhmtCrLWhen did you begin your writing career?

In 2004 when I decided to get a MA in English/Creative Writing

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How do you make time to write?

Part-time, but I’m in going through the somewhat extreme process of trying to turn it into full-time.

What’s your writing process? (Number of days you write per week, a.m. or p.m., specific music you play while writing, or anything else that you feel is a vital part of your creative process.) 

I like to write during the day, mornings are ideal (hence my strong desire to make the transition to full-time).  My ideas for characters are often birthed while listening to music, especially while driving.  When I’m writing dialogue, I often have instrumental (or very soft vocals) music playing in the background.  When I need to render an emotional scene, I like to listen to music that helps me get into that emotional space.  But when I’m working on plot, I need silence and I often work that out while walking.

Do you keep a journal? If so, for how long? Do you find it helpful for your professional writing? 

Not really, though I know I should and that I’m breaking a major writers’ rule by not doing it.  That being said, I do often do morning pages as prescribed by Julia Cameron in the Artists Way (my creative living bible)

What’s your inspiration? 

Music and Life

What kind of legacy do you expect your writing to leave?

I have no idea, but whatever it is, I hope it includes messages of inspiration.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

To read and write as much as often as you can.  And to continually surround yourself by things and people that affirm your aspirations.

What’s on your bookshelf or in your e-reader library?

Who Asked You – Terry McMillan and A Week in Winter – Maeve Binchey

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What are you currently working on?

My novel, Consolation Prize

Latest release and book blurb?  

Girls Don’t Play Guitar, which is a short story in an Anthology entitled, Our Lives in Sketches.

Blurb –“I was twelve years old when I first experienced my own soul.” This line from Lovenia Leapart’s“Girls Don’t Play Guitar,” captures the spirit of this collection of short fiction by new and emerging writers. The stories survey a variety of issues affecting African American women through the theme of searching for one’s self and identity.

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Tell us about your main character? What actress or actor would you cast to play him or her in a movie about your book? 

The main character in Girls Don’t Play Guitar is a female jazz musician who has had to go against the grain and embrace the calling to play the guitar during a time when being a woman and and having an interest in jazz music meant either learning to play the piano or being a vocalist. A good actress for this part would be Jada Pinkett Smith, I think. The main character in Marked by Temptation is a librarian who’s recently been laid off.  She’s smart, full-figured, and a bit too shy for her own good. I think Sanaa Lathan would be great for this role.

How can we purchase your work?  

Girls Don’t Play Guitar at Plenarybooks.com (publisher’s website) and Marked by Temptation at Amira Press (publisher’s website), Amazon, or Barnes & Noble online for download as it is an eBook.

How can we stay in touch with you?

Website: http://www.loveniais.com/

Facebook: Lovenia Annisa

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