4 out of 5 Stars
Very short and condensed, but very informative.
4 out of 5 Stars
Very short and condensed, but very informative.
Rushes of angry foreign words as the priest keeps glancing back at me and Jolene before turning his head back to the man who came to the door.
“Jessabel, I don’t like this.” Jolene called to me from the window.
I went across the room to her side, “What’s going on?” I looked out and had to grab the edge of a table to steady myself. “Shit. That’s a lynch mob.” My worst fear has come true.
“Jessa, it gets worse. Look who is leading it.” Jolene pointed to two figures on a brown and white horse. They turned just right so we could see the woman’s face, “Coira.”
“Double shit. I think she is still ticked about the other night and the marriage.” I turned to the priest, fell to my knees and begged for our lives. “Father, please grant us sanctuary. Please. I promise we are not what they think we are.”
He glared back at us, “I know exactly who you are, Witches! I carry the proof!” He held up the battered and stained diary he was just reading to us allowed. “You will get a trial by water, may God have mercy on your souls.”
The gruff man who knocked and a companion from the angry mob rushed forward with lengths of rope. They tied us up and dragged us outside. Jolene’s screams ring in my ears as we are thrown over horses, precariously balancing like teeter-totters, forced to hope we didn’t fall as the riders sped off at a full gallop. The crowd of people jeering and laughing all the way to the pond.
Jessabel is a writer that has been experiencing one bad event after another, until she wins a writing contest after drinking her sorrows the night before. Along with her sister, she takes her free trip to Scotland and end up in 1501 Scotland. Not the exact trip she had planned.
She has no idea how to get home, stop her sister from falling in love or save their heads from a blood-thirsty ancestor. Jessabel also has to contend with a jealous housemaid, intent on drowning her as a witch.
Jack pauses to cough into a handkerchief. “It might sound cliché, but the weather wasn’t that good that night either. Dark clouds covered the stars, thunder rolled, the lightning crackled but rain hadn’t come yet. It didn’t drop until after the car fire got going really well.” He zones out, not seeing me. So far gone in the past that I can almost see ghosts flit across his eyes.
My voice comes out soft and breathless. “That’s horrible.”
“Yep, but it wasn’t like your mom had the best beginning to life either.”
“Well you know how your grandma died with Tasha Raelynn’s brothers and sisters in the train wreck yea?”
“Well she ended up in her grandparents care after that. Her dad was a criminal that was in and out of prison. Your strict great-grandmother swore Tasha would never be raised by him. He died in federal prison of prostate cancer or something.”
“That would explain why I never got to meet him.” I bite my lower lip in surprise.
“Then your great-grandpa still has some PTSD from WWII.”
“I know that. It has gotten better over the years, but he still has some bad days.”
“Who wouldn’t after taking shrapnel from a grenade from the wrong side of Normandy Beach?”
I gasp. “Wait, he took friendly fire?”
“Yes, ma’am. He hasn’t told you?
“No. He doesn’t talk about the war and no one else will talk about family history at all.” That would explain the deafness in his right ear.
“No one thinks it was on purpose, but it still happened.”
“How do you know all of this?”
“Your mom and I did some digging into the family for a school project.”
“Neat.” I saw solemnly.
“Well I better be off. I just came by to say hi to Tasha. If you need me, you know where to find me.”
I give him a quick hug. “Ok. See you later.”
He dusts off his pants and leaves with a quick wave. He stops and turns back, “you know the saddest part of this mess is the wreck happened just one week after you were born.”
“I hadn’t realized it was that soon. I didn’t get any real time her after all.” Shock.
I get up and stretch. “I need to get back to Shayla before your grandparents scar her for life.
Bye Mom, I’ll be back to see you, maybe next year. I will make sure to bring Shayla too…at some point. Probably not until later when she can fully understand death, but still she will come to know you. We have all the hours of home videos for her to go through.” Out of selfishness, I decide that I will keep the gory details of mother’s death to myself.
My little girl never needs to hear of how her grandmother died in a fiery car crash that threw her from the Trans Am because of her lack of seat belt. Or how the drunk driver got away with murdering her and three of her best friends.
One last look at the pink quartz tombstone in the shape of a heart, then I am on my way home and back to my daughter.
Tasha Raelynn Smith
Daughter and Beloved Mother
We sit in perfect silence for a bit. The judgy brunette from earlier, dragged her husband back down the aisle and left. I guess their family time requirement is done for the year. The late summer air breezes around us, setting off a light shiver through my body. “I hope you’re warm enough Mom, it’s awfully cold for this time of year.” I pull my knees up and wrap my arms around them.
A soft hand settles on my right shoulder. “It’s funny that this place is named “Cope Cemetery” since we have to learn how to “cope” without those that are here.” Jack Jones comes to sit next to us. He looks nice in his new Amish clothes.
No one would have thought that Tasha’s best friend in high school would have joined the local order of Amish, but when you live so close to Missouri’s northern Amish country anything is possible. He still comes into town every once in a while, but no longer frequents the Southside bar or chases every skirt he sees. At one time there was some speculation that he is my father, but he would never own up to it.
“Hey Jack. How’s the farm?”
“Same old, same old. It’s never dull, but duller every day.”
I giggle. “I think the country life seems interesting, but I don’t know if I would be able to survive without indoor plumbing.”
He sighs and folds himself down next to me. “It takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s not too bad.
Awkwardly, we fell into a short silence. “You were Tasha’s best friend in high school right?”
“Yes, I was. I was also in the car crash with her.” his sandy brown hair falls in front of his eyes as he bows his head.
“Can you tell me about it? No one in the family will say anything.”
“I don’t think your family would appreciate that.” We look over at Tasha, but she doesn’t object.
“She won’t mind. Now that I’m old enough.”
Jack rubs the back of his neck. “Well it was amazing that any of us survived in the first place.”
“I figured it was bad. I know…three people died?” I think that is right, but not sure.
He nods his head in confirmation. “The drunk driver, however, got away with a slap on the wrist.” After all these years, there is still a lot of anger in his voice.
“Wasn’t there some kind technicality, because it was a blind corner or something so the judge was lenient?”
“Yes, as you come out of Jamesport, there is a wide high corner with a wrought iron Horse and Buggy statue. Both the hill and monument block the view of oncoming traffic. Our driver, best friend Sadie, didn’t see the dim headlights in time. If I wasn’t on the passenger side, I wouldn’t have survived. The driver’s side had it the worse.”
I am working on “Price of War” and I keep going back to the forward I wrote and cant decide if I should keep it or not. To me it explains how the story came about and why it is so important to me. Then I think that no one would be interested in that information or they would find that it is stupid, stopping them from reading the book.
Right now this book is what I would consider my Magnum Opus and I don’t want something that could color the person’s view of the book before they have a chance to read it. Really it is a stupid reason, but it means a lot to me and I would like to share the back story with the readers so they can understand why”Price of War” means so much to me. So much that for the cover, I used my Great-grandparents’ wedding photograph with a few changes, obviously.
So with my weird writer’s block (can write down ideas but can’t string them together), I’m going through a reading frenzy. Since January first I have finished six books. Just devoured a 300+ page in a short few hours, but haven’t wrote a review. No matter if I liked them or hate them, I have no words to express at the end of the book. A few minutes ago, I felt like I wanted to write something for one of my stories but nothing clear was coming to me. It just hung there and the more I tried to grasp it the more an invisible wall popped up. Then when I tried to set the book down and write, it vanished.
I have been able to finish one chapter in one book, but even what I have written is crappy. I’m trying to hold on to the fact that at least it is something and can be fixed later, but I just hate this when I get in this type of mood. Yes I devour books, which is good for my TBR list, but I hate not being able to write. And really hate not writing something I like or at the very least is halfway decent.
At this rate, I’ll have tripled the amount of books I wanted to read this year but have no new books out when I really want to get at least three done and off my plate. The Price of War is slipping through my fingers and I really wanted to get it finished so I didn’t have to dwell on it too much considering the amount of history (both personal and non-personal) I’m pouring into it.
I need sleep.