WELCOME TO DAY 3 OF THE #RWISA “REVOLUTION” BLOG TOUR! #RRBC @YVETTEMCALLEIRO @RRBC_ORG @RRBC_RWISA @TWEETS4RWISA #RWISAREVOLUTIONTOUR

Welcome to Day 3 of the RWISA “REVOLUTION” Blog Tour!  We’d like to introduce you to an amazingly supportive RWISA member, Author, Yvette M. Calleiro.  Take a peek at her writing below…

Take a peek at her writing below…

EMERGENCE

The cocoon –
Formed because of a virus,
Reinforced by fear and anxiety.
Surrounded
Protected
Sheltered
Imprisoned

The incubation –
Agonizing silence led to loneliness.
My inner voice tormented
Until the tears flowed freely
And the salty river healed the soul.
Meditation led to self-reflection.
Acceptance
Forgiveness
Release
Self-care

Emergence –
The walls slowly crumble.
Timid to step out but
Resolved to join the world again,
To rise up and feel whole.
Resilience
Strength
Courage
Hope

The RWISA Revolution Blog Tour challenged its authors to write with this year’s theme in mind: A New Year – A Fresh Start. Immediately, I thought of a cocoon. A caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly is not an easy one. This past year has not been easy for any of us. Even though I’m used to being home most of the time, being isolated and fearful of getting COVID (or worse, giving it to someone I love) has crippled me at times. I spent this year working on my inner self. I took meditation courses and worked with my therapist to manage my anxiety better. I’m a constant work in progress, but I feel stronger and healthier today than I was a year ago. For that, I am grateful. RWISA (Rave Writers – International Society of Authors) asked us to ponder a few questions, so here are my thoughts.

What are your plans for the new year?

This year, I plan to continue being careful and cautious when out and about. I will continue to strengthen my physical, emotional, and mental well-being. I will nurture the friendships that held firm despite the distancing. I will continue to create memorable moments with my family. Without them, this year would have been much more difficult.

What are your goals?

I had hoped to write an entire novel during COVID since I was home so much, but my muse locked herself in her own cocoon and refused to cooperate. She, too, has burst through and has begun to share her mojo with me. With the help of my RWISA critique group, I am going through my final edits for a new novel. It’s a young adult novel with no connection to my current series. I will publish it at some point this year.

I am also writing Drake’s story once again. For those who have read myChronicles of the Diasodz series, you know I’ve been working on this for a few years. He and I have had a bit of a difficult time in telling his story, but we are finding our way through. My goal is to finish writing his story this year. Then, I’ll use next year to revise and edit it before sending it out into the world for everyone to enjoy.

What will you do to contribute to the betterment of our society?

I believe in the energies of the world, and I choose to spread kindness, love, and laughter as often as possible. As a teacher at a middle school, I empower my students to be confident in their abilities and challenge them to be positive and productive members of their communities. I also post inspirational quotes on my Instagram. I have a separate Instagram that focuses on being proud of the beauty within. It’s been dormant for a bit, but I’m hoping to get it restarted. We need more positivity in the world, and that’s my little contribution.

How will you succeed in the midst and in spite of COVID-19?

One needs to define success in order to answer this question. For me, success is a day when I stay present in the moment. It presents itself as a moment where I notice my anxiety and allow it to flow down my mind’s river of worry without me. It’s when I make a student feel accepted and cared for or when my son sits with me at night to watch a show together.

I do not measure success by money earned or by a title. Instead, I measure success by the impact my choices have on those around me and on myself. As we continue to deal with COVID-19, any day where those whom I love are alive and well is a successful day for me. This year, I celebrate the little things because those are what matter most.

***

Did you enjoy Yvette’s writing?  Then please, help us support her and her work along this REVOLUTION tour! We ask that you click on the author’s RWISA Profile below and visit all of her profile pages – some offering more insight into the member and others showcasing the author’s talent.

Lastly, we ask that you support this member as well as the host of this blog, by sharing this page and the author’s profile pages across all your social media platforms.

RWISA Profile

What Yvette has to say about RWISA…

Check out Yvette’s book…

“BREATHLESS”

Now, we’d like to give you a chance at some of this awesome promotion for yourself!

Have you written that book or short story you want the whole world to know about? Are you looking for a great way to promote your creative endeavors? Perhaps you’re seeking to add some prestige to your body of work! If this sounds like you, we invite you to come on over to RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, otherwise known as RWISA.

At RWISA, we invite and accept into membership only the very best writers the Indie community has to offer.

If your work is exemplary and speaks for itself, stop by the RWISA website today at RaveWriters.wordpress.com and find out how you can submit your sample of writing for consideration.

We’re an exclusive bunch but we’d love to have you join us!

NOTE:  If you’re looking to improve your writing while taking another route to membership into RWISA, while you’re at the site, visit RWISA UNIVERSITY!

Thanks for dropping by and don’t forget to leave the author a comment below!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the tour’s home page!

WELCOME TO DAY 1 OF THE #RWISA “REVOLUTION” BLOG TOUR! #RRBC @HEALTHMN1 @RRBC_ORG @RRBC_RWISA @TWEETS4RWISA #RWISAREVOLUTIONTOUR

I’d like to introduce you to RWISA Author, Harriet Hodgson.

Mrs. Hodgson is the first of nine authors you’ll meet on the RWISA   “REVOLUTION” Blog Tour! 

Take a look at her writing. . .

COVID, WRITING, AND ME:  A FREELANCER’S TALE

John and I lived in a retirement community in the heart of the city. We chose the community for its closeness to Mayo Clinic and its many support services. Though we lived here for more than a year, we felt like we were living in a motel. Several months ago, John and I felt so badly we thought we had Covid-19. I called 911 and we took “his” and “her” ambulances to the ED (Emergency Department).

Both of us were tested for Covid-19 and the results were negative. As it turned out, John had advanced prostate cancer. I had cellulitis, a bacterial infection that can be fatal, and was treated with antibiotics. After six days in the hospital, I was dismissed. John stayed a few more days.

Because I had been in the hospital, the retirement community quarantined me for two weeks. It was a serious quarantine. I had to set trash and laundry outside the front door for pick-up. Whenever someone came to the door, I had to wear a mask and practice social distancing. The retirement community didn’t allow visitors and we felt isolated and alone.

“Staying in my apartment is driving me crazy,” a neighbor shared. She wondered if I was going crazy too.

“I’m writing like crazy,” I answered. Because I’ve been a freelancer for 40 years, I was used to working at home. However, being John’s caregiver took up most of the day. But I am a disciplined writer and sheltering at home sparked my creativeness. In fact, I wrote five children’s books.

Covid-19 has increased the need for grief resources. This made me think about how children grieve. For example, teens may turn to peers for comfort rather than their parents. The more I thought about children’s grief, the more concerned I became. With a BS in early childhood education and an MA in art education, I could be of help.

I wrote two books … a workbook for grieving kids ages 5-8 and a workbook for grieving kids ages 9-12. I contacted a grief publisher I had worked with previously and both books were accepted.

My co-author and I finished a leadership book, Ready, Set, Lead! Leadership can be learned, and we think it begins in early childhood. Our picture book is a rhyming poem. The first half defines leadership, and the second half tells kids how to become leaders. We also wrote a companion art activity book.

Weeks passed. I spent more time on caregiving than writing. I knew I had to practice self-care to survive. The grief workbooks are illustrated with doodle art. Though I have a graduate degree in art, I never heard of this art form. What was it? I researched doodle art online and started doodling. To my surprise, I discovered that doodling provided respites from stress.

If doodling helped me, it could help others.

I started writing a book for teens, Grief Doodling: Bringing Back Your Smiles. When I was writing I was almost in a trance. Grieving kids don’t need tomes, they need concise resources. Grief Doodling is the first book I have written and illustrated. My current publisher accepted the book and I contacted influencers—experts who might write reviews. Eight experts responded and their positive words are on the back cover.  

Late in November of 2020 I realized John was dying. He knew it and I knew it. Since John was paraplegic and needed more care than I could provide, he was moved to short-term rehab. After two staff members tested positive for Covid-19, John and I were re-tested. John tested negative. I tested positive and was quarantined again. Thankfully, I never developed any symptoms.

At a time when I wanted to see John more, I saw him less. I didn’t see him for a month. Though we stayed in touch by phone, calls weren’t the same as seeing each other face-to-face. John called several times (which was difficult for him) to say “I love you.” Three days after my quarantine was up, John died. I posted a notice of his death on Facebook.

Nonnie Jules let RRBC and RWISA members know about John’s death and many contributed funds for sympathy gifts. The gifts just kept coming—a food basket, cozy blanket, comfort stones, blessing cards for women, musical jewelry box, and more. Every gift sparked tears. I wasn’t alone. RRBC members had my back and were family.  I am grateful for their kindness and support.

Life had another surprise for me. Three months before the release date, Grief Doodling received a first place award in the self-help category. I was thrilled and am still thrilled. I had a book trailer made for the book and posted it on Facebook. Advance sales are going well, and I hope the book trailer generates more sales.

One of the reasons I write is to figure things out. I researched end of life care and took notes about the tasks I had to complete before John died. I am hard at work on another book.  The purpose of the book is to help spouses and significant others understand the present and believe in a future.

The pandemic is hellish and tragic. All of us know someone who tested positive, gotten the virus, or died. Yet if we look carefully, we can find grace in sorrow. I was able to see the blessings in my life—one-on-one time with John, understanding that every life is a miracle, and writing five children’s books. At age 85 I’m still working part-time, giving Zoom talks and workshops, competing in the book business, and setting goals.

John was amazed at my writing output and often joked, “While you’re up, write me a book.” I love to write and working on a new book gives purpose to my days. I think John would be pleased and proud.

***

Please help me support this talented author and her work. Click on the Harriet’s RWISA Profile below to visit her profile pages.

Harriet Hodgson RWISA Profile: https://ravewriters.wordpress.com/meet-the-authors/author-harriet-hodgson/

Follow the rest of the nine day tour here:  “REVOLUTION” Blog Tour! 

Some stories need to be told. This is one of them. “Our Lady of Victory,” by Shirley Harris-Slaughter

Join the #RRBC_Community in celebration of @sharrislaughter, #RRBC November “SPOTLIGHT” Author!

This book evolved out of years of frustration at the total disregard and lack of respect for the contributions of Black Catholics in the city of Detroit. The author says, “We are not mentioned in the pages of history along with the other Catholic churches that sprung up during the World War II era, and that needed to be corrected.” The author did fulfill one dream since publication … that this church can now be found on the web even though it has merged with another church. It is now called Presentation-Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church.

This is a second edition with updates on the state of this historic church. In the original publication files were lost then resurfaced with content altered along with missing photos during transition from one publisher to another. Such is the fate of an Independent Author.

Take a twenty minute break and get lost in a free short story.

Drama, suspense, and a touch of romance are combined to form a story about violence, friendship and the love of a horse. How far would you go to save a friend’s life?

Following is the introduction to “Mountain Justice.” It is free today through Saturday, November 21st, at Amazon.com.

MOUNTAIN JUSTICE

Gravel scattered across the driveway as he braked his truck to a halt. She glanced out the window in time to see him lurch from the driver’s seat. Trouble was coming. She went outside to meet him, and cringed when he staggered up the steps to the porch. She saw his arm reach out, at the same time a sudden pain jolted the side of her head, snapping her neck forward and knocking her to the maple planks of the splintered wooden floor. 

He took two steps forward, reached for her right arm, pulled her to her feet, and said, “I saw you outside the grocery store with that veterinarian. I saw that look you gave him.”

With her head pounding and her vision blurred, she pulled her arm backward, unsuccessful in her attempt to pull it from his grasp, and thought, “If I don’t get away, this time he is going to kill me.”

He hit her again. Her teeth punctured her lip and the familiar coppery taste of blood filled her mouth. She jerked her arm back and twisted away, breaking his grip. Somehow she got to her feet and sprinted down the steps toward the road. He was right behind her.

In three long leaps, she was across the dirt road, past the fenced paddock and into the woods. Vaguely aware of a sharp pain in her shoulder, she was focused on the heavy steps that pounded close behind her. Running as fast as she could, she felt like she was slowing down and imagined she could feel his breath on her neck. 

He was strong, and he could run, but she was faster, at least she had been before she was five months pregnant. She made it past the edge of the woods before she stopped to listen. Hidden by the width of the vast trunk of a giant old sycamore tree she leaned against the tree to catch her breath. It was quiet. Had he turned back?

Before she could breathe a sigh of relief, she heard his slurred shout, “Don’t think you can hide from me, sweetheart. I’ll find you and make you sorry you ran.”

If she could just stay hidden until morning, if she could just survive just once more, this time she would call the sheriff. It had to end. She moved her hands gently over the swell of her abdomen and whispered, “I’ll protect you.”

She felt his presence before the rustle of the underbrush announced him. She held her breath. He was close, perhaps no more than twenty feet away, but the crunch of the branches was softer, as though he was moving away from her, toward the stream. If he went down over the ridge, she could make it back to the barn and hide there until he passed out or left for the bar. She closed her eyes, and prayed for him to keep moving. Then there was silence.

When she opened her eyes, he was standing five feet away. And when he reached for her, there was nowhere to run. With a grip like a vice, he grabbed her wrist. Without saying a word, he dragged her through the brush and the thorns, stumbling occasionally, but hanging onto her until they got back to the house.

After a brutal shove up the steps and across the porch, he said, “I told you not to run from me.”

He kicked the front door open and thrust her into the house.  She tripped and collapsed onto her knees. He pulled her to her feet, so that he could knock her down again, and again, and again.

***

A licensed veterinarian, Rob Tully lived alone. The nearest town was about twenty-five miles from his home, a log cabin that was surrounded by woods, near the top of the mountain. His family had lived on that mountain since 1882 when his great grandfather acquired one-hundred-seventy acres of land. Although the cabin had been expanded and renovated over the years, the original structure remained a part of the home.

As a child, Rob was taught that the mountain would provide about everything a person needed. As an adult, Rob had found that to be true. Rob loved his mountain and the animals who shared it with him. He particularly liked to watch the vultures that flew above the cabin, roosting in the old walnut trees.  Gramps always said they kept watch and let a person know if trouble was rolling in. Great Grandpa Tully had been a good teacher and Rob learned a lot from him, not only about nature, but also about good vs. evil, and the wisdom of relying on what Gramps called, ‘gut instincts.’ Some called them premonitions.

Beyond the ridge, the sun was making its slow ascent in the clear sky and Rob expected a beautiful day. He was looking forward to seeing Annie later that morning. She had called and asked him to stop by and check on her horse in exchange for breakfast. He readily agreed. That woman certainly could cook.

Rob and Annie had been friends since childhood. Truth be told, he’d loved Annie since they were both about ten years old. He thought about the day they’d gone swimming. School was out for the summer and the weather was perfect for an afternoon at the lake. The grass was high, and billowed in the mild breeze, while the sun’s warmth evaporated the lake water from their shoulders. They were racing up from the lake when Annie saw something move in the tall grass. She froze in her tracks and waited for another motion, before she crept forward to see what was there.

“Oh, look, Robby! It’s a garter snake!” Annie, being Annie, had no fear of any living creature. She carefully picked up the snake and held it up for Rob to see. At the time, he was amazed, not only at the colors of the snake, but that it was absolutely unafraid of Annie.

The snake looked at him and slowly moved around Annie’s hand and lower arm. That’s when ten-year-old Robby knew he was crazy about the red-headed snake charmer. He’d loved her ever since.

***

Please pick up your free copy, at the “Buy on Amazon” link below, then hit the share button, and help me spread the word. Thank you for your continued support!

Free today through November 21, 2020.

If you enjoyed “Mountain Justice,” you might like my crime novel, RACE INTO MURDER. It is on sale for $.99 from November 19th through November 25th, also at Amazon.com.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

“Aftermath”

“Aftermath” was my debut short story. It centers on a house fire. My grandfather was a fireman, and so firefighting was always a subject for discussion as I grew up.

Excerpt from “Aftermath”

The ceiling beam was smoldering on the staircase, but the flames had not yet ignited the first floor. Michelle grabbed the cell phone from the table.

When they reached the front door, Paul took one last look at the staircase before he followed the two women out the door to safety.

Michelle dialed Alice’s number as she stepped out on the porch. Sirens in the distance let her know fire trucks were on the way. When Alice’s phone continued to ring, Michelle said a silent prayer that Alice and Donna were already out of the house.

Suddenly there was a loud cracking noise, and the west corner of the duplex collapsed. That was the corner where Alice’s and Donna’s bedrooms were located. Michelle froze.

Ronnie shouted, “Get off the porch, Michelle. Move into the yard.”
She turned back toward the house to help her sister.

At the same time Ronnie’s foot hit the first step, Paul hollered, “Ronnie, look out!”

She looked at Paul, who was reaching for her when the roof collapsed. Paul gabbed for her as the wood fell, but there was nothing he could do, but scream, “Veronica!”

***

“Aftermath,” originally published as part of an anthology in 2012, is included in “Long Stories Short.”

Treacherous Love, a short story of misdirected passion

Married, with a seven-year-old son, Rochelle and Ethan have the perfect family. But when passion escalates into violence that threatens the life of their son, the couple is forced to confront the truth about their relationship. TREACHEROUS LOVE is a short story about the consequences of domestic violence. Sometimes love isn’t enough.

Excerpt from “Treacherous Love”
by
Karen Black

Shocked awake by the splash of icy water smashing onto his face, Ethan coughed as he sat up and struggled to catch his breath. He rubbed his eyes, wiped his hands across his forehead and ran his fingers through the waves of his wet, brown hair. He wondered how many more assaults he could endure before striking back.

After unfounded accusations of infidelity by his wife, Rochelle, Ethan had retreated to the guest room a few hours earlier. Over the past few months, it wasn’t unusual for Ethan to sport scratches or bruises inflicted by his wife during one of her tantrums.

“Ready to talk?” Rochelle purred, exposing perfectly aligned, milky-white teeth.

Silhouetted by the dim glow of a hall chandelier, Rochelle’s dark, shoulder-length mane framed her face and her pale, floor-length nightgown gave her a ghostly appearance. Under arched eyebrows, her brown eyes flashed.

“Are you out of your mind?” Ethan peeled the soggy t-shirt from his chest and pulled it over his head.

Despite his irritation, the long, firm muscles of his wife’s arms distracted Ethan, as her delicate fingers clutched a dripping, stainless steel travel cup. He loved it when Rochelle used those fingers to knead his shoulders, instead of pitching ice water.

Rochelle lifted her chin and squared her shoulders. “You snuck off to the guest room, but I want your attention.”

He used the damp shirt to rub some water from his hair, and said, “Keep your voice down or you’ll wake Alex.”

Their seven-year-old son was asleep in the next room.

“It is three o’clock in the morning, and I’m tired of fighting. I have to be at work in five hours.”

“Always an excuse,” Rochelle shrugged. “Call off work. You aren’t leaving this house until we settle this. I’ll be waiting in the bedroom.”

Before Rochelle turned and stomped away, she pitched the metal coffee cup at her husband. Slow to react, Ethan jerked sideways, but the mug bounced off of the front of his shoulder.

“Another bruise,” he muttered, and fell into a restless sleep.
***

“The Hunted,” a short story, is free from November 9th through the 11th.

From peaceful fields of lavender to a life-threatening forest, Hannah is THE HUNTED. Dreams merge with reality, in this long remembered short story of drama and suspense.
Ad_treetops-The-Hunted

Please share the links!

USA: https://amzn.to/2WX9Eql
UK: https://amzn.to/2Cv6Bw9
Canada: https://amzn.to/2qyvW5J

The Hunted - Cover resized_edited-1
In the end, you’ll understand.

“The Hunted” is one of ten short stories in LONG STORIES SHORT.”

Please join Ron Yates and me this Thursday, 9/26/19, on RRBC RAVE WAVES BlogTalkRadio.

The show begins at 12:00 EST, and I will be Ron’s “Spotlight Honors” guest. I was delighted with the invitation! Here’s the link to connect to the program: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ravereviewsbookclub.

If you use Twitter, you can go to #RRBCSpotlightHonors during the show and tweet comments or questions. We would love to hear from you!

We’ll be talking about a variety of things, one of which is LONG STORIES SHORT, a collection of ten short stories that include fantasy, suspense & paranormal. How long is forever? Is there life after death? Is Bigfoot real? What is Mountain Justice? Are magic and miracles interchangeable? (I hope Ron asks me if I believe in magic.)

The Kindle edition of LONG STORIES SHORT is on sale for $.99 through 10/1/19 at Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2y1tOEp

Long Stories front and back

Please join me on the RAVE WAVES BlogTalkRadio program, “BEYOND THE COVER”

The thirty minute show begins at 1:00 EST today, Saturday, May 11th, and will be hosted by Marlena Smith.

You can listen to the live program here: https://bit.ly/2Yi3dgM and follow along on Twitter, using the show’s hashtags #RRBC #RRBCBeyondTheCover to tweet your questions or comments.

One of the books we’ll talk about is “Race into Murder” which is on sale for $.99, from today through May 17th, at Amazon.com. https://amzn.to/2JeNgDW

BOM 3

Thoroughbred trainer, Jeff Frazier, could lose his marriage, or even his life when his talented colt becomes the catalyst for chaos in a close-knit racing community. When a well-known jockey is killed, evidence points to Sonny Owens, Jeff’s friend and co-worker. Relationships crumble and lies replace loyalty as evidence mounts against Sonny, who didn’t commit the crime. With the trial date approaching, the fate of three families depends on finding the truth, but the killer’s identity remains a mystery, and Sonny’s future looks grim. Through it all, the races continue.

Welcome to the WATCH #RWISA WRITE Showcase Tour! #RRBC #RRBCWRW

blog-tour-banners2

Over the next two weeks, I’ll be taking part in the”Watch RWISA (RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS) Write”Showcase Tour.

Today’s special guest: Beem Weeks

Beem

Nightly Traipsing

There might’ve been a dream. Or maybe not. Violet Glass really couldn’t recall. Probably, though. A dream concerning some stupid boy—or even a girl.

Whatever.

Can’t control what creeps through your sleep.

Her body stirred awake as the blackest part of night splashed its inky resolve across that part of Alabama.

Violet stared at the ceiling, tried like the dickens to recall a face, perhaps a voice—anything belonging to the one responsible for this latest agitation.

Nothing came through, though.

Even dead of night did little to lay low that sticky heat. Old-timers in town swore oaths affirming this, the summer of 1910, to be more oppressive than any other summer since before the war between the states.

Violet eased her body from her bed; the soles of her feet found cool the touch of creaking floorboards.

There’d be nobody to catch her—not at this hour.

Nobody, but Ruthie.

And Ruthie Sender?—she’d never let on of these doings.

Violet scampered through the kitchen, flung her blue-eyed gaze against the darkened parlor. Only shadows and silence bore witness to her planned escape, a girl’s nightly traipsing.

The back door gave up with only minor provocation.

Dripping moonlight splashed the yard with a silvery sheen; promising secrets lingered among the gathered glow.

Around the rear of the house she skulked, careful to hold close to the shadows, to remain hidden from the ones who’d blab, those others who’d hold it over her head for gain.

Back behind the barn she found her crouching spot, fell low to the ground, fixed sight on the direction of Ruthie Sender’s place a few hundred yards away. Traipsing just didn’t hold its fun without Ruthie tagging along.

Violet rushed her granddad’s cotton field without that hesitation she’d known only a summer earlier.

Shadows stirred and wiggled in the distance. Figures formed, made shapes around a low-burning fire. Even at the center of all that cotton, Violet could pick out words of songs sung by the coloreds, those kin to Ruthie Sender.

They sang about standing on wood, an old slave’s saying, drawing up recollections of a time they themselves belonged to someone else.

Belonged to Violet’s kin.

Wood smoke fogged the night air.

Violet hunched low, skirted the yard where those coloreds took up with their fire and song and whiskey. Friendly sorts, all of them. Always first with a kind word, an interest in Violet’s family, how the girl’s folks were getting on—even if that interest leaned toward pretend. But that’s the nature of the matter. It’s Violet’s great-granddad who’d once owned all those souls that gave creation to the very ones now singing and drinking.

She broke through shadows collected beneath an ancient willow tree, found respite behind the Sender family’s privy, and waited for the girl to either show or not show.

The colored girl’s legs appeared first, dangling from the pantry window, bare feet scrabbling at the air, searching for a solid thing to set down upon. The thud of her sudden drop wouldn’t wake anybody.

A dingy gray nightshirt clung to Ruthie’s body. Her dark-eyed gaze landed out where she knew to find Violet. If the girl offered a smile, it couldn’t be seen—not from this distance.

“Go out back of Tussel’s, maybe?” Ruthie asked, finding space in Violet’s shadow.

“Catch a strap across my butt, I get found by that saloon again,” Violet promised. “Daddy don’t say things twice.”

Ruthie said, “Chicken liver.”

Violet backed down a notch, weighed her options. “Who’s gonna be there?”

“Fella named Ferdinand something. Plays piano.” Ruthie tossed a nod toward those others out by the fire. “They won’t share us no whiskey.”

“Won’t share up to Tussel’s, neither—unless you got some money.”

*      *      *

They were born the same night, Violet and Ruthie, back during spring of 1895. Only a few measly hours managed to wedge in between them, separated the girls from being twins of a sort.

Close enough, though.

Ruthie came first—if her folks were to be believed.

 “Where we going?” Violet asked, following after Ruthie’s lead.

“Lena Canu’s place,” said Ruthie.

“How come?”

“She got stuff to drink, mostly.”

Droplets of sweat ran relays along Violet’s spine, leaving the girl’s skin wet, clammy. “Awful hot, it is.”

“She a conjure woman,” Ruthie announced, laying her tone low, protected. “—Lena Canu, I mean.”

Midnight’s high ceiling lent sparse light to the path splitting the two properties. Violet’s kin, they’d once owned the entire lot. Her great-granddad, he’s the one took notion to make things right, gave half of his land to the slaves he turned loose after the war.

Ruthie’s kin, mostly.

Senders and Canus.

Couldn’t ever really make a thing like that right, though.

A small cabin squatted in the brush; the orange glow of a lamp shined in the window. Used to be a slave’s shack, this one here.

Moonlight dripped on the colored girl’s face, showed it round and smooth, lips full and perfect, eyes alive with life and mischief. “Gonna see does she have any drink.”

Violet leaned closer, her bare arms feeling the other girl’s heat. She asked, “Can she tell fortunes?”

“Like reading a book.”

That dark door yawned wide; Lena Canu peered into the night. “I’ll tell your fortune, white girl,” she said.

Ruthie gave a nudge, guided Violet up the walk and into the shack.

A table and four chairs congregated at the center of the bare space. Kerosene fed a flame dancing like the devil atop the glass lamp. A pallet in a corner threw in its lot with the scene.

Lena Canu tossed a nod toward her rickety table. “Have you a seat, now,” she ordered, “—both of you.”

Violet sat first. Ruthie found perch across from her friend. Beneath the table naked feet bumped and rubbed, each girl assuring the other this would be a good turn.

“You one of them Glass girls, ain’t you?” Lena asked, dropping onto a chair of her own.

Violet said, “Yes, ma’am.”

Lena waved her off. “Ain’t no ma’am. Call me Lena, is all. You the one runs wild.” A pronouncement rather than a question.

Ruthie asked, “You got any liquor?”

A clear pint bottle came into the moment; its bitter amber liquid promised that sort of burn a person won’t mind.

Each girl drew off a long pull, let the heat mingle with their blood. Neither girl had ever gone full-on drunk; only a swig or two is all they ever dared.

Lena Canu, conjuring woman, spread a pile of bones over the table and commenced to ciphering future happenings a girl might need to know.

Things about boys and marriage didn’t come up. Neither did mention of babies and such. All Violet heard portended mainly to trouble.

“Quit you runnin’ wild,” Lena proclaimed, “and you be just fine.” She took up her narrow gaze again, aimed to settle matters. “But you keep doin’ what you been doin’, things gonna go bad.”

The suddenness of gunfire echoed through that sticky air. Three quick shots chased by a lazy fourth that staggered along a moment later.

Lena jumped first, ran for the door. Ruthie followed after, peering into the dark, no doubt expecting to put a face to the one pulled that trigger.

Violet remained stuck to her chair, attentions tugging between the matters outside and those sayings left to her by that conjuring woman. Did she really believe in such things, or was it all just a mess of nonsense?

“What am I gonna do to make things go bad?” she asked, supposing it wouldn’t hurt to know—just in case.

But Lena had other notions to work over. “Sounds like they come from over to your place,” she said to Ruthie.

Ruthie tipped a nod, said, “Could be they gettin’ liquored up too much, huh?”

“Might could,” answered Lena.

It happens that way, boys and their whiskey, wandering along crooked paths of discontent, blabbing things not really meant for harm—just boasting, is all.

But boasting to a drunken fella is as good as a punch on his nose.

“Gonna go see,” said Ruthie, pushing past the threshold, pressing on toward home.

Violet held her ground, let the colored girl disappear in the night. Attentions ceased their tugging, settled on the one making proclamations concerning bad manners and trouble to come.

Lena came loose of her thoughts, brought one to words, said, “Go on home now, white girl. Nighttime belongs to devils.”

*      *      *

Clouds laid a brief smudge against the moon, stripped its shine right off the night, left Violet to wonder if it really might be footsteps stumbling along behind her, following that same narrow path toward home.

“Fool boys,” she muttered, tossing nervous glances over either shoulder.

Footfalls fell heavy—like boots hammering the earth. An eager thing born of desperation.

Violet bolted left, squatted low behind a pile of brush that had the makings of a snake shelter. She held her breath and waited for the one at her back to pass on by.

A piece of tree limb came to her hand, a long and heavy thing, able to put a soul right should he come at her with wrong intentions.

That smudged moon went shiny again, dripped light across the path, showed off the shape of a man loping toward home. Tall and thin, this one; he moved quick with purpose.

Going the wrong way, though, Violet thought, waiting for the man to pass.

She gained her feet, charged his retreat, swung that heavy piece of wood and caught that interloper straight between his shoulders.

“Jay-zus!” the man hollered, hitting the ground like a sack of potatoes.

“This is private property!” Violet informed him, fixing up for a second swing.

The fella pulled up on his knees, tried to reach for that spot on his back no doubt gone swollen. He said, “It’s private property only ’cause I say so.”

Foolishness seeped into the girl. She squinted against the dark, drew recollection of his face. “Granddad?” she said, hoping her recollections proved wrong.

“What the hell are you doing out here?” he demanded, giving his legs a try.

“Came out to use the privy,” she fibbed. “Heard gunshots, came to see, is all.”

“Liar!” the old man spat. “You been gallivanting again, ain’t you?” He moved closer to the girl, sized her up, made a big fuss over her running around in only a nightshirt and nothing else. “Your daddy’s gonna hit ya where the good Lord split ya—then he’s gonna move you to your sister’s room upstairs. Won’t be no sneaking out from there.”

Her gaze caught that glint at his waistband, a familiar hunk of blued steel. “Don’t matter,” she said. “Daddy’s gonna put you in the county home.”

“On account of what?”

“On account of you’re going senile, traipsing off, bothering colored folks again with that pistol of yours.” Violet leaned closer, continued her spiel. “Heard him and Mama talking just last week, saying how you’re a danger to yourself just as much as to others.”

The old man’s jaw fell open and slammed shut; intended words went lost to the night. He couldn’t tell on her now—not without personal risk.

Defeat fogged his eyes. “I won’t tell your business if you don’t tell mine.”

Violet seized the moment with both hands. “That depends,” she informed him.

“On what?”

“Who’d you shoot tonight?”

“Nobody. Just meant to scare, is all.”

“Gonna kill somebody one day—if you ain’t already.”

“Ain’t in my blood, killin’.”

“Don’t have to mean it to do it.”

The old man pulled back, let frustration have its way. “We got a deal or don’t we?”

“You gonna leave Ruthie’s people be?”

“Just want what’s mine,” he complained.

“But it’s their land, Granddad—been so for forty-five years. A hundred guns ain’t gonna make it not so.”

He never did wear misery well.

Violet’s arms went easily around the man. She pulled close to him, breathed in that familiar odor of sweat and tobacco.

He said, “I won’t bother them no more.”

“Then we have us a deal.”

Thank you for joining me.  If you have enjoyed this author’s writing, please visit his Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of his writing, along with his contact and social media links.

You might also want to check out his books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

https://ravewriters.wordpress.com/meet-the-authors/author-beem-weeks/

%d bloggers like this: