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Posts tagged ‘paranormal’

The One That Got Away

book cover

Dear Diary,

Have you read my book THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY yet? Here is chapter one for you. On amazon the e-version is available for $9.99, paperback for $10.76 and hardcover for $22.95.  Please enjoy.

Chapter One

Did I ever tell you that I thought you were dead when you were born? I really don’t think that we ever got into that sort of conversation. Your birth was rather surreal to me. Of course, I had nothing to compare it to and they did give me something to calm me down because I was in a full blown panic when the contractions got intense. I think you would agree that this reaction seems quite out of character for me. I really don’t ever remember being in any sort of panic about anything before this incident. You know I’ve had to deal with crisis situations, but I’ve always been able to approach them with a certain detachment. I have thought this very clever and superior of me to be able to do that. So, I was quite surprised at myself when I experienced this burbling, spine tingling, overpowering surge of panic rising from some deep place within me. The initial rush choked me and my ears buzzed violently. A single thought kept searing my mind over and over: “My baby is dead.” I believed that I was merely thinking this gloomy thought, but apparently, I was screaming it. At this point it seemed that every nurse and doctor and any other available person had their hands on me trying to get me to lie down. Some voices were firm, others were kind but I couldn’t distinguish much of the murmurings because of the incessant buzzing. I do remember someone asking about your father. I believe you know that he was out of town on business. You took us all unawares as you were three and a half weeks early. I also remember my doctor asking for some sort of medication for me. And whispers that my baby was fine. I could not believe them. I struggled and wailed frantically and begged them to save my baby. When the sedative began slipping into my bloodstream the vision began. At first, the edges of my sight were studded with fuzzy, gray spots. I tried to blink them out of the way, but this merely changed their location. Then the people in the room began to blur and ooze some sort of colorful mist. Not all of the colors were the same. I was no longer panicking. I was frozen with fascination. I did not dare blink. I felt warm. And then hot. And then terribly hot. The acrid smell of blood and birth filled my nostrils. And dirt and sweat. I was slick with sweat. I couldn’t see anyone anymore. It was so dark. I could sense movement, that I was not alone. I couldn’t see…. Then I realized that there was dim candlelight. Candlelight?

“Ralf,” I heard myself whisper. My mouth was so dry. My spit stuck to my tongue like wallpaper paste.


“No, dear, not yet,” a vague female voice answered. “Soon.”

I felt reassured from her kind voice. She knew what she was doing. I would see Ralf soon and I would tell him how things would be different. How I wanted this baby. His baby. That I was determined to be a good mother. That I would not be selfish. That I loved him so desperately, like he loved me and the baby too and….

A hard, agonizing contraction grappled my body. I knew to push. I pushed hard. To see my baby. To love the baby like I loved Ralf, like Ralf loved me….

I heard the woman cry out. I heard her whisper something to someone else in the room. Her voice caught. Dear God. Something was wrong. My baby. Something…… She was holding the baby. Bloody. Still. Why didn’t she clean him? Why didn’t she wrap him? My nose burned with the smell. I felt vomit rise into my throat. My baby. I looked at the woman’s face. Her face was pinched. Her eyes sparkled with tears that were about to fall. She was holding my baby. Still. No breath. I started screaming. It was my fault. Ralf jerked the door open.

My shrieks abruptly halted. My eyes caressed his disheveled sandy hair in the candlelight. His wolfish gray eyes were dark with concern and fear. His slender jaw was tight with worry.

“Roese,” he choked.

I drank his presence with great thirst. It was so hard to speak.

“Ralf, please forgive me.” I barely breathed the words.

Sudden, stark brightness. I was numb everywhere. And very detached. I watched as the doctor cut your umbilical cord. You looked blue to me. Your eyes were closed. You were still. You were dead. But then you slowly arched your back and wriggled slightly. I gasped and began to cry with jagged gulps. You were not dead. You were alive! The relief was overpowering. The doctor gave you to me. A nurse was trying to hand me the phone to speak to your father. Other hospital staff bustled about importantly. I shook off the lingering dread that hung on me like a damp cloak and concentrated on holding you close. But Roese still hovered in the fringes of my mind.


Strangers’ Angel Chapter One


Dear Diary,

Some of you are aware that I have promised a sequel to my novel “The One That Got Away”. I worked on it diligently for several months and then got waylaid by real life causing me to get off track with”Strangers’ Angel”. I have recently recommitted myself to getting up at 4am daily to accomplish this goal. It feels good. I am poised to submit the first three chapters to literary agents in the near future. I will share these with you.


Strangers’ Angel Chapter One


The gritty fingers of fear clawed their way up into her throat and clutched unmercifully at her stamina. She coughed only slightly, but felt as though she were choking on it. She willed the paralyzing mass back down to the pit of her violently wrenching stomach. The fact that she and Cora had just walked briskly from her farm further aggravated her breathing condition. The darkness had also caused her to trip on an unfortunately placed gnarled root and her old bones ached and protested the jarring they had received. Ida Spencer had a mission to complete and it was going awry, but panic was not an option. Participating as a station master in the Underground Railroad had always been risky, but as the Presidential election loomed on the horizon tensions between slave holding states and free states had reached a fever pitch. Some southern states were threatening to form their own country if Abraham Lincoln were to be elected President. Ida’s own state of Virginia was in turmoil over which side to be on. Parkersburg, Virginia did tend to be sympathetic to slave freedom, but as of late it seemed to Ida that western Virginia was crawling with slave catchers. She had heard tell that slave catching earned a pretty penny and that even judges were paid more for declaring an apprehended negro a slave. Ida didn’t really care to know all of those details. She was not what they called an ‘abolitionist’. She was not so much concerned about causes per se and certainly wasn’t one to be ranting loudly about them. She was concerned about what was morally correct and was stalwart enough to stick her neck out to help where needed.

Ida could feel the cascading trembling of the woman beside her even though they weren’t actually touching. The two women were crouched low in the sparse, stubby grass hiding behind a haphazard line of overgrown bushes beyond the pasture of Ida’s farm. Ida could tell the slave catchers were coming nearer. She knew that Cora needed to make a dash for the woods immediately. Ida took in a shallow, steadying breath and grabbed Cora’s lovely ebony face between her dirty hands.

“Cora…Cora, look at me,” Ida whispered insistently. “You need to go…” Both women flinched outwardly when the dog barked again. The beast and its owners were definitely closer. Cora pulled away from Ida and strapped her arms around hers knees and began to rock, shivering uncontrollably.

“Cora,” Ida physically turned the woman’s face to her again, “the worst thing is the fear. Bravery is following through with something when you are scared out of your wits. You must gather your wits. You must continue to be brave or it will all be for nothin’. You have made a choice to take your freedom. You have come so far. You cannot stop now.” Ida pointed in the darkness. “Look to the left. Do you see the grove of trees? Go there. There will be a stream. Cross over the stream to hide your scent and then follow it north for about five miles. You will see a small abandoned house. You must hide there until tomorrow night. There will be food in the hamper. A man named John will come for you after dark.” Ida paused and carefully raised her head to peek over the concealing bushes. “I don’t see them yet, but they be coming. Now is the time. Go now!”

Cora stayed frozen. The only movement was her eyes, which were blinking rapidly as tears began to well.

“Cora!” Ida hissed and shook the girl roughly. “Pull yourself together. You must be strong. Now go! Run!”

A small childlike whimper escaped Cora’s lips before she reset her features and pushed herself up off of the ground. Her face visibly shifted and her supple mouth creased into a firm line. There was no time to risk any last thank you or goodbye. She bolted to the woods like her life depended on it, because it did.

Ida watched the fleeing figure become smaller and blend into the shadow of the trees. She sighed jaggedly and tried to quiet her own cantering heart. Now what to do? She crouched there in the fleeting stillness and considered her options. She could continue to hide and hope that they did not find her. In fact, they were not really looking for her, they were looking for Cora. They did suspect, however, that she was aiding runaway slaves, but had no proof, until perhaps today. If they did find her, how would one explain an old widow groveling in the dirt, in her housedress, after midnight, in a field a half a mile from her home? Not very effectively, unless she made up some elaborate story about how she got there. But no, Ida Spencer was not an actress, nor did she have the imagination to spin such a tale. She was a direct and plain sort, driven and stubborn from strongly held moral beliefs. She decided that it would not do to just sit in the dirt awaiting them to come up on her. Surely they would find her if she stayed. They had a dog and all. It made the most sense to get up and walk on home. She would hope for the best. She would face her fate walking. She stood laboriously and winced as she put pressure on her right leg. The last several years had given her body mysterious aches and pains. She tried diligently to pay them no mind and function as efficiently as she was able. There was so much to be done on any given day. She brushed herself off briskly, ignoring her complaining joints. She fussed inwardly that her dress was most likely unsalvageable from the dirt ground into it. Then she stood straight and firm and entered into prayer. She asked the Lord for protection and guidance for herself and for Cora and thanked Him for His goodness. Then she began her walk home. She comforted herself that each step brought her closer to her haven. The dog began to bark again. It was sounding more excited. Ida began counting her steps to distract herself from her perilous situation. Her footsteps sounded so loud to her as she crunched through the underbrush. Perhaps it was God’s will that they find her, not Cora. That girl had her whole life ahead of her. Ida fervently hoped that Cora would find her freedom, especially if Ida paid the price for it. Ida immediately scolded herself for such vain thoughts. It would be as the Lord would have it and that needed to be the only thing that mattered.

Ida could see the silhouettes of the men and the dog coming from the south. She cringed inwardly, but continued her stalwart pace. Ida believed that she recognized her pursuers. She had heard talk that Old Man Peters and his sons had recently taken up slave catching. Peters was a mean and vile sort. Her mouth dried at the thought of having to converse with the man. The men began yelling at her to stop. Ida Spencer wanted to run as fast as her stubby old legs could carry her, but what would be the use? They would certainly loose the dog on her. That would be worse.

Ida halted and turned to face them. As she waited for them to approach she heard them cussing and exclaiming to each other as they recognized who she was. One of the three men shushed the frantically barking dog, although the animal continued to growl as they covered the distance to where she was standing. Old man Peters spoke first.

“Widow Spencer, fancy meeting you here.” His voice dripped with sarcasm and disdain. He paused to spit tobacco juice just inches from Ida’s foot. “Where be that blackie you been hidin’?” he drawled as he fixed her with his probing, beady eyes. Ida was suddenly struck by the fact that she recognized this dark soul from somewhere that she could not put her finger on. Of course she knew him as one of her neighbor’s farmhands, but this was something else, from somewhere else. This happened to her occasionally and she had learned to trust this instinct. These dark souls needed to be thwarted at all costs. There were also bright souls that Ida felt moved to aid in any way. They were like living angels. Sometimes she mused that she herself was an angel in training, but then her practical nature would chide her insisting that was just pure vanity.

“Let me shoot her in the leg, Pa. That’ll make the cow talk. Filthy slave lovin’ whore.” Ida looked closely at Peters’ oldest son and saw him to be a dark soul too. It was never good to find two dark souls together. It magnified their spirit strength. She shifted her gaze to the younger brother. He looked agitated and scared as he nervously tried to control the dog. His soul was not dark.

“Put the rifle down, son,” Peters demanded. “I don’t expect no trouble from Miz Spencer.” He changed his tone to imitate the most polite of gentlemen, although his sneer and malicious eyes quite spoiled the effect. “I’m sorely disappointed to find a woman of your upbringin’ aiding runaway slaves, Miz Spencer. Maybe we can get you off easy this one time if you tell us where she be and promise never to do such a thing again.”

“I will not do that, Mr. Peters.” Ida spoke evenly and her eyes flashed with determination as she stood solidly.

It was then that understanding crept into the grizzled man’s expression. Peters’ face twisted in smoldering rage as he realized that Ida was in fact a Bright Soul.

“Go ahead, son, shoot her in the leg.”

The older son grinned wickedly and aimed swiftly.

“No!” the younger brother shoved at the rifle as the bullet flew out of the barrel. The bullet lodged squarely in the center of Ida’s forehead, forced its way through the back of her skull and then continued its journey to rest under the dry, rain craving soil. Ida collapsed immediately to the ground.


Anna awoke with a start. She instinctively reached to touch her forehead with her long, tapered fingers. She found herself sitting bolt upright in bed and breathing heavily. After a moment, she relaxed her body and slumped back into the comfortable disarray of blankets and pillows. She always preferred a plethora of both. Anna stared up at the ceiling and watched the shifting pattern of shadow that resulted from the early morning sunlight fingering through the tree outside of her window. She adjusted her head on the pillow until the sun shone warmly on her face. She closed her eyes and sighed, releasing the dream.

“I guess that’s how that one ends,” she murmured to herself. Chances were good that Anna wouldn’t be dreaming of Ida again now that she had seen her death. Over the past several months Anna had been sporadically witnessing snatches of the woman’s mostly uneventful life in her dreams. But in reality these dreams were actually scattered memories. Anna Parker had lived as Ida Spencer. It was not unusual for Anna to dream of the people she used to be. It had begun when she was twelve years old and by now she was accustomed to it. However, she thought she would never get used to how exhausted they made her feel. That was annoying. Anna had a busy schedule to keep and it was difficult when she felt like falling asleep in the middle of it. She hoped now that the saga of Ida Spencer was complete she would get a break from the vivid dreams and have some months of normal sleep. She had a feeling, however, this was unlikely. She wondered briefly who she would dream of next.

Anna allowed the sunlight to caress her slender and pointed features and began drifting slowly back to sleep. It was only moments before her alarm clock began chiming an electronic version of the Beatles’ song “Here Comes the Sun”. Kate’s dog, Clarice, immediately began to howl and charged into Anna’s bedroom to protest the ear splitting tones. Clarice licked at Anna nervously until the girl reached over to eradicate the merciless noise. Then the dog began to bark and wag her tail wildly in greeting.

“Sorry, Clarice, I forgot to close the door again.” Anna slid her feet onto the hardwood floor and adjusted her pale blue tank top before reaching down to scratch Clarice’s brown peppered ears. “There. All better now.”

Anna stood and retied the drawstring on her plaid pajama pants while Clarice did a few happy circles. Anna walked carefully to avoid stepping on the animal amid her joyous prancing. She paused by the oval mirror hanging on the wall by the door and wiped at a mascara smudge under her left eye. Did she look like she was two decades old today? It was always a silly thing to be checking, but she did it every year. Nope, she looked the same as yesterday. Age always had a way of sneaking up on you when you were not looking. Anna padded into the living room, yawning and pushing her long chestnut hair out of her face. Clarice bolted ahead to find Kate. Anna noticed that her other roommate, Viv, was dead asleep on the couch. She was still wearing her snazzy date outfit from the night before. Her arm trailed on the floor and her mouth was wide open. She was snoring softly. Even in such a disheveled state she was beautiful. Her skin was the color of a perfect cup of coffee and she had the figure of a Greek goddess with a face to match. Her long corkscrew ebony curls were in an extremely haphazard arrangement at the moment, but were fetching nonetheless. Viv uttered a sudden, guttural snort that startled her. She turned and delved further into the couch. A pillow plopped to the floor. Clarice instantly ran over to inspect it and waited hopefully, tail flailing, to see if Viv was getting up. She was not. Clarice raced back to the kitchen. Anna followed her and poked her head in.

“Got coffee, Kate?”

“Yeah, sure. Hey, happy birthday, Cuz.” Kate was cooking scrambled eggs. “Want some?”

“No thanks. Stephen’s taking me out for breakfast.”

“Oh, yeah.” Kate slid the small frying pan off of the burner and opened the cabinet next to the microwave. “Give him a smoochie for me. I would come too but I have that Art History final today. We will play tonight, okay?” She rummaged through their assorted coffee cup collection.

“Okay, sure.” Anna pulled a corner off of Kate’s nearby toast and popped it into her mouth.

“What are you in the mood for today? Teddy bears, flowers, sarcasm?” Kate triumphantly pulled out a turquoise coffee cup speckled with balloons and emblazoned with large pink letters spelling out the words ‘Birthday Princess’. “Hey! Who knew we had a birthday coffee cup?”

“Must be Viv’s,” the cousins spoke simultaneously and then giggled at the timing.

“I heard that,” came a muffled reply from the living room couch.

“Well, you would be the House Princess, Vivian Starling. Even your name sounds like one. Or maybe it sounds more like an actress name.” Kate pronounced the word ‘actress’ in decidedly British fashion, flipped her shoulder-length carrot colored hair, adjusted her studded cat’s eye glasses and struck a dramatic pose.

Anna smiled. “Kate, you are a nut.” She took the mug from Kate’s extended hand and reached for the coffee pot. Anna’s phone began ringing in her bedroom. She set the cup down and hurried to retrieve it. Clarice yipped excitedly and Anna almost tripped over her as they entered the bedroom. It was her dad. He gave her the typical happy birthday spiel and then asked her about her classes and her summer plans. He expressed an interest in trying to get together over the summer. Anna agreed, participated in farewell pleasantries and then hung up. She sat on her extremely comfortable and welcoming bed and considered whether she had time to snuggle back into it for a few minutes before she needed to get ready to meet her brother for breakfast.

Kate appeared in the doorway holding a steaming cup of balloon decorated coffee. “And here would be your breakfast in bed. You may be the princess for today.”

A sleepy Viv pushed past Kate and flung herself onto Anna’s bed. “Who are you to give away my title?” Viv feigned shock and disapproval before burying her head in Anna’s assorted striped pillows. “Girl, your bed is so comfy.”

“No one told you that you had to sleep on the couch,” Kate retorted and handed Anna the turquoise mug. “That guy must’ve wore you out last night, Viv.”

“Nah. I just drank too much. Remind me never to drink rail liquor ever again. Ugh! My head hurts.” Viv pressed her hands on both temples.

“I must say he was quite the hottie.” Kate nodded her head matter-of-factly.

“Yeah, but he’s not a keeper. He is certainly some eye candy, but he’s about as sharp as a marble.” Viv closed her eyes. She sighed as her fingers traveled to her eyelids. “I got class in an hour. Anna you got class today?”

“No, I just have to work on my final paper for Psych. Too bad you can’t come to breakfast with me and Stephen.” Anna smiled slyly.

“What?” Viv sat straight up. “Stephen’s coming? Oh my God! I can’t let him see me like this. When’s he going to be here?”

“Relax, Viv. I’m going to walk over to Friscos Diner and meet him there. He offered to pick me up, but you know I always prefer to walk.”

“Thank God. Wait, I mean dang! I always love seeing that man. Sorry, Anna, I know he’s your brother and all, but now he’s hot and being an anatomy professor is just too sexy.”

“You’re too young for him, Viv,” Kate teased.

“Hell, no!” Viv exclaimed. “Tell me what thirty three year old man don’t want a gorgeous, glamorous, intelligent twenty two year old college girl? Hey, Kate, he’s coming to your sister’s wedding, right?”

“Yeah, he told me he was, right Anna?”

“Yes, he’s coming.” Anna smiled with amusement and pushed herself up off of the bed. She took a sip of coffee.

“That’s where I will make my play,” Viv plotted, “at Franny’s wedding. And I expect you girls to help me out.”

“I will tell him you said hello, Viv. Now I need to go take a shower.” Anna replied.

“Wait!” Viv started, but then stopped. “I guess I’ll let you have first shower since it’s your birthday. Happy birthday, girl. We’ll go out tonight after I get rid of this headache. Poke me if you see me asleep in your comfy bed when you get out of the shower.”

“Will do.” Anna threw down another swig of coffee and headed for the bathroom.







Chapter 17 “The One That Got Away”

Dear Diary,

The story continues with chapter 17. Links to the previous chapters and the link to purchase the novel on amazon follow the excerpt.

Chapter 17

         The whole medical testing thing had been extremely annoying. But I already knew that I was going to approach it with impatience and surliness. By the time I got to work I was in a foul mood. I was almost a half an hour late for my shift. It was almost painful to be pleasant to my customers. I felt that my smile was plastered in place and that it would crack off at any moment. My main goal for the evening was to prevent myself from snapping at anyone. I was certain that the medical tests would come back showing cause for concern. This would be the tip of the iceberg and it would be all downhill from there. And I didn’t want to participate. Inside I was having a tantrum. I didn’t want to go there. I wanted things to stay the same. It was also more than a little disconcerting that I felt that I was losing my grip on reality. On one hand, I would be relieved to know that these dreams could be explained as hallucinations brought on by whatever disease was infesting my brain. But then what? What was the comfort in that? Okay. So I would know why, but my brain would still continue to be eaten. I had no faith that it could be fixed medically. It would be a slow, painful process to the same end. I was destined to travel the same path as my mother. But I recoiled from this idea. I was more of a fighter than she was. She would always just let things happen to her. I refused. But how do you refuse death? It was much easier to be grumpy about it than afraid.


I was beyond exhausted at the end of my shift. All evening I had been ignoring the fact that I felt alternately chilled and flushed. I felt uncharacteristically weak to the core. As I was driving to Leigh’s house, I toyed with the idea of picking  Anna up in the morning. She would be asleep and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to carry her. No. I wanted to see my girl. I found tears stinging my eyes at the thought of my bright, spunky baby. I willed them away and promised myself that I would take her to the park tomorrow before work.

At first Anna was whiny when I pulled her out of bed and told her that she had to walk. When I whispered to her that Mama didn’t feel good it seemed to register and she accepted my hand without further protest. I strapped on her Mary Jane shoes over her footy pajamas and put on her fuzzy white coat. At first we had a bit of trouble finding her dolly, but eventually located it lodged under Franny’s hip. On the way home Anna stretched out in the back seat and continued sleeping.

When we shuffled into our apartment lobby we found Sara Kislin retrieving her mail from the rows of identical metal slot boxes. Anna was clinging to my long coat sleepily complaining that she was cold and wanted to be carried. When she saw Sara she tottered over and raised her arms to her expectantly. Sara hastily deposited her mail and keys into her purse and looked to me for permission.  I nodded slightly, wearily. Sara lifted Anna easily.  Anna nestled her head into Sara’s shoulder.  She clutched her doll with one hand and stroked Sara’s deep, brown fur coat with the other. I leaned on the doorjamb trying to catch my breath from the cold walk. Someone had taken my designated parking spot so I had been forced to park in one of the far off guest spaces. Sara and I held each other’s gaze silently. I knew that there was so much that I wanted to ask her, but my thoughts moved around my head like feet slogging through mud. Her expression mostly spoke restrained compassion. A part of me stomped its feet in aggravation that anyone would need to look at me in such a way, but most of me accepted this kind look from this unusual stranger. I hardly knew her, yet oddly enough, I felt that she knew me better than anyone.

“I will bring her up for you,” Sara said simply. I nodded again. She smiled and turned to ascend the stairs. I looked at the stairs and sighed. The elevator still had yet to be repaired. How annoying that a simple flight of stairs should appear so daunting. I desperately hoped that sleep would help my extreme fatigue, but knew it probably would not. And what would I dream next? Would there be any answers or only just endless questions? I leaned my arms on both railings and called softly.


She had reached the first landing and turned, looking down on me.

“The dreams will show you the answer that you are seeking. I don’t have all of the answers either. We all get pieces of the truths if we are paying attention. With you there is a connection that has been lost more than once. It is a very necessary connection that needs to be bridged.” She paused. “I would offer my hand to help you with the stairs, but I know you will not take it. Be sure to step carefully.”

I did. It seemed an eternity to climb those stairs. Sara waited patiently by my apartment door. Anna looked quite comfortable in her embrace. I pulled my keys out of my coat pocket and fumbled with the lock. I almost dropped them, but managed to open the door. Sara whispered “Good night” into Anna’s ear and then set her feet gently on the floor. Anna trotted down our apartment hallway a few paces before stopping to release her feet from her shoes. She dropped one directly to the floor and flung the other one into the bathroom as she scuffed by. She wiggled out of her coat and left it in the doorway of her bedroom as she entered.

“Thank you,” I murmured to Sara. “Maybe we could have coffee…or tea sometime?”

“Of course, my dear,” Sara answered with a lilt in her voice. “Good night to you. And sweet dreams,” she added with a barely perceptible wink. She disappeared into the darkness and I entered my apartment and closed the door. I almost tripped on Anna’s shoe as I made a beeline for my bed. I considered brushing my teeth, but abandoned the idea as too much trouble. I almost went to bed wearing my work uniform, but decided that I didn’t want to risk smelling old ketchup and fryer grease while I was sleeping. Instead, I slipped my clothes off and to the floor. I slid between the cool sheets and shivered. I didn’t feel like looking for pajamas. Besides, then I would have to turn the light on and risk giving my neighbors another show. Still no curtains. I grabbed the knit throw that resided at the foot of my bed and arranged it on top of my comforter to provide more warmth. I turned on my side and snuggled in. As I was drifting off to sleep, I realized that I had forgotten to tuck Anna in. I was sure that she made it into her bed by herself, but I always liked to be sure she was settled. I mentally blew her a kiss as I drifted further down. I became vaguely aware of a comforting presence next to me spooning in sleep with one arm resting gently on top of mine. And I spiraled even further down.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5 & 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12 & 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

“The One That Got Away” on amazon

Chapter Two of “The One That Got Away”

Dear Diary,

Here is Chapter 2 of my novel “The One That Got Away”. Next Monday I will post Chapter 3.

Find Chapter 1 here:

Find “The One That Got Away” here:

Chapter 2

         I dreamed of swirling mist. The sun was trying to penetrate. It had that special sparkle that only the very early morning sunlight emits. I saw before me what looked like freshly cut rose bushes without thorns, leaves, or flowers. They were stark against the blanket of white. The tips glistened brightly with dew like substance. But it wasn’t dew. It was thicker. I could not see the ground and knew that I was drifting gently in the air. My heart felt that it would burst with overwhelming happiness. And then my nose began to itch. The tickling sensation traveled to my ear and transitioned into a twisting probe. I slit my eyes open. Anna removed her finger from my ear and began softly poking my nose. Her large chestnut eyes, partially hidden by a tangle of like colored hair, registered my near wakefulness. Her rosebud mouth quirked slightly as I brushed her hand away and buried my face into the violet forget-me-nots scattered upon my pillow. I hate having my nose touched.

“Mama,” she said patiently, “Mama, I want brefast.”

It was always better if I awoke first and had begun my coffee and cigarette routine prior to attempting to appear functional and pleasant for a four year old child. I do not believe that I was smoking when you were that age. Not that I woke up well, then, either. Anna now employed the full body tactic. Swiftly, she positioned her entire self onto the upper portion of my body forcing my face deeper into the pillow. This had the desired effect. I flung my head up, gasping for breath and rapidly rolling her off of me. She giggled profusely and flailed her arms and legs dramatically.

“Mama, I have to go pee.”

“Ok. You go do that. I’ll wait here,” I answered in classic gravelly, morning voice.

The surprising euphoria of the dream was fading away and the viscous gel of reality was seeping in. What business did I have dreaming such a joyful dream? It also quite escaped my understanding why some sticks in some clouds should render such exhilaration to me. The heavy list of my woes sidled up to the forefront of my mind. I had recently been laid off from the nursing job that I had held for almost ten years. For lack of any better opportunities, I was currently trying to get my waitress legs back at a local steakhouse chain. Anna’s father had also been laid off which meant I was not receiving a child support check. Unpaid bills were piling up at an alarming rate. I was balking at the idea that I needed to look for a small apartment to move into to ease some financial burden. I was worried that I needed to replace the brakes on my car. It was difficult to keep a brave and cheerful face for Anna with all of this. I was fiercely determined to do so. And then there was you. Missing you, as always, gnawing at the back of my brain. I attributed the frequent headaches to these various concerns, but wasn’t sure what to make of the occasional dizzy spells. Didn’t have the medical insurance or the time to figure that out at this point.

Anna walked purposefully back into my bedroom and tugged at my hand.

“Come on, Mama. The clouds are gone now.”

“Yeah, ok. I’m getting up….What did you say?”

“I said come on. I want brefast.”

“No, no…about the clouds?”

Anna smiled mischievously and her eyes sparkled brilliantly. She turned and skipped out of the room.


I quickly thrust myself out of bed and promptly passed out.

I peeked around the corner nervously and impatiently brushed a stray tendril of hair out of my face. Why hadn’t I put my hair back? Because it looks more exotic down, I reminded myself. But, feh! It was always in the way. I glanced down at the hem of my sage green dress checking for mud splatters. It was a trifle damp today. I rubbed hastily at a stray offending spot. I heard a snicker from behind and straightened immediately. I smoothed my bodice as inconspicuously as possible and tried to turn elegantly. I found myself facing a smartly dressed woman with flaming red hair and lips to match.

“Are you lost, Dovey?” she purred.  The words came perfectly pitched somewhere between distain and feigned kindness.

“I, uh…” How did I think to secure a position as an actress if I couldn’t even speak properly at an introduction? I cleared my throat lightly and gathered my wits.

“I am Roese Surrey and I am inquiring after a position as an actress in your theatre.”

“It’s not mine, Dovey.” The woman’s scarlet mouth slid easily to the side into a sardonic smirk. Her eyes glittered in a jaded fashion before slipping behind a well manufactured curtain. “And we are not looking for anyone such as yourself.”

I parted my lips to protest politely, but was interrupted by a tall attractive man calling from the stage. “Mary, is that you? Do come up and give us your thought on this scene.”

Mary visibly glowed with importance. Her smirk grew into a dazzling smile as she strode toward the stage, hips swaying suggestively. “Do show yourself out,” she called smugly to me over her shoulder.

I paused. I twisted my hands once and then forced them to be still. I was uncertain. Should I just leave? Or should I speak to the tall man? Surely he must be Robert Aiden. Losing my nerve, I took a step toward the door, and then stopped. This means everything, I warned myself sternly. If you walk out now, you cannot come back. You cannot, will not go back home. The other theatres in town are much too bawdy, seedy and just plain frightening. You do not have the coin to travel to the next town. This is your dream. You must not shy from it. I stepped away from the door and stood at the back of the theatre with as much dignity as I could muster. I slowly breathed the room into me. It echoed with a sense of anticipation. The spirit of past applause and chattering excitement of the audience still lingered in the air. The musty smell of the grand, faded curtains was quite heady to me. I longed to feel the smooth wood of the stage beneath my feet and to cause it to creak ever so slightly as I would glide across it, pouring out my passion for all to feel. To move others to feel as I did without the risk of bruising my troublesome, sensitive heart.

“Hullo? Who is there?” The tall man was shielding his eyes to get a better look in my direction.

I could feel the sun suddenly break through the clouds and pour through the open door behind me. I caught my breath. The sun fingered through my long wavy hair and shone warm on my back as if to push me forward. A rather stunning entrance! I giggled to myself and couldn’t help but smile winningly. Mary had just alighted upon the stage and turned in my direction. Her face was twisted into a peevish pout. Her features momentarily loosened into surprise at the sight of my dramatic image, but quickly regained their original expression. I could not hear what she said to the tall man, but I don’t imagine that it was flattering to me. Her hand reached for the script that he was holding in order to offer her requested opinion, I suppose, but he held fast to it and impatiently brushed her aside.

“What do we have here, then?” the tall man called, “Do come closer, young miss.”

“Here we go,” I whispered to myself silently. I walked forward with a pert, confident step. I bridged the distance quickly. I extended my hand upwards as the tall man bent to a squatting position.

I spoke brightly. “Mr. Aiden, I am Roese Surrey, Sir, and I would beg of you a moment of your time. I have prepared a monologue for your pleasure, Sir. If I might perform it for you, Sir.”

“Well,” Robert Aiden laughed charmingly. “I am not currently looking to add another female to my troupe. “However,” his smile widened and his eyes took on the look of a hunter that Roese knew only too well. “Perhaps we will take a moment to see what charms you may hold.”

I gulped inwardly and my stomach wrenched, but I gave no outward sign. My face was in place and I was smiling that smile that I knew made my whole countenance shine. Mr. Aiden appeared quite taken. I knew that I had to press this advantage though I hoped so very fervently that he would attend to my monologue. Mary looked quite put out. It was then that I noticed the other man standing on the stage. He was studying me with veiled curiosity and amusement. Something about him disconcerted me. I quirked a polite smile in his direction and looked away quickly in order to keep my composure for the task at hand.  I could feel his gray, piercing eyes upon me as I ascended the stairs. Butterflies quivered violently in my stomach and I felt the blood rush to my cheeks and down to my toes as I stepped my foot onto the surface of the stage. It creaked softly as I set my other foot in place.

“Let’s take a chair, shall we, Mary?” Robert grabbed Mary by the waist suddenly and then slapped her behind before playfully pushing her in the direction of the stairs. Mary stumbled awkwardly before regaining her balance and composure. She offered Robert a half hearted laugh and glared fiercely at me as she sauntered down the short staircase. Robert followed enthusiastically. The other man was slower to move. He seemed to unfold himself from his lounging stance.  He did not smile at me, but his look was not unkind as he gracefully strode past me to join his comrades. My scalp prickled as the rush of air he stirred touched me. I found myself staring at the back of his tousled, sandy head and slightly stooped shoulders. Abruptly, I realized that Robert was speaking to me.

“Miss Surrey, You obviously know who I am, and I believe you have met our finest actress, Mary Boyd. And may I also introduce to you the very talented Ralf Emery.”

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