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Posts tagged ‘reincarnation’

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.

“Ralf…”

“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.

Final Post from “The One That Got Away” Chapter 22

book cover

Dear Diary,

Chapter 22 is the last excerpt I will be posting from “The One That Got Away”. I hope you have enjoyed your bite of it. More adventure is contained in the remainder of the story, but you will need to get your hands on the book to see what happens! Links to the previous chapters and the link to purchase the novel follow the excerpt.

Chapter 22

         It was a lovely warm and breezy morning. The kind that I used to love to get lost in. I only allowed myself a small sigh and a quick wistful thought about my desire to traipse off on another aimless jaunt around the harbor area. That was the past. In me younger years I used to think that I had so much work to do. It weren’t nothing compared to the responsibilities I held now. This morning, I was alone in the pub. I had just given the cook instructions on the day’s fare and had sent her off to the market. I placed a daunting pile of paperwork on one of the sturdy wooden tables and crossly pulled a chair out from under it to sit. I sat with a decidedly heavy thump. Figurin’ all of the money gave me a headache. It didn’t come natural to me, but I found that I could manage it if I gave myself to thinking real hard. I needed to get this figured before Jackson woke up and demanded my attention. I began sorting the papers but was interrupted by the heavy front door being flung wide open. I was shocked and surprised to see my brother Owen standing in the doorway with a grin as wide as a horse’s ass.

“Mo chroi!” He threw his arms high and to the sides to beckon me for a hug. If he smiled any bigger it would have split his face. His tawny hair was pointing in all directions just as I remembered it. A pair of hazel eyes on a face with a generous portion of freckles just like mine sparkled at me.

I jumped up and bounded over to my older brother like a foolish little girl. I squealed with delight as he squeezed me in an embrace that nearly cracked my bones. He planted a big wet kiss on my forehead and set me back to the floor.

“Aye, ye are a sight for sore eyes, Meggie! Looky how you’ve grown! Yer not a wee cailin anymore.” His expression sobered suddenly. “It pains me that I weren’t able to get back to lay Ma to rest. She was a fine woman.”

“Aye.” That was all I could answer. I found myself unusually tongue-tied.

“Well,” Owen continued, “I’ve made a decision to put me feet up here in me home town and lend a hand with the pub. I’ve been sailin’ many years too long and I’m starting to be feelin’ it in me knees. The letter that Da sent sounds like he ain’t been able to work much himself.”

I was instantly deeply offended. “Da told you I couldn’t manage it?”

Owen chuckled. “I see you are still a spitfire.  Don’t take it that way, Meggie. Just be glad yer brother’s here to help. Ya got any meat-pie back there?” He craned his neck in the direction of the kitchen. “This big man is hungry.”

My feathers were not the least bit smoothed, but I decided to put off being furious for the time being. It was just too good to see Owen. “I’ll go see what we got,” I offered as he sat himself at the table I had been occupying. He gingerly picked at the paperwork scattered about pretending to show interest. I smacked at his hand playfully. “Don’t worry your pretty little head ‘bout those numbers,” I teased and headed back to the kitchen snickering. I could feel his smile at my back. Lands! It was good to see him.

The day passed very pleasantly. Da was beside himself with joy that his son had returned. Jackson adored him immediately and fell to following him everywhere. Owen seemed quite taken with his nephew as well. Danny and Owen hit it off at once, much to my annoyance. I could tell Owen noticed the resemblance between Jackson and Danny. A couple of times he began to ask me about it but my eyes burned his mouth shut. Many of our regular customers remembered Owen and there was quite the craic atmosphere in the Peppertree Pub that evening. I usually wasn’t one to imbibe while I was working, but this night demanded celebration. I had made my way through several shebeens of bier and was singing raucously with Owen and several of our fine gentlemen when the front door opened quietly to emit a beautiful woman with perfectly coiffed deep auburn hair. Our song ceased instantly. The men ogled at her and nudged each other, but I was trying desperately to remember who she was. She smiled slowly at me and was not the least bit taken aback by my tipsy and disheveled state.

“Meg.” Her eyes danced as she said my name. My cohorts at the table looked at me in amazement. I could tell that they were all itchin’ to know how I knew this lovely creature.

Suddenly, Owen sideswiped her in an affectionate embrace.

“Violet!”  he shouted and lifted her in the air and spun her effortlessly before setting her delicately to the floor. Violet looked flushed, but happy.

“Owen! Impetuous as ever!”

Owen guffawed at this. “I have no idea what you just called me, but I sure am glad to see you. You have grown into a very pretty lady, Violet. Always knew you would.”

“Why, thank you, Owen. You are too kind.” Violet saw Da making his way through the crowd with difficulty. She walked in his direction and everyone in her path parted ways to let her pass.

“Mr. Larkin, how fare you?” Violet asked. She kissed his cheek and looked kindly into his worn face.

“Much better seeing the likes of you, Violet. How lovely you look. You and Owen on the same day! Saints be praised! It makes me heart faint.” Da patted her arm affectionately.

“Owen has just returned today?” she asked glancing over at him. Owen nodded vigorously. “Well, let’s not have your heart faint, Mr. Larkin. How is your wife?”

“Aye, she has passed on, mo chroi,” Da answered sadly.

“Mama has too,” Violet returned. “I am sure they are talking each other’s ears off in heaven. They were such wonderful friends.”

“Aye.” Da smiled though his eyes were shiny with tears that he never would shed.

By this time I had recovered my senses. I pushed my way through the throng to position myself by Da and Violet. I slapped both hands on my hips and cocked my head to complete my saucy pose.

“The Saints be praised! If it isn’t Violet Jessop!” I exclaimed dramatically. Without further ado my long lost friend and I hugged each other gleefully. Then we both began talking at once, asking each other questions.

“Lands!” Da muttered and rubbed his forehead with a gnarled hand. “You girls are just like your mothers!” Da shook his head, but he was smiling as he shuffled back to the bar. “Danny, get some of the best whiskey for our lovely guest.”

“Yes sir.” Danny went to the task immediately. I wanted to smack that charming look right off of his face.

Violet and I talked until the wee hours of the morning. The last time that I had seen her was when we were both around twelve years of age. Our mothers had been the best of friends growing up together in Dublin.  Violet had been raised mostly in Argentina, but had moved to England with her mother after her father died. When Violet was a child, her mother would bring her to visit Belfast as often as she could manage. Sometimes we would meet in Dublin. Violet always had many adventures to share. She was one of those people that adventure followed. After her mother died she worked as a stewardess on luxury ships. She had so many interesting stories to tell. I was quite enamored with the whole idea. In the darkness right before dawn she told me of her upcoming plans. We were the only two people awake in the pub. All of the customers were long shooed away and Owen was face down on the bar snoring loudly. I am sure that Danny would have stuck around to flirt and chat with Violet if she had given him the time of day. She did not. It made my heart swell with satisfaction when she would continually rebuff his advances with cold and sarcastic quips. He finally got the message and left us be. Violet and I were munching on bread and cheese and green apple slices at the cleanest table available.

“I was hoping I would get to see you when I came to town. I mostly came to collect my cousin and her family. Do you remember Jane?” A childish face came to mind with dark hair and green eyes. I nodded. “Have you heard of the Titanic?” Violet waited for my reaction.

“Of course! Why, that thar huge ship was built right here in our harbor. That boat is quite amazing. Biggest one I ever saw.”

“Well,” Violet extended the word dramatically, “I will be sailing on her maiden voyage as a first class stewardess.”

“No!”

“Yes.” Violet tucked a stray strand of hair into place and smiled smugly as she smoothed it. She looked amazing for having stayed up all night drinking whiskey with me. I did not even want to see the state I had worked myself into. I knew my eyes were wide and my mouth was hanging open like a cod fish.

“Violet! That’s wonderful!”

“Yes,” she said again. “I had to dress matronly to get the position. I’ve had trouble with that before. I have actually been turned away for a position as stewardess because I was too pretty.” Her laugh sounded like a silver bell and it danced among the rafters in the near empty room. “They said it causes problems to have pretty stewardesses. No lie.” She paused and leaned her face close to mine. “I was not going to let that stop me. I made myself look as homely as I possibly could, and I got it.” She sat back in her chair and popped a piece of Butterkase cheese in her mouth and chewed it quickly. “The Titanic will be making other stops on the way, but its’ final destination is New York City, America. You haven’t been there, have you, Meg? I intend to spend some time in New York.”

“Well,” I started slowly, “No, but Finn has moved to America. A place called Boston. I have been achin’ to go there and see what it’s all about. A while back Finn wrote to invite me. Didn’t see how it was possible, though,” I finished wistfully. An idea began to form in my head. I looked at Violet full in the face and I could see the same idea sprouting there. “But…now Owen is here.” I stopped and grimaced. “But I wouldn’t feel right about takin’ money for that.”

“I could probably get you a position as a second class stewardess,” Violet suggested breathlessly. “Last I heard they were still looking for second class. I have connections, you know,” she added proudly. “You wouldn’t have trouble with your looks like I did, either.”

I stared at her speechless for what seemed like an eternity while my mind raced over the possibilities. I almost couldn’t bear to think of it. It was so exciting! I could taste it. I didn’t even care that Violet had just called me homely in a backhanded way. Abruptly, my face fell.

“Jackson,” I said simply. “I cannot leave Jackson.”

“You don’t have to,” Violet continued undeterred. “My cousin and her family are going to be traveling third class on the Titanic to move to America.  She has a bushel of children. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind to throw Jackson in there. You would just need to come up with the money for Jackson’s passage. I know you don’t want to take from the pub money, so pick up some tailoring jobs, Meg. That should cover it. Come on, Meggie…do this! I can’t see you stuck here all of your days. You need more. Owen can handle it. You come with me, cailin. Who knows? Maybe you’ll want to keep on being a stewardess. Imagine you and I sailing the world together! The world had better watch out for Violet and Meg!” She tittered mischievously.

She was speaking to my spirit and my heart in just the right way. I quavered inwardly and knew that I had to do this. I had to make this happen.

“You find me the job and check with Jane about Jackson and I’ll do it. Cheers, my friend.” We extended our smudged whiskey glasses and touched them lightly together. The small, cheery sound echoed in the large room and in my mind. Our eyes were locked in a familiar gaze that always meant adventure would soon follow.

Chapter 1 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/chapter-1-this-week-chapter-2-next-week/

Chapter 2 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/chapter-two-of-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 3  https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/chapter-3-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 4 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/chapter-4-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 5 & 6 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/chapter-5-6-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 7 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/chapter-7-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 8 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/chapter-8-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 9 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/chapter-9-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 10 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/chapter-10-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 11 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/chapter-11-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 12 & 13 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/chapter-12-13-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 14 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/chapter-14-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 15 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/chapter-15-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 16https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/chapter-16-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 17 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/chapter-17-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 18https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/chapter-18-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 19 https://blog-kelliannesweeneydeardiary.com/2012/12/04/chapter-19-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 20 & 21 https://blog-kelliannesweeneydeardiary.com/2012/12/10/chapter-20-21-the-one-that-got-away/

“The One That Got Away” on amazon  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_9?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=kellianne+sweeney&sprefix=kellianne%2Cstripbooks%2C225

 

Chapter 20 & 21 “The One That Got Away”

book cover

Dear Diary,

Here is Chapter 20 & 21 from “The One That Got Away”. I will post one more chapter next Monday, and then if you would like to read further you will need to get your hands on the actual book! Links to the previous chapters and the link to purchase the novel follow the excerpt.

 

Chapter 20

         I pulled at the puffiness around my eyes trying to encourage more blood circulation. Then I massaged around them with my fingertips.  It was to no avail. I looked hideous. All of the world would know that I had been crying. But, I suppose it wouldn’t matter because I wouldn’t know most of the world that I would be seeing today. I studied my figure one last time in my bureau mirror. Was it obvious? No. Not yet. Right now I just looked padded and plump. I blew out the candle. The sun would be up in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. I needed to hurry if I didn’t want anyone to see me take my leave. Snowdrop meowed pitifully in the latched basket as I picked it up.

“Shush!” I hissed anxiously. Surprisingly, she instantly ceased her yowling. Perhaps this was a good omen for my day. I grabbed my satchel, but then had to put it down again to open my bedroom door. It creaked as I pushed it.

“Ach!” I whispered. I hadn’t noticed before how noisy it was. The stairs seemed just as loud as I tiptoed carefully down. As I passed Danny’s door I felt that my heart would burst into pieces. I walked a few paces down the hallway to my parents’ room. I held my breath as I pushed the letter under their closed door. No sound from inside. No sound from my cat. The Saints be praised. If I could get down to the common room without that cat carrying on I would truly be blessed. My stomach twisted as I crept down the last flight of stairs. I would surely miss my parents. I hoped that they managed fine without me. I was supposing they’d have to hire someone. But business was good. The money was there to pay someone to help. I barely breathed until I stood alone in the Peppertree Pub. I surveyed the silent room and found myself staring at the place at the end of the bar that Danny usually occupied. Da was right. Danny was not worth givin’ me heart to. I bit my lip and angry tears formed once again in my eyes. Aye, he had stepped all over me heart. I had made my way to his bed alright. Only thrice, but that was enough to plant a seed in my belly. I knew he was playin’ with other women too, but I was certain that that I could bend him to my side. The fact that I was now with child had derailed my plans and made everything quite complicated. At the present, Danny didn’t want to have anything to do with me or the child growing inside of me. He had been angry when I told him. He insisted that it was not his. How dare he accuse me of sleeping elsewhere! Working with Danny at the pub had become quite unbearable. My parents knew that we were at odds, but did not know the reason behind it. I could not tell them. I needed to take my leave and start fresh. Rachel had offered for me to stay with her in her flat in Paris. She wrote that the theatre she danced at was in need of a good seamstress to fashion costumes. Yes. This is what I needed to do. I squared my shoulders and walked with determination and purpose out into the boreen in front of my family’s pub. I marched out onto the main street and spied a fiacre almost immediately. Another good omen. I waved to the driver. He acknowledged me by tipping his hat and began readying my ride. I counted out the proper amount of coins from my drawstring purse as I approached. I kept my step firm and my face expressionless.

 

Chapter 21

         I woke up slowly. The cobblestone streets of Belfast seemed to smear and sway. My vision readjusted and the plain white popcorn studded ceiling of my apartment bedroom gradually came into view. Wendy Parker’s reality came washing over me. So, I have been diagnosed with a brain tumor. The tests came back indicating as such. Of course more tests were needed to ascertain the severity and proper treatment. There was no way to get around the fact that ‘brain tumor’ sounded severe. I can’t say that I was surprised, but to hear this phrase spoken in relation to oneself is quite appalling. I had been forbidden to work and assigned to semi bed rest until the next battery of test results were available. I actually didn’t fight the bed resting thing. I really didn’t currently feel capable of doing anything much more strenuous than padding around my apartment. I was almost constantly dizzy now and the headaches were quite severe. I had new medication which helped the symptoms but caused me to feel rather loopy and definitely sleepy. My bed was the best place for me at this point. My apartment was still littered with unpacked boxes. Every day I unpacked a few, but it seemed to completely sap my strength. It just felt so important that I do it. I knew I was grasping at normalcy. Leigh had insisted that under the current circumstances she could get me out of my lease. I still vehemently refused to move into her guest room. She was thoroughly exasperated with my stance but decided to humor me for the time being. She told me that she would finish the unpacking for me so that I would stop doing it. She spent quite a bit of time at my apartment. If she wasn’t there she had Jeff or Jeff’s sister stop in to check on me. I did not protest. Leigh suggested that Anna be enrolled in a preschool program to prepare her for Kindergarten and give her something else do to besides eat snacks and watch TV in my bed. I did not protest. She also broached the subject of alerting you and your father of my situation. I protested loudly and she backed off. I do not want you to feel that you need to speak to me merely because I am perhaps terminally ill. What kind of conversation would that be? Awkward and pointless. I am not looking for pity or forced love and acceptance.

Anna enjoyed preschool. She had a lot to tell me when I was awake enough to listen. I realized that I should have put her in preschool earlier. She has such a sharp mind and was gaining so much from the experience. When she wasn’t in school or with her cousins she would often set up an elaborate play area in my bed. I was constantly knocking various items to the floor as I would change positions. Normally, I would mind the clutter. Recently, however, I just wanted her company. I played more Candy Land in two weeks than I had played in the entire past year.

Sometimes when it was very quiet I could hear piano music coming from Sara’s apartment upstairs. It was beautiful and stirred me in a way that I had not experienced before. Many times it became the background music as I dozed and dreamed of Meg in France. During this phase of dreams it seemed that one blended into another and then blended seamlessly with reality. I was often not aware of exactly when I awoke or fell asleep. It was probably the medicine I was taking. Much as I didn’t want to admit it, it was a good thing that Leigh had arranged to have a responsible adult in my apartment at almost all times. I could tell that she was frantically worried about me, but she would not talk about it. This was unlike her. Of course I did not talk about it either, but that was like me. I really only wanted to hang with Anna, write in my journal and sleep endlessly. I surprised myself at my ability to be listless and unproductive. These were new traits for me. Sometimes it felt like it could go on forever this way, but I knew Leigh was waiting for the next round of test results. She was poised to take action. If it was bad news she would put her foot down and move me into her guest room. I knew it was too much trouble to station people at my apartment if I really needed some serious looking after. It felt so odd to be in this position. I had always been one to find the stamina within to walk onward alone and determined. I couldn’t find it anywhere at present.  But even odder still, is that I found myself not really caring. My dreams seemed more like reality than my actual reality. I found myself confusing them sometimes. This did not phase Anna a bit. She was always able to keep up with my state of mind even if I was not able. It was just like another one of her make believe stories that she acted out with her dolls. Some of these appeared vaguely reminiscent of my dreams. She moved in and out of them and mine with ease.

My dreams during this period were fragmented slices of Meg’s experience in France. It was the bright spot in her life. It appeared that she spent approximately four years there. She spent her days surrounded by theatre life. It made her feel breathless and happy to be involved in the production of such whimsy although she never felt that she truly belonged in this arena. She fancied herself as a hen among swans. She made herself invaluable working long hours creating costumes, props, and sets. Her quirky wit and skill gained her acceptance and many friends. When her son Jackson was born he was well coddled by the entire dance troupe. There never seemed to be a shortage doting aunts and uncles. His early years were filled with the pomp and bustle of backstage existence. Meg’s adventure in France came to a grinding halt when news of her mother’s death reached her. Of course she needed to go home. Her heart was heavy to leave the life she had carved out for herself and her young son, but her strong sense of duty required her to do so. Play time was apparently over. Meg was immediately thrown into managing the pub upon her return. Her father was getting up there in years and the death of his wife seemed to rob him of his spirit. Danny didn’t have the inclination or the gumption to fill in the gap. He seemed to spend more than half of his waking hours drunk. In the time that she been away he had added to his girth and was missing a couple of his teeth. He still acted as though he thought that he was God’s gift to women. Meg was not the least bit interested in him anymore. After her experiences abroad, Danny appeared backward and bordering on pathetic. Jackson was the spitting image of his father with the exception of his mop of curly, tawny hair. Meg did not introduce Danny to Jackson as his father. Danny did not mention it either, but occasionally would make awkward and friendly overtures to his son. Jackson would respond good-naturedly, but other things and people were much more interesting to him.

The Peppertree Pub was in a run-down state when Meg encountered it after her absence. She was quite aghast at its’ condition. With determination she took the matter into her capable hands. She started off by dismissing all of the staff except Danny. She would have loved to oust him too, but knew that her father would not hear of it. She hired two middle aged women and a teenage boy and took to the task of revitalizing the family business. In six months the Peppertree Pub was once again a thriving watering hole. Meg tried not to think about the fact that her spirit was unhappy. Instead, she threw herself into the upkeep of the pub and her son. She believed that this would end up being her existence. Until by chance or fate two people came back into her life on the same day.

Chapter 1 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/chapter-1-this-week-chapter-2-next-week/

Chapter 2 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/chapter-two-of-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 3  https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/chapter-3-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 4 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/chapter-4-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 5 & 6 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/chapter-5-6-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 7 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/chapter-7-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 8 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/chapter-8-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 9 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/chapter-9-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 10 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/chapter-10-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 11 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/chapter-11-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 12 & 13 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/chapter-12-13-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 14 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/chapter-14-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 15 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/chapter-15-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 16 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/chapter-16-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 17 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/chapter-17-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 18 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/chapter-18-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 19 https://blog-kelliannesweeneydeardiary.com/2012/12/04/chapter-19-the-one-that-got-away/

“The One That Got Away” on amazon  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_9?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=kellianne+sweeney&sprefix=kellianne%2Cstripbooks%2C225

 

Chapter 19 “The One That Got Away”

Dear Diary,

book cover

Chapter 19 from “The One That Got Away”. Just a tad bit late. Links to the previous chapters and the link to purchase the novel on amazon follow the excerpt.

Chapter 19

         I awoke to the sound of Sponge Bob’s laughter. Sunlight was streaming in through the window and onto my face.  My body ached and my head throbbed unmercifully. I could tell I had a fever again. Without thinking, I brushed my hand on the empty space behind me…looking for…who? Not for Anna. She was sitting right in front of me. I quickly yanked my hand from the sheet and pressed both hands to my head. What time was it? I couldn’t seem to get my eyes to focus on the clock.

“He’s your friend, not mine. Don’t know him.” Anna did not look at me, but continued to nosh on a sprinkled, pink Pop-tart. Her eyes were glued to my T.V.  Sponge Bob blared on. Anna chuckled softly at something from the show and pulled my comforter closer around her small frame. I stared at my daughter for a moment, but didn’t say anything. I noticed that she had brought me breakfast too. A Pop-tart, a coffee cup filled with cold water, a spoon and the ancient jar of decaffeinated instant coffee that I kept around in case someone appeared in my house who desired such a thing. Well, it was the thought that counted.

“Who, baby? Who are you talking about?” I queried.

Anna continued to watch her show. “Someone is here sometimes. He is nice, but I don’t know him.”

“A man’s been in the house?” I had a momentary flash of panic and sat up abruptly. I regretted that immediately. My head spun sickeningly and the comforter slid off my unclothed chest. I flopped back down on my pillow and covered myself.

“No, Mama.” Anna rolled her eyes dramatically. “You know…he’s not really here…he’s just kinda here…you know?” She reached over to the foot of the bed and tossed my plaid pajamas onto my lap. “You know, Mama.” She fixed me with an intent and pointed look and then returned her attention to the T.V. program. “Sara brought some chicken soup for us. She said she knew you were sick today. I was going to bring it for breakfast but it was hot and I’d probably spill it and then you’d get mad.”

“Sara was here? Don’t ever open the door for anyone! Why didn’t you wake me up if there was someone at the door?” My own voice was reverberating in my head.

“But, Mama, it was just Sara.”

“How did you know that?” I demanded crossly.

“I just knew it, Mama.”Her voice quavered and her eyes filled with tears. “Don’t be mad, Mama.”

My anger melted instantly. “Come here, baby.” Anna buried her head in the crook of my neck and I hugged her tightly. It looked like I was going to have to call off work again today. I hated doing that. I was asking for too much time off of work lately. First moving and now the sick thing.

“Anna, thank you for breakfast.” I kissed her hair and stroked it out of her face. “Hey, can you get me my phone, my medicine and the Candy Land game?”

Anna’s eyes lit up at the mention of Candy Land. “You will play?” she chirped.

“Well, yes. What else would I want you to bring it for?”

Anna jumped out of bed, spraying Pop-tart crumbs in her wake. She scampered out of the room.

“Anna!” I called after her. “Put some socks on. It’s cold.”

“I hate socks,” came her muffled reply. “Put on your jammies, Mama!” I could hear her giggling about that.

I smirked and followed her directions.

Chapter 1 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/chapter-1-this-week-chapter-2-next-week/

Chapter 2 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/chapter-two-of-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 3  https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/chapter-3-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 4 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/chapter-4-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 5 & 6 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/chapter-5-6-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 7 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/chapter-7-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 8 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/chapter-8-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 9 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/chapter-9-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 10 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/chapter-10-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 11 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/chapter-11-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 12 & 13 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/chapter-12-13-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 14 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/chapter-14-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 15 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/chapter-15-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 16 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/chapter-16-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 17 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/chapter-17-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 18 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/chapter-18-the-one-that-got-away/

“The One That Got Away” on amazon  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_9?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=kellianne+sweeney&sprefix=kellianne%2Cstripbooks%2C225

Chapter 18 “The One That Got Away”

Dear Diary,

Whew! I am barely getting  in chapter 18 today. I hope your Monday treated you well. Links to the previous chapters and the amazon link to purchase the novel follow the excerpt.

Chapter 18

         Where was that cat? I would strangle her scrawny lil’ neck when I found her. No, I wouldn’t. I loved that cat, but I hated when she hid from me. It made me worry that she had somehow gotten outside. The last time she got out she was gone for a whole week and came back beaten and bloody. My bonny kitten had nearly died from her last adventure.

“Ach!” I exclaimed and pulled her out of my cupboard. “How dya get in thar? Yer such a naughty cat, Snowdrop,” I scolded. I lifted her up and buried my face in her silky, white fur. She purred loudly as I stroked her affectionately. My fingers passed over her head and found the remnants of a huge gash that had once crossed her face. I gently adjusted her head so that she fully faced the small mirror over my bureau.

“Not too shabby, my cailin. I can hardly see it no more. Yer face is beautiful again.”My gaze fell to my own reflection. “Me, on the other hand, needs a bit of help, there.” With my free hand I tried to poke escaping pieces of wild and frizzy auburn hair back into my haphazard bun. This attempt was rather futile. I gave up. I knew my eyes were my best quality. They were large and colored an intricate hazel with long, dark lashes. The rest of my face gave me fits. My nose was too big. People said that I had a charming smile and a merry laugh, but I knew my laugh was too loud and my smile mighta been  alright except for the tooth that had decided to grow practically sideways. At least I had all of my teeth. That’s more than a lot of folk could say. And then, Lordy! There was those freckles. I knew I spent too much time out of doors and thus I was cursed with freckling. I screwed my face into a wicked pout and stuck my tongue out at my reflection. My eyes traveled to survey the rest of my body. Not too poor, there. Maybe a might too short, though. But my breasts were large, my hips were wide and my waist was slim. Just what them boys found attractive. I had let two of them have me. I had wanted to see what all of the fuss was about. A lot of huffing and puffing on their part if you asked me, but I could tell that there was something more to it if it was done right. My closest friend, Rachel, as it were, insisted that when intercourse was done properly, it was quite heavenly. She called it ‘amour’. She was all fancy now that she lived in France and was dancing ballet over there. She even sprayed her letters to me with perfume. Anyhow, now that I had some experience, I was saving myself for the one that I had my eye on for some time. I was looking for it to be heavenly with that one.

“Meg!… Meghan!” I could hear my father bellowing from downstairs. “Where have you run off to?”

“You stay here.” I directed Snowdrop firmly. “And stay outta trouble.” I practically jumped out the door and closed it carefully behind me. I bolted down the winding staircase from my attic room to the second landing where my parents had their room as well as a few others that were rented out. He lived in one of them. I passed my hand over his door, as was my custom, and flew down the second staircase two steps at a time. I pushed open the creaky, battered door at the foot of the stairs with a bit too much momentum and it slammed against the opposite wall with a resounding bang. I cursed myself silently. This happened many times too often. The entire patronage in the Peppertree Pub instantly paused their eating, drinking, and merry making to gander at me.

“And there she is.” Danny smirked from behind the bar.  He chuckled softly, but his brown eyes twinkled madly. The waning sunlight shone on his near white blonde hair making it glow brightly. My heart stopped and I swallowed with difficulty. Saints be praised. He was such a dream.

“Good day, Meg.” “Hullo, Meggy.” “Evening, Meg.” A chorus of friendly voices wished me well.

“Aye! Good day to all ye fine gentlemen…and ladies,” I added upon seeing two females in the crowd. “Who needs a shebeen for thar parched throats?”

Several of the group answered in the affirmative, so I immediately bustled about collecting orders. Da’s face eased out of its stern parental expression and settled back into its usual good natured state. I purposefully ignored Danny as I flitted and flirted amongst my customers. I had to play coy. As I sauntered up to the bar, I tugged at my blouse to show just a bit more cleavage.

“Hullo, Danny. How’s yer day been?”

“Same as usual. What do ya need?” He put down the glass that he had been wiping and rested his elbows on the bar and leaned towards me. “Where have you been? We been busy down here.” He drawled the words making them sound provocative and sensual. My heart fluttered and I had to try real hard to be casual.

“Ach, Snowdrop, mostly. And I had a mending order to finish up. The O’Sullivans be pickin’ it up today.

“Ah, I am suposin’ they’ll be sendin’ that sweet tart Treasa to be pickin’ it up.” He looked off into some place in his mind that I was horrified to observe. Danny and Treasa? I shoulda known. That smarmy wench! My face flushed instantly vivid red. I was so furious that I wanted to spit. Instead, I relayed the drink order with exaggerated clarity. Danny laughed at me.

“Look at you, Meg! Somebody might think she was stealin’ your man! What? You want some of this man, little cailin?” He laughed uproariously and began to pour whiskey.

I was not able to speak because I was so angry. I stomped around to the back of the bar and pushed Danny out of my way. “I’ll get me own drinks!” I hissed viciously. He thought this was even more hilarious.

“Danny, go easy on the girl,” Da reprimanded him cheerfully. Then Da turned to me. “He’s no good for you, Meggy. He’s only trouble. He’s got his eye on every tail in Belfast.” My father helped me put the rest of the drinks on the tray and saw that I had tears in my eyes. “After you give out these drinks, go bring Ma some chowder. Take yerself a wee minute, Meg.”

I delivered the beverages to their thirsty mouths and would not once glance at Danny. I could hear without looking that he had gotten into an animated conversation with a couple of the shipyard regulars. He didn’t even care that he had humiliated me and stepped on me poor heart. Arse. But I still longed for him to hold me. I concentrated on appearing somewhat polite as I finished my business. Most of the people in the pub had known me since I was a wee one playing under the tables and getting into any sort of trouble that I could find. Some of them attempted to start a conversation with me, but I brushed them off today. I wasn’t in the mood. When my deliveries were complete, I headed straight for the small kitchen. I ladled a generous portion of potato corn chowder into a crock. I pulled off a hunk of bread and sliced a triangle of cheese from the cheddar wheel and placed them both on the cleanest plate I could find. Guess I needed to get back here and wash some of them dishes. Da was a first rate cook, but not much for cleaning up. Drat! I had left my tray on the bar ledge. I was not about to go back in there and risk making eye contact with Danny. I bit my lip angrily. I had to figure out how to get that man’s attention. I rummaged around until I located another tray. I brushed it off as best I could and had to peel off some sort of dried something that was stuck to it. I perfunctorily slapped my mother’s supper onto the tray and headed to her room. She had been feeling poorly most of this past year and couldn’t get around too easily. I opened the door quietly, so as not to disturb her if she were sleeping. She was not. She was settled in her favorite chair by the window overlooking the harbor. She had an open letter on her lap and a few more on the small table next to her. I wondered excitedly if there was a letter from Rachel. I just adored hearing about her adventures. Ma had been looking out over the harbor, but turned her head slowly to me as I entered.

“I heard your father raising his voice to you. You know he counts on you to be downstairs before the shipyard lets out.” Her voice was reproachful, but strained by her debilitating illness.

“I know, Ma, but I had to finish up the O’Sullivan’s mending…and Snowdrop…I couldn’t find her again.”

I set the tray on the other chair while I moved the letters to make room for my mother’s meal. I was itchin’ to look through them letters, but I knew that I would be scolded for being nosy.

“Aye, that cat is too much.” My mother sighed. “And I know too much is being asked of you. Takin’ all of me mending jobs now that me hands don’t work right as well as helpin’ Da keep up downstairs. Yer a good daughter, Meg.” She beckoned me to come close so that she could place a kiss on my forehead. I obliged.

“Ma, is there a letter from Rachel?” I arranged her supper on the lace doily that covered the table.

“No, mo chroi. But me thinks she fills yer head with foolish thoughts. I do have letters here from both of your brothers today. Finn has found work at a shipyard in a town called Boston. I am so relieved he has found work. He speaks of difficulties for the Irish finding work over there in America. Muriel is with child again.” Ma clucked her tongue and frowned. “I just don’t know why they needed to go and move so far away.” She picked up the letter on her lap. “This here letter is from Owen. It is typical short. He writes that his ship has docked in India. He sent us a wee bit of spice called…turmeric.  It is quite nice.” She held out a small yellow stained parchment for my inspection.

“Meg!” My father was calling me again.

I rolled my eyes and quickly took the letter and spice from her and placed it on the bed with the other letters so that she could eat. I bussed her cheek before grabbing my tray and heading back downstairs.

Da poked his head into the stairwell. “Ya got that there mendin’ Meggie? Them folks are here for it.”

“Ach!” I turned right back around and ran all of the way up to my attic room to retrieve the clothing. I gathered it swiftly and almost closed the door on Snowdrop who was trying to make a break for it. “Ah! No you don’t!” I admonished her and pushed her back into the room with my foot. I shut my door firmly and hurried downstairs. I somehow remembered not to slam the lower door open. As I stepped into the common room, I froze. Treasa O’Sullivan was hanging on the bar and Danny was hanging on her. Their noses couldn’t be but an inch apart. Da looked at me and then looked to see what I was looking at. I found my tongue, but my voice was low and forced.

“Da, can you? I can’t.”

Da sighed in exasperation and took the basket of clothes from my outstretched hand. “Woman-folk,” he muttered as he walked over to give Treasa the basket.

I retreated back into the stairwell and shut the door. I sat on the steps and cried.

 

Chapter 1 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/chapter-1-this-week-chapter-2-next-week/

Chapter 2 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/chapter-two-of-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 3  https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/chapter-3-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 4 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/chapter-4-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 5 & 6 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/chapter-5-6-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 7 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/chapter-7-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 8 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/chapter-8-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 9 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/chapter-9-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 10 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/chapter-10-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 11 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/chapter-11-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 12 & 13 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/chapter-12-13-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 14 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/chapter-14-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 15 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/chapter-15-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 16 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/chapter-16-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 17 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/chapter-17-the-one-that-got-away/

“The One That Got Away” on amazon  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_9?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=kellianne+sweeney&sprefix=kellianne%2Cstripbooks%2C225

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Chapter 19

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.

“Sara.”

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 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/chapter-1-this-week-chapter-2-next-week/

Chapter 2 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/chapter-two-of-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 3  https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/chapter-3-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 4 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/chapter-4-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 5 & 6 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/chapter-5-6-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 7 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/chapter-7-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 8 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/chapter-8-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 9 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/chapter-9-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 10 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/chapter-10-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 11 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/chapter-11-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 12 & 13 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/chapter-12-13-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 14 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/chapter-14-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 15 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/chapter-15-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 16 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/chapter-16-the-one-that-got-away/

“The One That Got Away” on amazon  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_9?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=kellianne+sweeney&sprefix=kellianne%2Cstripbooks%2C225

Chapter 16 “The One That Got Away”

Dear Diary,

I hope your Monday is treating you well. Chapter 16 is up. I will only post a few more chapters before I leave you hanging! Links to the previous chapters and the link to purchase “The One That Got Away” follow the excerpt.

Chapter 16

         I was mist. Unhampered by any physical restraints. All of my thoughts were simultaneously and instantly available. There were others around me. Freely flowing, intermingled, but somehow separate too. As I glided past another I would briefly touch their essence. Most were familiar in some way, but some were unknown to me. There was also a sense of being watched over in a completely protected way. The feeling of peace and calm that existed in the dream felt overwhelming to me. In real life, even when you are feeling happy there is always something to worry about in the back of your mind. The total absence of any sort of worry felt odd indeed. The serene drifting was violently interrupted by a static filled version of “Proud Mary” on my radio alarm clock. Anna was always messing around with it so I never knew what sort of music or volume that I would end up with. I batted at it inefficiently attempting to slap down the snooze button. I eventually succeeded, but in the process I toppled a glass of water that was setting next to it.

“Oh, great,” I muttered as I fumbled to turn on the table lamp in order to survey the damage. Fortunately, the glass did not appear to be broken, but water had washed down the back of the nightstand and had settled into the beige carpet. So now my apartment was officially christened. I sat on the edge of the bed and scratched at my head rapidly with both hands to assist myself in waking up. My headache was low and mildly throbbing this morning. I had actually stayed another whole day with Leigh because I had continued to be feverish and dizzy. I had also called out sick from work yesterday, but I planned to work the dinner shift tonight. I promised Leigh that I would go this morning for the blood work and x-rays. I was really going to do it. However, I had insisted on coming back to my new apartment last night. I really needed to start getting this place organized. No one likes to be living out of boxes. At least I don’t think anyone does. Anna was still at Leigh’s house. I would pick her up after work tonight. It was still dark outside. The quiet was deafening, but I was liking it just now. I eyed the sodden spot behind the nightstand and toyed with the idea of turning off the light and curling back up in my bed. I looked out of my curtain-less window and saw a neighbor’s light pop on. This reminded me that I was now participating in the ‘fishbowl effect’. I hastily turned the light off. I hate the idea of being seen floating in my lighted window by anyone wandering by or looking out their own window. I sat there in the dark for a few minutes absorbing it and the silence. It felt comforting. I closed my eyes and let myself be engulfed by it. I tried to clear my mind. The only thing I was really having trouble dismissing was the desire for a cigarette. As I was focusing on trying to eliminate that thought I was startled by the whisper of a kiss brushing across my cheek. At least that’s what it felt like. I jumped up, clasping my hand to my cheek. My first crazy thought was that I needed to hold it there. I felt tingly all over and I shivered suddenly. Then, reality took hold. It most certainly had to be a bug. I frantically brushed at my face and hair and my pajamas for good measure. Light! Light would be good. I almost knocked the lamp over trying to get it on. I apprehensively searched every visible part of me for the offending insect. I scrubbed at my hair and watched to see if any small crawly creature leaped out. Then I stripped off my flannel top and bottoms and dropped them in a heap on the floor. I nudged them with my foot to encourage any stowaway to withdraw from its hiding place. I realized with a start that I was standing naked in front of my window. I didn’t wait to see if my wakeful neighbor was viewing my nutty antics. I left my room immediately. Apparently, a shower was first on my list of things to do this morning. As I hurried down the hall to the bathroom I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was someone waiting in my room. And it wasn’t a bug.

Chapter 1 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/chapter-1-this-week-chapter-2-next-week/

Chapter 2 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/chapter-two-of-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 3  https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/chapter-3-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 4 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/chapter-4-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 5 & 6 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/chapter-5-6-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 7 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/chapter-7-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 8 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/chapter-8-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 9 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/chapter-9-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 10 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/chapter-10-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 11 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/chapter-11-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 12 & 13 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/chapter-12-13-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 14 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/chapter-14-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 15 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/chapter-15-the-one-that-got-away/

“The One That Got Away” on amazon  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_9?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=kellianne+sweeney&sprefix=kellianne%2Cstripbooks%2C225

 

 

 

Chapter 15 “The One That Got Away”

Dear Diary,

Chapter 15 from “The One That Got Away” for you. Links to the previous chapters and the link to purchase the novel on amazon follow the excerpt.

Chapter 15

         I couldn’t quite wake up. It was definitely morning. Dismal light seeped into Leigh’s family room. I could hear a hard rain pelting the outside of the house and wind whining pitifully at sporadic intervals. I could hear the chirping rise and fall of Anna and her cousins’ voices from the bedroom. I could hear Leigh moving about the kitchen and clanging various cooking tools in the breakfast production. The enticing smell of bacon filled my nose. I had an excruciating headache just now and my body felt achy and hot with fever. I groaned softly and threw the blanket off. I pressed my hands to my head trying to relieve the pressure. I needed my medicine. No one appeared to be within plaintive wailing distance. My head hurt so badly that I was having trouble focusing properly. It seemed more sensible to leave my eyes closed. I was sure that if I stood up I would pass right out. Didn’t really want to go there. I heard a child run jauntily into the room and purposefully skid with her sock enclosed feet. I squinted my eyes open and saw Kate across the hall searching the living room for some lost and needed object of play.

“Kate,” I croaked. She didn’t hear me. “Kate!” She paused, poised to move a chair to look behind it. She immediately abandoned her quest and scampered over to me.

“Yes, Aunt Wendy?” My six year old niece twisted a strand of her shockingly orange shoulder length hair and waited expectantly. Her eyes were large and green but her nose and her mouth were small and thin. What I loved most about her appearance was the generous smattering of freckles on her face.

“Can you bring me my purse and a glass of water, please? Thank you, Kate.” I smiled feebly at my niece. The selected piece of hair had now traveled into her mouth and she chewed as she answered.

“Okay.”

Kate sped off into the kitchen, being sure to slide the last few feet. Leigh came through the doorway almost instantly, wiping her hands with a dish towel. This had not been my intention, but had been my prediction. Leigh took one look at me and announced matter-of-factly, “Wendy, you look like crap. I knew you were over working yourself….” Leigh kept going, but I tuned her out. I was sure it was more of the same lecture that I had heard before. Her voice seemed to make my head vibrate. Sounds seemed so loud and uncomfortable. I resisted the urge to bury my head into the pillow. I needed my medicine. I saw Kate appear behind Leigh tiptoeing with a large glass filled to the brim with water. Her face was screwed up in concentration as she tried to prevent the water from slopping over the edges. She was only partially successful. She set the glass as carefully as she could onto the coffee table. It ultimately ended up resting in a small puddle. She extracted my heavy, oversized purse from her diminutive shoulder and struggled to deposit it onto the table. It landed with a thud, causing additional water to slosh out of the glass. I watched as the puddle expanded and created a tributary heading straight towards my purse.

“Kate! You’re making a mess!” Leigh interrupted her own diatribe to scold her daughter. She immediately rescued my purse by flinging it into my lap and then swiftly mopped up the spill with the dish towel. Kate scurried away.

“Thanks, Kate!” I called after her and began rummaging in the contents of my purse for my medicine. After pushing aside two pens, three receipts, a small bottle of hand sanitizer and a purple rubber frog, I located it. I pulled it out triumphantly and popped out two tablets. Leigh handed me the glass of water. I took it from her gratefully and drained the entire glass after swallowing the pills.

Leigh studied me with her hands on her hips. “You didn’t have the X-rays and blood work done, did you? I can’t believe I forgot to ask you about that before. What if you have cancer or something else serious? You can’t just bury your head in the sand about this, Wendy. I know that’s what you do. You think if you ignore things they’ll just go away. But they don’t, Wendy. You know Mom would have lived many more years if her cancer was diagnosed earlier. But you’re acting just like her! When she finally got medical help she was in such a mess that there wasn’t much they could do for her. You know this! Are you trying to do this to me again?”

Now she was crying. She sat down on the couch next to me and wiped at her tears impatiently. Mom was shut away in one of my other mental boxes. As long as I could remember, Mom had been a chain smoking, cantankerous loner. At some point I decided that I didn’t need anything from her. But it was very hard on Leigh. She needed much more approval and attention than my mother was willing to give. We never knew our father. I only knew that his name was Hal and that he was an ‘insufferable bastard’. I had found a picture of Hal and mom once when I was a child. In the picture they looked happy enough. I slept with it under my pillow for about a week until Mom found it when she was changing the sheets. She had never said anything, but, hard as I tried, I was never able to find it again. Watching Mom succumb to cancer was very painful. She complained bitterly about the whole process as she was subjected to horrifying amounts of medication and intensive chemotherapy. Her condition never improved. She was reduced to a beady-eyed shell of a woman by the time she finally died.  Oddly enough, that was when I went into nursing. I say oddly because my mother’s medical experience created in me a real aversion for this field. I have often puzzled over my determination to become involved it. I don’t think it was to try to make it better. Maybe it was to learn more about this demon and to flirt with it. After I got my nursing license I would only work in doctor’s offices. I was not willing to work in a hospital. As a matter of fact when I had to do training in the hospital it gave me the creeps. Of course I would never show this. It was something to be overcome and harnessed. Well, maybe there’s my answer. I also had much more of an idea about what was really wrong with me. I just wasn’t ready to admit it to myself yet. Leigh was right.

I reached to put my arm around Leigh’s shoulder. She rested her head there for only a fraction of an instant before she popped back up and slapped her hand on my forehead.

“Wendy, you are burning up!” she exclaimed. “Let’s get you to the guest room. Don’t you even think about doing anything but rest today.” She gave me the ‘evil eye’ and dared me to argue.

“I don’t have time to be sick,” I protested half heartedly.

“Who does?” Leigh retorted.

I really did feel awful. Maybe a day of rest wasn’t so bad. I wasn’t scheduled to work at Jake’s until tomorrow.

“Let’s go, girl.” Leigh was already halfway across the room. I hesitated. I really was afraid that I would pass out if I got up, but I didn’t want to say so.

“Leigh, I’m kind of dizzy. Can you…”

Leigh was back in a flash. Glad to be needed, I am sure. Why was it so hard for me to ask for help, even from my own sister? Leigh assisted me in walking to the guest room with her arm steadily around my shoulders. She said nothing as we slowly covered the distance. My vision swam a bit twice, but I was able to stay on top of it. As I lowered myself onto the bed and snuggled inside, I noticed that the bedspread was the same color blue as the couch in Alice’s parents’ house.

After Leigh was satisfied that I was appropriately settled, she informed me that she would be back momentarily with ibuprofen. She closed the door after her and I could hear her shushing the girls who were clamoring to come inside.

“She’s sick and she needs rest. Come on, breakfast is almost ready. Kate and Anna, you set the table and Franny, I want you to pour juice for everybody.”

The multitude of footsteps creaked down the hall. I tried to find a comfortable position. It was not easy. I felt so exhausted. I was almost asleep when Leigh came with more medicine. I took it dutifully and went back to the business of trying to go to sleep. I basically ended up sleeping the whole day away. Some parts were completely dreamless, but most of it was Alice’s life as Silent Willow. Snatches of her existence revolved and blended, jumped and scattered. The pieces were mostly uneventful and in a random order. They were like the little parts of memory that pop into your mind as you are doing something else. By stringing them all together they wove into a full quilt of a life. Alice lived out her days in the Indian village. She was given everything but her freedom. She never fully embraced the Indian ways, but accepted her situation as her lot in life. She became a valued and contributing member of the tribe. She performed her duties with poise, but was rarely known to laugh. Laughing was kept mostly for the children of the tribe and her own. She bore and raised four healthy children. When her first child became school age she started a school for all of the children. She taught them a mixture of lessons from her own background as well as some of the new skills she had learned from her Indian family. Towards the end of her life she became merely known as ‘Teacher’. As an old woman she contracted an illness which resulted in her death. The last day of her life she slipped in and out of consciousness. When she was awake, she kept insisting that her missing son was still alive. Throughout the many years that she lived with the tribe she had never mentioned her son again after that first year. Grass Blossom was with her almost constantly during her last sickness. Silent Willow would not be comforted until Grass Blossom promised to seek out her son. The promise was the last memory from Alice that I could find. After that there was nothingness. I searched within my dreams for Alice, but found only blackness. I settled into a deep, heavy sleep.

It was almost evening by the time I would consider myself fully awake. I felt hollow and alone. I knew that Alice was gone and that I would not dream of her again. I would miss her. Her pain and hopes had been so tangible. A life lived unimportant and unknown, but vibrant just the same. Throughout time people live and die, struggling to fulfill their destinies, experiencing exhilarating joy and deep sorrow and then it appears that it’s just over. History remembers some people, but most slide into silent oblivion without a ripple leaving only their name and descendents that have no recollection of them. Their experiences and life sparks were no less absolute than those living today. And what of those spirited individuals that glowed so brightly that they made a larger than life impact upon others? The ones that History remembers? They just disappear too. It somehow just didn’t sit right with me. It seemed there should be more to it.

I still felt very sick. I rolled over and wiped some excess drool from the corner of my mouth. Ick. I flipped the pillow over to avoid the offending wet spot. Even this small procedure made my head spin. Okay. I would go have the blood work and X-rays done. I could feel myself filling with dread. I knew deep inside that there was something terribly wrong with me.

 

Chapter 1 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/chapter-1-this-week-chapter-2-next-week/

Chapter 2 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/chapter-two-of-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 3  https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/chapter-3-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 4 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/chapter-4-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 5 & 6 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/chapter-5-6-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 7 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/chapter-7-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 8 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/chapter-8-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 9 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/chapter-9-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 10 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/chapter-10-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 11 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/chapter-11-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 12 & 13 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/chapter-12-13-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 14 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/chapter-14-the-one-that-got-away/

“The One That Got Away” on amazon  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_9?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=kellianne+sweeney&sprefix=kellianne%2Cstripbooks%2C225

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 14 “The One That Got Away”

Dear Diary, 

Here is chapter 14 from “The One That Got Away”. Links to the previous chapters and the link to purchase the novel follow the excerpt. Thanks for your continuing interest!

Chapter 14

         The dress was quite handsome. It too was made from linen, but was styled in the Indian fashion. Moon Flower and her daughter-in-laws had embroidered intricate bead patterns in many colors. These glass fragment pictures told a story. There was one section that depicted Moon Flower and Grass Blossom caring for me in my sickness. Another was a scene of me sitting in my favorite spot by the stream. Another picture showed Straight Arrow and I holding hands in ceremony. Scattered in various positions were willow trees, wild flowers and ears of corn. These were symbols that had become associated with me.

I was seated on the floor of the home that Straight Arrow and I were to share as a couple. I fingered one of the wild flowers sewn onto my dress absently as Straight Arrow readied the ceremonial pipe. I was feeling a bit giddy from partaking in the first round of pipe smoking at the public ceremony of our joining. Up until today I had always declined any sort of smoking as any proper woman should. Moon Flower had insisted to me that I would not refuse the pipe during the ceremony of our joining. Its contents had a strange effect on me. I actually felt very content as a result. At the moment I was rather stuck trying to remember the last time I had felt at peace. It was certainly before the whole cross country trip had started. It was probably even before I had gotten married to Joshua. My mind wandered sluggishly over and around this thought as my eyes traveled to my new husband. Very odd that I should find myself in such a position. My former life felt as a distant dream. As my thoughts roamed into this arena it did not sear my heart or drop my stomach as it usually did. Worrisome things seemed not to matter so much at the moment. I could think about that later. My eyes beheld Straight Arrow’s profile as if for the first time. It struck me suddenly how very attractive he was. A beautiful man. He sensed my stare. He turned his head in my direction and a small smile played on his lips. He completed his preparations and then sat across from me. He placed the pipe between us on its ornamental stand. I eyed the pipe warily and reminded myself that this was the last time that I had to use it. Straight Arrow waited patiently for my gaze to return to his face. When it did, he gave me that slight smile again and took both of my hands in one of his large slender hands. With the other, he placed something smooth and cool in my palms. I held my hands closed for a moment, not daring to look. Could it be what I thought it was? I opened my hands just a little and saw the firelight glint off of the tarnished metal. Yes. My locket! Polly’s locket. I had thought it gone forever. I opened my hands fully and let the fire light play on its surface. I was mesmerized and afraid that it would suddenly disappear from my sight. I looked up at Straight Arrow with joy and touched his cheek quickly in thanks. My fingers fumbled and trembled as I opened the locket. I felt my heart would burst. Memories rushed at me as a tide when I peered at the tiny painting of my sister and I. I clutched it to my breast and thanked him once again. His large supple mouth pulled into a full grin and his eyes danced merrily.  I hastily latched the necklace around my neck. I pressed it to my skin, wanting its essence to sink inside of me. He was offering me the pipe. I took it and breathed in a full swallow. I choked and sputtered as delicately as I could manage and gave it back to him. He inhaled twice before placing it upon the stand. He fixed me with his deep set eyes and slowly reached over to finger my long pale hair between his thumb and forefinger. He seemed rather fascinated by it. I wondered as if from far away how this would go. I felt fuzzy and warm and more than slightly euphoric. I had seen the pipe smoking have this effect on others. I watched with detachment as Straight Arrow moved his fingers to the raw hide lacing at the front of my dress. He deftly and unhurriedly loosened it. He pushed his hands inside of the fabric and grasped my breasts firmly, forcing the shoulders of my dress to fall away. Each of his thumbs pushed at my nipples and his mouth found the crook of my neck. I gasped in surprise at the way it made me feel. The pleasurable sensation was deep and urgent and completely foreign to me. Joshua had never acted in this manner. My former sexual interactions had been very basic and lackluster. I closed my eyes as he continued to remove my clothing. His kiss extended downward and dwelled in the area directly above my navel. I found myself  cradling his head with my hands. This sensual experience was electric and new, but strangely familiar from somewhere else. I opened my eyes and looked over Straight Arrow’s shoulder to see a shadowy vision of a man. His sandy, disarrayed hair partially obscured his intense gray eyes. It seemed I always had to brush his hair out of his eyes to look into them. I longed to stroke his hair and to kiss his lips. I knew Ralf was not really there. I reached a hand in his direction. And then he was gone and I succumbed to the reality that I was currently participating in. The pipe would never pass between my lips again.

Chapter 1 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/chapter-1-this-week-chapter-2-next-week/

Chapter 2 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/chapter-two-of-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 3  https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/chapter-3-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 4 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/chapter-4-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 5 & 6 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/chapter-5-6-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 7 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/chapter-7-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 8 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/chapter-8-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 9 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/chapter-9-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 10 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/chapter-10-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 11 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/chapter-11-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 12 & 13 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/chapter-12-13-the-one-that-got-away/

“The One That Got Away” on amazon http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_9?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=kellianne+sweeney&sprefix=kellianne%2Cstripbooks%2C225

 

Chapter 11 “The One That Got Away”

Dear Diary,

Another intense chapter for you. Links to previous chapters and the amazon link to purchase the novel follow the excerpt. Thank you for your interest!

Chapter 11

         It was becoming dark and I was tired to the bone. I was sitting on one of the water barrels watching the sun seep down under the wide endless prairie. The festive autumn leaves were losing their dazzling brilliance and being replaced by shadows. I pulled my cloak tighter around myself but couldn’t quite wrap it closed because of my extended belly. I sighed. My breath entered the air in front of me as a tiny puff of smoke. My fingers reached for Polly’s locket around my throat and caressed it. Tears stung my eyes. How I missed my little sister. My hands traveled to my unborn child. Maybe if it was a girl Joshua would allow me to name her after Polly. But I would really call her Elizabeth. Or maybe Beth. I winced as my raw hands caught on the rough fabric of my cloak. The cold and the repeated scrubbing of the iron cooking pots was shredding the skin on my once delicate hands. One of the women traveling with us had offered me some sort of salve to apply to my hands, but I couldn’t stand the way it smelled so I would not use it. She had called me ungrateful and wasn’t currently speaking to me. I didn’t care. Though I was ashamed of myself that I didn’t. I wasn’t brought up to be impolite and sullen. I was just so tired and uncomfortable with this baby and the endless traveling. I wasn’t used to feeling drained and unmotivated. I had anticipated myself as being energetic and ambitious on this challenging journey. I felt that I had been cooperative and pleasant for the first few weeks of the trip, but then I had become so ill with my unexpected pregnancy. Several of the women in our party had plenty of advice to give, but much of it could not be applied to our current living conditions. I had told myself that I had made every attempt to be friendly and obliging to my fellow traveling women, but I just did not feel particularly connected with any of them. There were several family groups who already knew each other previous to our trip. Joshua was familiar with one of the men from a former business relation, but his wife was a peevish, high minded sort. At this point I was homesick, ill, sleepless and unable to perform almost any task without difficulty. I felt that if I could have a real bath, a real bed, completely clean clothes and Polly for just a few hours I would swoon with happiness. I sighed again and reached over to the wagon ledge where I had set my tin cup of coffee. I wrapped my fingers around it and felt that it was almost cold. I took a long drink of the acrid beverage and felt its warmth descend inside of me. The baby kicked suddenly and made me gasp in surprise. I readjusted my sitting position and tried to push the child’s limbs back into a less uncomfortable location. My belly felt unusually stiff to my touch and a painful cramping began low and moved upwards. I breathed unevenly until the sensation passed. The other women had told me that this was normal as one neared the end of a pregnancy. Their best guess was that I had one and a half months left until I bore the child. Joshua was quite determined that we reach our destination before the birth. I could tell that recently he had begun to doubt this outcome, but we did not speak of it. Our journey had been fraught with forced stops to repair wagons and detours to avoid particularly angry groups of Indians. In a couple of months winter would be upon us. I shivered and drained the last of the coffee. I wanted to write Polly again, but it was getting too dark.

Joshua appeared from the shadows.

“Come, Alice. Let us rest.”

His face was drawn and he looked almost as weary as I felt. He had been struggling with influenza and had spent most of the evening trying to fortify the spokes on one of our wheels. It had not been performing properly and Joshua was an advocate of prevention measures. He extended me his hand to help me ease off of the barrel. He then offered me the crook of his elbow. I placed my hand there gratefully and took a few awkward steps before suddenly doubling over from a sharp pain that laced its’ way across my abdomen.

“Oh!” I squeaked.

“Alice!” Joshua instantly placed his hands on both of shoulders to steady me. “You can’t be…is the pain strong?”

“I…uh…” I had to stop speaking for a moment to breathe. “It is painful…but…now it is ceasing.”

Joshua put one arm around my shoulders and held my hand with his other. “You must rest, Alice. It is not time.” The light was too dim to see his expression, but I could hear the poorly veiled nervousness in his voice. Joshua was one that needed to have order and planfulness in his existence. He was finding that there were precious few of these qualities on a venture such as this.

One of our neighbors queried Joshua about whether all was well. He answered politely in the affirmative. He carefully assisted me into the back of the wagon and made preparations for bed. I was so exhausted that I elected not to change into my nightclothes. Instead, I immediately settled into the straw mattress and pulled the blankets around me snugly. Joshua silently performed his pre sleep rituals and then lay beside me. He placed one hand protectively on my arm.

“How do you feel?” he asked, trying to keep the apprehension out of his voice.

“All is well,” I answered sleepily.

He allowed himself a sigh and turned to face away from me so as not to expose me to his cold.

“Good night, Alice.”

“Good night, Joshua.”

I slept fitfully. The portable bedding that we slept upon would be uncomfortable even if you did not have a large, protruding belly. I tossed and turned and tried to ignore the fact that I had a pressing urge to urinate. I could finally contain this need no longer. I extracted myself from my bed and stood slowly and carefully. I tiptoed to the edge of the wagon so as not to awaken Joshua. Poor man needed his rest. He was snoring unusually loudly due to the influenza symptoms. I shivered and wrapped an extra cloak around my shoulders before attempting the arduous task of descending out of the wagon. As I alighted, I took a moment to smell the October air. I loved the distinct scent of fall. I adjusted the awkwardly positioned cloaks before starting the short trek to the line of trees on the edge of our camp. I was thankful that I had been too lazy to even remove my boots last night. Donning and lacing up my boots had become quite a difficult task as my girth had grown. I smiled to myself thinking about how appalled my former self would have been to know that months later I would actually be sleeping in my clothes and boots. I looked up at the stars and reminded myself to appreciate their beauty. Morning was extending her fingers over the horizon. Then the endless travel would begin again. I emitted a sigh as I entered the fringe of trees and prepared to relieve myself. I would never become accustomed to doing this in the grass. Upon the conclusion of my business, I stood up awkwardly and felt something catch in my side and heard a faint simultaneous popping sound. Liquid gushed down between my legs and created an instant puddle at my feet. I froze in shock. Disbelief pushed everything out of my mind. How could? Why? Then realization dawned on me and a flutter of anxiety immediately after that. My waters had broken. The baby was coming. My mind raced as I tried to place my cloaks in a way that hid my very damp state. I could still feel a slow trickle and my belly felt extremely tight. Mary Franklin would be the one to go to. She seemed to have the most experience and knowledge about birthing babies. She had been quite helpful to another woman that had given birth on the trail. However, we had been on the outskirts of a town when this woman had begun her labor. This was not the case at the moment. We were far from any sort of town. Of course the first thing that I needed to do was wake Joshua. He would be distressed that the baby was early and would be born without the comforts and facilities that a town would provide. I stifled my growing fear for the welfare of my child. No. I was determined that this child would thrive. I would do all in my power and then more. As if on cue, I saw Joshua’s sleep tousled mane of blonde hair emerge from the back of the wagon. He immediately looked in my direction anticipating the reason for my absence. I was too far to see his expression, but I was sure that it pictured stern disapproval. He always insisted that I let him accompany me for safety purposes if I had to venture outside camp for such reasons. But I was rather stubborn about this particular subject. I felt very uncomfortable performing this need while he waited nearby. Joshua jumped lithely out of the wagon and took a total of two steps in my direction before stopping dead in his tracks. I was puzzled for the merest fraction of a moment. I heard it before I saw it. It pierced my mind and soul before I even knew the origin. A blood curdling wave of high pitched voices combined as one. I had lifted my skirts and had been about to step into the brush to head back to camp, but dropped them and my foot abruptly upon hearing this unearthly wail. My legs almost buckled in fear. I watched in pure horror as a deluge of brightly painted Indians descended upon our sleeping camp. This area was not known to be defended by Indians. Joshua gestured wildly for me to go to the woods behind me. Then he jumped back to the wagon and reappeared with his rifle. I didn’t move. I felt paralyzed watching the scene playing out in front of me. Joshua fired off three shots before he was shot himself and overtaken by several of the mob. Then the terrified screams of women, children and men began. The sound built and rose until it was as loud as and intertwined with the war cries. I covered my ears and pushed hard trying to force the horrifying sound out of my head. Some of the families had started to come out of their wagons to defend or flee. Some never even made it out. The Indians were fierce and efficient. Suddenly, I was knocked to the ground by the force of a bullet lodging itself into my left shoulder. This seemed to awaken my sense. It gave me the adrenaline and gumption to jump into action. I scrambled desperately to my feet despite the searing pain in my shoulder. I half stumbled, half ran into the forest. I began to sob uncontrollably. I hurtled myself into the unknown. Where would I go? This thought seemed almost beside the point. The sheer instinct to survive pushed my feet forward amazingly swiftly for a woman in my condition. I don’t know how far I ran before I was abruptly grappled by intense abdominal pain. It brought me instantly to my knees. I emitted a low guttural cry before clamping my hands over my mouth. Quiet! I must be quiet! The burning pain in my shoulder blended with the unbearable cramping that squeezed my belly. I bit down hard on my own palm to prevent myself from screaming. The baby was coming! Could not be coming! My body pushed without thought of timing or circumstances. I lay on the ground panting and writhing in agony. I drew blood from my own hands in an effort to remain silent. I began to feel light headed and had to remove my hands to gulp in more air. The baby was coming. I hastily ripped my pantalets away and lay back on the damp musty leaves. Their scent filled my nose as I clenched my teeth and focused fiercely on the brilliantly colored foliage above me. I dug my fingers into the dirt and leaves beside me and pushed with everything that I had. The baby slid out onto the blanket of leaves. I immediately struggled to a sitting position and frantically pushed my filthy skirts away. A small groan of surprise and dismay escaped my lips and I felt additional panic rising upon my already agitated state. I was not expecting my baby to be coated with blood and slime. A boy. But he was not moving.

“He’s dead. He’s dead. He’s dead,” I found myself whimpering pitifully. All purpose and hope seemed to leave me and tears streamed down my dirty cheeks as I stared at my still child. I picked him up and gently plucked away the two burgundy leaves that were stuck to his face. I wiped at the viscous fluid that covered his features. He was still warm. I had to keep him warm. I had lost one of my cloaks in my dash across the forest, but I used the other one to carefully clean him. I blocked everything from my mind and concentrated on cleaning and caressing my newborn son. I had heard the women talk of the long tube that connects a child to his mother and that it needed to be severed. With one hand I rummaged in my immediate vicinity for a stick sharp enough for the task. I sawed and poked and pried with the inefficient utensil until it came free. I somehow managed to knot it. My heart ached as I hummed a tuneless, comforting song for my child. And then without warning he gasped in a gurgling breath of air, sputtered, sneezed and began to wail loudly. I almost dropped him in shock and surprise, but I quickly regained my sense and pulled him tightly to my bosom. His cry seemed to echo amongst the beautifully colored trees insisting that he live. That this small life was important in the midst of the turmoil and death that surrounded his birth. I clutched him more firmly and began to rock to calm him. As he quieted, I pulled him back a little to gaze upon my miracle. I was quite startled to observe additional fresh blood smudged on his face. My first panicked thought was to search his small body for a wound, but then I realized that the blood’s source was my own shoulder. Strangely, I had almost forgotten about my shoulder. The pain quickly reregistered in my brain and its’ throbbing intensity became quite excruciating. Once again I ignored it to attend to more important matters. After removing my blood from my son’s face, I held him close to my other breast. I patted his back soothingly and rocked as I sat in a pile of leaves in the middle of an unknown forest. I began to wonder what my next step should be. My thoughts did not get far before I became aware that I was not alone. I had not heard them approach. As if from nowhere, two Indian males stood before me, guns cocked and pointed. There was not a shred of kindness in their eyes. I froze. The only movement seemed to be my heart beating violently in my throat. The only sound was the blood rushing madly in my ears. I felt myself begin to faint, but I forced it away. I needed to protect my baby.  The older one motioned to the younger one and uttered two guttural syllables. The younger one slowly lowered his weapon to the ground and then swiftly lunged at me, graceful as a cat. I did not know exactly his intention, but I was certain that it was not good. I covered my child with my body and tried to move away from him. At the touch of his fingertips I screamed deeply, loudly. He yanked me to my feet so roughly that I almost dropped my baby. I tightened my grip. Dizziness and pain from my wound exploded into my head. The two men seemed to swim in my vision and I would have toppled to the ground had not the young Indian been holding me up. They exchanged a few words while I swayed on my feet, desperately trying to focus and concentrate on clutching my child. I noticed vaguely that the entire left side of my bodice was crimson with my own blood. At the conclusion of their conversation the man released my shoulders and quite easily yanked my baby out of my determined grip. I collapsed immediately to the ground empty handed.

“Noooo!” The anguished scream rose from the pit of my being. I flailed amongst the leaves and brush trying desperately to follow as they walked quickly away. I struggled to stay conscious as my vision became smaller and more blurry. The dizziness and the throbbing pain in my shoulder was overwhelming. I was also vaguely aware of additional cramping needling my abdomen. And I kept screaming. A long undiluted wail that would only cease for a few seconds as I gasped another breath to continue screaming. From somewhere out of my sight and comprehension the young Indian returned. He forcibly grabbed my hair with one hand and with vicious skill sliced out my tongue with the other. I immediately fell silent, gurgling and choking as blood filled my mouth. He threw my tongue carelessly into the forest as he swiftly rejoined his companion. I could stay conscious no longer.

I lost sense of time and place. I drifted in and out of reality. In actuality, I don’t even believe that I registered reality at all. There were periods when all that I could acknowledge was pure pain. Other times I was aware only of the cold and the details of the forest. During these moments it seemed as if the forest breathed and that I was merely a part of it as much as the trees, the grass, the insects and the dirt. Sometimes I would also slip into warm and comforting memories of Polly, my childhood, and my budding career as a teacher. The worst periods were when my mind cycled again and again over the events of the torturous day. My soul screamed in silent despair and anguish with no voice or sense of direction.

My most lucid moment took place as evening fell. I am unable to say if it was at the end of that horrifying day, or if it was perhaps on another day. Time had no relevance or position. At this moment I was starkly awake. The cold felt harsh and my body pulsated with involuntary shivering. My mind was crazy with physical and emotional pain. All of my senses clicked into their proper places for a short while as I gazed up at two faces peering down at me. Concern and compassion radiated from them. A young girl and her mother. Indians, but with different dress and markings than the first pair I had encountered. Their expressions registered surprise at my awakening. I immediately tried to question them about my son, his whereabouts, his well being. No words formed. Only gagging and choking. I had forgotten that I no longer had a voice. The frustration and despair welled in my eyes, but no tears fell. I had no tears left to cry. How would I find my child if I couldn’t even speak? What if they had harmed him? The thought was more than I could bear. But still I could not cry. The woman lifted my head delicately and turned it to the side to facilitate my breath and expectoration of the clotted blood residing in my mouth. She gently returned my head to its’ former resting position and began to chant. The girl joined her. They placed each of their hands on me and continued in the soothing sing-song tune. Their hands permeated warmth into my being. In my mind’s eye I could almost see the warmth becoming light and twisting and twining within my body. I stared at them soundlessly, blankly. Their edges became blurred and white light seemed to be seeping slowly around them. Wearily, I let my eyes close. All was warm. All was still. Their song echoed in my brain and I drifted into comforting blackness.

I opened my eyes again. I found myself looking up at Anna and the violet eyed woman. They were not chanting, but I could still hear the faintest echo of the song receding into a corner of my mind. For a moment I thought that I could not speak. Then I remembered that I could. But then I did not know what to say. I lay there staring at them dumbly.

“Mama?” Anna ventured. She looked questioningly at the woman next to her.

“Anna, she is fine right now, my dear.”

The absolute absence of pain felt bewildering to me. The dream had felt so real, so wretchedly real. I stifled the urge to check my shoulder, check my tongue, check what I was wearing, check the mirror. I knew what I would find. I strained my inner ear for the Indians’ song and almost thought I heard a note here and there. But then it was gone. I realized that I didn’t even have a headache any longer. But the heartache was intense. The deep sense of loss lingered heavily. Thoughts of you wandered into the mix and it all became a muddle. I finally focused my attention on Anna and the woman. I was quite startled to find them in the same position and with the same expressions as the Indian females in my dream.

“Wow,” I muttered and elevated myself to my elbows. I shook my head slightly and rose to a sitting position. Anna did not jump into my lap as I would have expected. Instead, she studied me with intense compassion. Her small ashen face held an expression meant for adults.

“Mama,” she whispered. “The baby will live.”

I stared at my daughter, struck completely speechless. The silence between us seemed to hold so many words. Then the violet eyed woman spoke.

“Wendy, she can see.”

I switched my gaze to the woman. She looked so familiar and yet I didn’t even know her name.

“What? Why should she see what I dream? That is crazy.” There I said it out loud. The crazy part. And it was directed to her, not at me. I paused, and then added, “And who are you, by the way?”

She somehow managed to smile warmly and mysteriously at the same time. I studied her face and found nothing particularly remarkable except those piercing odd colored eyes. They seemed fathomless and enduring. Her mouth and nose were not too big and not too small, but fit perfectly in her quite ordinary face. Her hair was mousey brown with white at the temples and pulled back into a skillful bun.

“I am Sara Kislin. You have just moved into the apartment directly below mine.”

“Mama,” Anna interjected, “can she babysit me sometimes? I like her.”

Oddly enough, Anna did seem rather snuggled up to her sitting there on the floor. I experienced a pang of jealousy and beckoned Anna to my lap. Anna obliged immediately and wrapped herself within my arms.

“Well, I’m Wendy Parks,” I started, “but, I guess you know that. But how do you know that? Wait. No, never mind.” My brain felt too full at the moment. I wanted to sift it all around before adding more. “Thank you for…” I was abruptly halted by a fragmented vision flashing before my eyes. I saw the Indian woman tirelessly caring for me over an extended period of time. Her face was eerily similar to Sara’s, sans violet eyes. My mind wandered into a different plane and I heard myself saying “…so much to be thankful for.”  I blinked and started stuttering “I …uh…” I had lost my train of thought, or perhaps crisscrossed trains.

Sara smiled cheerfully and matter-of-factly helped me to my feet. She touched Anna fondly on the shoulder and exchanged a knowing look with her. “If all is well, I must be off to my rehearsal.” She stated briskly. “I will be seeing you. Have a pleasant evening.” With that, she slipped quickly and quietly out the door. I didn’t realize that I was staring at the door until Anna tugged impatiently at my hand.

“Mama, let’s go to Auntie Leigh’s house. I’m hungry.”

 

Chapter 1 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/chapter-1-this-week-chapter-2-next-week/

Chapter 2 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/chapter-two-of-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 3  https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/chapter-3-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 4 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/chapter-4-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 5 & 6 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/chapter-5-6-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 7 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/chapter-7-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 8 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/chapter-8-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 9 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/chapter-9-the-one-that-got-away/

Chapter 10 https://blogkelliannesweeneydeardiary.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/chapter-10-the-one-that-got-away/

“The One That Got Away” on amazon http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_9?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=kellianne+sweeney&sprefix=kellianne%2Cstripbooks%2C225

 

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