Like Birds on the Water

It’s been a relatively long time, at least as the concept’s understood in the 21st century, but it has not been an inactive time. Several pieces have been sent to various publications for consideration (and ultimate rejection) but until the rejections are received it’s not possible to share them here. Nevertheless we do have something to share.

Work on a book has started in earnest. How it will be published and packaged is to be determined but the research is generating some offshoots which we are happy to share.

The first to sprout is a short story about Mary Beth, one of the book’s central characters. It’s not a happy story and it may appear to be a strange start towards what will hopefully be a humorous story but it underpins the primary theme.

Gabriel’s Staircase

Mary Beth, on the cusp of adulthood, twisted gently in her swing under the great sycamore in front of the cabin. She peered up through its canopy looking for a patch of blue, movement, anything. She saw only flat leaden sky sealing in the stench of the swamp to the point of suffocation. Fuss snoozed on the ground in front of the porch. The dog picked up his head and looked towards the Alexandria Road. No wind, maybe he’d heard something, she thought. Whatever it was Fuss decided it wasn’t worth the effort in the airless afternoon. He dropped his head back on his forepaws and heaved a sigh raising two small plumes of dust that slowly settled on his nose. 

Nana, her sewing box nestled in her lap, sat in her rocker on the porch patching a dress. Without looking up she said, “Sun’s going down, girl.”

Mary Beth dropped out of her swing sending small billows of dust up around her ankles. She waded through the heavy air, entered the cabin and walked over to the stove to give the stew a stir before starting to mix the cornbread. Soon Grandpa Silas would be home. He’d be sprinkled with sawdust and smell of honest toil mixed with fresh cut pine. His home coming was the best part of Mary Beth’s day and she always made sure he got a long loving hug before he had a chance to clean up for dinner. She’d just poured buttermilk into the cornbread bowl when she heard the porch step squeak. Setting the bowl on the table Mary Beth skipped to the front door only to catch the end of a sentence.

“— at the mill,” said Luke.

“What kind of trouble?” asked Nana.


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