Thursday, May 30, 2013

Week Two - Of The Continuing Saga


Each week 1000 words or more, of a continuing story, will be posted for Friday morning -(equivalent to approximately 3 paperback pages).

Week 2:       Part One / Chapter Two 

(Follow up from Chapter One - The Finding posted May 23rd)

Help Arrives


I can’t remember the walk back through the woods to our office, which was a rustic cabin, made of old logs cut down years ago. It smelled of timbers sealed in oil based stains, that had been applied now for many years, one coat over another. I often worried about how fast this place would go up if ever struck by lightening and a fire ensued. It would be devastating for the entire forest. We also have a tool shed and work station that was built maybe ten or fifteen years ago, and filled to the brim with junk accumulated by the previous rangers. My staff and myself have been working away at the overflow, and getting rid of unneeded items to make more space. I have been in charge the past two years, but had spent many more years dreaming of cleaning house when I finally got the opportunity.
I passed my exam and became head Ranger after my old boss Mr. Livingston retired, two years ago. First I took an inventory of all the junk, and then I decided what was needed or not. We sold a good amount of the stuff at a nearby auction house and donated the funds to the local school. They used the money to help purchase the new playground equipment. In such a small community, money for extra projects was hard to come by. Most folks who lived in this area had slim bank accounts. Cold Valley was not a poor community, just hard pressed for the extras that many people took for granted in the cities. Just to get good television stations cost more up here, on the mountainside, and required expensive satellite dishes that didn’t work when it rained. Needless to say, there are many devote readers up here. 
We marked a trail as we trekked back to the cabin. I went straight to my desk and called Officer Grady. My hands shook as I punched in the numbers. I internally cursed myself, and willed them to stop shaking. This was an emergency, and I knew I had to stay calm through it all. I was aware of my nervous sweat beading the rim of my forehead, and I wiped it off with the back of my hand, I felt ill. Everything was happening on auto pilot. Grady asked a few questions and right away he knew to contact the Sheriff. He dialed him in on conference call. Sheriff Rowe in turn said he would need to call in the State Police, just as I had feared.
The three of us, Josh, Kevin and me, sat on the porch steps waiting for the Staties to drive up the dirt road. They finally showed up about a half hour later. I could hear the car tires crunch under the stones of the road, a familiar sound, as the vehicles climbed the hill. Soon the quiet of the forest would be disturbed. Josh and Kevin looked over to me.
“Are you going to be okay?” Josh said.
They knew about Rory and me, and how it all ended so badly. I was touched that they cared about my feelings and weren’t afraid to reveal they knew about emotional trauma that was usually labeled girlie feelings.
“No problem, boys. I am a grown up after all.”
I smiled to let them know everything was all right. Deep down in my stomach, my guts churned with a sickening feeling, as it went topsy turvy. I knew it would be Rory. This day began with a prank, and was getting filled with more puns as it evolved. This joke was on me.
 
*****
 
Rory had been a State Police Trooper for five years now. I hear he was tough but fair. Throughout high school all he talked about was his dream of being accepted and passing the academy. He worked his body hard to get in shape, and was a great athlete. He was firm, building himself up with strength exercises and protein shakes, not overly bulging, just strong. Rory was smart too. For years we studied together and were both top students. I had been his girl all through high school, it was always Rory and Karen. I was his best supporter when he finally got accepted into the academy. I was proud of his dedication and happy to be his friend, and at that point, his lover.
 
We had a long romance, and it got serious after high school graduation. We attended the local community college, and then I went to work with the Forest Ranger program while Rory went off to the police academy. When I think about how altruistic we were back then I get emotional. We had our dreams of helping others and being part of the betterment of society. These were the dreams that took us away from each other. Not able to spend time together, and living hundreds of miles apart, we soon drifted farther apart spiritually.
Just after Rory passed his state exam, I decided to surprise him with a long weekend. I remember the excitement I felt when I prepared a wonderful picnic lunch and found just the right bottle of wine. Visions of a romantic weekend filled with hot sex and loving companionship had clouded my brain. Then the blow. I surprised him at his place, but when I opened the door, I was the one who got stunned. Walking into his apartment, I found another woman sleeping in his bed.
My head spun out of control with hurt and anger. I was infuriated. Everything was hot, and things started to blur. Rory was no were in sight and I had no one to scream at, no one there to explain why some floozy was in his bed. Nothing felt real, and all I kept saying to myself was, ‘how could he?’. I left his place, ran to my car and went home, and tried to never think of him again. Every time his face pops into my head it hurts. Betrayal was a horrible beast, one that I tried to forget, and still trying to out-pace. It looked like it finally caught up to me.
Rory had phoned many a time, but I refused to speak with him. After I left that day I took an oath to myself to never love so deeply again, it was the only way to survive such a hurtful blow to my ego, my trust. Finally after months of calling, Rory gave up.  That was years ago.
 
*****
The state police car pulled up to the front of the office. The silver paint reflected the late morning sun and blinded my eyes for a moment. I raised my hand to cover them and squinted to see who was in the front seat. It was two officers, and of course, one of them was Rory. He pulled himself out of the driver’s side and stood there tall and handsome, as he straightened out his belt, checking that his gun was situated right. I could hear the leather belt move as his fingers worked everything into its correct place for comfort. Small details had always been important to Rory. Why was a girl in his bed, that was more than a small detail, I thought. As quickly as the thought fluttered in my head, I shook it out. There was a job we had to do, and I was determined to be the most professional person possible.
All three of us Rangers walked to the car to meet them. I held out my hand. Rory took it and we shook.  I tried desperately to shake the tingling feeling that remained from his touch.  I couldn’t look him in the eye, so I let my eyes wander as I introduced the others.
“Hello Rory, you remember Kevin and Josh. They are both my assistant Rangers now.”
The other officer walked around the car and stood by Rory’s side. She was tall, strong and beautiful, and looked exactly like the girl that had been in his bed. A lump came to my throat and I thought I was going to lose my breakfast, but swallowed hard instead.
“Nice to see you all again. This is my partner, Sargent Thomas. She will be working this case with me.” he said.
My thoughts clouded for a moment, a dark storm filled my soul, and a flash of anger filled my being. Again I chastised myself, and ordered them out of my head. I had no business feeling these emotions today. It looked like this day was getting worse by the minute. Who would have thought that finding a girl’s dead body could be trumped with anything else. Seeing Rory again was bad enough, but knowing now that he had this woman for a partner, was just was too much information. My head felt like it was going to explode, but of course, it didn’t. We all headed for the woods, walking in a file, with myself in the lead.
 





More of the story on next week's post, as the saga continues.  If you have any ideas of where this story should go, or any comments in general, please post a comment - would love to hear from YOU.  Until next week - cheers!

 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

NEW IDEA!!! A SAGA for YOU to follow (Weekly Posts of a Continuing Story - Friday Series)

Each week 1000 words or more, of a continuing story, will be posted for Friday morning -(equivalent to approximately 3 paperback pages). 

I hope you will find this exercise interesting and you will enjoy the weekly posts.  The series is still unnamed - waiting to use your suggested titles after a few weeks worth of posts. 

Maybe a contest for best name?
You will be able to write comments about any story section posted, and your suggestions can help guide the story along.
I am looking forward to your feedback.  

I think this will be fun!
 

Here is the first post - I hope you enjoy the story!

PART ONE  /  CHAPTER ONE
 
THE FINDING

I was in the middle of the woods all alone. Often I came there, at different times of the day, to clear my head and gather my thoughts, but that day was different. The fog was thick. I could hear twigs snapping underfoot, and wished myself to go slower and be quiet. There was something out there, I felt it. A cold draft shot up my spine, and I felt the pain it delivered against my nerves, which were jumping out of my skin.

I squinted, as I tried to see what was in front of me. I knew this path by heart, every turn and rock and root that jutted out of the ground creating small stumbling steps for anyone unfamiliar with these woods. My thorough knowledge of the area had always brought comfort to me. I knew these woods better than anyone in the area. So how could someone else be turning me in circles, and stalking me now?

I decided to stop and wait, and listen. That’s when I heard the sound. At first I couldn’t place it. It was a low murmur, but then it kept growing in pitch. What was at first a raspy rumble was now almost a high whistle in my ear. A scream from another world. That was when I knew bad things were going to happen. That’s when I realized I was over my head, and was probably going to die.
 
                                                   *****
 
It all started a few days ago when I was working with my crew clearing paths before the tourists arrived for the season. It was a cool spring day, even though the sun was shining. As we walked through the woods, streams of sunlight filtered through the trees, making us all feel optimistic. We were kidding around, joking and laughing, as we worked the ground with rakes and picks, smoothing out the walking paths and getting rid of heaved ground. We did the same route every year, every spring. My work mates were Josh and Kevin, both were boys I grew up with, and were men now, although they often didn’t act the part, especially on a day when they had stores of energy, and used it to pull pranks. That’s when it began, how it began, with a joke. Josh pretended he heard something in the woods. He knew Kevin was afraid of his shadow.
“Kevin, quiet! Did you two hear that?” he said.
I knew he was trying to pull one over on Kevin, it happened every spring. Of course it worked, and Kevin’s face immediately sunk, and his eyes bugged out in fear. Then Josh went one better than usual. He turned and started going into the woods.
“Where are you going?” I called out.
I shook my head as I pitied myself for having to put up with two lunatics. Since I was in charge, I decided it was best to follow my crazy friends, knowing we had a long day and the sooner we get their pranks over with the better.
“Karen, over here.” Josh shouted.
I labored through the woods, pushing the foliage away as I walked farther away from the path. These woods were dense, in this patch of the mountain side. The trees were thick and close together, with a lot of bramble and vines clogging the way. I had a rake in hand and used it to push the green thickness away and blaze my path.
“Over here.”
I heard him call again. Kevin was following me into the woods. That’s how it always was, Josh starting the prattle, and Kevin following behind me, letting me get the brunt of the joke first. It was the same every year, and this was the tenth time since high school, but who’s counting , right? As we walked through the woods, the wet leaves brushed against my clothes and slapped my face, and actually felt good against my skin. It was a clean fresh feeling, and at this point I really didn’t mind the distraction. I love these old woods. There was magic in them, more so in this area, so undisturbed by the annual hikers and path followers. This was a place that most people didn’t venture into, deep off the track in the immense denseness of the forest.
“Quick Karen. Check this out. What is this?” Josh asked.
When we found Josh near a pine grove, I followed his eyes down, and looked at the end of his hiking staff that he was using as a pointer. There on the ground laid a strange blob. I bent down on my knee to get a closer look. It didn’t smell, the only scent in the air was of the pines and the wet leaves from last fall, still fermenting on the ground. I picked up a nearby stick and prodded the thing lying there. I loosened the soft wet leaves around it, and pushed the moist debris away. I stopped as soon as I realized what lay there. It was a corpse, not an animal’s but a dead person’s body.
“Let’s get back boys. We have to call the police. This is a dead girl.” I said.
I looked up at my two friends, they were both white as ghosts. I don’t know how I managed to keep my wits about me, but I did. I stepped back, said we needed to mark our way so we could find this spot again, when we bring the police up, and then I managed to get Kevin and Josh to march back out of the woods with me. No one said much, we were all dumb founded.
Our little corner of the world didn’t see much of death. The only ones who died were the old around here. We were a small community, a small hill town. Everyone who lived in Cold Valley was a nature lover. That’s all there was around these parts, nature and more nature. Our population was only a thousand give or take a few. Our police force consisted of one man, Officer Grady and one half timer, Tim O'Brien.
I knew this was way over Grady’s head, and that the area sheriff would be called in, along with the state police. I knew my odds of seeing Rory again had just quadrupled. I swore I would stay away from him, but sometimes fate kept rearing its nasty head. I swallowed hard and promised myself that if Rory did get this assignment, I would not let him get to me again. Secretly I knew that somehow, he would creep right back into my heart.
 
 
 
Watch for next week's post - Hope you enjoyed this beginning.  Send a comment about any thoughts you have about where this can go...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What I Live For - Freedom


Friday May 10th  I'm taking part in 'What I Live For', an online event organised by author Satya Robyn

People like me all over the world will be sharing what gives their lives meaning

In Satya Robyn's novel 'Thaw', Ruth gives herself three months to decide whether she can find a reason to carry on living. There's 75% off the kindle version today (99p / $1.49) - read more here: http://www.satyarobyn.com/?page_id=56

Please join in with your own art describing 'What I Live For' - visit the event  and post a thought, a picture, or a blog post  https://www.facebook.com/events/530335293684273/


Here are my thoughts....
What I Live For
 
For years I have been living for my family, my four children and husband.  The day began with making meals, breakfasts and bagged lunches, preparing dinners, washing clothes, cleaning the house, yard work, gardening, fixing scratched knees and broken hearts, and then hours of guilt when I was away, working at an hourly job.

So many hours were spent with thoughts of them in my head - their faces always in my vision, even when they were off living their lives and growing, they were close to me in my heart.  I cherished every flower painting given as a gift, each story bound into a homemade book, every award and contest, the fun filled Halloween costumes, and I enjoyed the soccer games and the chorus concerts.

Now my children are all grown - wonderful young men and woman.  I am proud of them all.  My children have become wonderful stewards of the world, keeping in their heart love of the land, simplicity in life and cherishing friendships.  I am proud of each, for their own persona and soul.  They will always be what I live for, even though I know the best for them now, is for us, my husband and myself, to let them go - so they can be free to find their own path and become who they were meant to be.

Now I turn a page and begin another career with writing.  I use  the love of my family as my muse.  I try to breath life into my words, with the underlying message - everyone deserves to be free.  We all struggle, and that journey is the only way to happiness.

Through the years I have had many blessings, and happy moments I will forever cherish.  I have known troubles too, and have made mistakes.  Lessons in humility, and understanding of others, have replaced the once boldness of my youth.  Now I hope to pass along a message, to everyone that I connect with, that they too can become who they want to be - grow into themselves, and be free.  This is what I still live for - freedom.