So, as you may know I’ve been working on a collection of short-stories (you can read about my experience here). The process has been extremely transformative and is nearing completion. I am excited to be able to share one of the stories, which you can read by following clicking this link.
A small excerpt can also be found below:
It was in the dead of night when headlights flooded a pale blue shotgun house rooted on modest land. The car stopped in the middle of the make-shift driveway. Margaret had been up for two hours, stirring a now lukewarm pot of coffee. She wasn’t thirsty but she needed something to occupy her hands. The rumbling sound of the engine was cut and the lights faded into the night. From the open window, she could hear two doors slam. Her heart picked up a few paces. Since her phone had rung two hours ago, she was a ball of tension. There was a rapt at her door and she jumped at the sound. She set the mug on the counter and went to open the door. Even in the blackest of night, Anne’s skin still glowed pale like the moon. Margaret didn’t say a word, she just simply stepped aside as Anne walked in, followed by her husband who was carrying a bundle of swathed cloth in his arm. Margaret shut the door, her ears had become hot and she felt an off rhythm thud in her left temple. She was stressed. Stressed after working twelve hours at the mill, stressed after coming home to find her husband still hadn’t returned, and stressed that a woman she hadn’t seen for thirteen years was now in her too small kitchen. Margaret struck a match and set the lit lantern in the middle of the table. She gestured for the couple to have a seat, her eyes still on the bundle in the man’s arms.
“Can I get ya’ll something to drink?” She asked
“No, no, we’re fine, Margaret. Thank you,” Anne refused in her crisp, elegant, northern accent.
“Well, follow me,” Margaret picked up the lantern and lead them through three doors that shot straight to the back room where a bed laid and not much else besides a wooden chair, a tin bucket, and a nightstand.
“This will do fine, Margaret. Thank you,” Anne said.
Margaret set the lantern on the nightstand.
“I’ll be in the kitchen if you need me,” she walked out of the room.
Margaret began making a fresh batch of coffee. She didn’t have much to offer her guest, food-wise, and though they refused her offer of coffee, bustling around the kitchen kept her mind far away from the mysterious bundle in Anne’s husband’s arms. The light from the lantern partially illuminated the small room, throwing shadows against the lit wall. Margaret peaked over her shoulder at Anne. She got a good look at the woman: tall, slim, and dressed in an expensive black pants and shirt outfit. Her hair was pushed out of her face and her eyes were bright and demanding to be looked into. She was a far cry from the Anne that Margaret had known.
“It’s a fresh pot,” Margaret gestured toward the coffee.
“No, thank you,” Anne smiled, taking a seat at the table where she placed the lantern.
“Margaret, do you remember George Stowe?”
“Sho do, how could I forget?”
“Remember when he used to pick on me for being white?” Anne laughed. Margaret kept quiet.
“One day, you finally punched him in his mouth and said, ‘she as black as you and the rest of us,’ he never messed with me again.”
“What you getting at?” Margaret wasn’t one who enjoyed digging up the past.
“Margaret, have a seat. Please.”
Margaret’s heavy feet dragged a deep groan from the floor as she took the chair opposite from Anne.
“What I was trying to say is that I wish I was as strong as you.”
“No, really, Margaret. You weren’t ashamed of anything. I wish I had been more like you.” Anne was staring hard into Margaret’s eyes.
“You protected me back then and I never thanked you,” Anne reached over and placed her delicate hands over Margaret’s calloused ones. Margaret looked down at those dainty pale fingers. Did she really drive all the way out here to thank her for something she did almost twenty years ago?
“I want to ask you something,” Anne said.
“It’s a favor, a big favor. I know I’ll owe you forever.”
Margaret inched back into her seat. She didn’t like the sound of Anne’s voice or the pleading look in her eyes.
“Will you do it?” Anne asked
“Will you…I need you to keep my daughter.”
Margaret sighed, she had imagined having to do something far worse.
“Of course,” she smiled, “for how long?”
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