Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Southern Gothic Tales:10/6 Excerpt

The Thomas Jefferson Home for Boys was one of two adoption agencies that served the greater Southeast Texas area until they closed down five years ago, amid allegations of child abuse. At the time they closed down, they were under investigation by state investigators. There had been several anonymous calls also by former employees that the boys living in the home were being physically abused, if not worse.  Among the allegations of abuse, several of the young boys had run away from the home only to never be seen or heard from again. Alice's very own grandson was ten when he vanished. However before anything could be proven the home shutdown and the remaining children transferred into the custody of the only other adoption agency in town; The Tejas Adoption Agency, which immediately took over handling all adoptions across Southeast Texas.  Sometime after Thomas Jefferson closed, the former proprietor, a woman by the name of Alice Hemphill, now in her early seventies became sick with a brittle bone syndrome to the point she was left bedridden. If it hadn't been for Alice's daughter to wait on her hand and foot then Alice would've perished long ago.

The kitchen of the old house was wall-to-wall solid wood construction with a few splinters here and there but that was to be expected considering the age of the house.  Even the white paint had started to fade long ago. The small brass handles on each cabinet door and each drawer throughout the kitchen, long ago had started to tarnish. It was only Alice and her daughter living in the home now so there wasn't as much of a need to keep things up.  Against a wall upon entering the kitchen to the right, was the series of wooden cabinets with their faded paint, complete with their tarnished brass handles. There was no kitchen window or other exit from the kitchen except the one entryway.  Near the end of the cabinets in a corner sat an old style, single door white icebox with a tarnished metal, spoon shaped handle.  Across from the cabinets was a large black iron, gas stove with four burners. On the same wall as the stove was a large dark wooden door but it wasn't an exit. It was a storage room of some kind.  Even the plain white kitchen floor tile was showing its age as there were cracks in several places.

It was now at this stove that Ann Hemphill; Alice's daughter stood cooking something in a small blue and white speckled pot made from tin. Every few seconds or so Ann would pick up a small wooden soup spoon and stir the contents of the pot. Like her mother, Ann was a conservative dresser and so she was wearing one of her usual long blue dresses with a big white apron tied behind her back and on her feet she was wearing small, black slip-on shoes.  Sometimes after she would stir the pot Ann would rub her hands together while she was waiting for the contents to begin boiling.  Lately her arthritis had been acting up so badly that she'd been considering taking a pain pill. She had an arthritis cream she typically used but she did have pills in case needed them. If her hands were still hurting as badly as they were now after she finished her mother's supper, then Ann would try using her creme first. If that didn't help then she would try a warm salt bath.  The pills would be a last resort if anything.

The sound of liquid boiling made Ann open her eyes and look down. The clam chowder she was cooking was just about ready. She reached up and turned the fire down just enough so it would keep the chowder hot. Then she turned behind her to the cabinets and opened one cabinet, taking out a wooden tray. The tray was small but large enough to hold a plate or other items.  Sometimes Ann grew tired of waiting on her mother but she knew it was her duty and there was nothing she could do about it, short of killing her and that was something she could never do; bring herself to harm another human being.

Beneath the cabinet where she found the tray inside a drawer, Ann found a faded beige cloth napkin, neatly folded and put away with a single collection of solid silverware.  The napkins and dinnerware mostly fell into disuse after they had stopped using the banquet hall but that had only occurred when her mother had closed the home. Ann took a single spoon and one of the napkins then gently laid both items onto one side of the wooden tray. Then with that task complete she returned to the stove to stir the chowder once more. After stirring the chowder one final time Ann turned the gas to the stove completely off.  She returned briefly to the cabinet for two more items, a small red plastic bowl and a clear drinking glass.  She went back to the stove with only the bowl leaving the glass next to the tray.  With the bowl in one hand, she began using the wooden spoon and began scooping chowder into the small bowl.  Once she was satisfied there was enough for her mother, Ann let the wooden spoon rest on the stove and carefully took the bowl over to the tray behind her and set it down slowly as the bowl had been made piping hot by the chowder.

Ann then went to the storage door and opened it which revealed it to be a large walk-in pantry. She picked up from a shelf inside a brown bag that had inside a loaf of homemade rye bread. She removed only a single slice returned the bag to the shelf and exited the pantry closing the door behind her.  After setting the slice of bread down on the tray next to the bowl of chowder, she then picked up the glass and went to the icebox that sat over in the far corner diagonally. She opened the door and took out a pitcher of ice cold water, filled the glass up then returned the pitcher to the top shelf in the icebox.  She walked back over to the counter where the wooden tray was sitting and sat the now filled glass down on the tray next to the still steaming bowl of chowder. She looked down at the tray with its full load then at her hands which seemed to be trembling now just slightly.

Her mother was in the last room on the third floor which was practically the attic. But she had to try and see if she could lift the tray. As she attempted to lift the tray with both hands, a crackling pain shot through both her hands and them up her arms, making her hands tremble even worse. No, today she would definitely need one of her pain pills as the cream and a salt bath just wasn't going to cut it.  If she took one of her pills it would not only help steady her hands but also ease her pain. But her pills were upstairs in her room and that meant making her mother wait. Well, her mother would just have to wait a few minutes longer. She was in too much pain right then.

As Ann left the kitchen and was making her way through the main hall of the old house there was a sudden light knock at the front door. Sighing from the aggravation this interruption had caused, Ann slowly made her way to the door. With her hands hurting the entire time she set about unlocking the three deadbolts that served as the gatekeeper to protect Ann and her mother from the horrors of the outside world.  She almost had the third lock released when there was another knock. "I'm hurrying as fast as I can!" Ann called out. Her arthritis was making it more difficult than it should've been to open the large locks, however in the end she finally achieved her goal and pulled the door open.  She was quite surprised and annoyed at the same time to find that after opening the door that no one was on the other side. She stood there for a moment anyway looking about the overgrown yard just in case it was neighborhood children playing a prank. Her hair moved back and forth upon her head as did the branches in the trees ever so slightly as a gentle breeze suddenly came blowing through.

The only illumination came from a single porch light attached just outside the door. But it was enough that Ann could see some  feet into the yard but not by much. The wind began to suddenly pickup and it gave her a quick chill not to mention an uneasy feeling for some reason or another. She finally decided it was just kids having a laugh at her expense and slammed the door back.  She had been heading back into the kitchen when she remembered she still needed her pills.  Ann changed direction mid-stride and headed for the white marble staircase in the center of the main hall. Ann was at the top of the stairs when she thought she heard another light knock, again at the front door.  This time she ignored it because she figured if it was kids eventually they would get bored when she refused to answer and go home. Or another possibility was it could just be the house settling. Ann dismissed both ideas and continued on to her room.

-Edward Alex Lively-

Positive Progress Thus Far

Hello Friends...

Edward Lively here once again!  I am here to report since my last blog entry that I have completed work on my latest entry in the Southern Gothic Tales Series.  I call it, Coyote, Texas.  So once I publish it to which of course it will sell for my standard fee of $.99, I surely hope you will buy a copy and support me as I continue on my quest to grow as a burgeoning author.  

In the interim I am already hard at work on another installment in the Southern Gothic Tales Series and a yet unannounced science fiction title.  Both of the working rough drafts are almost somewhat complete.  When the science fiction title is completed and I finish at least one decent edit on it, then I shall reveal more details about the science fiction piece.  I have of course already ran ahead of myself and given both pieces of work final titles as I have found more than appropriate titles for them.

The newest installment that comes after Coyote, Texas however, is called Southern Gothic Tales:10/6.  It relates to a young man who after years away, finally returns home to Tejas and the home where he spent most of his youth.

Most likely unless I can find an online publisher, then like my other work I will be publishing this to as well.  I will make another posting after this where you can read a brief preview of this upcoming story.  I will also post a preview of Coyote, Texas as well.  Again once I publish Coyote, Texas to Amazon please look for it at the bargain price of $.99.  Also don't forget to keep up with me on Twitter @Kronoso1979,, and I think it's the same name on Instagram but I'm not entirely sure as I don't use it as much.

In addition to writing my own fiction, sometimes I enjoy writing fan fiction, then I write commentary on my Facebook page under this name which I have taken after my great-grandfather's name.  I have written about some social issues, horrible customer service experience and the like.  More or less I am somewhat a keen observer of people's behavior and then if inspired enough, I will blog or write about it.  Some call it ranting but I prefer to call it, "Showing people their inner, ugly selves."  

However I digress as that is not mostly what this blog is purposed or intended for.  It is intended for me to show off my writing skills which I will readily admit may not be up to some people's Harvard like standard but I am constantly working to improve myself.