The Wind Weeps – Chapter One

The wild winds weep,

And the night is a-cold;

Come hither, Sleep,

And my griefs unfold.

From Mad Song by William Blake

eBOOK [1]

Part One

The Fledgling

Bored, the nestling looks about,

Adventure calls, and she leaps out.

On untrained wings she flutters down,

A spastic fledgling, faltering.

Too far from home, and on foul ground,

She shrinks from shadows all around.

Oh woe, the hasty choice she`s made.

Too late, she is awakening.

A shocking truth, Reality.

She fights to keep her dignity.

-Anneli Purchase

Chapter 1

I knew I must have the wrong address. He was absolutely stunning. My heart fluttered and thudded frantically. Heat rose to my face. I ducked my head in embarrassment, but couldn’t keep my eyes off him.

I glanced at the scrap of paper in my hand—Single girl looking for roommate to share expenses. Call Monique. 604-483-5866

The guy who opened the door to the ground level basement suite was serious model material. Lean, broad shoulders, tight jeans, red plaid shirt—the healthy, outdoorsy type. His dark brown hair stuck up in spiky tufts when he took off his cap to greet me.

“Hello. Ah … er … Is Monique here?” I rechecked the address I had scribbled down when I talked to Monique on the phone. “Maybe I have the wrong place?” I backed up a step or two, looking for the house number again, unsure what to do next.

“Andrea?” he asked.

I nodded. “Do you live here?”

“Of course.” He looked puzzled by my question.

Three’s Company? What was I getting myself into? “Monique didn’t say there was another person sharing the suite.”

“No, dere isn’t. It will be just de two of us.”

“I don’t think so.” No matter how good looking he was, no matter how tempting he was, I wasn’t about to move in with a man I’d never met before. I turned to leave.

He reached for my hand and pumped it up and down. “I’m Monique.”

“You’re Monique?” I stood there with my mouth hanging open as a second surge of warmth crept up my neck to the roots of my hair.

“Don’t worry. It ’appen to me all de time. People t’ink I am a boy because of my short ’air and de way I dress.”

“I – I’m sorry. How stupid of me.” Relief—and disappointment—washed over me.

“Come in. ’Ave a look around and see if you like de place. You say you from Ontario?” I nodded. “Eh bien, we are almost neighbours den. I am from Québec.”

“Have you been in B.C. long?” I scanned the room behind her as we talked. The place looked clean and bright.

“About a year.”

“So what brought you here?”

“Why did you come ’ere?” She smiled as she threw the question back at me. “Probably de same reasons, eh? To be by de sea, to get away from de crowd, to be independent, to find romance, adventure? Am I close?”

“You’re right on.” We’d get along very well. “I like the place and if you like me, I like you.”

Monique smiled broadly displaying beautiful white teeth.

“So you would like to move in?”

“I think so. Yes. But, Monique, if I don’t find a job. You know … I explained on the phone I can only pay for a month or two if I don’t find work soon.”

“Dat’s no problem,” she said. “Dere is always work around ’ere in de tourist season and den after dat, we see.”

She sounded so sure of herself. I wished I had her confidence. It had taken every bit of courage I could muster to come out here by myself.

“It’s too far. Won’t you change your mind?” My mother had clung to me, her face wet with tears. I almost changed my mind right then.

My dad shook his head. “I don’t suppose there’s any way we can convince you to stay? I hope you won’t regret it. You’re too stubborn for your own good.”

I had put on a brave face and said something clichéd, like “I’ll email you,” but I had no idea if I’d even have access to a computer in Lund. It looked like a small place when I had chosen it at random on the map. As it turned out, I was right. It was a very small hamlet over four thousand kilometers from home.

No job, only $800 in my purse, no family, no friends—and now this gorgeous hunk of a man turns out to be a woman.

*********

You can download The Wind Weeps ebook for FREE from all Amazon outlets:

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or from smashwords.com (especially if you have an e-reader other than Kindle).

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When the Sun Was Mine

The City of Victoria may have distracted author Darlene Jones in my last post, but she has managed to publish an amazing novel just the same. I have read this book and would recommend it to young and old. Here is Darlene Jones to tell us about her latest novel, When the Sun Was Mine.

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NEW RELEASE – http://ow.ly/Ohut1  limited time introductory offer 0.99

When the Sun Was Mine

Review comments

“Expertly written, suspenseful, the mystery grips you from the first page.”

“… a surprising, entirely satisfying beginning.”

“… moments of true poetic beauty as a delicate, unusual friendship develops between a young girl (Brit) and an old lady(Flo).”

“I couldn’t put it down and towards the end I was sobbing.  Good thing I wasn’t wearing any make-up.”

“Alzheimer’s is such a fearsome disease, but Jones’ story doesn’t live there.”
“… makes its mark in terms of social commentary on this disease.”

“…when you have people willing to care, even those newly in your life, the most dreadful of situations can still touch your heart and leave you as the reader with possibility rather than loss.” 

Blurb

Flo:      I was an inmate in this hellhole they charmingly called a nursing home. Then Brit climbed in my window. She was just a kid. How could she possibly help me?

Brit:      I should have been in college, not working in this dump. But then I never would have met Flo. She had Alzheimer’s. They said she never talked, but she talked to me.

Brought together by circumstance, an old lady and a young girl develop an unlikely friendship. Each has a dream they long to fulfill, but first Brit is determined to solve the mystery of Flo.

Excerpt 

Poor little Miss Wright. Second time she comes into my room and once again she gets the shock of her life. Appreciated her concern for me, but really what could she do? I gave her a little wave as she eyed the two nurses bearing down on me and then slipped out the door behind Matthews.

All I wanted now was a long hot shower and something to eat. I’d missed breakfast of course and there likely wasn’t much left from lunch, but maybe I could scrounge something. I ignored the two nurses who had come in. One took my arm to help me to the bathroom. I shook her off and slammed the door in her face. Not fair to take my anger out on them. They hadn’t strapped me down, but then they hadn’t come to check on me all morning either.

By the time I finished my shower and put on my jeans, M*A*S*H* T-shirt, and thongs, oops, I mean flip-flops, Curly and Mo had remade my bed. The room still stank. I opened the window to let in some air. The incinerator wasn’t spewing forth at the moment so maybe my room would smell decent when I got back. I squirted some Chanel #5 on my neck and wrists and then a couple of sprays around the room. Terrible waste really, but I thought it might help.

I stepped out into the hallway and took a deep breath. Big mistake. The air didn’t smell a hell of a lot better than in my room. The omnipresent hospital odor mixed with the unique scent of old people. Not fair that everything went to pot as we aged. Wrinkles, creaky bones, flaccid muscles, droopy skin, and the sour fragrance of decay.

Just the other day, some little kid was in the visitor lounge with Esther. “Grandma, you smell funny,” he said, when his mother urged him to hug the old lady. Kid refused and kicked up a fuss. Couldn’t really blame him. At least his mother had the smarts to back off.

Yes, we were allowed out of our rooms during the day, the idea being that we could entertain each other and not burden the staff. Heaven forbid they should have to exert themselves for us. I went to the dining room and found a couple of slices of bread to pop in the toaster, and a hard-boiled egg. I poured a glass of watery orange drink made from powder like that horrible Tang stuff they sent us when we were overseas years ago, and smeared my toast with something that was supposed be butter. It tasted okay if you held your nose. Lord knows, I’d eaten a lot worse in my lifetime. Millet laced with grains of sand. I laughed when I remembered seeing the goats foraging in the mortar and pestle that held our food. I brushed toast crumbs off my hands and had to admit I felt better after eating.

I wandered over to the rec room and a sorry excuse it was. A few rickety tables and battered folding metal chairs, which made me think of France with all those sidewalk cafes, the parks, the little wrought iron tables, Michel. Now there was a lover extraordinaire, lived up to the romantic Frenchman reputation; kind and thoughtful and gentle, but a lion in bed. I closed my eyes and lived it again. Ah, those were the days.

Then I made the mistake of opening my eyes. Worn linoleum floors. One tiny window. I didn’t bother looking out. I already knew it was the same dismal view as from my room. Decrepit war-time houses across the street, scrubby grass that passed for lawns, the odd scrawny tree, no flowers to speak of, although one house had a couple of hanging pots that looked pretty, the riot of color a sight for sore eyes. Battered bikes lay scattered in the yards, abandoned haphazardly when the kids got home from school. Wrecks of cars parked in front of some of the houses. Was a wonder any of them still worked, but they did. I’d watched the people from my window when I couldn’t sleep: kids, parents, going about their business, work, school, with a few drug deals thrown in for good measure. Dreary little houses, dreary little lives. Bet all they did was watch the boob tube, guzzle beer, and smoke pot. Bah. Humbug.

We never got to go outside. Never. I’m sure prisoners were better treated. Didn’t they always have an exercise yard or was that just the movie image? A trip to a park or the mall would be nice, or the movies. Not that Hollywood was producing much good stuff these days, but still … just to get out.

Everything about Happy Hearts so conducive to enjoying oneself. I counted five people in the rec room sitting, staring at the floor. A sixth was watching television on mute alternately nodding and shaking her head at the screen.

Old Artie, and I mean old, ninety-nine and still toddling along, spent most of each day sitting at the chessboard. Never had any visitors or anyone to play with. I took pity on him, sat down, and offered to play a match. He proved to be a more challenging opponent than I expected, but I won. Took my mind off the Internet dilemma for a bit. I’d have to lie low for a couple of days, but then what?

I roamed the halls looking for Brittany and found her with a large screwdriver in her hand.

“What are you going to do with that?”

“I couldn’t open your window this morning. It’s stuck.”

Stuck? I burst out laughing. This younger generation never ceased to amaze with their ignorance. The chit had obviously never seen wooden windows before and didn’t know she had to turn the lock thingy at the top of the frame before she could slide the window up.

The girl bristled. “What’s so damn funny?”

“Whoa, did you just use a bad word?”

She blushed. Must have grown up in a staid household, I thought. Much like mine. The words in my head stopped me cold. I squeezed my eyes tight and fought to remember, but nothing came to me. I felt tears forming at the corners of my eyes. To have a glimpse, just one little glimpse of my mother. That’s all I asked. Did I have pictures of her? If so, where were they? Would I recognize her or would someone have to point her out to me? And my dad? What was he like?

That’s the worst thing about this Alzheimer’s business. Thoughts pop in and out of your head until you don’t know what’s real and what isn’t. They taunt you with snippets of your life before, but there’s never enough to grasp a whole memory or maybe there is on some days and you just don’t remember.

“Is your window always locked?” Brittany asked.

Her voice jolted me back to the present. “No, why?”

“Not even at night?”

“I like to leave it open all the time for fresh air, if the incinerator’s not rumbling that is.”

“Okay then.”

I watched her amble down the hallway toward the caretaker’s office swinging the screwdriver and humming, “a merry tune to toot, he knows a song will move the job along.” Hated that movie. Maudlin nonsense.

*****

You can download this excellent ebook now:

NEW RELEASE – http://ow.ly/Ohut1  limited time introductory offer 0.99

Free Coastal Drama

FREE!

eBOOK [1]

Adventure, drama, suspense, and a trip up the coast of British Columbia — If you have not read The Wind Weeps, grab your free digital copy now on amazon or on smashwords. Follow it up with the conclusion to Andrea’s story in Reckoning Tide. Here is a sample of the beginning of Reckoning Tide.

 eBOOK_RECKONING_TIDE

You’re mine!

To have,

To hold,

No matter how hard.

You’re mine!

Give me honour,

Obey,

And do as you’re told.

You’re mine!

In sickness,

My sickness,

Comes hell.

You’re mine!

This day forward,

’Til death,

Do us part.

Chapter 1

“Nurse!” I screamed. “Nurse, come back!” Robert’s smile vanished. He advanced and tossed the three orchids onto the foot of my bed.

I twisted around grasping for the cord with the call button. “Get away from me!” I hit the button frantically.

Robert lunged at me. “No, Andrea. Don’t!” He ripped the cord away from me. I pulled my fist back to punch him, but he was quick and caught my wrist in an iron grip. His eyes narrowed into slits.

“Nurse!” I yelled again. He clamped a hand over my mouth. Flashbacks of what that hard hand had done to me went through my mind. I bit down on his fingers, my terror lending me extra strength.

“Arrrgh! You bitch!” Robert’s eyes grew wide. He stared at me with a glassy look that I remembered too well. He drew his arm across his chest to backhand me, but dropped it when the nurse appeared.

“What’s going on here?” the nurse demanded. Margaret was a hefty woman. She filled most of the doorway as she stood with her hands on her hips. “Sir! Come away from the bed.”

“She bit me!” he said, unable to keep the whine out of his voice. “I brought her flowers—orchids, her favourite kind—and she bit me!”

I gasped at his outrageous boldfaced ploy, twisting the truth. “He tried to kill me. Don’t let him near me. He’s the one I told you about.”

“Now, Andrea.” Robert’s voice, silky smooth, sent ripples of terror up my spine. “You know that’s not true.” He turned to the nurse and slowly shook his head. “I’m her husband. You see, she’s had quite a shock. We had an argument and she set fire to our cabin and ran away when she thought I had died in the fire. I guess she’s surprised to see that I’m still alive.”

The nerve of him! I tried to get out of bed. “No! No-no-no!” I had to get the nurse to believe me. “He’s twisting it all around. He tried to kill me.”

The nurse was quick to put her hand out. “Stay in bed, Andrea.” She looked flustered and tried to calm us both. But no wonder she was confused. The whole situation was so bizarre. She looked from Robert to me and back to Robert again.

Would she side with Robert?

“Sir,” she said, “would you mind going to the waiting room down the hall? I’m sure the RCMP would like to speak with you, too. They’ll be here soon to interview Andrea.”

Robert raised his chin and gave me a smirk. “That was fast,” he said. “We’ll soon get to the bottom of the situation then.”

The nurse escorted him out the door. “We called them this morning when she woke up,” I heard her say as they walked down the hall.

The nurse had explained to me earlier that the police have to make a report in cases where there has been violence, especially since a gun was found in my fanny pack. The gun I pointed at him last week. Should have pulled the damn trigger.

 *****

You will find paperback and digital versions of Reckoning Tide on amazon outlets and on smashwords.com (for e-readers other than Kindle). Just click on the links:

Amazon.com

Smashwords.com

For more about Anneli Purchase and her books, visit her at http://anneli-purchase.com/

Book cover design by Anita B. Carroll. http://race-point.com

A Keeper

Vancouver Island morning

Vancouver Island morning

Andrea works at the wharf in Lund, on the mainland of British Columbia. She shares an apartment with Monique. The two women accompany Jim, a commercial fisherman, to help him get his boat home to Comox on Vancouver Island, because Jim has a bandage on his wrist and a patch over his eye from burns he sustained from melting zinc while working on his fishboat. After a weekend in Comox, the women return to Lund via the ferry, but sparks have already begun to fly between Jim and Andrea.

Commercial troller, traveling

Commercial troller, traveling

Excerpt from The Wind Weeps (Chapter 10 – Jim):

At the ferry terminal, Monique walked a short distance away so I could say goodbye to Andrea.

“Thanks for everything, Andrea. It was great having you over here.” I put my arms around her, being careful not to press too hard on my wrist, which still hurt like hell. But, somehow, I didn’t mind the pain while I was holding Andrea.

I buried my head in her hair. Fresh as a herb garden. I pulled back slightly to give her a kiss and her lips were already on mine. Our body language clicked perfectly. No awkward bumping of noses or clashing of teeth. It was all so easy and natural.

I trusted her and felt I could relax around her. She would never make me feel stupid if I said or did the wrong thing. She bolstered my self-confidence. No more shy guy. This girl was good for me.

“I’ve really enjoyed this weekend,” she said. “Thanks for having us over.” She lifted my bandaged wrist tenderly. “Be sure to look after this, won’t you? That was a nasty burn.”

“Don’t worry.  I’ll take care of it. I need it healed for fishing time. Maybe I’ll see you when I stop in at Lund on my way north in a few weeks?” I watched her expression carefully. She seemed to light up as if she liked the idea. Good. I’d hoped she would. “I’ll call you, okay?”

“Okay. You’ve got Monique’s number, right?” She gave me a light kiss on the cheek. “I’d better run.” She looked over her shoulder. “The foot passengers are already boarding. Take care of yourself.” She picked up her overnight bag and hurried after Monique.

Turn around and let me get one more look at you. I watched as she crossed the parking lot towards the ferry. Almost there, she turned to give me one more wave. Her smile was genuine, natural, beautiful.

Driving home from the ferry terminal, her smile hovered in the front of my mind.  She had me chuckling to myself, as I replayed so many of our moments together. There was something easy and comfortable about being around Andrea. I didn’t feel I had to role-play and try to impress her or be on my guard about what I said or did. I could just be me. She had an innocent way about her, didn’t want or need impressing. I loved that about her.

So unlike Sarah. Most of that woman’s sentences started with “I.” When I went out with Sarah a couple of years ago, I thought she was pretty in an earthy way – the artsy type. But what a left-wing greenie. Nothing wrong with wanting what’s best for the earth, but most of her beliefs involved way too much theory. Great ideas, but in practice, forget it. They just didn’t work.

“Everybody has a right to have enough food,” she said.

“Well, of course, everyone has a right to it,” I agreed, “but sometimes circumstances prevent that from happening, and it doesn’t matter if you have a ‘right’ to it or not. If food’s not available, you don’t get it.”

“How can you be so hard-hearted?”

“I feel bad for starving people, but the reality is we can’t save everyone.”

Then she rolled her eyes and shook her head as if she couldn’t believe my lack of understanding. She walked away muttering something about the bigger picture.

I could have just snapped her up and married her. She’d look good on my arm. But how would we pass the time when we weren’t having sex? Yes, sex. It was just that. It wasn’t making love with her—you need more emotion for that.  But suppose we’d married and had the rest of our lives to spend together? I had a little taste of what that could be like when she deckhanded with me. There were hours sometimes when the fishing was slow and it would have been nice to have a conversation.

“What do you think is going to happen with this new Euro coin they’re trying to get all of Europe to use?” I asked her one day after hearing about it on the radio.

“I don’t know.” She shrugged. “Who cares anyway? That’s way over in Europe. It’s got nothing to do with us.”

“Well, sure it does. It’s going to affect the whole world economy. It’ll probably have a trickle-down effect on the price of my fish.”

“Is that all you can think of? Money?! You’re just like all the rest of those capitalists.”

“How can you say that? It’s what feeds me and pays my bills. What’s wrong with that? And believe me, what happens in European markets will affect all of us here.”

“Oh I sincerely doubt it,” she said.  She blew out an exasperated sigh and picked up one of her paperbacks with the picture of lovers on the cover.

Not a deep thinker. I was disappointed in her. She looked good, worked hard when we were into fish, and was pleasant enough to be around, but something was definitely missing with her. She was all about herself in the here and now. Her only thoughts about the world at large echoed what her left-wing friends repeated. The only original ideas she had were in her artwork; never about practical things.

It just didn’t work for me. Fishing was a hands-on job. About as real as you could get. There was no room for a lot of idealism on a fishboat. If you had a tangle in the lines, you had to get it out fast and get that line fishing again. You couldn’t stand there and philosophize about how many chemicals went into making all that perlon and how it was ruining the environment. Sure I cared about the environment, but this was not the time to get out the placards and protest the use of polyester products in fishing lines.

“Did you know that wearing polyester underwear lowers your sperm count?” she said.

God, she was way out in left field.

“Mine’s cotton.” So there. For once I got the last word.

And now, a couple of years later, in spite of all Sarah’s earlier left wing green talk, it seems she’s turned into quite the little capitalist after all with her gift shop in Lund.

I pulled into my driveway, shaking off thoughts of Sarah and wondering why I ever had anything to do with her when I could have someone like Andrea. I would call tomorrow and make sure I didn’t let her slip away. Andrea was a keeper.

Will they someday sail off into the sunset?

Will they someday sail off into the sunset?

Andrea soon gets herself into a life and death situation. Read more about her in The Wind Weeps.

The Wind Weeps

Available in paperback and Kindle at amazon.com http://amzn.to/XQY4Wl

at amazon.co.uk  http://amzn.to/XQZG2i

and in all other e-reader formats at smashwords.com http://bit.ly/zO2Lm9

The Wind Weeps is also available at Chapters in Nanaimo, B.C.,

and at bookstores in Courtenay, B. C.